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Title: The Insect World - Being a Popular Account of the Orders of Insects
Author: Figuier, Louis
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: The Dragon-fly (_Libellula depressa_). A. Perfect Insect.
B. Perfect Insect emerging from the Pupa. C. D. Larvæ and Pupæ.]


                             INSECT WORLD:


             _A Popular Account of the Orders of Insects_;

                            TOGETHER WITH


                            LOUIS FIGUIER.

                            A New Edition,


                       WITH 579 ILLUSTRATIONS.

                         D. APPLETON AND CO.,
                             _NEW YORK_.


This popular French book on Insects has been placed in my hands in
order that the scientific portions of it should be examined and, if
necessary, corrected. This task has been a light one, for the book had
already passed through the able editorship of Mr. Jansen. But I have
added a short notice of the Thysanoptera, which did not appear in M.
Figuier's original work, and also the necessary information respecting
the evolution of Stylops.

                                      P. MARTIN DUNCAN.
  LEE, 1872.


  INTRODUCTION                                                       1
  APTERA                                                            27
  DIPTERA                                                           33
    Nemocera                                                        35
    Brachycera                                                      47
  HEMIPTERA                                                         90
    Heteroptera                                                     90
    Homoptera                                                      101
  LEPIDOPTERA                                                      138
    The Larva, or Caterpillar                                      138
    The Chrysalis, or Pupa                                         146
    The Perfect Insect                                             165
  ORTHOPTERA                                                       284
  HYMENOPTERA                                                      313
  THYSANOPTERA                                                     400
  NEUROPTERA                                                       402
  COLEOPTERA                                                       435
  INDEX                                                            523

                          THE INSECT WORLD.


It is not intended to investigate the anatomy of insects in this work
thoroughly; but, as we are about to treat of the habits and economy of
certain created beings, it is necessary first to explain the principal
parts of their structure, and the stages which every perfect insect or
_imago_ has undergone before arriving at that state.

We, therefore, proceed to explain, as simply as possible, the anatomy
of an insect, and the functions of its organs.

If we take an insect, and turn it over, and examine it carefully, the
first thing that strikes us is that it is divided into three parts:
the head; the thorax, or chest; and the abdomen, or stomach.

The head (Fig. 1) is a kind of box, formed of a single piece, having
here and there joints more or less strongly marked, sometimes scarcely
visible. It is furnished in front with an opening--often very
small--which is the mouth; and with some for the eyes, and with others
for the insertion of the antennæ or horns.

[Illustration: Fig. 1.--Head of an Insect]

The integuments of the head are generally harder than the other
parts of the body. It is necessary that this should be so. Insects
often live and die in the midst of substances which offer some
resistance. It is necessary, therefore, that the head should be strong
enough to overcome such resistance. The head contains the masticatory
organs, which, frequently having to attack hard substances, must be
strongly supported. The exception to this rule is among insects which
live by suction.

It would be out of place here to mention the numerous modifications
of the head which are presented in the immense class of insects.

The eyes of insects are of two kinds. There are compound eyes, or eyes
composed of many lenses, united by their margins and forming hexagonal
facettes; and there are also simple eyes, or ocelli.

The exterior of the eye is called the cornea (Fig. 2), each facette
being a cornea; and the facettes, which vary in size even in the same
eye, unite and form a common cornea, which is represented by the
entire figure.

[Illustration: Fig. 2.--A Compound Cornea.]

In order to show the immense number of the facettes possessed by many
insects, we give the following list:--

  In the genus Mordella (a genus of beetles) the eye has 25,008 facettes.
  In the _Libellula_ (dragon-fly)                        12,544    "
  In the genus _Papilio_ (a genus of butterflies)        17,355    "
  In _Sphinx convolvuli_ (the convolvulus hawk-moth)      1,300    "
  In _Bombyx mori_ (the common silkworm moth)             6,236    "
  In the house-fly                                        4,000    "
  In the ant                                                 50    "
  In the cockchafer                                       8,820    "

The facettes appear to be most numerous in insects of the genus
_Scarabæus_ (a genus of beetles). They are so minute, that they can
only be detected with a magnifying glass.

Looked at in front, a compound eye may be considered an agglomeration
of simple eyes; but internally this is hardly correct.

On the under side of each facette we find a body of a gelatinous
appearance, transparent, and usually conical; the base of this
occupies the centre of the facette in such a manner as to leave around
it a ring to receive some colouring matter. This body diminishes in
thickness towards its other extremity, and terminates in a point where
it joins a nervous filament proceeding from the optic nerve. These
cones, agreeing in number with the facettes, play the part of the
crystalline lens in the eyes of animals. They are straight and
parallel with each other. A pigment fills all the spaces between the
cones, and between the nervous filaments, and covers the under side of
each cornea, except at the centre. This pigment varies much in colour.
There are almost always two layers, of which the exterior one is the
more brilliant. In fact, these eyes often sparkle with fire, like
precious stones.

M. Lacordaire, in his "Introduction à l'Entomologie," from which we
borrow the greater part of this information, has summed up as follows,
the manner in which, according to M. Müller, the visual organs of
insects operate:--

"Each facette, with its lens and nervous filament, separated from
those surrounding them by the pigment in which they are enclosed, form
an isolated apparatus, impenetrable to all rays of light, except those
which fall perpendicularly on the centre of the facette, which alone
is devoid of pigment. All rays falling obliquely are absorbed by that
pigment which surrounds the gelatinous cone. It results partly from
this, and partly from the immobility of the eye, that the field of
vision of each facette is very limited, and that there are as many
objects reflected on the optic filaments as there are corneæ. The
extent, then, of the field of vision will be determined, not by the
diameter of these last, but by the diameter of the entire eye, and
will be in proportion to its size and convexity. But whatever may be
the size of the eyes, like their fields of vision, they are
independent of each other; there is always a space, greater or less,
between them; and the insect cannot see objects in front of this space
without turning its head. What a peculiar sensation must result from
the multiplicity of images on the optic filaments! This is not more
easily explained than that which happens with animals which, having
two eyes, see only one image; and probably the same is the case
with insects. But these eyes usually look in opposite directions,
and should see two images, as in the chameleon, whose eyes move
independently of each other. The clearness and length of vision will
depend, continues M. Müller, on the diameter of the sphere of which
the entire eye forms a segment, on the number and size of the
facettes, and the length of the cones or lenses. The larger each
facette, taken separately, and the more brilliant the pigment placed
between the lenses, the more distinct will be the image of objects at
a distance, and the less distinct that of objects near. With the
latter the luminous rays diverge considerably; while those from the
former are more parallel. In the first case, in traversing the
pigment, they impinge obliquely on the crystalline, and consequently
confuse the vision; in the second, they fall more perpendicularly on
each facette.

"Objects do not appear of the same size to each optic filament, unless
the eye is a perfect section of a sphere, and its convexity concentric
with that of the optic nerve. Whenever it is otherwise, the image
corresponds more or less imperfectly with the size of the object, and
is more or less incorrect. Hence it follows, that elliptical or
conical eyes, which one generally finds among insects, are less
perfect than those referred to above.

"The differences which exist in the organisation of the eye among
insects are explicable, to a certain point, on the theory which we are
about to explain in a few words. Those species which live in the same
substances on which they feed, and those which are parasitical, have
small and flattened eyes; those, on the contrary, which have to seek
their food, and which need to see objects at a distance, have large or
very convex eyes. For the same reason the males, which have to seek
their females, have larger eyes than the latter. The position of the
eyes depends also on their size and shape; those which are flat, and
have consequently a short field of vision, are placed close together,
and rather in front than at the sides of the head, and often
adjoining. Spherical and convex eyes, on the contrary, are placed on
the sides, and their axes are opposite. But the greater field of
vision which they are able to take in makes up for this position."

Almost all insects are provided with a pair of compound eyes, which
are placed on the sides of the head. The size and form of these organs
are very variable, as we shall presently see. They are generally
placed behind the antennæ.

Although simple eyes (ocelli or stemmata) are common, they do not
exist in all the orders of insects. They are generally round, and more
or less convex and black, and there are three in the majority of
cases. When there is this number they are most frequently placed in a
triangle behind, and at a greater or less distance from the antennæ.
Under the cornea, which varies in convexity, is found a transparent,
rather hard, and nearly globular body, which is the true crystalline
resting on a mass, which represents the vitreous body. This vitreous
body is enclosed in an expansion of the optic nerve. Besides these,
there is a pigment, most frequently red-brown, sometimes black, or
blood-red. The organisation of these eyes is analogous to the eyes of
fishes, and their refractive power is very great.

With these eyes insects can only see such objects as are at a short
distance. Of what use then can stemmata be to insects also provided
with compound eyes? It has been remarked that most insects having
this arrangement of eyes feed on the pollen of plants, and it has
been surmised that the stemmata enable them to distinguish the parts
of the flowers.

The antennæ, commonly called horns, are two flexible appendages,
of very variable form, which are joined to different parts of the
head, and are always two in number. The joints of which they are made
up have the power of motion, which enables the insect to move them in
any direction.

The antennæ consist of three parts: the basal joint, commonly
distinguished by its form, length, and colour; the club, formed by a
gradual or sudden thickening of the terminal joints, of which the
number, form, and size present great variations; lastly, the stalk,
formed by all the joints of the antennæ, except the basal, when no
club exists, and in case of the existence of a club, of all those
between it and the basal one.

We give as examples the antennæ of two beetles, one of the genus
_Asida_, the other of the genus _Zygia_ (Figs. 3 and 4).

[Illustration: Fig. 3.--Antenna of a species of Asida.]

[Illustration: Fig. 4.--Antenna of Zygia oblonga.]

Insects, for the most part, while in repose, place their antennæ on
their backs, or along the sides of the head, or even on the thorax.
Others are provided with cavities in which the antennæ repose either
wholly or in part.

During their different movements, insects move their antennæ more or
less, sometimes slowly and with regularity, at other times in all
directions. Some insects impart to their antennæ a perpetual
vibration. During flight they are directed in front, perpendicular to
the axis of the body, or else they repose on the back.

What is the use of the antennæ, resembling as they do, feathers, saws,
clubs, &c.? Everything indicates that these organs play a very
important part in the life of insects, but their functions are
imperfectly understood. Experience has shown that they only play a
subordinate part as feelers, and have nothing to do with the senses of
taste or smell. There is no other function for them to fulfil, except
that of hearing.

On this hypothesis the antennæ will be the principal instruments for
the transmission of sound-waves. The membrane at their base represents
a trace of the tympanum which exists among the higher animals. This
membrane then will have some connection with an auditory nerve.

The mouth of insects is formed after two general types, which
correspond to two kinds of requirements. It is suited in the one case
to break solid substances, in the other to imbibe liquids.

At first sight there seems no similarity between the mouth of a biting
insect and of one living by suction. But on examination it is found
that the parts of the mouth in the one are exactly analogous to the
same parts in the other, and that they have only modifications suiting
them to the different purposes which they have to fulfil.

The mouth of a biting insect is composed of an upper lip, a pair of
mandibles, a pair of jaws, and a lower lip (Fig. 5).

[Illustration: Fig. 5.--Mouth of a masticating insect.]

[Illustration: Fig. 6.--Thorax of Acrocinus longimanus (a beetle).]

The lower lip and the jaws carry on the outside certain appendages or
filaments which have received the name of _palpi_.

When speaking of sucking insects, and in general of the various orders
of insects, we shall speak more in detail of the various parts of the

The thorax (Fig. 6), the second primary division of the body of
insects, plays almost as important a part as the head. It consists of
three segments or rings, which are in general joined together--the
prothorax, the mesothorax, and the metathorax, each of which bears a
pair of legs. The wings are attached to the two posterior segments.

All insects have six true legs. There is no exception whatever to this
rule, though some may not be developed.

From the segments to which they are attached, the legs are called
anterior, posterior, and intermediate. The legs are composed of four
parts: the trochanter, a short joint which unites the thigh to the
body; the thigh or _femur_; the _tibia_, answering to the shank in
animals; and the _tarsus_, or foot, composed of a variable number of
pieces placed end to end, and called the _phalanges_.

We take as examples the hind leg of a _Heterocerus_ (Fig. 7), and the
front leg of a _Zophosis_ (Fig. 8) (genera of beetles).

We shall not dwell on the different parts, as they perform functions
which will occupy us later, when speaking of the various species of
the great class of insects.

[Illustration: Fig. 7.--Hind leg of a Heterocerus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 8.--Front leg of a Zophosis.]

The functions which the legs of insects have to perform consist in
walking, swimming, or jumping.

In walking, says M. Lacordaire, insects move their legs in different
ways. Some move their six legs successively, or only two or three at
a time without distinction, but never both legs of the same pair
together, consequently one step is not the same as another. The walk
of insects is sometimes very irregular, especially when the legs are
long; and they often hop rather than walk. Others have one kind of
step, and walk very regularly. They commence by moving the posterior
and anterior legs on the same side and the intermediate ones on the
opposite side. The first step made, these legs are put down, and the
others raised in their turn to make a second.

Running does not change the order of the movements, it only makes them
quicker--very rapid in some species, and surpassing in proportion that
of all other animals; but in others the pace is slow. Some insects
rather crawl than walk.

[Illustration: Fig. 9.--Posterior leg of a jumping insect.]

In swimming, the posterior legs play the principal part. The other
legs striking the water upwards or downwards, produce an upward or
downward motion. The animal changes its course at will by using the
legs on one side only, in the same way as one turns a rowing boat with
one oar without the aid of a rudder. Swimming differs essentially from
walking, for the foot being surrounded by a resisting medium, the
legs on both sides are moved at the same time.

The act of jumping is principally performed by the hind legs. Insects
which jump have these legs very largely developed, as in Fig. 9. When
about to jump they bring the tibia into contact with the thigh, which
is often furnished with a groove to receive it, having on each side a
row of spines. The leg then suddenly straightens like a spring, and
the foot being placed firmly on the ground, sends the insect into the
air, and at the same time propels forward. The jump is greater in
proportion as the leg is longer.

To treat here in a general manner of the wings of insects would be
useless. We shall refer to them at length in their proper place, when
treating of the various types of winged insects.

In the perfect insect the abdomen does not carry either the wings or
the legs. It is formed of nine segments, which are without appendages,
with the exception of the posterior ones, which often carry small
organs differing much in form and function. These are saws, probes,
forceps, stings, augers, &c. We shall consider these different organs
in their proper places.

With vertebrate animals, which have an interior skeleton suited to
furnish points of resistance for their various movements, the skin is
a more or less soft covering, uniformly diffused over the exterior of
the body, and intended only to protect it against external injury. In
insects the points of resistance are changed from the interior to the
exterior. The skin is altered by Nature to fit it to this purpose. It
is hard, and presents between the segments only membranous intervals,
which allow the hard parts to move in all directions.

We are examining a perfect insect; we have glanced at its skeleton,
and the different appendages which spring from it. The principal
organs which are contained in the body remain to be examined.

We will first study the digestive apparatus. This apparatus consists
of a lengthened tubular organ, swollen at certain points, forming
more or less numerous convolutions, and provided with two distinct
orifices. This alimentary canal is always situated in the median line
of the body, traverses its whole length, and is at first surrounded
by, and then passes above, the nervous ganglia.[1]

    [1] _Ganglion_--a mass, literally a knot, of nervous matter.

In its most complicated form the alimentary canal is composed of an
_oesophagus_, or gullet, of a crop, of a gizzard, of a chylific
ventricle or stomach, a small intestine, a large intestine, divers
appendages, salivary, biliary, and urinary glands. The oesophagus
is often not wider than a hair, and part of it in many species is
enlarged into a pouch, which is called the crop, because it occupies
the same position, and performs analogous functions with that organ in
birds. It is enough to say that the food remains there some time
before passing on to the other parts of the intestinal canal, and
undergoes a certain amount of preparation. It is in the gizzard, when
one exists, that the food, separated by the masticatory organs of the
mouth, undergoes another and more complete grinding. Its structure is
suited to its office. It is, in fact, very muscular, often half
cartilaginous, and strongly contractile. Its interior walls are
provided with a grinding apparatus, which varies according to the
species, and consists of teeth, plates, spines, and notches, which
convert the food into pulp. It only exists among insects which live
on solid matters, hard vegetables, small animals, tough skin, &c. This
apparatus is absent in sucking insects and those which live on soft
substances, such as the pollen of flowers, &c.

[Illustration: Fig. 10.--Digestive apparatus of Carabus auratus.]

The chylific ventricle or stomach is never absent; it is the organ
which performs the principal part in the act of digestion.

Two kinds of appendages belong to the chylific ventricle, but only in
certain families. The first are papillæ, in the form of the fingers of
a glove, which bristle over the exterior of this organ, and in which
it is believed that the food begins to be converted into chyle. The
second are cæca, and larger and less numerous.

They have been considered as secretory organs, answering to the
pancreas in vertebrate animals.

Fig. 10, which represents the digestive apparatus of _Carabus
auratus_, a common beetle, presents to the eyes of the reader the
different organs of which we are speaking.

A is the mouth of the insect, B the oesophagus, C the crop, D the
gizzard, E the chylific ventricle, F and G the small and large
intestines, and H the anus.

It is not necessary to consider the other parts of the alimentary
canal in insects, but only to refer to some of the appendages of this

The salivary glands pour into the digestive tube a liquid, generally
colourless, which, from the place where it is secreted, and its
alkaline nature, corresponds to the saliva in vertebrate animals. It
is this liquid which comes from the tongue of sucking insects in the
form of drops.

These glands are always two in number. Their form is as variable
as complicated. The most simple is that of a closed flexible tube,
generally rolled into a ball, and opening on the sides of the

At the posterior extremity of the chylific ventricle are inserted
a variable number of fine tubes, usually elongated and flexible,
and terminating in _culs-de-sac_ at one end. Their colour, which
depends on the liquid they may contain, is sometimes white, but more
frequently brown, blackish, or green. They appear to be composed of a
very slight and delicate membrane, as they are very easily torn, and
nothing is more difficult than to unroll and to disengage them from
the fatty or other tissues by which they are enveloped.

[Illustration: Fig. 11.--Posterior extremity of the chylific
ventricle, surrounded by the Malpighian vessels.]

The function of these vessels is uncertain. Cuvier and Léon Dufour
supposed them to be analogous to the liver, and on that account they
have been called biliary vessels; and they are often termed the
Malpighian vessels, after the name of their discoverer.

According to M. Lacordaire, their functions vary with their position.
When they enter the chylific ventricle, they furnish only bile; bile
and a urinary liquid when they enter the posterior part of the
ventricle and the intestine; and urine alone when they are placed near
the posterior extremity of the alimentary canal.

Fig. 11 represents part of the preceding figure more highly magnified,
showing the manner in which these tubes enter the chylific ventricle.

In our rapid description of the digestive apparatus of insects, it
only remains for us to mention certain purifying organs which secrete
those fluids, generally blackish, caustic, or of peculiar smell, which
some insects emit when they are irritated, and which cause a smarting
when they get into one's eyes.

Less well developed than the salivary organs, they are often of a very
complicated structure. In Fig. 12 is represented the secretory
apparatus of the _Carabus auratus_, which will serve for an example: A
represents the secretory sacs aggregated together like a bunch of
grapes, B the canal, C the pouch which receives the secretion, D the
excretory duct.

[Illustration: Fig. 12.--Secretory apparatus of Carabus auratus.]

Sometimes the secretion is liquid, and has a foetid or ammoniacal
odour; sometimes, as in the Bombardier beetle (_Brachinus crepitans_),
it is gaseous, and is emitted, with an explosion, in the form of a
whitish vapour, having a strong pungent odour analogous to that of
nitric acid, and the same properties. It reddens litmus paper, and
burns and reddens the skin, which after a time becomes brown, and
continues so for a considerable time.

About the middle of the seventeenth century Malpighi at Bologna, and
Swammerdam at Utrecht, discovered a pulsatory organ occupying a median
line of the back, which appeared to them to be a heart, in different
insects. Nevertheless, Cuvier, having declared some time afterwards
that there was no circulation, properly so called, among insects, his
opinion was universally adopted.

But in 1827 a German naturalist named Carus discovered that there were
real currents of blood circulating throughout the body, and returning
to their point of departure. The observations of Carus were repeated
and confirmed by many other naturalists, and we are thus enabled to
form a sufficiently exact idea of the manner in which the blood

The following summary of the phenomena of circulation among insects is
borrowed from "Leçons sur la Physiologie et l'Anatomie comparée," by
M. Milne-Edwards:--

The tube which passes under the skin of the back of the head, and
front part of the body, above the alimentary canal, has been known for
a long time as the dorsal vessel. It is composed of two very distinct
portions: the anterior, which is tubular and not contractile; and the
posterior, which is larger, of more complicated structure, and which
contracts and dilates at regular intervals.

This latter part constitutes, then, more particularly the heart of
the insect. Generally it occupies the whole length of the abdomen,
and is fixed to the vault of the tegumentary skeleton by membranous
expansions, in such a manner as to leave a free space around it, but
shut above and below, so as to form a reservoir into which the blood
pours before penetrating to the heart. This reservoir is often called
the auricle, for it seems to act as an instrument of impulsion, and to
drive the blood into the ventricle or heart, properly so called.

The heart is fusiform, and is divided by numerous constrictions into
chambers. These chambers have exits placed in pairs, and membranous
folds which divide the cavity in the manner of a portcullis. The lips
of the orifices, instead of terminating in a clean edge, penetrate
into the interior of the heart in the form of the mouth-piece of a
flute. The double membranous folds thus formed on each side of the
dorsal vessel are in the shape of a half moon, and separate from each
other when this organ dilates; but the contrary movement taking place,
the passage is closed.

By the aid of this valvular apparatus, the blood can penetrate into
the heart from the pericardic chamber, the empty space surrounding the
heart, but cannot flow back from the heart into that reservoir.

The anterior or aortic portion of the dorsal vessels shows neither
fan-shaped lateral expansions, nor orifices, and consists of a
single membranous tube. The whole of the blood set in motion by the
contractions of the cardial portion of the dorsal vessel runs into the
cavity of the head, and circulates afterwards in irregular channels
formed by the empty spaces left between the different organs. It is
the unoccupied portions of the great visceral cavity which serve as
channels for the blood, and through them run the main currents to the
lateral and lower parts of the body. These currents regain the back
part of the abdomen, and enter the heart after having passed over the
internal organs. These principal channels are in continuity with other
gaps between the muscles, or between the bundles of fibres of which
these muscles are composed.

The principal currents send into the network thus formed, minor
branches, which having ramified in their turn among the principal
parts of the organism, re-enter some main current to regain the dorsal

In the transparent parts of the body the blood may be seen circulating
in this way to a number of inter-organic channels, penetrating
the limbs and the wings, when these appendages are not horny, and,
in short, diffusing itself everywhere. "If, by means of coloured
injections," says M. Milne-Edwards, "one studies the connections which
exist between the cavities in which sanguineous currents have been
found to exist and the rest of the economy, it is easy to see that the
irrigatory system thus formed penetrates to the full depth of every
organ, and should cause the rapid renewal of the nourishing fluid in
all the parts where the process of vitality renders the passage of
this fluid necessary."

We shall see presently, in speaking of respiration, that the relations
between the nourishing fluid and the atmospheric air are more direct
and regular than was for a long time supposed.

In short, insects possess an active circulation, although we find
neither arteries nor veins, and although the blood put in motion by
the contractions of the heart, and carried to the head by the aortic
portion of the dorsal vessel, can only distribute itself in the
different parts of the system to return to the heart, by the gaps left
between the different organs, or between the membranes and fibres of
which these organs are composed.

Fig. 13 (page 14), which shows both the circulating and breathing
systems of an insect, enables us to recognise the different organs
which we have described, as helping to keep up both respiration and

The knowledge of the respiration of the insect is comparatively a
modern scientific acquisition. Malpighi was the first to prove, in
1669, that insects are provided with organs of respiration, and that
air is as indispensable to them as it is to other living beings. But
the opinion of this celebrated naturalist has been contradicted,
and his views were long contested. Now, however, one can easily
recognise the apparatus by the aid of which the respiration of the
insect is effected.

[Illustration: Fig. 13.--Organs of circulation and breathing in an
insect. A, abdominal portion of the dorsal vessel. B, aortic or
thoracic portion. C, air-vessels of the head; D, of the abdomen.]

The respiratory apparatus is essentially composed of membranous
ducts of great tenuity, their ramifications spread everywhere in
incalculable numbers, and bury themselves in the different organs,
much in the same way as the fibrous roots of plants bury themselves in
the soil. These vessels are called tracheæ. Their communications with
the air are established externally in different ways, according to the
character of the medium in which the insect lives.

It is well known that a vast number of insects live in the air. The
air penetrates into the tracheæ by a number of orifices placed at the
sides of the body, which are termed spiracles. On close examination
these may be seen in the shape of button-holes in a number of
different species. Let us dwell for a moment on the breathing
apparatus of the insect, that is to say, on the tracheæ.

This apparatus is sometimes composed of elastic tubes only, sometimes
of a collection of tubes and membranous pouches. We will first treat
of the former.

The coats of these breathing tubes are very elastic, and always
preserve a cylindrical form, even when not distended. This state of
things is maintained by the existence, throughout the whole length of
the tracheæ, of a thread of half horny consistency, rolled up in a
spiral, and covered externally by a very delicate membranous sheath.
The external membrane is thin, smooth, and generally colourless, or of
a pearly white. The cartilaginous spiral is sometimes cylindrical and
sometimes flat. It only adheres slightly to the external membrane,
but is, on the other hand, closely united to the internal one. This
spiral thread is only continuous in the same trunk; it breaks off when
it branches, and each branch then possesses its own thread, in such a
way that it is not joined to the thread of the trunk from which it
issued, except by continuity, just as the branch of a tree is attached
to the stem which supports it. This thread is prolonged, without
interruption, to the extreme points of the finest ramifications.

The number of tracheæ in the body of an insect is very great. That
patient anatomist, Lyonet, has proved this in his great work on the
Goat-moth Caterpillar, _Cossus ligniperda_. Lyonet, who congratulated
himself with having finished his long labours without having had to
destroy more than eight or nine of the species he wished to describe,
had the patience to count the different air-tubes in that caterpillar.
He found that there were 256 longitudinal and 1,336 transverse
branches; in short, that the body of this creature is traversed in all
directions by 1,572 aeriferous tubes which are visible to the eye by
the aid of a magnifying glass, without taking into account those which
may be imperceptible.

The complicated system of the breathing apparatus which we are
describing is sometimes composed of an assemblage of tubes and
membranous pouches, besides the elastic tubes which we have already
mentioned. These pouches vary in size, and are very elastic, expanding
when the air enters, and contracting when it leaves them, as they are
altogether without the species of framework formed by the spiral
thread of the tubular tracheæ, of which they are only enlargements.

Fig. 13 is explanatory of these organs of respiration.

The respiratory mechanism of an insect is easily understood. "The
abdominal cavity," says M. Milne-Edwards, "in which is placed the
greater part of the respiratory apparatus, is susceptible of being
contracted and dilated alternately by the play of the different
segments of which the skeleton is composed, and which are placed in
such a manner that they can be drawn into each other to a greater or
less extent. When the insect contracts its body, the tracheæ are
compressed and the air driven out. But when, on the other hand, the
visceral cavity assumes its normal size, or dilates, these channels
become larger, and the air with which they are filled being rarefied
by this expansion, is no longer in equilibrium with the outer air with
which it is in communication through the medium of the spiracles. The
exterior air is then impelled into the interior of the respiratory
tubes, and the inspiration is effected."

The respiratory movements can be accelerated or diminished, according
to the wants of the animal; in general, there are from thirty to fifty
to the minute. In a state of repose the spiracles are open, and all
the tracheæ are free to receive air whenever the visceral cavity is
dilated, but those orifices may be closed, and the insect thus
possesses the faculty of stopping all communication between the
respiratory apparatus and the surrounding atmosphere.

Some insects live in the water; they are therefore obliged to come to
the surface to take the air they are in need of, or else to possess
themselves of the small amount contained in the water. Both these
methods of respiration exist under different forms in aquatic insects.

To inhale atmospheric air, which is necessary for respiration, above
the water, certain insects employ their elytra[2] as a sort of
reservoir; others make use of their antennæ, the hairs of which retain
the globules of air. In this case it is brought under the thorax,
whence a groove carries it to the spiracles. Sometimes the same result
is obtained by a more complicated arrangement, consisting of
respiratory tubes which can be thrust into the air, which it is their
function to introduce into the organisation.

    [2] The horny upper wings with which some insects are provided
    are called elytra.--ED.

Insects which breathe in the water without rising to the surface are
provided with gills--organs which, though variable in form, generally
consist of foliaceous or fringed expansions, in the midst of which the
tracheæ ramify in considerable numbers. These vessels are filled with
air, but it does not disseminate itself in them directly, and it is
only through the walls of these tubes that the contained gas is
exchanged for the air held in suspension by the surrounding water. The
oxygen contained in the water passes through certain very permeable
membranes of the gill, and penetrates the tracheæ, which discharge, in
exchange, carbonic acid, which is the gaseous product of respiration.

[Illustration: Fig. 14.--Branchiæ, or gills, of an aquatic larva
(_Ephemera_). A, foliaceous laminæ, or gills.]

Fig. 14 represents the gills or breathing apparatus in an aquatic
insect. We take as an example _Ephemera_.[3] It may be observed that
the gills or foliaceous laminæ are placed at the circumference of the
body, and at its smallest parts.

    [3] May-fly family.--ED.

We have now seen that the respiratory apparatus is considerably
developed in insects; it is, therefore, easy to foresee that those
functions are most actively employed by them. In fact, if one
compares the oxygen they imbibe with the heavy organic matter of which
their body is composed, the amount is enormous.

Before finishing this rapid examination of the body of an insect, we
shall have to say a few words on the nervous system.

This system is chiefly composed of a double series of ganglions, or
collections of nerves, which are united together by longitudinal
cords. The number of these ganglions corresponds with that of the
segments. Sometimes they are at equal distances, and extend in a chain
from one end of the body to the other; at others they are many of them
close together, so as to form a single mass.

The cephalic ganglions are two in number; they have been described by
anatomists under the name of brain. "This expression," says M.
Lacordaire, "would be apt to mislead the reader, as it would induce
him to suppose the existence of a concentration of faculties to
control the feelings and excite the movements, which is not the
case."[4] The same naturalist observes, "All the ganglions of the
ventral chain are endowed with nearly the same properties, and
represent each other uniformly."

    [4] "Introduction à l'Entomologie," tome ii. p. 192. 8vo.
    Paris. 1838.

The ganglion situated above the oesophagus gives rise to the optic
nerves, which are the most considerable of all those of the body, and
to the nerves of the antennæ. The ganglion beneath the oesophagus
provides the nerves of the mandibles, of the jaws, and of the lower
lip. The three pairs of ganglions which follow those placed
immediately below the oesophagus, belong to the three segments of
the thorax, and give rise to the nerves of the feet and wings. They
are in general more voluminous than the following pairs, which occupy
the abdomen.

Fig. 15 represents the nervous system of the _Carabus auratus_: A is
the cephalic ganglion; B, the sub-oesophagian ganglion; C, the
prothoracic ganglion; D and E are the ganglions of the mesothorax and
metathorax. The remainder, F F, are the abdominal ganglions.

Before finishing these preliminary observations, it is necessary to
say that the preceding remarks only apply absolutely to insects
arrived at the perfect state. It is important to make this remark, as
insects, before arriving at that state, pass through various other
stages. These stages are often so different from each other, that it
would be difficult to imagine that they are only modifications of the
same animal; one would suppose that they were as many different kinds
of animals, if there was not abundant proof of the contrary.

[Illustration: Fig. 15.--Nervous system of Carabus auratus.]

The successive stages through which an insect passes are four in
number:--the egg; the larva; the pupa, nymph, or chrysalis; and the
perfect insect, or imago.

The egg state, which is common to them, as to all other articulate
animals, it is unnecessary to explain. Nearly all insects lay eggs,
though some few are viviparous. There often exists in the extremity of
the abdomen of the female a peculiar organ, called the ovipositor,
which is destined to make holes for the reception of the eggs. By a
wonderful instinct the mother always lays her eggs in a place where
her young, on being hatched, can find an abundance of nutritious
substances. It will not be needless to observe that in most cases,
these aliments are quite different to those which the mother seeks for

In the second stage, that is to say, on leaving the egg--the larva
period--the insect presents itself in a soft state, without wings, and
resembles a worm. In ordinary language, it is nearly always called a
worm, or grub, and in certain cases, a caterpillar.

Linnæus was the first to use the term "larva"--taken from the Latin
word _larva_, "a mask"--as he considered that, in this form, the
insect was as it were masked. During this period of its life the
insect eats voraciously, and often changes its skin. At a certain
period it ceases to eat, retires to some hidden spot, and, after
changing its skin for the last time, enters the third stage of its
existence, and becomes a chrysalis. In this state it resembles a mummy
enveloped in bandages, or a child in its swaddling clothes. It is
generally incapable of either moving or nourishing itself. It
continues so for days, weeks, months, and sometimes even for years.

While the insect is thus apparently dead, a slow but certain change is
going on in the interior of its body. A marvellous work, though not
visible outside, is being effected, for the different organs of the
insect are developing by degrees under the covering which surrounds
them. When their formation is complete, the insect disengages itself
from the narrow prison in which it was enclosed, and makes its
appearance, provided with wings, and capable of propagating its kind;
in short, of enjoying all the faculties which Nature has accorded to
its species. It has thrown off the mask; the larva and pupa has
disappeared, and given place to the perfect insect.

To show the reader the four states through which the insect passes in
succession, in Fig. 16 is represented the insect known as the
_Hydrophilus_,[5] firstly, in the egg state; secondly, as the larva,
or caterpillar; thirdly in the pupa; and fourthly as the perfect
insect or imago. The different degrees of transformation and evolution
which we have just described, are those which take place either
completely or incompletely in all insects. Their metamorphoses are
then at an end. There are certain insects, however, that show no
difference in their various stages, except by absence of wings in
the larva; and in these the chrysalis is only characterised by the
growth of the wings, which, at first folded back and hidden under
the skin, afterwards become free, but are not wholly developed till
the last skin is cast. These insects are said to undergo incomplete
metamorphoses, the former complete metamorphoses. Some never possess
wings; indeed, there are others which undergo no metamorphosis, and
are born possessed of all the organs with which it is necessary they
should be provided.

    [5] A kind of water-beetle.--ED.

[Illustration: Fig. 16.--Hydrophilus in its four states. A, eggs; B,
larva; C, pupa; D, imago, or perfect insect.]

Some curious researches have been lately made on the strength
of insects. M. Felix Plateau, of Brussels, has published some
observations on this point, which we think of sufficient interest to
reproduce here.

In order to measure the muscular strength of man, or of animals--as
the horse, for instance--many different dynamometric apparatuses have
been invented, composed of springs, or systems of unequal levers. The
Turks' heads which are seen at fairs, or in the Champs Élysées, at
Paris, and on which the person who wishes to try his strength gives a
strong blow with his fist, represent a dynamometer of this kind. The
one which Buffon had constructed by Régnier the mechanician, and which
is known by the name of Régnier's Dynamometer, is much more precise.
It consists of an oval spring, of which the two ends approach each
other; when they are pulled in opposite directions, a needle, which
works on a dial marked with figures, indicates the force exercised on
the spring. It has been proved, with this instrument, that the
muscular effort of a man pulling with both hands is about 124 lbs.,
and that of a woman only 74 lbs. The ordinary effort of strength of a
man in lifting a weight is 292 lbs.; and a horse, in pulling, shows a
strength of 675 lbs.; a man, under the same circumstances, exhibiting
a strength of 90 lbs.

Physiologists have not as yet given their attention to the strength of
invertebrate animals. It is, relatively speaking, immense. Many people
have observed how out of proportion a jump of a flea is to its size. A
flea is not more than an eighth of an inch in length, and it jumps a
yard; in proportion, a lion ought to jump two-thirds of a mile. Pliny
shows, in his "Natural History," that the weights carried by ants
appear exceedingly great when they are compared with the size of these
indefatigable labourers. The strength of these insects is still more
striking, when one considers the edifices they are able to construct,
and the devastations they occasion. The _Termes_, or White Ant,[6]
constructs habitations many yards in height, which are so firmly and
solidly built, that the buffaloes are able to mount them, and use them
as observatories; they are made of particles of wood joined together
by a gummy substance, and are able to resist even the force of a

    [6] A neuropterous insect, not a true ant.--ED.

There is another circumstance which is worth being noted. Man is proud
of his works; but what are they, after all, in comparison with those
of the ant, taking the relative heights into consideration? The
largest pyramid in Egypt is only 146 yards high, that is, about ninety
times the average height of man; whereas, the nests of the Termites
are a thousand times the height of the insects which construct them.
Their habitations are thus twelve times higher than the largest
specimen of architecture raised by human hands. We are, therefore,
far beneath these little insects, as far as strength and the spirit
of working go.

The destructive power of these creatures, so insignificant in
appearance, are still more surprising. During the spring of a single
year they can effect the ruin of a house by destroying the beams and
planks. The town of La Rochelle, to which the Termites were imported
by an American ship, is menaced with being eventually suspended on
catacombs, like the town of Valencia in New Grenada. It is well known
what destruction is caused when a swarm of locusts alight in a
cultivated field; and it is certain that even their larvæ do as severe
injury as the perfect insect. All this sufficiently proves the
destructive capabilities of these little animals, which we are
accustomed to despise.

M. Plateau has studied the power of traction in some insects, the
power of pushing in the digging insects, and the lifting power of
others during flight. He has thus been able to make some most
interesting comparisons, of some of which we will relate the results.

The average weight of man being 142 lbs., and his power of traction,
according to Régnier, being 124 lbs., the proportion of the weight he
can draw to the weight of his body is only as 87 to 100. With the
horse the proportion is not more than 67 to 100, a horse 1,350 lbs. in
weight only drawing about 900 lbs. The horse, therefore, can draw
little more than half his own weight, and a man cannot draw the weight
of his own body.

This is a very poor result, if compared with the strength of the
cockchafer. This insect, in fact, possesses a power of traction equal
to more than fourteen times its own weight. If you amuse yourself with
the children's game of making a cockchafer draw small cargoes of
stones, you will be surprised at the great weight which this
insignificant looking animal is able to manage.

To test the power of traction in insects, M. Plateau attached them to
a weight by means of a thread fastened to one of their feet. The
_Coleoptera_ (Beetles) are the best adapted for these experiments.

The following are some of the results obtained by the Belgian
physician:--_Carabus auratus_ can draw seven times the weight of its
body; _Nebria brevicollis_, twenty-five times; _Necrophorus vespillo_,
fifteen times; _Trichius fasciatus_, forty-one times; and _Oryctes
nasicornis_, four times only. The bee can draw twenty times the weight
of its body; _Donacia nymphæ_[7] forty-two times its own weight.

    [7] A beetle.--ED.

From this it follows that if the horse possessed the same strength as
this last insect, or if the insect were the size of a horse, they
would either of them be able to draw 155,250 lbs. M. Plateau has
ascertained the pushing power in insects, by introducing them into a
pasteboard tube, the interior of which was made rough, and in which
was fixed a glass plate, which allowed the light to penetrate into the
prison. The animal, if excited, struggled with all its strength
against the transparent plate, which, on being pushed forward, turned
a lever adapted to a miniature dynamometer, which indicated the amount
of effort exercised.

The results thus obtained prove that the pushing power, like the power
of traction, is greater in inverse proportion to the size and weight
of the animal. A few figures will better explain this curious law. In
_Oryctes nasicornis_ the proportion of the pushing power to the weight
of the insect is only three to two; in _Geotrupes stercorarius_ it is
sixteen to two; and in _Onthophagus nuchicornis_ seventy-nine to six.

Experiments have been made on the lifting power of insects by
fastening a ball of soft wax to a thread attached to the hind legs.
The proportion of the weight lifted has been found equal to that of
the body. That is to say, that the insect, when flying, can lift its
own weight. This is proved by the following calculations:--In the
Neuroptera the proportion is 1 in the Dragon-fly (_Libellula
vulgata_), ·7 in _Lestes sponsa_. In the order Hymenoptera it is ·78
in the bee, and ·63 in _Bombus terrestris_, the humble-bee. In the
Diptera it is ·9 in _Calliphora vomitoria_,[8] 1·84 in the _Syrphus
corollæ_, and 1·77 in the house-fly.

    [8] The meat-fly.--ED.

These results show that insects have only sufficient power to sustain
their own weight when flying, as the above calculations exhibit the
maximum of which they are capable, and at the utmost this strength
would only compensate for the fatigue occasioned by the action of

At the same time it is to be observed that the Diptera, and among
others the house-fly, can sustain their flight longer than the
Hymenoptera and Neuroptera, although one would not think so from their
appearance. In conclusion, if an insect's power of flying is not
considerable, its power of traction and propulsion are immense,
compared with the vertebrate animals; and, in the same group of
insects, those that are the smallest and lightest are the strongest.
The proportion between the muscular strength of insects and the
dimensions of their bodies, would not appear to be on account of
their muscles being more numerous than those of vertebrate animals,
but on account of greater intrinsic energy and muscular activity. The
articulations of insects may be considered as solid cases which
envelop the muscles, and the thickness of these cases appears to
decrease in a singular manner according to the size of the creature.
The relative bulk of the muscles being less in the smaller species
than in the larger, it is necessary to explain the superior relative
strength of the former by supposing them to possess a greater amount
of vital energy.

These astonishing phenomena will perhaps be better understood if we
consider the obstacles which insects have to overcome to satisfy their
wants, to seek their food, to defend themselves against their enemies,

To meet these requirements they are marvellously constructed for both
labour and warfare, and their strength is superior to that displayed
by all other animals. It is also much greater than that of the
machines we construct to replace manual labour. They represent
strength itself. God's workmen are infinitely more powerful than those
invented by the genius of man, which we call machines.

We think it necessary, in closing this chapter, to give a sort of
general outline of the great class of animals which we are about to
study. If we wished to characterise insects by their exterior aspect,
we might consider them as articulate animals, whose bodies, covered
with tough and membranous integuments, are divided into three distinct
parts: the head, provided with two antennæ, and eyes and mouth of very
variable form; a trunk or thorax, composed of three segments, which
has underneath it always six articulated limbs, and often above it two
or four wings; and an abdomen, composed of nine segments, although
some may not appear to exist at first sight.

If, in addition to these characteristics, one considers that these
animals are not provided with interior skeletons--that their nervous
system is formed of a double cord, swelling at intervals, and placed
along the under-side of the body, with the exception of the first
swellings or ganglions which are under the head--that they are not
provided with a complete circulating system--that they breathe by
particular organs, termed tracheæ, extending parallel to each other
along each side of the body, and communicating with the exterior
air by lateral openings termed spiracles--that their sexes are
distinct--that they are reproduced from eggs--and, in conclusion,
that the different parts we have mentioned are not complete until
the creature has passed through several successive changes, called
metamorphoses, a general idea may be formed of what is meant in
zoology by the word "insect."

Insects, whose general organisation we have briefly traced, have been
classed by naturalists as follows:--

  1. APTERA (Fleas and Lice).
  2. DIPTERA (Gnats, Flies, &c.)
  3. HEMIPTERA (Bugs, &c.)
  4. LEPIDOPTERA (Butterflies and Moths).
  5. ORTHOPTERA (Grasshoppers, Crickets, Cockroaches, &c.)
  6. HYMENOPTERA (Bees, Wasps, &c.)
  7. THYSANOPTERA (_Thrips cerealium_).
  8. NEUROPTERA (_Libellula_, or Dragon-fly; _Ephemera_,
       or May-fly; _Phryganea_, or Alder-fly).
  9. COLEOPTERA (Beetles).

We shall commence the history of the various orders by examining the



Insects of this order are without wings, and the name is derived from
two Greek words, [Greek: a], privative, and [Greek: pteron], wing,
indicating the negative character which constitutes this order.[9] It
consists of Fleas and Lice. The Flea (_Pulex_), of which De Geer
formed a separate group, and called _Suctoria_, includes several

    [9] It is probable that one day the order Aptera will be
    superseded. The absence of wings is not really a character of
    great value. De Blainville, Mollard, Pouchet, Van Beneden, and
    Gervais, have made several attempts in that direction. The
    fleas have been placed among the Diptera, and the lice among
    Hemiptera in the "Traité de Zoologie Médicale" of these two
    last authors.

The common flea (_Pulex irritans_, Fig. 17) has a body of oval form,
somewhat flattened, covered with a rather hard horny skin of a
brilliant chestnut brown colour. It is the breaking of this hard skin
which produces the little crack which is heard when, after a
successful hunt, one has the happiness to crush one of these parasites
between one's nails.

[Illustration: Fig. 17.--Flea (_Pulex irritans_).]

Its head, small in proportion to the body, is compressed, and carries
two small antennæ, of cylindrical form, composed of four joints, which
the animal shakes continually when in motion, but which it lowers and
rests in front of its head when in a state of repose. The eyes are
simple, large, and round. The beak is composed of an exterior jointed
sheath, having inside it a tube, and carrying underneath two long
sharp lancets, with cutting and saw-like edges. It is with this
instrument that the flea pierces the skin, irritates it, and causes
the blood on which it lives to flow.

This bite, as every one knows, is easily recognised by the presence of
small darkish red spots, surrounded by a circle of a paler colour.
The quantity of blood absorbed by this little creature is enormous,
when compared with its size.

The body of the flea is divided into thirteen segments, of which one
forms the head; three the thorax, which is short, and the remainder
the abdomen.

The limbs are long, strong, and spiny. The tarsus, or foot, has five
joints, and terminates in hooks turned in opposite directions. The two
anterior limbs are separated from the others, and are inserted nearly
under the head; the posterior ones are particularly large and strong.

The jumps which fleas are able to make are really gigantic, and the
strength of these little animals quite herculean, when compared with
the size of their bodies. The reader may be inclined to smile at the
assertion that the flea possesses herculean strength; but let him wait
a little, and he will find that it is no exaggeration.

To give some idea of the strength, the docility, and the goodwill of
the fleas, some wonderful little things have been made, which have
served at the same time to show the astonishing skill of certain

In his "Histoire abrégée des Insectes," published in the seventh year
of the French Republic, Geoffroy relates that a certain Mark, an
Englishman, had succeeded, by dint of patience and art, in making a
gold chain the length of a finger, with a padlock and a key to fasten
it, not exceeding a single grain in weight. A flea attached to the
chain pulled it easily. The same learned writer relates a still more
surprising fact. An English workman constructed a carriage and six
horses of ivory. The coachman was on the box, with a dog between his
legs, there were also a postillion, four persons in the carriage, and
two servants behind, and the whole of this was drawn by one flea.

In his "Histoire Naturelle des Insectes Aptères," Baron Walckenaer
relates the following marvellous instance of industry, patience, and

"I think it is about fifteen years ago, that the whole population of
Paris could see the following wonders exhibited on the Place de la
Bourse for sixty centimes. They were the learned fleas. I have seen
and examined them with entomological eyes, assisted by a glass.

"Thirty fleas went through military exercise, and stood upon their
hind legs, armed with pikes, formed of very small splinters of wood.

"Two fleas were harnessed to and drew a golden carriage with four
wheels and a postillion. A third flea was seated on the coach-box, and
held a splinter of wood for a whip. Two other fleas drew a cannon on
its carriage; this little trinket was admirably finished, not a screw
or a nut was wanting. These and other wonders were performed on
polished glass. The flea-horses were fastened by a gold chain attached
to the thighs of their hind legs, which I was told was never taken
off. They had lived thus for two years and a half, not one having died
during the period. To be fed, they were placed on a man's arm, which
they sucked. When they were unwilling to draw the cannon or the
carriage, the man took a burning coal, and on it being moved about
near them, they were at once roused, and recommenced the

The learned fleas were the admiration and amazement of Paris, Lyons,
and the chief provincial towns of France, in 1825.

But how, one will ask, was it possible in a large public room to see
this wonderful sight? And it is necessary that this should be
explained. The spectators were seated in front of a curtain, provided
with magnifying glasses, through which they looked, as they would at a
diorama of landscapes or buildings.

But let us return to the natural history of our insect. The female
flea lays from eight to twelve eggs, which are of oval shape, smooth,
viscous, and white.

Contrary to what one might think, _à priori_, the flea does not fix
its eggs to the skin of its victims. She lets them drop on the ground,
between the boards of floors, or old furniture, and among dirty linen
and rubbish.

M. Defrance has remarked that there are always found mixed with the
eggs a certain number of grains of a brilliant black colour, which are
simply dried blood. This is a provision which the foreseeing mother
has prepared at our expense to nourish her young offspring.

In four or five days in summer, and in eleven days in winter, one may
see coming out of these eggs small, elongated larvæ, of cylindrical
form, covered with hair, and divided into three parts, the last
provided with two small hooks. The head is scaly above, has two small
antennæ, and is without eyes. These larvæ are without limbs, but they
can twist about, roll themselves over and over, and even advance
pretty fast by raising their heads. Though at first white, they become
afterwards of a reddish colour.

About a fortnight after they are hatched they cease to eat, and are
immovable, as if about to die. They then commence to make a small,
whitish, silky cocoon, in which they are transformed into pupæ. In
another fortnight these pupæ become perfect insects.

A most remarkable trait, and unique among insects, has been observed
in the flea. The mother disgorges into the mouths of the larvæ the
blood with which she is filled.

The flea is most abundant in Europe and the North of Africa. Certain
circumstances particularly favour its multiplication; being most
abundant in dirty houses, in barracks, and in camps; in deserted
buildings, in ruins, and in places frequented by people of uncleanly

Other kinds of fleas live on animals, as, for example, the cat flea,
the dog flea, and those of the pigeon and poultry.

We shall say a few words about a peculiar species which abounds in all
the hot parts of America, but principally in the Brazils and the
neighbouring countries. This formidable species is the Chigo (_Pulex

The chigo, called also the tick, is smaller than the common flea. It
is flat, brown with a white spot on the back, and is armed with a
strong pointed stiff beak, provided with three lancets. It is with
this instrument that the female attacks man with the intention of
lodging in his skin and bringing forth her young there.

The chigo attacks chiefly the feet. It slips in between the flesh and
the nails, or gets under the skin of the heel. Notwithstanding the
length of the animal's beak, introducing itself beneath the skin does
not at first cause any pain; but after a few days one is made aware of
its presence by an itching, which, though at first slight, gradually
increases, and ends by becoming unbearable.

The chigo, when under the skin, betrays itself by a bump outside. Its
body has now become as large as a pea; in the attacked skin a large
brown bag containing matter is formed. In this bag are collected the
eggs, which issue from an orifice in the posterior extremity, and are
not hatched in the wound itself, as was long thought to be the case.

The chigoes are an object of terror to the Brazilian negroes. These
formidable parasites sometimes attack the whole of the foot, which
they devour, and thus bring on mortification; many negroes losing the
bones of some of their toes by the ravages of these dangerous
creatures. To guard against their attacks, they wear thick shoes, and
examine their feet carefully every day. The plan usually followed in
the Brazils to prevent the chigoes from injuring the feet, is to
employ children, who, by their sharpness of sight, can easily perceive
the red spot on the skin where the chigo has entered. These children
are in the habit of extracting the insect from the wound by means of a
needle. But this is not without risk; as, if any portion of the insect
remains in the wound, a dangerous inflammation may ensue. For this
reason, operators who are renowned for their skill are much sought
after, flattered, and rewarded by the poor negroes of the plantations.

[Illustration: Fig. 18.--Louse (_Pediculus capitis_) magnified.]

The Head Louse (_Pediculus capitis_, Fig. 18) is an insect with a flat
body, slightly transparent, and of greyish colour, spotted with black
on the spiracles, soft in the middle, and rather hard at the sides.
The head, which is oval, is furnished with two thread-like antennæ,
composed of five joints, which are constantly in motion while the
creature is walking; it is also furnished with two simple, round,
black eyes; and lastly, with a mouth. In the front of the head is a
short, conical, fleshy nipple. This nipple contains a sucker, or
rostrum, which the animal can put out when it likes, and which, when
extended, represents a tubular body, terminating in six little pointed
hooks, bent back, and serving to retain the instrument in the skin.
This organ is surmounted by four fine hairs, fixed to one another, and
seated in its interior. It is by means of this complicated apparatus
that the louse pricks and sucks the skin of the head. The thorax is
nearly square, and divided into three parts by deep incisions. The
abdomen, strongly lobed at the sides, is composed of eight rings, and
is provided with sixteen spiracles. The limbs consist of a trochanter,
a thigh, a shank, and a tarsus of a single joint, and are very thick.
A strong nail, which folds back on an indented projection, thus
forming a pincer, terminates the tarsus. It is with this pincer that
the louse fastens itself to the hair.

Lice are oviparous. Their eggs, which remain sticking to the hair, are
long and white, and are commonly called "nits." The young are hatched
in the course of five or six days; and in eighteen days are able to
reproduce their kind. Leuwenhoek calculated that in two months two
female lice could produce ten thousand! Other naturalists have
asserted that the second generation of a single individual can amount
to two thousand five hundred, and the third, to a hundred and
twenty-five thousand! Happily for the victims of these disgusting
parasites, their reproduction is not generally to this prodigious

Many means are employed to kill lice. Lotions of the smaller centaury
or of stavesacre, and pomatum mixed with mercurial ointment, are very
efficacious. But the surest and easiest remedy is to put plenty of oil
on the head. The oil kills the lice by obstructing their tracheæ, and
thus stopping respiration.

There are other kinds of lice, but we will only mention the louse
which infests beggars and people of unclean habits, _Pediculus humanus
corporis_, producing the complaint called phthiriasis. In the victims
of this disease these parasites increase with fearful rapidity. This
dreadful disorder is often mentioned by the ancients. King Antiochus,
the philosopher Pherecydes of Scyros, the contemporary and friend of
Thales, the dictator Sylla, Agrippa, and Valerius Maximus, are said to
have been attacked by phthiriasis, and even to have died of it. Amatus
Lusitanus, a Portuguese doctor of the sixteenth century, relates that
lice increased so quickly and to such an extent on a rich nobleman
attacked with phthiriasis, that the whole duty of two of his servants
consisted in carrying away, and throwing into the sea, whole
basketfuls of the vermin, which were continually escaping from the
person of their noble master.

Little is known at the present day of the details of this complaint,
though it is observed frequently enough in some parts of the south of
Europe, where the dirty and miserable inhabitants are a prey to
poverty and uncleanliness--two misfortunes which often go together. In
Gallicia, in Poland, in the Asturias, and in Spain, we may find many
victims of phthiriasis.

Lice increase with such rapidity on persons thus attacked, that it is
common to attribute their appearance to spontaneous generation alone.
But the prodigious rapidity of reproduction in these insects
sufficiently explains their increase, especially when it is admitted
that it is possible for the female louse to reproduce young without
the agency of the male.

The Thysanura or "Skip Tail" tribe are small insects, which are better
known on account of the beauty of their microscopic body scales than
for any interesting habits or instincts. They do not undergo

The Fish Scale or _Lepisma saccharina_, and the Skip Tail or _Podura
plumbea_ belong to the Thysanura.



All suctorial insects which in the perfect state possess only two
membranous wings, are called Diptera, from two Greek words--[Greek:
dis], twice, and [Greek: pteron], wing.

The Diptera were known and scientifically described at a very early
date. They are frequently mentioned by Aristotle in his "History of
Animals;" and he applied the term to the same insects as now
constitute the order.

The absence of the second wings, common to other insects, which are in
this case replaced by two appendages, which have received the name of
balancers,[10] because they serve to regulate the action of flight,
constitutes the chief characteristic of the Diptera. Let us, however,
give a glance at their other organs, which have more or less affinity
with those which exist in other classes of insects, preserving,
nevertheless, their own especial characteristics.

    [10] Sometimes called _halteres_.--ED.

The mouth, for instance--suited for suction only--is in the form of a
trunk, and is composed of a sheath, a sucker, and two palpi. The
antennæ are generally composed of only three joints. The eyes--usually
two in number--are very large, and sometimes take up nearly the whole
of the head. They are both simple and compound. The wings are
membranous, delicate, and veined; the limbs long and slight. In giving
the history of the principal types of Diptera, we shall explain more
fully the formation of these organs.

The Diptera, by their rapid flight, enliven both the earth and the
air. The different species abound in every climate, and in every
situation, some inhabiting woods, plains, fields, or banks of rivers;
others preferring our houses. They like the neighbourhood of
vegetation, choosing either the flowers, the leaves, or the stems of
the trees of our woods, our gardens, or our plantations. Their food
varies very much; and the formation of the sucker is regulated by it.
Some imbibe blood, others live on the secretions of animals. Their
chief nourishment, however, consists of the juices of flowers, on
whose brilliant corollas the Diptera abound, either plundering from
every species indiscriminately, or attaching themselves to some
particular kind. They display the most wonderful instinct in their
maternal care, and employ the most varied and ingenious precautions to
preserve their progeny.

The Diptera, besides their variety and the number of their species,
are remarkable on account of their profusion. The myriads of flies
which rise from our meadows, which fly in crowds around our plants,
and around every organised substance from which life has departed,
some of which even infest living animals, are Diptera.

The profusion with which they are distributed over the face of the
globe, causes them to fulfil two important duties in the economy of
Nature. On the one hand, they furnish to insectivorous birds an
inexhaustible supply of food; on the other, they contribute to the
removal of all decaying animal and vegetable substances, and thus
serve to purify the air which we breathe. Their fecundity, the
rapidity with which one generation succeeds another, and their great
voracity, added to the extraordinary quickness of their reproduction,
are such that Linnæus tells us that three flies, with the generations
which spring from them, could eat up a dead horse as quickly as a lion

These Diptera, which are worthy of so much attention, and deserve so
much study with regard to the part they play in the general economy of
Nature, are an object of fear and repulsion when one considers their
relations to us and other animals. Gnats and mosquitoes suck our
blood; the gad-fly and the species of Asilus attack our cattle. The
order Diptera is composed of a great number of families, which are
again divided into tribes, each comprising several genera. We shall
only notice the more remarkable genera of Diptera.

