Page:Origin of Species 1872.djvu/412

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


be considered as either more highly or more lowly organised than they were in the larval condition. But in some genera the larvæ become developed into hermaphrodites having the ordinary structure, or into what I have called complemental males; and in the latter the development has assuredly been retrograde; for the male is a mere sack, which lives for a short time and is destitute of mouth, stomach, and every other organ of importance, excepting those for reproduction.

We are so much accustomed to see a difference in structure between the embryo and the adult, that we are tempted to look at this difference as in some necessary manner contingent on growth. But there is no reason why, for instance, the wing of a bat, or the fin of a porpoise, should not have been sketched out with all their parts in proper proportion, as soon as any part became visible. In some whole groups of animals and in certain members of other groups this is the case, and the embryo does not at any period differ widely from the adult: thus Owen has remarked in regard to cuttle-fish, "there is no metamorphosis; the cephalopodic character is manifested long before the parts of the embryo are completed." Land-shells and fresh-water crustaceans are born having their proper forms, while the marine members of the same two great classes pass through considerable and often great changes during their development. Spiders, again, barely undergo any metamorphosis. The larvæ of most insects pass through a worm-like stage, whether they are active and adapted to diversified habits, or are inactive from being placed in the midst of proper nutriment, or from being fed by their parents; but in some few cases, as in that of Aphis, if we look to the admirable drawings of the development of this insect, by Professor Huxley, we see hardly any trace of the vermiform stage.

Sometimes it is only the earlier developmental stages which fail. Thus, Fritz Müller has made the remarkable discovery that certain shrimp-like crustaceans (allied to Penœus) first appear under the simple nauplius- form, and after passing through two or more zoea-stages, and then through the mysis-stage, finally acquire their mature structure: now in the whole great malacostracan order, to which these crustaceans belong, no other member is as yet known to be first developed under the nauplius-form, though many appear as zoeas; nevertheless Müller assigns reasons for his belief, that if there had been no suppression of development, all these crustaceans would have appeared as nauplii.

How, then, can we explain these several facts in embryology,— namely, the very general, though not universal, difference in structure between the embryo and the adult;— the various parts in the