Page:De Vismes Kane-European Butterflies.djvu/13

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
ix
INTRODUCTION.

of the Rhone Valley through the successive climatic zones which are to be met with before he reaches the perennial snows of the Gorner Grat and the peaks overhanging the Riffel, a collection of insects may be made which represents in temperature a difference of latitude as great as from Italy to Scandinavia, and comprising, with their varieties, almost twice as many species of butterflies as are to be taken in the British Islands.

Nor are the well-known routes from Lucerne to Andermatt, and the Furka, or over the BrUnig to Meiringen, less prolific of insect life. What shall I say of the walk from Meiringen to Grindelwald, from Kandersteg over the Gemmi to Leukerbad ! what treasures are there not in store for the young entomologist in the short valley from Aigle to Sepey ! The best-known passes, the Simplon, St. Gothard, and Albula, are perfect treasuries of insect beauty, and the astounding profusion in which they are met renders any fear of exhausting the supply by a greedy collector superfluous. This will readily be acknowledged by all who have visited the Engadine, who have seen the mountain path when moistened by some overflow of pasture irrigation, paved like a lapis lazuli mosaic for perhaps a yard or two with hundreds, nay thousands, of "Blues," with expanded wings, taking a Turkish bath of moist vapour upon the hot, damp soil ; or, as some say, drinking in safety from the wet clay upon which they find secure footing. And the environs of Cannes, Nice, San Remo, and, above all, Hyères with its pine woods and groves of arbutus, and hillsides clothed with myrtle and cistus, furnish even in November, and again from February onwards, some of the choicest entomological treasures. An April day at Hyères well spent, is an event to be ever remembered in the life of an enthusiastic naturalist. How often in after days will he recall the first sight of the flaunting orange of G.