M. Macquart, the learned author of "L'Histoire Naturelle des
Diptères,"[11] divides this great class of insects into two principal
groups. In one of these groups, the antennæ are formed of at least six
joints, and the palpi of four or five: these are called Nemocera. In
the other, the antennæ consists only of three joints, and the palpi of
one or two: these are the Brachycera.

    [11] "Suites à Buffon." 2 vols. 8vo.

The Nemocera may generally be distinguished from the other Diptera,
independently of the difference in the antennæ and palpi, by the
slenderness of the body, the smallness of the head, the shape of the
thorax, and the length of the feet and wings. The result of this
organisation is a graceful, light, and aerial form.


Abounding everywhere, the Nemocera live, some on the blood of man and
animals, some on small insects, and others on the juices of fragrant
flowers. From [Greek: nêma], thread; [Greek: keras], horn.

In all climates, in every latitude, in the fields and woods, even in
our dwellings, they may be seen fluttering and plundering. The
Nemocera are divided into two families, that of the _Culicidæ_, of
which the gnat (_Culex_), which has a long, thin trunk, and a sucker
provided with six bristles, is a member; and that of the _Tipulidæ_,
which have a short thick trunk, and a sucker having two bristles.

[Illustration: Figs. 19 and 20.--The Gnat (_Culex pipiens_).]

We will begin our examination with the Gnat (_Culex pipiens_), of
which Réaumur, in his "Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire des
Insectes," has given such a curious and complete history. "The gnat is
our declared enemy," says Réaumur, in the introduction to his memoir,
"and a very troublesome enemy it is. However, it is well to make its
acquaintance, for if we pay a little attention we shall be forced to
admire it, and even to admire the instrument with which it wounds us.
Besides which, throughout the whole course of its life it offers most
interesting matter of investigation to those who are curious to know
the wonders of Nature. During a period in its life the observer,
forgetting that it will at some time annoy him, feels the greatest
interest in its life-history."

As this is the case, let us explain the history of these insects,
which excite so much interest. The illustrious naturalist we have just
mentioned will be our guide.

The body of the gnat is long and cylindrical. When in a state of
repose one of its wings is crossed over the other. They present a
charming appearance when seen through a microscope, their nervures, as
well as their edges, being completely covered with scales, shaped like
oblong plates and finely striated longitudinally. These scales are
also found on all the segments of the body.

[Illustration: Fig. 21.--Antennæ of Gnat, magnified.]

[Illustration: Fig. 22.--Head of Gnat, magnified.]

The antennæ of the gnat, particularly those of the male, have a fine
feathery appearance (Fig. 21).

Their eyes, covered with network, are so large that they cover nearly
the whole of the head. Some have eyes of a brilliant green colour, but
looked at in certain lights they appear red. Fig. 22 shows the head of
the gnat with its two eyes, its antennæ, and trunk.

The instrument which the gnat employs for puncturing the skin, and
which is called the trunk (Fig. 23), is well worthy of our attention.
That which is generally seen is only the case of those instruments
which are intended to pierce our skin and suck our blood, and in which
they are held, as lancets and other instruments are held in a
surgeon's case. The case (Fig. 24) is cylindrical, covered with
scales, and terminates in a small knob. Split from end to end that it
may open, it contains a perfect bundle of stings. Réaumur tried to
observe, by allowing himself to be stung by gnats, what took place
during the attack. He forgot, in watching the operations of the
insect, the slight pain caused by the wound, soliciting it as a
favour, his only regret being not to obtain it when he wished.

Réaumur observed that the compound sting, which is about a line in
length, enters the skin to the depth of about three-quarters of a
line, and that during that time the case bends into a bow, until the
two ends meet. He noticed besides, that the trunk-case of certain
gnats was even more complicated than that which we have described. But
we will not dwell any longer on this point.

[Illustration: Figs. 23 and 24.--Trunk of Gnat, magnified.]

[Illustration: Figs. 25, 26, 27.--Lancets of the Gnat.]

Let us now try to give an idea of the construction and composition of
this sting, which, after piercing the skin, draws our blood.

According to Réaumur, the sting of the gnat is composed of five parts.
He acknowledges, however, that it is very difficult to be certain of
the exact number of these parts, on account of the way in which they
are united, and of their form. At the present day we know that there
are six. Réaumur, as also Leuwenhoek, thought he saw two in the form
of a sword blade with three edges. These have the points reversed, and
are serrated on the convex side of the bend (Fig. 25). To form an idea
of the shape of the other points, the reader should look at Figs. 26
and 27. He will then see that the gnat's sting is a sword in

The prick made by so fine a point as that of the sting of the gnat
ought not to cause any pain. "The point of the finest needle," says
Réaumur, "compared to the sting of the gnat, is the same as the point
of a sword compared to that of the needle." How is it then that so
small a wound does not heal at once? How is it that small bumps arise
on the part that is stung? The fact is, that it is not only a wound,
but it has been imbued with an irritating liquid.

This liquid may be seen to exude, under different circumstances, from
the trunk of the gnat, like a drop of very clear water.

Réaumur sometimes saw this liquid even in the trunk itself. "There is
nothing better," he observes, "to prevent the bad effects of gnat
bites than at once to dilute the liquid they have left in the wound
with water. However small this wound may be, it will not be difficult
for water to be introduced. By rubbing, it will be at once enlarged,
and there is nothing to do but to wash it. I have sometimes found this
remedy answer very well."

The gnat is not always in the form of a winged insect, greedy for our
blood. There is a period during which they leave us in repose. This is
the larva period. It is in water, and in stagnant water in particular,
that the larva of the insect which occupies our attention is to be
found. It resembles a worm, and may be found in ponds from the month
of May until the commencement of winter.

[Illustration: Fig. 28.--Larva of the Gnat.]

If we desire to follow the larva of the gnat from the beginning, we
have only to keep a bucket of water in the open air. After a few days
this water will be observed to be full of the larvæ of the gnat (Fig.
28). They are very small, and come to the surface of the water to
breathe; for which purpose they extend the opening of a pipe, A, which
is attached to the last segment of the body, a little above the
surface. They are, consequently, obliged to hold their heads down. By
the side of the breathing-tube is another tube, B, shorter and thicker
than the former, nearly perpendicular to the body, its orifice being
the exterior termination of the digestive tube. At the anus it is
fringed with long hairs, having the appearance, when in the water, of
a funnel. At the end of the same tube, and inside the hair funnel, are
four thin, oval, transparent, scaly blades, having the appearance of
fins. They are placed in pairs, of which one emanates from the right
side, the other from the left.

These four blades or fins have the power of separating from each
other. Each segment of the abdomen has on both sides a tuft of hair,
and the thorax has three. The head is round and flat, and is provided
with two simple brown eyes. Round the mouth are several wattles,
furnished with hair, of which two of crescent-like form are the most
conspicuous. These tufts move with great quickness, causing small
currents of liquid to flow into the mouth, by means of which the
necessary food, microscopic insects and particles of vegetable and
earthy matter, is brought to the larva.

They change their skin several times during their continuance in this
state. This latter fact has been remarked by Dom Allou, a learned
Carthusian, "whose pleasure," says Réaumur, "consisted in admiring the
works of the Almighty, when not occupied in singing his praises." We
think it will be interesting to repeat the few lines which accompany
the mention made by Réaumur of this worthy Carthusian. They appear to
us to be well worth reading, even at the present day.

"If the pious monks who composed so many societies, possessed, like
Dom Allou, the love of observing insects, we might hope that the most
essential facts in the history of those little creatures would soon be
made known to us. What enjoyment more worthy of the calling they have
chosen could these pious men pursue than that which would place before
their eyes the marvellous creations of an Almighty Power? Even their
leisure would then incline them to adore that Power, and would furnish
them the means to make others do so who are occupied by too serious or
too frivolous employments."

After having changed its skin three times in a fortnight or three
weeks, the larva of the gnat throws off its covering for a fourth
time, and is no longer in the larva state. It is changed both in shape
and condition. Instead of being oblong, its body is shortened,
rounded, and bent in such a way that the tail is applied to the under
part of the head. This is the case when the animal is in repose; but
it is able to move and swim, and then, by bending its body and
straightening it again, propels itself through the water.

[Illustration: Fig. 29.--Pupa of the Gnat.]

In this new condition, that is to say, in the pupa state (Fig. 29), it
does not eat. It no longer possesses digestive organs, but it is
necessary, even more than before its metamorphosis, that it should
breathe atmospheric air. Besides, the organs of respiration are
greatly changed. During the time the insect was in the larva state, it
was through the long tube fixed to the posterior part that it received
or expelled the air; but in casting its skin it loses the tube, two
appendages resembling an ass's ears being for the pupa what the tube
was for the larva, the opening of these ears being held above the
surface of the water. From this pupa the perfect insect will emerge;
it is developed little by little, and the principal members may be
distinguished under the transparent membranous skin which envelopes

When the insect is about to change from the pupa state, it lies on the
surface of the water, straightening the hind part of its body, and
extending itself on the surface of the water, above which the thorax
is raised. Before it has been a moment in this position, its skin
splits between the two breathing trumpets, the split increasing very
rapidly in length and breadth.

"It leaves uncovered," says Réaumur, "a portion of the thorax of the
gnat, easily to be recognised by the freshness of its colour, which is
green, and different from the skin in which it was before enveloped.

"As soon is the split is enlarged--and to do so sufficiently is the
work of a moment--the fore part of the perfect insect is not long in
showing itself; and soon afterwards the head appears, rising above the
edges of the opening. But this moment, and those which follow, until
the gnat has entirely left its covering, are most critical, and when
it is exposed to fearful danger. This insect, which lately lived in
the water, is suddenly in a position in which it has nothing to fear
so much as water. If it were upset on the water, and the water were to
touch its thorax or body, it would be fatal. This is the way in which
it acts in this critical position--As soon as it has got out its head
and thorax, it lifts them as high as it is able above the opening
through which they had emerged, and then draws the posterior part of
its body through the same opening; or rather that part pushes itself
forward by contracting a little and then lengthening again, the
roughness of the covering from which it desires to extricate itself
serving as an assistance.

"A larger portion of the gnat is thus uncovered, and at the same time
the head is advanced farther towards the anterior end of the covering;
but as it advances in this direction, it rises more and more, the
anterior and posterior ends of the sheath thus becoming quite empty.
The sheath then becomes a sort of boat, into which the water does not
enter; and it would be fatal if it did. The water could not find a
passage to the farther end, and the edges of the anterior end could
not be submerged until the other was considerably sunk. The gnat
itself is the mast of its little boat. Large boats, which pass under
bridges, have masts which can be lowered; as soon as the boat has
passed the bridge the mast is hoisted up by degrees, until it is
perpendicular. The gnat rises thus until it becomes the mast of its
own little boat, and a vertical mast also. It is difficult to imagine
how it is able to put itself in such a singular, though for it
necessary, position, and also how it can keep it. The fore part of the
boat is much more loaded than the other, but it is also much broader.
Any one who observes how deep the fore part of the boat is, and how
near the edges of its sides are to the water, forgets for the time
being that the gnat is an insect that he would willingly destroy at
other times. One feels uneasy for its fate; and the more so if the
wind happens to rise, particularly if it disturbs the surface of the
water. But one sees with pleasure that there is air enough to carry
the gnat along quickly; it is carried from side to side; it makes
different voyages in the bucket in which it is borne. Though it
is only a sort of boat--or rather mast, because its wings and legs
are fixed close to its body, it is perhaps, in proportion to the
size of its boat, a larger sail than one would dare to put on a
real vessel--one cannot help fearing that the little boat will
capsize. * * * As soon as the boat is capsized, as soon as the gnat
is laid on the surface of the water, there is no chance left for it.
I have sometimes seen the water covered with gnats which had perished
thus as soon as they were born. It is, however, still more extraordinary
that the gnat is able to finish its operations. Happily they do not last
long; all dangers may be passed over in a minute.

[Illustration: Fig. 30.--Gnats emerging.]

"The gnat, after raising itself perpendicularly, draws its two front
legs from the sheath, and brings them forward. It then draws out the
two next. It now no longer tries to maintain its uneasy position, but
leans towards the water; gets near it, and places its feet upon it;
the water is sufficiently firm and solid support for them, and is able
to bear them, although burdened with the insect's body. As soon as the
insect is thus on the water it is in safety; its wings are unfolded
and dried, which is done sooner than it takes to tell it, at length
the gnat is in a position to use them, and it is soon seen to fly
away, particularly if one tries to catch it."

[Illustration: Fig. 31.--Eggs of the Gnat, magnified.]

One more word about the gnat, whose life is full of such interesting

The reader will perhaps not feel much pleasure in learning that the
fecundity of these insects is extraordinary. Many generations are born
in a single year, each generation requiring only three weeks or a
month to arrive at a condition to bring forth a new generation. Thus,
the number of gnats which comes into existence in the course of a
year is something fearful. Only a few days after the pupæ in a bucket
are transformed into gnats, eggs which have been left by the females
may be observed on the surface of the water in little clusters.

Many species of gnats, known as mosquitoes, are to be found in
America. All travellers speak of the sufferings endured by a stranger
in that country from the bites of these insects. One can only preserve
oneself from these cruel enemies during sleep by hanging gauze, called
a mosquito curtain, round the bed. Mosquito curtains are not only
necessary in America; during the hot season, in Spain, throughout the
whole of Italy, and a part of the south of France, it is necessary to
hang these curtains round the bed, if one wishes to obtain any sleep;
it is also a necessary precaution not to have a light in one's
bedchamber, as the sight of it at once attracts these dangerous
companions, whose buzzing and stinging prevent any possibility of
repose during the whole night. Such is our advice to people who travel
in the above-mentioned countries.

The _Tipulidæ_ have a narrow, elongated abdomen, and long and slight
limbs. The head is round, and the eyes, which are compound, are,
especially in the males, very large. The wings, which are long and
narrow, are sometimes held wide apart, sometimes horizontally, and
sometimes bent so as to form, as it were, a roof. The balancers are
naked and elongated; the abdomen long, cylindrical, and often
terminating in a club in the male, and in a point in the female. The
antennæ, which are longer than the head, are generally composed of
from fourteen to sixteen joints, and are sometimes in the form of a
comb or saw, sometimes furnished with hair, in form of plumes,
bunches, or in a whorl. The larvæ live on plants, in the fields, in
gardens, and sometimes in woods. The perfect insects, at first sight,
resemble gnats, but are without a trunk, or rather their trunk is
extremely short, terminating in two large lips, and the sucker is
composed of two fibres only.[12] The larger species of _Tipulæ_, which
are commonly known as "Daddy Longlegs," &c., and in France as
"_Tailleurs_" and "_Couturières_," are found in fields at the end of
September and commencement of October.

    [12] The genus _Cecidomyia_, which belongs to this family,
    presents the most extraordinary instance of agamo-genesis--or
    reproduction without fertilisation by another individual--at
    present known among insects. Until lately it was almost an
    axiom with naturalists that no insect was capable of
    reproduction until it had attained its adult or perfect state.
    Several Continental observers, some of them without any
    knowledge of the others' discoveries, have found that the
    _larvæ_ of some of the species of this genus reproduce larvæ
    resembling themselves in every respect; and what is still more
    strange, these larvæ live in a free state within the parent
    larvæ, feeding upon its tissues, and causing its ultimate

    A very interesting article on this subject will be found in the
    _Popular Science Review_ for the 1st April, 1868. The larvæ of
    a species (_Cecidomyia tritici_) frequently causes much injury
    to the wheat.--ED.

"Although they sometimes fly a considerable distance," says Réaumur,
"when the sun is bright and hot, they generally do not go far; often,
indeed, only along the ground, or rather the top of the grass.
Sometimes they only use their wings to keep them above the level of
the herbage, and to take them along. Their legs, particularly the hind
ones, are disproportionately large. They are three times the length of
the body, and are to these insects what stilts are to the peasants of
marshy and inundated countries, enabling them to pass with ease over
the higher blades of grass."

One of the smaller species has been termed _culiciformis_, on account
of its resemblance to the gnat. The smaller are more active than the
larger species which we have mentioned. Not only do they fly more
rapidly, but there are some kinds which are continually on the wing.
In all seasons, even during the winter, at certain hours of the day,
clouds of small insects are seen in the air, which are taken for
gnats: they are _Tipulæ_. Their flight is worthy of attention; they
generally only rise and fall in the same vertical line. All these
flies come from larvæ, which resemble very elongated worms, having
scaly heads, generally furnished with two very small conical antennæ,
and certain other organs, for the purpose of obtaining food. Their
bodies are jointed without limbs, but nevertheless provided with
appendages which supply their place. The larvæ of the various species
are of very different habits. Some are aquatic, as that of _Tipula
culiciformis_, a small species which is very numerous in stagnant

It is necessary to say a few words about these worm-like larvæ, which
are extremely common. They are of a brilliant red colour, and inhabit
little oblong bent masses of earth, thickly pierced with holes. Each
hole allows a worm to extend its head, and the foremost part of its
body, out of the cell, which is made of light spongy matters, remains
of decayed leaves, &c. These larvæ are transformed into pupæ, in
the cell in which they have lived, during the larvæ state, losing by
this metamorphosis the scaly coverings of the head and of all the
exterior parts. They pass into the pupa state, and have the thorax
provided with dainty plumes, which probably assist in the action of
respiration. This pupa is very active and quick in its movements in
the water. When the moment comes for its last metamorphosis, it throws
off its feathery covering in much the same manner as the gnat.

Fig. 32 represents _Tipula oleracea_ in the different stages of larva,
pupa, and perfect insect.

[Illustration: Fig. 32.--Daddy Longlegs (_Tipula oleracea_).]

Other species of small _Tipulæ_ have aquatic larvæ very similar to
those which we have described. Réaumur remarked that each of these
worms is lodged in a thick mass, convex at the top, formed of a
transparent and adhesive white jelly. The larvæ of the larger _Tipulæ_
are not aquatic, but are of different habits, and live under the
ground; all soil which is not frequently turned is suitable to them,
but they are to be found especially in low damp meadows.

Réaumur saw large districts of grassy swamps in Poictou, which, in
certain years, furnished very little grass for the cattle, on account
of the ravages caused by these larvæ. They had also much injured the
harvest in the same districts during those years.

These larvæ appear to require no other food than vegetable mould.
Their excrements are, in fact, according to Réaumur, nothing else
than dried earth, from which the stomach and intestines of the insect
have withdrawn all nourishing matter.

Old trees have often hollow cavities occasioned by the decay of the
trunk. When these cavities are old, their lower parts are full of a
sort of mould, which is in fact half-decayed wood. It is there that
the _Tipulæ_ often lay their eggs. Réaumur frequently found the larvæ
in the trunks of elms or willows, and also in the fleshy parts of
certain kinds of mushrooms. He carefully observed the habits of one,
which lived under the covering of a mushroom, the Oak agaric
(_Agaricus quercinus_). This larva is round, grey, and resembles an
earth-worm. It does not walk, but crawls; and the places where it
stops, or which it passes over, are covered with a sort of brilliant
slime, like that left by the snail or slug.

M. Guérin-Méneville has published some very interesting remarks on the
migrations of the larvæ of a particular kind of _Tipula_, known by the
name of _Sciara_. We will borrow from that entomologist the following
curious details, which will initiate us into one of the most wonderful
phenomena in the whole history of insects. These small larvæ are
without feet, hardly five lines in length, and about the third of a
line in diameter. They are composed of thirteen segments, and have
small black heads.

In some years, during the month of July, may be found on the borders
of forests in Norway and Hanover, immense trains of these larvæ,
formed by the union of an innumerable quantity fixed to each other by
a sticky substance. These collections of larvæ resemble some sort of
strange animal of serpent-like form, several feet long, one or two
inches in thickness, and formed by the union of an immense number,
which cling to each other by thousands, and move on together. The
whole society advances thus with one accord, leaving a track after it
on the ground, as a material indication of its presence.

These strange collections of living creatures form societies,
sometimes only a few yards long; but at other times it happens that
they form bands from ten to twelve yards in length, of the breadth of
a hand and the thickness of a thumb. M. Guérin-Méneville observed
columns as many as thirty yards in length. These troops advance as
slowly as a snail, and in a certain direction. If they encounter an
obstacle--as a stone, for instance--they cross over it, turn round it,
or else divide into two sections, which reunite after the obstacle is
passed. If a portion of the column be removed so as to divide it into
two parts, it is quickly reunited, as the hindmost portion soon joins
that which precedes it. Lastly, if the posterior part of this living
ribbon be brought into contact with the anterior, a circle is formed,
which turns round and round on the same ground for a long time,
sometimes even for a whole day, before breaking, and continuing to
advance. They are never met with in bad weather, but only when the sun
is warm.

The curious and astonishing phenomenon of an assembly of larvæ without
feet, advancing with an equal movement resulting from the individual
motion of thousands of little worms, was remarked for the first time,
in 1603, by Gaspard Schwenefelt. This naturalist says that the
inhabitants of Siberia consider this phenomenon as an indication of a
bad harvest if they go towards the mountains; whereas, if they descend
towards the plains, it is the sign of a good one. In 1715 Jonas Ramus
mentioned the same phenomenon, recalling a superstition attached to it
by the peasants of Norway. This writer informs us that the peasants of
that country, on meeting one of these moving columns, throw down their
belts or waistcoats on the ground before it. If the _orme-drag_ (that
is the name given to the moving column) crosses over this obstacle, it
is a good sign; but on the other hand, if the column turns round the
obstacle, instead of crossing it, some mischief may be expected.

The same animals were observed in 1845 at Birkenmore, near Hefeld, by
M. Rande, Royal Inspector of the Forests of Hanover.

M. Guérin-Méneville is of opinion that these larvæ, which exist in
great numbers in certain districts, sometimes devour all the nutritive
substances contained in the ground. After having done so, they are
obliged to come out of it, in order to seek at a distance a place
where they will find food, or perhaps only a suitable place to undergo
their metamorphosis. It is then that this singular journey commences.
As regards the uniting of these myriads of individuals into columns,
M. Guérin-Méneville thinks that it can be explained by the necessity
these insects feel for mutual protection against the drying effect of
the atmosphere when they are forced to leave the ground. United into
masses, and moistened by the glutinous matter which connects them,
they can leave their former place of abode without danger; if each
were by itself, they would soon perish. Here, as in other cases, union
is strength; and the strength of these larvæ lies in this protecting
moisture. However it may be explained, the migration of these troops
of insects are among the most astonishing phenomena of Nature.


The Brachycera, from [Greek: brachus], "short;" and [Greek: keras], "a
horn"--these Diptera having short antennæ--are divided into four
groups. In this subdivision the sucker is composed of six bristles.
Amongst other families it includes that of the _Tabanidæ_; the insects
belonging to which family are of remarkable strength, and possessed of
daring and courage in the highest degree. Their wings are provided
with powerful muscles, their feet are very strong, and their trunk is
provided with six flat, sharp lancets. Distributed over the entire
world, their instinct is everywhere the same, it is the desire for
blood, at least in the females; for the males are not so warlike, they
do no harm, but live on the juices of flowers. They are chiefly found
in woods and pastures, and during the hottest part of the day in
summer may be seen flying about seeking for their prey.

M. de Saint-Fargeau has described the manner in which the males fly.
They may be seen flying hither and thither in the glades of woods,
remaining for some time suspended in the air, then darting quickly and
suddenly away a yard or two, again taking up the same immovable
position, and in each of these movements turning the head to the
opposite way from that in which they are going. This naturalist is
certain that on these occasions they are watching for the females,
which they dart upon. When they have succeeded in doing so, they rise
so high as to be out of sight.

To this group belongs the genus _Tabanus_.

The first species we shall mention, _Tabanus autumnalis_ (Fig. 33), a
common species, is eight or nine lines in length, and of blackish
colour. The palpi, the face, and the forehead are grey; the antennæ
black; the thorax grey, striped with brown; the abdomen spotted with
yellow; the legs of a yellowish white; and the outer edge of the wings

Another species (_Tabanus bovinus_) is twelve lines in length, and of
a blackish brown. The palpi, the face, and the forehead are yellow;
the antennæ black, with a whitish base; the thorax, covered with
yellow hair, is striped with black; the posterior edge of the segments
of the abdomen pale yellow; the legs yellowish, with the extremities
black, and the exterior edge of the wings yellow. This species is
frequently met with in woods.

A third species, _Chrysops cæcutiens_ (Fig. 34), which belongs to the
same family, and of which the generic name _Chrysops_ signifies
golden-eyed, torments horses and cattle very much by biting them round
the eyes. Its thorax is of a yellowish colour, striped or spotted with
black; the abdomen yellow, and the eyes golden.

In the next group of the Brachycera the sucker is composed of four
bristles, and the antennæ generally terminate in a point which appears
to be rather a development than an appendage.

This group includes a number of genera, but the following only possess
sufficient interest to claim our attention. From the _Tanystomæ_ we
select the families of the _Asilidæ_, _Empidæ_, and _Bombylidæ_. As
types of the _Brachystomæ_ we select the _Leptidæ_ and _Syrphidæ_.

[Illustration: Fig. 33.--Tabanus autumnalis.]

[Illustration: Fig. 34.--Chrysops cæcutiens.]

The chief characteristic of the _Asilidæ_ is strength. All their
organs combine to produce this quality, which they display only too
much, being as formidable to cattle as the _Tabani_, but even
surpassing those insects in natural cruelty.

The _Asilidæ_ unceasingly attack other insects, and even those of
their own kind. Their trunk is strong; one of the fibres of the sucker
is furnished with small points, turned back, which are intended to
hold firmly to the body into which it has entered. They carry on their
devastations in the glades of woods and on sunny roads.

We will mention in this group _Asilus crabroniformis_ (Fig. 35), an
insect ten to twelve lines long, having a yellow head, black antennæ,
and thorax of a brownish yellow. The three first segments of the
abdomen are black, the second and third having a white spot on each
side, the remaining segments are yellow. The wings are yellowish,
spotted with black on the inner and hind margin. This species is
common over the whole of Europe, and lives at the expense of
caterpillars and other insects, of which it sucks the blood with the
greatest voracity.

[Illustration: Fig. 35.--Asilus crabroniformis.]

[Illustration: Fig. 36.--Bombylius major.]

The _Empidæ_ live in the same way as the _Asilidæ_, but the males are
chiefly nourished by the juices of flowers.

"They wage war on other insects," says M. Macquart, in his "Histoire
Naturelle des Diptères," "either when flying or running, and they
seize their victims with their feet, which are formed in various ways,
and well adapted for their purpose, but it is in the air that their
hunting, as well as their amours, chiefly take place. They unite
together in numerous companies, which during fine summer evenings
whirl like gnats about the water's edge. A singular observation,
however, that I have made on the _Empis_, is, that among the thousands
of pairs that I have seen resting on hedges and bushes, nearly all the
females were occupied in sucking an insect; some had hold of small
_Phryganeæ_,[13] others of _Ephemeræ_,[14] and the greater part of

    [13] The insects produced from the caddis or case-worm.--ED.

    [14] May-fly family.--ED.

The _Empidæ_ have the trunk bent down, and resembling the beak of a
bird; but the _Bombylidæ_, on the contrary, have the trunk extended
straight in front.

The typical genus which has given its name to this latter group is
easily to be recognised by the elegance of the fur which covers its
body, the slenderness of its feet, and the length of its wings, which
extend horizontally on each side of the body.

Much more common in hot climates than in the North, these insects, the
larvæ of which are not yet known, take flight in the middle of the
day, when the sun's rays are hottest. They fly very fast, making a
dull buzzing sound, and hover over flowers, from which they draw the
juices without settling.

Fig. 36 represents the _Bombylius major_, which is common enough
throughout the whole of Europe. This insect is from four to six lines
long, black, with yellow fur; the feet light yellow; and the wings
have the edges bordered with a sinuous brown band.

The genus _Anthrax_, belonging to this family, has a different form to
_Bombylius_. The body is much less hairy; the trunk is short and
concealed in the mouth; the wings, which are very large, are clothed,
at least in the principal genus, in a garb of mourning, sufficiently
remarkable, in which the combinations of black and white are admirably

"Here," says M. Macquart, "the line which separates the two colours is
straight; there it represents gradations, in other cases it is deeply
sinuous. Sometimes the dark part shows transparent points, or the
glassy part dark spots. This sombre garb, added to the velvet black of
the body, gives the Anthrax a most elegant appearance; and while
resting on the corolla of the honeysuckle and hawthorn to suck the
juice, forms a most striking contrast, and sets forth its beauty no
less than that of those lovely flowers."

_Anthrax sinuata_ is common in Europe.

The family of the _Syrphidæ_ includes three remarkable types, which we
cannot pass over in silence. They are _Vermileo_, _Volucella_, and

_Vermileo de Geeri_ (Fig. 37), which inhabits the central and southern
parts of France, is four or five lines in length. Its face is white;
its forehead grey, bordered with black; the thorax of a yellowish
grey, with four brown stripes in the male; the abdomen light yellow,
spotted with black; and the wings glassy.

[Illustration: Fig. 37.--Vermileo de Geeri.]

[Illustration: Fig. 38.--A species of Volucella.]

The larva of the _Vermileo_ has a thin cylindrical body, capable of
bending itself in every direction; a conical head, armed with two
horny points; and the last segment elongated, flat, elevated, and
terminated by four hairy tentacles; at the sides of the fifth segment
may be observed a little angle, from which projects a horny retractile

It is of very singular habits. It makes a small tunnel in the sand,
having a conical mouth, where it waits, like the spider, immovable. As
soon as an insect falls into the hole, it raises its head, and
squeezing its prey in the folds of its body, devours it, and
afterwards throws out the skin. It lives in this way for at least
three years before attaining the perfect state.

The _Volucellæ_ (Fig. 38) have a strong resemblance to the humble-bee.
Certain kinds make use and abuse of this resemblance to introduce
themselves fraudulently into its nests, and to deposit their eggs
therein. When these eggs have hatched, the larvæ, which have the mouth
armed with two mandibles, devour the larvæ of their hosts, the bees.
This is the return they make for the hospitality they have received!

[Illustration: Fig. 39.--A species of Helophilus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 40.--Larvæ of a Helophilus.]

The _Helophili_ (Fig. 39) deserve to be mentioned here on account of
the singular form of many of their larvæ. The head is thick, fleshy,
and varying a little in form. But the point by which they are easily
to be distinguished from most other larvæ is, that they have always
very long tails, sometimes, indeed, out of proportion to the length of
the body. Réaumur called these larvæ "vers à queue de rat;" they are
known in England as rat-tailed maggots, and their habits are aquatic.
Having placed some of them in a bason of water, Réaumur saw that they
kept in a perpendicular position at the bottom of the bason and
parallel to one another, the extremities of their tails being on the
surface of the water. He then increased the depth of the water by
degrees; and, as it got deeper, observed that the tail of each worm
became longer. These tails, which at first were only two inches long,
at last attained to five.

It will be remarked that the body of each worm does not exceed five
lines in length. The tail is a peculiar organ, by the aid of which the
worm breathes, although its body may be covered by water to the depth
of several inches. It is composed of two tubes, one of which shuts
into the other, like a telescope. Réaumur calls it the breathing tube.
It terminates in a little brown knob, in which, according to Réaumur,
are two holes for the purpose of receiving the air, and which have
five little tufts of hair, which float on the surface of the water.
When the time comes for the metamorphosis of these worms, they come
out of the water and bury themselves in the earth; the skin then
hardens and becomes a sort of cocoon. In this cocoon the insect loses
the form of a worm, and takes by degrees that of the pupa, which it
keeps until circumstances cause it to throw off its last coverings,
and to appear in the winged state.

What an eventful life! what a life full of changes and turns of
fortune is that of these insects, which pass the first and longest
period of their existence under water, another part of their life
under the ground, and, finally, after having existed in these two
elements, enjoy, high in the air, the pleasures of flight!

The third group of Brachycera is that of the _Dichæta_; that is, those
flies having two-fibred suckers. Among these are classed the
_OEstri_, the _Conopes_, and the flies properly so called.

The genus _OEstrus_, the Gad, Bot-fly, or Breeze, comprises those
formidable insects which attack the horse, the sheep, and the ox.[15]
The labours of Réaumur, in his admirable Memoirs, and those of M.
Joly, Professor of Zoology to the Faculté des Sciences de Toulouse,
who published some most valuable researches on this subject, in 1846,
will guide us in the following brief explanation.

    [15] Mr. Bates, in his interesting "Naturalist on the Amazons,"
    mentions an _OEstrus_ as occurring in those regions, which
    deposits its eggs in the human flesh, the larva causing a
    swelling which resembles a boil.--ED.

The following is the description given by M. Joly of the Gad-fly
(_OEstrus equi_) represented in Figs. 41, 42, which are taken from a
drawing which accompanies that naturalist's Memoirs.

The head of this insect is large and obtuse; the face light yellow,
with whitish silky fur; the eyes blackish; the antennæ ferruginous;
the thorax grey; and the abdomen of a reddish yellow, with black
spots. The wings are whitish, not diaphanous, with a golden tint, and
divided by a winding band of blackish colour. The feet are palish

[Illustration: I. A Herd of Horses attacked by Gad-flies (_OEstrus

[Illustration: Fig. 41.--Horse-fly, male (_OEstrus_ [_gasterophilus_]

[Illustration: Fig. 42.--Horse-fly, female (_OEstrus_ [_gasterophilus_]

This species is found in France, in Italy, and also in the East,
especially in Persia, and rarely in England. During the months of July
and August the _OEstrus_ frequents pastures, and deposits its eggs
chiefly on the shoulders and knees of horses (PLATE I.). In order to
do this, the female suspends herself in the air for some seconds over
the place she has chosen, falls upon it, and with her abdomen bent,
sticks her eggs to the horse's hairs by means of a glutinous liquid
with which they are provided, and which soon dries. This is repeated
at very short intervals. It often happens that from four to five
hundred eggs are thus deposited upon the same horse. Guided by a
marvellous instinct, the female _OEstrus_ generally places her eggs
on those parts of the horse's body which can be most easily touched
with the tongue, that is, at the inner part of the knees, on the
shoulders, and rarely on the outer part of the mane.

[Illustration: Fig. 43.--Eggs of the Gad-fly (_OEstrus_
[_gasterophilus_] _equi_) deposited on the hairs of a horse.]

The eggs of the _OEstrus_, which are white and of conical form,
adhere to the horse's hair, as shown in Fig. 43. They are furnished
with a lid, which at the time of hatching opens, to allow the exit of
the young larva, which takes place, according to M. Joly, about twenty
days after they are deposited. In fact, it is not in the egg state,
but really in that of the larva, that the horse, as we shall explain,
takes into his stomach these parasitical guests, to which Nature has
allotted so singular an abode. When licking itself, the horse carries
them into its mouth, and afterwards swallows them with his food, by
which means they enter the stomach. It is a remarkable fact that it is
sometimes other insects, as the _Tabania_ for instance, that by their
repeated stinging cause the horse to lick himself, and thus to receive
his most cruel enemy. In the perilous journey they have to perform
from the skin of the horse to his stomach, many of the larvæ of the
_OEstrus_, as may be supposed, are destroyed, ground by the teeth of
the animal, or crushed by the alimentary substances. There is hardly
one _OEstrus_ in fifty that arrives safely in the stomach of the
horse; and yet if one were to open a horse which had been attacked by
the _OEstri_, the stomach would be nearly always found to have many
of the larvæ sticking to its inside. Fig. 44, taken from a drawing
which accompanies M. Joly's Memoirs, represents the state of a horse's
stomach attacked by the Gad-fly larvæ.

[Illustration: Fig. 44.--Portion of the stomach of the horse, and
larvæ of OEstrus (gasterophilus) equi.]

The larvæ are of a reddish yellow, and each of their segments is armed
at the posterior edge with a double row of triangular spines, large
and small alternately, yellow at the base, and black at the point,
which is always turned backwards. The head is furnished with two
hooks, which serve to fasten the larva to the internal coats of the
stomach. The spines with which the whole surface of the body is
furnished contribute to fix it more perfectly, preventing the
creatures, by the manner in which they are placed, from being carried
away by the food which has gone through the first process of

It is probable that this larva, so singularly deposited, is nourished
by the mucus secreted by the mucous membrane of the stomach, and that
it breathes the air which the horse swallows with its food during the
process of deglutition. It must be acknowledged, however, that it is
in the midst of a gaseous atmosphere which is very unhealthy, for
nearly all the gases generated in the stomach of the horse are fatal
to man and to the generality of animals, as they consist of nitrogen,
carbonic acid, sulphuretted hydrogen, and carburetted hydrogen. To
explain how the insect can live under such circumstances, M. Joly has
suggested the following ingenious hypothesis:--

"When the stomach which the larva inhabits," says this learned
naturalist, "contains only oxygen, or air that is nearly pure, the
insect opens the two lips of the cavity which contains the spiracles,
and breathes at its ease. When the digestion of the alimentary
substance generates gas which is unfit for respiration, or when the
spiracles run the risk of being obstructed by the solid or liquid
substances contained in the stomach, it shuts the lips, and continues
to live on the air contained in its numerous tracheæ."

"Whatever may be the value of this explanation," adds M. Joly, "it is
nevertheless very curious to see an insect pass the greater part of
its life in an atmosphere which would be instantly fatal to most
animals, and in an organ where, under the government of life, chemical
processes bring about the most wonderful changes of the food into the
substance of the animal itself. But how can the insect itself resist
the action of these mysterious powers, and remain alone intact in the
midst of all these matters which are unceasingly changing and
decomposing? This is another question which it is difficult, or rather
impossible, to explain in the present state of science; another enigma
which humbles our pride, and of which He who has created both man and
the worm alone knows the secret."

Arrived at a state of complete development, the larva of the
_OEstrus_ imprisoned in the stomach of the horse leaves the membrane
to which it has been fixed, then directing the anterior part of its
body towards the pyloric opening of the stomach, allows itself to be
carried away with the excrementitious matter. It traverses, mixed with
the excrementary bolus, the whole length of the intestinal canal,
leaves it by the anal orifice, and on touching the ground at once
seeks a suitable place to go through the last but one of its

The skin then gets thick, hardens, and becomes black. All the organs
of the animal are composed of a whitish amorphous pulp, which soon
assumes its destined form, and the insect becomes perfect. It then
lifts a lid at the anterior part of its cocoon, emerges, dries its
wings, and flies off.

[Illustration: Fig. 45.--Bot-fly (_OEstrus bovis_).]

The Bot-fly (_OEstrus bovis_, Fig. 45) has a very hairy body, large
head, the face and forehead covered with light yellow hair, the eyes
brown, and the antennæ black. The thorax is yellow, barred with black;
the abdomen of a greyish white at the base, covered with black hair on
the third segment, and the remainder of an orange yellow; the wings
are smoky brown.

As soon as the cattle are attacked, they may be seen, their heads and
necks extended, their tails trembling, and held in a line with the
body, to rush to the nearest river or pond, while such as are not
attacked disperse (PLATE II.). It is asserted that the buzzing alone
of the _OEstrus_ terrifies a bullock to such an extent as to
render it unmanageable. As for the insect, it simply obeys its
maternal instinct, which commands it to deposit its eggs under the
skin of our large ruminants.

[Illustration: II. A Herd of Cattle attacked by Bot-flies (_OEstrus

Let us now explain how the eggs of the _OEstrus_, deposited in the
skin of the bullock, accommodate themselves to this strange abode. The
mother insect makes a certain number of little wounds in the skin of
the beast, each of which receives an egg, which the heat of the animal
serves to bring forth. It is a natural parallel to the artificial way
which the ancient Egyptians invented of hatching the eggs of domestic
fowls, and which has been imitated badly enough in our day.

Directly the larva of the Bot-fly is out of the egg and lodged between
the skin and the flesh of its host, the bullock, it finds itself in a
place perfectly suitable to its existence. In this happy condition the
larva increases in growth, and eventually becomes a fly in its turn.
Those parts of the animal's body in which the larvæ are lodged are
easily to be recognised, as above each larva may be seen an elevation,
a sort of tumour, termed a bot--a bump, as Réaumur calls it, comparing
it more or less justly to the bump caused on a man's head by a severe

Fig. 46, taken from a drawing in Réaumur's Memoirs, represents the
bots of which we speak.

The country people are well aware of the nature and cause of these
bots. They know that each one contains a worm, that this worm comes
from a fly, and that later it will be transformed into a fly itself.
Each of these bots has in its interior a cavity, occupied by a larva,
which, as well as the bot, increases in size as the larva becomes

It is generally on young cows or young bullocks--in fact, on cattle of
from two to three years of age--that these tumours exist, and they are
rarely to be seen on old animals. The fly, which by piercing the skin
occasions these tumours, always chooses those whose skin offers little
resistance. Each tumour is provided with a small opening, by which the
larva breathes.

In order to examine the interior of the cavity, Réaumur opened some of
these tumours, either with a razor or a pair of scissors. He found
them in a most disgusting state. The larva is lodged in a regular
festering wound, matter occupying the bottom of the cavity, and the
head of the worm is continually, or almost continually, plunged in
this liquid. "It is most likely very well off there," says Réaumur;
and he adds that this matter appears to be the sole food of the

"The position of a horned beast," observes the great naturalist,
"which has thirty or forty of these bumps on its back, would be a very
cruel one, and a terrible state of suffering, if his flesh were
continually mangled by thirty or forty large worms. But it is probable
they cause no suffering, or at least very little, to the large animal.
Besides," continues Réaumur, "those cattle whose bodies are the most
covered with bumps, not only show no signs of pain, but it does not
appear that they are prejudicial to them in any way."

[Illustration: Fig. 46.--Bumps produced on Cattle by the larvæ of the

Réaumur tried to discover how the larva, when arrived at its full
growth, succeeds in leaving its abode, as the opening is smaller than
its own body.

"Nature," says Réaumur, "has taught this worm the surest, the
gentlest, and the most simple of methods, the one to which surgeons
often have recourse to hold wounds open, or to enlarge them. They
press _tents_ into a wound they wish to enlarge. Two or three days
before the worm wishes to come out, it commences to make use of its
posterior part as a tent, to increase the size of its exit from its
habitation. It thrusts it into the hole and draws it out again many
times in the course of two or three days, and the oftener this is
repeated, the longer it is able to retain its posterior end in the
opening, as the hole becomes larger. On the day preceding that on
which the worm is to come out, the posterior part is to be found
almost continually in the hole. At last, it comes out backwards, and
falls to the ground, when it gets under a stone, or buries itself in
the turf; remaining quiet and preparing for its last transformation.
Its skin hardens, the rings disappear, and it becomes black.
Thenceforth the insect is detached from the outer skin, which forms a
cocoon, or box. At the front and upper part of the cocoon is a
triangular piece, which the fly gets rid of when it is in a fit state
to come into the open air."

Fig. 47, taken from drawings in Réaumur's Memoirs, represents the
imago of the _OEstrus_ leaving the cocoon.

[Illustration: Fig. 47.--Imago of Bot-fly emerging.]

[Illustration: Fig. 48.--Ovipositor of the Bot-fly (_OEstrus bovis_).]

The reader is, most likely, desirous to know with the aid of what
instrument the _OEstrus_ is able to pierce the thick skin of the ox.

The female only is possessed of this instrument, which is situated in
the posterior extremity of the body. It is of a shiny blackish brown
colour, and as it were covered with scales. By pressing the abdomen of
the fly between one's two fingers it is thrust out. Réaumur observed
that it was formed of four tubes, which could be drawn the one into
the other, like the tubes of a telescope (Fig. 48). The last of these
appears to terminate in five small scaly knobs, which are not placed
on the same line, but are the ends of five different parts. Three of
these knobs are furnished with points, which form an instrument well
fitted to operate upon a hard thick skin. United together, they form a
cavity similar to that of an auger, and terminating in the form of a

The Gad-fly, or Breeze-fly of the sheep, _OEstrus_ (_Cephalemyia
ovis_), has obtained notoriety on account of its attacking those

Even at the sight of this insect the sheep feels the greatest terror.
As soon as one of them appears, the flock becomes disturbed, the sheep
that is attacked shakes its head when it feels the fly on its nostril,
and at the same time strikes the ground violently with its fore-feet;
it then commences to run here and there, holding its nose near the
ground, smelling the grass, and looking about anxiously to see if it
is still pursued.

[Illustration: Fig. 49.--Cephalemyia ovis.]

It is to avoid the attacks of the _Cephalemyia_ that during the hot
days of summer sheep lie down with their nostrils buried in dusty
ruts, or stand up with their heads lowered between their fore-legs,
and their noses nearly in contact with the ground. When these poor
beasts are in the open country, they are observed assembled with their
nostrils against each other and very near the ground, so that those
which occupy the outside are alone exposed (PLATE III.). The
_Cephalemyia ovis_ (Fig. 49) has a less hairy head, but larger in
proportion to the size of its body than the Gad-fly (_Gasterophilus
equi_). Its face is reddish; its forehead brown with purple bars; its
eyes of a dark and changing green; its antennæ black, its thorax
sometimes grey, sometimes brown, bristling with small black
tubercles; the abdomen white, spotted with brown or black; and the
wings hyaline.

[Illustration: III. Sheep attacked by _Cephalemyia ovis_.]

The _Cephalemyia_ (_OEstrus_) _ovis_ is to be found in Europe,
Arabia, Persia, and in the East Indies. It lays its eggs on the edges
of the animal's nostrils, and the larva lives in the frontal and
maxillary sinuses. It is a whitish worm, having a black transverse
band on each of its segments. Its head is armed with two horny black
hooks, parallel, and capable of being moved up and down and laterally.
Underneath, each segment of the body has several rows of tubercles of
nearly spherical form, surmounted by small bristles having reddish
points, and all of them bent backwards. "These points," says M. Joly,
"probably serve to facilitate the progress of the animal on the smooth
and slippery surfaces of the mucous membranes to which it fixes itself
to feed, and perhaps also to increase the secretion of these membranes
by the irritation occasioned by the bristles with which they are

    [16] "Recherches sur les OEstrides en général, et
    particulièrement sur les OEstres qui attaquent l'homme, le
    cheval, le boeuf, et le mouton." Par N. Joly, Professeur à la
    Faculté des Sciences de Toulouse. P. 63. Lyons, 1846.

Fixed by means of these hooks to the mucous membrane, which it
perforates, the larva nourishes itself with mucus, and lives in this
state, according to M. Joly, during nearly a whole year. At the end of
this time it comes out, following the same course by which it entered,
falls to the ground, and burying itself to the depth of a few inches,
is transformed into a pupa. The cocoon is of a fine black colour.
Thirty or forty days after its burial it emerges in the perfect state,
and detaching the lid at the anterior end of the cocoon by the aid of
its head, which has increased considerably in size, takes flight.

[Illustration: Fig. 50.--Conops.]

Notwithstanding the formidable appearance of their trunks, the habits
of the perfect _Conopes_ (Fig. 50) are very quiet. In the adult state
they are only to be seen on flowers, of which they suck the honeyed
juice. But with their larvæ the case is otherwise. These latter live
as parasites on the humble-bees (_Bombi_). Latreille saw the _Conops
rufipes_ issue in the perfect state from the body of a humble-bee,
through the intervals of the segments of the abdomen.

The _Mucides_ form that great tribe of Diptera commonly known as
flies, and which are distributed in such abundance over the whole
world. Faithful companions of plants, the flies follow them to the
utmost limits of vegetation. At the same time they are called upon by
Nature to hasten the dissolution of dead bodies. They place their eggs
in the carcases of animals, and the larvæ prey upon the corrupt flesh,
thus quickly ridding the earth of those fatal causes of infection to
its inhabitants. The organs of these insects are also infinitely
modified, in order to adapt them to their various functions.

[Illustration: Fig. 51.--Echinomyia grossa.]

M. Macquart divides the _Muscides_ into three sections--the
_Creophili_, the _Anthomyzides_, and the _Acalyptera_.

The _Creophili_ have the strongest organisation; their movements and
their flight are rapid. The greater part feed on the juices of
flowers, some on the blood or the humours of animals. Some deposit
their eggs on different kinds of insects, others on bodies in a state
of decomposition, some again are viviparous. The insects of the genus
_Echinomyia_, for instance (Fig. 51), derive their nourishment from
flowers. They deposit their eggs on caterpillars, and the young larvæ
on hatching penetrate their bodies and feed on their viscera. How
surprised, sometimes, is the naturalist, who, after carefully
preserving a chrysalis, and awaiting day by day the appearance of the
beautiful butterfly of which it is the coarse and mysterious envelope,
sees a cloud of flies emerge in place of it!

But there is another singular manoeuvre performed by some of the
species of the Diptera with which we are at present occupied to
prepare an abundant supply of provision for their larvæ as soon as
they are hatched. The following are the means they employ. It is well
known that certain fossorial Hymenoptera carry their prey--other
insects which they have caught, weevils, flies, &c., and which they
intend should serve as food for their own larvæ--into their
subterranean abodes. These Diptera, spying a favourable moment, slip
furtively into their retreats, and deposit their eggs on the very food
which was intended for others. Their larvæ, which are soon hatched,
make great havoc among the provisions gathered together in the cave,
and cause the legitimate proprietors to die of starvation.

"This instinct," says M. Macquart, "is accompanied by the greatest
agility, obstinacy, and audacity, which are necessary to carry on this
brigandage; and, on the other hand, the Hymenoptera, seized with fear,
or stupefied, offer no resistance to their enemies, and although they
carry on a continual war against different insects, and particularly
against different _Muscides_, they never seize those of whom they have
so much to complain, and which, nevertheless, have no arms to oppose
them with."

The _Sarcophagæ_ are a very common family of Diptera, and are chiefly
to be found on flowers, from which they steal the juice. The females
do not lay eggs, but are viviparous.

Réaumur, with his usual care, observed this remarkable instance of
viviparism proved in a fly, which seeks those parts of our houses
where meat is kept to deposit its larvæ. This fly is grey, its legs
are black, and its eyes red.

When one of them is taken and held between the fingers, there may
often be seen a small, oblong, whitish, cylindrical worm come out of
the posterior part of the body, and shake itself in order to disengage
itself thoroughly. It has no sooner freed itself than the head of
another begins to show. Thirty or forty sometimes come out in this
manner, and, on pressing the abdomen of the fly slightly, more than
eighty of these larvæ may sometimes be made to come out in a short
space of time. If a piece of meat be put near these worms, they
quickly get into it, and eat greedily. They grow rapidly, attaining
their full size in a few days, and make a cocoon of their skin, from
which in a certain time the imago issues. If the body of one of these
ovo-viviparous flies (for the eggs hatch within the parent) be opened,
a sort of thick ribbon of spiral form is soon seen. This ribbon
appears at first sight to be nothing but an assemblage of worms,
placed alongside of and parallel to one another.

Each worm has a thin white membranous envelope, similar to those
light spiders' webs which float about in autumn, which the French call
_fils de la vierge_, and we denominate _gossamer_.

The fecundity of this fly is very great, for, in the length of a
quarter of an inch, the envelope in which these small worms are
enclosed contains 2,000 of them. Therefore this ribbon, being two
inches and a half long, contains about 20,000 worms.

The members of the genus _Stomoxys_, though nearly related to the
house-fly, differ from it very much in habits. They live on the blood
of animals. The _Stomoxys calcitrans_ is very common in these
climates. Its palpi are tawny yellow, antennæ black, thorax striped
with black, abdomen spotted with brown, and its trunk hard, thin, and
long. It deposits its eggs on the carcases of large animals.

The Golden Fly, _Lucilia Cæsar_, lays its eggs on cut-up meat, or on
dead animals. It is only three or four lines in length, of a golden
green, with the palpi ferruginous, antennæ brown, and feet black.

[Illustration: Fig. 52.--Lucilia hominivorax.]

A species of this genus, the _Lucilia hominivorax_, has lately
obtained a melancholy notoriety. We are indebted to M. Charles
Coquerel, surgeon in the French Imperial navy, for the most exact
information concerning this dangerous Dipteron, and the revelation of
the dangers to which man is liable in certain parts of the globe. But
let us first describe the insect, which is very pretty and of
brilliant colours.

Fig. 52, taken from M. Charles Coquerel's Memoir, represents the larva
and the perfect insect, as well as the horny mandibles with which the
larva is provided. It is rather more than the third of an inch in
length, the head is large, downy, and of a golden yellow. The thorax
is dark blue and very brilliant, with reflections of purple, as is
also the abdomen. The wings are transparent, and have rather the
appearance of being smoked; their margins, as well as the feet, are

This beautiful insect is an assassin. M. Coquerel has informed us that
it sometimes occasions the death of those wretched convicts whom human
justice has transported to the distant penitentiary of Cayenne.

When one of these degraded beings, who live in a state of sordid
filth, goes to sleep, a prey to intoxication, it happens sometimes
that this fly gets into his mouth and nostrils; it lays its eggs
there, and when they are changed into larvæ, the death of the victim
generally follows.[17]

    [17] "The majority of convicts attacked by the _Lucilia
    hominivorax_," says M. F. Bouyer, captain of the frigate, in
    "Un Voyage à la Guyane Française," "have succumbed, despite the
    assistance of science. Cures have been the exception: in a
    dozen cases three or four are reported."--_Tour du Monde, 1866,
    1er Semestre_, p. 318.

These larvæ are of an opaque white colour, a little over half an inch
in length, and have eleven segments. They are lodged in the interior
of the nasal orifices and the frontal sinuses, and their mouths are
armed with two very sharp horny mandibles. They have been known to
reach the ball of the eye, and to gangrene the eyelids. They enter the
mouth, corrode and devour the gums and the entrance of the throat, so
as to transform those parts into a mass of putrid flesh, a heap of

Let us turn away from this horrible description, and observe that this
hominivorous fly is not, properly speaking, a parasite of man, as it
only attacks him accidentally, as it would attack any animal that was
in a daily state of uncleanliness.

In many works on medicine may be found mentioned a circumstance which
occurred twenty years ago, at the surgery of M. J. Cloquet. The story
is perhaps not very agreeable, but is so interesting as regards the
subject with which we are occupied, that we think it ought to be
repeated here. One day a poor wretch, half dead, was brought to the
Hôtel-Dieu. He was a beggar, who, having some tainted meat in his
wallet, had gone to sleep in the sun under a tree. He must have slept
long, as the flies had time enough to deposit their eggs on the
tainted meat, and the larvæ time enough to be hatched, and to devour
the beggar's meat. It seems that the larvæ enjoyed the repast, for
they passed from the dead meat to the living flesh, and after
devouring the meat they commenced to eat the owner. Awoke by the
pain, the beggar was taken to the Hôtel-Dieu, where he expired.

Who would suppose that one of the causes which render the centre of
Africa difficult to be explored is a fly not larger than the
house-fly? The Tsetse fly (Fig. 53) is of brown colour, with a few
transverse yellow stripes across the abdomen, and with wings longer
than its body. It is not dangerous to man, to any wild animals, or to
the pig, the mule, the ass, or the goat. But it stings mortally the
ox, the horse, the sheep, and the dog, and renders the countries of
Central Africa uninhabitable for those valuable animals. It seems to
possess very sharp sight. "It darts from the top of a bush as quick as
an arrow on the object it wishes to attack," writes a traveller, M. de

[Illustration: Fig. 53.--The Tsetse Fly (_Glossina morsitans_).]

Mr. Chapman, one of the travellers who have advanced the farthest into
the middle of Southern Africa, relates that he covered his body with
the greatest care to avoid the bites of this nimble enemy; but if a
thorn happened to make a nearly imperceptible hole in his clothing, he
often saw the Tsetse, who appeared to know that it could not penetrate
the cloth, dart forward and bite him on the uncovered part. The
sucker of blood secretes--in a gland placed at the base of his
trunk--so subtle a poison, that three or four flies are sufficient to
kill an ox.

The _Glossina morsitans_ abounds on the banks of the African river,
the Zambesi, frequenting the bushes and reeds that border it. It
likes, indeed, all aquatic situations. The African cattle recognise at
great distances the buzzing of this sanguinary enemy, and this fatal
sound causes them to feel the greatest fear.

Livingstone, the celebrated traveller, in crossing those regions of
Africa that are watered by the Zambesi, lost forty-three magnificent
oxen by the bites of the Tsetse fly, notwithstanding that they were
carefully watched, and had been very little bitten.

"A most remarkable feature in the bite of the Tsetse is its perfect
harmlessness in man and wild animals, and even calves so long as they
continue to suck the cows. We never experienced the slightest injury
from them ourselves personally, although we lived two months in their
habitat, which was in this case as sharply defined as in many others,
for the south bank of the Chobe was infested by them, and the northern
bank, where our cattle were placed, only fifty yards distant,
contained not a single specimen. This was the more remarkable, as we
often saw natives carrying over raw meat to the opposite bank with
many Tsetses settled on it.

"The poison does not seem to be injected by a sting, or by ova placed
beneath the skin, for, when one is allowed to feed freely on the hand,
it is seen to insert the middle prong of three portions, into which
the proboscis divides, somewhat deeply, into the true skin. It then
draws it out a little way, and it assumes a crimson colour, as the
mandibles come into brisk operation. The previously-shrunken belly
swells out, and, if left undisturbed, the fly quietly departs when it
is full. A slight itching irritation follows, but not more than in the
bite of the mosquito. In the ox this same bite produces no more
immediate effects than in man. It does not startle him, as the gad-fly
does; but a few days afterwards the following symptoms supervene: the
eyes and nose begin to run, the coat stares as if the animal were
cold, a swelling appears under the jaw, and sometimes on the navel;
and, though the animal continues to graze, emaciation commences,
accompanied with a peculiar flaccidity of the muscles, and this
proceeds unchecked until, perhaps months afterwards, purging comes on,
and the animal, no longer able to graze, perishes in the state of
extreme exhaustion. Those which are in good condition often perish,
soon after the bite is inflicted, with staggering and blindness, as if
the brain were affected by it. Sudden changes of temperature produced
by falls of rain seem to hasten the progress of the complaint; but in
general the emaciation goes on uninterruptedly for months, and, do
what we will, the poor animals perish miserably.

