Smith, F: Journal of the Quekett Microscopical Club, 1907-19

Smith, F: Journal of the Quekett Microscopical Club, 1907-19
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Excerpt from The Journal of the Quekett Microscopical Club, 1907-1909, Vol. 10But let us now take, for example, the case of the genus Lycosa. We have in this country eighteen species, and a full and detailed description of any one of them might well occupy half the space allotted to this entire introduction. Supposing, now, that a beginner attempted to identify a specimen by the aid of a monograph of the genus Lycosa written on these lines. It is clear that all the family and generic characters would be repeated in the description of each species, and although the specific characters would, truly enough, be faithfully included, they would constitute so small a percentage of the whole that the inexperienced worker would, in all likelihood, be utterly incapable of satisfactorily disentangling them from the pre ponderating verbose mass. Clearly, what is needed is a concise comparison of the various species with the descriptions limited to characters which are not common to the whole genus, and which are thus likely to be Of assistance, even if not of primary systematic importance, in deciding upon the identity of a Specimen under consideration. I do not mean to suggest for a moment that the student should be contented with any conclusions which may be drawn from tables of differences or abbreviated descriptions. To adopt such a course would be to court disaster, and one must never lose Sight of the real nature of tables, etc., designed merely to facilitate the separation of genera or the determination of species. They are, to use a figure of Speech, the finders on the main telescopes; we cannot, by their aid alone, learn everything which is to be learnt, but yet without them we feel, at any rate in our early studies, supremely helpless. Analytical tables are now much in vogue, but, whilst admitting their undoubted value, I personally prefer the use of abbreviated descriptions as being far less mechanical and far more likely to impress on one's memory the salient features of the various species.About the PublisherForgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at forgottenbooks.comThis book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.

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