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There are few boys who at one time or another have not taken a fancy to collect butterflies and moths, and were this feeling only followed up in the right direction at the outset, they would find it become so fascinating, that long
after boyhood they would still be collectors, growing more and more enthusiastic the more they understood about the subject; in any case, it would prove the means of making a country ramble that might otherwise be dull, full of interest, if not of excitement. Again, in after A ycars,on lookingthrough their collections, they would find many an insect that will recall to them the memory ot pleasant strolls through fields and woodland.
Having this in view we give the following
MEtAMORPHOSES OF VANESSA ATALANTA (RED ADMIRAL). llintS, foi" ill tllC SpaCC at
command it would be impossible to do more than endeavour to start our reader on the right road.
The order to which Entomologists assign ilu butterflies and moths is that called the I.cpidoptera (from the Greek lepif, a scale, and fiteron, a wing); for 11 u
insects belonging to this group are at once recognizable by the structure of their four ample wings, which are generally thickly \ covered on both surfaces with minute feather-like scales, that overlay each other; also, the perfect insect does not have more than six legs, though in some species of butterflies the front pair are short and apparently useless for walking purposes. soMK Scales Of Butterfl1es' Ivikcs
They pass through four periods of life, (uagnh'1«o> viz. :—(1) The egg; (2) the larva, or caterpillar; (3) the pupa, or chrysalis; (4) the imago, or perfect insect. Butterffies can always be distinguished from moths by their antenna;, or "feelers," for in the former they are always knobbed or thickened at the top; but with the latter this never occurs, moths having their antennx cither thread-like or feathered (pectinated, as it is called), especially in the case of males. Again, their bodies are not nipped at the waist as with butterflies; also, when at rest, the latter fold their wings up over their bodies (vide illustration above). Moths, on the other hand, either set their wings round their sides
or lay them on their bodies; finally, butterflies only fly by day, hence the name "Diurni." Moths, as a rule, mostly fly at night, or just before sunrise and after sunset.
Talcing the perfect insect as that which will probably claim attention from the beginner, the first thing to think of is the method of its capture.
The Net.—Perhaps the most popular form for this is the "V.:' It consists of a tin or brass Y, which can be obtained from any naturalist's shop, at prices varying from 41/. to 1s. 6d., according to size and strength. Into one of the tines of this is inserted a stout cane from three to three and a half feet in length, depending on the size preferred, which is bent round and inserted in the other tine, thus forming an oval shape. For the material of the net itself the best to use is that known as mosquito netting, which can be purchased for a small sum at any respectable draper's—the large size netting in preference—as it is much stronger and softer than ordinary gauze webbing, and you can distinguish the insect better when in the bag. For colour, green is preferable, but it should be soaked in water to wash as much dressing out of it as possible—you will also find it adds to the softness. Forshape the length should be about three feet or a little less, but the end of the bag should not come to a fine point or form two corners, but as far as possible be gently rounded off; the diameter at the end should be about eight or nine inches : sew up at the side of the net that will be nearest the handle to within two or three inches of the top. The top of bag should then be sewn on to some strong lining, which must be turned round to make the loop into which the cane is inserted, allowing of course sufficient play for this to pass in easily—also with this lining bind the two or three inches of the bag that you have not sewn up ; as there is some strain here when inserting the cane. All there remains to do now is to fix a stick into the base of the "V " ; the length of this must be left to choice, some prefer it very long, but between three or four feet is most usual. The stick should be light and strong; one with a crooked end will be found useful for hooking down branches, etc
Naturalists sell the cane in sections, if desired; it may add to the rigidity of the frame, but the way given is very serviceable and inexpensive. Another favourite form of net is that known as "the Umbrella" ; it certainly is very convenient, and for those that are nervous about being taunted for "fly catching" it may be more desirable; it is, however, difficult to make, and the best plan is to buy one; the usual price is ys. 6d., or a little less; in case this should be beyond the pocket of some of our readers they will be able to get a very fair substitute by using two of the Spokes of an old umbrella and boring in a stout stick two holes, one about an inch above the ferule, and another about a foot further up, then insert the spokes in either of the holes, and bend them round, one on either side, and fix by passing through the vacant hole; take care that the two borings are on the same line, and only just large enough to admit the two spokes. The net can be made as before described, except that it will have to have another small opening in the lining, half way round the circle, to admit of the wires passing out and into the stick by the ferule.
K1ll1ng.—There are several plans in general use for this purpose: of which, perhaps, "The Cyanide Bottle" is the most popular; these can be purchased for a shilling or two, and will last for a long time, if kept properly corked. Or take a small glass pickle jar, or bottle, with a wide mouth—into this put one or two lumps of cyanide of potassium, broken up into small pieces, and then cover over with Plaster of Paris; add a little water to make the plaster set, and then your bottle is complete; but it is a very poisonous substance to handle, and you will find a difficulty in getting it supplied by chemists unless you are well known to them. The disadvantage of this process is that it stiffens the insects (See Relax1ng) rather more than some other modes : and the bottle after a time is liable to sweat; this can, however, be rectified by keeping a small pad of blotting paper in the bottom of the bottle; taking it all-in-all, though, it is the cleanest, quickest and most sure plan of killing. Lump ammonia is another good way. Special zinc boxes are sold for this style at cheap prices; it loses strength, however, rather soon, and I think tends to decoloration with some insects. Again, take an old mustard, or other tin, chop up some laurel leaves rather fine, and sew them in small muslin bag, which glue to the bottom of the tin. This means will be found very useful on an emergency. Butterflies, however, may be killed instantly by giving a sharp nip with the finger and thumb to the part of the body just below where the fore wings join. Entomologic pincers, or "forceps," are much better, however, for this purpose. They can be obtained for a few pence, and always come in useful, especially in the case of pinning the insect, which is the next thing to consider.