"When opened, the cellular tissue on the surface of the body beneath
the skin is seen to be injected with air, as if a quantity of soap
bubbles were scattered over it, or a dishonest awkward butcher had
been trying to make it look fat. The fat is of a greenish-yellow
colour, and of an oily consistence. All the muscles are flabby, and
the heart often so soft that the fingers may be made to meet through
it. The lungs and liver partake of the disease. The stomach and bowels
are pale and empty, and the gall-bladder is distended with bile. These
symptoms seem to indicate, what is probably the case, a poison in the
blood; the germ of which enters when the proboscis is inserted to draw
blood. The poison-germ contained in a bulb at the root of the
proboscis, seems capable, although very minute in quantity, of
reproducing itself. The blood after death by Tsetse is very small in
quantity, and scarcely stains the hands in dissection....

"The mule, ass, and goat enjoy the same immunity from the Tsetse as
man and game. Many large tribes on the Zambesi can keep no domestic
animals except the goat, in consequence of the scourge existing in
their country. Our children were frequently bitten, yet suffered no
harm; and we saw around us numbers of zebras, buffaloes, pigs, pallahs
and other antelopes, feeding quietly in the very habitat of the
Tsetse, yet as undisturbed by its bite as oxen are when they first
receive the fatal poison. There is not so much difference in the
natures of the horse and zebra, the buffalo and ox, the sheep and the
antelope, as to afford any satisfactory explanation of the phenomenon.
Is a man not as much a domestic animal as a dog?

"The curious feature in the case, that dogs perish though fed on milk,
whereas the calves escape so long as they continue sucking, made us
imagine that the mischief might be produced by some plant in the
locality, and not by Tsetse; but Major Vardon, of the Madras army,
settled that point by riding a horse up to a small hill infested by
the insect, without allowing him time to graze, and though he only
remained long enough to take a view of the country and catch some
specimens of Tsetse on the animal, in ten days afterwards the horse
was dead."[18]

    [18] "Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa," by
    David Livingstone, LL.D., D.C.L. P. 81, _et seq._ London, John
    Murray, 1857. (The extract in the original of this work is from
    a French translation: "Explorations dans l'Intérieur de
    l'Afrique australe, et voyages à travers le continent
    Sainte-Paul de Loanda à l'Embouchure du Zambèze, de 1840 à
    1846, traduit de l'Anglais." Pages 93-95. 8vo. Paris,

The inhabitants of the Zambesi can, therefore, have no domestic animal
but the goat. When herds of cattle driven by travellers or dealers are
obliged to cross these regions, they only move them during the bright
nights of the cool season, and are careful to smear them with dung
mixed with milk; the Tsetse fly having an intense antipathy to the
dung of animals, besides being in this season rendered dormant by the
lowness of the temperature. It is only by such precautions that they
are able to get through this dangerous stage of their journey.

The large blue Meat-fly, the familiar representative of the genus
_Calliphora_, is known to all by its brilliant blue and white
reflecting abdomen. This fly, which is common everywhere, is the
_Calliphora vomitoria_ on which Réaumur has made many beautiful
observations, which we will make known to our readers.

[Illustration: Fig. 54.--Eggs of the Meat-fly (_Calliphora vomitoria_).]

If we shut up a blue meat-fly in a glass vase, as Réaumur did, and
place near the insect a piece of fresh meat, before half a day is
passed, the fly will have deposited its eggs thereon one after the
other, in irregular heaps, of various sizes. The whole of these heaps
consist of about two hundred eggs, which are of an iridescent white
colour, and four or five times as long as they are broad. In less than
twenty-four hours after the egg is laid the larvæ is hatched. It is no
sooner born than it thinks of feeding, and buries itself in the meat
with the aid of the hooks and lancets with which it is provided.

These worms do not appear to discharge any solid excrement, but they
produce a sticky liquid, which keeps the meat in a moist state and
hastens its putrefaction. The larvæ eat voraciously and continually;
so much so, that in four or five days they arrive at their full
growth. They then take no more nourishment until they are transformed
into flies. They are now about to assume the pupa state. In this
condition it is no longer necessary for them to remain on the tainted
meat, which has been alike their cradle and their larder, and where
until now they were so well off. They therefore leave it and seek a
retreat under ground.

The larva then assumes a globular form and reddish colour, loses all
motion, and cannot any longer either lengthen or shorten, or dilate or
contract itself. Life seems to have left it. "It would be considered a
miracle," says Réaumur, "if we were told there was any kind of
quadruped of the size of a bear, or of an ox, which at a certain time
of the year, the beginning of winter for instance, disengages itself
completely from its skin, of which it makes a box of an oval form;
that it shuts itself up in this box; that it knows how to close it in
every part, and besides that it knows how to strengthen it in such a
manner as to preserve itself from the effects of the air and the
attacks of other animals. This prodigy is presented to us, on a small
scale, in the metamorphosis of our larva. It casts its skin to make
itself a strong and well-closed dwelling."

If one opens these cocoons only twenty-four hours after the
metamorphoses of the worms, no vestige of those parts appertaining to
a pupa is to be found. But four or five days afterwards, the cocoon is
occupied by a white pupa, provided with all the parts of a fly. The
legs and wings, although enclosed in sheaths, are very distinct; these
sheaths being so thin that they do not conceal them. The trunk of the
fly rests on the thorax; one can discern its lips, and the case which
encloses the lancet. The head is large and well formed, its large,
compound eyes being very distinct. The wings appear still unformed,
because they are folded, and, as it were, packed up. It is a fly, but
an immovable and inanimate fly; it is like a mummy enveloped in its

Nevertheless, it is intended this mummy should awake, and when the
time comes it will be strong and vigorous. Indeed, it has need of
strength and vigour to accomplish the important work of its life.
Although its coverings are thin, it is a considerable work for the
insect to emerge, for each of its exterior parts is enclosed in them
as in a case, much the same as a glove fits tightly to all the fingers
of the hand. But that for which the most strength is necessary is the
operation of forming the opening of the cocoon, in which as a mummy it
is so tightly enclosed.

The fly always comes out at the same end of the cocoon, that is, at
the end where its head is placed, and also where the head of the larva
previously was. This end is composed of two parts--of two half cups
placed one against the other. These can be detached from each other
and from the rest of the cocoon. It is sufficient for the fly that one
can be detached, and in order to effect this, it employs a most
astonishing means. It expands and contracts its head alternately, as
if by dilatation; and thus pushes the two half cups away from the end
of the cocoon. This is not long able to resist the battering of the
fly's head, and the insect at length comes out triumphant. This fly,
which should be blue, is then grey; it, however, comes quickly to
perfection, at the end of three hours attaining its ultimate colour;
and in a very short space of time every part of the animal becomes of
that firmness and consistency which characterises them. At the same
time, the wings, which at the moment it came into the world were only
stumps, extend and unfold themselves by degrees. The meat-fly is
represented below (Fig. 55).

One of the features in the formation of this fly which most attracted
the attention of Réaumur, and which is likely to excite the curiosity
of all those who take an interest in insects, is the composition of
its trunk. We will, therefore, with that illustrious observer, take a
glimpse at the remarkable and complicated apparatus by the aid of
which the fly can suck up liquids, and can even taste solid and
crystalline substances, such as sugar.

[Illustration: Fig. 55.--Blue-bottle fly (_Calliphora vomitoria_),

It is no difficult matter to make a fly show its trunk extended to its
full extent. One has only to press between the finger and thumb either
the two sides of the upper and under part of the thorax. It is thus
forced at once to put out its tongue.

[Illustration: Fig. 56.--Trunk of the Meat-fly.]

[Illustration: Fig. 57.--Conical part of the trunk.]

The trunk appears to be composed of two parts joined together, and
forming a more or less obtuse angle (Fig. 56). The first portion of
the trunk, that which joins the head, is perfectly membranous and in
the form of a funnel. We will call it the conical part, and show it
separately (Fig. 57). The second portion terminates in a thick mass,
in part cartilaginous or scaly, and of a shiny brown colour. Above
the conical portion are two oblong antennæ, without joints, of
chestnut colour, and furnished with hairs.

On ceasing to press the thorax, the membranous conical portion may be
seen to draw itself back within its sheath (Fig. 58). The second
portion is at the same time drawn into the cavity, but it raises
itself by forming a more and more acute angle, so that when it reaches
the opening of the cell it is parallel with, and its length is equal
to that of the cell, which is quite large enough to receive it. The
base lengthens and flattens a little, and conceals the trunk.

[Illustration: Fig. 58.--Retractile proboscis of Blue-bottle fly.]

[Illustration: Fig. 59.--Extremity on the proboscis of a fly.]

Let us cause the trunk to extend itself a second time, in order to
observe its tip minutely. Here the opening is placed, which may be
looked upon as the mouth of the insect, and is provided with two large
thick lips (Fig. 59). These lips form a disc, perpendicular to the
axis of the trunk; the disc is oval, and is divided into two equal and
similar parts by a slit. The lips have each a considerable number of
parallel channels situated perpendicularly to the slit. These channels
are formed by a succession of vessels placed near each other. On
pressing the trunk we see that these vessels are distended by a
liquid. Réaumur, from whom we borrow these details, discovered a few
of the uses to which this trunk is applied. He covered the interior of
a transparent glass vase with a light coat of thick syrup. He then put
in some flies, when it was easy to see some of them proceed to fix
themselves to the sides of the vase, and regale themselves on the
sugary liquid, of which they are very fond. He observed them
carefully, and in his admirable work he recommends those who are
curious to try the experiment, with which, like himself, they will
certainly be satisfied.

While the body of the trunk is stationary its end is much agitated. It
may be seen to move in different ways, and with an astonishing
quickness; the lips acting in a hundred different ways, and always
with great rapidity. The small diameter of the disc which they form
lengthens and shortens alternately; the angle formed by the two lips
varies every instant; they become successively flat and convex, either
entirely or partly. All these movements, Réaumur remarks, give a high
idea of the organisation of the part which performs them.

The object of all these movements is to draw the syrup into the
interior of the trunk. If we observe the lips (Fig. 60) attentively,
it will easily be seen that they touch each other about the centre of
the disc, and leave two openings, one in front, the other at the back.
The one in front is, one may say, the mouth of the fly, as it is to
this opening that the liquid is brought, which is intended to be and
is soon introduced into the trunk. Without occupying ourselves for the
present with the channel through which it rises, we may first ask,
whatever that channel may be, what is the power that forces the liquid
into it?

[Illustration: Fig. 60.--Lips of the proboscis of a fly.]

It is nearly certain that suction is the principal cause of the liquid
flowing up the trunk. It would thus be a sort of pump, into which the
liquid is forced by the pressure of the external air. The fly exhausts
the air from the tube of its trunk, and the drop of liquid which is at
the opening penetrates and goes up this channel through the influence
of the atmospheric pressure. To this physical phenomenon must be added
the numerous and multiplied movements which take place in the trunk,
and which are intended to cause sufficient pressure to drive the
liquor which is introduced into the channel upwards.

Réaumur wished to know how it was that very thick syrups, and even
solid sugar, can be sucked up by the soft trunk of the fly. What he
saw is wonderful. If a fly meets with too thick a syrup, it can render
it sufficiently liquid; if the sugar is too hard, it can dissolve
small portions of it. In fact, there exists in its body a supply of
liquid, of which it discharges a drop from the end of its trunk at
will, and lets this fall on the sugar which it wishes to dissolve, or
on the syrup it wishes to dilute. A fly, when held between the
fingers, often shows at the end of its trunk a drop, very fluid and
transparent, of this liquid. "The water poured on the syrup," says
Réaumur, "would not always insinuate itself sufficiently quick into
every part of it; the movement of the fly's lips hastens the
operation; the lips turn over, work, and knead it, so that the water
can quickly penetrate it, in the same way as one handles and kneads
with one's hands a hard paste which it is wished to soften, by causing
the water by which it is covered to mix with it. This, again, is the
same means the fly employs with sugar. When the trunk is forced to
act upon a grain of irregular and rugged form, on which it cannot
easily fasten, its end distorts itself to seize and hold it. It is
sometimes very amusing to see how the fly turns over the grain of
sugar in different ways; it appears to play with it as a monkey would
with an apple. It is, however, only that it may hold it well in order
to moisten it more successfully, and afterwards to pump up the water
which has partly dissolved it."

Réaumur often observed a drop of water at the end of the trunks of
flies which were perfectly surfeited with food. This drop ascended the
trunk, then re-descended to the end, and this many times in
succession. It appeared to him that it was necessary for these
insects, as for many quadrupeds, to chew the cud, as it were; that, in
order the better to digest the liquid they had passed into their
stomachs, they were obliged to bring it back into the trunk that it
might return again better prepared.

In order to assure himself directly of the reality of his supposition,
Réaumur tested the water which a fly, that he says "had got drunk on
sugar," had brought back to the end of its trunk; he found this to be
sugar and water. Also, having given a fly currant-jelly, he observed,
after it had sufficiently gorged itself, several drops of red liquid
in its trunk, and having tasted it, found it had the flavour which,
from its appearance, he guessed it would have.

The illustrious observer, who had already made all these discoveries
on the formation and functions of the trunks of insects, often
reflected on the fact that the liquors of which flies are most fond
are enclosed under the skin of certain fruits, such as pears, plums,
grapes, &c., or even under the skin of some animals of which they suck
the blood. In order that the trunk of a fly may act under such
circumstances, it is necessary for it to pierce and open the skin. If
this is the case, flies ought to be possessed of a lancet. He looked a
long time for this lancet, and at last found it. It is situated on the
upper side of the part of the trunk which is terminated by the lips;
it is placed in a fleshy groove, and is enclosed in a case. It has a
very fine point, and is of light colour (Fig. 61). The point is
situated in the opening which is to be seen between the lips of the
trunk, at its anterior end, through which liquids may pass. That is
the only opening of the lips; and the sucker which takes up the liquid
is the same part which we just now called the case of the lancet.

Réaumur is so interesting an author that it is difficult to cease
quoting him; but we must continue our review of the principal kinds of

The genus _Musca_ (fly), in which Linnæus comprised the immense series
of Diptera, with the exception of the _Tipulidæ_, the _Tabanidæ_, the
_Asilidæ_, the _Bombylidæ_, and the _Empidæ_, is now reduced to the
House Fly and a few resembling it. The habits of these troublesome
companions are in conformity with the two great principles of animal
life, that is, eating and propagating their species.

Flies feed principally on fluids which exude from the bodies of
animals; that is, sweat, saliva, and other secretions. They also seek
vegetable juices; and they may be seen in our houses to feed eagerly
on fruits and sweet substances.

[Illustration: Fig. 61.--Lancet of the Meat Fly.]

[Illustration: Fig. 62.--House Fly (_Musca domestica_).]

The common flies deposit their eggs on vegetables, and particularly on
fungi in a state of decomposition, on dung-heaps, cow dung, &c. They
are essentially parasites, settling on both man and beast, to suck up
the fluid substances which are diffused over the surface of their
bodies. In our dwellings they eat anything that will serve to nourish
them. Generation succeeds generation with the greatest rapidity.

The House Fly (_Musca domestica_, Fig. 62) is about three lines in
length, ash coloured, with the face black, the sides of the head
yellow, and the forehead yellow with black stripes; the thorax is
marked with black lines; the abdomen is pale underneath, and a
transparent yellow at the sides, in the males, and is speckled with
black. The feet are black; the wings transparent, and yellowish at the
base. This species is extremely plentiful throughout the whole of
Europe. Every one knows how annoying it is towards the end of the
summer, and especially so in the South of France during the hot

The Ox Fly (_Musca bovina_), a near relation of the house fly, is also
very common. It settles on the nostrils, the eyes, and the wounds of

The Executioner Fly (_Musca carnifex_), which is not rare in France,
also attacks oxen. It is of a dark metallic green colour with a
slight ash-coloured down. Its forehead is silvery at the front and
sides; the abdomen is edged with black; the wings hyaline, and yellow
at the base.

_Section of the Anthomyides._--The section of _Anthomyides_ comprises
insects which appear to be _Creophili_ whose organisation has become
weakened by almost insensible degrees. Their colours vary very
much--black, grey, and iron-colour are everlastingly shaded and
blended together. To that may be added reflections which are above the
ground colour, and which change the hues of the little animal
according to the incidence of the rays of light. The _Anthomyides_
resemble the genus _Musca_ very closely in their habits as well as in
their organisation.

In this group of Diptera we will first say a few words about the
_Anthomiæ_. These flies are to be found in most gardens, and on all
flowers, particularly on the heads of Compositæ and Umbelliferæ. They
often unite in numerous bands in the air, and indulge in the joyous
dances to which love invites them. The females deposit their eggs in
the ground, and their larvæ are there quickly developed. The latter
suspend themselves to certain bodies, the same as some lepidopterous
chrysalides, in order to transform themselves into pupæ.

The _Anthomyia pluvialis_ (Fig. 63) is from two to four lines in
length, and of a whitish ash-colour. Its wings are hyaline, the thorax
has five black spots, and the abdomen three rows of similar spots.

[Illustration: Fig. 63.--Anthomyia pluvialis.]

We will stop a moment with the _Pegomyiæ_, which are very interesting
in the larva state, and which excited the interest and sagacity of

The cradle of these Diptera is the interior of leaves. They work as
the miners of the vegetable world, in the parenchyma or cellular
tissue of the leaf, between the two epidermal membranes. The henbane,
the sorrel, and the thistle, especially nourish them. If one holds a
leaf in which one of these miners has established itself against the
light, one sees the workman boring the vegetable membrane. Its head is
armed with a hook, formed of two horny pieces, and with this hook it
digs into the parenchyma of the leaf. The effect of this digging is
visible, as those places become by degrees transparent. Each blow
detaches a small portion of the substance of the leaf. It is thus that
these miners hollow out galleries for themselves, in which they find
shelter, food, and security. Some are changed into pupæ in the gallery
which they have hollowed out, others go out of the leaves when they
are near their final transformation.

_Section of Acalyptera._--The _Acalyptera_, which are the last of the
great tribe of _Muscidæ_, comprehend the greater number of these
insects. Their constitution appears to be peculiar and slow. They live
principally in the thickest part of woods, on grasses, and aquatic
plants. Fearing the lustre and warmth of the sun, they never draw the
nectar from flowers. Their flight is feeble, and they never indulge in
those joyous ethereal dances which we have mentioned when speaking of
the preceding groups. Their life is generally melancholy, obscure, and
hidden. Some of them seek decomposed animal and vegetable substances,
others living vegetables.

We shall only be able in this immense group of _Muscidæ_ to mention a
few types which are interesting from various reasons, such as the
_Helomyzæ_, the _Scatophagæ_, the _Ortalides_, the _Daci_, and the

[Illustration: Fig. 64.--A species of Helomyza.]

The _Helomyzæ_ (Fig. 64) live in the woods. Their larvæ are developed
in the interior of fungi. Réaumur studied the larvæ of the Truffle
Helomyza. The head of this fly is ferruginous, its thorax is of a
brownish grey, its shoulders of a brownish yellow, its wings brownish,
the abdomen yellow and brown, and the feet red. The larvæ of these
insects commit depredations for which gourmands will never forgive
them, destroying, as they do, their truffles. When one presses between
one's fingers a truffle that is in a too advanced state, one feels
certain soft parts, which yield under pressure. On opening the
truffle, the larvæ of the insect of which we are speaking will be
found inside. These larvæ are white and very transparent. Their mouth
is armed with two black hooks, by means of which they dig into the
truffle in the same way as other larvæ dig into meat. The excretions
of these little parasites cause the truffle to become decomposed and
rotten. In a few days the larvæ become full-grown. They then leave
their abode and go into the ground, there to change into pupæ.

The _Ortalidæ_ form a tribe which is remarkable for the upright
carriage of the wings, which are generally speckled, by the vibratory
movement of these organs, and especially for the cradle chosen by them
for their progeny in fruits and grains. Nature seems to have assigned
to each species its own particular vegetable.

We will only mention here the Cherry-tree _Ortalis_, whose larva lives
on the pulp of that fruit. This fly is about a line and a half long.
It is of rather a metallic black colour, its head light yellow, the
edges of its eyes white, and the tarsi red. The wings have four broad
black stripes.

[Illustration: Fig. 65.--Dacus oleæ.]

The Olive Dacus (_Dacus oleæ_, Fig. 65) is a little fly, about half
the size of the house fly, of ashy grey colour on the back, its head
orange-yellow, its eyes green, and its forehead yellow, marked with
two large black spots. The thorax is adorned with four lightish yellow
spots, and its hind part, as well as its antennæ and wings, are of the
same colour. The wings are transparent, reflecting green, gold, pink,
and blue, according as the rays of light fall upon them, and are
remarkable for having a small black spot at their extremity. The
abdomen is of a fawn colour or orange-yellow, spotted with black on
each side. This fly performs sudden and jerking movements; it keeps
its wings extended, and rather jumps than flies. It is a destructive
insect, a perfect scourge, which causes every two or three years a
loss of five or six millions of francs to French agriculture.

M. Guérin-Méneville has made some valuable observations on the Olive
Dacus, and at the request of the Imperial Society of Agriculture of
Paris, has indicated the way to preserve the olive from these ruinous
larvæ, which generally destroy two crops out of three. We will borrow
the following details from this learned entomologist: "At the time
when the olives are formed the Dacus proceeds to place an egg under
the skin of each of the fruits. By means of a little horny instrument,
with which the female is provided, and which contains a small lancet,
she pierces the skin of the olive; she moves her wings and lays her
egg. She afterwards cleans and rests herself, by passing her feet over
her head, wings, and other parts of her body. She then flies away, and
seeks another olive, to deposit in it another egg; she repeats this
operation until she has placed on as many olives the three or four
hundred eggs which she bears."

[Illustration: Fig. 66.--Olives attacked by Dacus oleæ.]

Fig. 66, taken from the Memoir published by M. Guérin-Méneville, in
the "Revue Nouvelle" of the 15th July, 1847, shows the Dacus laying
its eggs on the olive, and the larvæ that are already hatched in
another of the same fruit. The larvæ which succeed these eggs (Fig.
67) are whitish, soft, and without limbs. They pass fifteen or sixteen
days in boring a gallery in the pulp of the olive, at first
vertically, until they reach the stone, then on one side, and along
the side of the stone. When they have reached the term of their
development, they approach the surface, enlarging the first channel
and leaving between it and the exterior air only a thin pellicle, in
the middle of which may be perceived the first small opening by which
the mother had introduced her egg in the commencement.

[Illustration: Fig. 67.--Larvæ of Dacus oleæ (magnified and natural

[Illustration: Fig. 68.--Gallery formed by larva of Dacus oleæ.]

Fig. 68, copied from a drawing in the Memoirs of M. Guérin-Méneville,
shows the gallery bored round the olive by the larva of the Dacus. The
larva thus prepares an easy issue for the perfect insect. Its skin
then contracts, its body diminishes in length, and is transformed into
an oval cocoon, which soon gets brown, and is the chrysalis of the
insect. At the side of the head it shows a curved line, a thin suture
which marks a sort of cap or door, which, at the time of its hatching,
the insect will be easily able to force open with its head. The fly is
hatched twelve days after its metamorphosis from the larva to the
pupa. It has thus taken the Dacus twenty-seven to twenty-eight days to
arrive at this state, from the time the egg was laid; besides which,
this species, in the warm climates of Provence and Italy, can
reproduce itself several times from the beginning of July, the period
at which the first flies begin to lay, till the end of autumn.

In order to save a considerable portion of the olive crop of these
countries, M. Guérin-Méneville has advised hastening the harvest
sufficiently for all the olives to be pressed at a time when the larvæ
of the last generation, which would be preserved in the olives that
are left, or in the earth, according to the climate, are still in the
fruit. If a first operation were not sufficient to destroy them all,
it should be repeated the following year. The sacrifice entailed by
this practice would be amply compensated by a succession of good crops
and the certainty of a sure and permanent profit. In fact, by an early
gathering at least half a crop of oil is still obtained; whereas, by
waiting for the usual period of gathering the olives, sufficient time
is left for the larvæ of the Dacus to devour their parenchyma, which
deprives them of the little oil that they might have yielded if their
destruction had been accomplished earlier. This early gathering has
the advantage of causing the destruction of a great number of larvæ,
which will be so much towards diminishing the means of reproduction of
the fly.



The Hemiptera are particularly distinguished from other kinds of
insects by the form of their mouth, which consists of a beak, more or
less long, composed of six parts: that is, of a lower lip, or sheath;
four internal threads, representing the mandibles and jaws of the
grinding insects, and which are the perforating parts of the beaks;
and, lastly, of the upper lip or labrum. Owing to this apparatus,
these insects are essentially sucking ones, and chiefly nourish
themselves with the juices of vegetables, which they draw up with
their beak. The wings of the Hemiptera are usually four in number; in
some species they are membranous and similar to each other, and in
others the upper are of rather harder consistency than the lower ones.
In general, the former are quite different from the lower wings, and
are only membranous at the tip, whereas the other part is thick,
tough, and coriaceous.

The Hemiptera are divided into two very distinct sections. The one is
composed of insects whose beak grows from the forehead or upper part
of the head, and whose anterior wings are half coriaceous and half
membranous, having the base of a different texture from the extremity:
these are the Heteroptera ([Greek: heteros], different; [Greek:
pteron], wing). The other section is composed of those whose beak
grows from the lower part of the head, and whose anterior wings are
always of the same consistency throughout: these are the Homoptera
([Greek: homos], the same; [Greek: pteron], wing). We are about to
give the history of these two sub-orders.


The insects formerly known by the general name of Bugs have been
divided by Latreille into two large families, containing: the one the
_Geocorisæ_,[19] or Land Bugs; the other the _Hydrocorisæ_,[20] or
Water Bugs.

    [19] From [Greek: gê], the earth, and [Greek: koris], a bug.

    [20] From [Greek: hydôr], water, and [Greek: koris], a bug.

The land bugs consist of a great number of kinds, which, for the
most part, are of little interest. We will only mention here the
_Peniatomidæ_, commonly known as Wood Bugs; the _Lygæi_, Bugs,
properly so called; the _Reduvii_, and the _Hydrometræ_.

The _Pentatomidæ_, which comprise many genera, include the wood bugs
of most authors. They are to be found on plants and trees. They fly
quickly, but only for a short time.

The Ornamented Pentatoma (_Strachia_ [_Pentatoma_] _ornata_), known
as the Red Cabbage Bug, is very commonly found on the cabbage, and
on most of the cruciferous plants. It is variegated with red and
black, and its colours are subject to numerous variations. The Grey
Pentatoma (_Raphigaster griseus_), Fig. 69, is common throughout the
whole of Europe. In autumn these bugs are frequently to be found on
raspberries, to which they impart their disagreeable smell. They are
also to be found in quantities on the mullein, when that plant is in
flower. The upper parts of the head are of a greyish brown, and are
sometimes slightly purple. The coriaceous part of the hemelytra
is of a purple tint, but the membranous part is brown. All these
parts are covered with black spots, which are only to be seen with
a magnifying-glass. The wings are blackish. The under part of the
whole body and the feet are of a light and rather yellowish grey, with
a considerable number of small black spots. The abdomen is black above;
and it is bordered with alternate black and white spots.

[Illustration: Fig. 69.--Grey Pentatoma (_Raphigaster griseus_).]

We have repeated here the description given of this bug by the
illustrious Swedish naturalist, De Geer, because our young readers
have most likely met with this insect, or will do so some day when
gathering raspberries.

The Grey Pentatoma, marked with black, yellow, and red, is to be found
throughout the whole of Europe in cultivated fields and gardens,
sometimes also on the trunks of large trees, especially elms. This
species, in common with the greater part of those which compose the
group we are describing, emits a smell when irritated or menaced by
some danger. At other times no odour will be noticed. Let us hear what
M. Léon Dufour says on this subject.

"Seize the Pentatoma with a pair of pincers and plunge it into a glass
of clear water; look through a magnifying-glass, and you will see
innumerable small globules arising from its body, which, bursting on
the surface of the water, exhale that odour which is so disagreeable.
This vapour, which is essentially acrid, if it happens to touch the
eyes, causes a considerable amount of irritation. If one of these
insects is held between the fingers, so as not to stop up the
odoriferous orifices, and to cause this vapour to touch a part of the
skin, a spot, either brown or livid, will ensue on that part, which
lotions, though repeatedly applied, will at first fail to remove, and
which produces in the cutaneous tissue an alteration similar to that
which succeeds the application of mineral acids."

The disagreeable smell exhaled by different species of Pentatoma is
the result of a fluid secreted by a single pear-shaped gland, either
red or yellow, which occupies the centre of the thorax, and which
terminates between the hind legs.

With the _Syromastes_, which are bugs of this same section, the
secretion has, on the contrary, an agreeable smell, which reminds one
of that of apples. Many kinds of Pentatoma are destructive to
agriculture. Others, however, attack the destructive insects, and
ought therefore to be carefully spared. We will mention in this case
the Blue Pentatoma, which kills the _Altica_[21] of the vine.

    [21] This species is _Lygænus militaris_.--ED.

There may be observed, at the foot and about the lower part of trees,
or at the base of walls exposed to the mid-day sun, groups of fifty or
sixty small insects pressed close to each other, and often one on the
top of the other, their heads in the direction of a centre point. They
are red, spotted with black. In the neighbourhood of Paris the
children call them "_Suisses_," probably on account of the red on
their bodies, that being the colour of the uniform of the Swiss troops
formerly in the service of France. In Burgundy the children call them
"_petits cochons rouges_." They will be found described in Geoffroy's
"Histoire des Insectes," under the name of the Red Garden Bug. At the
present day they are placed in the genus _Lygæus_.[22] When the bad
weather comes, these little "_Suisses_" take refuge under stones and
the bark of trees to pass the winter. During the whole of that season
they remain in a sort of torpid state. But in the first days of spring
they revive, and resume their ordinary habits. They suck the sap of
vegetables, piercing the capsules of divers kinds of mallows, and
always keeping in the sunshine.

    [22] A genus of beetles.

The Bug, popularly so called, or Bed Bug (_Acanthia lectularia_, or
_Cimex lectularius_, Fig. 70), a most disagreeable and stinking
insect, abounds in dirty houses, principally in towns, and above all
in those of warm countries. It lives in beds, in wood-work, and
paper-hangings. There is no crack, however narrow it may be, into
which it is unable to slip. It is nocturnal, shunning the light.
"Nocturnum foetidum animal," says Linnæus. Its body is oval, about
the fifth of an inch in length, flat, soft, of a brown colour, and
covered with little hairs. Its head is provided with two hairy
antennæ, and two round black eyes, and has a short beak, curved
directly under its thorax, and lying in a shallow groove when the
animal is at rest. This beak, composed of three joints, contains four
thin, straight, and sharp hairs. The thorax is dilated at the sides.
The abdomen is very much developed, orbicular, composed of eight
segments, very much depressed, and easily crushed by the fingers. The
hemelytra are rudimentary. It has no membranous wings. The tarsi have
three articulations, of which the last is provided with two strong

[Illustration: Fig. 70.--Bed Bug (_Acanthia lectularia_), magnified.]

[Illustration: Fig. 71.--Egg of Bug, magnified.]

"These animals," says Moquin-Tandon, in his "Zoologie Médicale," "do
not draw up the sanguineous fluid by suction, properly so-called, as
leeches do. The organisation of their buccal apparatus does not allow
of this. The hairs of the beak applied the one against the other
exercise a sort of alternate motion, which draws the blood up into the
oesophagus, very much in the same manner as water rises in a chain
pump. This rising is assisted by the viscous nature of the fluid, and
above all, by the globules it contains." The part of the skin which
the Bug has pierced, producing a painful sensation, is easily
recognised by a little reddish mark, presenting in its centre a dark
spot. Generally a little blister rises on the point pierced, and
sometimes, if the Bug-bites are numerous, these blisters become
confluent, and resemble a sort of eruption. These disgusting insects
lay, towards the month of May, oblong whitish eggs (Fig. 71), having a
small aperture, through which the larva comes out. The larva differs
from the insect in its perfect state, in its colour, which is pale or
yellowish. This insect exists in nearly the whole of Europe, although
it is rare or almost unknown in the northern parts. The towns of
central Europe are the most infested by this parasite, but those of
the north are not completely free from its presence. The Marquis de
Custine assures us that at St. Petersburg he found them numerous. It
is found also in Scotland; is very rare in the south of Europe; and
seldom seen in Italy, where it is, however, replaced by other insects
more dangerous or more annoying.

It has been said that the Bug was brought into Europe from America;
but Aristotle, Pliny, and Dioscorides mention its existence. It is
certain that it was unknown in England till the beginning of the
sixteenth century. A celebrated traveller, a Spanish naturalist,
Azara, has remarked that the Bug does not infest man in his savage
state, but only when congregated together in a state of civilisation,
and in houses, as in Europe. From this he concluded that the Bug was
not created till long after man, when, after many centuries had
elapsed since his appearance on the globe, men formed themselves into
societies, into republics, or little states.

The bug is not a gluttonous insect, always bloodthirsty; on the
contrary, its sobriety is remarkable. It is only after a prolonged
fast that it bites animals; and Audouin has stated that it can live a
year and even two years without food.

From time immemorial a number of different means have been employed
for destroying these insects; but in spite of all, nothing is more
difficult than to get rid of them from wood-work and paper-hangings,
when they have once infested them. In general, strong odours cause
their death. And so, to rid oneself of these disagreeable guests, it
has been recommended to use tobacco smoke, essence of turpentine, the
fumes of sulphur, &c. Mercurial ointment and corrosive sublimate are
also excellent means for their destruction; and for the same purpose
the merits of a plant belonging to the order Cruciferæ, _Lepidium
ruderale_, have been much vaunted; and more recently still, the root
of the Pyrethrum, a species of camomile, reduced to powder, and blown
into the furniture or wood-work. This powder is known and employed at
Paris under the name of "_poudre insecticide_."

There are two other kinds of bugs (_Acanthia_) which attack men. The
one is the _Acanthia ciliata_, which has been found in the houses of
Kazan, and which differs from the bed bug not only in its form, but
also in its habits. It does not live in companies, in the narrow
cracks of furniture, but moves about alone, at a slow pace, over walls
or the counterpanes of beds. Its beak is very long, and its bite is
very painful, and produces obstinate swellings.

The other species is the _Acanthia rotundata_, which is found in the
Island of La Réunion, and attacks men in the same way as does the
European bug. Two species of the same genus live as parasites on
swallows and domestic pigeons. There is another species, which is
peculiar to the bats of our climates.

The _Reduvius personatus_, called also Fly Bug, by Geoffroy, the old
historian of the insects of the environs of Paris, is common enough
in France. It keeps to the houses, and is found especially near ovens
and chimney-pieces. It is about three-quarters of an inch in length,
oblong, flat on its upper side, brownish, has horizontal hemelytra
crossed over each other, and very fully developed wings, which serve
for flight. Its head, narrow, supported by a well-defined neck, is
provided with two composite and two simple eyes. It requires, no
doubt, to see very clearly, as it flies by night. It should not be
caught without great caution. If you desire to examine it closely,
when, in the hottest part of the summer, it comes in the evening and
flutters round the lights, you must be careful how you seize it, for
it wounds. The wounds inflicted by it are very painful--more painful
than those of the bee--and they immediately cause a numbness.

As the _Reduvius_ kills different insects very rapidly, by piercing
them with its long beak, it is probable that it secretes some kind of
venom. But as yet the organ that produces this poison has not been
discovered. However that may be, its beak is curved, and about the
tenth of an inch long, the surface bristling with hairs. It is
composed of three joints, and contains four stiff, lanceolate, and
very pointed squamose hairs.

This insect often seeks its prey in places where spiders spin their
webs. When they walk on, or are caught in, the spiders' webs, the
spiders take care not to seize them, for they fear their beak. They
prudently allow them to struggle about the nets, where they very soon
die of hunger. The _Reduvius_ is often seen, either a prisoner or
dead, in the midst of a spider's web.

"This bug," says Charles de Geer, "has, in the pupal condition, or
before its wings are developed, an appearance altogether hideous and
revolting. One would take it, at the first glance, for one of the
ugliest of spiders. That which above all renders it so disagreeable to
the sight is that it is entirely covered, and, as it were, enveloped
with a greyish matter, which is nothing else but the dust which one
sees in the corners of badly-swept rooms, and which is generally mixed
with sand and particles of wool, or silk, or other similar matters
which come from furniture and clothes, rendering the legs of this
insect thick and deformed, and giving to its whole body a very
singular appearance."

What instincts! what habits! Under this borrowed costume, under this
cloak, which is no part of itself, the insect, as it were, masked, has
become twice its real size. What becomes of its disguise, and how does
it manage to walk? Of what use to it is this dirty and grotesque fancy

Let us listen to De Geer. "It walks as fast, when it likes, as other
bugs; but generally its walk is slow, and it moves with measured
steps. After having taken one step forward, it stops a while, and then
takes another, leaving, at each movement, the opposite leg in repose;
it goes on thus continually, step after step in succession, which
gives it the appearance of walking as if by jerks, and in measure. It
makes almost the same sort of movement with its antennæ, which it
moves also at intervals and by jerks. All these movements have a more
singular appearance than it is possible for us to describe."[23]

    [23] "Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire des Insectes." Tome
    iii., p. 283. 4to. Stockholm, 1773.

By means of this disguise, it can approach little animals, which
become its prey, such as flies, spiders, bed bugs.

[Illustration: Fig. 72.--Pupa of Reduvius personatus, covered with its
cloak of dust (magnified).]

[Illustration: Fig. 73.--Pupa of Reduvius personatus, denuded of its
cloak of dust (magnified).]

To see what a curious appearance the _Reduvius_ presents, one should
take off its borrowed costume. Then you will observe an entirely
different animal, and one which has nothing repulsive about it. With
the exception of the hemelytra and wings, which it has not yet got,
all its parts have the form which they are to have later, after the
wings are developed.

Fig. 72 represents, from Charles de Geer's Memoir, the pupa of the
_Reduvius personatus_ covered with dust, and resembling a spider; Fig.
73 the same insect cleaned, freed from the cloak of dust which served
to disguise it.

The _Hydrometræ_ (from [Greek: hydôr], water, and [Greek: metrein], to
measure) have linear bodies. The head, which forms nearly the third
of the entire length, is furnished with two long antennæ, and armed
with a thin, hair-like beak. The legs are long, and of equal length.
The reader may have often seen the _Hydrometra stagnorum_ walking by
jerks on the surface of the water (Fig. 74). The body and legs are of
a ferruginous colour, the hemelytra a dull brown, and the wings
hyaline, or glassy, and slightly blackish. Geoffroy says that it
resembles a long needle, and calls it the Needle Bug.

[Illustration: Fig. 74.--Hydrometra stagnorum.]

The _Hydrocorisæ_, or Water Bugs, have the antennæ shorter than the
head, or scarcely attaining to its length, and inserted and hidden
under the eyes, which are in general of remarkable size. All these
Hemiptera are aquatic and carnivorous. We will mention the two
principal types, the _Nepæ_, or Water Scorpions, and the _Notonectæ_,
or Boatmen.

The _Nepa cinerea_ (Fig. 75), which Geoffroy calls the Oval-bodied
Water Scorpion, and which he also designates by the name of the Water
Spider, is very common in the stagnant waters of ponds and ditches.
Its body, oval, very flat, of an ashy colour, with red on the abdomen,
is four-fifths of an inch long. The hemelytra are horizontal,
coriaceous, and of a dirty grey colour. Its front legs, with short
haunches, and very broad thighs, are terminated by strong pincers,
which give to the insect a strong resemblance to the scorpion. It is
by folding back the leg and the tarsus under the thigh, that the
animal holds its prey, and sucks it with its rostrum or beak.

[Illustration: Fig. 75.--Nepa cinerea.]

This rostrum is composed of three joints, and contains four pointed
bristles. Two present on one side a sort of narrow sharp blade, and
have teeth towards their base. Of the two others, the one is a thin
smooth needle, the other is provided with hairs directed backwards and

It is with this rostrum, which resembles a case of surgical
instruments, that the _Nepa_ pierces and sucks little aquatic insects,
not even sparing its own species. Its wound is painful to man, but not
in the least dangerous. With its four hind legs the _Nepa_ swims, but
at a very slow pace. It generally drags itself along the bottom of
the water, on the mud, and does not avoid the hand put out to seize
it. Its body is terminated by a tail, composed of two grooved threads,
which, when applied together, form a tube, capable of being moved from
side to side. Through this canal it breathes the outer air; it puts
the end of it out of the water, and the air enters it by inspiration.
Some very small hairs, with which the interiors of the grooves are
lined, interlace each other, and prevent the water from penetrating
into the canal. It is probable that this same canal serves also for
depositing the eggs. These last resemble small seeds, covered with
points, and are buried in the stalks of aquatic plants.

Next to the _Nepa_ comes the _Ranatra_, with a cylindrical, elongated,
linear body, with very long and very thin hind legs, and of which one
species, which Geoffroy calls the "aquatic scorpion with an elongated
body," is common everywhere in stagnant waters in spring. It is
brownish, carnivorous, and very voracious.

[Illustration: Fig. 76.--Corixa striata.]

We must now mention the genus _Corixa_, of which one species, the
_Corixa striata_, is very common. This insect walks badly and slowly
on land, but swims and cuts through the water with a prodigious

However, it is not to delay over this last species that we have here
mentioned the name of this genus. Some insects which belong to it, and
which are found in Mexico, deserve to be alluded to, on account of
certain peculiarities which their eggs present. A naturalist, M.
Virlet d'Aoust, has published the following details on this subject:--

"Thousands of small amphibious flies," he says, "flit about in the air
on the surface of lakes, and diving down into the water many feet, and
even many fathoms, go to the bottom to lay their eggs, and only emerge
from the water probably to die close by. We were fortunate enough to
be present at a great fishing or harvest of the eggs, which, under the
Mexican name of _hautle_ (_haoutle_), serve for food to the Indians,
who seem to be no less fond of them than the Chinese are of their
swallows' nests, which they resemble somewhat in taste; only the
_hautle_ is far from commanding such high prices as the Chinese pay
for their birds' nests, which for that reason are reserved entirely
for the tables of the rich; while, for a few small coins, we were
able to carry away with us about a bushel of the _hautle_, a portion
of which, at our request, Mme. B---- was kind enough to prepare for

"They dress these in different ways, but generally make a sort of
cake, which is served up with a sauce, to which the Mexicans give a
zest, as they do indeed to all their dishes, by adding to it _chilié_,
which is composed of green pimento crushed. This is how the natives
proceed when they are fishing for _hautle_: they form with reeds bent
together a sort of fasces, which they place vertically in the lake at
some distance from the bank, and as these are bound together by one of
the reeds, the ends of which are so arranged as to form an indicating
buoy, it is easy to draw them out at will. Twelve to fifteen days
suffice for each reed in these fasces to be entirely covered with
eggs, which they thus fish up by millions. The former are then left to
dry in the sun, on a cloth, for an hour or more; the grains are then
easily detached. After this operation, they are replaced in the water
for the next hautle harvest."

M. Virlet had attributed to flies the eggs of which we have been
speaking. But in 1851 M. Guérin-Méneville having received, transmitted
to him by M. Ghiliani, eggs of which _hautle_ is made, and some of the
insects said to produce them, stated that the latter belonged to two
different species. The one had been known a long time since under the
name of _Corixa mercenaria_; M. Guérin-Méneville called the other
_Corixa femorata_.

The same entomologist discovered, among the eggs of these two species,
other eggs of a more considerable size, and which he attributed to a
new species of the genus _Notonecta_, about which we are now going to
say a few words.

The _Notonecta glauca_, which Geoffroy calls the Large Bug with Oars
("Grande punaise à avirons"), is very common in ditches, reservoirs,
and stagnant waters. Its body is oblong, narrow, contracted
posteriorly, convex above, flat below, having, at its sides and its
extremities, hairs which, when spread out, support the animal on the
water. Its head is large and of a slightly greenish grey, and has on
each of its sides a very large eye of a pale brown colour. Its thorax
is greyish, the hemelytra of a greenish grey, the membranous wings
white. Of its legs, the front four are short; but the hind legs,
almost twice as long, are furnished with long hairs, and resemble
oars. It is with the aid of these that the animal moves through the
water; and it does so in a singular manner, placing itself on its
back, and generally in an inclined position, as in Fig. 77.

When this insect, on the contrary, drags itself along on the mud, the
front legs are those which it employs, the hind legs being idle, and
merely drawn along behind it. It is generally towards the evening or
during the night that it comes out of the water, to walk and to fly,
if it wishes to pass from one marsh to another.

[Illustration: Fig. 77.--Notonecta glauca.]

This bloodthirsty insect lives entirely by rapine; it is one of the
most carnivorous of insects. Those which it attacks die very soon
after they have been hurt by it. De Geer thinks that the water bug
drops into the wound a poisonous humour. It seizes upon insects much
bigger, and apparently much stronger, than itself, and does not spare
its own species.

The instrument with which the _Notonecta_ attacks its prey is composed
of a very strong and very long conical beak, formed of four joints.
The sucker is composed of an upper piece, short and pointed, and of
four fine pointed hairs.

The female of the _Notonecta glauca_ lays a great number of eggs,
white, and of elongated shape, which it deposits on the stems and
leaves of aquatic plants. The eggs are hatched at the beginning of
spring, or in May, and the young ones at once begin to swim about like
their mother, on their backs, belly upwards. M. Léon Dufour says on
this subject:--

"A dorsal region, raised like a donkey's back, or like the rounded
keel of a boat, and covered with a velvety substance, which renders it
impermeable, numerous fine fringes which garnish either the hind legs,
or the borders of the abdomen and thorax, or lastly in a double row
form a crest or comb running down the surface of the belly, and which
spread themselves out or fold themselves in at the will of the insect,
just like fins, favour both this supine attitude and the accuracy of
the swimming movements of the _Notonectæ_. Since Nature--which seems
often to delight in producing extraordinary exceptions to her ordinary
rules, thus bearing witness to the immensity of her resources--had
condemned this animal to pass its life in an inverted position, it was
necessary, for the maintenance of its existence, that it should
provide it with an organisation in harmony with this attitude. It is
also for this object that its head is bent over its chest; that its
eyes, of an oval shape, can see below from above; that the front as
well as the middle legs, agile and curved, solely destined for
prehension, can to a certain extent become unbent by means of the
elongated haunches which fix them to the body, and clutch firm hold of
their prey with the strong claws which terminate the tarsi."


We come now to the second group of the order Hemiptera, namely,

The insects which compose this division are numerous. They may be
arranged into three great families, of the most remarkable members of
which we shall give some account. These are the _Cicadæ_, the _Aphidæ_
or Plant Lice, and the _Coccidæ_.

The Cicada is the type of the first of these families. It has a deafening
and monotonous song; as Bilboquet says, in the "Saltimbanques," "those
who like that note have enough of it for their money." Virgil pronounced
a just criticism on the song of the Cicada: he saw in it nothing better
than a hoarse and disagreeable sound:--

  "At mecum raucis, tua dum vestigia lustro,
  Sole sub ardenti resonant arbusta cicadis,"

says the Latin poet in his "Eclogues," and repeats the same opinion in
a verse in his "Georgics:"--

  "Et cantu querulæ rumpent arbusta cicadæ."

The song of the Cicada, so sharp, so discordant, was, however, the
delight of the Greeks.

Listen to Plato in the first lines of "Phædo:" "By Hera," cries the
philosopher-poet, "what a charming place for repose!... It might well
be consecrated to some nymphs and to the river Achelöu, to judge by
these figures and statues. Taste a little the good air one breathes.
How charming, how sweet! One hears as a summer noise an harmonious
murmur accompanying the chorus of the Cicada."

The Greeks, then, had quite a peculiar taste for the song of the
Cicada. They liked to hear its screeching notes, sharp as a point of
steel. To enjoy it quite at their ease they shut them up in open
wicker-work cages, pretty much in the same way as children shut up the
cricket, so as to hear its joyous _cri-cri_. They carried their love
for this insect with the screaming voice so far as to make it the
symbol of music. We see, in drawings emblematical of the musical art,
a Cicada resting on strings of a cythera. A Grecian legend relates
that one day two cythera players, Eunomos and Aristo, contending on
this sonorous instrument, one of the strings of the former's cythera
having broken, a Cicada settled on it, and sang so well in place of
the broken cord, that Eunomos gained the victory, thanks to this
unexpected assistant. Anacreon composed an ode in honour of the
Cicada. "Happy Cicada, that on the highest branches of the trees,
having drank a little dew, singest like a queen! Thy realm is all thou
seest in the fields, all which grows in the forests. Thou art beloved
by the labourer; no one harms thee; the mortals respect thee as the
sweet harbinger of summer. Thou art cherished by the muses, cherished
by Phoebus himself, who has given thee thy harmonious song. Old age
does not oppress thee. O good little animal, sprung from the bosom of
the earth, loving song, free from suffering, that hast neither blood
nor flesh, what is there prevents thee from being a god?"

It was in virtue of the false ideas of the Greeks on natural history
in general, and on the Cicada in particular, that this little animal
symbolised, among the Athenians, nobility of race. They imagined that
the Cicada was formed at the expense of the earth, and in its bosom,
on which account those who pretended to an ancient and high origin,
wore in their hair a golden Cicada. The Locrians had on their coins
the image of a Cicada. This is the origin which fable assigns to the

The bank of the river upon which Locris was built was covered with
screeching legions of Cicadas; whereas they were never heard (so says
the legend) on the opposite bank, on which stood the town Rhegium. In
explanation of this circumstance, they pretend that Hercules, wishing
one day to sleep on this bank, was so tormented by the "sweet
eloquence" of the Cicadas, that, furious at their concert, he asked of
the gods that they should never sing there for evermore, and his
prayer was immediately granted! This is why the Locrians adopted the
Cicada as the arms of their city.

The Greeks did not only delight, as poets and musicians, in the song
of the Cicada; they were not content with addressing to it poems, with
adoring it, and striking medals bearing its image; obedient to their
grosser appetites, they ate it. They thus satisfied at the same time
both the mind, the spirit, and the body.

The Cicadas are easily to be recognised by their heavy, very robust,
and rather thick-set bodies, by their broad head, unprolonged, having
very large and prominent _ocelli_, or simple eyes, three in number,
arranged in a triangle on the top of the forehead, and short antennæ.
The immature anterior and posterior wings have the shape of a sheath,
or case, enveloping the body when the insect is at rest; these are
transparent and destitute of colour, or sometimes adorned with bright
and varied hues. The legs are not in the least suited for jumping. The
female is provided with an auger, with which she makes holes in the
bark of trees in which to lay her eggs. The male (Fig. 78) is provided
with an organ, not of song, but of stridulation or screeching, which
is very rudimentary in the female. We will stop a moment to consider
the apparatus for producing the song, or rather the noise, of the male
Cicada, and the structure of the female's auger. We are indebted to
Réaumur for the discovery of the mechanism by the aid of which the
Cicada produces the sharp noise which announces its whereabouts from
afar. We will give a summary of the celebrated Memoir in which the
French naturalist has so admirably described the musical apparatus of
the Cicada.[24]

    [24] "Mémoires," tome v. 4to.

[Illustration: Fig. 78.--Cicada (Male).]

It is not in the throat that the Cicada's organ of sound is placed,
but on the abdomen. On examining the abdomen of the male of a large
species of Cicada, one remarks on it two horny plates, of pretty good
size, which are not found on the females. Each plate has one side
straight; the rest of its outline is rounded. It is by the side which
is rectilinear that the plate is fixed immediately underneath the
third pair of legs. It can be slightly raised, with an effort, by two
spine-like processes, each of which presses upon one of the plates,
and when it is raised, prevents it from being raised too much, and
causes it to fall back again immediately.

If the two plates are removed and turned over on the thorax, and the
parts which they hide laid bare, one is struck by the appearance which
is presented. "One cannot doubt that all one sees has been made to
enable the Cicada to sing," says Réaumur. "When one compares the parts
which have been arranged so that it may be able to sing, as we may
say, from its belly, with the organs of our throat, one finds that
ours have not been made with more care than those by means of which
the Cicada gives forth sounds which are not always agreeable."

We here perceive a cavity in the anterior portion of the abdomen and
which is divided into two principal cells by a horny triangle.

"The bottom of each cell offers to children who catch the Cicada a
spectacle which amuses them, and which may be admired by men who know
how to make the best use of their reason. The children think they see
a little mirror of the thinnest and most transparent glass, or that a
little blade of the most beautiful talc is set in the bottom of each
of these little cells. That which one might see if this were the case
would in no way differ from what one actually sees; the membrane which
is stretched out at the bottom of the cells does not yield in
transparency either to glass or to talc; and if one looks at it
obliquely, one sees in it all the beautiful colours of the rainbow. It
seems as if the Cicada has two glazed windows through which one can
see into the interior of its body."

The horny triangle of which we spoke above only separates in two the
lower part of the cavity. The upper part is filled by a white, thin,
but strong membrane. This membrane is only drawn tight when the body
of the Cicada is raised. But with all this, where is the organ of
song? What parts produce the sound? Réaumur will enlighten us on this

He opened the back of a Cicada, and laid bare the portion of the
interior which corresponds with the cavity where the mirrors are, and
was immediately struck with the size of the two muscles which meet and
are attached to the back of the horny triangle, and to that one of its
angles from which start the sides which form the cavities in which are
both the mirrors.

"Muscles of such strength, placed in the belly of the Cicada, and in
that part of the belly in which they are found, seem to be only so
placed in order that they may move quickly backwards and forwards
those parts which, being set in motion, produce the noise or song. And
indeed, whilst I was examining one of these muscles, in moving it
about gently with a pin, slightly displacing it, and then letting it
return to its proper place, it so happened that I made a Cicada that
had been dead for many months sing. The song, as might be expected,
was not loud; but it was strong enough to lead me on to the discovery
of the part to which it was due. I had only to follow the muscle I had
been moving, to search for the part on which it abutted."

In the large cavity, in which are the mirrors and the other parts
mentioned above, there are besides two equal and similar compartments,
two cells, in which are placed the instrument of sound. This is a
membrane in the shape of a kettledrum, not smooth, but, on the
contrary, crumpled and full of wrinkles (Fig. 79). When it is touched
it is more sonorous than the driest parchment. If the furrows on its
convex surface are rubbed with a small body, such as a piece of
rolled-up paper, incapable of piercing or tearing it, it is easily
made to sound; and the sound is occasioned by the portions of the
kettledrum which are depressed by the friction of the small body,
returning to their former position as soon as it has ceased to act
upon them. It is here that the two strong muscles act whose existence
and use were discovered by Réaumur.

[Illustration: Fig. 79.--Musical Apparatus of the Male Cicada.]

"It is clear," says this naturalist, "that when the muscle is
alternately contracted and expanded with rapidity, one convex portion
of the kettledrum will be rendered concave, and will then resume its
convex form by the force of its own spring. Then this noise will be
made, this song of which we have been so long seeking an explanation,
because we wished to find out all the parts by means of which He, who
never makes anything without its use, willed that it should be

Let us add, to complete what we have already said on this subject,
that if the kettledrums are the essential organs of the insect's song,
the mirrors, the white and wrinkled membranes, and the exterior
shutters which cover in the whole apparatus, contribute largely, as
Réaumur pointed out, to modify and strengthen the sound.

We have said above that the female Cicada does not sing; and so her
singing organs are quite rudimentary. This fact, moreover, has been
known for ages. Xenarchus, a poet of Rhodes, says, with little

  "Happy Cicadas! thy females are deprived of voice!"

Nature has indemnified the female Cicada for this privation, by giving
her an instrument less noisy indeed, but more useful. This is a sort
of auger, destined to penetrate the bark of the branches of trees, and
lodged in the last segment of the abdomen, which, for this purpose, is
hollowed out groove-wise. By the aid of a system of muscles the auger
can be protruded or retracted at pleasure. It is furnished with three
implements. In the middle there is a piercer, or bodkin, which when
run into a branch supports the insect, and two _stylets_, whose upper
edges, having teeth like a saw, resting back to back, on the middle
implement, move up and down it. With this admirable instrument the
female Cicada incises obliquely the bark and wood until she has almost
reached the pith (Fig. 80). The male sings while she is at work. When
the cell is sufficiently deep and properly prepared, the female lays
at the bottom of it from five to eight eggs.

[Illustration: Fig. 80.--Female Cicada laying her eggs in the groove
she has bored in the branch of a tree.]

From these eggs come very small white grubs (Fig. 81), which leave
their nest, descend by the trunk, and bury themselves in the ground,
where they devour the roots of the tree. They then become pupæ, and
hollowing out the earth with their front legs, which are very much
developed, continue to live at the expense of the roots. At the end
of spring these pupæ (Fig. 82) come out of the earth, hook themselves
on to the trunks of trees, and strip themselves one fine evening of
their skin, which remains whole and dried. Very weak at first, these
metamorphosed insects drag themselves along with difficulty. But next
day, warmed by the first rays of the sun, having had, no doubt, time
to reflect on their new social position, and less astonished than they
were on the preceding evening, they agitate their wings, they fly, and
the males send forth into the air the first notes of their screeching
concert. The Cicadas remain on trees, whose sap they suck by means of
their sharp-pointed beak. It is difficult enough to catch them, for
owing to their large, highly-developed wings, they fly rapidly away on
the slightest noise.

