Order: NEUROPTERA.- Little need here be said, except as to colour. In the Ephemeridae the sexes often differ slightly in their obscure tints; but it is not probable that the males are thus rendered attractive to the females. The Libellulidae, or dragon-flies, are ornamented with splendid green, blue, yellow, and vermilion metallic tints; and the sexes often differ.
Thus, as Prof. Westwood remarks, the males of some of the Agrionidae, “are of a rich blue with black wings, whilst the females are fine green with colourless wings.” But in Agrion ramburii these colours are exactly reversed in the two sexes. In the extensive N. American genus of Hetaerina, the males alone have a beautiful carmine spot at the base of each wing. In Anax junius the basal part of the abdomen in the male is a vivid ultramarine blue, and in the female grass-green.
In all the cases hitherto given the male is more strongly or brighter coloured than the female, and differs from the young of both sexes. But as with some few birds it is the female which is brighter coloured than the male, so with the rhesus monkey (Macacus rhesus), the female has a large surface of naked skin round the tail, of a brilliant carmine red, which, as I was assured by the keepers in the Zoological Gardens, periodically becomes even yet more vivid, and her face also is pale red.
Mr. Trimen has given me a description of a S. African moth (Gynanisa isis), allied to our emperor moth, in which a magnificent ocellus occupies nearly the whole surface of each hinder wing; it consists of a black centre, including a semi-transparent crescent-shaped mark, surrounded by successive, ochre-yellow, black, ochre-yellow, pink, white, pink, brown, and whitish zones.
Having made these preliminary remarks on the admiration felt by savages for various ornaments, and for deformities most unsightly in our eyes, let us see how far the men are attracted by the appearance of their women, and what are their ideas of beauty. I have heard it maintained that savages are quite indifferent about the beauty of their women, valuing them solely as slaves; it may therefore be well to observe that this conclusion does not at all agree with the care which the women take in ornamenting themselves, or with their vanity. Burchell gives an amusing account of a bush-woman who used as much grease, red ochre, and shining powder “as would have ruined any but a very rich husband.” She displayed also “much vanity and too evident a consciousness of her superiority”