Annual Meeting: 23rd October, 1912.
Present: Mr. G. V. Hudson, President, in the chair, and about forty members and their friends.
Annual Report.—The annual report and balance-sheet were read and adopted. The report was as follows:—
A special meeting was held on the 1st November, 1911, when Chief Detective McIlveney and Mr. E. Dinnie, of the Police Department, gave an interesting lecture, illustrated by lantern-slides, on the finger-print system for the detection of criminals.
The 1912 session opened on the 1st May, 1912, and ended on the 23rd October, the number of regular meetings being increased from six to seven.
Of the thirty papers rcad before the Society, fifteen were entomological, three physical, four geological, one mathematical, one chemical, two astronomical, while four were of a popular nature.
Since the last annual meeting ten new members have been elected, eleven have resigned, and three have died. The total number on the roll is now 138, including one honorary member and six life members.
A statement of the receipts and payments for the year ending 30th September, duly audited, was presented with this report. Inclusive of the balance brought forward from last year (£63 14s. 2d.), the receipts amounted to £343 12s. 2d., and the total payments were £219 12s. 1d., leaving a credit balance of £124 0s. 1d.
The Life Subscription Fund has been increased by £20, and now stands at £41 15s. 8d., including interest.
The Research Fund, including interest, now amounts to £41 9s. 2d.
Both these funds are invested with the Public Trustee, and, together with the credit balance at the bank, amount to £207 4s. 11d.
The Library Committee recommended that a number of the scientific periodicals should be bound, and missing numbers obtained to complete the sets, and these recommendations are now being given effect to.
The Council disposed of the Philosophical Magazine to Victoria College, and placed orders for the American Journal of Science from 1870, and for the Astrophysical Journal from its commencement in 1895.
Arrangements have been made with Victoria College for any member of the Society to have the privilege of using the books in the College library, while the Council offers similar facilities to Victoria College to make use of the Society's library.
The report of the Librarian shows that the Society receives by purchase or donation twenty-one periodicals, which are available for the use of members.
Tongariro National Park.—At the suggestion of Mr. E. Phillips Turner, the Council communicated with the other Philosophical Societies as to the advisability of urging on the Government the importance—(1) Of having a photo-topographic survey made of the park; (2) of extending the boundaries of the park as proposed in the report by Dr. Cockayne and Mr. Phillips Turner; and (3) of taking steps to acquire the small area of Native land which includes the Ketetahi Hot Springs. In every case the Council's recommendation was strongly supported by the other Societies, and a favourable opportunity will be taken to place the subject before the Government.
The Council is much indebted to Mr. E. J. Ludford for a valuable donation of books, some forty-four in number, chiefly relating to New Zealand.
The Astronomical Section has erected an observatory at Kelburne, and has mounted equatorially a 5 in. Cooke refractor, which is now available for use.
Astronomical Section.—The annual report of the Astronomical Section was read by the Secretary, Mr. A. C. Gifford. The President congratulated the section on its work. The report was as follows:—
The chief work of the year has been the building of a small observatory at Kelburne. It consists of an ante-room 12 ft square, and an instrument-room of the same size, the latter surmounted by a revolving dome. The plans of the observatory were prepared by Mr. J. Campbell, Government Architect, and the work carried out by Messrs. McLean and Gray. The 5 in. refractor is mounted equatorially on an iron pedestal cemented on to a very solid concrete pillar. The telescope was adjusted in time to allow members to make some good observations of Gale's comet.
It has been arranged to open the observatory, for the convenience of members, every Tuesday evening, if the weather is astronomically favourable. Any member approved by the Council may hire a private key, and have access to the observatory at any time.
Arrangements are being made to admit the public on certain evenings.
During the year the following lectures have been delivered: Thursday, 19th October, 1911—Mr. J. T. Ward, Director, Wanganui Observatory, gave a popular lecture, “Evenings with the Telescope,” illustrated by a particularly fine collection of lantern-slides Wednesday, 17th July, 1912—Mr. C. E. Adams, Government Astronomer, lectured on meridian work and meridian instruments. Thursday, 3rd October, 1912—The Very Rev. Dr. Kennedy gave a lecture in the observatory on the equatorial telescope and its use.
Officers for 1913.—The President announced that the following officers were suggested by the Council for the year 1913: President—Professor T. H. Easterfield; Vice-Presidents—Mr. Thomas King, F.R.A.S., and Professor H. B. Kirk; Council—Mr. A. Hamilton, Mr. Martin Chapman, K.C., Mr. F. G. A. Stuckey, M.A., Professor D. K. Picken; Mr. P. G. Morgan, M.A., Dr. C. Munro Hector, Mr. G. V. Hudson, F.E.S.; Secretary and Treasurer—Mr. C. E. Adams, M.Sc., F.R.A.S.; Librarian—Miss J. A. Wilson; Auditor—Mr. E. R. Dymock, A.I.A.N.Z.