They inhabit the south of Europe, the whole of Africa from north to
south, America in the same latitudes as Europe, the whole of the centre
and south of Asia, New Holland, and the islands of Oceania. The Cicada,
which in hot climates always exposes itself to the ardour of the
most scorching sun, is not found in temperate or cold regions. The
consequence is that the southern nations know it very well, whilst in
the north the large grasshopper, which is so common in those regions,
and whose song closely resembles that of the Cicada, is commonly taken
for it. There was to be seen at the Exhibition of Fine Arts in 1866 a
picture by M. Aussandon, "La Cigale et la Fourmi," which showed, under
an allegorical shape, the subject of La Fontaine's fable. The painter
here represented the Cigale, or Cicada, under the form of a magnificent
apple-green grasshopper. The artist materialised here, as we may say,
the common mistake of the inhabitants of the north, which makes them
confound the Cicada with the great green grasshopper.

[Illustration: Fig. 81.--Larva of the Cicada.]

[Illustration: Fig. 82.--Pupa of the Cicada.]

For the rest, we may, by-the-by, say that La Fontaine's fable of "La
Cigale et la Fourmi" is full of errors in natural history. Nothing is
easier than to prove the truth of this assertion. From the very first
verses, the author shows that he has never observed the animal of
which he speaks.

  "La Cigale ayant chanté
  Tout l'été."

No Cicada could sing "tout l'été," since it lives at the utmost for a
few weeks only.

  "Se trouva fort dépourvue
  Quand la bise fut venue."

"Quand la bise fut venue" means without doubt the month of November or
December. But at this season of the year the Cicada has a long time
since passed from life to death. When one wanders along the outskirts
of woods as early as the month of October, in the south of France, one
finds the soil covered with dead Cicadas. La Fontaine's _Cigale_ then
could not have found itself "fort dépourvue," for the simple reason
that it was already dead.

  "Elle alla crier famine
  Chez la Fourmi, sa voisine,
  La priant de lui preter
  Quelque grain pour subsister."

The ant is carnivorous, and although it likes honey, it has nothing to
do with grains of wheat, nor with any other grain, of which, according
to the fabulist, it had laid up a stock. On the other hand, the
Cicada, which he blames for having

  "Pas un seul petit morceau
  De mouche ou de vermisseau,"

never dreamt of such victuals, for it lives entirely on the sap of
large vegetables. The fables of the poet, who is called in France, one
never knows why, "Le bon La Fontaine," teem with errors of the same
kind as those we have just pointed out. The habits of animals are
nearly always represented as exactly the contrary to what they really
are. To initiate himself into the mysteries of the habits of animals,
La Fontaine certainly had neither the works of Buffon nor the memoirs
of Réaumur, which had not then been written; but had he not the book
of Nature?

But it is time to mention the principal species of the Cicada. We will
describe two: that of the Ash, which lives on those trees in the south
of France; and that of the Manna Ash, which is very common in the
south-east of France. It is particularly plentiful in the forests of
pines which abound between Bayonne and Bordeaux. It is on these two
species of Cicada that Réaumur made the beautiful observations of
which we gave a summary above.

The _Cicada plebeia_ or _Tettigonia fraxini_, very common in Provence,
is found, though rarely, in the forest of Fontainebleau, occasionally
in La Brie. It is of a grey yellow below, black above; the head and
thorax are marked or striped with black.

M. Solier, in a Memoir inserted in the "Annales de la Société
Entomologique de France," says that its song, very loud and very
piercing, seems to consist of one single note, repeated with rapidity,
which insensibly grows weaker after a certain time, and terminates in
a kind of whistle, which can be partly imitated by pronouncing the two
consonants _st_, and which resembles the noise of the air coming out
of a little opening in a compressed bladder. When the Cicada sings, it
moves its abdomen violently, in such a manner as alternately to move
it away from, and to bring it near to, the little covers of the
sonorous cavities; to this movement is added a slight trembling of the

The same entomologist relates a very interesting observation made on
this species of Cicada by his friend, M. Boyer, a chemist at Aix, and
which he himself verified. The Cicadas, in general, are very timid,
and fly away at the least noise. However, when a Cicada is singing,
one can approach it, whistling the while in a quavering manner, and
imitating as nearly as possible, its cry, but in such a manner as to
predominate over it. The insect then descends a small space down the
tree, as if to approach the whistler; then it stops. But if one
presents a stick to it, continuing to whistle, the Cicada settles on
it and begins again to descend backwards. From time to time it stops,
as if to listen. At last, attracted, and, as it were, fascinated by
the harmony of the whistle, it comes to the observer himself.

M. Boyer managed thus to make a Cicada, which continued to sing as
long as he whistled in harmony with it, settle on his nose. Charmed by
this concert, the insect seemed to have lost its natural timidity.

The _Cicada orni_ is of a greenish yellow, spotted with black. The
abdomen is encircled by the same colours. The elytra and the wings are
hyaline, or glassy, and their veins alternately yellow and brown. The
legs are yellow throughout. The song of this species is hoarse, and
cannot be heard at any great distance.

M. Solier, in the work we quoted just now, says that the song of this
Cicada is of a deeper intonation, but that it is quick and is sooner
over. It does not terminate in the manner which characterises that of
the other species.

Next the genus _Cicada_ comes _Fulgora_, whose type is the _Fulgora
lanternaria_, or Lantern Fly (Fig. 83).

Belonging to South America, these insects are above all remarkable and
easy to recognise, by their very large elongated head, which nearly
equals three-quarters of the rest of the body. This prolongation is
horizontal, vesiculous, enlarged to about the same breadth as the
head, and presents above a very great gibbosity. The antennæ are
short, with a globular second articulation, and a small terminal hair.
The species represented in Fig. 83 is yellow varied with black. The
elytra are of a greenish yellow, sprinkled with black; the wings, of
the same colour, have at the extremity a large spot resembling an eye,
which is surrounded by a brown circle very broad in front. It inhabits
Guyana. This remarkable insect enjoys a great renown with the vulgar,
by a peculiarity which might be called its speciality--the property of
shining by night or in the dark. Hence its name of _Fulgora

The knowledge of the _Fulgora lanternaria_ has been spread and
popularised in Europe by a celebrated book, which has for its
title, "Métamorphoses des Insectes de Surinam." This book, which
contains the result of patient study of the natural history of Dutch
Guyana (Government of Surinam), was written and published in three
languages, by a woman whose name this work has rendered immortal--Mlle.
Sybille de Mérian--and who won the admiration and respect of her
contemporaries by her love of the beauties of Nature, and her
perseverance in making them known and admired. Sybille de Mérian was
born at Bâle. Daughter, sister, and mother of celebrated engravers,
herself an excellent flower-painter, she had worked a long time at
Frankfort and at Nuremburg; and had read with the greatest attention
the "Théologie des Insectes,"[25] and with admiration Malpighi's book
on the silkworm. Full of enthusiasm for the study of natural history,
she left Germany, to visit the magnificent collection of plants which
were kept in the hot-houses of Holland, and made admirable
reproductions of them with her pencil.

    [25] "Théologie des Insectes, ou Démonstration des Perfections
    de Dieu dans tout ce qui concerne les Insectes, par Lesser,
    traduit en Français." La Haye, 1742.

[Illustration: Fig. 83.--Lantern Fly (_Fulgora lanternaria_).]

This attentive study of the vegetable world suggested to her the idea,
which soon became an ardent desire, of observing these marvels of
Nature in those parts of the globe in which they display themselves
with the greatest magnificence and splendour. At the age of
fifty-four, Sybille de Mérian set out for equatorial America. From the
very first days of her arrival she hazarded her life, sometimes
without a guide, in the swampy plains or burning valleys of Guyana.
During the two years she sojourned in those dangerous parts, she made
a large collection of drawings and paintings, which were destined to
inaugurate in Europe the introduction of art into natural history.

In the plates to her work, Sybille de Mérian represents always the
insects she wishes to describe under its three forms of larva, pupa,
and perfect insect. With this drawing she gives another of the plants
which serves the insect for food, as also of the animals which prey on
it. Each plate is a little drama. Near the insect is seen the greedy
lizard opening its dreadful mouth, or the ferocious spider watching
for it. The short life of insects is shown here in its entirety, with
its continual struggles, its infinite artifices, its rapid end, and
all the episodes of its existence, for which life, as in the case of
the moral man, is but a long and painful struggle.

Such was the work, such was the noble devotion and the worthy career
of Sybille de Mérian. Let women, let young girls, who are martyrs to
the ennui of a life devoid of occupation, peruse her beautiful books,
and learn from it how much a woman may do with the time which is now
either utterly unoccupied or only devoted to useless employments. To
study Nature in any of its phases ought, it seems to us, to give more
satisfaction to the soul, more strength to the mind, and cause more
admiration of and gratitude to the supreme Author of Nature than doing
a little embroidery.

It is, as we have already said, in the work of Sybille de Mérian,
"Métamorphoses des Insectes de Surinam," that one finds mentioned, for
the first time, the luminous properties of the _Fulgora lanternaria_.
The author thus relates her observations, which were the result of

"Some Indians having one day brought me a great number of the Lantern
Flies, I shut them up in a large box, not knowing then that they gave
light at night. Hearing a noise, I sprang out of bed and had a candle
brought. I very soon discovered that the noise proceeded from the box,
which I hurriedly opened; but, alarmed at seeing emerging from it a
flame, or, to speak more correctly, as many flames as there were
insects, I at first let it fall. Having recovered from my astonishment,
or rather from my fright, I caught all my insects again, and admired
this singular property of theirs."

Since the time when Mlle. de Mérian visited Guyana, different
travellers have said that they could not observe, as she did, this
phosphorescent phenomenon. It is, then, probable that this property
only exists in the male or female insect, and then only at certain

What a marvellous spectacle must the rich valleys of Guyana present,
when, in the stillness of the night, the air is filled with living
torches; when, the _Fulgoræ_ flying about in space, the flashes of
fire cross each other, go out and blaze up again, shine brightly and
then die out, and present, on a calm evening, the appearance of those
lightning flashes which are usually seen only in the midst of a

Let us now go on to another interesting insect of the order of which
we are treating, the Aphrophora, without being frightened by its
disagreeable name, for there are many other names we may give it if we
choose among those by which it is popularly known. In the months of
June and July one sees on nearly every tree, and on plants of the most
different kinds, a sort of white froth, composed of air bubbles,
deposited on the leaves and branches. It is produced by an insect
which the peasants in France call _Crachat de Coucou_, or _Ecume
printanière_ (spring froth), and which is called in England, Cuckoo's
spittle. De Geer carefully studied the metamorphoses of this insect.
The Aphrophora (from [Greek: aphros], foam, and [Greek: pherô], I bear
or carry) is lodged in the froth of which we have just been speaking.
It lives in it, only leaving it when it has its wings. De Geer
wondered why this insect confines itself during the whole of its life
in liquid, and concludes that the froth has the effect of protecting
the insect from the burning heat of the sun. This covering seems also
to protect it from the attacks of carnivorous insects and spiders. On
the other hand, its skin is without doubt so constituted that it would
perspire too freely if it were exposed to the air, and the insect
would very soon die dried up. Whatever explanation may be given of the
necessity for this semi-aërial, semi-liquid medium, it is easy to
verify the fact that the larva of the Aphrophora cannot live long out
of its frothy envelope. If withdrawn from it, the volume of its body
diminishes perceptibly, and the poor animal dies, like a fish taken
out of its natural element.

The insects which live in this froth are six-legged grubs (Fig. 84),
which, when the froth is cleared from them, walk quickly enough on the
stalks and leaves of plants. They are green, with the belly yellow.

[Illustration: Fig. 84.--Larva of the Aphrophora (_Aphrophora

De Geer wished to know how they produced this singular froth, and
found out in the following manner:--He took one of them out of its
frothy dwelling, wiped it dry with a camel's-hair pencil, and placed
it on a young stalk, recently cut from the honeysuckle, which he put
into water in a glass, in order to preserve its freshness, and this is
what he observed:--

"It begins," says the Swedish naturalist, "by fixing itself on a
certain part of the stalk, in which it inserts the end of its trunk,
and remains thus for a long time in the same attitude, occupied in
sucking and filling itself with the sap. Having then withdrawn its
trunk, it remains there, or else places itself on a leaf, where, after
different reiterated movements of its abdomen, which it raises or
lowers and turns on all sides, one may see coming out of the hinder
part of its body a little ball of liquid, which it causes to slip
along, bending it under its body. Beginning the same movements again,
it is not long in producing a second globule of liquid, filled with
air like the first, which it places side by side with, and close to,
the preceding one, and continues the same operation as long as there
remains any sap in its body. It is very soon covered with a number of
small globules, which, coming out of its body one after the other,
tend towards the front part, aided in this by the movement of the
abdomen. It is all these globules collected together which form a
white and extremely fine froth whose viscosity keeps the air shut up
in the globules, and prevents its froth from easily evaporating. If
the sap which the larva has drawn from the plant is exhausted before
it feels itself sufficiently covered with froth, it begins to suck
afresh, until it has got a new and sufficient quantity of froth,
which it takes care to add to its first stock."[26]

    [26] "Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire des Insectes,"
    tome iii.

It is in the froth that the larvæ change into pupæ, and they do not
leave their habitation to undergo their final metamorphosis. They have
then, says De Geer, the art of causing the froth inside to evaporate
and dry up, in such a manner as to form a space inside the mass of
froth, in which their bodies are entirely free. The exterior froth
forms a roof closed in on all sides, under which the insect lies quite

In this vaulted cell the pupa disengages itself little by little from
its skin, which first splits up along the head, and then on the
thorax. This opening is sufficiently large to enable it to come out of
its envelope. It is in the month of September that these insects are
particularly abundant, and then the trees and plants are covered with
them. Sometimes the froth drips off, like a sort of small rain, from
branches which are covered with it. Towards the autumn the females are
pregnant. They are then so heavy that they can hardly jump or fly. The
males, on the contrary, make prodigious bounds; they throw themselves
forward to a distance of more than two yards. They are very difficult
to catch, and still more difficult to find again when one has once let
them escape. And so Swammerdam calls these insects _Sauterelles-Puces_
(Flea-Grasshoppers), because they jump like fleas.

All that we have said relates to the _Aphrophora spumaria_, or
Froghopper (Fig. 85), an insect common all over Europe, and which
Geoffroy calls the _Cigale bedeaude_.

[Illustration: Fig. 85.--The Froghopper (_Aphrophora spumaria_).]

"It is of a brown colour," says Geoffroy, "often rather greenish. Its
head, its thorax, and its elytra, are finely dotted; on these last one
sees two white oblong spots. The lower part of the insect is light

    [27] "Histoire abrégée des Insectes, dans laquelle ces animaux
    sont rangés dans un ordre méthodique." In 4to. Tome i., p. 416.
    An VII. de la République.

We will mention, as it belongs to the group with which we are now
occupied, a noxious insect, _Iassus devastans_, which since 1844 seems
to have taken up its quarters in the commune of Saint Paul, in the
department of the Basses-Alpes. It sucks the leaves and stalks of
cereals, causing them to wither, and may be found even in winter
on young corn, but principally in the spring. According to M.
Guérin-Méneville, its head is of an ochrey yellow, with the apex
marked with black spots; the forehead yellow, elongated, striped with
black, as are the legs. The elytra are straw-coloured and spotted with
brown. The wings are transparent, and slightly blackened at the
extremities. This remarkable insect, which is not more than the
twelfth of an inch in length, jumps and flies with great ease.

[Illustration: Fig. 86.--1. Hypsauchenia balista. 2. Membracis foliata.
3. Centrotus cornutus. 4. Umbonia Spinosa. 5. Bocydium globulare.
6. Cyphonia furcata.]

A small brownish insect, whose strange appearance struck Geoffroy, the
historian of the insects of the environs of Paris, may be seen
springing over the fern stalks and thistles, in the damp parts of most
of the woods of Europe.

Geoffroy calls this insect "le Petit Diable." "Le Petit Diable," he
writes, "is of a dark blackish-brown. Its head is flat, projecting but
slightly, and, as it were, bent downwards. Its thorax, which is rather
broad, has two sharp horns, which terminate in pretty long points on
the sides. In the middle of the thorax is a crest or comb, which,
prolonged into a sort of sinuous and crooked horn, terminates in a
very sharp point, reaching to within one quarter of the extremity
of the wing-cases. These--viz., the wing-cases--are dark, with
brown veins; and the wings, shorter than their cases, are rather
transparent. The insect jumps very well, and is not readily

    [28] "Histoire abrégée des Insectes, dans laquelle ces animaux
    sont rangés dans un ordre méthodique." In 4to. Tome i., p. 423.
    An VII. de la République.

The Petit Diable of Geoffroy is the _Centrotus cornutus_ of modern
naturalists. This curious little insect belongs to a strange and
remarkable group, whose thorax takes the most extraordinary and most
varied forms, as may be seen in Fig. 86, which represents somewhat
magnified, many of these insects. Nearly all inhabit Guyana, the
Brazils, and Florida.

We will now proceed to examine one of the most interesting groups of
insects--that of the Plant-lice. These insects have for a long time
attracted the attention of naturalists. They are so abundant that all
our readers have seen them, and there are few plants in our fields or
gardens which do not nourish some species. How often does one hesitate
in gathering a rose or a bit of honeysuckle, for fear of touching the
unattractive guest of those charming flowers!

During the whole of the summer one sees on the branches, on the
leaves, but principally on the young shoots of the rose-tree, large
companies of green plant-lice, which subsist on the sap of the tree.
Some are provided with wings (Figs. 87, 88), others are wingless
(Figs. 89, 90). The last-named are the largest, and are a line and a
half long. They are entirely green, except two parts, of which we will
speak immediately. The body is oval; the head is small, and furnished
with two brown eyes. The skin is smooth, and tightly drawn over the
body. The antennæ, which are very long and slender, almost equal the
body in length. The six legs are long and slim, and the short feet
terminate in two hooks. On the upper part of the body are two small
cylindrical horns, surmounted by a small knob. The antennæ and these
horns are black.

The winged individuals are of the same size as these, but are of a
dark green colour, mixed with black. The wings are transparent, and
the upper ones are as long again as the body. The young shoots of the
elder-tree, all round their circumference for the length of from a
foot to a foot and a half, are often covered with black plant-lice, or
with those of a greenish-black colour. They are crowded one against
the other, and sometimes there are two layers of them.

[Illustration: Fig. 87, 88.--Winged Aphides, or Plant-lice (magnified).]

If observed without moving the plant about, they appear to be tranquil
and inactive. They are, however, then absorbing from the plant the
nourishment it should have; piercing with the point of their trunks
the epidermis of the leaves or stalks, and drawing from them a
nourishing liquid.

But this occupation is confined to those which are on the plant
itself. Those which, on account of the enormous agglomeration of these
insects, walk, not on the branch, but on other plant-lice, and cannot
therefore suck the sap of the plant, are employed entirely in
preserving and multiplying their species.

[Illustration: Fig. 89, 90.--Wingless Aphides, or Plant-lice (magnified).]

Réaumur often saw the latter, easily recognised by their great size,
giving birth to little plant-lice, which are quite alive when they
leave their mother. The young ones set off and mount or descend till
they reach one end of the crowd, and there each takes up its position,
like a cardboard capuchin (_capucin de carte_), in such a manner that
the head is just behind the plant-louse which precedes it. There they
bury their trunks in the vegetable tissue, and set to work to imbibe
the sap.

Small as is the trunk of the plant-louse, yet when there are thousands
of those little beings fixed to the stalk or the leaves of a plant, it
is evident that it must suffer. And so the plant-louse is, in truth,
one of the most terrible enemies of our agricultural and horticultural
productions, and the exact list of the ravages which it occasions
would be indeed interminable. We will confine ourselves to a few
examples. For some years the lime-tree aphis has seriously attacked
the lime-trees of the public promenades of Paris. The peach-tree
plant-louse causes the blight of the leaves of that tree. It is to
these prolific little parasites that are due, in a great number of
cases, the contortions of leaves and of the young shoots of trees of
all sorts.

These insatiable depredators cause sometimes a still more remarkable
alteration. On the leaves of elms are often seen bladders round and
rosy, like little apples. On opening these bladders one finds that
they are inhabited by a species of aphis. On the black poplar galls of
different kinds grow, some from the leaf stalks, and others from the
young stems. They are rounded, oblong, horned, and twisted into a
spiral. Other galls show themselves on the leaf itself. They are all
inhabited by plant-lice, differing from those of which we have given a
description above, in the extremity of their abdomen not presenting
the two remarkable horns to which we shall have later to call the
attention of the reader. The body is generally covered with a long and
thick down.

Of this genus, the species, alas! so unfortunately celebrated is the
Apple-tree Aphis (_Myzoxyle mali_), which attacks that tree. This
insect is of a dark russet brown, with the upper part of the abdomen
covered with very long white down. Its presence was announced for the
first time in England in 1789, and in France, in the department of the
Côtes du Nord, in 1812. In 1818 it was found in Paris, in the garden
of the École de Pharmacie. It had become common in 1822 in the
departments of the Seine, the Somme, and the Aisne. In 1827 its
presence in Belgium was announced.

The apple-tree aphis, according to M. Blot, can only exist on that
tree. Carried away and placed on any other, it very soon perishes. It
does not attack the blossom, the fruit, nor the leaves, but fixes
itself on the lower part of the trunk, whence it propagates itself
downwards as far as the roots, underneath the graftings, &c. It also
likes to lodge in cracks of the trunk and large branches. But it
always looks out for a southern, and avoids a northern aspect. It is
not active, walks very little, and its dissemination from one place to
another can only be explained by the facility with which so small an
insect can be transported by the wind, its lightness being still more
increased by the down which covers it.

The _Myzoxyle mali_ renders the wood knotty, dry, hard, brittle, and
brings on rapidly all the symptoms which characterise old age and
decay in attacked trees. M. Blot recommends the following means for
preserving the apple-tree from this insect: Employ for the seed-beds
the pips of bitter apples only; give to the nursery and to the plants
only as much shelter as is absolutely necessary; avoid those sites
which are too low and too damp; encourage the circulation of air, and
the desiccation of the soil; surround the foot of each apple-tree with
a mixture of soot or of tobacco and fine sand.

As for the manner of freeing a tree once invaded by this insect, the
most simple plan is to rub the trunk and the branches, in order to
crush the insects, or to employ a brush or broom.

We spoke above of the reproduction of the aphis, but without entering
into any particular details; we will now touch upon this question, one
of the most interesting in natural history.

It was at the time when Réaumur was writing his immortal "Histoire des
Insectes," when Trembley was publishing his admirable researches on
the freshwater Hydra, whose wonderful vitality we have mentioned in
our work on Zoophytes and Molluscs,[29] that another naturalist
astonished the learned world by his experiments on the reproductions
of plant-lice. This naturalist, whose name will live quite as long as
those of Réaumur and of Trembley, was Charles Bonnet, of Geneva.

    [29] "The Ocean World."

Charles Bonnet made the extraordinary discovery that aphides can
increase and multiply without the intervention of the sexes. An
isolated specimen can produce a series of generations of its kind. We
will relate the curious experiments of the Genevese naturalist. He
placed in a flower-pot, filled with mould, a phial full of water, and
put into this phial a little branch of spindle, having only five or
six leaves, and perfectly free from any insect. On one of these leaves
he placed a plant-louse, which was born under his own eyes, of a
wingless mother. He then covered the branch with a glass shade, whose
rim fitted exactly into the top of the flower-pot. Having taken these
precautions, Charles Bonnet was perfectly certain of being able to
observe his prisoner at his ease. He could keep it under his eye and
under his hand, with more certitude and security than was the
mythological Danaë, shut up, by order of Acrisius, in a tower of

"I took care," says Charles Bonnet, "to keep a correct journal of the
life of my insect. I noted down its least movements; nothing it did
seemed to me indifferent. Not only did I observe it every day from
hour to hour, beginning generally at four or five o'clock in the
morning, and only leaving off at about nine or ten at night; but I
even looked many times in the same hour, and always with the
magnifying glass, to render my observation more exact, and to learn
the most secret actions of my little lonely one. But if this continual
application cost me some trouble, and bored me not a little, in amends
I had some cause for self-applause and for having subjected myself to
all this trouble.... My plant-louse changed its skin four times: on
the 23rd, in the evening; on the 26th, at two in the afternoon; on the
29th, at seven o'clock in the morning; and on the 31st, at about seven
o'clock in the evening.... Happily delivered from these four illnesses
through which it was obliged to pass, it at last reached that point to
which, by my care, I had been trying to bring it. It had become a
perfect plant-louse. On the 1st of June, at about seven o'clock in the
evening, I saw, with great satisfaction, that it had given birth to
another; from that time I thought I ought to look upon it as a female.
From that day up to the 20th inclusive, she produced ninety-five
little ones, all alive and doing well, the greatest number of which
were born under my own eyes!"[30]

    [30] "Traité d'Insectologie, ou Observations sur les Pucerons,"
    pp. 28-38. 1re partie, 18mo. Paris, 1745.

He very soon made some other experiments on the aphis of the
elder-tree, so as to assure himself if the generations of plant-lice,
reared successively in solitude, preserved the same property of
procreating without copulation.

"On the 12th of July," says he, "about three o'clock in the afternoon,
I shut up a plant-louse that had just been born under my eyes. On the
20th of the same month, at six o'clock in the morning, it had already
produced three little ones. But I waited till the 22nd towards noon
before I shut up a plant-louse of the second generation, because I
could not manage earlier to be present at the birth of one of those
produced by the mother I had condemned to live in solitude. I always
continued to observe the same precaution. I shut up only those
plant-lice which were born under my very eyes. A third generation
began on the 1st of August; it was on this day that the plant-louse I
had shut up on the 22nd of July gave birth to this generation. On the
4th of August, about one o'clock in the afternoon, I put into solitary
confinement a plant-louse of the third generation. On the ninth of the
same month, at six in the evening, a fourth generation, due to this
last one, had already seen the light: it had given birth to four
little ones. On the same day, towards midnight, all intercourse with
its own species was forbidden to the plant-louse of the fourth
generation born at that hour. On the 18th, between six and seven
o'clock in the morning, I found this last in the company of four
little ones to which it had given birth."[31]

    [31] "Traité d'Insectologie," &c., pp. 67-69.

In this case, the want of food caused the death of the isolated
individual of the fifth generation, and the experiment was brought to
a close.

Bonnet then tried experiments on the plantain aphis, following them up
during five consecutive generations, which succeeded each other
without interruption, in the space of three months.

After having stated the extraordinary facts, which he relates with the
most perfect simplicity, Charles Bonnet, examining at the end of the
fine season specimens of the winged oak-tree aphis, was able to be
present at their nuptials. He preserved the females with great care,
and saw, not without profound astonishment, that they gave birth, not
to small living insects, as was the case in the first experiments, but
to eggs of a reddish colour, which were stuck fast to each other, on
the stem or stalk of the plant.

A short time afterwards, this illustrious observer was able to
convince himself that the oak-tree plant-lice, whose nuptials he had
witnessed in the autumn, present the same phenomena of solitary and
viviparous propagation, already so often mentioned by him.

At last some new observations permitted him to establish beyond all
doubt the connection of these facts, in appearance so contradictory.
He discovered that, during the whole of the fine season, the
plant-lice are solitary and viviparous, but that towards the autumn
these creatures return to the ordinary course of things, and are
propagated by eggs, whose development requires the co-operation of a
male and female individual. These eggs are hatched in Spring, and
produce only viviparous plant-lice. In the autumn the males and
females show themselves, and from that moment ovipositing recommences.
These curious facts, seen and published more than a century ago, have
been verified many times since. In 1866 M. Balbiani asserted that the
plant-lice are hermaphrodite, or of both sexes at the same time, which
would explain the facts observed by Charles Bonnet. But the anatomical
proofs appealed to by Balbiani in support of this idea are far from
establishing the existence of this arrangement of sexes among them.
The observations of Charles Bonnet produced profound astonishment
among naturalists, and, in this respect, 1743 may be considered as a
memorable year.

The simple statement of the few experiments which he made, and which
we have cited, has sufficed to show how rapid is the multiplication of
aphides. A single female produced generally 90 young ones; at the
second generation these 90 produce 8,100; these give a third
generation, which amounts to 729,000 insects; these, in their turn,
become 65,610,000; the fifth generation, consisting of 590,490,000,
will yield a progeny of 53,142,100,000; at the seventh, we shall thus
have 4,782,789,000,000; and the eighth will give 441,461,010,000,000.
This immense number increases immeasurably when there are eleven
generations in the space of a year. Fortunately a great many
carnivorous insects wage fierce war against the plant-lice, and
destroy immense numbers of them. Thus they are kept in check, and
prevented from multiplying inordinately. To show with what prodigious
abundance the reproduction of these little but formidable parasites
must go on, we will relate a fact which was made known to us by M.
Morren, Professor in the University of Liége.

The winter of 1833-34 had been extremely warm and dry; whole months
had passed without any rain. A well-known _savant_, Van Mons, had
foretold, as early as the 12th of May, that all the vegetables would
be devoured by plant-lice. On the 28th of September, 1834, at the
moment when the cholera had began to spread its ravages over Belgium,
all of a sudden a swarm of plant-lice showed themselves between Bruges
and Ghent. They were to be seen the next day at Ghent, hovering about
in troops, in such quantities that the daylight was obscured. Standing
on the ramparts, one could no longer distinguish the walls of the
houses in the town, so covered were they with plant-lice. The whole
road from Antwerp to Ghent was rendered black by innumerable legions
of them. They appeared everywhere quite suddenly. People were
obliged to protect their eyes with spectacles and their faces with
handkerchiefs, to keep off the painful and disagreeable tickling
caused by them. The progress of these insects was interrupted by
mountains, hills, even by undulations of land of very slight
elevation, but sufficient to have an influence on the wind. M. Morren
thinks that they came from a great distance, and that they arrived in
Belgium by the sea-coast. Whatever be the explanation of the
phenomenon, it establishes sufficiently the prodigious multiplication
of these little insects.

There is another trait, and without doubt the most curious in the
history of the aphides, to which we have still to call the attention
of the reader: we mean the relations which exist between them and the

No one can have failed to observe ants frequenting those places where
plant-lice are gathered together in great numbers. Are ants simply
friends of the plant-lice, as thought the ancients? or have their
visits some selfish object?

Linnæus, Bonnet, and Pierre Huber thought that the ants did not pay
these visits for nothing, and that they had some object in view. But
what could they want of the plant-lice? It is to Pierre Huber we owe
the solution of this mystery. This naturalist has made the most
beautiful observations on the relations which exist between plant-lice
and ants. They are detailed in a chapter of his admirable work,
entitled "Recherches sur les Moeurs des Fourmis Indigènes."

The plant-lice have, as we have said, at the extremity of their
abdomen, two small movable horns. These are in communication with a
little gland which produces a sugary liquid. When one carefully
observes plant-lice attached to the stem of a plant, one sees a little
syrup droplet oozing out of the extremity of these tubes.

M. Morren, who has made some interesting observations on the anatomy
and generation of the aphis, says that, having shut up females in
wide-mouthed glass bottles, he saw the young, a little time after
their birth, suck the sweet juice which exudes from the little tubes
at the extremity of the mother's abdomen. This secretion seems, then,
destined for the nourishment of the young in the first moments of
their existence, before they are able to nourish themselves on
vegetable juices. The saccharine fluid produced by the mother must be,
then, a sort of milk intended for the nourishment of her young. This
being settled, attend to what follows. In all places where plant-lice
are assembled in great numbers it is easy to observe how excessively
fond ants are of the sugary liquid destined for suckling the young.
But how do the ants manage to get the plant-lice to allow themselves
to be, as we may say, milked?

"It had been already noticed," says this celebrated observer, "that
the ants waited for the moment at which the plant-lice caused this
precious manna to come out of their abdomen, which they immediately
seized. But I discovered that this was the least of their talents, and
that they also knew how to manage to be served with this liquid at
will. This is their secret. A branch of a thistle was covered with
brown ants and plant-lice. I observed the latter for some time, so as
to discover, if possible, the moment when they caused this secretion
to issue from their bodies; but I remarked that it very rarely came
out of its own accord, and that the plant-lice, which were at some
distance from the ants, squirted it out with a movement resembling a

"How did it happen, then, that the ants wandering about on the thistle
were nearly all remarkable for the size of their abdomens, and were
evidently full of some liquid? This I discovered by narrowly watching
one ant, whose proceedings I am going to describe minutely. I saw it
at first passing, without stopping, over some plant-lice, which did
not seem in the least disturbed by its walking over them; but it soon
stopped close to one of the smallest, which it seemed to coax with its
antennæ, touching the extremity of its abdomen very rapidly, first
with one of its antennæ and then with the other. I saw with surprise
the liquid come out of the body of the plant-louse, and the ant
forthwith seize upon the droplet and convey it to its mouth. It then
brought its antennæ to bear upon another plant-louse, much larger
than the first; this one, caressed in the same manner, yielded the
nourishing fluid from its body in a much larger dose. The ant advanced
and took possession of it. It then passed to a third, which it cajoled
as it had the preceding ones, giving it many little strokes with its
antennæ near the hinder extremity of its body; the liquid came out
immediately, and the ant picked it up.... A small number of these
repasts are sufficient to satisfy the ant's appetite. (See Fig. 91.)

"It does not appear that it is out of importunity that these insects
obtain their nourishment from the plant-lice.

"The neighbourhood of ants is agreeable to plant-lice, since those
which could get out of the way of their visits, viz., the winged
plant-lice, prefer to remain amongst them, and to lavish upon them the
superabundance of their nourishment."[32]

    [32] "Recherches sur les Moeurs des Fourmis Indigènes," pp.
    181-186. 8vo. Paris, 1810.

What we have just related applies not only to the brown (_Formica
brunnea_), but also to the tawny ant (_Formica flava_), to the ashy
black (_Formica nigra_), to the fuliginous (_Formica fuliginosa_), and
to a great many more.

The Red Ant (_Formica rufa_) is singularly adroit in seizing the
droplet left it by the plant-louse. According to Pierre Huber, it
employs its antennæ, which swell somewhat towards their extremities,
in conveying this droplet to its mouth, and causes it to enter it by
pressing it first on one side, then on the other, using its antennæ as
if they were fingers. The greater number of ants seek them on those
plants on which they usually fix themselves--the lowest herbs, as well
as the highest trees. There are some, however, which never leave their
place of abode, and never go out to the chase. These are the little
ants, of a pale yellow colour, rather transparent, and covered with
hairs, and which are extremely numerous in our meadows and orchards.
These subterranean creatures are very noxious to the farmer. Pierre
Huber often wondered how they subsisted, and with what food they could
provision themselves, without quitting their gloomy habitations.
Having one day turned up the earth of which a habitation was composed,
in order to discover if any treasure were to be found stowed away
there, he found nothing but plant-lice. Of these the greater number
were fixed to the roots of the trees which hung down from the roof of
their subterranean nest; others were wandering about among the ants.
These latter, moreover, set about milking their nurses, as usual, and
with the same success. To verify his discovery, he dug up a great
number of nests of the yellow ant, and invariably found aphides in
them. So as to study the relations which must exist between these
insects, he shut up ants with their friends, the plant-lice, in a
glazed box, placing at the bottom of the box, earth, mixed with the
roots of some plants, whose branches vegetated outside the box. He
watered this ant-hill from time to time, and thus both the animals and
the plants found in his apparatus sufficient nourishment.

"The ants," he says, "did not endeavour in the least to make their
escape. They seemed to want for nothing, and to be quite content. They
tended their larvæ and females with the same affection they would have
shown in their usual ant-hill; they took great care of the plant-lice,
and never did them any harm. These, on the other hand, did not seem to
fear the ants; they allowed themselves to be moved about from one
place to another, and when they were set down they remained in the
place chosen for them by their guardians. When the ants wished to move
them to a fresh place, they began by caressing them with their
antennæ, as if to request them to abandon their roots or to withdraw
their trunk from the cavity in which it was inserted; then they took
them gently above or below the abdomen with their jaws, and carried
them with the same care they would have bestowed on the larvæ of their
own species. I saw the same ant take three plant-lice in succession,
each bigger than itself, and carry them away into a dark place....
However, the ants do not always act so gently towards them. When they
fear that they may be carried off by ants of another kind, and living
near their habitation, or when one opens up too suddenly the turf
under which they are hidden, they seize them up in haste and carry
them off to the bottom of their little cavern. I have seen the ants of
two different ant-hills fighting for their plant-lice. When those
belonging to one ants' nest could enter the nest of the others, they
took them away from their rightful owners, and often these took
possession of them again in their turn; for the ants know well the
value of these little animals, which seem made on purpose for
them,--they are the ants' treasures. An ants' nest is more or less
rich, according as it is more or less stocked with plant-lice. The
plant-lice are its cattle, its cows, its goats. One would never have
thought that the ants were a pastoral people!"[33]

    [33] "Recherches," &c., pp. 192-194.

Their hiding in the ants' nest is not voluntary; they are prisoners of
war. The ants, after having hollowed out galleries in the midst of
roots, make a foray upon the turf, and seize upon plant-lice scattered
about here and there, bringing them with them, and collect them
together in their nests. The captive insects take their wrongs with
patience, and behave like philosophers under this new kind of life.
They lavish on their masters, with the best grace in the world, the
nutritious juices with which their bodies superabound. Charles Bonnet
has stated some real wonders of the cleverness and industry of other
ants which also make a provision of plant-lice.

"I discovered one day," says he, "a Euphorbia, which supported in the
middle of its stem a small sphere, to which it served as the axis. It
was a case which the ants had constructed of earth. They issued forth
from this by a very narrow opening made in its base, descended the
stem, and passed into a neighbouring ants' nest. I destroyed one part
of this pavilion, built almost in the air, so that I might study the
interior. It was a little room, the vault-shaped walls of which were
smooth and even. The ants had profited by the form of the plant to
sustain their edifice. The stalk passed up the centre of the
apartment, and for its timber-work it had the leaves. This retreat
contained a numerous family of plant-lice, to which the brown ants
came peacefully, to make their harvest, sheltered from the rain, the
sun, and from other ants. No insect could disturb them; and the
plant-lice were not exposed to the attacks of their numerous enemies.
I admired this trait of industry; and I was not long in finding it
again, in a more interesting character, in ants of different species.

"Some red ants had built round the foot of a thistle a tube of earth,
two inches and a half long by one and a half broad. The ants' nest was
below, and communicated directly with the cylinder. I took the stalk,
with what surrounded it, and all that the cylinder contained. That
portion of the stem which was inside the earthen tube was covered with
plant-lice. I very soon saw the ants coming out at the opening I had
made at the base; they were very much astonished to see daylight at
that place, and I saw that they lived there with their larvæ. They
carried these with great haste to the highest part of the cylinder
which had not been altered. In this retreat they were within reach of
their plant-lice, and here they fed their young.

"In other places many stalks of the Euphorbia laden with plant-lice
rose in the very centre of an ant-hill belonging to the brown ants.
These insects, profiting by the peculiar arrangement of the leaves of
this plant, had constructed round each branch as many little elongated
cases; and it was here they came to get their food. Having destroyed
one of these cells, the ants forthwith carried off into their nests
their precious animals; a few days afterwards it was repaired under my
eyes by these insects, and the herd were taken back to their pens.

"These cases are not always at a few inches from the ground. I saw one
five feet above the soil, and this one deserves also to be described.
It consisted of a blackish, rather short tube, which was built round a
small branch of the poplar at the point where it left the trunk. The
ants reached it by the interior of the tree, which was excavated, and
without showing themselves, they were able to reach their plant-lice
by an opening which they had made in the base of this branch. This
tube was formed of rotten wood, of the vegetable earth of this very
tree, and I saw many a time the ants bringing little bits in their
mouths to repair the breaches I had made in their pavilion. These are
not very common traits, and are not of the number of those which can
be attributed to an habitual routine."[34]

    [34] "Traité d'Insectologie," &c., pp. 198-201.

One day, Pierre Huber discovered in a nest of yellow ants a cell
containing a mass of eggs having the appearance of ebony. They were
surrounded by a number of ants, which appeared to be guarding them,
and endeavouring to carry them off.

Huber took possession of the cell, its inhabitants, and of the little
treasure it contained, and placed the whole in a box lid, covered with
a piece of glass, so as to be more easily observed. He saw the ants
approach the eggs, pass their tongues in between them, depositing on
them a liquid. They seemed to treat these eggs exactly as they would
have treated those of their own species; they felt them with their
antennæ, gathered them together, raised them frequently to their
mouths, and did not leave them for an instant. They took them up, and
turned them over, and after having examined them with care, they
carried them with extreme delicacy into the little box of earth placed
near them.[35]

    [35] "Recherches," &c., pp. 205, 206.

[Illustration: Fig. 91.--Aphides and Ant (magnified).]

These were not, however, ants' eggs. They were the eggs of aphides.
The young which were soon to be hatched were to give to the provident
ants a reward for the attentions they had lavished upon them. How
wonderful are the life and the habits of the plant-lice, and their
relations to ants! But we should be led on too far, if we were to
pursue these attractive details.

We pass on now to the history of another family--namely, the
_Gallinsecta_, as Réaumur calls them, or _Cocci_. They pass the
greatest part of their lives--that is to say, many months--entirely
motionless, sticking to the stalks or branches of shrubs; remaining
thus as devoid of movement as the plant to which they are attached.
One would say that they were part and parcel of it. Their form is so
simple, that nothing in their exterior would make one guess them to be
insects. The larger they become the less they resemble living things.
When the coccus is in a state for multiplying its species, when it is
engaged in laying its thousands of eggs, it resembles only an
excrescence of the tree.

The Gallinsecta are found on the elm, the oak, the lime, the alder,
the holly, the orange-tree, and the oleander. Some of the species are
remarkable for the beautiful red colouring matter which they furnish.
Such are the _Coccus cacti_, the _Chermes variegatus_, or Oak Tree
Cochineal, and the _Coccus polonicus_.

The Common Cochineal, _Coccus cacti_, is found in Mexico, on the
Nopal, or prickly pear (_Opuntia_), particularly on the _Opuntia
vulgaris_, the _Opuntia coccifera_, and the _Opuntia una_, plants
which belong to the family of the Cactaceæ.

These insects are rather remarkable, in that the male and female are
so unlike, that one would take them for animals of different genera.

The male presents an elongated, depressed body, of a dark-brown red.
Its head small, furnished with two long feathery antennæ, has only a
rudimentary beak. The abdomen is terminated by two fine hairs, longer
than its body. The wings, perfectly transparent, reach beyond the
extremity of its abdomen, and cross each other horizontally over its
back. It is lively and active. The female presents quite a different
appearance. It is in the first place twice as large as the male (Fig.
92), convex above, flat below. It resembles a larva, and has no wings.
Its body is formed of a dozen segments, covered with a glaucous dust.
The beak is very fully developed, and the two hairs or bristles on the
abdomen are much shorter than in the male.

[Illustration: Fig. 92.--Cochineal insects, (_Coccus cacti_) male and

The weight of the body, combined with the shortness of the legs,
prevents these creatures from being active. The legs only serve, in
fact, for clinging to the vegetable from which they draw their
nourishment. The circumstances attending the birth of the cochineal
insect are very curious. The larvæ are born in the dried-up body of
their dead mother, the skeleton of their mother serving them as a
cradle. This happens thus:--The eggs are attached to the lower part of
the mother's body. When the abdomen of the mother is empty, its lower
side draws up towards the upper side, and the two together form a
pretty large cavity. When the mother dies, which is not long in
happening, her abdomen dries up, her skin becomes horny, and forms a
sort of shell. It is in this membranous cradle that the larvæ of the
cochineal insect are born. The cochineal insect in its wild state
lives in the woods. But it can without difficulty be reared

Every one knows that the little insect called the cochineal,
furnishes, when its body has been dried and reduced to powder, a
colouring matter of a beautiful red, peculiar to itself. This
circumstance has saved the cochineal from the persecution to which so
many other kinds of insects have been devoted by the hand of man. In
hot climates, in which the cochineal insect delights, it has been
preserved, and is cultivated as an article of commerce. This is how
the cochineal is reared in Mexico:--An open piece of land is chosen,
protected against the west wind, and of about one or two acres in
extent. This is surrounded with a hedge of reeds, planted in lines,
distant from each other about a yard, with cuttings of cactus at most
about two feet apart. The cactus garden made, the next thing is to
establish in it cochineals. With this object in view they are sought
in the woods, or else the females of the cochineal insect which are
pregnant are taken off plants which have been sheltered during the
winter, and placed in dozens, in nests made of cocoa-nut fibres, or in
little plaited baskets made of the leaves of the dwarf palm, and hung
on the prickles of the cactus. These are very soon covered with young
larvæ. The only thing now required to be done is to shelter them from
wind and rain. (PLATE IV.)

[Illustration: IV. Gathering Cochineal in Algeria.]

The larvæ are changed into perfect insects, which take up their abode
permanently on the branches of the cacti, as Fig. 93 represents. The
Mexicans gather them as soon as they have reached the perfect state.
The harvest cannot be difficult, considering the immobility of these
little creatures. When collected, the cochineals are killed, packed in
wooden boxes, and sent to Europe, to be used in dyeing.

Such is the method, very simple, as we see, of rearing the
cochineal--a method which has been followed for centuries in Mexico.
Towards the end of the year 1700, a Frenchman named Thierry de
Menouville, formed the project of taking this precious insect away
from the Spaniards, and of bestowing it upon the French colonies. He
landed in Mexico, and concealed so well the object of his voyage, that
he managed to embark and carry to St. Domingo several cases containing
plants covered with living cochineals. Unfortunately, a revolution
which had broken out at St. Domingo prevented him from succeeding in
his praiseworthy endeavours. The cochineals died, and the Spaniards
preserved their monopoly in the rearing of this insect.

In 1806 M. Souceylier, a surgeon in the French navy, succeeded in
bringing from Mexico into Europe some live cochineals. He gave them to
the professor of botany at Toulon; but this attempt to preserve them
was unsuccessful.

In 1827 the naturalisation of the cochineal was attempted in Corsica,
but without success. During the same year the cochineal was introduced
into the Canary Islands, but the inhabitants did not understand the
importance of the experiment. They counted the cochineal among the
number of noxious insects, and tried in all ways to rid themselves of
it. It was only after results obtained by some more intelligent
farmers, that the inhabitants of the Canary Islands perceived the
profits they might derive. From that time its cultivation was
extended, and after the year 1831 it increased rapidly. Thus, the
cochineal imported from the Canary Isles in that year amounted to
only 4 kilogrammes. In 1832 the amount was 60 kilogrammes, in 1833
it was 660 kilogrammes, in 1838, 9,000 kilogrammes, and in 1850,
400,000 kilogrammes. The French colonists in Algeria also tried to
raise it. In 1831, M. Limonnet, a chemist of Algiers, collected some
cochineals, and had the merit of first introducing the insect into the
colony. On account of bad weather these first essays were fruitless,
but it was not long before they were repeated.

[Illustration: Fig. 93.--Branch of the Cactus, with Cochineal Insects on.]

M. Loze, surgeon in the navy, undertook to introduce the insect again,
and, with M. Hardy, director of the central garden of Algiers, gave
himself up, with great intelligence, to the naturalisation and rearing
of the cochineal in Algeria.

In 1847 the French Minister of War, for the purpose of having the
value of the Algerian cochineal fixed by commerce, caused to be sold
publicly on the market-place of Marseilles a case of cochineal, the
produce of the harvests of 1845 and 1846, from the experimental garden
of Algiers, and which contained 17 kilogrammes of this commodity.
Since that time the cultivation of this insect, the beginning of which
was due to M. Limonnet, has rapidly developed. In 1853, in the
province of Algiers alone, there were fourteen _nopaleries_, or cactus
gardens, containing 61,500 plants. The Government at that time bought
the harvests for fifteen francs the kilogramme.

We have only pointed out in a general way how the cochineal harvest is
conducted. We will now enter into some details on the subject. These
insects are gathered when the females are about to lay, that is, when
a few young are hatched. It is when the females are pregnant that they
contain the greatest amount of colouring matter. When the harvest time
has arrived, the rearers stretch out on the ground pieces of linen at
the foot of the plants, and detach the cochineals from them, brushing
the plants with a rather hard brush, or scraping them off with the
blade of a blunt knife.

If the season is favourable, the operation may be repeated three times
in the course of a year in the same plantation. The insects thus
collected are killed, by dipping into boiling water, by being put into
an oven, or by being placed on a plate of hot iron. The cochineals,
when withdrawn from the boiling water, are placed upon drainers, first
in the sun, then in the shade, then in an airy place. During their
immersion in water they lose the white powder which covers them. In
this state they are called in Mexico _ronagridas_. Those which have
passed through the oven they call _jaspeadas_, and are of an ashy
grey; those that are torrefied are black, and are called _negras_. In
commerce three sorts of cochineal are recognised; first, the
_mastique_ (_mestèque_), of a reddish colour, with a more or less
abundant glaucous powder; secondly, the _noire_, which is large and of
a blackish brown; thirdly, the _sylvestre_, which is, on the contrary,
smaller and reddish. The latter is the least esteemed, and is gathered
on wild cacti.

Each year there are imported into France 200,000 kilogrammes of
cochineals, which represents a value of about three millions of
francs. Every one knows that it is from cochineal that carmine is
made, a magnificent red frequently employed by painters. Lake carmine
is another product obtained from the cochineal. And, lastly, scarlet
is the powder of the cochineal precipitated by a salt of tin.

Before the Mexican cochineal was known in Europe, the _kermes_, or
_Coccus ilicis_, known still in commerce and by chemists under the
names of _Animal kermes_, _Vegetable kermes_, and _Scarlet seed_, was
used for the preparation of the carmine employed in the arts. This
cochineal lives by preference (at least, so it is supposed) on the
evergreen oak (_Quercus ilex_), whence its specific name.

The _Coccus ilicis_ develops itself almost exclusively, not on the
evergreen oak, but on the _Quercus coccifera_, or kermes oak, a shrub
common in dry arid places on the Continent, and which vegetates on a
great number of spots in the Mediterranean, particularly on the
_garrigues_, or waste land, of Herault.

The females of this insect, which, dried, bear the name of _graines de
kermes_, are of the size of an ordinary currant, without any trace of
rings, nearly spherical, of a violet and glaucous colour. They adhere
to the boughs of the shrub _Quercus coccifera_, and form dry brittle
masses, which the peasants of the south of France collect, and sell at
a tolerably high price.

Before we possessed the cochineal of Mexico and of Algeria, this
cochineal was very much employed in the south of Europe, in the East,
and in Africa. It furnishes a beautiful red colour. This last named
and the Mexican cochineal are somewhat used in pharmacy. They enter
into alkermes, a sort of liquor served at dinner in Italy, chiefly at
Florence and Naples.

Another species of cochineal is the _Coccus polonicus_, which is met
with in Poland and Russia, more rarely in France, on the roots of a
small plant, the _Scleranthus perennis_. This cochineal is gathered in
the Ukraine towards the end of June, when the abdomen of the female is
swollen, and filled with a purple and sanguineous juice.

The Polish kermes (_Coccus polonicus_) was formerly used very much in
Europe. This product has not indeed lost all its importance in those
countries where it is met with in abundance.

We have now only to point out among the insects of this group the
_Coccus lacca_, which lives in India on many trees, among others on
the Indian fig-tree, the Pagoda fig-tree, the Jujube tree, on the
Croton, &c.

These last-mentioned insects produce a colouring matter known under
the name of Lac Dye. They fix themselves on the little branches,
getting together in great numbers, forming nearly straight lines. The
bodies of many fecundated females, united together by a resinous
exudation which is caused by the piercing of the bark, constitutes the
matter called in commerce and by dyers by the name of Lac Dye,
Shell-lac, Gum-lac, &c.

Resinous lac is found in commerce under four forms:--First, the
stick-lac, such as it is found concreted at the extremity of the
branches whence it exudes--it is an irregular brownish crust;
secondly, the seed-lac, picked off the branches and pounded; thirdly,
shell-lac in scales melted down and run into thin plates, which vary
in quality according to the proportion of colouring matter they
contain; fourthly, thread-lac, which resembles reddish threads, and is
prepared thus in India.

One more word about the cochineal. The _Coccus manniparus_, which
lives on the shrubs (_Tamarix mannifera_) on Mount Sinai, causes to
exude from the branches it has pierced a sort of manna. The _Coccus
sinensis_ produces a kind of wax which is employed in China in the
manufacture of candles.



This order of insects is known popularly by the names of Butterfly and
Moth. Linnæus gave them the name of _Lepidoptera_, meaning insects
with scaly wings ([Greek: lepis], a scale; and [Greek: pteron], a
wing). They are to be found in great numbers in all parts of the
world. All the insects contained in the order are, in their perfect
state, remarkable for the elegance of their shape, the rapidity and
airiness of their flight, and the multiplicity and beauty of their
colours. Before they arrive at this perfect state, the Lepidoptera
have to undergo three complete transformations. They leave the egg in
the larva or caterpillar state; they pass next to the state of pupa,
or chrysalis; they then assume, after a variable time, their final or
perfect form. We will study them in their three different states in


When the winter has stripped the leaves off the trees, the Lepidoptera
are seen no more; but as soon as the leaves begin to show themselves
on the trees and shrubs, this tribe of the insect race again makes its
appearance. Caterpillars of all kinds are gnawing at the leaves, even
before they are fully developed. Many of them have just emerged from
the eggs which the perfect insects had laid at an earlier period;
others have passed the winter in this state.

When they come out of the egg the young caterpillars are in shape more
or less elongated and cylindrical. Their body is composed of twelve
segments, or rings. In front is the head; then come three segments, on
which are the front legs, and which constitute the thorax; the other
segments constitute the abdomen. The head is formed of two scaly
parts. It is often very deeply hollowed out on its upper side, and
divided into two lobes, which contain in the angle formed by their
separation the different parts of the mouth. The head is uniform,
rarely having, so far as our caterpillars are concerned, any
protuberance; but in the tropical species it is often armed with
prickles, spikes, and extraordinary appendages. They are provided with
six small simple eyes, isolated from each other. The mouth is armed
laterally with a pair of very solid horny mandibles, articulated by
means of vigorous muscles, and moving horizontally. It is the function
of the mandibles, as with the jaws, to divide the creature's food. On
the middle of a broad under-lip one may perceive a little elongated
tubular organ, pierced with a microscopic orifice. This organ is the
spinning apparatus, which the animal uses in fabricating the threads
which it will one day require. It is a tube composed of longitudinal
fibres. It presents only one orifice, cut obliquely, and capable of
applying itself exactly to the body on which the larva is placed. From
the contractile nature of this organ and the form of its orifice,
combined with the faculty the insect possesses of moving it in all
directions, result the great differences we observe in the diameter
and form of the threads.

[Illustration: Fig. 94.--Scaly legs of the Caterpillar of the Gipsy
Moth (_Liparis dispar_).]

The external organs of the trunk and abdomen are the legs, the
spiracles, and various occasional appendages. The legs are of two
different kinds. The one, to the number of six, attached by pairs to
the trunk, are covered with a shiny cartilage, and armed with hooks.
These are the true legs. Fig. 94 represents, after Réaumur's "Mémoire
sur les Différentes Parties des Chenilles,"[36] the scaly legs of the
caterpillar of the Gipsy Moth. The others are membranous, fleshy,
generally conical or cylindrical, contractile, and taking, according
to the will of the animal, very different forms. Fig. 95 represents,
after the same Memoir of Réaumur's, the different forms of the
membranous legs of the silkworm caterpillar. This plate gives a
sufficiently good idea of the shape of these organs, and of the
hooks, circular or semi-circular, with which they are furnished.

    [36] Tome i., p. 164; Plate III., Figs. 1, 2.

[Illustration: Fig. 95.--Membranous legs of the Silkworm (_Bombyx mori_).]

In Fig. 96 are represented, after the same author, two membranous legs
of a large caterpillar, of which the hooks of the feet are fastened
into a branch of a shrub.

[Illustration: Fig. 96.--Membranous legs of a large Caterpillar
embracing a twig.]

Caterpillars have from two to ten false legs, the scaly legs being
always six in number. The pro-legs, as the fleshy ones are called, are
divided into _hinder_ and _intermediate_. The former are two in
number; the intermediate are rarely more than eight in number.

In the caterpillars which have the full number of legs--that is to
say, sixteen--there are two empty spaces, where the body has no
support: the one between the legs and the pro-legs, formed by the
fourth and fifth segment; the other, between the intermediate pro-legs
and the anal legs, formed by the tenth and eleventh ring.

The variations which caterpillars present, so far as the number and
situations of their pro-legs are concerned, are the following:--

The greatest number among them have ten pro-legs; others have only
eight; others only six--these may be called semi-loopers; others only
four, one pair being situated on the last ring, and the other on the
ninth, as in the case of looper caterpillars. And, lastly, there are
others which have only two pro-legs.

The various forms, numbers, and positions of these organs, produce
great differences in the mode of locomotion of caterpillars. Those
provided with ten or eight membranous legs have in walking only a very
slight undulating motion. Their bodies are parallel to the plane which
supports them. They can walk very quickly; but their steps are short
and quickly repeated. Others, on the contrary, in proportion as the
number of their false legs diminish, and the spaces between the legs
increase, walk in a more irregular and quaint manner.

[Illustration: Fig. 97.--Looper Caterpillar.]

[Illustration: Fig. 98.--Caterpillar curved into an arch.]

[Illustration: Fig. 99.--Caterpillar at full length.]