As regards P1ns, we strongly recommend the Black; they are to be had from most naturalists in all sizes. Nos. 5, 8, 10 and 13 will be found most useful. Hold the insect firmly between the forceps in your left hand and pass the pin through its body, in the centre of that part which lies between the middle of the two front wings, viz., the thorax, but let the pin incline slightly towards the head; it should also pass out the other side about a quarter of an inch. Having thus pinned the insect, the next thing to do is the setting, and on this very largely depends the value of the collection, for if badly set, even a rare specimen is scarcely worth anything. Setting boards it is advisable and cheapest in the long run to buy; they vary in price from 6d. to 2s., according to breadth. See that they are deep in the grooves. Having your board before you, you pin the insect in the groove, taking care that you have a board of sufficient width to cover the expansion of the wings. The pin should still appear to lean slightly forward toward the head to allow for the natural slope of the body when the specimen is put in the cabinet, proceed to cut several narrow strips of a stiff but smooth surfaced paper or thin cardboard, and have handy a necessary quantity of ordinary pins. A setting tool, made from a fine pointed needle attached firmly to a penholder, should now be used to stretch out the wings to the desired height, beginning with the left upper wing. High setting looks the most handsome, but do not overdo this. In any case the upper wing should never be drawn so far forward that it shows the board between it and the lower. The greatest care should be taken to get the same angle on both sides of the body, and to arrange the antenna; and two fore le<^s; also see that the position of the tail of the insect is in line with the head. Having stretched out the wing, take a slip of the paper and pin it down over it, and so on with all the wings until the msect is set. Do not draw the trace too tightly across it, as it is then liable to leave a mark. Commence near the tip of the wing, for otherwise in drying it may curl up. Leave the specimen on the setting board for ten days or more in damp weather; in the case of a large moth, four or five weeks will be necessary.
Relaxing.—Should you be unable to set your captures immediately on your return home or find that they are stiffer than you desire, they can easily be relaxed by pinning them in an air-tight zinc case lined with cork, which must be moistened with warm water; if mixed with a little whisky or diluted carbolic acid, mould will not appear, and insects may be kept for three or four weeks, but it is advisable not to saturate the specimen too much, as in some species it will take away the colour; the best plan is to set within twenty-four hours, or as soon as the insects are sufficiently relaxed. Special tins for this purpose are sold; they cost from i^. 6d. to 2s. 6d, according to size, and generally have a zinc partition in which a moist rag can be placed.
You will require beside the net and killing bottle a cork-lined zinc pocket box, and a few chip pill boxes—the latter are very cheap, being sold in sets of four about 3d. the dozen nests—however, if you can afford it buy glass bottomed pill boxes, they are infinitely preferable, as you can at once see whether the insect is worth keeping.
Entomological cabinets are of course expensive, but good store boxes cork-lined on both sides, and thoroughly ear tight and light proof can be had for about 4s. 6d., to prevent "mites," a little bag of camphor, or in preference "naphthaline" should be pinned up in one of the corners. If you desire a cabinet and cannot afford one all at once, fix the size drawer you like and buy one at a time, you can then afterwards have them all fitted into a cabinet. Do not expose your collection to the light; so many young collectors pin their insects in glass cases and hang them upon the walls of their private sanctum. The consequence is the colours fade.
It is impossible to do more than merely allude to the other stages of the insect's life: suffice to say that breeding from the egg or caterpillar, or finding the chrysalis, will be essential if you mean to go thoroughly in for the pursuit, and for hints on these subjects, as also for tips on painting or sugaring, honeydew, ivy-blossom, light-grouting, and all the other means and modes of capture, you cannot do better than expend one shilling and purchase that excellent little work, entitled "The Insect Hunter's Companion," by the Rev. Joseph Greene, M.A. This reminds us that some books will be necessary. First and foremost is Edward Newman's "Illustrated Natural History of British Butterflies and Moths," giving lifesize figures of each species. For very young beginners, perhaps, cheaper books, such as Coleman's "British Butterflies" and Wood's "Common British Moths," will be useful, as the plates are fairly coloured, considering they are published at only 3s. 6d. each. "The Field Naturalist's Handbook," by the Rev. J. G. and Theodore Wood (5-r.), is also valuable. The Entomologist's Magazine, or The Entomologist's Record, both issued at 6d. monthly, it may be well to subscribe to.
As a final note, we would advise beginners to learn the Latin name of the insects and not the English, as the former is universal, the other often only local; also to keep a diary showing the date of your captures, and pin on a small label under each insect the date you caught it. These may appear difficulties, but once get an interest ic the subject and you will find them soon become a labour of love,
Surveying may be defined as the art by which we represent portions ot country on a diminutive scale.
It is very rare to find any person at all educated who cannot understand a plan or map, and who, therefore, cannot find his way in a strange country by the aid of a map; but it is not very common to find a person capable of making a map or plan. To make an accurate map of a large portion of country is a long and laborious work, and requires skilled workmen; but to make a plan of a small farm or park is by no means difficult. We will, therefore, proceed to describe the method of making such a map.
We will suppose that ABCDZ, Fig. 1, is a small farm or portion of ground which we require to survey, and of which we wish to make a map.
We should first walk over the ground, so as to obtain a general idea of the shape of the farm. If we can find an elevated point on the farm, so as to obtain a bird's-eye view, so much the better. We should then fix upon four points within the farm, and which may be seen from each other, and so situated that they are near the boundaries we wish to survey. O P Q r, Fig. 2, arc such points.
At these points, termed " stations," we should place flag-staves, or poles with paper attached to them, or adopt some means for clearly seeing theru, and