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in the Mexican Myrmecocystus, the workers of one caste never leaVe the nest; they are fed by the workers of another caste, and they have an enormously developed abdomen which secretes a sort of honey, supplying the place of that excreted by the aphides, or the domestic cattle as they may be called, which our European ants guard or imprison.
It will indeed be thought that I have an overweening confidence in the principle of natural selection, when I do not admit that such wonderful and well-established facts at once annihilate my theory. In the simpler case of neuter insects all of one caste or of the same kind, which have been rendered by natural selection, as I believe to be quite possible, different from the fertile males and females— in this case, we may safely conclude from the analogy of ordinary variations, that each successive, slight, profitable modification did not probably at first appear in all the individual neuters in the same nest, but in a few alone; and that by the long-continued selection of the fertile parents which produced most neuters with the profitable modification, all the neuters ultimately came to have the desired character. On this view we ought occasionally to find neuter insects of the same species, in the same nest, presenting gradations of structure; and this we do find, even often, considering how few neuter insects out of Europe have been carefully examined. Mr. F. Smith has shown how surprisingly the neuters of several British ants differ from each other in size and sometimes in colour; and that the extreme forms can sometimes be perfectly linked together by individuals taken out of the same nest: I have myself compared perfect gradations of this kind. If often happens that the larger or the smaller sized workers are the most numerous; or that both large and small are numerous, with those of an intermediate size scanty in numbers. Formica flava' has larger and smaller workers, with some of intermediate size; and, in this species, as Mr. F. Smith has observed, the larger workers have simple eyes (ocelli), which though small can be plainly distinguished, whereas the smaller workers have their ocelli rudimentary. Having carefully dissected several specimens of these workers, I can affirm that the eyes are far more rudimentary in the smaller workers than can be accounted for merely by their proportionally lesser size; and I fully believe, though I dare not assert so positively, that the workers of intermediate size have their ocelli in an exactly intermediate condition. So that we here have two bodies of sterile workers in the same nest, differing not only in size, but in their organs of vision, yet connected by some few members in an intermediate condition. I may digress by adding, that if the smaller workers had been the most useful to the community, and those males and females had been continually selected which produced more and more of the smaller workers, until all the workers had come to be in this condition, we should then have had a species of ant with neuters very nearly in the Same condition with those of Myrmica. For the workers of Myrmica have not even rudiments of ocelli, though the male and female ants of this genus have Well~ developed ocelli.
I may give one other case: so confidently did I expect to find gradations in important points of structure between the different castes of neuters in the same species, that I gladly availed myself of Mr. F. Smith’s offer of numerous specimens from the same nest of the driver ant (Anomma) of West Africa. The reader will perhaps best appreciate the amount of difference in these workers, by my giving not the actual measurements, but a strictly accurate illustration: the difference was the same as if we were to see a set of workmen building a house of whom many were five feet four inches high, and many sixteen feet high; but we must suppose that the larger workmen had heads four instead of three times as big as those of the smaller men, and jaws nearly five times as big. The jaws, moreover, of the working ants of the several sizes differed wonderfully in shape, and in the form and number of theteeth. But the important fact for us is, that though the workers can be grouped into castes of different sizes, yet they
' graduate insensibly into each other, as does the widelydifferent structure of their jaws. I speak confidently on ‘ ‘ ' this latter point; as Mr. Lubbock made drawings for me with the camera lucida of the jaws which I had dissected
from the workers of the several sizes.
With these facts before me, I believe that natural selection, by acting on the fertile parents, could form a species which should regularly produce neuters, either all of large size with one form of jaw, or all of small size with jaws having a widely different structure; or lastly, and this is our climax of difficulty, one set of workers of one size and structure, and simultaneously another set of workers of a different size and structure ;~—a graduated
- series having been first formed, as in the case of the driver ant, and then the extreme forms, from being the most useful to the community, having been produced in greater and greater numbers through the natural selection of the parents which generated them; until none with an intermediate structure were produced.