If the reader will glance at Fig. 97, taken from Réaumur's "Mémoire
sur les Chenilles en général,"[37] which represents a looper
caterpillar, with four membranous legs, he will see that there is a
considerable space between the posterior legs and the first pair of
pro-legs, along which the body has no points of support. If one of
these caterpillars, lying quiet and at full length, determines to
walk, in order to take its first step (Fig. 98) it begins by humping
its back, curving into an arch that part which has no legs, and
finishes by assuming the position seen in Fig. 99. In the former
position it has its two intermediate legs against the posterior legs,
and, in consequence, it has brought forward the hinder part of its
body, a distance equal to the interval of the five segments which
separate them. There it hooks on by its _intermediate_ and _hind_
legs. Then it has only to raise and straighten the five rings which
had formed the loop, and to advance its head to a distance equal to
the length of five segments. The step is thus made, the caterpillar
making the same movements in taking the second and following steps.

    [37] Tome i., p. 49, Plate I., Fig. 6.

This sort of gait has gained for them the name of Geometers, because
they seem to measure the road over which they travel. When they make a
step, they apply the part of their body which they have just curved up
to the ground, in exactly the same way as a land surveyor applies his
chain to it.

[Illustration: Fig. 100.--Caterpillar of the Canary-shouldered Thorn
(_Eugonia alniaria_).]

These looper caterpillars cannot shorten nor lengthen their segments
at will, as other caterpillars, but only bend their bodies. There are
many species whose bodies are cylindrical, stiff, and of the same
colour as bark. Their attitudes deceive even the close observer. They
embrace the stem of a leaf or twig with their hinder and intermediate
legs, whilst the rest of their body, vertically elevated, remains
stiff and immovable for hours together. Fig. 100 shows the caterpillar
of the Canary-shouldered Thorn (_Eugonia alniaria_) in this strange
position. Now, this is a feat of strength which the most skilful of
our acrobats, ordinary and extraordinary, which all the Leotards of
the present day, and those who are to succeed them, can never
accomplish. With such a persistency, this caterpillar can sustain its
body in the air for a considerable time, in all the positions
imaginable, between the vertical and the horizontal, and downwards
again in any incline from the horizontal to the vertical. "If one
considers," says Réaumur, "how far we are from having in the muscles
of our arms a force capable of supporting us in such attitudes as
these, we must own that the power of the muscles in these insects is

We will not dwell now on the variableness of the length of the body of
caterpillars; on the fleshy appendages which are to be observed on
them; on the hairs which either beautify or render them hideous,
according to the fancy of the observer; nor on the various colours
with which they are decorated. We will notice these various
characteristics when giving the history of some species of remarkable

Many caterpillars are solitary; others live in companies more or less
numerous, either when young, or during the whole of their existence.

With the exception of a great number of moths, which live at the
expense of our furs, or woollen stuffs, and leather or fatty matters,
all caterpillars feed on plants. From the root to the seeds, no part
of the vegetable is safe from their attacks. The greatest number of
the species, however, prefer the leaves. Those of the most acrid and
poisonous are no more spared than those of the most harmless plants.
There are caterpillars which eat the leaves of the Euphorbia, or
spurge, for instance.

"I wished to try," says Réaumur, "the milk of this plant on my tongue.
It produced hardly any effect upon it at first; but after a quarter of
an hour I found my mouth on fire, and it was a heat which reiterated
garglings with water during many hours in succession could not quench.
This continued till the next day. The heat passed successively from
one part of my mouth to another. I, however, saw many of my
caterpillars drinking greedily the great drops of milk which were at
the end of the broken stem I had presented to them."

Is it not extraordinary that there are caterpillars which live on the
nettle?--that they eat the leaves of this plant, armed as it is with
stinging bristles, which cause such smarting and itching to the skin,
and produce blisters upon it.

It has often been said that each plant has its own peculiar species of
caterpillar. All we can say is, that a certain number of vegetables
only suit certain caterpillars. The species which eat roots are few;
those which live in the interior of stalks or stems which they feed
on are numerous, and those which nourish themselves on the pulp of
fruits are rare. In general, after the leaves, the caterpillars prefer
the flowers: in this they certainly do not show bad taste. Their
growth is more or less rapid, according to the species, according to
the nourishment they take, and according to the season of the year.
Those whose food is succulent grow more rapidly than those which have
for their food dry gramineous plants and coriaceous lichens. Most of
them eat at night, and remain during the day motionless, and as it
were in a state of torpor; others are so voracious that they are
constantly eating. This voracity is indeed sometimes surprising.
Malpighi has observed that a silkworm often eats in a day mulberry
leaves equal to its own weight. How could we provide our horses and
oxen with provender, if they required each day their own weight of hay
and grass? There are even some caterpillars which are still more
voracious than that. Réaumur weighed several caterpillars of a species
which lives on the cabbage, and gave them bits of cabbage-leaves which
weighed twice as much as their bodies. In less than twenty-four hours
they had entirely consumed them. In this space of time their weight
increased one-tenth. Fancy a man whose weight is 180 lbs. eating in
one day 360 lbs. of meat, and gaining 18 lbs. in weight! Caterpillars
eat by the aid of two jaws or mandibles so broad and solid that,
considering the smallness of the insect, they are equivalent to all
the teeth with which large animals are furnished. It is by the
alternate movement of these mandibles that the caterpillars devour the
leaves with so much greediness and ease.

[Illustration: Fig. 101.--Looper Caterpillar eating the leaves of the
Apricot (after Réaumur).]

"A caterpillar, when it wants to gnaw the edge of a leaf," says
Réaumur, "twists its body in such a way that at least one portion of
the edge of this leaf is passed between its legs. These legs hold fast
that portion of the leaf which is to be cut by the insect's jaws (Fig.
101). To give the first bite the caterpillar elongates its body, and
carries its head as far forward as possible. The portion of the leaf
which is between the open jaws is cut through the instant the teeth
meet each other; the bites succeed each other quickly; there is not
one, or scarcely one of them, that does not detach a bit, and each bit
is swallowed almost as soon as cut off. At each fresh bite the head
approaches the legs in such a way that during the succession of bites
it describes an arc; it hollows out the portion of the leaf in a
segment of a circle, and it is always in this order that it gnaws it."

But there is a phenomenon in the life of caterpillars which we ought
to point out, and which has attracted the attention of the most
illustrious observers. All caterpillars change their skins many times
during their life. It is not, indeed, enough to say that they change
their skins; the skins or cases they cast are so complete that they
might be taken for entire caterpillars. The hairs, the case of the
legs, the claws with which the legs are provided, the hard and solid
parts which cover the head, the jaws--all these are found in the skin
which the insect abandons. What an operation for the poor little
animal! This labour is so enormous, so troublesome, that one cannot
form a just idea of it. One or two days before this grand crisis, the
caterpillar leaves off eating, loses its usual activity, and becomes
motionless and languid. Their colour fades, their skin dries little by
little, they bow their backs, swell out their segments. At last this
dried-up skin splits below the back, on the second or third ring, and
lets us have a glimpse of a small portion of the new skin, easily to
be recognised by the freshness and brightness of its colours.

"When once the split has been begun," says Réaumur, "it is easy for
the insect to extend it; it continues to swell out that part of its
body which is opposite the slit. Very soon this part raises itself
above the sides of the split; it does the work of a wedge, which
elongates it; thus the split soon extends from the end or the
commencement of the first ring as far as the other side of the end of
the fourth. The upper portion of the body which corresponds to these
four rings is then laid bare, and the caterpillar has an opening
sufficiently large to serve it as an egress through which it can
entirely leave its old skin. It curves its fore part, and draws it
backwards; by this movement it disengages its head from under its old
envelope, and brings it up to the beginning of the slit; at once it
raises it, and puts it out through this slit. The moment afterwards it
stretches out its fore part and lowers its head. There now remains for
the caterpillar nothing but to draw its hinder part from the old

This excessively laborious operation is finished in less than a
minute. The new livery which the caterpillar has just put on is fresh
and bright in colour. But the animal is exhausted by its fast, and the
efforts which it has made. It requires a few hours in which to regain
its equilibrium, and at the same time its former activity and


Having attained its full development, the caterpillar ceases to eat,
as at the approach of a moult, it empties its intestinal canal by
copious ejections; it loses its colours, and becomes dull and livid,
and thus prepares itself to enter a new phase of its existence.

Some, when about to transform themselves into chrysalides, suspend
themselves to foreign bodies. Others spin a cocoon, composed of silk
and other substances, which secures them against the attacks of their
enemies and the action of the atmosphere. Those which suspend
themselves can be divided under two heads, according to the mode of
their suspension:--1. Those which suspend themselves perpendicularly
by the tail. 2. Those which, after having fixed themselves by the same
part, suspend themselves horizontally, by means of a silk thread
passed round the body.

To understand the difficulty which the first of these operations
presents, we must consider the problem which the caterpillar has to
solve. In this problem there are two unknown quantities to be
discovered. Firstly, the caterpillar must suspend itself firmly; and
secondly, the pupa, having no communication with the object which
supports it, must be suspended in the same manner. This problem is
difficult, apparently impossible, to solve. It is only by watching
these insects at work that one can discover the wonderful mysteries of
their lives. Swammerdam, Valisnieri, and other observers who have
studied insects, had not, however, observed the manoeuvres of
caterpillars in this curious phase of their existence. It is to
Réaumur again that science is indebted for the most charming and
valuable observations on this point. He got together a great number of
caterpillars of the small Tortoise-shell Butterfly (_Vanessa urticæ_),
black prickly caterpillars which are common on the stinging-nettle,
where they live in companies, and suspend themselves by the tail. When
the time approaches at which the caterpillars of this species ought to
undergo their transformations, they usually leave the plant which had
up to that time served them as food. After having wandered about a
little, they select some convenient spot, where they hang themselves
up head downwards (Figs. 102, 103).

In order to hang itself in this way, the caterpillar begins by
covering, with threads drawn in different directions, a pretty large
extent of the surface of the body against which it wishes to fix
itself. After having covered it thus with a kind of thin cobweb, it
adds different layers of threads on a small portion of this surface,
in such a manner that the upper one is always smaller than that upon
which it is laid. In this manner a small hillock of silk is formed,
the tissue of which is not at all compact. It resembles an assemblage
of loose or badly interwoven threads. The membranous feet of the
caterpillar are armed with hooks of different lengths, with the aid of
which it suspends itself. By alternately contracting and elongating
its body, it pushes its hindermost legs against the hillock of silk,
presses against it the hooks of its feet, so as to get them better
entangled, and lets its body fall in a vertical position.

[Illustration: Figs. 102, 103.--Caterpillars of the small
Tortoise-shell Butterfly (_Vanessa urticæ_) undergoing their

[Illustration: Figs. 104, 105.--Chrysalides of the small
Tortoise-shell Butterfly freeing themselves from the Caterpillar skin.]

It remains hanging thus, often for twenty-four hours, during which
time it is occupied in a difficult task, that of splitting its skin.
In order to effect this, it incessantly curves and recurves its body
(Fig. 102), until at last a split appears on the skin of the back, and
through this split emerges a part of the body of the chrysalis. This
acts as a wedge, and little by little the split widens from the head
to the last of the true legs, and beyond them. Then the opening is
sufficient to allow of the chrysalis drawing out its anterior portion
from the envelope, which it immediately does. To set itself entirely
free, the chrysalis lengthens and shortens itself alternately (Fig.
105). Each time that it shortens itself, and when it consequently
distends the part of its body which is outside the old skin, that part
acts against the edges of the slit, and gradually pushes the old skin
upwards. Thus the caterpillar skin ascends, its plaits are pushed
nearer and nearer together, and it is soon reduced to a packet so
small that it covers only the end of the tail of the chrysalis (Fig.

But here comes the culminating point, the most difficult part of the
operation. The chrysalis, which is shorter than the caterpillar, is at
some distance from the silky network to which it must fix itself; it
is only supported by that extremity of the caterpillar's skin which
had not been split open. It has neither legs nor arms, and yet it must
free itself from this remaining part of the skin, and reach the
threads to which it is to suspend itself.

[Illustration: Fig. 106.--Chrysalis of the small Tortoise-shell
Butterfly completing the operation of casting its larval skin.]

[Illustration: Fig. 107.--Chrysalis divested of the larva skin.]

The supple and contractile segments of the chrysalis serve for the
limbs which are wanting to it. Between two of these segments, as with
a pair of pincers, the insect seizes a portion of the folded skin, and
with such a firm hold that it is able to support the whole of its body
on it. It now curves its hinder parts slightly, and draws its tail
entirely out of the sheath in which it was enclosed. It then reposes
for an instant only, for it has not yet finished the laborious
operation of its deliverance. It must free itself entirely from the
dry skin which surrounds the extremity of its body.

The insect curves the part which is below its tail in such a manner
that that part can embrace and seize the packet to which it holds on.
It then gives to its body a violent shock, which makes it spin round
many times on its tail, and that with great rapidity. During all these
pirouettes the chrysalis acts against the skin; the hooks of its legs
fray the threads, and break them or disentangle themselves from them.
Sometimes the threads do not break at once. Then the animal
recommences its revolutions in an opposite direction, and this time it
is almost certain to succeed. Réaumur, however, saw a chrysalis which,
after having tired itself in vain in its endeavours to get entirely
free of its old skin, despairing of ever being able to manage it,
abandoned it where it was so solidly fixed. We represent (Fig. 107),
rather magnified, the chrysalis arrived at its final state, and
suspended to a branch of a tree by a network of silk.[38]

    [38] It has been remarked that only those whose continuance in
    the pupal state is short, undergo their metamorphosis in this
    apparently inconvenient position.--ED.

We come now to the mode of suspension employed by those caterpillars,
which, after having fixed themselves by the tail, strengthen the
support by means of a small silk cord passed round their body.

It is again to Réaumur, that indefatigable observer of the habits of
insects, that we go for the details of this manner of suspension.
According to Réaumur, these caterpillars make and put on this belt in
three different ways. But of these three ways the simplest, and the
least liable to meet with accident, is that employed by the larva of
the Cabbage Butterfly (_Pieris brassicæ_). When the time for its
metamorphosis is only a few days distant, one may observe this
caterpillar engaged in stretching threads on different parts of the
case in which it is confined. It then chooses a spot, which it covers
entirely with threads, some more compact than the others, and disposed
in layers, which cross each other in different directions. These
threads form a thin white cloth, against which the belly of the
caterpillar and later that of the chrysalis are applied. Very soon we
see a small hillock of silk rising. The caterpillar hooks itself on to
this by the claws of its hinder feet, and sets to work to secure

To understand this process, it suffices to know that after having
lengthened its body to a certain point, this caterpillar can turn back
its head on to its back, and reach to the fifth ring, having its three
pairs of true legs in the air. But without putting the caterpillar
into such an unnatural position, let us take it in a position in which
it is simply bent sideways in such a manner that its head, with the
thread-spinning apparatus, which is below, can be applied opposite and
pretty near to one of the legs belonging to the first pair of
membranous legs. Our caterpillar begins by fixing on this point a
thread, which is the first of those that are intended to tie it up

"This thread," says the illustrious author of the "Mémoires pour
servir à l'Histoire des Insectes," "must pass over the caterpillar's
body, and be attached by its other end near the leg corresponding to
that near which the first end was fastened. To spin the thread the
proper length, and at the same time to fix it in its proper place, the
caterpillar has only to bring round its head to the fifth segment. The
thread will be drawn from the spinning apparatus as the head advances
over half the circumference of the circle which it has to describe;
and when it has described this, there will only remain for it to
secure the second end of the thread against the support. Thus the
head, which was at first placed against one of the legs, advances
little by little on the outline of the fifth ring as far as to its
middle (Fig. 108). It is the facility the caterpillar has of reversing
its body that enables it to make its head perform this journey, in
proportion as it moves it over the circumference of the ring, it
twists its body. And at last, when it has brought it over the top of
the segment, its body is exactly folded in two; it draws it little by
little from this situation by bending towards the other side, and by
causing its head to pass gently over the last quarter of the circle.
At last the caterpillar finds itself bound on the second side; the
head rests on the thread-covered plane, and the insect fixes the
second end of the thread."

[Illustration: Fig. 108.--Caterpillars of the Cabbage Butterfly
(_Pieris brassicæ_).]

It has only to repeat the same manoeuvre as many times as there are
threads wanted to make a strong band. But each thread embraces the
head, or rather the lower part of the head, for it knows how to make
each thread it spins glide into the bend or crease of its neck by a
little movement of its head. It must disengage its head from under the
band, not a difficult operation. It causes it to slide along the
threads near one of the places where they are fixed, and it is then in
the position indicated by the foregoing engraving (Fig. 109).

[Illustration: Fig. 109.--Caterpillar of the Pieris brassicæ.]

About thirty hours after the caterpillars have succeeded in making
themselves fast, they have completed their transformation into
chrysalides (Fig. 110), where the chrysalis of the above-mentioned
caterpillar is seen in two different positions, and held by the same
band which first supported the caterpillar.

[Illustration: Fig. 110.--Pupæ of Pieris brassicæ.]

Those caterpillars which construct cocoons make them of silk and other
substances. These cocoons are, for the most part, oval or elliptical,
sometimes boat-shaped, and ordinarily white, yellow, or brown in
colour. The threads may very slightly adhere together, or be closely
united by a gummy substance with which the caterpillar lines the
interior of the cocoon, and which it expels from the anus. Some
cocoons are composed of a double envelope, others are of a uniform
texture. Some are of a tissue so close that they entirely hide the
chrysalis contained within; others form a very light covering, through
which the chrysalis can be easily perceived (Fig. 111).

Among caterpillars that make a very slight cocoon, some, as the
_Catocalas_, gather together two or three leaves into a ball, to
protect them. Others strengthen their cocoons, and render them opaque
by adding earth or other substances, often obtained from their own
bodies. Some, after having spun their cocoon, cast forth through the
anus three or four masses of a matter resembling paste, which they
apply with their head to the inside of the cocoon, and which, drying
quickly, becomes pulverulent. Others employ for the same purpose the
hairs with which their bodies are covered.

[Illustration: Fig. 111.--Cocoon, after Réaumur.]

[Illustration: Fig. 112.--Larvæ of Catocala fraxini.]

[Illustration: Fig. 113.--Larva of Acronycta aceris.]

The larva of _Acronycta aceris_ (Fig. 113) is covered with tufts of
yellow hair. Réaumur made these caterpillars work under his own eye in
glass vases. They make the layer which is to form the exterior surface
of their shell, or cocoon, of pure silk, and when it is thick enough,
tear out their hair, now from one place, now from another. But we will
leave the illustrious observer to relate this operation himself, which
must without doubt be painful to the poor animal:--

"Its two jaws are the pincers the caterpillar uses in seizing a
portion of one or other of the tufts of hair; and when it has seized
it, it tears it out without much difficulty. It at once places this
against the tissue it has already commenced, in which it entangles it
at first simply by pressure; it fixes it then more securely by
spinning over it. It does not leave off tearing out its hairs till it
has entirely stripped them off. When the caterpillar has taken between
its jaws and torn out a whole tuft of hair, the head carries it and
deposits it on some part of the lower surface of the cocoon; but it
does not leave the hairs of such a large parcel together. The next
moment one sees its head moving about very quickly; then taking a
portion of the hairs from the little heap, it distributes them about
on the neighbouring parts of the cocoon. If one opens one of these
shells before the caterpillar has become a chrysalis, the larva, which
is quite naked, and which was only known by its hair, can be no longer

[Illustration: Fig. 114.--Larva of Acronycta aceris.]

[Illustration: Fig. 115.--Larva of Acronycta aceris taken out of its

[Illustration: Fig. 116.--Larva of Chelonia caja.]

The caterpillar of the Tiger Moth, or Woolly Bear, called by Réaumur
_Marte_ or _Herisson_ (_Chelonia caja_, Fig. 116), is covered with
long inclined hairs. This caterpillar also makes use of its hairs for
strengthening the tissue of its cocoon; but whether it feels the pain
more acutely than the former, or whether it would suffer more, it does
not tear out its hairs. It adopts another system; it cuts them. The
caterpillar is then enveloped on all sides in its hair, which is to
serve in the construction of its cocoon.

[Illustration: Fig. 117.--Larva of Chelonia caja forming its cocoon.]

[Illustration: Fig. 118.--Small Caterpillar of the Pimpernel.]

[Illustration: Fig. 119.--Cocoon of the same.]

Another species uses its hairs in the composition of its cocoon; but
it adopts an entirely peculiar way of tearing them out, when the
tissue of its cocoon has become a species of network of pretty closely
packed rings. Réaumur one day saw one part of the cocoon bristling
with hairs. These were the hairs of a part of the back of the
caterpillar, which it had pushed through the rings of its cocoon. The
caterpillar then moved about as if rubbing this part of its back
successively in opposite directions against the interior surface of
the cocoon. In this way the hairs were very soon torn out and kept
retained in the rings of the cocoon. This cocoon is then bristly
inside, and does not at all suit the future chrysalis, which does not
like to be touched by any but smooth surfaces. The caterpillar then
works with its head, to lay the hairs along the interior surface, and
to keep them down by threads, which it draws over them. At another
time Réaumur saw a small hairy caterpillar, which appeared to live on
lichens, using its hair in another way. It tore them out to make its
cocoon, but it was not to lay them down and work them into a tissue.
It set them straight up like the stakes of palisades, on the
circumference of an oval space, in which it was placed. Shut up within
this palisade, it spun a light white web. This web supports the hairs,
causing the greater part of them to curve at their upper extremity,
in such a manner as to form a sort of cradle.

It remains for us now to speak of the caterpillars that make their
cocoons of silk, together with other materials. Réaumur saw the
Pimpernel caterpillar arranging and sticking together the leaves of
that plant, and spinning underneath them a thin cocoon of white silk
(Fig. 119).

Some caterpillars make their cocoons on the surface of the earth, and
even with earth. These cocoons are spherical or oblong. Their exterior
is more or less well shaped, but their interior is always smooth,
polished, shining like moistened earth, worked up together into a kind
of paste, and carefully smoothed out. This cocoon is besides lined
with a covering of silk of variable thickness. The shell is not made
of earth alone; threads of silk may be seen in it, crossing each
other, and binding together the particles of earth.

[Illustration: Fig. 120.--Larva of Cucullia verbasci.]

[Illustration: Fig. 121.--Cocoon of the Cucullia verbasci.]

These subterranean workers do not allow their proceedings to be easily
observed. Réaumur was fortunate enough to be able to notice their
skill in the construction of their shells or cocoons. The _Cucullia
verbasci_ (Fig. 120) makes itself a thick and very compact cocoon of
the form of an egg (Fig. 121). Réaumur took one of these out of the
ground before it is fortified. He tore it partially open, and placed
it in a glass vase containing sand, but the poor insect was not long
in repairing the disorder caused by the rough hand of our naturalist.
It only took four hours to restore its cocoon to its former state.

"It began," says Réaumur, "by coming almost entirely out, and left
only its hinder part within. It moved its head forwards as far as was
necessary to enable it to seize a particle of earth. As soon as it had
got its load, it re-entered the interior of the cocoon. It deposited
the grain of earth, and came out again immediately, as it did at
first, to pick up another grain, which it carried likewise into the
interior of the cocoon. This operation it continued for more than an
hour.... The provision of materials being got together, the
caterpillar now devoted his whole attention to working them up. It
began by spinning over one part of the edges of the opening. After
having put over this a small band of very loose web, the caterpillar's
head left the opening, the insect went right back again into its
cocoon, and the head returned to the opening loaded with a little
grain of earth, which it entangled in the silky threads. It then
entangled in them two or three, or a greater number of grains,
according to the quantity of threads it had spun. It bound them into
these with other threads, after which it drew threads over the edges
of another part. By thus going round the whole rim of the opening, and
by carrying and fixing the grains of earth in the threads which were
the last stretched over the opening, it rendered its diameter smaller
and smaller."

It was by working with its head that our mason gave to the new wall of
its cocoon the necessary curvature. It was interesting to know how, as
it could no longer put out its head, it could stop up the orifice.

"It knew how to change its manoeuvres. When the opening was reduced
to a circle of only a few lines in diameter, it drew threads from a
point on the circumference to another on the other side.... Thus the
opening was covered in with a rather open network.... As soon as this
web was finished, it got a grain of earth (which it had laid by until
it was wanted), brought it up, placed it against the web, and by
pushing and pressing it, made it pass through the web until it reached
the exterior, and so in succession the whole of the web was covered
with grains of earth.... It was not satisfied with rendering the
exterior of this place exactly like the rest of the shell; it
fortified it thoroughly; it added to it, one after another, layers of
grains of earth, till it was as solid and as thick as the rest."

The larva of _Pyralis corticalis_, which is found on oak trees in the
month of May, shows to what a point these little insects carry their
industry in the construction of their cocoons, in the choice of their
materials, in their manner of working them up, and in the forms they
cause them to assume. Réaumur one day saw this caterpillar on a small
branch, between two triangular appendages (Figs. 122, 123). This was
the beginning of a cocoon. Each triangular blade was composed of a
great number of small, thin, rectangular plates, taken from the bark
of the twig. The caterpillar detached with its jaws a small band of
bark, and fitted it on, and adjusted it with admirable precision
against the edge already formed. It then fixed it securely with silk
threads. Réaumur saw this caterpillar work and erect in this way a
large blade during an hour and a half.

[Illustration: Figs. 122, 123.--Cocoon of Pyralis corticalis
(magnified, proper size 2/3 inch).]

"When one sees," he says,[39] "an insect which, to construct a cocoon,
begins by collecting together an infinite number of small plates of
bark in order to compose of them two flat triangular blades; which, to
gain its end, takes means that seem so roundabout, although they are
the most suitable and the quickest it could adopt, one is very much
tempted to consider such an insect, when one sees it thus acting,
possessed of reason."

    [39] Mem. 12, vol. i., p. 487.

These two blades are at last transformed into a regular cocoon. The
little animal, which is at the same time architect, cabinet-maker, and
weaver, arranges it in such a way as to form a hollow cone, which it
only remains for it to shut. Réaumur calls this sort of cocoon or
shell, _la coque en bateau_, the boat-shaped cocoon. Some caterpillars
weave cocoons of the same form with pure silk.

To bring this subject to an end, we will mention the industry of the
Puss Moth (_Dicranura vinula_), and that of a small _Tinea_, which
eats the barley stored away in our granaries.

The larva of the puss moth employs in the construction of its shell
the wood of the tree on which it has lived. It bites it up, and mixing
it with a glutinous fluid which it secretes from its mouth, reduces it
to a sort of paste, which it then uses in the formation of an
envelope, of such hardness that a knife can hardly cut into it.

The _Tinea_ lines the interior of a grain, of which it has previously
devoured the contents, with a coating of silk, and divides it thus
into two different chambers. In one of these it is to change into a
pupa; in the other it places its excrement. And so the little careful
architect constructs its house in such a manner as to find in it
tranquillity, cleanliness, and comfort.

When caterpillars have not within their reach the materials they are
in the habit of employing, like good workmen, they content themselves
with what they can get. Réaumur reared a caterpillar which formed its
cocoon of pieces of the paper of which the box was made in which it
was imprisoned.

What an extraordinary condition! what a strange phase of vitality does
the chrysalis present to us--a being occupying the middle state
between the caterpillar and the perfect insect! How little does it
resemble that which it previously was, and what it will become! In
appearance it is scarcely a living being; it takes no nourishment, and
has no digestive organs; can neither walk nor drag itself along, and
hardly bends the joints of its body. The outside skin of the
chrysalis appears to be cartilaginous; it is generally smooth,
although some species have hairs scattered over their bodies.

We distinguish in chrysalides two opposite sides. The one is the
insect's back, the other its under side. On the upper part of the
latter (Fig. 124) we perceive various raised portions, formed and
arranged like the bands round the heads of mummies; the back is plain
and rounded in a great number of pupæ; but a great many others have on
the upper part, along the edges which separate the two sides, little
humps, eminences broader than they are thick, ending in a sharp point
(Fig. 125).

[Illustration: Fig. 124.--A conical pupa.]

[Illustration: Fig. 125.--Pupa having angular projections.]

[Illustration: Fig. 126.--Angular pupa of a Butterfly.]

The head of the angular pupæ terminates sometimes in two angular
parts, which diverge from each other like two horns (Fig. 126). In
some other cases they are curved into the form of a crescent. These
appendages sometimes give to the pupa the appearance of a mask,
especially as an eminence placed on the middle of the back is rather
like a nose, and the small cavities may represent the eyes (Fig. 125).

The colours of angular pupæ attract our attention. Some are superbly
tinted; they appear to be wrapped in silk and gold. Others have only
spots of gold and silver on their belly or their back. All, however,
have not this remarkable splendour, not these metallic spots. Some are
green, yellow, and spotted with gold. Generally they are brown.
Réaumur has shown that this golden colour is not due, as was thought
for a long while, to colouring matter, but to a little whitish
membrane, placed under the skin, which reflects the light through the
thin outer pellicle, in such a manner as to produce the optical
illusion which imparts to the robe of the chrysalis the golden hues of
a princess in grand costume. _All is not gold that glitters_, Réaumur
proves literally, in the case of chrysalis.[40]

    [40] The word is derived from [Greek: chrysos], golden; for
    that reason pupa is a better word than chrysalis, as this only
    strictly applies to a very small number; for the same reason
    aurelia is a bad word.--ED.

Let us add that the chrysalis remains thus superbly dressed as long as
it is tenanted, but loses its colour as soon as the butterfly has
quitted it.

The cone-shaped pupæ belong to the twilight and night-flying
Lepidoptera, and to those butterflies whose caterpillars are
onisciform, or in shape resembling a wood-louse. They are generally
oval, rounded at the head, and more or less conical at the lower end.
Their colour is generally of a uniform chestnut brown.

What a mystery is that which is accomplished in the transition from
the chrysalis to the perfect state! Those great changes from the larva
state to that of the pupa, and from the pupa to that of the imago, are
accomplished with such rapidity, that the phenomena were looked on as
sudden metamorphoses, like those related in mythology. It has been
thought also that there was in these changes from one state to another
a sort of resurrection. There is here neither sudden metamorphosis,
nor, as we will show, resurrection. In fact, the chrysalis is a living
being; it indeed shows its vitality by exterior movements. Under the
old skin of a caterpillar about to moult, under the envelope which is
soon to be cast off, the new integuments are being prepared.

Some days before the moult, split the caterpillar's skin, and you will
find the skin which is to take its place already beneath. If, some
days before the transformation of the caterpillar into a chrysalis, it
is dissected, the rudiments of wings and antennæ may be discovered. If
a chrysalis is examined on the outside, all the parts of the future
insect can be distinguished under the skin: the wings, the legs, the
antennæ, the proboscis, &c.; only, these parts are folded and packed
away in such a manner that the chrysalis can make no use of them. It
could not, moreover, make use of them on account of their incomplete
development. Fig. 127 shows, after Réaumur,[41] a chrysalis magnified
and seen from its lower side, on which we observe:--_a_, the wings; _b
b_, the antennæ; _t_, the trunk or proboscis.

    [41] Tome i., p. 382, planche 26, Fig. 6.

There is a moment when these parts, pressed one against each other,
and as it were swathed up like a mummy, are very easily seen, for they
are, as we may say, laid bare. This moment is that in which the pupa
has just quitted the caterpillar's skin. It is then still soft and
tender. Its body is moistened with a liquid, which, drying rapidly,
becomes opaque, coloured, and of a membranous consistency. The result
is that the parts which did not cohere in the least when the chrysalis
made its first appearance, are fastened together, so that although
they could at first be seen, through a layer of transparent fluid,
they are now hidden under a sort of veil or cloak. It is necessary to
seize then the moment of the birth of the chrysalis, to observe it

On examining the pupa before the liquid which pervades these parts has
had time to dry, it resembles the perfect insect. All the exterior
parts which belong to the imago can be distinguished. One recognises
the head, which is then resting on the thorax; the two eyes and the
antennæ (Fig. 128), which are brought forward like two ribbons; the
wings also brought over the thorax, but these are separated
artificially in the drawing we have given after Réaumur;[42] and
lastly in the space left between the wings, the six legs, and the body
of the insect.

    [42] Tome i., p. 382, planche 26, Fig. 7.

[Illustration: Fig. 127.--Chrysalis of the large Tortoise-shell
Butterfly (_Vanessa polychloros_), magnified, seen from the lower side.]

To sum up: the pupa, when it approaches the period for being hatched
is only a swaddled butterfly. Directly it has strength enough to rid
itself of its wrapping, the insect frees itself from its fetters; it
flies away, brilliant and free, and its many-coloured wings glitter in
the sun.

The duration of the pupa state is variable, according to the species
and the temperature. Réaumur placed in a hot-house, in the month of
January, some pupæ which, in the ordinary course of things, would not
have been hatched till the month of May, and a fortnight afterwards
the imagos had appeared. On the other hand, he shut up some pupæ in an
ice-house during the whole of a summer, and thus retarded their being
hatched by a whole year. The influence of the temperature on the
period of emerging, and, consequently, the influence of the seasons on
the length of this period, are completely brought to light by these

    [43] They hardly seem from later experiments to be so fully
    explained. It is a well-known fact that many insects remain in
    this state a variable time--the Small Eggar (_Bombyx
    lanestris_) sometimes as many as seven years.--ED.

We will now see how the insect delivers itself from the last skin. To
quit the pupa case is not so laborious an operation as it was for the
same insect to quit the caterpillar's skin. This is because the pupa
case is drier; it does not adhere to every part of the body, and is
brittle. Those insects which are enclosed in a cocoon free themselves
of the pupa envelope in the cocoon itself. To witness the last
operation, the cocoon may be opened, and the pupa drawn out of it with
care. If it is then placed in a box, the metamorphosis may be
observed. To study this last evolution more at his ease, Réaumur
covered a large extent of the wall of his study with pupæ of the
_Vanessa polychloros_ and other species.

[Illustration: Fig. 128.--Chrysalis of the Large Tortoise-shell
Butterfly (_Vanessa polychloros_) whose different parts have been
opened before they were fastened down. (_a_, wings; _b b_, antennæ;
_t_, trunk, or proboscis.)]

When the parts of the body of the insect have attained a certain
degree of solidity within the envelope, it has no great difficulty in
making the thin and friable membrane which surrounds it split in
different places. If it even distends itself or moves, a small opening
will be made in the dried skin. If the movements persist, the opening
increases in size, and very soon allows the imago to emerge.

It is on the middle of the upper part of the thorax that the envelope
begins to split. The split extends over the middle of the forehead and
back. The pieces of the thorax open, separate themselves from the
other parts to which they were fixed, and the insect can take
advantage of the opening which is made, and escape. Little by little
also it advances its head. The head is the first out of the old skin,
and the insect sets itself entirely free.

This occupies rather a long time; for we must remember that, under the
pupal envelope, its legs, its antennæ, its wings, and many other
parts, are enclosed in special cases. These peculiar circumstances
show that the animal has much trouble and must employ some time in
setting free all the parts.

At last our prisoner has come out of its narrow cell, and is delivered
from its old covering. What poet can describe to us the sensations of
this charming and frail creature which has just risen from the tomb,
and for the first time is enjoying the splendid light of day, the
radiant sky, and the flowers redolent with delicious perfumes, which
are inviting it to kiss and caress them!

The wings strike one most. They are very small at the time of birth.

[Illustration: Fig. 129.--Moth just emerged.]

[Illustration: Fig. 130.--Moth whose wings are folded up.]

Fig. 129 represents, after Réaumur,[44] a moth at the moment in which
it has just emerged from the pupa. But at the end of a short period
the wings become developed; only they are wrinkled, as Fig. 130, given
by Réaumur, represents.

    [44] Tome i., p. 654, planche 46, Fig. 1.

Réaumur having taken between his fingers a very short wing of a
butterfly which was just hatched, drew it about gently in all
directions. He succeeded thus in giving it the whole extent it would
have assumed naturally. According to Réaumur the wing of a butterfly
just born, which appears so small, is really already provided with all
its parts, only it is folded and re-folded on itself. He supposes that
what his hands did to lengthen the butterfly's wings, is done
naturally by the liquids which are contained in the insect which has
just emerged, and whose wings are no longer confined in their cases.
At the time of its birth the wings are flat and thick; as they grow,
little by little they spread themselves out and become curled up. When
they are completely developed and flattened the wings become firm and
hard imperceptibly, and this firmness extends at the same time to the
whole of the body.

[Illustration: Fig. 131.--Moth whose wings are developing.]

[Illustration: Fig. 132.--Moth whose wings are developed.]

Figs. 131 and 132, borrowed, like the preceding, from the 14th Memoir
of Réaumur (_sur la transformation des chrysalides en papillons_),
show the states through which the wings of the same moth pass, before
they are thoroughly developed.

Those pupæ enclosed in cocoons free themselves entirely or in part
from their old skin, in the shell itself; but the imago is still a
prisoner. It has broken through a first enclosure; it must open itself
a way through the second. How does it manage to bore through the often
very solid walls of this second prison, so as to regain its liberty?
Réaumur states that in the Lackey Moth (_Bombyx neustria_) the head is
the only instrument of which the insect makes use in opening a
passage, the compound eyes then acting like files. These files cut the
very fine threads of which the cocoon is composed, and as soon as the
end of the cocoon is pierced through, the insect uses its thorax like
a wedge, to enlarge the hole. It very soon manages to get its two
front legs out, fixes itself by them on to the outside, and little by
little emerges from its prison.


Who does not admire the extraordinary splendour, the vivacity, the
prodigious variety of colours of these brilliant inhabitants of the
air? Some amateurs have devoted to the purchase of certain butterflies
large sums of money. "Diamonds," says Réaumur on the subject, "have
perhaps beauties no more real than those of a butterfly's wings; but
they have a beauty which is more acknowledged by the world in general,
and which is more recognised in commerce." The essential character of
butterflies and moths makes them very easily recognisable among all
other insects. All have four wings, which are covered with scales,
that communicate to them the brilliant colours with which they are
decorated. It is these scales which adhere to the fingers when we
seize one of these charming creatures.

[Illustration: Fig. 133.--Different forms of the scales of Butterflies,
after Réaumur.]

For a long time this dust was thought to be formed of very small
feathers, but Réaumur showed that it is composed of little scales.
Their form varies singularly, as we may see in Fig. 133, borrowed from
the Memoirs of Réaumur,[45] which represents the different forms of
the scales which cover the wings of Lepidoptera. M. Bernard Deschamps
has closely studied them. According to this naturalist, they are
composed of three membranes, or plates, superposed one on the other,
of which the first is covered with granulations of a rounded form,
which give to these scales their splendid and varied colours; the
second plate is covered with silk, forming sometimes curious designs;
the third plate, viz., that which is applied to the membrane of the
wing, has the peculiar property of reflecting colours the most
brilliant and the most varied, although the surface of the scales
visible to the eye is often dull and colourless.

    [45] Tome i., planche 7, Figs. 1 à 23.

"Supposing," says M. Bernard Deschamps, "that a painter was
possessed of colours rich enough to represent on canvas with all
their splendour, gold, silver, the opal, the ruby, the sapphire, the
emerald, and the other precious stones which the East produces, that
with these colours he formed all the shades which could result from
their combination, one might affirm without the chance of contradiction,
that he would have none of these colours and of their various shades,
whatever might be the number, which could not be discovered by the
microscope on part of the scales of the Lepidoptera, which Nature has
been pleased to conceal from our gaze."

[Illustration: Fig. 134.--Portion of the wing of a Moth (_Saturnia
pavonia major_), magnified.]

Each of these scales adheres to the membrane of the wing by a small
tube, which is solidly fixed to it. Réaumur has called our attention
to the admirable arrangement of these scales, which are disposed like
those of fish, that is to say, in such a manner that those of a row
shall partially overlap those in the following one.

In Fig. 134, representing a portion of the wing of the _Saturnia
pavonia major_, magnified, which we borrow from Réaumur's Memoir, the
scales are arranged in rows; isolated scales, and the points where
other scales were fixed before they were taken off, are represented.

The membranous frame which supports the coloured scales of butterflies
and moths is well worth a moment's consideration. It consists of two
membranes intimately united by their interior surfaces, and divided
into many distinct parts by horny, fistulous threads, more or less
ramified, which seem intended to support the two membranes mentioned
above, and which branch out from the base to the edge of the wing.
Their number, counting from the exterior edge, is not always the same
in the upper and lower wings. It varies from eight to twelve.

With its large and light wings, the butterfly can fly for a long time.
But this flight is not in the least regular; it is not made in a
straight line. When the insect has to go some distance, it flies
alternately up and down. The line it takes is composed of an infinity
of zig-zags, going up and down, and from right to left. This
irregularity of flight saves the little insect from falling a prey to
birds. "I saw one day with pleasure," says Réaumur, "a sparrow which
pursued in the air a butterfly for nearly ten minutes without being
able to catch it. The flight of the bird was nevertheless considerably
more rapid than that of the butterfly, but the butterfly was always
higher or lower than the place to which the bird flew, and where it
thought it would catch it."

But let us leave the wings to pass on to the other parts of the
butterfly. These other parts are the _thorax_ or chest, the body or
_abdomen_, and the _head_.

The thorax is solidly put together, so as to bear the movements of the
wings and legs. These latter are composed, as in other insects, of
five parts: the coxa, the trochanter, the thigh, the shank, and the

Many butterflies have all their six legs of equal length. In others,
the two fore legs are very small, and are not suited for walking. In
others, again, they are rudimentary, being deprived of hooks, very
hairy, and applied on to the front of the breast.

[Illustration: Fig. 135.--Leg of Butterfly armed with hooks.]

[Illustration: Fig. 136.--Leg not suitable for walking.]

This difference of structure may be seen in Figs. 135 and 136, one of
which represents, after Réaumur, a leg unsuited for walking, very
hairy, and terminated in a sort of brush resembling the tail on a
tippet; and the other a leg furnished with hooks.

The abdomen has the form of an elongated, or--in the majority of
species--an almost cylindrical oval. It is composed of five segments,
each formed of an upper and a lower ring, joined together by a
membrane. The first are larger than the others, and generally overlap
the edges, which gives to this part of the body the power of dilating

We must dwell longer on the head. It is generally rounded, compressed
in front, longer than it is broad, and furnished with fine or scaly
hairs. The important organs of which this part is the seat are the
eyes, the antennæ, the palpi, and the proboscis or trunk.

The eyes are more or less spherical, surrounded by hairs, and composed
of innumerable facettes. Colours are seen on these as various as those
of the rainbow. But the colour which serves as a base to all, is black
in some, grey in others; then again there are different gold or bronze
colours of the greatest splendour, inclining sometimes to red,
sometimes to yellow, sometimes to green. On the compound eye of a
butterfly as many as 17,325 facettes have been counted. Simple eyes,
or stemmata, are moreover observed in certain species, and are
generally more or less hidden by scales.

The antennæ are situated near the upper rim or border of each eye.
Réaumur has pointed out six principal shapes. One terminates in a
little _knob_, and belongs to the butterflies. The others are
variously shaped, and belong to the moths. Some are prismatic, or like
beading. And lastly, others are shaped like feathers. We represent, in
Fig. 137, the different forms of the antennæ, which Réaumur collected
together in plates 8 and 9 of his fifth Memoir.[46]

    [46] "Sur les parties extérieures des papillons," tome i., p. 197.

The palpi are four in number, two maxillary and two labial. The first
are generally excessively small; one can only ascertain their
existence by the aid of a strong magnifying glass: the second are in
general very apparent, straight, cylindrical, covered with scales, and
formed of three joints, of which the last is often very small and
sometimes very pointed. They also sometimes bristle with stiff or
silky hairs.

The trunk is placed exactly between the two eyes. As long as the
butterfly does not want to take nourishment, the trunk remains rolled
in a spiral. Some are so short, that they scarcely make one turn and a
half or two turns; some larger sized make three turns and a half or
four turns; lastly, some very long are curled as many as eight or ten

This is how the butterfly makes use of its trunk: When fluttering
around a flower, it will very soon settle on or quite close to it.
The trunk is then brought forward entirely or almost entirely
unrolled; very soon afterwards it is almost straightened, then
directed downwards, and plunged into the flower. Sometimes the insect
draws it out a moment after, curves it, twists it a little, and
sometimes even curls it partially up. Immediately it straightens it
again, to plunge it a second time into the same flower. It repeats the
same manoeuvre seven or eight times, and then flies on to another

[Illustration: Fig. 137.--Antennæ of Lepidoptera.]

This trunk, of which the butterfly makes such good use, is composed
of two filaments more or less long, horny, concave in their interior
surfaces, and fastened together by their edges. When cut transversely,
one sees, according to Réaumur,[47] that the interior is composed of
three small rings. Consequently, there are three canals in the trunk:
one central, the other two lateral (Fig. 138). Are all these three
used to conduct the juice of flowers into the butterfly's body?
Réaumur has made some very interesting observations on this subject,
by observing a moth which was sucking a lump of sugar whilst its
portrait was being taken.

    [47] Planche 9, Fig. 10, 5e Mémoire, "Sur les parties
    extérieures des papillons."

[Illustration: Fig. 138.--Section of a Butterfly's Trunk, after Réaumur.]

"I held in one hand," says Réaumur, "a powerful magnifying glass,
which I brought near to that part of the trunk I wished to examine; I
was sometimes half a minute, or nearly a minute, without perceiving
anything, after which I saw clearly a little column of liquid mounting
quickly along the whole length of the trunk. Often this column
appeared to be intersected by little balls, which seemed to be
globules of air which had been drawn up with the liquid.

"This liquid ascended thus during three or four seconds, and then
ceased. At the end of an interval of a greater number of seconds, or
sometimes after an interval as short, I saw some fresh liquid mounting
up along the trunk. But it was straight up the middle of the trunk
that it seemed to ascend.

"The Author of Nature has given to insects means of working, which,
though very simple, we cannot divine, and which often we are not able
even to perceive. Whilst I was observing the trunk of our butterfly,
between the columns of liquid which I saw ascending, there were, but
more rarely, times when I saw, on the contrary, liquid descending from
the base of the trunk to the point. The descending liquid occupied
half or two-thirds of the tube. It was no longer difficult to perceive
how the butterfly is able to nourish itself on honey, the thickest
syrup, and even the most solid sugar. The fluid it sends down is
probably very liquid; it drives against the sugar, moistens, and
dissolves it. The butterfly pumps this liquid up again when it is
charged with sugar, and conducts it along as far as the base of its
trunk, and beyond it."

The life of the perfect insect is generally very short. Like nearly
all other insects, they die as soon as they have propagated their
species. The female lays her eggs, which vary in shape, on the plant
which is to nourish her progeny. The colour is also very various, and
passes through all sorts of shades. At the moment they are laid, many
are covered with a gummy substance, insoluble in water, which serves
to stick them on the plant.

In some species the mother lays her eggs on the trunks of trees, and
covers them with down or with the hairs which clothe her abdomen, so
as to preserve them from cold and damp. She may also hide them
entirely under a whitish foamy substance. Some do not lay more than a
hundred eggs; others lay some thousands.

To bring the history of the Lepidoptera to an end, it only remains for
us to give a sketch of their classification, and to point out some
species remarkable, either on account of their beauty or their

We see during the day butterflies flying in our gardens, in meadows
full of flowers, or in the alleys of woods. Towards evening, at the
sombre hour of twilight, the stroller is sometimes surprised to see
pass near him large moths, with a heavy and unequal flight; or, if we
go into a garden on a beautiful calm summer's night, bearing a light,
we see a crowd of moths flying from all parts towards it.

It is on account of these different hours at which the Lepidoptera
show themselves, that naturalists for a long time divided them into
diurnal, crepuscular, and nocturnal. This division was simple,
convenient, and seemed founded on Nature. Unfortunately, the _night_
fliers of the old authors do not all fly by night: some species,
classed by the old naturalists among the crepuscular, or nocturnal,
show themselves in the very middle of the day, seeking their food in
the hottest rays of the sun. In the regions near the poles they appear
during the day, and in other countries they are more or less friends
of the twilight.

So as not to multiply methodical divisions, we will confine ourselves
to classing the Lepidoptera into two sections.

The first section contains those _which fly during the day, which have
club-shaped antennæ, and which have their four wings entirely free,
and standing perpendicularly[48] when the insect is at rest_. They are
called Butterflies, or Rhopalocera. This section is divided into a
number of families, which comprise many genera. We will content
ourselves with calling the attention of the reader to some of the most
remarkable of these groups, and to those species which, either on
account of their beauty or abundance, strike, or ought to strike, the
attention of every one.

    [48] There are exceptions to this.--ED.

In the family of the _Papilionidi_, we will mention the genera
_Papilio_, to which belong the Swallow-tailed Butterfly (_Papilio
machaon_), _Papilio podalirius_, &c., and _Parnassius_, of which we
will notice _Parnassius Apollo_, and _Parnassius Mnemosyne_.

[Illustration: Fig. 139.--Swallow-tailed Butterfly (_Papilio machaon_).]

[Illustration: Fig. 140.--Larva and Chrysalis of Papilio machaon.]

The swallow-tailed butterfly is found plentifully in the fens of
Cambridgeshire, and Norfolk and Suffolk, and very commonly in the
environs of Paris. It is seen from the beginning of May till towards
the middle of June; then from the end of July till September. It
frequents gardens, woods, and, above all, fields of lucerne. It is
easily taken when settled, particularly at sunset.

This is one of the largest and the most beautiful of the European
butterflies. The wings are variegated with yellow and black; the eyes,
antennæ, and trunk are black. The body is yellow on the sides and
underneath, and black above. The front wings have rounded edges; the
hind ones, on the contrary, are notched, and one of these notches is
prolonged into a sort of tail. The first are black, spotted and
striped with yellow; the second have their upper part and middle
yellow, with some touches only of black. Near the margin is a broad
black band, dusted with blue; lastly, six yellow spots in the form of
a crescent run along the border, and end in a magnificent eye of a
reddish colour, bordered with blue.

[Illustration: Fig. 141.--Papilio Alexanor.]

The caterpillar of this species is large, smooth, and of a beautiful
light green, with a transverse black band on each ring. These bands
are sprinkled with orange spots. It lives on the fennel, carrot, and
other Umbelliferæ. If teased, it thrusts from the first ring after
the head a fleshy, orange-coloured tentacle. The chrysalis, attached
to a stalk of grass, is sometimes light green, sometimes greyish.

In the low Alps, on the plains near the environs of Digne and
Barcelonette, is found in the months of May and July the _Papilio
Alexanor_ (Fig. 141), and in Corsica and Sardinia is found
the _Papilio hospiton_, a rare species, nearly related to our
swallow-tailed butterfly, but which we will here content ourselves
with mentioning.

[Illustration: Fig. 142.--The scarce Swallow-tailed Butterfly
(_Papilio podalirius_).]

The _Papilio podalirius_ (Fig. 142) is in form very analogous to
_Papilio machaon_. It is of a rather pale yellow colour, marked with
black, as if singed. The lower wings have tails longer and narrower
than those of the latter, and are magnificently ornamented with blue
crescent-shaped spots and an orange-coloured eye bordered below with
blue. This beautiful species is not rare at Montmorency, at Ile-Adam,
and at St. Germain. It is said to have been taken in England, and is
called the scarce Swallow-tail, but its capture is considered as very
questionable. It appears for the first time at the end of April, and
for the second in July and August. The _Parnassius Apollo_ (Fig. 143),
is a beautiful butterfly, which appears in June and July, and is found
commonly enough in the Alps, the Pyrenees, and the Cévennes. Its wings
are of a yellowish white. The upper part of the fore wings presents
five nearly round black spots; the base and the costa, or front edge,
of these wings are sprinkled with black atoms. The upper part of the
hind wings presents two eyes of a vermilion red, the inner border
furnished with whitish hairs amply dotted with black, and marked
towards the extremity with two black spots. The under part of the fore
wings is very similar to the upper. But the under part of the hind
wings presents four red spots bordered by black, forming a transverse
band near the base. The body is black, furnished with russety hairs,
and the antennæ white, with the club black.

[Illustration: Fig. 143.--Parnassius Apollo.]

The larva of the Apollo lives on saxifrages. To affect its
transformation it surrounds itself with a slight network of silk in
which are confined one or more leaves. This caterpillar is thick,
smooth, cylindrical, and covered with small slightly hairy warts, and
ornamented on the first ring with a fleshy tentacle in the shape of a Y.
The chrysalis is conical, sprinkled over with a bluish efflorescence
resembling the bloom on a plum. The _Parnassius Mnemosyne_ is found in
the month of June in the mountains of Dauphiné, in Switzerland, Sicily,
Hungary, Sweden, and in the Pyrenees.

In the family of the _Pieridi_ we will mention many species remarkable
in different ways, such as _Pieris cratægi_, the black-veined White,
_Pieris brassicæ_, the Cabbage Butterfly, _Pieris napi_, _Pieris
callidice_, _Anthocharis cardamines_, the Orange-tip, _Rhodocera_
(_Gonepteryx_) _rhamni_, and _Colias edusa_, or Clouded-yellow.
_Pieris cratægi_ is white both above and below; the veins only of the
wings are black, and become a little broader at the edge of the upper
wings. These black veins on a rather transparent white ground make
this butterfly resemble a gauze veil, hence its French name, _le
gaze_. It flies in spring and summer in meadows and gardens, but is
not generally common in England. In the first volume of his "Travels
in the North of Russia," Pallas relates that he saw insects of this
species flying in great numbers in the environs of Winofka, and that
he at first took them for flakes of snow. The _Pieris cratægi_ fixes
itself at sunset on flowers, where it is easily taken by the hand.
During the day, on the contrary, it is difficult to catch. The larva,
black at first, afterwards assumes short yellow and white hairs, but
it varies much. They live in companies, under a silky web, in which
they pass the winter. The leaves of the hawthorn, the sloe, the cherry
tree, and of many other fruit trees, serve them for food. The pupa,
yellow or white, and sometimes of both colours with little stripes and
spots of black, is angular and terminated in front by a blunt point.

[Illustration: Fig. 144.--Pieris brassicæ.]

The _Pieris brassicæ_ (Fig. 144), or Cabbage Butterfly, is perhaps the
commonest of all butterflies. From the beginning of spring till the
end of autumn one sees it flying about everywhere, in the gardens,
sometimes near and almost in the interior of towns. It is of a dull
white, spotted and veined with black, and it can be seen at a long
distance, when flitting from flower to flower, in a meadow or garden.
And so children wage desperate war against this flying prey. The
pursuit of the cabbage butterfly through the alleys of parks, along
the outskirts of woods, or on the green turf of meadows, is the first
joy and the first passion of children in the country.

The caterpillar (Fig. 145) is of a yellowish green, or rather greenish
yellow, with three yellow longitudinal stripes separated by little
black points, from each of which springs a whitish hair. It lives in
groups on the cabbages in gardens, and on many other Cruciferæ. It is
so voracious that it consumes in a day more than double its own
weight, and, as it multiplies very quickly, commits great ravages in
the vegetable garden. Its pupa (Fig. 145) is of an ashy white, spotted
with black and yellow.

[Illustration: Fig. 145.--Caterpillar and Chrysalis of Pieris brassicæ.]

The _Pieris rapæ_, or Small White Butterfly, differs but little from
the preceding except in size. The caterpillar, which lives on the
cabbage, turnip, mignonette, nasturtium, &c., is green, with three
yellow lines. It does not do these much harm. In France it is called
_le ver du coeur_ (the heartworm), because it penetrates in between
leaves pressed closely together.

The _Pieris napi_ (Fig. 146), the Green-veined White, is very like the
two preceding, but the wings, the lower one especially, have
underneath broad veins, or bands, of a greenish colour. The _Pieris
callidice_, the wings of which are white spotted with black, is common
in the Alps of France, in Savoy and Switzerland, and in the Pyrenees.
Its caterpillar lives near the regions of perpetual snow, on small
cruciferous plants.

[Illustration: Fig. 146.--Pieris napi.]

[Illustration: Fig. 147.--Anthocharis cardamines.]

The Orange-tips have, in the males, the extremity of the upper wings
of a beautiful orange yellow. The rest of the wings is white in the
only British species (Fig. 147), which is to be seen in meadows from
the end of April till the end of May, and sulphur-coloured in some
other species.

One species, extremely common, and which appears with but short
interruption from the beginning of spring till the end of autumn, is
the Brimstone Butterfly (_Rhodocera_ [_Gonepteryx_] _rhamni_). The
wings are a lemon yellow, with an orange-coloured spot in the middle
of each, and the front border terminated in a series of very small
iron-coloured spots. The body of the butterfly is black with silvery

[Illustration: Fig. 148.--Thecla betulæ.]

The _Colias edusa_, or Clouded-yellow, so called from the colour of
the upper part of its wings, is not uncommon in meadows and fields in
early autumn throughout Europe. The upper side of the wings is of a
marigold yellow; the upper ones having towards the middle a large spot
of black. At the extremity of each wing is a broad black band,
continuous in the case of the male, interrupted by yellow spots in the
female. The back of the body is yellow; the legs, as well as the
antennæ, rosy.

The family of the _Lycænidæ_ comprises a great number of species, some
of which we will mention.

The _Theclæ_, or Hair-streaks, which the French call _Petits
Porte-queues_, on account of the tails which grace the hind margin of
the hind wings, inhabit woods, their larvæ feeding, according to the
species, on the birch, the oak, the plum-tree, the bramble, &c.

The _Thecla betulæ_ (Fig. 148), or Brown Hair-streak, is somewhat rare
in this country.

The Purple Hair-streak (_Thecla quercus_, Fig. 149), which Geoffroy
calls the "_Porte-queue bleu à une bande blanche_," is not rare in
woods; but it is very difficult to catch, as it flies nearly always by
couples at the tops of trees. We still further represent here the
Black Hair-streak (_Thecla pruni_, Fig. 150), and the Green
Hair-streak (_Thecla rubi_, Fig. 151).

[Illustration: Fig. 149.--Thecla quercus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 150.--Thecla pruni.]

