Page:Origin of Species 1859 facsimile.djvu/204

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192
Chap. VI.
DIFFICULTIES ON THEORY.

called by me the ovigerous frena, which serve, through the means of a sticky secretion, to retain the eggs until they are hatched within the sack. These cirripedes have no branchiæ, the whole surface of the body and sack, including the small frena, serving for respiration. The Balanidæ or sessile cirripedes, on the other hand, have no ovigerous frena, the eggs lying loose at the bottom of the sack, in the well-enclosed shell; but they have large folded branchiæ. Now I think no one will dispute that the ovigerous frena in the one family are strictly homologous with the branchiæ of the other family; indeed, they graduate into each other. Therefore I do not doubt that little folds of skin, which originally served as ovigerous frena, but which, likewise, very slightly aided the act of respiration, have been gradually converted by natural selection into branchiæ, simply through an increase in their size and the obliteration of their adhesive glands. If all pedunculated cirripedes had become extinct, and they have already suffered far more extinction than have sessile cirripedes, who would ever have imagined that the branchiæ in this latter family had originally existed as organs for preventing the ova from being washed out of the sack?

Although we must be extremely cautious in concluding that any organ could not possibly have been produced by successive transitional gradations, yet, undoubtedly, grave cases of difficulty occur, some of which will be discussed in my future work.

One of the gravest is that of neuter insects, which are often very differently constructed from either the males or fertile females; but this case will be treated of in the next chapter. The electric organs of fishes offer another case of special difficulty; it is impossible to conceive by what steps these wondrous organs have been produced; but, as Owen and others have remarked,