Thus, as I believe, the wonderful fact of two distinctly defined castes of sterile workers existing in the .same nest, both widely different from each other and from their parents, has originated. We can see how useful their production may have been to a social community of insects, on the same principle that the division of labour is useful to civilised man. As ants work by in— herited instincts and by inherited organs or tools, and not by acquired knowledge and manufactured instruments, 'a perfect division of labour could be effected with them only by the workers being sterile; for bad they been fertile, they would have intercrossed, and their instincts and structure would have become blended. And nature has, as I believe, effected this admirable division of labour in the communities of ants, by the means of natural selection. But I am bound to confess, that, with all my faith in this principle, I should never have anticipated that natural selection could have been efficient in so high a degree, had not the case of these neuter insects convinced me of the fact. I have, therefore, discussed this case, at some little but wholly insufficient length, in order to show the power of natural selection, and likewise because this is by far the most serious special difficulty which my theory has encountered. The case, also, is very interesting, as it proves that with animals, as with plants, any amount of modification in structure can be effected by the accumulation of numerous slight, and as we must call them accidental, variations, which are in any manner profitable, without exercise or habit having come into play. For no amount of exercise, or habit, or volition, in the utterly sterile members of a community could possibly affect the structure or instincts of the fertile members, which alone leave descendants. I am surprised that no one has advanced this demonstrative case of neuter insects, against the wellknown doctrine of inherited habit advanced by Lamarck.
Summary.—I have endeavoured briefly in this chapter to show that the mental qualities of our domestic animals vary, and that the variations are inherited. Still more
briefly I have attempted to show that instincts vary slightly in a state of nature. No one will dispute that instincts are of the highest importance to each animal. Therefore I can see no difficulty, under changing conditions of life, in natural selection accumulating slight modifications of instinct to any extent, in any useful direction. In some cases habit or use and disuse have probably come into play. I do not pretend that the facts given in this chapter strengthen in any great degree my theory; but none of the cases of difficulty, to the best of my judgment, annihilate it. On the other hand, the fact that instincts are not always absolutely perfect and are liable to mistakes ;—that no instinct has been produced for the exclusive good of other animals, but that each animal takes advantage of the instincts of others ;—that the canon in natural history, of “ Natura non facit saltum,” is applicable to instincts as well as to corporeal structure, and is plainly explicable on the foregoing views, but is otherwise inexplicable,—all tend to corroborate the theory of natural selection.
This theory is, also, strengthened by some few other facts in regard to instincts; as by that common case of closely allied, but distinct species, when inhabiting distant parts of the world and living under considerably different conditions of life, yet often retaining nearly the same instincts. For instance, we can understand on the principle of inheritance, how it is that the thrush of South America lines its nest with mud, in the same peculiar manner as does our British thrush: how it is that the Hornbills of Africa and India have the same extraordinary instinct of plastering up and imprisoning the females in a hole in a tree, with only a small hole left in the plaster through which the males feed them and their young when hatched : how it is that the male wrens (Troglodytes) of North America, build “ cocknests,” to roost in, like the males of our distinct Kittywrens,—a habit wholly unlike that of any other known bird. Finally, it may not be a logical deduction, but to my imagination it is far more satisfactory to look at such instincts as the young cuckoo ejecting its foster-brothers,—ants making slaves,—the larvae of ichneumonidee feeding within the live bodies of caterpillars,—not as specially endowed or created instincts,but as small consequences of one general law leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.
Distinction between the sterility of first crosses and of hybrids-— Sterility various in degree, not universal, affected by close interbreeding, removed by domestication—Laws governing the sterility of hybrids—Sterility not a special endowment, but incidental on other differences—Causes of the sterility of first crosses and of hybrids—Parallelism between the effects of changed conditions of life and of crossing—Fertility of varieties when crossed and of their mongrel offspring not universal—Hybrids and mongrels compared independently of their fertility—Summary.
THE view generally entertained by naturalists is that species, when intercrossed, have been specially endowed with the quality of sterility, in order to prevent the confusion of all organic forms. This view certainly seems at first probable, for species within the same country could hardly have kept distinct had they been capable of crossing’ freely. The importance of the fact that hybrids are very generally sterile, has, I think, been much underrated by some late writers. On the theory of natural selection the case is especially important, inasmuch as the sterility of hybrids could not possibly be of any advantage to them, and therefore could not have been acquired by the continued preservation of successive profitable degrees of sterility. I hope, however, to be able to show that sterility is not a specially acquired 'or endowed quality, but is incidental on other acquired and little known differences.
In treating this subject, two classes of'facts, to a large extent fundamentally different, have generally been confounded together; namely, the sterility of two species when first crossed, and the sterility of the hybrids produced from them.
Pure species have of course their organs of reproduction in a perfect condition, yet when intercrossed they produce either few or no offspring. Hybrids, on the other hand, have their reproductive organs functionally impotent, as may be clearly seen in the state of the male element in both plants and animals ; though the organs themselves are perfect in structure, as far as the microscope reveals.