In the meadows are found the Copper Butterflies; butterflies with
wings of a bright, tawny colour, with black marks on the upper side.
Such is the _Polyommatus_ (_Lycæna_) _phlæas_ (Fig. 152), which is
very common from the end of May until late in the autumn. The upper
part of the wing is coppery, spotted with black, the under side of a
grey colour, sprinkled with small eyes, and bordered by a zone of
tawny spots. Linnæus counted forty-two little black eyes on the under
side of the wings.

[Illustration: Fig. 151.--Thecla rubi.]

[Illustration: Fig. 152.--Small Copper (_Polyommatus_ [_Lycæna_]

We also figure _Polyommatus_ (_Lycæna_) _virgaureæ_ (Fig. 153), and
_Polyommatus_ (_Lycæna_) _gordius_ (Fig. 154), neither of which occurs
in this country.

In the meadows, the gardens, and the lucerne and clover fields, are
found the charming Blue Butterflies, the wings on the upper side, in
the majority of instances, blue in the case of the males, brown in the

They comprise the genus _Lycæna_, or, as it is frequently called,
_Polyommatus_,[49] though that name is now generally given to the
preceding. We will content ourselves here by giving drawings of a few
species of the genus, namely, the _Lycæna (Polyommatus) Corydon_, or
Blue Argus (Fig. 155), which is not uncommon wherever there is chalk,
in May and August; the _Lycæna (Polyommatus) battus_, or Brown Argus
(Fig. 156), which does not occur here; the _Lycæna (Polyommatus)
ægan_, which flies about our sandy heaths.

    [49] It may not be out of place to remark that although both
    these generic names are applied, sometimes to the one,
    sometimes to the other of these genera, the genus named in the
    text _Polyommatus_ and that called _Lycæna_ are never
    considered identical. When either name is applied to the one,
    it is not at the same time applied to the other.--ED.

[Illustration: Fig. 153.--Polyommatus (Lycæna) virgaureæ.]

[Illustration: Fig. 154.--Polyommatus (Lycæna) gordius.]

[Illustration: Fig. 155.--Lycæna (Polyommatus) Corydon.]

The caterpillars of this genus, as also those of the preceding, are
broad and flat, resembling wood-lice, with very short legs, and are
very slow in their movements.

[Illustration: Fig. 156.--Lycæna (Polyommatus) battus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 157.--Lycæna (Polyommatus) ægon.]

In the numerous family of the _Vanessidæ_ are placed the beautiful
species known as the large and small Tortoise-shell, the Peacock, &c.

The large Tortoise-shell Butterfly (_Vanessa polychloros_, Fig. 158)
has the wings of a tawny colour above, and of a blackish brown below,
with darker spots, bordered by a black band, with a stripe of
yellowish colour running down the middle. It is found in July and
September on the oak, the elm, the willow, and many fruit trees.

[Illustration: Fig. 158.--Large Tortoise-shell Butterfly (_Vanessa

[Illustration: Fig. 159.--Larva and chrysalis of the large
Tortoise-shell (_Vanessa polychloros_).]

The larva (Fig. 159) is bluish or brownish, with an orange-coloured
lateral line, bristling with yellowish hairs. The chrysalis, which is
angular, and of a red tint, is ornamented with golden metallic spots.

[Illustration: Fig. 160.--Small Tortoise-shell Butterfly (_Vanessa

[Illustration: Fig. 161.--Peacock Butterfly (_Vanessa Io_).]

We give here a drawing of the small Tortoise-shell (_Vanessa urticæ_,
Fig. 160), which resembles the preceding, but is smaller. Its
caterpillar, bristly, blackish, with four yellowish lines, lives in
companies on the nettle. The Peacock Butterfly (_Vanessa Io_, Fig.
161) is very easily recognised by the peacock's eyes--to the number of
four, one on each wing--which have gained for it the name it bears.
The eye on the upper wings is reddish in the middle and surrounded by
a yellowish circle. That on the lower ones is blackish, with a grey
circle round it, and contains bluish spots. The upper part of the
wings is of a russety brown, the under part blackish. This _Vanessa_
is met with in the woods, in lucerne fields, and in gardens. Its spiny
caterpillar is of a shiny black with white dots, and lives in
companies on nettles. The chrysalis, at first greenish, then brownish,
is ornamented with golden spots.

[Illustration: Fig. 162.--Camberwell Beauty (_Vanessa Antiopa_).]

The _Vanessa Antiopa_ (Fig. 162), one of the greatest of entomological
rarities in England, is not very common in the woods about Paris, but
it is frequently found in the environs of Bordeaux, and, above all, at
the Grande Chartreuse (in the department of Isère). The Parisian
collectors go as far as Fontainebleau in pursuit of this beautiful
species, with angular wings, of a dark purple black, with a yellowish
or whitish band on the hind border and a succession of blue spots
above it. The caterpillar is black, and bristly, with red spots. It
lives in companies on the birch, the aspen, the elm, and different
kinds of willows. The pupa is blackish, sprinkled with a bluish
powder, and has ferruginous-coloured dots. The butterfly, which
emerges from the chrysalis in July and August, is found, after
hybernation, at the end of February and until May. It flies very
rapidly, and is very difficult to catch.

[Illustration: Fig. 163.--Red Admiral Butterfly (_Vanessa Atalanta_).]

[Illustration: Fig. 164.--Painted Lady Butterfly (_Vanessa_ [_Cynthia_]

The Red Admiral Butterfly (_Vanessa Atalanta_, Fig. 163) has bands of
vermilion colour on the upper side of its wings, which are black
above, and variegated beneath with different colours. The caterpillar
is bristly and blackish, with a succession of spots of lemon-colour
on its sides. It lives in solitude on the stinging-nettle (_Urtica
dioica_). Its chrysalis is blackish, with golden spots. This
magnificent insect is common at the end of summer, and easy to catch.
If missed once it comes back again almost immediately, and almost
alights on the net of the collector.

The Painted Lady (_Vanessa_ [_Cynthia_] _cardui_, Fig. 164) owes its
vernacular name to the beauty of its colours. The upper wings are
covered above with tawny spots, rather cerise coloured towards the
interior, and with white spots on the hind margin towards the tip of
the wing; the whole on a lightish ground. The lower wings are of a
reddish tawny colour with many black spots, a circular row of which
borders the wing. The caterpillar is bristly, brownish, with yellow
lateral broken lines. It lives in solitude on many species of thistle,
on the artichoke, the milfoil or yarrow, &c. It makes for itself a
web, rather like a spider's nest, and lives therein. The chrysalis is
greyish, with numerous golden dots. The perfect insect shows itself
almost without interruption, from spring till autumn. It flies
rapidly, and in certain seasons is abundant.

The _Vanessa (Grapta) C. album_ (Fig. 165), or Comma Butterfly, is
common in parts of England. Above, its wings are tawny, spotted with
black. Below, they are more or less brown, with different tints, and
sometimes a little blue. On the under side of the lower wings is a
white spot of the form of a C. "This spot," says old Geoffroy, "caused
this butterfly to have the name of _gamma_ given to it, and its colour
of _Diable enrhumé_ (_sic_), as also the singular cut of its wings,
has caused it to be called by others _Robert le Diable_." Its
caterpillar lives on the nettle, the honeysuckle, the currant, the
hazel, and the elm. It is of a reddish brown, with a white band on the
back. Réaumur calls it the Beadle, comparing it to the church beadles,
who usually dress in glaring colours.

[Illustration: Fig. 165.--The Comma Butterfly (_Vanessa C. album_).]

The brilliant _Vanessæ_, of which we have just briefly described some
remarkable species, have been the cause of superstitious terror. This
must at first sight seem incredible, but it has arisen thus: When they
have just quitted the pupa, a red-coloured liquid drops from them. If
a great many butterflies are hatched at the same time, and in the
same place, the ground becomes, as it were, sprinkled with drops of
blood. Hence the origin of some of those pretended _showers of blood_,
which, at different periods, have terrified the ignorant, too much
imbued with religious superstitions.

At the beginning of the month of July, 1608, one of these supposed
showers of blood fell on the outskirts of Aix, in Provence, and this
_rain_ extended for the distance of half a league from the town. Some
priests of the town deceived themselves, or, desirous of turning to
account the credulity of the people, did not hesitate to attribute
this event to Satanic agency. Fortunately, a learned man, M. de
Peiresc, who was not only well versed in the knowledge of ancient
literature, but who was, moreover, familiar with the natural sciences,
discovered that a prodigious multitude of butterflies were flying
about in the places which were thus miraculously covered with blood.
He collected some chrysalides and put them into a box, and letting
them hatch there, observed the blood-like liquid, and hastened to make
it known to the friends of the miraculous. He established the fact
that the supposed drops of blood were only found in cavities, in
interstices, under the copings of walls, &c., and never on the surface
of stones turned upwards; and proved by these observations that they
were drops of a red liquid deposited by the butterflies.

However, in spite of the reassuring remarks of the learned Peiresc,
the people in the outskirts of Aix continued to feel a genuine terror
at the sight of these tears of blood which stained the soil. Peiresc
attributes to this same cause some other showers of blood related by
historians, and which took place about the same season. Such was a
shower which was supposed to have fallen in the time of Childebert, at
Paris, and in a house in the territory of Senlis. Such again was a
so-called bloody shower which showed itself towards the end of June,
during the reign of King Robert of France. Réaumur points out the
large Tortoise-shell as being the most capable of spreading these
sorts of alarms, founded on a deplorable ignorance and the spirit of

"Thousands," says he, "change into pupæ towards the end of May or the
beginning of June. Before their transformation they leave the trees,
often fastening themselves to walls, and, making their way into
country-houses, they suspend themselves to the frames of doors, &c. If
the butterflies which come out of them towards the end of June or the
beginning of July were all to fly together, there would be enough of
them to form little clouds or swarms, and consequently there would be
enough to cover the stones in certain localities with spots of a
blood-red colour, and to make those who only seek to terrify
themselves, and to see prodigies in everything, believe that during
the night it had rained blood."

[Illustration: Fig. 166.--White Admiral (_Limenitis sibilla_).]

[Illustration: Fig. 167.--Limenitis camilla.]

In the family of _Nymphalidæ_, we will first mention the White Admiral
(Fig. 166). The upper side of its wings is of a dark brown, almost
black, traversed in the middle by a white band divided into spots very
close to each other. The lower part of the wings is ferruginous, with
a band and spots of white, as on the upper, besides which it has a
double hinder transverse row of black dots. These dots are followed on
the hind wings by some white spots, and the whole of the inner margin
is of a glossy ashy blue, with the base spotted with black. This
butterfly is not rare in the month of July in woods in the south of
England, where it flies round and settles upon the branches of the
underwood. The caterpillar is of a delicate green, with a lateral
white stripe, and rather bristly. It feeds on honeysuckle. The pupa is
angular, of greenish colour, with golden spots.

The _Limenitis camilla_ (Fig. 167), of which the black on the wings is
shot with blue, is not found in England.

In the month of July the _Apatura ilia_ (Fig. 168) and the Purple
Emperor (_Apatura iris_), sylvan insects of strong flight, whose wings
are beautifully shot with violet blue when examined in certain
lights--the latter resembling _Ilia_, but wanting the eye-like spots
on the front wings--are met with. _Iris_ only is found in this
country. Both species occur in the environs of Paris.

[Illustration: Fig. 168.--Apatura ilia.]

The _Charaxes jasius_ (Fig. 169), which is found along the whole of
the Mediterranean coast, has its lower wings terminated in two points,
whence the peasants call this butterfly the _Pacha with two tails_.
The upper part of its wings is of a brown colour of changing hues. The
hind margin of the fore wings has along it a tawny band with a fine
black line running round. The hind wings have their hinder margin
black, and garnished with a little white fringe. The two tails are
black, and the groove of the inner margin is of an ashy grey. The
underneath of the wings is ferruginous, with spots of an olive brown
set in a framework of white towards the base.

The caterpillar is green, and flat like a slug, with four yellow horns
bordered with red (Fig. 170). It lives on the arbutus, a shrub common
enough on the hills and mountains of the coast of the Mediterranean.

[Illustration: Fig. 169.--Charaxes jasius.]

[Illustration: Fig. 170.--Larva of Charaxes jasius about to change to
a pupa.]

[Illustration: Fig. 171.--Erebia Euryale.]

To the family of the _Satyridi_ belongs the _Erebia Euryale_ (Fig.
171), which is found in the month of July in sub-alpine regions; the
_Chionobas aello_ (Fig. 172), which is found in the Alps of
Switzerland, of the Tyrol, and of Savoy, and which is common enough,
in the month of July, on the summit of Montanvers, near the _mer de
glace_; the _Satyrus janira_, or Meadow Brown (Fig. 173), which is
very common, in the months of June and July, in woods and fields.

[Illustration: Fig. 172.--Chionobas aello.]

We now pass on to the second section of Lepidoptera.

[Illustration: Fig. 173.--Meadow brown (_Satyrus_ [_Hipparchia_]

It contains _those whose flight in the majority of species is nocturnal
or by twilight, but by day in some species. The antennæ are more or
less swollen out in the middle or before their extremities, and,
independently of that, sometimes prismatic, sometimes cylindrical,
sometimes pectinated or indented. The body--which was small in
comparison to the wings, and which was remarkably thin between the
thorax and the abdomen in the first section of Lepidoptera--is in this
section very much larger in proportion to the wings, and is not drawn
tightly in between the thorax and the abdomen. The wings are horizontal
or slightly inclined when the insect is at rest; the upper then cover
the lower, which are generally comparatively short and kept back by a
bridle on the first, in the case of the males only._

[Illustration: Fig. 174.--Sesia apiformis.]

[Illustration: Fig. 175.--Six-spot Burnet Moth (_Zygæna filipendulæ_).]

We will take the genus _Sesia_ as the representative of the _Sesiidæ_.
These singular insects have membranous wings, and resemble various
species of Hymenoptera. The largest species is the _Sesia apiformis_
(Fig. 174), that is, bee-like, which is found in this country, resting
on the trunks of willows and poplar-trees, from the end of May till the
middle of July. It resembles a hornet, and is of the same size and has
the same colours; only they are not quite so bright. When this moth is
just hatched its wings are ferruginous; but its scales, light and
caducous, fall as soon as the insect begins to fly. The caterpillar,
which lives in the trunks or roots of willows and poplar-trees, is of a
yellowish colour. The pupa is long, of a brownish colour, enclosed in a
cocoon composed of agglutinated saw-dust, the product of the
caterpillar's erosions.

[Illustration: Fig. 176.--Cocoon of the Zygæna filipendulæ.]

In the middle of summer the meadows are frequented by moths, with
brilliant black and velvety wings, marked with red, which fly heavily,
and only for a short time together. They remain motionless during the
great heat of the day. These are the _Zygænæ_, or Burnets, of the
family of the _Zygænidæ_. The Ram Sphinx of Geoffroy, or the Six-spot
Burnet Moth (_Zygæna filipendulæ_, Fig. 175), is common from the end
of June till the beginning of August. Its legs, antennæ, head, and
body are black and rather hairy; its upper wings are of a brilliant
bluish green, with six spots of a beautiful red on each, bordered by a
little green. The caterpillar is yellow, spotted with black; its
cocoon is boat-shaped, with longitudinal furrows, and is straw colour
(Fig. 176).

Next to _Zygæna_ comes _Procris_, the species of which fly during the
day in damp fields. We will mention particularly the _Procris
statices_ (Fig. 177), which is plentiful enough where it occurs
between the middle of June and the middle of July, on the sides of
hills. Its fore wings, antennæ, and the whole of its body, are of a
blue green above. The same wings are of the same colour below, and the
surfaces of the lower ones are of an ashy brown.

[Illustration: Fig. 177.--The Forester (_Procris_ [_Ino_] _statices_).]

The Sphinges, that is, those species that form the family of the
_Sphingidæ_, have received this general name from the attitude which
their caterpillars often assume. Raising the fore part of the body,
which attitude resembles the Sphinx of mythology, they keep for a very
long time this state of immobility. They fly very rapidly and briskly,
and only make their appearance for the most part after sunset. The
caterpillars, which in this group are without hair, and have almost
always a horn on the eleventh segment of the body, metamorphose
themselves in the earth, without forming hard cocoons. The chrysalis
are sometimes enveloped in a very slight shell, or cocoon, which when
it exists is formed of particles of earth or of vegetable _débris_
bound together by threads. This family comprises species generally
remarkable for their size and beauty.

The genus _Macroglossa_ contains some species which fly rapidly and
for a long time together during the day. We will mention particularly
the Humming-bird Sphinx (_Macroglossa stellatarum_). This moth (Fig.
178) has attracted the attention of all who have ever spent much time
in a flower garden. In Burgundy the children call it _bird-fly_. In
passing from one flower to another it has brisk and rapid movements,
but it remains suspended in the air before each; it does not alight
upon any, it is always flying, thrusting its long trunk the while
into the corollæ of flowers, counterbalancing the action of its weight
by the continuous vibration of its wings.

We will describe in a few words this robust inhabitant of the air,
this charming _bird-fly_. The _Macroglossa stellatarum_ shows itself
during the whole of the fine season, and till the middle of autumn, in
our climate. It often penetrates in the middle of the day into our
houses, and knocking itself against the window-panes, falls an easy
prey to children. Its front wings are of an ashy brown, of changing
hues above, with three black, transverse, undulating lines. The lower,
shorter than the others, are of a rusty-yellow colour. All the wings
are yellowish below near the body, ferruginous in the middle, and of a
dark brown at their extremities.

[Illustration: Fig. 178.--Humming-bird Hawk-Moth (_Macroglossa

The body is long, brown, hairy, and terminating in a tuft of
divergent hairs, reminding one of a bird's tail. It is for this reason
that it has been called by the French _Sphinx Moineau_, or Sparrow
Sphinx. This resemblance is so great, that Mr. Bates, in his book on
the Amazons, says he often shot species of this genus in mistake for
humming-birds. The caterpillar of this remarkable Lepidopteron (Fig.
179) is of a pale green, with eight transversal rows of small white
dots and four longitudinal rows, of which two are white and two
yellowish. It has a dark blue horn, with an orange-coloured tip. It
lives on different species of bed-straw, but by preference on the
_Galium mollugo_. Before its metamorphosis, it encloses itself in a
shapeless cocoon, made of the _débris_ of leaves held together by
threads, and placed on the surface of the ground. The pupa (Fig. 180)
is of a light grey, sprinkled over with brown dots, and striped with
black. Its skin is so thin and transparent that one can follow it
through all the phases of transformation to the imago.

[Illustration: Fig. 179.--Caterpillar of Humming-bird Hawk-Moth
(_Macroglossa stellatarum_).]

[Illustration: Fig. 180.--Pupa of Macroglossa stellatarum.]

The genus _Deilephila_ is composed of species whose flight is rapid,
and after sunset. Such are the _Deilephila euphorbiæ_, the Oleander
Hawk-Moth (_Deilephila_ [_Chærocampa_] _nerii_), and the large Elephant
Hawk-Moth (_Deilephila_ [_Chærocampa_] _elpenor_).

The _Deilephila euphorbiæ_ (Fig. 181) has the upper wings of a reddish
grey, with three spots of greenish or olive colour along the costa, or
front margin, and a broad black oblique band along the hind margin.
The lower wings are red, with the base black, and a transverse black
band towards the edge; they have, moreover, a large round white spot
on the inside; beneath the wings are red, as also is the body, which
is covered above with greenish hairs. This species is exceedingly rare
here, but is plentiful on the Continent during the months of June and

[Illustration: Fig. 181.--Deilephila euphorbiæ.]

[Illustration: Fig. 182.--Larva of Deilephila euphorbiæ.]

The larva (Fig. 182) is one of the most remarkable of the genus on
account of the splendour and the vividness of its colours, and appears
to be covered with varnish. It has a number of small yellow dots very
close to each other on a glossy black ground, which are ranged in
circles. On each side of the body are two longitudinal rows of spots
generally of the same colour as the dots, and a narrow band of carmine
runs down the middle of the back, and a similar band, which is
intersected by yellow, is to be seen above the legs. This caterpillar
is almost always found on the Cyprus-leafed spurge. It is found first
at the end of June. Generally the chrysalis passes through the winter,
and the moth emerges in the following year.

[Illustration: Fig. 183.--Deilephila (Chærocampa) nerii.]

The _Deilephila (Chærocampa) nerii_ (Fig. 183), or Oleander Hawk-Moth,
is a charming species almost peculiar to hot countries, where the
shrub from which it derives its name grows spontaneously--that is to
say, in Africa, in the southern parts of Asia, in Greece, in Spain,
&c. Carried forward by its rapid flight, and assisted by atmospheric
currents, these beautiful insects sometimes come accidentally into the
countries of Central Europe. They have been met with many times in
Paris, in the garden of the Luxembourg, where the oleander is
cultivated under glass. But those which are hatched in the environs
of Paris never reproduce their species, on account of the coldness of
the climate. Both larva and imago--the former on periwinkle--_have_
been found in the same locality.

[Illustration: Fig. 184.--Larva of Deilephila (Chærocampa) nerii.]

[Illustration: Fig. 185.--Pupa of Deilephila (Chærocampa) nerii.]

The caterpillar of this species (Fig. 184) is one of those called by
the French _Cochonnes_, because their two first rings, which are
retractile and drawn back under the third when the insect is at rest,
taper in such a way as to resemble the snout of a pig, hence the
English name "Elephant," when they change their place or are engaged
in eating. It is of a beautiful green, with white stripes and dots on
the sides, and marked on the third segment with two large spots like
eyes, of an azure blue, encircled with black, and having white pupils.
A short orange-coloured horn rises at the extremity of the body. A few
days before its transformation, this caterpillar entirely loses its
rich livery, it becomes brown on the back, and of a dirty yellow on
the rest of its body, and constructs for itself a cocoon at the foot
of the shrub on which it lived, with the _débris_ of leaves fastened
together with threads.

The cocoon contains a chrysalis (Fig. 185) of a hazel brown,
delicately streaked with a darker brown, and with a very conspicuous
black spot on each of its stigmata.

The Elephant Hawk-Moth (_Deilephila_ [_Chærocampa_] _elpenor_, Fig. 186)
is not rare during the month of June. Its fore wings are purple red,
glossy above, with three bands of a light olive green, having at the
base a small black spot. The inner margin is garnished with white
hairs. The hind wings are of a dark rose colour above, with the base
black, and the hind margin bordered with white. The four wings are
rose coloured below, with the costa and the middle of an olive green;
the upper ones have their interior border tinged with a blackish
colour. The body is rose colour, with two longitudinal bands of an
olive green over the abdomen, and five diverging lines of this colour
on the thorax. The sides of the abdomen have along them a double
series of yellowish points.

[Illustration: Fig. 186.--Deilephila (Chærocampa) elpenor.]

The caterpillar of this sphinx (Fig. 187) is of a dark brown,
delicately striped with black. Two grey lines run down each side of
its body, and on the fourth and fifth segments are two black eyes
bordered by light violet. This caterpillar is found most often on
certain kinds of _Epilobium_, but will also eat of the vine, fuchsia,
and bed-straw. It must be sought in damp places, by streams and ponds,
from the end of July till September. It constructs on the surface of
the soil a shapeless cocoon with moss and dry leaves, which it fastens
together with some silky threads. Its pupa (Fig. 188), of a yellowish
brown, has short bristles on the rings of the abdomen. The caterpillar
possesses in the highest degree the retractile power which has gained
for certain species of this genus their popular names. The Privet
Sphinx (_Sphinx ligustri_, Fig. 189) has its upper wings rather
narrow, about two inches long, of a reddish grey, and veined with
black above, with the middle of a dark brown, the inner margin with
rose-coloured hairs, and the hind margin having two whitish flexuous
lines running along it. The hind wings are of a rose tint, with three
black bands. The wings are of a reddish grey below with a common black
band. The abdomen has black and rose-coloured rings above, and in the
middle a brownish band wholly divided by a black line.

[Illustration: Fig. 187.--Larva of Deilephila (Chærocampa) elpenor.]

[Illustration: Fig. 188.--Pupa of Deilephila (Chærocampa) elpenor.]

[Illustration: Fig. 189.--Privet Hawk-Moth (_Sphinx ligustri_).]

This species is very common in all parts of Europe. One finds it in
gardens from June to September. Of all the caterpillars of the genus
_Sphinx_, this is the one which, by its attitude when in a state of
repose, most resembles the sphinx of fable, from which the genus has
derived its name. It is of fine apple green, with seven oblique
stripes, half violet and half white, placed on each side of its body,
and three or four small white spots beyond these stripes. The stigmata
are orange, the head is green, bordered with black. The extremity of
the body is surrounded by a smooth horn, black above, yellow below
(Fig. 190). This beautiful caterpillar is not rare. It lives on a
great number of trees and shrubs, but it is principally on the privet,
the lilac, and the ash tree, that it must be looked for. Three or four
days before it buries itself in the earth to change itself into a
chrysalis, its beautiful colours grow dim. During the month of June
and September is found the Convolvulus Sphinx (_Sphinx convolvuli_,
Fig. 192), with brown wings, and with the abdomen striped with
transverse bands alternately black and red. The caterpillar of this
species, which presents a great number of varieties, lives on many
kinds of _Convolvuli_, but particularly on the field species. It is
generally rare here, but occasionally abundant.

[Illustration: Fig. 190.--Larva of the Privet Hawk-Moth (_Sphinx

[Illustration: Fig. 191.--Pupa of Sphinx ligustri.]

It is to the genus _Acherontia_ that a well-known moth belongs. We
refer to the Death's-head Moth (_Acherontia atropos_). It is the
largest species of hawk-moth. This insect presents, roughly marked out
in light yellow, on the black ground of its thorax, a human skull.
This funeral symbol, joined to the plaintive cry which this moth
emits when frightened, has sometimes inspired terror into the whole
population of a country. The appearance of this moth in certain
countries having coincided with the invasion of an epidemic disease,
some thought they saw in this doleful sylph of the night the messenger
of death. The _Acherontia atropos_ plays a great part in the
superstitions which are believed in by the country folk in England.
One hears it said in country places that this ominous inhabitant of
the air is in league with the witches, and that it goes and murmurs
into their ears with its sad and plaintive voice the name of the
person whom death is soon to carry off. In spite of its ominous
livery, the _Atropos_ does not come from Hades; it is no envoy of
death, bringing sadness and mourning. It does not bring us news of
another world; it tells us, on the contrary, that Nature can people
every hour; that it was her will to console them for their sadness, to
grant to the twilight and to the night the same winged wanderers
which are at once the delight and ornament of the hours of light and
of day.

[Illustration: Fig. 192.--The Convolvulus Sphinx (_Sphinx convolvuli_).]

This is the mission of science, to dissipate the thousands of
prejudices and dangerous superstitions which mislead ignorant people.

[Illustration: Fig. 193.--Death's-head Hawk-Moth (_Acherontia atropos_).]

This moth has the front wings of a blackish brown colour, having
lighter irregular bands varied with brown and grey, above and below.
On the middle of the front wing there is a well-defined white dot. The
hind wings have two black bands, the upper narrower than the lower
one; the rest of the wing is a fine yellow. The abdomen has likewise
from five to six yellow and as many black bands; in the middle is a
long blackish longitudinal band. This moth is not very rare, and may
be found in autumn. Its flight is heavy, and, as we have said, the
insect never flies till after sunset. If caught, or when teased, it
utters a cry which is very audible.

The death's-head hawk-moth would be a very inoffensive being if it did
not make its way into bee-hives, in order to steal the honey, of which
it is excessively fond. It is to no purpose that the bees dart their
stings at the intruder, they only blunt them against its thick skin,
and soon, terrified at its presence, disperse on all sides.

[Illustration: Fig. 194.--Larva of the Death's-head Hawk-Moth
(_Acherontia atropos_).]

The caterpillar of the _Acherontia atropos_ (Fig. 194) is the largest
of all European caterpillars. It attains to as much as four and a half
inches in length by eight lines in diameter. Its colour is lemon
yellow, which changes into green on the sides and belly. From the
fourth to the tenth ring inclusively it is ornamented laterally with
seven oblique bands of an azure blue, which are tinted with violet,
and bordered with white on the side. These bands joining together over
the back of each segment resemble so many _chevrons_ placed parallel
to each other. The body is, moreover, dotted with black. At its
extremity is a yellow horn, curved back like a hook, and covered with
tubercles. The head is green, and marked laterally with a black
stripe. It lives chiefly on the potato, and the _Lycium barbarum_,
sometimes called the tea-tree, a shrub belonging to the _Solanaceæ_.
It buries itself in the earth to change into a chrysalis (Fig. 195) of
a bright chestnut brown.

[Illustration: Fig. 195.--Chrysalis of the Death's-head Hawk-Moth.]

[Illustration: Fig. 196.--Lime Hawk-Moth (_Smerinthus tiliæ_).]

[Illustration: Fig. 197.--Larva of the Lime Hawk-Moth (_Smerinthus

[Illustration: Fig. 198.--Eyed Hawk-Moth (_Smerinthus ocellatus_).]

We will mention still further, in the family of the _Sphingidæ_, three
species of the genus _Smerinthus_, which fly heavily and by twilight.

The Lime-tree Hawk-moth (_Smerinthus tiliæ_, Fig. 196) has its upper
wings grey with some shades of green, and moreover, in the middle of
the wing an irregular band of a brownish green colour. The thorax,
covered with hairs, is grey, with three green longitudinal bands. The
abdomen is also grey. The moth flies heavily after sunset, and is
found on the trunks of trees during the months of May and June. The
larva (Fig. 197) is glaucous green dotted with yellow, and marked on
each side with seven oblique lines of the same colours. Its wrinkly
horn is blue above and yellow below. It is found on the lime and the
elm. It buries itself at the foot of the tree on which it has fed to
change into a chrysalis without making a cocoon.

[Illustration: Fig. 199.--Poplar Hawk-Moth (_Smerinthus populi_).]

We will content ourselves by here giving drawings of two other species
of the same genus: the Eyed Hawk-Moth (_Smerinthus ocellatus_, Fig.
198), which is not rare during the months of May and sometimes August,
the caterpillar of which lives on the leaves of willows, poplars, and
fruit-trees; and the Poplar Hawk-Moth (_Smerinthus populi_, Fig. 199),
whose caterpillar (Fig. 200) lives on the poplar, the aspen, and
sometimes on the willow and birch.

The division of _Bombycina_ contains the largest of moths, and at the
same time species of a middle and small size. These moths take no
nourishment, and live only for a short time--long enough to propagate
their species. They rarely fly during the day, only showing themselves
in the evening. The group is dispersed over nearly all parts of the
world, and may be recognised by the antennæ generally being cut like
the teeth of a comb in the males, by their thick, strong bodies, and,
in the majority of cases, by their large head, by their wings more or
less large, and by their heavy flight.

[Illustration: Fig. 200.--Larva of the Poplar Hawk-Moth (_Smerinthus

In the _Bombycina_ are found the genera _Sericaria_, _Attacus_,
_Bombyx_, _Orgyia_, _Liparis_, &c.

It is to the genus _Bombyx_ that the silkworm belongs, that celebrated
insect called by Linnæus _Bombyx mori_, a name which reminds us at the
same time of its most ancient denomination, and of the mulberry tree,
on which these caterpillars feed.

M. Guérin-Méneville has called the silkworm "the dog of insects," for
it has been domesticated from the most ancient times, and has become
deprived of great part of its strength in the process. The moth of the
silkworm can no longer keep its position in the air, or on the leaves
of the mulberry when they are agitated by the wind. It can no longer
protect itself, under the leaves, from the burning heat of the sun and
from its enemies. The female, always motionless, seems to be ignorant
of the fact that she has wings. The male no longer flies; he flutters
round his companion, without quitting the ground. It ought, however,
to be possessed in the wild state of a sufficiently powerful flight.
M. Ch. Martins found that after three generations reared in the open
air, the males recovered their lost power.

Before speaking of the different phases of the life of the silkworm
and the rearing of this precious insect, we will notice the origin and
progress of the silk trade, one of the most important branches of
commerce in the South of Europe and in the East.

The native country of the silkworm is not better known than that of
the greater number of plants and animals which form the staple of
agricultural industry. Probably, however, it was China. It was
certainly in this vast empire that long since the business of
fabricating silk began. One reads the following in "L'Histoire
générale de la Chine," by M. Mailla:--

"The Emperor Hoang-ti, who lived 2,600 years before our era, wished
that Si-ling-chi, his wife, should contribute to the happiness of his
people; he charged her to study the silkworm, and to try to utilise
its threads. Si-ling-chi caused a great quantity of these insects to
be collected, which she fed herself in a place destined exclusively
for the purpose; she not only discovered the means of rearing them,
but still further the manner of winding off their silk and of
employing it in the manufacture of fabrics."

It may be asked, however, if the learned men who composed this recital
did not collect under the reign of the emperor Hoang-ti all the events
and all the discoveries whose dates were lost in the obscurity of the
most remote periods of history. Is not the Empress Si-ling-chi a
mythical person? a sort of Chinese Ceres, to whom, under the title of
goddess of the silkworm, they then raised altars?

Here, at any rate, is how Duhalde[50] analyses the recital of the
Chinese annalists on the remarkable fact of the introduction of the
silkworm and its rich products into the Chinese empire:--

    [50] "Description de la Chine," tome ii., p. 205.

"Up to the time of this queen (Si-ling-chi)," says he, "when the
country was only lately cleared and brought into cultivation, the
people employed the skins of animals as clothes. But these skins were
no longer sufficient for the multitude of the inhabitants; necessity
made them industrious; they applied themselves to the manufacture of
cloth wherewith to cover themselves. But it was to this princess that
they owed the useful invention of silk stuffs. Afterwards, the
empress, named by Chinese authors, according to the order of their
dynasties, found an agreeable occupation in superintending the
hatching, rearing, and feeding of silkworms, in making silk, and
working it up when made. There was an enclosure attached to the palace
for the cultivation of mulberry trees.

"The empress, accompanied by queens and the greatest ladies of the
court, went in state into this inclosure, and gathered with her own
hand the leaves of three branches which her ladies in waiting had
lowered till they were within her reach; the finest pieces of silk
which she made herself, or which were made by her orders and under her
own eye, were destined for the ceremony of the grand sacrifice offered
to Chang-si. (PLATE V.)

"It is probable," adds Duhalde, "that policy had more to do than
anything else with all this trouble taken by the empresses. Their
intention was to induce, by their example, the princesses and ladies
of quality, and the whole people, to rear silkworms: in the same way
as the emperors, to ennoble in some sort agriculture, and to encourage
the people to undertake laborious works, never failed, at the
beginning of each spring, to guide the plough in person, and with
great state to plough up a few furrows, and in these sow some seed.

"As far as concerns the empresses, it is a long time since they have
ceased to apply themselves to the manufacture of silk; one sees,
nevertheless, in the precincts of the imperial palace, a large space
covered with houses, the road leading to which is still called the
road which leads to the place destined for the rearing of silkworms,
for the amusement of the empresses and queens. In the books of the
philosopher Mencius, is a wise police rule, made under the first
reigns, which determines the space destined for the cultivation of
mulberry trees, according to the extent of the land possessed by each
private individual."

M. Stanislas Julien[51] tells us of many regulations made by the
Emperor of China, to render obligatory the care and attention
requisite to rearing silk.

    [51] "Résumé des principaux Traités Chinois sur la Culture des
    Mûriers et l'Education des Vers à Soie, traduit par Stanislas
    Julien." Paris, imprimerie royale, 1837.

Tchin-iu, being governor of the district of Kien-Si, ordered that
every man should plant fifty feet of land with mulberry trees.[52] The
Emperor (under the dynasty of Witei) gave to each man twenty acres
of land on condition that he planted fifty feet with mulberry
trees.[53] Hien-tsang (who ascended the throne in 806) ordered that
the inhabitants of the country should plant two feet in every acre
with mulberry trees.[54] The first Emperor of the dynasty of Song (who
began to reign about the year 960) published a decree forbidding his
subjects to cut down the mulberry trees.[55]

    [52] "Annales de la Dynastie des Liang."

    [53] "Annales de la Dynastie des Wei."

    [54] "Annales de la Dynastie des Thang."

    [55] "Histoire de la Dynastie des Song."

[Illustration: V. The Empress Si-ling-chi gathering Mulberry Leaves.]

By all these means, according to the testimony of M. Stanislas Julien,
the business of the fabrication of silk became general in China. This
great empire soon furnished its neighbours with this precious textile
material, and created for its own profit a very important branch of

It was forbidden, under pain of death, to export from China the
silkworm's eggs, or to furnish the necessary information in the art of
obtaining the textile material. The manufactured article only could be
sold out of the empire. It was thus that the Asiatic nations very soon
understood silk; and that in many of their cities they applied
themselves to weaving stuffs of this precious substance. The carpets
and dyed stuffs of Babylon, mixed with gold and silk, enjoyed in
ancient times an unparalleled renown. China was not, however, the only
country that then furnished silk to the towns of Asia Minor. At a very
distant period India sent by her caravans very considerable quantities
of it. M. Émile Blanchard (of the Institute) remarks, however, that
the tissues of India must be made of a different silk from that of
China, that is to say, of a silk of some of those _Bombyces_ of which
the public has been told so much of late years, and of which we shall
have soon to speak.

Silk commanded for centuries a prodigiously high price. In the time of
Alexander its value in Greece was exactly its own weight in gold, and
so it was very parsimoniously employed in silk tissues. These were so
transparent that women who wore them were scarcely covered.

Silk was unknown to the Romans before Julius Cæsar. It was to him that
Rome owed its acquaintance with this new material. He introduced it,
moreover, in a singularly magnificent manner. One day, at a _fête_
given in the Colosseum--a combat of animals and gladiators--the people
saw the coarse tent of cloth, intended to keep off the rays of the
sun, replaced by a magnificent covering of Oriental silk. They
murmured at this gorgeous prodigality, but declared Cæsar a great
man. The introduction of silk among the Romans was the signal for
luxurious expenditure. The patricians made a great display with their
silk cloaks of incalculable value; so that, from the time of Tiberius,
the Senate felt itself called upon to forbid the use of silk garments
to men. Examples of simplicity are sometimes set in high places; thus,
the Emperor Aurelian refused to the Empress Severina so costly a

The commerce in silk bore doubly hard upon Europe, both on account of
the value of the material and of the great use which was made of it.
Persia was the emporium, and had the monopoly of this merchandise. The
Emperor Justinian I., who reigned at Constantinople from A.D. 527 to
565, tried all the means within his power of freeing his States from
this ruinous tyranny, when a circumstance occurred, very fortunately
for the national commerce, which brought about the introduction into
Europe of sericulture, or the cultivation of silk.

Two monks of the order of St. Basil, in their ardour for the
propagation of the faith, had pushed forwards into China. There they
had been initiated into the operations which furnished the fabric so
highly prized. On their return to Constantinople, and hearing of the
project that Justinian entertained of depriving the Persians of the
monopoly in silk, the two monks proposed to the Emperor to enrich his
state by introducing the art of fabricating this material. The
proposition was greedily accepted, and the two monks returned again to
China, with the object of procuring the eggs of the insect. Having
arrived at the end of their journey, they succeeded in getting
possession of a quantity of silkworms' eggs. They hid them between the
knots of their sticks, and started back to their native country,
without being once interfered with. Two years afterwards they
re-entered Constantinople with their precious booty.[56] The larva
were fed on mulberry leaves. Immediately afterwards began the rearing
of the worms and the preparation of the silk, according to the
instructions given by these courageous travellers. The first broods
succeeded perfectly, and so plantations of mulberry trees were seen to
multiply and spread through the whole extent of the Eastern Empire. It
was, above all, in Southern Greece that this branch of industry
assumed an immense importance. It was then the Peloponnesus lost its
old name, and was called the Morea, from the Latin name for
"mulberry," _morus_.[57]

    [56] According to M. de Gasparin, author of an excellent "Essai
    sur l'Histoire de l'Introduction des Vers à Soie en Europe"
    (Paris, in 8vo, 1841), it was not into China, but only into
    Tartary, to Serinda, that the two monks went in search of the
    silkworms' eggs (pp. 37-39). It must be supposed that the eggs
    did not hatch for two years, being in such interesting company.

    [57] Others derive the name from _more_, the Slavonic word for
    the sea. See "On the Study of Words," by Abp. Trench.--ED.

Constantinople and Greece, during centuries, furnished the whole of
Europe with silkworms. This diffusion, however, was effected very
slowly. The Greeks attached great importance to retaining the
monopoly, and the emperor Justinian had caused to be established at
Constantinople itself silk manufactories, where the most skilful
artificers of Asia, who were forbidden to reveal the various processes
to strangers, worked.

Towards the beginning of the eighth century the Arabs introduced the
silkworm into Spain. But this industry remained confined within narrow
limits. It was in fact not till after the twelfth century that
sericulture began to spread throughout Europe. Roger, King of the Two
Sicilies, possessing a navy that commanded the Mediterranean, employed
it chiefly in making excursions and conquests. He ravaged Greece, and,
not satisfied with the booty he carried away from that unfortunate
country, wished still further to deprive them, for the good of his own
kingdom, of the silk monopoly, the source of their riches. Roger
carried away into Sicily and Naples a great number of prisoners,
amongst whom were some weavers and men who had devoted themselves to
the rearing of silkworms. In 1169 he established these workmen in
houses adjoining his own palace at Palermo. There they dyed the silk
of different colours, and mixed it with gold, pearls, and precious

From Sicily the art of preparing silk spread over the rest of Italy.
In 1204 the workers in silk constituted themselves into a syndicate at
Florence. It is not, however, till 1423--more than two hundred years
after the introduction of this branch of industry into Italy--that we
find the first mention of the cultivation of the mulberry tree in
Tuscany. In 1440 each Tuscan peasant was forced to plant at least five
mulberry trees on the land he cultivated. In 1474 the commerce in silk
fabrics with all parts of the world had become extremely prosperous at
Florence. In 1314 the Venetian manufactures began to assume much
importance. Three thousand workers in silk were then established in

Without dwelling longer on the propagation of the silk trade in Italy,
let us pass on to its establishment in France. It was in 1340 that
some French gentlemen, who had stayed some time in Naples, planted in
Avignon the first mulberry trees.[58] According to Olivier de Serres,
it was not introduced till much later into Dauphiné. It was not
introduced into Alan, near Montelimart, till 1495, by the Seigneur
Guyape de Saint-Aubain.[59] Louis XI. made great efforts to develop
the silk trade in France, by inviting over Italian workmen; and they
began under his reign to fabricate silks in Touraine and Lyons.
Francis I. greatly developed the trade of Lyons. In 1554, under Henry
II., the masters and men employed in the manufacture of gold, silver,
and silk in Lyons were twelve thousand in number. Under Henry II. were
planted the mulberry trees of Bourdezière, Tours, Chenonceaux,
Toulouse, and Moulins. These plantations, however, were of very small
extent. They were not the result of a general and truly popular
effort; moreover, civil war came very soon, and turned men's minds
away from the isolated attempts of some few private individuals.
Sericulture, in fact, did not assume any great importance in France
till the reign of Henry IV.

    [58] De Gasparin, "Essai sur l'Introduction des Vers à Soie en
    Europe," p. 70.

    [59] "Théâtre d'Agriculture d'Olivier de Serres," tome ii., p.
    158. In 8vo.

This king saw with grief considerable sums of money leaving France
each year for the purchase of raw silk or of silk stuffs. Two men
marvellously furthered his project of encouraging the silk trade. One
of these men was Barthelemy Laffemas, called _Beausemblant_. For a
long time he had been writing memoir upon memoir, to demonstrate the
advantages to be derived from the plantation of the mulberry tree in
France; and he tells us that silkworms were then raised with success
at Nantes, at Poissy, and even at Paris. The second supporter whom
Henry IV. found in the propagation of sericulture was a man
distinguished in a very different way from that of M. Laffemas. This
was Olivier de Serres, the author of the "Théâtre de l'Agriculture;"
he whom Henry IV. called his _lord and master in agriculture_. Olivier
de Serres was the first among his countrymen who had published
instructions regarding the cultivation of mulberry trees and the
rearing of silkworms. Henry IV., who had noticed his writings, called
him to Paris; and, on his solicitation, caused twenty thousand
mulberry trees and a great quantity of silkworms' eggs, of which a
distribution was made over the whole of France, to be imported from
Italy. From that moment, sericulture was propagated rapidly in the
Cévennes, in Provence, in Languedoc, in Touraine, and many other
provinces. Mulberry trees were planted at Fontainebleau, in the royal
park of Tournelles, and even in the Tuileries, where an Italian lady,
named Julle, reared silkworms for Henry IV.

Notwithstanding this great impulse, sericulture dwindled away on the
death of that king. It received a fresh impulse under Colbert, the
great minister, who succeeded in creating the spirit of commerce and
trade in France. New manufactories were established, and plantations
of mulberry trees formed in many of the provinces. All this progress
was suddenly brought to a standstill by the iniquitous revocation of
the Edict of Nantes, which deprived France of her leading commercial
men. Driven from their own country, the Protestant families of the
Cévennes established abroad silk manufactories, the fabrics of which
rivalled those of French production.

In the eighteenth century the intendants of the provinces tried, but
with very slight success, to give a fresh impetus to sericulture in
France. The Abbé Boissier de Sauvages published, about 1760, some
works, which prove him to have been a patient observer, an accurate
reasoner, and a clever rearer of silkworms. Boissier de Sauvages is
the father of modern silk-culture. During the first Revolution, men's
minds were occupied with graver subjects than the cultivation of the
mulberry tree. But, on the return of peace, they got to work again on
all sides. In 1808, the minister Chaptal estimated the weight of the
cocoon harvest at between five or six thousand kilogrammes; whilst the
invention of the Jacquard loom gave an immense impulse to the weaving
of silk stuffs. Amongst those who introduced and benefited the art of
sericulture, we must not forget Dandolo. Dandolo, who was born at
Venice in 1758, and died in 1819, was the first who, at the beginning
of this century, applied himself seriously to the amelioration of the
processes employed in the cultivation of silk. He endeavoured to
regulate the temperature, to introduce more order into the
distribution of the food to the worms, to have more spacious premises,
and to have these properly ventilated.

Now we are on this subject, we must mention the names of those who at
the present day have rendered important services to sericulture--such
as M. Camille Beauvais, who raised silkworm rearing from the
inactivity into which it had been plunged; M. Eugène Robert, who
founded in the south of France the first successful silkworm nursery;
M. Guérin-Méneville, who has devoted his life to the study of the same
question, and to whom Europe owes the introduction and the
acclimatisation of some species which will render us, perhaps, one day
very great services; and lastly, M. Robinet, who has elucidated
several practical questions in the art of sericulture. In bringing to
a close this rapid historical epitome, we will state that France
consumes annually 30,000 kilogrammes of silkworms' eggs, each
kilogramme being at the present time worth from 300 to 500 francs,
and even more. The value of manufactured silks represents annually
about 8,000,000 francs; and we find by official statistics that France
exported in 1863 silk stuffs to the value of 384,000,000 francs. This
immense trade shows how much silk is now-a-days everywhere
appreciated; in those numerous tissues called taffeta, satin, and
velvet, each of which seems to have a charm--a peculiar attraction.
The consistency of the stuff, the smoothness, the softness of surface,
the manner in which silk receives colours, the brightness, fineness,
power of reflecting, the rustling, the light or heavy folds,--all
these are beauty, elegance, and luxury, in whatever way these words
are understood.

The _Bombyx mori_ has, however, nothing alluring in its appearance.
Other caterpillars of the genus _Bombyx_ have brilliant liveries; they
are adorned with spots, blue as sapphires, green as emeralds, red as
rubies, but produce threads without brightness and fineness. The
humble silkworm, in a white blouse, like a workman, has nothing
brilliant in its dress, and yet it gives to the whole world its most
beautiful and gorgeous array. The body of the silkworm is composed of
thirteen distinct segments. In front are three pairs of articulated
legs, which will become later those of the moth. In the middle and
towards the posterior part, are five pairs of membranous legs,
furnished with a circle of very fine bristles, which assist the animal
to hook itself on to leaves and stalks. On the two sides of its body
are eighteen stigmata, or respiratory mouths.

The head of the silkworm is remarkable; it is scaly, horny, and formed
of one single piece. The mouth is provided with six small articulated
pieces. Below is a simple blade, the upper lip, having in its middle a
hollow, into which the animal causes the edge of the leaf it is
gnawing to enter, and holds it thus without any exertion. Underneath
the lip are inserted two large jaws, which cut the leaf as a pair of
scissors. Underneath, some weaker jaws divide the fragments, and a
little organ, articulated on to each jaw, that is to say, a palpus,
pushes them back towards the mouth, and prevents the smallest particle
of the leaf from falling. And lastly, in the space comprised between
the two jaws, is an under-lip, which completely closes the mouth
below. At the extremity of this piece may be seen a little
prolongation, a sort of papilla, pierced with a hole, which is the
orifice that gives issue to the silky thread.

The organs which serve for the elaboration and emission of the silk
have a peculiar interest for us. If we dissect a silkworm under water,
we succeed, sooner or later, after having removed the outer parts, in
laying bare a double apparatus, placed along the two sides of the
intestinal canal and below it. This is the apparatus which secretes
the silk; it is the double silk-bearing gland. Each one of these
glands is composed of a tube formed of three distinct parts (Fig.
201). The part which is nearest to the tail of the worm is a bent
tube, A B C, of a thirtieth of an inch in diameter, and about nine
inches in length, twisted a great many times into irregular zig-zags.
This part of the silk-producing organ is continued in an enlarged
portion, D E, which is the reservoir of the silky matter. To the
extremity, E, of this reservoir, is attached another capillary tube, E
F. These two capillary tubes, proceeding from the two glands, unite
together like two venous trunks, as the plate shows, in one single,
short canal, F, which opens in the mouth of the worm, at its

[Illustration: Fig. 201.--Silk secreting apparatus.]

It is in the narrow hinder tubes that the silky matter is formed. It
collects in the swollen part, D E, which is, properly speaking, the
reservoir; and remains there in the glutinous state. Having reached
the capillary tubes, it begins to assume consistency, and forms two
threads, which are united together at the point of junction of the
tubes, and come out through the orifice, with the appearance of a
single thread, to be conducted and directed by the animal to those
points it has selected.

It was hoped that by taking from the body of the worm the viscous
matter contained in the glands, silk could be formed. But this hope
was disappointed. It was found possible, it is true, to take the silk
out; to draw it out into threads more or less fine; but up to this
time it has only been possible in this way to obtain a matter which,
when dried, more or less resembles catgut, and is easily enough spoilt
by water.

The viscous substance contained in the glands must then be elaborated
by the insect itself. When it arrives in the conduit common to the
capillary tubes, under the form of a thread, it is impregnated with a
sort of varnish, which is poured into them from two neighbouring
glands. The varnish unites the two threads into one single thread, and
imparts to it the brilliancy of silk, and the property of resisting
the action of water. It is during the last phases of the worm's
development that the silky matter becomes abundant in the glands. At
this period the animal eats much; and it is certain that the substance
to be converted is furnished by the leaf of the tree on which the
insect feeds.

In consequence of this having been remarked, some manufacturers have
attempted to obtain their silk directly from the mulberry leaf; but
they only get a bad floss or refuse silk. This is because the silk is
not formed in the mulberry leaf. The organs of insects are
laboratories, in which manipulations unknown to man are carried on,
manipulations which he has not been able to imitate.

After this rapid glance at the fundamental parts of the organism of
the silkworm, we will occupy ourselves with the natural history,
properly so called, of this insect, and with its rearing, carried on
with a view to the production of silk.

As belonging to the first part of this programme, we have to speak of
the _moult_, of the _ages_ of the silkworm, of its maturity, of its
_mounting_ or _ascending season_, of the formation of the cocoon, of
the chrysalis, of the moth, and the eggs.

[Illustration: Fig. 202.--Head of the Silkworm during moulting.]

[Illustration: Fig. 203.--Position of Silkworm while moulting.]

The name moult has been given to a sort of crisis during which the
renewing of the skin of larvæ takes place. When it approaches, the
silkworm changes its colour. Its robe, which was white or grey, and
opaque, becomes yellow and somewhat transparent. The head swells
considerably, especially above, and the skin becomes wrinkled (Fig.
202). The worm then fasts, and prepares to cast its skin. It places
here and there some silk threads on the surrounding objects. It then
slips under these threads, so that during its movements the old skin
which it will abandon is, so to speak, gathered up. It then assumes a
peculiar position, that represented in Fig. 203, and remains in it in
a state of immobility which has been called sleep (_sommeil_).

During this sleep the new skin is formed under the old. A liquid oozes
forth between the two membranes which separates them, and allows the
silkworm to leave its old skin. To effect this, the worm begins by
raising its head, and by making contortions. The old skin splits round
the muzzle, or snout, on the head and back; then by different
movements the animal emerges from its skin, which remains held up by
the silken threads. The duration of the time occupied in moulting
varies with the degree of the heat or humidity of the atmosphere; but
in general the state of _sleep_ lasts from twelve to twenty-four
hours. One hour after the crisis the worm begins again to eat.

[Illustration: Fig. 204.--Egg and first age.]

The _ages_ of the silkworm are the periods of time which elapse
between one moult and another. If we observe some silkworms when the
temperature is favourable, we shall find that there are four moults,
and consequently five ages. At the first age (Fig. 204), the silkworm
is black and hairy; then of a nut colour at the moment when the first
moult is going to take place. "The appearance presented by these worms
collected together on a leaf," says Dandolo, "is that of a downy
surface of a dark chestnut colour, in the midst of which one sees
nothing but a movement of little animals having their heads raised,
working them about, and presenting black, shiny muzzles. Their bodies
are completely covered with hairs arranged in straight lines, between
which one perceives along the whole length of the body other longer

    [60] "L'Art d'élever les Vers à Soie," par le Comte Dandolo.
    In 8vo. 2e édition. Lyon, 1825.

[Illustration: Fig. 205.--Second age.]

[Illustration: Fig. 206.--Third age.]

[Illustration: Fig. 207.--Fourth age.]

The first age lasts for five days. At the second (Fig. 205), the worm
is grey, almost without down, then of a yellowish white, and one sees
the crescents making their appearance on the second and fifth segment.
At the third age (Fig. 206), there is not a single hair remaining, and
the worm becomes whitish, and is always becoming lighter. The third
age lasts six days, as does also the fourth (Fig. 207). At the fifth
(Fig. 208), the worm has very nearly reached the end of its career in
the caterpillar state, and now is the time of its greatest voracity.
This age is the longest; it lasts nine days.

At each of these periods in the life of the silkworm may be remarked
a physiological fact to which has been given the name of _frèze_. When
the silkworm has just moulted it eats little, but the time very soon
arrives when it does so with extraordinary avidity. It is indeed
insatiable. The _frèze_ of the last age is called the _grande frèze_.
It takes place about the seventh day. During this day worms, the
produce of thirty grammes[61] of eggs, consume in weight as much as
four horses, and the noise which their little jaws make resembles that
of a very heavy shower of rain. It is at the end of this stage that
the insect prepares the shelter in which is to be brought about its
metamorphosis into a chrysalis.

    [61] One gramme = 15·4325 gr. troy.

[Illustration: Fig. 208.--Fifth age.]

A little while before this it ceases to eat, turns yellow, and becomes
as transparent as a grape. It is now said to have reached its
_maturity_. Up to this moment the worm had never tried to leave its
litter. It lived a sedentary life, and never thought of wandering away
from its food. Now it is seized with an imperious desire for changing
its quarters. It gets up, it roams about, and moves its head in all
directions to find some place to cling on to. It walks over everything
within its reach, particularly over those obstacles which are placed
vertically. It aspires, not to descend, like the heroes of classic
tragedy, but to rise. It is for this reason that this period of the
silkworm's life has received the name of the _mounting_ or _ascending
season_. It now looks for a convenient place in which to establish its
cocoon. Every one has remarked how the animal sets to work to
accomplish its task. It begins by throwing from different sides
threads destined for fixing the cocoon; this is what we call _refuse
silk_. The proper space having been circumscribed by this means, the
worm begins to unwind its thread--a continuous thread of about a
thousand mètres long.

It has been calculated, let us say by the way, that forty thousand
cocoons would suffice to surround the earth at the equator with one
thread of silk. Folded on itself almost like a horse-shoe, its back
within, its legs without, the worm arranges its thread all round its
body, describing ovals with its head. It approximates gradually the
points of attachment of the thread. As long as the cocoon is not very
thick one can watch it through the meshes of the web applying and
fixing its thread, still to a certain degree soft, in such a manner as
to make it adhere closely to the parts already formed.

"We can state," says M. Robinet, "that the silkworm makes every second
a movement extending over about five millimètres. The length of the
threads being known, it follows that the worm moves its head three
hundred thousand times in making its cocoon. If it employs seventy-two
hours at its work, it is a hundred thousand movements every
twenty-four hours, four thousand one hundred and sixty-six an hour,
and sixty-nine a minute, that is to say, a little more than one a

About the fourth day, after having expended all its silk,[62] the worm
shut up in the cocoon becomes of a waxy white colour, and swollen in
the middle of its body. The abdominal legs wither away; the six fore
legs approach each other and become black. The parts of the mouth tend
downwards; the skin wrinkles. Very soon it is detached and pushed down
towards the hinder part, and the chrysalis appears under the rents in
the skin. It is at first white, but speedily becomes of a brown red.

    [62] "Manuel de l'Educateur du Ver à Soie," p. 37.

