William Elford Leach
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- The amazing number of species; their curious forms, so infinitely varied, and yet so nearly and gradually approximating through an endless series of transitions from one species to another; the diversity of structure observable in those parts which afford generic characters, added to the wonderful changes in form which they undergo, with their surprising economy - are circumstances which contribute to render them objects of most curious speculation to the philosopher. And although the study of every class of animals is most indisputably attended with peculiar advantages, yet we shall venture to affirm, that is from a knowledge of the characters, metamorphoses, and various modes of life, this little animals are destined to pursue, that [the natural philosopher] will obtain a more intimate acquaintance with the great laws of nature, and veneration for the Great Creator of all, that can be derived from the contemplation of any other class in nature.