Genus Eutoxeres Reichenb.

The law of adaptation is perhaps equally carried out in every one of the multiplied forms, not only of ornithology, but of every other department of nature’s works, each being constructed for some given purpose contributing to the well-being of the animal; in some instances, however, particular developments are more striking and singular than in others. The form to which the generic name of Eutoxeres has been given is a case in point. Of this remarkable genus two species are known, both of which are natives of the Andes of Ecuador, New Granada, and Veragua. It would be most interesting to become acquainted with their peculiar modes of life, and to ascertain for what end their singularly curved bills were designed. Some persons affirm that it is for the purpose of probing the scaly covering of the upright stems of certain trees, and others for the exploration of peculiar cup-shaped flowers, such as that of the orchid which I have figured in the plate of Eutoxeres Aquila. Whatever may be the design, future research must determine it; all that we at present know is, that this form does exist, and that there is no other which approaches to it. In size the two species are very similar; but there are good and plain specific characters by which they may be distinguished, and which will, I trust, be sufficiently apparent on reference to the plates in which the birds are represented.


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