The silkworm remains in general from fifteen to seventeen days in the
pupa state. At the moment of hatching, the moth begins by breaking the
skin in which it is shut up, and which is pretty thin. But how can it
come out of the silky prison which it has itself built? To effect this
it makes use of a peculiar liquid contained in a little bladder with
which its head is provided, and which was discovered by M.
Guérin-Méneville. It moistens the cocoon with this liquid; which soaks
through and penetrates the whole thickness of the silken wall which
confines it. The threads of silk of which it is composed are moistened
and disunited, but not broken. The moth opens a passage for itself
through the threads thus separated, and makes its appearance in the
light of day. Its wings are folded back on themselves, and it is still
quite wet, but it seeks immediately for a good place in which to dry
itself, and in a little time assumes its final appearance (Figs. 209,
210). The female (Fig. 210) has whitish wings, the antennæ only
slightly developed and pale, the abdomen voluminous, cylindrical, and
well filled. It is quiet, heavy, and stationary. The male is smaller;
its wings are tinged with grey, its antennæ blackish; it moves about,
beats its wings together, and is lively and petulant.

Before laying her eggs, the female looks out for a place suitable for
this purpose. When she has found this place, she ejects an egg covered
with a viscous liquid, which causes it to adhere to the body upon
which it falls. Very soon she lays a second egg by the side of the
first, then a third by the side of the second, and so on. She very
rarely piles them up on each other. The laying lasts about three days;
the number of eggs is from 300 to 700 for each female. These eggs are
generally tentacular and flattened towards the centre. At the moment
at which they are laid they are of a bright yellow. In a week they
become brown. The colour changes then to a reddish grey; lastly it
becomes of a slaty grey, remaining this colour during the autumn,
winter, and a great part of the spring. Then as the temperature rises,
the colour of the eggs passes successively through bluish, violet,
ashy, and yellowish shades. And, lastly, they become more and more
whitish every day as the hatching time approaches.

[Illustration: Fig. 209.--Silkworm Moth (_Bombyx mori_), male.]

[Illustration: Fig. 210.--Silkworm Moth (_Bombyx mori_), female.]

If looked at closely, one remarks a black spot and a brownish crescent
extending along the circumference. The black spot is the head of the
worm, which closely touches the shell; the crescent is the body, which
is already covered with little hairs. When it leaves the egg, the
silkworm gnaws through the shell on its side, never on its flat
surface. When the opening is large enough, it breaks out through it,
head foremost, and immediately fixes a thread of silk to any object it
can reach, no doubt in order to prevent itself from falling. Sometimes
the opening is too small to allow of the head passing out, and
the larva is forced to come out backwards, that is to say, tail
foremost. At times, not being able to get its head free, the poor
animal very soon dies of fatigue and hunger.

[Illustration: VI. A Silkworm rearing Establishment.]

We will now give a summary of the rearing of the silkworm, that is
to say, of the attention which must be paid to this insect that it
may construct its cocoon advantageously. We will call to our aid
in this very rapid summary the works or notices of MM. Robinet,
Guérin-Méneville, Eugène Robert, and Louis Leclerc, and we must not
forget the excellent and classical Dandolo.[63]

    [63] "L'Art d'élever des Vers à Soie, par le Comte de Dandolo,
    traduit par Philibert Fontaneilles." In 8vo. Lyons, 1825.
    Robinet, "Manuel de l'Education des Vers à Soie." In 8vo.
    Paris. Guérin-Méneville et Eugène Robert, "Manuel de
    l'Education des Vers à Soie." In 18mo. Paris. Louis Leclerc,
    "Petite Magnanerie." In 18mo. Paris.

When it is desired to rear silkworms--_magnans_, as they were called
in old French, and as they are still called in the patois of
Languedoc--the first thing to do is to obtain good eggs, good _grain_,
to use the technical word, and then to choose suitable premises. The
essential, the fundamental point, in the rearing, is to possess
premises in which the air is easily renewed. The worms should have as
much air as possible given to them without ever being allowed to be
chilled. There is no better means of attaining this end than by
keeping a constant open fire in a room, and by letting air into the
room from another chamber which separates it from the open air. One
has, in this way, the best workroom for a small rearing.

In the workshop are arranged racks, by the aid of which are placed, at
the distance of 50 centimètres from each other, frames made of reeds.
These frames, or _canisses_, as they are called in the Cévennes, may
be from 1 mètre to 1-3/4 mètres in breadth. They should be placed in
such a manner that one can easily pass round them to place and remove
the worms, and to distribute their leaves to them uniformly. They
should be protected by a small border of a few centimètres in height,
to prevent the worms from falling. And lastly, they should be covered
at the bottom with large sheets of paper. (PLATE VI.) A provident
silkworm-rearer has always at his disposal a cellar or cool room, so
as to be able to stow away his leaves as soon as they are brought in
from the country.

What we have just said applies especially to a small rearing. In large
establishments, or even those of second-rate importance, everything is
in advance of this, and mathematically regulated: aspect and
arrangement of rooms, furniture of these rooms, warming, ventilation,
&c. So, for a rearing house for 300 grammes of eggs, the building
should be constructed in such a manner that its front and back look
east and west, to avoid any inequality in the heat derived from the
sun. It ought to consist of a ground-floor, a very lofty first-floor,
and of a rather low roof. The ground-floor comprises the chamber of
incubation, the store-room for leaves, and the air-chamber with the
grate intended for warmth and ventilation. The first-floor constitutes
the rearing-room properly so called.

But let us leave these grand industrial establishments, to return to
our rearing houses on a small scale, such as are found among the
peasants of the Cévennes. They generally receive the silkworms' eggs
before the end of the winter. In order to preserve them till the
hatching season, they are placed in thin layers, in a piece of folded
woollen stuff, which must be hung up in a cool, but not a damp place,
exposed to the north. As soon as the buds of the mulberry tree begin
to be partially open, they proceed to the incubation of the eggs. They
are spread out on sheets of paper, in very thin layers, placed on a
table in a room having a southern aspect, and left thus during three
or four days, taking care to prevent the rays of the sun from touching
them. It is necessary also, from time to time, to open the windows.
After three or four days, the fire is lighted, taking care not to have
more heat than 13° Centigrade round about the table which supports the
eggs, and which should be placed as far as possible from the fire.
Each day the room is warmed a little more, in such a way that the
temperature is raised 1° to 2° a day, until 25° Centigrade of heat
have been attained, at which temperature it is to be maintained when
the eggs have reached the last stage, and till the hatching is
terminated. On the first day few worms are hatched; but the hatching
of the second day is very abundant, as also that of the third. Of
these newly-born worms two divisions are made, separated by an
interval of twenty-four hours. The worms which are born afterwards are
thrown away, unless they are so abundant that they can be made a third
batch of, which is to be mixed up with the second at the period of the

In the large rearing houses there is a special chamber for the
incubation. Various simple, convenient, cheap apparatuses, whose main
object is to create a permanent warm and damp atmosphere, whose degree
of heat can be regulated at will, have been proposed. M. Louis
Leclerc, in his pamphlet entitled "Petite Magnanerie," has given a
description and drawing of a little box which is very useful for
facilitating the hatching of eggs. We refer those of our readers who
wish for further information on the subject to that work. As soon as
the worms are hatched, the eggs are covered with net, and over this
are placed mulberry boughs, covered with tender leaves, on which all
the little worms congregate. They are then lifted up with a hook made
of thin wire, and the worms are placed on a table covered with paper,
leaving a proper space between each. They are given, as their first
meal, tender leaves cut into little pieces with a knife. These are the
operations gone through for the two raisings of worms on the second
and third day of the hatching. During this first age they give them
from six to eight meals a day, taking care to distribute their food to
them as equally as possible. The first meal is given at five o'clock
in the morning; the last at eleven or twelve o'clock at night.

When the moult is approaching, the young ones are made to climb on to
boughs having tender leaves, so that they can be moved to litters as
thin and clean as possible, and there sleep in a good state of health.
When the mass of worms is well awake again, the next thing to do is to
take them off the litter on which they moulted, and to give them food.
If this problem were proposed to a person strange to the operation
which is now occupying our attention--to separate the worms from the
faded and withered food upon which they are reposing, without touching
them--he would certainly be very much at a loss what to answer. The
solution of this problem presented for a long time great difficulties,
and occasioned numerous reverses in the rearing. Now-a-days, thanks to
the employment of a net, the _délitement_, or taking them off their
bed, has become an easy operation.

Over the worms, placed on a table, is spread a net, the meshes of
which are broad enough to allow them to pass through. On this net are
spread the leaves which are to compose a meal. The worms immediately
leave the old food, and get on to the new leaves. They then lift the
litter with the worms, and throw away the old leaves, now unoccupied,
clean the table, and replace the net with the worms. At the next
_délitement_ the first net is found under the litter. Figs. 211 and
212 represent two forms of these nets made of thread.

Thread nets, which were of great use, have been supplanted lately,
with great advantage, by paper ones, which were invented by M. Eugène
Robert. These are leaves of paper, of a peculiar manufacture, pierced
with holes proportioned to the size of the worms which are to pass
through them. The paper net can be used advantageously also for
separating the worms that are too near together, or, as they say, for
the _dédoublement_. Formerly, the _délitement_ and the _dédoublement_
were done by hand--a tedious work, and one that presented serious
disadvantages. Now-a-days, as we have seen, the worms themselves
perform these two perilous operations.

At the second age they still cut the leaves for the worms, but into
larger pieces, and proportioned to their size. During the day the
temperature of the room ought to be kept to 21° Centigrade, but it may
be lowered by 1° or 2° during the night. Towards the end of this age
they have only four meals. When the worms are on the point of going to
sleep, their meals are decreased.

[Illustration: Fig. 211.--Lozenge-shaped net.]

[Illustration: Fig. 212.--Square net.]

During the third age the number of the meals is kept to four, the
first being given towards five o'clock in the morning, and the last
between ten and eleven o'clock at night. The leaf is cut into much
larger pieces, and distributed as equally as possible. The
_délitement_ and the _dédoublement_ are proceeded with as in the
preceding age. One begins to find pretty often during this period of
the life of worms, some _luisettes_--that is to say, worms which have
not strength enough to moult. They are larger than those just woke up,
and that have not as yet eaten, and are shiny. They must be carefully
removed, for they will not be long before they die, and infect the air
of the room.

During the fourth age they no longer cut the leaves, but give them a
great deal more at once. The result is that the litters increase in
thickness, and that the _délitement_ must be performed oftener; for
the rest, four meals are always necessary. Many _luisettes_ may be
seen during the fourth age. The moult which follows the fourth age is
the most critical phase in the life of the silkworm. During their
sleep they are a prey to acute suffering, and are plunged into a
state of lethargy which resembles death. The dryest and cleanest
litters diffuse very soon a sickly smell. This moult lasts from
thirty-six to forty-eight hours. During this time the room should be
kept to at least 22° Centigrade.

When they awake out of this last sleep the attendant should
continually be on his guard, as it is then that diseases break out.
The worms suffering from these different diseases have received
different names. There are besides the _luisettes_ the _arpians_--that
is to say, worms that have exhausted all their energy in the work of
the last moult, and have not even strength to eat--the _yellow_, or
_fat_ worms, which are swollen, of a yellowish colour, and which very
easily die; the _flats_ or _mous_, the soft or indolent ones which,
after having eaten a great deal and become very fat, die miserably,
and enter into a state of putrefaction. And lastly, it is at this age
that the _muscardine_, which hardly shows itself at any other age of
the insect, appears with great intensity.

The _muscardine_ is a terrible scourge to the rearers of silkworms.
The losses which result from this disease in France are estimated at
at least one-sixth of the profits. No particular symptom allows of our
recognising the existence of this disease in worms which, however,
contain its germ; only, the worm, which has eaten up to that time as
usual, appears almost in a moment to change to a duller white; its
movements become slower, it becomes soft, and is not long before it
dies. Seven or eight days after its death it becomes reddish and
completely rigid. Twenty four hours afterwards a white efflorescence
shows itself round the head and rings, and soon after the whole body
becomes floury. This flour is a fungus called _Botrytis bassiana_, of
which the _mycelium_ develops itself in the fatty tissue of the
caterpillar, attacks the intestines, and fructifies on the exterior.
This fungus has been considered as the immediate cause of the
_muscardine_, and has been also regarded as the last symptom or end of
the disease. The communication of the disease by contagion has
alternately been admitted and denied. As its true cause, and any
efficacious means of opposing it, are still unknown, the breeders of
silkworms must be content to apply--so as to prevent or struggle
against this dreadful scourge--the precepts of hygiene: good
ventilation, excessive cleanliness, frequent _délitements_, and good
food properly prepared.

After the _muscardine_, we must mention another epidemic disease still
more terrible, the _gattine_. This disease shows itself from the very
beginning of the rearing, and increases in intensity at each age, so
that the number of worms able to enter regularly into the moult
becomes smaller and smaller. We are still in a state of utter
ignorance as to the cause of this last affection, which has
occasioned, for the last ten years, incalculable losses in the rearing
houses, which threatens the silkworm with complete destruction, and
which in the meanwhile has ruined the unfortunate countries of the
Cévennes, the principal seat of sericulture in France.

During the fifth age, the worms become large so quickly that on the
fifth or sixth day they are obliged to be moved away from each other
on the litter. The _délitement_ must be made every two days, or
indeed, every day now, on account of the enormous amount of the
excrement; and, at the same time, a good ventilation must be
constantly maintained. The temperature of the room should now be kept
to 24°, without ever exceeding this degree of heat. When it is
perceived that the worms wish to ascend, or _mount_, there are placed
on the tables, at certain distances from each other, little sprigs of
heather or very dry branches of light wood.

[Illustration: Fig. 213.--Sprigs of heather arranged so that Silkworms
may mount into them.]

When the worms begin to mount into the heather, one must
_encabaner_--that is to say, form with these branches little hedges,
curved back like a hut or cradle, the openings of which are, on an
average, seventeen inches or so (Fig. 213). At the expiration of
twenty-four hours all the good worms have mounted. The laggards who
remain under the _cabanes_ are taken off by hand, and placed on a
table, which is immediately _encabanea_.

The cocoons spun on these branches of heather ought to be large,
heavy, and well-shaped. The good cocoons are regular; their ends are
rounded and not pierced; and they are hard, especially at their
extremities, and have a fine grain. They are cylindrical. The best are
drawn in towards the middle, or have a concavity on either side of it
(Fig. 215). Every one knows that there are white and yellow cocoons.
They are the produce of different races of worms.

Commerce recognises two kinds of white silk: the _first white_ and the
_second white_. The silk of the _first white_ is produced by the race
_Sina_, the cocoons of which are of a perfect and azured white. They
produce the most beautiful and most precious silk, and serve for the
fabrication of light and delicate coloured tissues. The silk of the
_second white_ is furnished by two races: the _Espagnolet_ and the

[Illustration: Fig. 214.--Spherical cocoon of the Bombyx mori.]

[Illustration: Fig. 215.--Cocoon of Bombyx mori, drawn in towards the

The races that produce yellow cocoons are more numerous than the white
ones. The yellow races are divided into three groups: those that have
small, middle-sized, or large cocoons. The first and second are
stronger, and more esteemed than the last.

The greater number of the races of silkworms have, let us here
mention, white and yellow cocoons; there are some, however, whose
cocoons are of a greenish white, or even quite green, or of a reddish
green. One race, raised in Tuscany, near Pistoia, has cocoons of a
pale rose colour; and, lastly, mention has been made of cocoons of a
purple colour.

When the cocoons are completed, the people in charge of the rearing
establishments separate them from the heather and sell them to the
silk-spinners. But they must manage to get these cocoons into a state
in which they will remain entire during a long time. They must, in
other words, kill the chrysalis, to prevent the cocoons being pierced
by the moth. To kill the chrysalis so as to prevent the development
of the imago is an operation which is called the _étouffage_, or

[Illustration: Fig. 216.--Larva, pupa, cocoon, and moth of Bombyx mori.]

To effect this stifling, the cocoons are exposed to a high
temperature. Formerly, in the Cévennes, the cocoons were placed in a
baker's oven, heated for baking bread. But they ran the risk thus of
being burnt, or of a certain number of chrysalides remaining alive.
Now, to kill the chrysalides, they make use of steam at 100°, produced
by water boiling in a vessel, and which passes through wicker baskets
filled with cocoons.

The rearer must also take care at the time he gathers them, to
separate the cocoons which are to provide eggs for the next year. As
the female cocoons are heavier than the male cocoons, they are easily
separated by weighing them in a pair of scales.

To obtain the eggs, or grain, the cocoons are fixed on sheets of brown
paper, covered with a slight coating of paste made of flour. They are
arranged in such a manner that the moths shall find no obstacle when
they come out of them, head foremost; and, moreover, so that they may
be able to reach with their legs the cocoon which is opposite them, so
as to hang on to it, and to facilitate their exit from their own
cocoon (Fig. 218). The male and female cocoons are pasted on separate

[Illustration: Fig. 217.--Apparatus for stifling the chrysalides in
the cocoons.]

It is from fifteen to twenty days after the _montée_, or _mounting_,
and when the temperature of the rooms has been kept between 20° and
25°, that the moths begin to be hatched. As they appear, they are
seized by the wings and placed on cloths stretched out for the
purpose, where they are left for about an hour, till their wings have
fallen flat on their bodies. As soon as they have evacuated a red
liquor, the males and females, which up to that time have been apart,
are put together.

They then stick sheets of paper on to screens, putting from
twenty-five to thirty females on each sheet (Fig. 219). It is here the
moths lay their eggs. The sheets of paper, covered with eggs, are then
hung on wires, at a small distance from the ceiling of a room having
a northern aspect, which is never warmed. They remain thus, exposed to
all variations of temperature, till the return of the warm weather. We
will say a few words, to bring this subject to an end, on the winding
of cocoons and the spinning of silk.

[Illustration: Fig. 218.--Sheet of paper with rows of cocoons prepared
for the exit of the moths destined for laying eggs.]

The winding of cocoons is an operation which at first sight appears
very simple, but which is in reality a difficult and delicate process.
It requires unremitting attention, great experience, and a delicacy of
touch which can only be found in the fingers of woman, or rather, in
the fingers of certain women.

[Illustration: Fig. 219.--Sheets of paper stuck into screens, and
inclined for the reception of moths.]

The woman who is spinning, stands before a sort of loom which is
called _tour_ (Fig. 220). Under her hand is a copper containing water,
which she heats to the required degree by opening the tap of a tube,
which brings a current of steam. She plunges the cocoons into the hot
water, and moves them about in it, to soften the gummy substance which
sticks the silken threads of the cocoon together. Then she beats them,
with a light hand, with a small birch-broom. The threads of the
cocoons get caught in the extremities of the twigs of which the little
broom is made, and the workwoman seizes with her fingers the bundle of
threads, and shakes them about till she perceives that they are all
single, and in a fit state to be joined together.

[Illustration: Fig. 220.--Silk-winding Establishment.]

Let us suppose that it is wished now to make up a _brin_, or staple,
by uniting together the ends of five cocoons. She chooses five ends in
the mass, makes of these a bundle, and introduces it into the hole of
a _filière_. She makes two staples (_brins_) at once, one on her
right, the other on her left hand. She then brings them together, she
crosses them, rolls them, and twists them, the one on the other,
several times; after which, she separates them from above and keeps
them well apart, making each of them pass into a hook at a distance,
from which they are going to twist round into a hank, separately, on a
wheel. The two threads thus twisted are drawn close together,
compressed, and become one, getting round by rolling on each other,
and being kept in continual motion, drawn out as they are by the rapid
motion of the wheel.

The difficulty which the emptying the cocoon of its silk thread
presents, makes us understand what difficulties those manufacturers
must have met with who have lately attempted to extract from the
stalks of mulberry leaves a sort of silk. We will enter into no
details of the attempts which have been made to accomplish this object
in our time, attempts which have, however, been crowned with no
success whatever. We will confine ourselves to reminding the reader
that these attempts are far from being of recent origination, since
they date back to as far as Olivier de Serres, the father of French

In a little work published by Olivier de Serres, in 1603, under the
title of _Cueillette de la Soie_, "The Gathering of Silk," we find a
memoir entitled: _La second richesse du mûrier, qui se trouve en son
escorce, pour en faire des toiles de toute sorte, non moins utile que
la soie provenant d'icelui_, "The second wealth of the mulberry tree
which is found in its bark, how to make of it cloth of all sorts, not
less useful than the silk derived from this tree." Olivier de Serres
proves in this memoir that the second bark, or _liber_, of the
mulberry tree contains a fibre capable of replacing hemp or flax, and
he describes the processes by which this may be obtained. The
processes which had been proposed by Olivier de Serres in 1603, were
resumed in the Cévennes a dozen years ago by M. Duponchel on the one
hand, and on the other by M. Cabanis,[64] who operated on the bark
instead of taking the whole of the wood of the mulberry tree. But none
of these attempts have given any good results up to the present

    [64] See the "Année scientifique," 7e année, p. 432.

The various diseases which for the last fifteen years have been so
fatal to the mulberry silkworm, have suggested the idea of
acclimatising in Europe other silk-producing Bombyces, if not with
the view of superseding, at least as auxiliaries to the mulberry
species. The genus _Attacus_ has furnished these auxiliaries. Among
the species which have, in this respect, the greatest claims to our
attention, we must place in the first rank those which feed upon the
leaves of the oak tree. Indeed, the trees which can be made use of for
their cultivation are very numerous in Europe, and, moreover, the silk
produced by these worms appears to possess superior qualities.

There are three oak-feeding species of the genus _Attacus_. They are
_Yama-Maï_, _Pernyi_, and _Mylitta_.

[Illustration: Fig. 221.--Larva of Attacus (Bombyx) Yama-Maï.]

The silk of _Yama-Maï_ is as bright as that of the mulberry silkworm,
but a little less fine and strong, and occupies the first rank after
it. If we could succeed in acclimatising this species it would supply
any deficiency there might be in our crops of ordinary silk.

The eggs of the _Attacus Yama-Maï_ were brought from Japan--where this
worm is reared--conjointly with the mulberry silkworm, in 1862. The
larvæ hatched at Paris, in 1863, were green, of a great size, remained
in that state eighty-two days, and were easily reared. Their cocoon
resembles that of the mulberry species. It is composed of a beautiful
silk of a silvery whiteness in the interior, and of a more or less
bright green on the exterior. The moth is very large and beautiful, of
a bright yellow colour, approaching orange.

We give a drawing of the _Attacus Yama-Maï_, taken from the plates
which accompany M. Guérin-Méneville's memoir.[65]

    [65] Sur le Ver à Soie du Chêne, et son Introduction en Europe.
    Extrait du Magasin de Zoologie, 1855, No. VI.

    [For an account of experiments conducted in England by Dr.
    Wallace, whichunfortunately were complete failures as far as
    rearing the moth went, see an essay by that gentleman in _The
    Transactions of the Entomological Society of London_, 3rd
    series, vol. v., pt. 5; Longmans and Co. The results of an
    experiment which give the greatest hopes of success, will be
    found in "The Entomologist" for October, 1867.--ED.]

[Illustration: Fig. 222.--Cocoon of Attacus (Bombyx) Yama-Maï.]

[Illustration: Fig. 223.--Attacus (Bombyx) Yama-Maï.]

Fig. 221 represents the larva, or caterpillar, two-thirds natural
size; Fig. 222, the cocoon, drawn on the same scale; and Fig. 223, the

In 1866, M. Camille Personnat published a very interesting monograph
of _Yama-Maï_, which may be consulted with profit by both cultivators
of silk and naturalists.[66]

    [66] Le Ver à Soie du Chêne (_Bombyx Yama Maï_), son histoire,
    sa description, ses moeurs. 8vo., avec planches coloriées. A
    Laval, à l'école de sériculture.

_Attacus pernyi_ yields a remarkably beautiful silk, fine, strong, and
brilliant, which can be spun and dyed with great ease. The tissues
obtained from it partake of the qualities of ordinary silk, of wool,
and of cotton. This species of _Attacus_, which is reared on the oak
in Mandchouria, has given rise to great hopes in France. The cocoons
and moths of this worm were exhibited for the first time at the
Universal Exhibition of 1855. They were reared by M. Jordan, of Lyons,
from some cocoons sent over from China by the missionaries. It is much
to be desired that this species may be acclimatised in Europe.

[Illustration: Fig. 224.--Cocoon of Attacus (Bombyx) pernyi.]

Figs. 224 and 225 represent, after drawings in the Memoir of M.
Guérin-Méneville, already referred to, the cocoon and moth of the
_Attacus pernyi_.

The silk which _Attacus Mylitta_ produces is perhaps superior to that
of _Pernyi_. When the cocoons are properly prepared, the silk can with
ease be wound off from one end of them to the other. This worm is
found in various parts of Bengal and of Calcutta, and also at Lahore,
and its silk is exported in considerable quantities under the name of
_tusseh_. Brownish stuffs are made of it in India of firm and bright
texture, which are used for summer clothing, or for covering

[Illustration: Fig. 225.--Attacus (Bombyx) pernyi.]

Figs. 226 and 227 represent the moth and the cocoon of _Attacus
Mylitta_ after M. Guérin-Méneville.

[Illustration: Fig. 226.--Attacus (Bombyx) Mylitta.]

In 1855 M. de Chavannes reared this species in the open air, near
Lausanne, in Switzerland. This treatment succeeded perfectly, without
any degeneration, for many years. It, however, died out at last, from
the effects, perhaps, of too great a difference in the climate, or
from those accidents, still so little understood, to which even the
insects of our own country are subject. This was unfortunate, as this
species is one of those whose acclimatisation in Europe is the most to
be desired, for it would render great service to the cultivators of

It remains for us to speak of two other species, which are very
important, inasmuch as their domestication in Europe is now an
accomplished fact. We mean the _Attacus_ or _Bombyx_ of the Ailanthus,
and also that of the Castor-oil plant.

[Illustration: Fig. 227.--Cocoon of Attacus (Bombyx) Mylitta.]

Every one has heard of the Ailanthus silkworm (_Attacus_ [_Bombyx_]
_Cynthia_), whose acclimatisation in Europe has been materially
assisted by the admirable and persevering efforts of M.

The Ailanthus worm is a native of Japan and of the north of China. It
was brought over in 1858 by Annibale Fantoni, and sent to M.
Guérin-Méneville by MM. Griseri and Colomba, of Turin. When it is
nearly full-grown it is emerald green, with the head, the feet, and
the last segment of a beautiful golden yellow, and has black spots on
each segment. This worm, in its full-grown state, is represented by
Fig. 228; in the same figure are also represented the eggs and the
cocoon. The moth has the abdomen yellowish underneath, with little
white tufts. Its wings are traversed by a white band, which is
followed exteriorly by a line of a bright rose; each wing is also
marked by a lunula or crescent-shaped spot.

In 1858 M. Guérin-Méneville presented to the Académie des Sciences of
Paris the first moths and the first eggs laid in France of the
_Attacus Cynthia_. This able entomologist demonstrated very soon
afterwards--1st, that the caterpillars of this insect can be reared in
the open air, and with scarcely any cost for management; 2ndly, that
it produces two crops a year in the climate of Paris and the north of
France; 3rdly, that the cultivation of the Ailanthus, or the false
Japan varnish tree, on which this insect lives, is easy even in the
most sterile soil.

[Illustration: Fig. 228.--Eggs, larvæ, and cocoons of Attacus (Bombyx)

M. Guérin-Méneville showed still further that _ailantine_, the textile
matter furnished by the cocoon of the Cynthia, is a sort of floss silk
holding a middle place between wool and the silk of the mulberry-tree
worm, and which, as it can be produced at scarcely any expense, would
be very cheap, and would serve for the fabrication of what are called
fancy stuffs, for which ordinary floss silk is now used. In 1862 M.
Guérin-Méneville sent in a Report to the Minister of Agriculture on
the progress of the cultivation of the Ailanthus, and of the breeding
of the silkworm, which was reared in the open air on this tree. He
mentions, in his Report, the rapid development of the cultivation of
the tree in France, the great number of eggs of the Ailanthus silkworm
sold, the foundation of a model silkworm nursery at Vincennes, and,
this one great point gained, that they had found out the way of
unwinding the silk from the cocoons of the _Cynthia_ in one unbroken
and continuous thread.

Till then European industry had only succeeded in drawing from the
cocoons of the Ailanthus silkworm a floss silk, composed of filaments
more or less short, obtained by carding, and unable to produce, when
twisted, anything better than floss, that is to say, refuse silk. It
is to the Countess de Vernéde de Corneillan, on the one hand, and to
Doctor Forgemot on the other, that the merit is due of having obtained
an unbroken thread of silk from the cocoon of _Attacus Cynthia_.

A monograph on the Ailanthus silkworm appeared in 1866 under the
title, "L'Ailante et son Bombyx, par Henri Givelet."[67] It is a
complete account of all the results obtained up to the time, both as
regards the rearing of the silkworm and also as regards the
cultivation on a large scale of the Ailanthus, or false Japan varnish

    [67] In 8vo, avec plans et planches coloriées. Paris, 1866.

    [68] A work by M. Guérin-Méneville on the same subject,
    entitled, "Education des Vers à Soie de l'Ailante et du Ricin,"
    in 12mo., Paris, 1860, may also be consulted.

    [For a full account of successful experiments carried on in
    England, see Dr. Wallace's essay in _The Transactions of the
    Entomological Society of London_, 3rd series, vol. v., pt. 2;
    Longmans and Co.--ED.]

The Castor-oil Plant Silkworm (_Attacus_ [_Bombyx_] _ricini_) is a
species very nearly akin to the Ailanthus worm, perhaps only a
variety, and comes from India. The silk which it produces is very
similar in every respect to that of the _Cynthia_. The rearing of this
worm could never attain to any great importance in France, on account
of the necessity there is of renewing the plantations of the
castor-oil plant each year. It would, however, afford an additional
source of income to the farmers in the south of France, who cultivate
the castor-oil plant with a view to selling its seeds, which are much
used in pharmacy.

Nearly allied to the genus _Attacus_, which furnishes us with all
these precious auxiliaries to the mulberry silkworm, are a great
number of other species, both indigenous to Europe and exotic, mostly
remarkable for their great size, and a few of which are common in this

Fig. 229 is the largest European moth, but never found farther north
than the latitude of Paris. Its wings are brown, waved, and variegated
with grey. Each of them has a large black eye-shaped spot, surrounded
by a tawny circle, surmounted by one white semicircle, and by another
of a reddish hue, the whole completely enclosed in a black circle.
"These moths," says Geoffroy, "are very large; they look as if they
were covered with fur, and, when they fly, one is inclined to take
them for birds."

[Illustration: Fig. 229.--Saturnia pavonia-major.]

_Saturnia pavonia-major_ comes from a very large caterpillar, which is
of a beautiful green, with tubercles of turquoise blue, each of which
is surmounted by seven stiff divergent hairs. This caterpillar lives
principally upon the elm, but it feeds also upon the leaves of the
pear, plum, and other trees. It spins a brown cocoon, formed of a
coarse silk of great strength. It is not until the following spring
that it becomes a moth.

The Emperor Moth (_Saturnia carpini_, Fig. 230) much resembles the
above, except in size. This species is common in England, and its
green larva, covered with black or pink warts, from which spring
hairs, as in the last, is by no means rare on heath in the autumn. It
also feeds on bramble and other plants.

[Illustration: Fig. 230.--Emperor Moth (_Saturnia carpini_).]

Among the _Attaci_ foreign to Europe, we must mention _Atlas_ (Fig.
231), the expanse of whose wings exceeds four and a quarter inches.
This magnificent moth, one of the largest known, comes from China.

The family _Bombycidæ_ comprises many species which we must not omit
to mention.

The Lackey (_Bombyx neustria_) derives its name from the colour of the
caterpillar, which has longitudinal lines of various colours, and a
blue head. These caterpillars live together on a great number of our
forest and garden trees, to which they do much damage. The moth (Fig.
232) has a brownish body, and wings of a more or less tawny yellow
colour, with two darker lines on the front wings.

The Procession Moth (_Bombyx processionea_) is a small greyish moth,
the caterpillars of which live in numerous troops on oak trees, and
devour the leaves at the moment of their development. In the evening
these caterpillars come out of their common nest, and form a sort of
procession; hence their name Procession Moth. "I kept some for a
little time in my house in the country," says Réaumur. "I brought an
oak branch which was covered with them into my study, where I could
much better follow the order and regularity of their march than I
could have done in the woods. I was very much amused and pleased at
watching them for many days. I hung the branch on which I had brought
them against one of my window shutters. When the leaves were dried up,
when they had become too hard for the jaws of the caterpillars, they
tried to go and seek better food elsewhere. One set himself in motion,
a second followed at his tail, a third followed this one, and so on.
They began to defile and march up the shutter, but being so near to
each other that the head of the second touched the tail of the first.
The single file was throughout continuous; it formed a perfect string
of caterpillars of about two feet in length, after which the line was
doubled. There two caterpillars marched abreast, but as near the one
which preceded them as those who were marching in single file were to
each other. After a few rows of our processionists who were two
abreast, came the rows of three abreast; after a few of these came
those which were four abreast; then there were those of five, others
of six, others of seven, others of eight caterpillars. This troop, so
well marshalled, was led by the first. Did it halt, all the others
halted; did it again begin to march, all the others set themselves in
motion, and followed with the greatest precision.... That which went
on in my study goes on every day in the woods where these caterpillars
live.... When it is near sunset you may see one caterpillar coming out
of any of the nests, by the opening which is at the top, which would
hardly afford space for two to come out abreast. As soon as it has
emerged from the nest, it is followed by many others in single file;
when it has got about two feet from the nest, it makes a pause, during
which those who are still in the nest continue to come out; they fall
into their ranks, the battalion is formed; at last the leader sets off
marching again, and all the others follow him. That which goes on in
this nest takes place in all the neighbouring nests; all are evacuated
at the same time."

[Illustration: Fig. 231.--Attacus (Bombyx) Atlas.]

[Illustration: Fig. 232.--The Lackey (_Bombyx neustria_).]

One part of Fig. 233 shows the arrangement of the caterpillars on
coming out of the nest. These caterpillars are furnished with long
hairs, slightly tufted, which come off with the greatest ease, and
which if they penetrate into the skin, cause violent itching. In 1865
a number of the alleys of the Bois de Boulogne were shut up from the
public in order to save them from this annoyance. These caterpillars
construct a covering common to them all, in which they live, and
transform themselves therein, each insect making for his own private
use a small cocoon. This insect is said to have been found in England,
but there is not sufficient evidence to admit it into our lists.

[Illustration: Fig. 233.--Larvæ of the Procession Moth (_Bombyx

[Illustration: Fig. 234.--The Vapourer Moth (_Orgyia antiqua_), male
and female.]

The _Orgyias_ comprise a great number of small species, of a dark
colour, which do a great deal of damage to our forest trees. In
September and October the male of the _Orgyia antiqua_, with his
tawny wings, may often be seen flying about the streets of London. The
female (Fig. 234) is remarkable, as she has only the rudiments of
wings, and only goes as far as the side of her cocoon. The caterpillar
of the _Orgyia pudibunda_, called also the Hop Dog, attacks almost
every sort of tree. When the state of the atmosphere favours their
propagation, they appear in fearful quantities, and cause the greatest
havoc. During the autumn of 1828, in the environs of Phalsbourg, they
were to be counted by millions. The extent of the woods laid waste was
calculated at about fifteen hundred hectares. It is common in this

[Illustration: Fig. 235.--Orgyia pudibunda.]

Among the genus _Liparis_, the species of which are also very
destructive to trees, we must mention the Brown-tailed Moth (_Liparis
chrysorrhoea_, Fig. 236), a species by no means rare in England.
The caterpillars live in quantities, on apple, pear, and elm trees,
and destroy the plantations of the promenades of Paris.

[Illustration: Fig. 236.--Liparis chrysorrhoea.]

The females of this genus tear off the fur from the extremity of their
abdomens to make a soft bed for their eggs, and to preserve them from
the cold. And yet they are never to see their young, for they die
after they have laid their eggs. Another tribe of _Bombycina_ contains
species of a small size, which are remarkable from the habits of their
caterpillars, which make, with foreign bodies, cases, in the interior
of which they live and undergo their metamorphoses.

The caterpillars of the genus _Psyche_ live in a case composed of
fragments of leaves, of bits of grass and straw, of small sticks of
wood, or of little stones, stuck together, and intermixed with silky

[Illustration: Fig. 237.--Case of Psyche muscella.]

[Illustration: Fig. 238.--Psyche muscella.]

[Illustration: Fig. 239.--Case of Pysche rubicolella.]

[Illustration: Fig. 240.--Case of Psyche graminella.]

[Illustration: Fig. 241.--Larva of Psyche graminella.]

[Illustration: Fig. 242.--Psyche graminella.]

[Illustration: VII. The Goat-moth (_Cossus ligniperda_). Larva, pupa,
and perfect insect. 1, 2. Perfect insect. 3. Pupa. 4. Larva.]

We give a representation (in Figs. 237, 239, and 240) of the cases of
the caterpillars of three different kinds. The females of these moths
are completely destitute of wings, and resemble caterpillars. As a
general rule they hardly ever leave their case. The males (Figs. 238,
242) are of a blackish grey, and fly very swiftly.

The caterpillars of the genus _Hepialus_ are difficult to observe, as
they live in the interior of the roots of various vegetables. Such is
the common Ghost Moth (_Hepialus humuli_), which sometimes causes the
greatest damage.

[Illustration: Fig. 243.--Zeuzera æsculi.]

The type of the genus _Zeuzera_ is _Zeuzera æsculi_, or Wood Leopard
(Fig. 243). It has white wings with large blackish blue spots on the
anterior, and small black spots on the posterior wings. The
caterpillar, of a vivid yellow, spotted with black, lives in the
interior of the trunks of a great many trees, principally the
chestnut, the elm, the lime, and the pear tree. This moth, which is
known also by the name of Coquette, is to be seen in the evening
flying about the public gardens of Paris, and is not rare in England.
The most celebrated species of the allied genus _Cossus_ is the
Wood-boring Goat Moth (_Cossus ligniperda_), figured in the opposite
plate. The moth has a heavy brownish body and greyish wings streaked
with black. It is found in most parts of Europe. The caterpillar is of
a reddish colour, as if it had on a leathern jerkin, and disgorges a
liquid which is believed to soften ligneous fibres, and it lives in
the interior of willows and other trees. It was on this caterpillar
that Lyonnet made his admirable anatomical researches.

[Illustration: Fig. 244.--Larva of Dicranura vinula.]

[Illustration: Fig. 245.--Dicranura vinula.]

Another tribe of _Bombycina_ comprises some very strange caterpillars,
whose hindermost feet are changed into forked prolongations, which
they move about in a threatening manner. These sort of fly-traps
are perhaps meant to keep at a distance those insects which would
lay their eggs upon the caterpillar's body. The caterpillars of
_Dicranura_ are of this kind. We give a representation of the
caterpillar and the moth of the Puss Moth (_Dicranura vinula_, Figs.
244, 245), as also the moth of the _Dicranura verbasci_, the former of
which is common in England, and the larva may be found during the late
summer and early autumn feeding on poplars and willows; and of the
caterpillar of _Stauropus fagi_, the Lobster Moth (Fig. 247), rare in
France, whose appearance is strange indeed. The moths, on the
contrary, have nothing about them remarkable.

[Illustration: Fig. 246.--Dicranura verbasci.]

[Illustration: Fig. 247.--Larva of the Lobster Moth (_Stauropus fagi_).]

The _Noctuina_ are a group of Lepidoptera of middling size, and
generally found in woods, meadows, and gardens, where their
caterpillars have lived. They seldom fly till about sunset, or during
the night. Their upper wings are of a dark colour, with spots in the
middle of a particular shape. Their lower wings are of various
colours, often whitish, sometimes red or yellow.

[Illustration: Fig. 248.--Noctua tegamon.]

[Illustration: Fig. 249.--Noctua nebulosa.]

We give representations of some of the species of this group.[69]
_Noctua tegamon_, Fig. 248; _Noctua nebulosa_, Fig. 249; _Noctua
musiva_, Fig. 250; _Noctua brunnea_, Fig. 251; _Catocala fraxini_,
Fig. 252; _Catocala Americana_, Fig. 253; _Catocala paranympha_, Fig.
254; _Catocala nupta_, Fig. 255, the Red Underwing; and _Erebus
strix_, Fig. 256.

    [69] In England it numbers about three hundred species. The
    larvæ are of diverse habits, but the majority feed on low
    plants; the moths are provided with a trunk, and are very
    partial to sweets.--ED.

[Illustration: Fig. 250.--Noctua musiva.]

[Illustration: Fig. 251.--Noctua brunnea.]

The bodies of these moths are robust and sometimes massive, and are
scaly rather than woolly. The thorax is sometimes bristling with hairy

This genus includes 800 species, of which there are about 300 in
France. The caterpillars of the _Noctuina_ are smooth or very
slightly covered with hair, usually of a pale colour, and live on low
plants, of which they devour, some the leaves, others the roots; then
it is they are most destructive to agriculture. There are some of them
which eat any caterpillars they may chance to meet, and even those of
their own species, leaving nothing but the skin. Some of them surround
themselves with a light cocoon before becoming chrysalides; others
bury themselves in soft, well-pulverised soil.

[Illustration: Fig. 252.--Catocala fraxini.]

[Illustration: Fig. 253.--Catocala Americana.]

[Illustration: Fig. 254.--Catocala paranympha.]

[Illustration: Fig. 255.--Catocala nupta.]

[Illustration: Fig. 256.--Erebus strix.]

The family of _Geometrinæ_, or Geometers, comprises moths of a
middling size, and usually flying after sunset and during the
night.[70] They frequent the alleys of damp woods, where they become
the prey of the _Libellulæ_[71] and other carnivorous insects. Their
bodies and abdomens are slender, their wings large, thin, fragile,
often of a dark colour, with brilliant markings.

    [70] few species fly in bright sunshine.--ED.

    [71] Dragon-flies.--ED.

The caterpillars of the _Geometrinæ_ are known by the name of
loopers or geometers. We have previously described their singular
organisation. They are continually spinning a silken thread, which
keeps them attached to the plant on which they live. If you touch the
leaf which supports them they immediately let themselves fall.

[Illustration: Fig. 257.--Looper hanging by its thread.]

[Illustration: Fig. 258.--Seen at the side.]

[Illustration: Fig. 259.--Front view.]

[Illustration: Figs. 260 and 261.--Remounting its thread.]

"Nevertheless, they do not generally fall to the ground," says
Réaumur; "there is a cord ready to support them in the air (Fig. 257),
and a cord which they can lengthen as they will; this cord is only a
very thin thread, but has nevertheless strength enough to support the
caterpillar (Figs. 258, 259). All that there seems to fear is, that
the thread may lengthen too quickly and the caterpillar fall, rather
than descend gently, to the ground. But what we must first remark and
admire is, that the caterpillar is mistress of its movements, and is
not obliged to descend too quickly; it descends by stages; it stops in
the air when it pleases. Generally it only descends at most about one
foot at a time, and sometimes only half a foot or a few inches, after
which it makes a pause more or less long, as it pleases." It is in
this way that the caterpillars let themselves fall from the top of the
highest trees: they remount again with no less ease.

Let us listen to Réaumur's description of the means employed by this
caterpillar to ascend these heights. Figs. 260 and 261, drawn, as the
three preceding ones, from the plates in Réaumur's Memoir, help us to
follow the explanation given by the illustrious naturalist of the
evolutions of our little acrobat:--"To remount," says Réaumur, "the
caterpillar seizes the thread between its jaws, as high up as it can;
as soon as it has done this it twists its head round, lays it over on
one side, and continues to do so more and more every moment. Its head
seems to descend below the last of the scaly legs which are on the
same side as that to which it is inclined. The truth is, however, that
it is not its head which descends, the part of the thread which it
holds between its jaws is a fixed point for its head and for the rest
of its body; it is that portion of the back corresponding with its
scaly legs which the caterpillar twists upwards; the consequence is
that the scaly legs and that part of the body to which they belong
then ascend. When the last pair of legs is just over the jaws of the
caterpillar, one leg, viz., that which is on the side towards which
the head is inclined, seizes the thread and brings it over to the
corresponding leg on the other side, which is advanced to receive it.
If the head is then raised, which is done immediately, it is in order
that it may seize the thread at a higher point than that at which it
was caught at first; or, which is the same thing, the head, and
consequently the whole body of the caterpillar, is found to have
ascended to a height equal to the length of the thread which is
between the place where its jaws seized it the first time and that
where they seized it the second time. The first move in the upward
direction is thus made, and the second soon follows.... If you were to
seize the caterpillar on its arrival at the end of its upward journey,
you would see a packet of threads huddled together between the four
hindmost of the scaly legs. The greater the height ascended the
greater is the size of this packet. All the turns of the thread which
compose it are entangled. So the caterpillar does not consider it of
any value. As soon as the insect can walk it gets rid of the mass,
sets its legs free, and leaves it behind before one or at most two
steps have been taken. The cord is wasted on each ascent, but the
caterpillar can afford to lose as many as it likes, for it has in
itself the source of the matter necessary for the composition of the
thread, and it is a source from which that which was drawn off is
being continually re-supplied. Moreover, spinning the thread costs the
caterpillars but little; indeed, the loopers economise this thread so
badly that most of them leave it behind them wherever they go."

They are found on many trees, but particularly on the oak, the foliage
of which they often entirely devour. They burrow into the ground to
change into chrysalides, and undergo all their metamorphoses in the
course of the year. Others do not become perfect insects till the
autumn, or sometimes not even till the following spring. A few assume
the perfect state in winter. There are, indeed, some of these, such as
the males of the _Hybernias_, which fly about on the foggy evenings of
November. The females of this genus have either no wings at all, or
else only rudimentary ones. Two species, the _Hybernia defoliaria_, or
Winter Moth, and the _Chimatobia brumata_, abundant here, are very
common in the environs of Paris.

[Illustration: Fig. 262.--Hybernia leucophearia, male.]

M. Maurice Girard says, in his work on the metamorphoses of insects,
that the females of these moths can easily be found at the beginning
of November, in a very strange place, namely, on the gas lamps of the
public promenades; for instance, along the roads in the Bois de
Boulogne. No doubt they had climbed up to this height, attracted by
the light, or perhaps had been carried thither by the males, which
fly, having wings.

[Illustration: Fig. 263.--Winter Moth (_Hybernia defoliaria_), male.]

[Illustration: Fig. 264.--Winter Moth (_Hybernia defoliaria_), female.]

In February and March appear other analogous species. "We may find,"
says M. Maurice Girard, "near Paris, in the meadows which surround the
confluence of the Seine and the Marne, at the end of the month of
March, the _Nyssia zonaria_ (Fig. 267), the males of which insect
remain during the day motionless on the grass."[72]

    [72] With us this insect has a very limited range, being only
    found at New Brighton, near Birkenhead, where it is most

[Illustration: Fig. 265.--Chimatobia brumata, male.]

[Illustration: Fig. 266.--Chimatobia brumata, female.]

There are some species of this family in which the wings of the
females are developed like those of the males.[73] Such are the
Peppered Moth (_Amphidasis betularia_) and the Currant Moth (_Abraxas
grossulariata_), whose caterpillar lives on the red currant and
gooseberry, and an immense number known as Thorns, Carpets, Waves, &c.

    [73] The exception is with those in which the wings are _not_
    developed in both cases, and in England this peculiarity is
    confined to species appearing during the winter and early

[Illustration: Fig. 267.--Nyssia zonaria, male and female.]

The section of the _Pyralina_ contains the smallest nocturnal
Lepidoptera, and nearly all those tiny species which flutter round our
lights in the evening.

[Illustration: Fig. 268.--Penthina pruniana.]

Here are some drawings of a few of the numerous species of this
section, remarkable for their small size and beauty:--_Penthina
pruniana_, _Ædia pusiella_, _Xylopoda fabriciana_, _Poedisca
autumnana_, _Tortrix roborana_, _Philobacera fagana_, _Tortrix
sorbiana_, _Antithesia salicana_, _Poedisca occultana_, _Argyrolepia
æneana_, _Sericoris Zinkenana_, _Sarrothripa revayana_, _Cochylis
francilana_, _Choreutes dolosana_ (Figs. 268 to 281).[74]

    [74] Many of these are placed by some authors among the
    Pyralina, and by others among the Tortricina.--ED.

[Illustration: Fig. 269.--Ædia pusiella.]

[Illustration: Fig. 270.--Xylopoda fabriciana.]

In a book of this kind we can only mention some types among these
last insects, which claim our attention in what we might almost call a
tyrannical manner. We will, therefore, content ourselves by saying a
few words about the Green Tortrix, the Pyralis of the Vine, the
Bee-hive Moth, some species of the Clothes Moth family (_Tineina_),
and finally of the _OEcophoræ_.

[Illustration: Fig. 271.--Poedisca autumnana.]

[Illustration: Fig. 272.--Tortrix roborana.]

[Illustration: Fig. 273.--Philobacera fagana.]

[Illustration: Fig. 274.--Tortrix sorbiana.]

The Green Tortrix (_Tortrix viridana_) has wings of a green colour,
with the margin and fringe whitish on the anterior, and of an ashy
grey on the posterior wings. The under-side of the four wings is of a
bright white, as if it had been silvered. This pretty moth comes out
in the month of May. It is so common everywhere, that at this season
it is only necessary to shake the branches of the oaks which border
the alleys of the woods to set in motion hundreds of them. The
caterpillar is green, with black warty spots, each having a hair of
the same colour. They are wonderfully lively, the moment they are
disturbed taking refuge in a rolled leaf, which serves them as a
dwelling-place. If they are pursued, they let themselves fall by the
aid of a thread, and do not re-ascend till they think they can count
on repose and security. This, and many kindred species, do a great
deal of damage to our trees. They strip them of their leaves, and
sometimes give them, during the first days of summer, the sad and
melancholy appearance which they present in the middle of winter.

[Illustration: Fig. 275.--Antithesia salicana.]

[Illustration: Fig. 276.--Poedisca occultana.]

[Illustration: Fig. 277.--Argyrolepia æneana.]

[Illustration: Fig. 278.--Sericoris Zinkenana.]

[Illustration: Fig. 279.--Sarrothripa revayana.]

[Illustration: Fig. 280.--Cochylis francilana.]

[Illustration: Fig. 281.--Choreutes dolosana.]

We have just alluded to the tube formed of a rolled leaf, in which the
caterpillar takes refuge, and in which it lives. This tube it
constructs itself. Réaumur has devoted a magnificent chapter of his
Memoirs to observations on the skill with which divers species of
caterpillars fold, roll, and bind the leaves of plants and trees,
especially those of the oak. Let us listen to the great observer:--"If
one looks attentively at the leaves of the oak tree towards the middle
of the spring, many of them will be seen to be rolled in different
ways. The exterior surface of the end of one of these leaves has, it
appears, been rolled back towards the interior surface, in order to
describe the first turn of a spiral, which is then covered by many
other turns (Fig. 282). Some leaves are rolled towards their exterior
surfaces, others are rolled towards their interior surfaces, but in a
totally different direction. The length or axis of the first roll is
perpendicular to the principal rib and to the stalk of the leaf, the
axis of the latter parallel to the same rib (Fig. 283). Work of this
kind would not be very difficult to perform for those who had fingers;
but caterpillars have neither fingers nor anything equivalent to
fingers. Moreover, to have rolled the leaves is only to have done half
the work: they must be retained in a position from which their natural
spring tends constantly to draw them. The mechanism to which the
caterpillars have recourse for this second part of their work is
easily perceived. We see packets of threads attached by one end to the
surface of the roll, and by the other to the flat surface of the
leaf. They are so many bands, so many little cords which hold out
against the spring of the leaf. There are sometimes more than from ten
to twelve of these bands arranged nearly in the self-same straight
line. Each band is a packet of threads of white silk, pressed one
against the other, and yet we must remember all are separate."[75]

    [75] Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire des Insectes, tome ii.,
    page 210 (5e Mémoire).

[Illustration: Fig. 282.--Oak leaf rolled perpendicularly.]

[Illustration: Fig. 283.--Oak leaf rolled sideways.]

Réaumur made the oak-leaf rollers work in his house. He has admirably
described all their little manoeuvres, but we lack the space to
convey to the reader the result of his minute observations. In fact,
the leaf-rollers construct for themselves a sort of cylindrical cell,
which receives light only through the two extremities. The convenience
of this green fresh habitation is, that its walls furnish food to the
animal which inhabits it. The caterpillar, thus sheltered, sets to
work to gnaw away at the end of the leaf which it rolled first; it
then eats all the rolls it has made, up to the very last.

[Illustration: Fig. 284.--Leaf of sorrel, a portion of which is cut
and rolled perpendicularly to the leaf.]

Réaumur found also rolls which had been formed of two or three leaves
rolled lengthwise, and he saw that the leaves which had occupied the
centre had been almost entirely eaten. He saw also caterpillars which
continued to eat while they were making their habitation. Let us add
that one of the ends of the roll is the opening through which the
caterpillar casts its excrement; that the caterpillar can prepare
itself a fresh roll if it is turned out of the first; and, lastly,
that it is in a rolled leaf that the caterpillar undergoes its
metamorphoses into a chrysalis and into a moth.

Réaumur studied other leaf-rollers; for instance, those which roll the
leaves of nettles and of sorrel. The last one works in a manner which
deserves to be mentioned. Its roll is of no particular shape, but it
is its position which is remarkable. It is set upon the leaf like a
ninepin (Fig. 284). The caterpillar has not only to twist it up into a
roll, but also to place it perpendicularly on the leaf.

[Illustration: Figs. 285 and 286.--Willow leaves rolled by a
caterpillar, and section of a bundle of leaves drawn together by a

Next to the rolling caterpillars, let us mention those which are
contented with folding the leaves. These caterpillars then lie in a
sort of flat box. Besides the rolling and folding caterpillars, there
are still those which bind up a good many leaves in one packet. These
packets are to be found on nearly every tree and shrub, and the
caterpillar, lying nearly in the middle of the packet, is well
sheltered, and surrounded by a good supply of food. We will content
ourselves by giving a drawing, after Réaumur, of the pretty
arrangement of the leaves of a species of willow (Figs. 285, 286). In
the figures we see the parcel bound together by the caterpillar. In
that to the right we see the transverse section of the packet of
leaves magnified. At the two edges are seen the threads which keep the
leaves together, and the cavity occupied by the caterpillar.

The Vine Pyralis is produced from a leaf-rolling caterpillar, which
deserves our attention on account of the ravages which it has for some
time committed, and which it still commits in vineyards. It was at the
end of the sixteenth century that this pyralis first showed itself in
the environs of Paris, in the territory of Argenteuil. "The
inhabitants of this commune," writes the Abbé Leboeuf, "looked on
the insects which spoiled their vines in the spring of 1562 as a
visitation of God. The Bishop of Paris gave orders that they should
offer up public prayers for the diminution of these insects, and that
they should join to their prayers, exorcisms, without leaving the
church." Prayers, processions, exorcisms, were again had recourse to
in 1629, in 1717, and in 1733, to stop the ravages of this insect
among the vines of Colombes, in the territory of Aï.

The country of the Mâconnais and the Beaujolais became in their turn
the theatre of the ravages of the pyralis. These ravages very soon
increased and spread. In 1836, 1837, 1838, this plague raged in the
departments of the Saône-et-Loire, of the Rhône, of the Côte-d'Or, of
the Marne, of the Seine-et-Oise, of the Charente-Inférieure, of the
Haute-Garonne, of the Pyrénées-Orientales, and of the Hérault.

To give an idea of the losses which may be occasioned by the pyralis,
in a period of ten years (1828-1837), twenty-three communes comprised
in the two departments of the Saône-et-Loire and of the Rhône lost
75,000 hectolitres of wine a year, which may be valued at 1,500,000
francs. If we were to calculate the supply of articles of all sorts
which this great number of casks of wine would have necessitated, the
imposts on their transport, the duty, the taxes levied on their sale,
the carriage by land and water, which would have brought receipts into
the treasury, and lastly the diminution of taxes which had to be
granted for seven years to the vine proprietors in the department of
the Saône-et-Loire, and in 1837 in the department of the Rhône, and
which amounted to a total of more than 100,000 francs, we shall find
that the ravages of the pyralis caused in these two departments an
annual loss of 3,408,000 francs, and as the visitation lasted ten
years, we get the enormous sum total of 34,000,000 destroyed by the
ravages of one species of insect. The moth of the pyralis (Fig. 287)
shows itself from the 10th to the 20th of June. It is yellowish, more
or less shot with gold. When at rest, its wings are folded back one
over the other like a roof. Its flight is of short duration; it
contents itself with going from one vine stock to another.

[Illustration: Fig. 287.--The Vine Pyralis.]

[Illustration: Fig. 288.--Caterpillar of the Vine Pyralis.]

It is at sunset mostly that you see the moths of the pyralis
fluttering about. They remain quiet during the day, particularly when
the sun is at its hottest. They live on an average for ten days. The
females lay their eggs--which are at first green, then yellowish, then
brown--on the lower surface of the leaves.

[Illustration: Fig. 289.--Chrysalis of the Vine Pyralis.]

The caterpillar of the pyralis (Fig. 288) is called, in vulgar
parlance, according to the different places in which it occurs, vine
worm, summer worm, vintage worm, shell. In the south of France it is
called, in the patois of Languedoc, _babota_. Almost immediately after
they leave the eggs, the little caterpillars hide themselves in the
fissures of the vine stocks or the props which support them. They spin
a small cocoon of a greyish silk, in which they remain curled up till
the month of May. From the moment the leaves begin to develop they
throw out threads here and there, entangling all the young shoots of
the vine, which gives a desolate appearance to the vineyards. The
leaves of the vine are their favourite food, but they attack the seeds
of the grape also. As they increase in size every day, the damage they
do goes on increasing, and has not reached the maximum of intensity
till the moment when the caterpillars are about to change into
chrysalides. They are then three-quarters of an inch long and of a
yellowish green colour.

[Illustration: Fig. 290.--The Vine Pyralis in its three states. 1.
Leaf with batches of eggs laid upon it. 2. Batches of recently laid
eggs. 3. Eggs in which caterpillars can be perceived. 4. Batch of eggs
from which the caterpillars have already emerged. 5. Small
caterpillars hanging by threads. 6. Leaf with the chrysalis. 7.
Caterpillar. 8. Moth.]