On motion of Dr. A. Thomson, seconded by Mr. A. C. Gifford, these officers were declared elected.
New Members.—Captain Hayward and Mr. J. Mackay.
Papers.—1. “On an Instance of Protective Mimicry in New Zealand Moths,” by Alfred Philpott; communicated by G. V. Hudson.
The genus Declana contains some of the most beautiful of New Zealand moths. They are not, however, generally decked in gaudy or vivid colours, but owe their attractiveness to a pleasing arrangement of white or brown and grey. When resting on tree-trunks amongst lichen and moss they would be quite inconspicuous, and, as they are chiefly forest-frequenting forms, their colouring is probably highly Protective. Being nocturnal insects, they are not liable to much persecution from birds, though when found in the daytime they are eaten with relish. One member of the genus, however—D. glacialis Huds.—differs altogether from the others, and is, I believe, an example—the only one known at present among our native moths—of protective mimicry.
D. glaciulis, unlike any of its congeners, is brightly coloured, orange and red predominating. It is, I have no doubt, mimetic of the genus Metacrias. Of this genus we have three forms. They are all black and orange or black and red. They fly by day in the hottest sunshine, and when on the wing they appear to be bright yellow or reddish insects. They are, I believe, nauseous in taste; birds do not appear to attack them, and I have seen them untouched in spiders' webs. Declanae in general are quite opposite in appearance and habit to Metacrias, yet we find that D. glacialis has acquired a singular resemblance to the latter genus. It flies by day: Mr. Hudson found it flying commonly in bright sunshine at Mount Cook, and Messrs. Oliver and Pasco met with it under similar circumstances on Ben Lomond, Wakatipu. On the wing the markings will not be noticeable, and it will appear of the same reddish type as Metacrias. So unlike a typical Declana and so superficially like a Metacrias is the species that its describer, Mr. G. V. Hudson, had placed it in the latter genus, and only discovered the error by an examination of the wing-nervures, which are quite different in the two genera. There is, I think, a very strong presumption that Declana glacialis is mimetic of the genus Metacrias, though not perhaps of any particular species of that genus.
2. “On an Instance of the Effects of Natural Selection and Isolation in reducing the Wing-expanse of a Moth,” by Alfred Philpott; communicated by G. V. Hudson.
The moth in question (Notoreas synclinalis Huds.) was discovered at Seaward Moss in January, 1900 (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 35, p. 244). The locality is an extensive mossy bog lying along the coast from the Bluff to near Fortrose, and stretching
inland for several miles. It is covered in places with rather stunted manuka (Leptospermum scoparium), and in some of the lower portions Cassinia Vauvilliersii flourishes to some extent. An interesting and peculiar community of lowly plants covers the spongy surface, those of a “cushion” habit of growth being noticeable.
Until 1911 this was the only known locality for N. synclinalis, but in March of that year it was discovered on some flat hilltops near Preservation Inlet. These bare hilltops are of much the same character as Seaward Moss, but the coating of peaty soil appears to be shallow, as the granite shows through in several places. The height above sea-level is about 1,000 ft., and the open spaces are of small extent, being surrounded by dense bush. The distance between the two localities is about eighty miles—that is, taking a straight line from point to point, which will run for the greater part of its length over the waters of Foveaux Strait. Following round the coast, the most direct line will give a distance of about 120 miles.
On comparing the moth from Preservation with specimens from Seaward Moss it was at once apparent that a constant variation existed. The Preservation form is distinctly shorter and narrower winged, the difference being on the average about a millimetre. There is also a very slight difference in coloration and marking, and, though the features are hardly definable, they become noticeable when series are placed side by side.
3. “On the Physiography of the Tararua Ranges,” by G. L. Adkin.
4. “Notes on the Habitats of New Zealand Lepidoptera,” by A. Hamilton.
5. “The Tuamarina Valley,” by C. A. Cotton.
6. “On Two New Echinoderms,” by H. Farquhar; communicated by Professor Kirk.
7. “Igneous Intrusions of Mount Tapuaenuka,” by J. A. Thomson.
8. “Harmonic Tidal Constants of New Zealand Ports,” by C. E. Adams.
9. “Descriptions of New Zealand Lepidoptera,” by E. Meyrick; communicated by G. V. Hudson.
10. “A Revision of New Zealand Pyralidina,” by E. Meyrick; communicated by G. V. Hudson.