From the 20th of June to the 10th of July they seek shelter in the dry
and interlaced leaves which have already served them for places of
refuge and partly also for food, or else they make themselves a fresh

At the end of two or three days, the caterpillar has become a
chrysalis (Fig. 289), which in a short time assumes a brown colour.
Shut up in the interior of the cocoon which the caterpillar had spun
before undergoing its metamorphosis, it changes into a moth at the end
of from fourteen to sixteen days.

The best way to diminish the ravages of the pyralis is to pluck off
the leaves which are laden with eggs, and burn them, or bury them in
deep holes.

Fig. 290, which we devote to the conspicuous insect whose destructive
history we have been here able to sketch only slightly, gives all the
particulars relating to this dangerous guest of the vineyards. On a
branch of the vine may be perceived the pyralis in the caterpillar
state, the eggs which have been laid by the moths, the chrysalides,
and perfect insects. The eggs are shown at two periods of their

The Bee-hive or Wax Galleria is to be met with in all countries where
bees are reared.

The moth (Fig. 291) hides itself during the day round about the
bee-hives, and endeavours to make its way into them after sunset. The
caterpillar is of a dirty white, with brown warty spots, each
surmounted by a fine hair. It lives on wax, twines its threads round
the honeycomb, and very soon causes the larvæ contained in it to

[Illustration: Fig. 291.--Galleria cerella.]

When it emerges from the egg, which the female has laid in the
honeycomb, the caterpillar makes for itself with the wax a round tube,
in which it is safe against the stings of the bees. This tube, at
first very small, is lengthened and enlarged as the caterpillar
increases in size. It is generally from three to five inches in
length. It is in the interior of this that the caterpillar constructs
itself a hard cocoon, resembling leather, and it changes into a
brownish chrysalis.

A species of the genus _Butalis_, the _Butalis_ or _Alucita granella_,
is, in certain cantons of France, one of the greatest pests to
agriculture. The caterpillar of the _Tinea granella_ undergoes its
metamorphosis in the interior of grains of barley and of wheat, which
it devours without being perceived from without. The female lays her
eggs on the grains of corn before they are ripe. From four to six days
after, the eggs are hatched, and the young caterpillars are hardly as
thick as a hair. Each one takes possession of a grain of corn, and
penetrates into it by an imperceptible opening. They eat the flower
without injuring the teguments of the grain.

[Illustration: Fig. 292.--Tinea granella.]

When it has attained its full size it spins itself a cocoon of white
silk in the interior of the grain, which, after having been its
lodging and its larder, becomes for some time its tomb. It has,
however, taken care beforehand to make at the extremity of the grain a
circular opening, through which the moth may come out when the grains
have been threshed and stored up in the granary.

It is important to mention the _Tineina_, not because these little
moths are beautiful--they are, on the contrary, very dingy--but
because it is in this group that are found those insects which do the
greatest damage to our crops. The moths of the genus _Tinea_ are very
small. Their wings, which are greyish or brownish, are generally
marked with whitish and yellowish spots or lines. These are the little
moths which, in our houses, burn themselves so frequently in the
flames of the candles.

Their caterpillars are small, voracious, and deserve, on account of
the damage which they cause, to be compared to rats and mice.
Furnished with powerful jaws, they destroy everything they find in
their way, such as woollen stuffs, hair, furs, feathers, grain, &c.

The _Tineina_ are divisible into three groups: 1st, the species
hurtful to our stuffs and furs; 2ndly, the species which destroy our
corn crops; 3rdly, the _phytophagous_ species, that is to say, those
which feed on plants.

In the first subdivision must be classed the Fur Moth, the Woollen
Moth, and the Hair Moth.

The Woollen Moth is represented in the figure on next page. Its
caterpillar has the form of a worm, and is of a glossy whiteness, with
a few hairs thinly sprinkled over it and a grey line on its back. It
is enclosed in a tube, or sheath, open at both ends, in the interior
of which is a sort of tissue of wool, sometimes blue, sometimes
green, sometimes red, according to the colour of the stuff to which
the insect attaches itself and which it despoils. The exterior of this
sheath is, on the contrary, formed of silk made by the insect itself,
of a whitish colour.

The caterpillars are hardly hatched before they begin to clothe
themselves. Réaumur observed one of these worms during the operation
of enlarging its case. To do this it put its head out of one of the
extremities of its sheath, and looked about eagerly, to the right and
to the left, for those bits of wool which suited it best for weaving
in. In Fig. 294, we see two larvæ occupied in eating a piece of cloth.

[Illustration: Fig. 293.--The Woollen Moth (_Tinea tapezella_).]

[Illustration: Fig. 294.--Larvæ of the Woollen Moth (_Tinea tapezella_).]

"The larva changes its place continually and very quickly," says
Réaumur. "If the threads of wool which are near it are not such as it
desires, it draws sometimes more than half its body out of its case to
go and look for better ones farther off. If it finds a bit that
pleases, the head remains fixed for an instant; it then seizes the
thread with the two mandibles which are below its head, tears the bit
out after redoubled efforts, and immediately carries it to the end of
the tube against which it attaches it. It repeats many times in
succession a similar manoeuvre, sometimes coming partly out of its
tube, and then again re-entering it to fix against one of its sides a
new piece of wool."

After having worked for about a minute at one end of its tube, it
thinks of lengthening the other. It turns itself round in its tube
with such quickness, that you would imagine it could not have had time
to do so, and would think that its tail was formed in the same way as
its head, and possessed the same address in choosing and tearing out
the bits of wool.

Furthermore, when the moth which is working at elongating its case
does not find the threads or hairs of wool to its taste within reach
of its head, it changes its place. Réaumur saw this insect walking, at
some speed even, carrying with it its case. It walks on its six front
legs (Fig. 295). With the middle and hind legs it clings to the
interior of its case.

[Illustration: Fig. 295.--Larva of a Tinea walking.]

At the same time that the larva becomes longer it becomes stouter.
Very soon its garment will be too narrow for it. Will it enlarge its
old coat, or will it make itself a new one? Réaumur discovered that it
preferred to widen its old coat.

That is what our naturalist saw when he placed larvæ with blue cases,
for instance, upon stuff of a red colour. The bands which extended in
straight lines from one end of the case to the other, showed the part
that had been added.

"From watching them at different times," says this admirable observer,
"I find that the means which they employ is precisely that to which we
should have had recourse in a similar case. We know of no other way of
widening a sheath, a case of any stuff that we find too narrow, than
to split it right up and to let in a piece of the proper size between
the parts which we have thus divided; we should let in a piece on each
side if the shape of the tube seemed to require it. This is also
exactly what our larvæ do, with an extra, and which with them is a
necessary, precaution, so as not to remain exposed while they are
working at the enlargement of their garment. Instead of two pieces,
which should each be as long as their case, they let in four, each of
which is not longer than half the length of their case; and so they
never split up more than half the length of the case at the same time,
which has enough stuff left in it to keep it together while this
opening is being filled up."

The wools of our stuffs furnish the moths not only with clothing, but
also with food. Their excrements are little grains, which are the same
colour as the wool they have eaten.

When they are full grown, and the time approaches for their
metamorphosis, the larvæ abandon their food, and establish themselves
in the angles of walls. They creep up to the ceilings and suspend
themselves to them by one extremity of their tube. The two ends of the
tube are now closed by a silken tissue (Fig. 296). The larva thus
enclosed very soon changes its form; it becomes a chrysalis; then at
the end of about three weeks it is set free as a moth.

The Fur or Skin Moth works like the carpet moth: it makes itself a
case of the same form, and constructs it in the same manner. Only in
this case its covering is made of a sort of felt resembling that of
which our hats are made.

[Illustration: Fig. 296.--Case of the Moth attached to a piece of cloth.]

While the Carpet Moth only detaches from the various stuffs the wool
it requires for clothing and nourishment, the Fur Moth causes much
more considerable and more rapid damage. It cuts off all the hairs
which are in its way right down to the skin; it seems as if it took a
delight in cutting them off. That which is necessary for its wants is
nothing in comparison to the great quantity of hair one sees fall off
a skin on which it has established itself, when it is shaken. As it
advances it cuts more thoroughly than a razor could all the hairs
which are in its way.

The Hair Moth (Fig. 297) shows itself in great numbers in the perfect
state, from the end of April till the beginning of June. They appear
again in September, and generally stay behind cabinets and other
pieces of furniture.

[Illustration: Fig. 297.--Hair Moth.]

The caterpillar, which is cylindrical, white, destitute of hair, and
striped with brown, lives principally in the hair with which furniture
is stuffed, and sometimes in hair mattresses. When it has reached its
full size, it abandons its abode, pierces through the stuff which
covers the hair, and constructs for itself with this stuff a case of
silk, open only towards the end where the head is. At the beginning of
April it shuts its case, and changes itself into a chrysalis.

We can only here mention some of the phytophagous species, as the
Cherry-tree Moth (_Tinea cerasiella_), the Hawthorn Moth (_Tinea
cratægella_), the Burdock Moth (_Tinea lapella_), and the Rustic Moth
(_Tinea rusticella_).

The caterpillars of the _OEcophoræ_ resemble whitish worms. They
attack the leaves, the blossoms, the bark, and certain parts of the
fruit of trees. Some of these hollow out for themselves galleries in
eating the fleshy part; others also make galleries, but only in the
cuticle of the tree, or in the tenderest part of its bark. Some,
again, shut themselves up in one or many leaves rolled like a trumpet,
while others keep at the summits of plants, whose leaves they bind
together in a parcel with threads. And, lastly, some devour the stones
of fruits, such as that of the olive.

The moths of these caterpillars are very small, and generally of
brilliant metallic colours, they are to be found in the woods, and
still more in the orchards, from the beginning of June till the month
of September.

The _OEcophoræ_ are very slim and elegantly formed. Their anterior
wings, which are very narrow, are often ornamented with silvery
longitudinal lines, the posterior wings exactly resembling two

The caterpillars live and metamorphose themselves in portable cases,
which they manufacture from the membranous portions of leaves, whose
flesh alone they eat. These cases are generally of a brown colour,
resembling a dead leaf. They are attached perpendicularly under the
leaves of many trees, but often under those of fruit trees.

Certain species of _OEcophoræ_ have cases partly covered with loose
pieces only slightly attached, formed of portions of leaves, and
arranged in such a way that Réaumur compares them to the furbelows
which ladies used formerly to attach to the bottom of their dresses.



Among the Orthoptera[76] we meet with some of the largest of insects,
and particularly those which are of strange and extraordinary shapes.
The best known insects of this order are the _Mantes_, Cockroaches,
Earwigs,[77] Locusts, Grasshoppers, Crickets, &c.

    [76] From [Greek: orthos], straight, and [Greek: pteron], wing,
    on account of the manner in which the under-wings are folded
    under the upper.--ED.

    [77] Made a separate Order, _Dermaptera_, by Kirby.--ED.

The Orthoptera have the anterior wings long, narrow, half-horny. These
are elytra, which serve as cases for their second wings, as is the
case with the Coleoptera. But the elytra of the Orthoptera are less
solid and less complete than those of the Coleoptera. Moreover, they
generally overlap each other when the insect is at rest, which is
another distinctive characteristic. The second wings are membranous,
very broad, and veined; and, when at rest, are folded up like a fan.
The mouth is composed of free pieces. The mandibles, the jaws, and the
two lips, always well developed, show them to be insects which grind
their food. Their voracity, and the rapid way in which they multiply,
sometimes make these insects the pest of the country. Above all, they
are to be met with in hot countries, where they cause such great
damage that all vegetation disappears on their passage. There are not
a great variety of species of Orthoptera. They are insects whose
metamorphoses are incomplete; that is, they undergo only trifling
changes from the moment when the eggs are hatched to the time when the
insect is fully developed.

When it leaves the egg, the young one resembles its parents; it
differs only in size and in having no wings. After moulting four or
five times it has almost reached its full growth, and its wings begin
to appear under a sort of membrane. This is the pupa state. A final
moulting sets free the wings also, and the insect, now perfect,
launches itself into the air with its congeners.

The Orthoptera are vegetable feeders, and frequently commit great
ravages on various crops. They are divided into two groups, viz.,
those which _run_, and those which _jump_ or _leap_. We will begin
with those which run, which contains the Earwig (_Forficula_), the
Cockroach (_Blatta_), the genus _Mantis_, or Leaf Insects, and the
genus _Phasma_.

The _Forficula_, or Earwig, is represented in Figs. 298, 299, 300, in
its three different states. The lower wings are very broad, and folded
at the same time like a fan, and doubled up. Its abdomen terminates in
a sort of pair of pincers, resembling those which the jewellers
formerly used for piercing the ears of young girls as a preparatory
step to their wearing ear-rings. Hence, without doubt, their French
name of _Perce-oreille_, or ear-piercer; for there is nothing to
justify the vulgar belief that these insects introduce themselves into
the ear, and bore a hole into its interior, through which they may
penetrate into the brain; in fact, they are very innocent insects, and
do little harm. They live on vegetable matter, and more especially the
interiors of certain flowers.

[Illustration: Figs. 298, 299, 300.--Common Earwig (_Forficula
auricularia_)--larva, pupa, and imago.]

The _Forficulæ_ avoid the light. They are to be found in the chinks of
trees, under bark, and under stones. The female watches over the eggs
with maternal solicitude, and carries them away elsewhere when they
are touched. She also protects the larvæ and pupæ till they are strong
enough to dispense with all attention.

The _Blattæ_, or Cockroaches, are very destructive insects, as the
name, derived from the Greek word [Greek: Blaptein], to damage,
implies. They are omnivorous, attacking all sorts of dead substances,
vegetable and animal. Horace reproaches them with devouring stuffs,
like the moths:--

  "Cui stragula vestis,
  Blattarum ac tinearum epulæ,
  Putrescit in arca."

These disagreeable insects devour our eatables, abounding in kitchens,
in bakers' shops, on board merchant vessels, &c. Their flattened
bodies allow them easily to introduce themselves into the cracks of
cases or barrels; so that, to be safe against their attacks, it is
necessary, on long voyages, to shut up the goods in zinc-lined boxes,
or cases made of sheet-iron well soldered together.

Chamisso relates that the sailors having opened some barrels which
should have contained rice and wheat, found them filled with German
Cockroaches (_Blatta Germanica_). This transubstantiation was not very
agreeable to the crew! Other naturalists have seen this insect
invading by millions bottles which had contained oil. The Cockroach is
very fond also of the blacking on boots, and devours leather and all.
One pupa sometimes eats the skin cast off by another pupa, but a
Cockroach has never been known to attack another with a view to eating
him afterwards.

These Orthoptera have a flat broad body, the thorax very much
developed, the antennæ very long, and the legs thin but strong, which
enable them to run with remarkable quickness. They diffuse around them
a sickening odour, which often hangs about objects they have touched.
Aristophanes, the Greek comic poet, mentions this peculiarity in his
comedy of "The Peace." They come out mostly at night, and hide
themselves during the day. They are the most cosmopolitan of all
insects. Carried over in ships, they perpetuate everywhere, just like
weeds! Persian powder, composed of pulverised _pyrethra_, is an
excellent means to employ for their destruction.

Most of the species of cockroaches are black or brownish. Two among
them, the _Blatta Germanica_ and the _Blatta Laponica_, which are to
be met with in the woods round about Paris, have domesticated
themselves in dwellings of the northern countries. They are a quarter
of an inch in length. The Russians pretend that the former was
imported from Prussia by their army, on its return from Germany, after
the Seven Years' War (1756-1762). Till this period it was unknown at
St. Petersburg, where now-a-days it is met with in great numbers. It
lives in houses, and eats pretty nearly everything, but prefers white
bread to flour and meat. The _Blatta Laponica_ devours the smoked fish
prepared for the winter.

The German naturalist, Hummel, made some interesting observations on
the development and habits of the very prolific _Blatta Germanica_. It
lays its eggs in a silky capsule, which is in the form of a bean, with
two valves in the interior. This is drawn about for some time appended
to the extremity of the abdomen, and after a time abandoned.

Hummel placed under a bell-glass a female cockroach and a perfect
egg-pouch, which had only just been abandoned by another female. He
saw the cockroach approach the bag, feel it, and turn it about in all
directions. She then took it between her front legs, and made a
longitudinal opening in it. As the opening grew wider, little white
larvæ were seen to come from it rolled up and attached together. The
female presided at this operation. She assisted the larvæ to set
themselves free, aiding them out gently with her antennæ. In a few
seconds they were able to walk, when she ceased to trouble herself
about them.

The larvæ change their skin six times before reaching the perfect
state. When they come out of their skin they are colourless, but the
colour comes in a few minutes. At the fifth moult, which takes place
three months after birth, they become pupæ, with rudimentary wings,
the whole shape of the insect being well marked. The sixth, or last
moult, takes place at the end of six weeks. The pupa is now changed
into a perfect insect. The female is distinguished from the male by
the greater size of her abdomen.

[Illustration: Fig. 301.--The Cockroach (_Blatta orientalis_).]

The most destructive of the _Blattæ_, or Cockroaches, are those which
have been imported into Europe by the ships coming from the colonies.
The _Kakerlac Americana_ is from an inch to an inch and a quarter
long. It infests ships, running about at night over the sleeping
passengers, and devouring the food. They are to be met with in all
parts of the world. They abound particularly in the warm parts of
America. The _Blatta orientalis_ is more commonly met with than the
above. It swarms in kitchens, in bakers' shops, provision shops, &c.,
where it hides in the cracks of the walls, or against the hinges of
the doors. It is a small hideous animal, of a repulsive smell, and of
a reddish brown colour. It is a little larger than the _Blatta
Americana_. In France it is called by various names, such as _Cafard_,
_Panetière_, _Noirot_, _Bête noir_, &c. If in the middle of the night
you suddenly enter with a light into the down-stairs kitchens, you
will often see these little beasts running about on the table, and
devouring the remains of the food with astonishing rapidity.

The largest species of the genus of which we are now treating is the
_Kakerlac insignis_, which inhabits Cayenne and Brazil, and in length
sometimes exceeds an inch and three-quarters, and in the extent of its
wings four inches and a half.

It is principally in hot countries that the cockroaches do the
greatest damage. In the Antilles, of which they are the pest, it is
affirmed that in one single night they can bore holes through trunks,
through cases, and through bags, and destroy objects which were
supposed to be in perfect safety. Sometimes the walls, the floors, the
beds, the tables, everything, in short, is infested by them, and it is
impossible to find a way of preserving the food from their repulsive
touch. One can, however, partially succeed in destroying them by the
aid of insect powders. They have, however, natural enemies. Poultry
and owls are very fond of them. A species of wasp, _Chlorion
compressum_, lays up a stock of cockroaches, which it previously
renders insensible, for its larvæ. Many species of _Chalcidiæ_, a
family of Hymenoptera, also live on the eggs of these Orthoptera.
There are also among the cockroaches certain brightly-coloured exotic
species. These colours show that they do not avoid the light. We will
mention as examples the _Brachycola robusta_ and the species of

The _Mantidæ_ are pretty insects, of very different habits from the
preceding. They alone of the Orthoptera are carnivorous. They eat live
insects, seizing their prey as it passes by them. They rest generally
on shrubs, remaining for hours together perfectly motionless, the
better to deceive other insects which are to become their victims.

It is this fixed and as it were meditative attitude which has gained
for them the name of _Mantis_, derived from the Greek word [Greek:
mantis], or "diviner," as it was imagined that in this attitude they
interrogated the future. The manner in which they hold their long
front legs, raised like arms to Heaven, has also contributed to make
this superstitious notion believed, and sufficiently explains the
names given to divers species of _Mantidæ_; such as Nun, Saint,
Preacher, Suppliant, Mendicant, &c. Caillaud, a traveller, tells us
that in Central Africa a _Mantis_ is an object of worship. According
to Sparmann, another species is worshipped by the Hottentots. If by
chance a _Mantis_ should settle on a person, this person is considered
by them to have received a particular favour from heaven, and from
that moment takes rank among the saints!

In France the country people believe that these insects point out the
way to travellers. Mouffet, a naturalist of the seventeenth century,
says on this subject, in a description of the _Mantis_:--"This little
creature is considered of so divine a nature, that to a child who asks
it its way, it points it out by stretching out one of its legs, and
rarely or never makes a mistake."

In the eyes of the Languedoc peasants the _Mantis religiosa_ is almost
sacred. They call it _Prega-Diou_ (_Prie-Dieu_), and believe firmly
that it performs its devotions--its attitude, when it is on the watch
for its prey, resembling that of prayer. Settled on the ground, it
raises its head and thorax, clasps together the joints of its front
legs, and remains thus motionless for hours together. But only let an
imprudent fly come within reach of our devotee, and you will see it
stealthily approach it, like a cat who is watching a mouse, and with
so much precaution that you can scarcely see that it is moving. Then,
all of a sudden, as quick as lightning, it seizes its victim between
its legs, provided with sharp spines, which cross each other, conveys
it to its mouth, and devours it. Our make-believe Nun, Preacher, our
_Prega-Diou_, is nothing better than a patient watcher and pitiless
destroyer. The _Mantis religiosa_ (Fig. 302), common enough in the
south of France, comes as far north as the environs of Fontainebleau.
The _Mantis oratoria_, rather smaller, is less commonly met with.

These elegant insects are remarkable for their long slim bodies, their
large wings, and their colours, which are generally very bright. In
some species their green or yellowish elytra look so exactly like the
leaves of trees that one can hardly help taking them for such.

The _Mantis_ lays its eggs at the end of summer, in rounded, very
fragile shells, attached to the branches of trees; they do not hatch
till the following summer. The larvæ undergo several successive
moultings. Nothing equals the ferocity of these Orthoptera. If two of
them are shut up together, they engage in a desperate combat; they
deal each other blows with their front legs, and do not leave off
fencing until the stronger of the two has succeeded in eating off the
other's head. From their very birth, the larvæ attack each other. The
male being smaller than the female, is often its victim.

Kirby tells us that in China the children procure them as in France
they do cockchafers, and shut them up in bamboo cages, to enjoy the
exciting spectacle of their combats.

[Illustration: Fig. 302.--Mantis religiosa and its larva (A).
Blepharis mendica and its larva (B).]

_Acanthops_, a genus of this family, inhabits the Brazils.

Akin to the _Mantis_ are the _Eremiaphilæ_, which live in the deserts
of Africa and Arabia. They drag themselves gently along on the ground,
and as they are the same colour as the sand on which they are found,
it is very difficult to distinguish them when at rest. The traveller,
Lefebvre, relates that he always found these Orthoptera in places
destitute of all vegetation, and where there were no other sorts of
insects which could have served them for food; it is therefore
probable that they live on microscopic insects.

The _Empusa_, which forms another genus of _Mantidæ_, has the antennæ
indented like a comb in the males, thread-like in the females. The
_Empusa gongylodes_, which inhabits Africa, has cuffs to its arms and
flounces to its robe.

The genus _Blepharis_, to which belongs the _Blepharis mendica_, is
met with in Egypt, Arabia, and in the Canary Islands. This insect,
which is of a pale green, is not rare in the south of France. It is
represented with the _Mantis religiosa_ in Fig. 302.

The _Phasmata_, or Spectres, are distinguished from the _Mantidæ_ by
their very elongated bodies, straight and stiff as a stick, by their
having no prehensile legs, and by their food, which is exclusively
vegetable. Their eggs are laid uncovered, having no silky envelope. As
for the habits of these insects, they are little known, the greatest
number of the species being exotics, inhabiting chiefly South America,
Asia, Africa, and New Holland. It is in this tribe that we meet the
most extraordinary and the most monstrously shaped insects, as the
popular names they have received in different countries show: such as
Spectres, Phantoms, Devil's Horses, Soldiers of Cayenne, Walking
Leaves, Animated Sticks, &c.

Among the Phasmæ we also find the largest insects known, for they
attain a considerable length, _Phasma gigas_ nearly reaching a foot.
The most beautiful are those of New Holland and of Tasmania, such as
_Cyphocrana (Phasma) gigas_.

Some species are destitute of wings, and resemble so exactly dry
sticks that it is impossible to tell the difference. The best known is
the _Bacillus (Phasma) Rossia_ (Fig. 303), which is found in the south
of France. This inoffensive insect walks gently along the branches of
trees, and likes to repose in the sun, its long antennæ-like legs
stretched out in front. Others of the genus _Phyllium_ are provided
with wings, and have altogether the appearance of the leaves on which
they live; such are the Walking Leaves of the East Indies. According
to Cunningham, all these insects are of solitary and peaceable habits.
They are only to be met with alone or in pairs, drawing themselves
gently along on shrubs, on which they pass the hottest months of the
year. Some of them, when they are seized, emit a milky liquid of a
very strong and disagreeable odour.

[Illustration: Fig. 303.--Phasma Rossia--male, female, and larva.]

Those Orthoptera which we have already mentioned had all their six
legs adapted to running, and are called _Cursoria_. Those which jump,
to which we now come, have their hind-legs stronger and thicker, which
enables them to leap, and are on that account called _Saltatoria_.
This section comprises three families, which have for their principal
types the Crickets, Locusts, and Grasshoppers.

All these insects resemble each other in the disproportion which
exists between their hind-legs and the other pairs. Another
characteristic which is common to them consists in the song of the
males. This song, so well known, which seems to have for its object to
call the females, is nothing but a sort of stridulation or screeching,
produced by the rubbing together of the wing cases, or elytra. But the
mechanism by which this is produced varies a little in all the three
kinds. With the Crickets the whole surface of the wing cases is
covered with thick nervures, very prominent and very hard, which cause
the noise the insect produces in rubbing the elytra one against the
other. With the Locusts, there exists only at the base of the elytra a
transparent membrane called the mirror, which is furnished with
prominent nervures, and produces the screeching noise. And, lastly, in
the Crickets the thighs and elytra are provided with very hard ridges.
The thighs, being passed rapidly and with force over the nervures of
the elytra, produce the sound, in the same way as a fiddle-bow when
drawn across the strings of a violin. In all these insects the male
alone is endowed with the faculty of producing sound.

The Crickets and Grasshoppers have very long and thin antennæ, whilst
the Locusts have short antennæ, and either flattened or filiform, or
swelling out at one extremity like a club. The female of the first two
is provided with an ovipositor in the shape of an auger.

We will study successfully the three types of these families, that is
to say, the Crickets, the Locusts, and the Grasshoppers.

The Field Cricket (_Gryllus campestris_, Fig. 304) lives alone in a
hole which it digs in the ground, and in which it remains during the
day. It only quits its retreat at night, when it goes in search of
food. It is very timid, and at the least noise ceases its song. If it
is stationed on the side of its hole, it retreats into it the moment
any one approaches.

The holes of the crickets are well known to country children, who take
these insects by presenting a straw to them. The pugnacious cricket
seizes it directly with its mandibles, and lets itself be drawn out of
its hole. It is this which has given rise to the saying, "_plus sot
qu'un grillon_" (a greater fool than a cricket). It is very
susceptible of cold, and always makes the opening of its hole towards
the south. It lives on herbs, perhaps also on insects.

The House Cricket is about half an inch long, of an ashy colour, and
is to be met with principally in bakers' shops and country kitchens,
where it hides itself during the day in the crevices of the walls or
at the back of the fireplaces. It eats flour, and also, perhaps, the
little insects which live in flour.

If crickets are put into a box together, they devour each other. This
does not prove conclusively that they are carnivorous, for there are
many species, eating nothing but vegetables, which would destroy each
other in a similar case. Some authors say that these insects are
always thirsty, for they are often to be found drowned in the vessels
containing any kind of liquid. Everything damp is to their taste. It
is for this reason that they sometimes make holes in wet clothes,
which are hung up before the fire to dry. They inhabit, by preference,
houses newly built; for the mortar, being still damp, allows them to
hollow out their dwelling-places with greater ease.

[Illustration: Fig. 304.--Field Cricket (_Gryllus campestris_).]

The habits of the House Cricket (_Gryllus domesticus_) are nocturnal,
like those of its congener of the fields. It is only at night that it
leaves its retreat to seek its food. When it is exposed against its
will to the light of day, it appears to be in a state of torpor. This
insect reminds one of the owl, among birds, not only from its habit of
avoiding the light, but also from its monotonous song, which the
vulgar consider, one does not know why, a foreboding of ill-luck to
the house in which it is heard. Formerly this singular prejudice was
much deeper rooted than it is at present The song of the cricket has
merely the object of calling the female. The Wood Cricket (_Gryllus_
[_Nemobius_] _sylvestris_) is much smaller than the above, and is met
with in great numbers in the woods, where its leaps sometimes produce
the noise of drops of rain.

[Illustration: Fig. 305.--Mole Cricket (_Gryllo-talpa vulgaris_).]

The female crickets have a long egg-layer, or ovipositor, with which
they deposit their eggs, of which each one lays, towards the middle of
the summer, about three hundred, in the cracks and crevices of the
soil. The larvæ pass the winter in that state, and do not become pupæ
and perfect insects till the following summer.

Mouffet relates that, in certain regions of Africa, the crickets are
objects of commerce. They are brought up in little cages, as we do
Canary birds, and sold to the inhabitants, who like to hear their
amorous chant. It is said that some tribes eat these insects. In
France they are sought after as baits for fishing, and are used also
in menageries for feeding small reptiles. Next to _Gryllus_ come the
genera _OEcanthus_, insects of the south of Europe, which live on
plants, and which one often sees fluttering about flowers; _Sphæria_,
which live in ant-hills; _Platydactylus_; and, lastly, the Mole
Cricket (_Gryllo-talpa_), whose habits deserve attention for a while.

The Mole Crickets are distinguished from all other insects by the
structure of their fore-legs, which are wide and indented, in such a
manner as to resemble a hand, analogous to that of the mole. This leg
betrays the habits of the cricket much better than our hands betray
ours. They make use of them, indeed, as spades, with which they hollow
out subterranean galleries, and accumulate at the side of the
entrance-hole the rubbish thus drawn out. The French name comes from
the old French word _courtille_, which means garden. Such places and
vineyards are the favourite haunts of these destructive insects.

If the Mole Crickets, or _Courtilières_, have spades on their front
legs, their hind-legs are very little developed, so that it would be
perfectly impossible for them to jump, particularly as their large
abdomen would hinder their so doing. The wings are broad, and fold
back in the form of a fan; they make little use of them, and it is
only at night-fall that the mole cricket is seen to disport himself,
describing curves of no great height in the air. It is found
principally in cultivated land, kitchen-gardens, nursery gardens,
wheat fields, &c., where it scoops out for itself an oval cavity
communicating with the surface by a vertical hole (Fig. 306). On this
hole abut numerous horizontal galleries, more or less inclined, which
permit the insect to gain its retreat by a great many roads, when

It is easy to understand that an insect which undermines land in this
way must cause great damage to cultivation. Whether the crops serve it
for food or not, they are not the less destroyed by its underground
burrowings. Lands infested by the mole cricket are recognisable by the
colour of the vegetation, which is yellow and withered; and the
rubbish which these miners heap up at the side of the openings leading
to their galleries, resembling mole-hills in miniature, betray their
presence to the farmer. To destroy them, they pour water or other
liquids into their nests, or else they bury, at different distances,
vessels filled with water, in which they drown themselves. From the
month of April the males betake themselves to the entrance of their
burrows, and make their cry of appeal. Their notes are slow,
vibrating, and monotonous, and repeated for a long time without
interruption, and somewhat resembling the cry of the owl or the

[Illustration: Fig. 306.--The nest of the Mole Cricket (_Gryllo-talpa

The female lays her eggs, to the number of from two to three hundred,
in the interior of a sort of chamber scooped out in soil stiff enough
to resist the action of rain. The hatching takes place at the end of a

It is not till the following spring that the larvæ pass into the pupa
state, and that the organs of flight begin to be marked out. According
to M. Féburier, three years are required for the complete development
of the mole cricket, which is a fact that indicates remarkable
longevity in these insects. All authors agree, moreover, in extolling
the solicitude with which the mole cricket takes care of her little
ones. She watches over them, and, they say, procures them food.

The genus _Tridactylus_, which bears a great analogy to the mole
cricket, is the smallest genus of Orthoptera known; the species are
not more than a sixth of an inch in length, and are found in the south
of France, on the banks of the Rhône and other rivers, where they
disport themselves in sand exposed to the sun. The _Tridactyli_ leap
with remarkable agility, even on the surface of the water, for their
legs are provided with flat appendages much resembling battledores.

The Grasshoppers and Locusts take much longer leaps than the Crickets,
owing to the conformation of their hind-legs, and they often make use
of their wings also, which are very fully developed. These insects are
unable to walk, on account of the disproportion which exists between
their different pairs of legs. The female is provided with a curved
ovipositor with two valves, which serves for breaking up the ground
for the reception of its eggs. The male produces a sharp stridulation
or screeching sound, by rubbing the cases of its wings--which are
furnished with plates which might be compared to cymbals--one against

The song of the grasshopper, known by everyone, is a monotonous
"zic-zic-zic," which can be heard during the day in grassy places. It
is on account of this song that the name of Cigale is sometimes given,
though wrongly, to the great green grasshopper. As we have already
said in speaking of the Cigale, it is the green grasshopper which La
Fontaine had in view in his fable of _La Cigale et la Fourmi_, for all
the plates which ornament the ancient editions of the fables of this
author represent a grasshopper, and not a Cigale. Grasshoppers are
spread over the whole surface of the earth, but are to be met with
chiefly in South America, which contains nearly three-fourths of the
species known. The European species, on the contrary, are few.

Their habits resemble those of the other herbivorous Orthoptera. They
live in meadows, on trees, devouring the leaves and stalks of plants;
but they are never found in such great numbers as to cause damage at
all to be compared to that caused by the locust. They appear in the
month of July and disappear at the beginning of the cold weather.
Towards the end of summer their song is heard in the meadows and wheat
fields. The females, summoned by the males, are not long in coupling
and laying their eggs, which do not hatch until the following spring,
in the ground. After four months the larvæ change into pupæ, which
already show rudimentary wings, and which by a fifth month pass into
the perfect state.

The Great Green Grasshopper (_Locusta viridissima_) is very common in
Europe. It remains during the day on trees, and in the evening
disports itself in the fields.

[Illustration: Fig. 307.--Decticus verrucivorus.]

The _Decticus verrucivorus_ (Fig. 307) is a shorter and more thick-set
species, whose distinctive feature is a very broad head. Its colour is
grey of various shades, and it is to be heard singing during the day
in fields of ripe wheat. The name comes from the use made of it by the
peasants in Sweden and Germany as a cure for warts.

"The peasants," says Charles de Geer, "make these locusts bite the
warts which they often have on their hands, and the liquid which at
the same time flows from the insect's mouth into the wound causes the
warts to dry up and disappear. It is for this reason they have given
them the name of Wart-bit or Wart-biter."

The _Phaneropteræ_ and the _Copiphores_ are exotic Locusts. The
_Ephippigeræ_ are small species whose thorax, which is very convex,
resembles a saddle.

One often meets in the environs of Paris the Vine Ephippiger
(_Ephippigera vitium_), which is greenish, with four brown stripes on
its head. In this species the wing cases, or elytra, are almost
obsolete, and the wings are reduced to mere arched scales, whose
friction produces a stridulation or screeching noise. The females are
provided with a similar apparatus, so that they perform duets.[78]

    [78] The species of genus _Saga_ sometimes reach extraordinary
    dimensions. Thus, in 1863, there was found in Syria, after a
    shower of ordinary locusts, a specimen of the _Saga_ which was
    three inches and a quarter long. It was presented to the Museum
    of Natural History of Paris, by M. L. Delair.

The genus _Gryllacris_ resembles the crickets. It contains the
_Anostostomæ_ of New Holland, which are said to be destitute of wings,
even in the perfect state.

We arrive now at the redoubtable tribe of _Acridium_, or Locust, whose
fearful ravages are so well known.

These are, among the Orthoptera, the best adapted for jumping. The
thigh and the leg, folded together when at rest, are stretched out
suddenly under the action of very powerful muscles. The body, resting
then on the tarsi and on the flexible spines of the legs, is shot into
the air to a great height. They fly very well, but the power of
walking and running is denied to them, as it is also to the other
_Saltatoriæ_. The females have no ovipositor. This peculiarity, and
the formation of their antennæ, which are very short, distinguish the
locusts from the grasshoppers.

The males, as we have already said, make a shrill stridulation by
rubbing their thighs over their elytra. There is never more than one
thigh in motion at a time; the insect using the right and the left by
turns. The sound is made stronger by a sort of drum filled with air,
and covered with a very thin skin, which is found on each side of the
body, at the base of the abdomen. The locust's song is less monotonous
than that of the grasshopper. It is capable of much variation; it is a
noise just like that of a rattle, but with sounds which vary very
much, according to the species.

They move about by day, frequent dry places, and are very fond of
sitting on the grass in the sun. Certain species, which inhabit the
warm regions of the south, move their legs with scarcely any noise; it
being only perceptible to a very fine ear.

Locusts are very abundant in many parts of the world. In northern
countries, where they multiply less rapidly, their ravages are less
disastrous, though still very considerable. But in the southern
portions of the globe they are a perfect pest--the eighth plague of
Egypt. Certain species multiply in such a prodigious manner, that they
lay waste vast spaces of land, and in a very short time reduce whole
countries to the very last state of misery. These insects inflate
themselves with air, and undertake journeys during which they travel
more than six leagues a day, laying waste all vegetation on their

[Illustration: Fig. 308.--Locust (_Acridium_ [_OEdipoda_]

The most destructive species is the Migratory Locust (_Acridium_ [or
_OEdipoda_] _migratorium_, Fig. 308), which is very common in
Africa, India, and throughout the whole of the East. Isolated
specimens of this insect are to be found in the meadows round about
Paris, especially towards the end of the summer, and, very rarely, in
England. This species is greenish, with transparent elytra of a dirty
grey, whitish wings, and pink legs. A second species, the Italian
locust, also does a great deal of damage in the south. All the species
undergo five moults, which take six weeks each. The last takes place
at the end of the hot weather, towards the autumn.

It is especially in warm climates that they become such fearful pests
to agriculture. Wherever they alight, they change the most fertile
country into an arid desert. They are seen coming in innumerable
bands, which, from afar, have the appearance of stormy clouds, even
hiding the sun. As far and as wide as the eye can reach the sky is
black, and the soil is inundated with them. The noise of these
millions of wings may be compared to the sound of a cataract. When
this fearful army alights upon the ground, the branches of the trees
break, and in a few hours, and over an extent of many leagues, all
vegetation has disappeared, the wheat is gnawed to its very roots, the
trees are stripped of their leaves. Everything has been destroyed,
gnawed down, and devoured. When nothing more is left, the terrible
host rises, as if in obedience to some given signal, and takes its
departure, leaving behind it despair and famine. It goes to look for
fresh food--seeking whom, or rather in this case, what it may devour!

During the year succeeding that in which a country has been devastated
by showers of locusts, damage from these insects is the less to be
feared; for it happens often that after having ravaged everything,
they die of hunger before the laying season begins. But their death
becomes the cause of a greater evil. Their innumerable carcases, lying
in heaps and heated by the sun, are not long in entering into a state
of putrefaction; epidemic disease, caused by the poisonous gases
emanating from them, soon break out, and decimate the populations.
These locusts are bred in the deserts of Arabia and Tartary, and the
east winds carry them into Africa and Europe. Ships in the eastern
parts of the Mediterranean are sometimes covered with them at a great
distance from the land.

It is related in the Bible, in the tenth chapter of Exodus, that
Jehovah commanded Moses to stretch forth his hand to make locusts
(Arbeth) come over the whole land of Egypt as the eighth plague,
destined to intimidate Pharaoh, who had rebelled against Him. These
insects arrived, brought by an east wind, and covered the surface of
the country to such a degree that the air was darkened by them.[79]

    [79] "And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt,
    and the Lord brought an east wind upon the land all that day,
    and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind
    brought the locusts. And the locusts went up over all the land
    of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous
    were they; before them there were no such locusts as they,
    neither after them shall be such. For they covered the face of
    the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did
    eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees
    which the hail had left; and there remained not any green thing
    in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the
    land of Egypt."--EXOD. x. 13-15.

They ate up all the herbs of the field and all the fruit of the trees
which the hail (the seventh plague) had left. A west wind swept
them away again, when Pharaoh had at last promised to allow the
children of Israel to depart.

[Illustration: VIII. A Cloud of Locusts in Algeria.]

Pliny relates that in many places in Greece a law obliged the
inhabitants to wage war against the locusts three times a year; that
is to say, in their three states of egg, larva, and adult. In the Isle
of Lemnos the citizens had to pay as taxes so many measures of
locusts. In the year 170 before our era they devastated the environs
of Capua. In the year of our Lord 181 they committed great ravages in
the north of Italy and in Gaul. In 1690 locusts arrived in Poland and
Lithuania by three different ways, and, as it were, in three different
bodies. "They were to be found in certain places where they had died,"
writes the Abbé Ussaris, an eye-witness, "lying on one another in
heaps of four feet in height. Those which were alive, perched upon the
trees, bending their branches to the ground, so great was their
number. The people thought that they had Hebrew letters on their
wings. A rabbi professed to be able to read on them words which
signified God's wrath. The rains killed these insects: they infected
the air; and the cattle, which ate them in the grass, died

In 1749 locusts stopped the army of Charles XII., King of Sweden, as
it was retreating from Bessarabia, on its defeat at Pultowa. The king
thought that he was assailed by a hail-storm, when a host of these
insects beat violently against his army as it was passing through a
defile, so that men and horses were blinded by this living hail,
falling from a cloud which hid the sun. The arrival of the locusts had
been announced by a whistling sound like that which precedes a
tempest; and the noise of their flight quite over-powered the noise
made by the Black Sea. All the country round about was soon laid waste
on their route. During the same year a great part of Europe was
invaded by these pests, the newspapers of the day being full of
accounts relating to this public calamity. In 1753 Portugal was
attacked by them. This was the year of the earthquake of Lisbon, and
all sorts of plagues seemed at this time to rage in that unfortunate

In 1780, in Transylvania, their ravages assumed such gigantic
proportions that it was found necessary to call in the assistance of
the army. Regiments of soldiers gathered them together and enclosed
them in sacks. Fifteen hundred persons were employed in crushing,
burying, and burning them; but, in spite of all this, their number did
not seem to diminish; but a cold wind, which fortunately sprang up,
caused them to disappear. In the following spring the plague broke out
again, and every one turned out to fight against it. The locusts were
swept with great brooms into ditches, in which they were then burnt;
not, however, before they had ruined the whole country. Locusts showed
themselves at the same time in the empire of Morocco, where they
caused a fearful famine. The poor were to be seen wandering on all
sides, digging up the roots of vegetables, and eagerly devouring
camels' dung, in hopes of finding in it a few undigested grains of

Barrow and Levaillant, in their travels through Central Africa, speak
of similar calamities having happened many times between 1784 and
1797. They add that the surface of the rivers was then hidden by the
bodies of the locusts, which covered the whole country.

According to Jackson, in 1739 they covered the whole surface of the
ground from Tangiers to Mogador. All the region near to the Sahara was
ravaged, whilst on the other side of the river El Klos there was not
one of these insects. When the wind blew they were driven into the
sea, and their carcases occasioned a plague which laid Barbary waste.

India and China often suffer from these destructive insects. In 1735
clouds of locusts hid from the Chinese both the sun and moon. Not only
the standing crops, but also the corn in the barns and the clothes in
the houses were devoured.

In the south of France locusts multiply sometimes so prodigiously that
in a very short time many barrels may be filled with their eggs. They
have caused, at different periods, immense damage. It was chiefly in
the years 1613, 1805, 1820, 1822, 1824, 1825, 1832, and 1834, that
their visits to the south of France were most formidable.

Mézeray relates that in the month of January, 1613, in the reign of
Louis XIII., locusts invaded the country around Arles. In seven or
eight hours the wheat and crops were devoured to the roots over an
extent of country of 15,000 acres. They then crossed over the Rhine,
and visited Tarascon and Beaucaire, where they ate the vegetables and
lucerne. They then shifted their quarters to Aramon, to Monfrin, to
Valabregues, &c., where they were fortunately destroyed in great part
by the starlings and other insect-eating birds, which flocked in
innumerable numbers to this game.

The consuls of Arles and of Marseilles caused the eggs to be
collected. Arles spent, for this object, 25,000 francs, and Marseilles
20,000 francs. Three thousand quintals of eggs were interred or thrown
into the Rhône. If we count 1,750,000 eggs per quintal, that will give
us a total of 5,250,000,000 of locusts destroyed in the egg, which
otherwise would have very soon renewed the ravages of which the
country had so lately been the victim. In 1822 were spent again, in
Provence, 2,227 francs for the same object. In 1825 were spent 6,200
francs. A reward of 50 centimes was given for every kilogramme of
eggs, and half the sum for every kilogramme of insects. The eggs
collected were burnt, or else crushed under heavy rollers. The
gathering was entrusted to women and children. The operation consisted
in dragging along the ground great sheets, the corners of which were
held up. The locusts came and settled on these, and were caught by
rolling the sheet up.

In the territory of Saintes-Maries, situated not far from
Aigues-Mortes, on the Mediterranean coast, 1,518 wheat sacks were
filled with dead locusts, amounting in weight to 68,861 kilogrammes;
and at Aries 165 sacks, or 6,600 kilogrammes. The rewards given
amounted to 5,542 francs; but, notwithstanding all this, the following
year the locusts caused still greater damage.

Locusts are always to be found in Algeria, in the provinces of Oran,
Bona, Algiers, and Bougia, but they never commit those terrible
ravages which change cultivated countries into deserts. There are in
Algeria years of locusts as there are with us years of cockroaches, of
blight, of caterpillars, &c. These plagues are fortunately rare. The
most terrible took place in 1845 and in 1866. In the former year a
formidable invasion of locusts took place. It lasted five months, from
March to July, each day bringing new bands of these devastating
insects; and M. Henry Berthoud, then in Algeria, saw a column of them,
whose passage began before daylight, and had scarcely ended at four
o'clock in the afternoon. Dr. Guyon, doctor to the army, and
correspondent of the Institute, addressed to this learned body an
account of a few peculiarities of this invasion, of which he was a
witness. He speaks of a band which passed on the 16th of March over
the plain of Sebdon, going in the direction of the desert of Angard.
Their passage lasted three hours. The locusts, having found nothing to
devour in the desert, came back again, and next day made a descent
upon the plain of Sebdon, which is 30 kilomètres long, by 12 to 15
kilomètres broad. In four hours all the crops were devoured, and all
vegetation destroyed. "The locusts," says the Doctor, "left behind
them an infectious odour of putrid herbs, produced by their

At Algiers, in the Faubourg Bab-Azoum, they penetrated in masses into
the barley stores, and there was the greatest difficulty in driving
them away, great barricades being raised before the storerooms to stop
the invasion. In 1845 they penetrated into the pits in which the
natives preserve their wheat. According to the report of the
Commandant de la Place of Philippeville, M. Levaillant, a column of
locusts alighted in the country round about that town on the 18th of
March, 1845, which extended from 30 to 40 centimètres, and the locusts
were found heaped upon the ground to the height of three décimètres.

In the environs of Algiers alone were destroyed, in 1845, 369 quintals
of locusts. It is computed that 400 locusts go to a kilogramme. This
gives, then, a total of 14,760,000 insects destroyed. As in this
number half were probably females, and as each female lays on an
average seventy eggs, the result we arrive at is, that this stopped
the production of 516,600,000 larvæ on the territory of Algiers alone.
The invasion of locusts which took place in 1866 was as disastrous as
that of 1845. It was in the month of April, 1866, that the vanguard of
these destructive insects appeared. Debouching through the mountain
gorges and through the valleys, into the fertile plains near the
coast, they alighted first on the plain of Mitidja and on the Sahel
of Algiers. Their mass, at certain points, intercepted the light of
the sun, and resembled those whirlwinds of snow which, during the
storms of winter, hide the nearest objects from our view. Very
soon the cabbages, the oats, the barley, the late wheat, and the
market-gardeners' plants, were partly destroyed. In some places the
locusts penetrated into the interiors of the houses. By order of the
government of Algiers the troops joined the colonists in combating the
plague; and the Arabs, when they found that their interests were
suffering, rose to lend their aid against the common enemy. Immense
quantities of locusts were destroyed in a few days; but what could
human efforts do against these winged multitudes, who escape into
space, and only abandon one field to alight in the next?

It was impossible to prevent the fecundation of these insects. The
eggs quickly producing innumerable larvæ, the first swarms were very
soon not only replaced, but multiplied a hundredfold by a new
generation. The young locusts are particularly formidable on account
of their voracity. These hungry masses threw themselves upon
everything which was left by those which went before them. They choked
up the springs, the canals, and the brooks; and it was not without a
great deal of trouble that the waters were cleared of these causes of
infection. Almost at the same time the provinces of Oran and of
Constantine were invaded. At Tlemcen, where within the memory of man
locusts had never appeared, the ground was covered with them. At
Sidi-bel-Abbes, at Sidi-Brahim, at Mostaganem, they attacked the
tobacco, the vines, the fig-tree, and even the olive-trees, in spite
of the bitterness of their foliage. At Relizane and at L'Habra they
attacked the cotton-fields. The road, 80 kilomètres long, which
connects Mostaganem with Mascara, was covered to the whole of its

In the province of Constantine the locust appeared almost
simultaneously, from the Sahara to the sea, and from Bougia to La
Calle. At Batna, at Setif, at Constantine, at Guelma, at Bona, at
Philippeville, at Djidjelly, the inhabitants struggled with energy
against this invasion, but neither fire nor any obstacles opposed to
the advance of this winged army were able to stop their ravages. The
French Government, to alleviate as much as possible the ruin which was
thus brought upon the colony, opened a public subscription at the end
of the year 1866.

The negroes of Soudan endeavour to frighten the locusts in their
flight by savage yells. In Hungary they employed for the same object
the noise of cannon. In the middle ages, for the want of cannon, they
exorcised the locusts. A traveller of the sixteenth century, the monk
Alvarez, relates that he also employed exorcisms against an immense
host of these destructive insects which he met with in Ethiopia. When
he perceived them, he made the Portuguese and the natives form in
procession, and ordered them to chant psalms. "Thus chanting," says
he, "we went into a country where the corn was, which having reached,
I made them catch a good many of these locusts, to whom I delivered an
adjuration, which I carried with me in writing, by me composed the
preceding night, summoning, admonishing, and excommunicating them.
Then I charged them in three hours' time to depart to the sea, or else
to go to the land of the Moors, leaving the land of the Christians; on
their refusal of which, I adjured and convoked all the birds of the
air, animals, and tempests, to dissipate, destroy, and devour them;
and for this admonition I had a certain quantity of these locusts
seized, and pronouncing these words in their presence, that they might
not be ignorant of them, I let them go, so that they might tell the
rest." If one reflects that on their arrival in the land of the Moors,
these same locusts were perhaps received by prayers which had for
their object to send them back to the land of the Christians, they
must have been very much embarrassed by such contradictory

The Arabs have also an infallible means of ridding themselves of the
locusts. Here is what General Daumas tells us on the subject According
to Ben-Omar, the Prophet read one day, on the wings of a locust,
written in Hebrew characters: "We are the troops of the Most High God;
we each one lay ninety-nine eggs. If we were to lay a hundred we
should devastate the whole world." Upon which Mahomet, greatly
alarmed, made an ardent prayer, in which he begged God to destroy
these enemies of Mussulmans. In answer to this invocation, the angel
Gabriel told Mahomet that a part of his prayer should be granted.
Since that epoch, indeed, words of invocation to the Prophet, written
on a piece of paper, and enclosed in a reed, which is planted in the
middle of a wheat-field or orchard, have the power of turning away the
locusts.[80] This receipt is infallible, at least so say the devout

    [80] "Le Grand Désert," par le Général E. Daumas et E. de
    Chaucel. In 18mo. Paris, 1860.

There exists another quite as efficacious. They take four locusts, and
write on the wings of each a verse of the Koran (four verses of the
Koran are appropriated to this purpose). They then let the locusts
thus marked fly into the midst of the swarm, and the flying army
immediately take another direction.

By what the Arabs say, the locusts possess a number of virtues. When
you see them in a dream, they announce the future; if you dream that
you are eating them, it is a good omen; if you dream that it rains
golden locusts, God will restore to you that which you have lost; &c.
When Omar-ben-el-Khottal was Caliph, the locusts seemed to have
completely disappeared. There was great sadness in the country in
consequence. The Caliph especially was very much afflicted at it. He
sent carriers into Yemen, into Cham, and into Irak, to see if they
could not find a few. One of the _envoyés_ succeeded in his mission,
and brought back a handful of locusts. "God is great!" cried Omar, who
from that day had no more misgivings. In order to understand first the
despair and then the satisfaction of the Caliph Omar, it is written,
so say the Mussulmans, that the human race will disappear from the
earth after the extinction of the locusts; that these insects were
formed of the rest of the clay out of which man had been formed, and
that they were destined to serve him as food.

And so locusts and fish are the only creatures which God allows the
Mussulman to eat without being skinned. They must, however, have been
killed by one of the faithful, for otherwise their flesh is impure!
The Arabs eat, and are very fond of locusts. When he was asked his
opinion on this article of food, the Caliph Omar-ben-el-Khottal said,
"I only wish I had a basketful of them, wouldn't I scrunch them!"

According to General Daumas, locusts, fresh or preserved, are good
food for both men and camels. They are eaten grilled or boiled, or
prepared in the kous-koussou, after their legs, wings, and heads have
been taken off. Sometimes they are dried in the sun, and reduced to
powder, which is mixed with milk, and made into cakes with flour,
dripping, or butter and salt. Camels are very fond of them; and they
are given to them after having been dried, or roasted between two
layers of ashes. Dried and salted, they are in Asia and in Africa an
object of commerce. At Bagdad they sometimes cause the price of meat
to fall. The taste of their flesh may be compared to that of the crab.
Eastern nations have eaten locusts from time immemorial. The Greek
comic poet, Aristophanes, tells us, in the "Acharnians," that the
Greeks sold them in the markets. Moses allowed to the Jews four
species, which are mentioned in Leviticus. St. John the Baptist,
following the example of the prophet Amos, made them his food in the
desert, where he found nothing but locusts and a little honey. The
wholesomeness of this food was, however, disputed among the ancients.
Strabo relates that there existed on the borders of the gulf of Arabia
a people called by him _Acridophagi_, or Locust-eating people; but
they all came to a miserable end. These people procured for themselves
locusts by lighting great fires, when the equinoctial winds brought
these hosts. Blinded and suffocated by the smoke, the locusts fell to
the ground, and were picked up greedily by them, and eaten, fresh or
salted. "These locust-eaters," says Strabo, "are, it is true, active,
good runners; but their life never exceeds forty years. As they
approach this age, a horrible vermin issues from their bodies, which
eats them up, beginning from the belly, and so they die a miserable
death." The same tale is to be met with in a description of Admiral
Drake's voyage round the world. This traveller speaks of the natives
of Ethiopia, who live on locusts, as dying eaten up by winged insects
bred in their own bodies.

It is difficult to explain the origin of such fables. Travellers who
have visited Arabia agree in declaring that the locust is a most
wholesome article of food; that it is even fattening. At any rate, it
is good food for cattle and poultry. The ancients employed locusts in
medicine. Dioscorides asserts that the thighs of the locust, reduced
to powder, and mixed with the blood of the he-goat, is a cure for
leprosy; and mixed with wine, is a specific against the bite of the
scorpion, &c.

It remains for us to describe some other species of grasshoppers less
destructive in their ravages than the _Acridium migratorium_.

In the deserts of Egypt is to be met with the great _Eremobia_, and
in South America the _Ommexeca_, which walks rather than springs. On
the other hand, the _Tetrix_ springs very well. A remarkable feature
about them is their thorax, which is prolonged into a point, and
covers the whole body. They are small insects of gay and brilliant
colours, and generally remain on the leaves of low plants, and escape
easily from the hand that tries to catch them. The _Tetrix subulata_,
of a brownish colour, is common during spring, in the environs of
Paris, in the woods, and in dry and arid fields. The _Pneumoræ_ are
very strange insects. The males have a very prominent abdomen, which
resembles a bladder filled with air; and their wings are very much
developed. The females have the abdomen of the ordinary shape; their
wings are very short, or even quite rudimentary. The former produce a
sharp stridulation, by rubbing their hind-legs against a row of small
tubercles, which are to be seen on each side of the abdomen. The sound
is rendered still more penetrating by the vesiculous or bladder-like
abdomen, the skin of which is stretched as tight as a drum. The
_Pneumoræ_ inhabit the South of Africa, as also do the _Truxales_, a
few varieties of which, however, are to be met with in Spain, Sicily,
and the South of France.

We will pass in silence over a great number of other less interesting
species of Orthoptera. Those which we have described suffice to
justify us in what we said above, namely, that this order contains
insects of the strangest and most anomalous forms.



The Order Hymenoptera comprises those insects which have four naked
membranous wings, lying in repose horizontally upon the body, and
intersected by a network of nerves. The name is derived from two Greek
words--[Greek: hymên], a membrane, and [Greek: pteron], a wing. The
mouth is composed of two horny mandibles, jaws, and lips adapted for

It is amongst the Hymenoptera that we meet with the most industrious
insects, some of which seem to possess real intelligence. These little
animals offer the most admirable examples of sociability. Born
architects, they construct dwellings marvellously contrived, which
serve them, at the same time, as nurseries in which to rear their
progeny, and storehouses in which to lay by their provisions. Nothing
can equal the solicitude with which they watch over their young larvæ,
still incapable of motion. They form republics, governed by immutable
laws, and make war against their enemies in order of battle. They have
predilections or antipathies for those who court their society, on
account of the material advantages they derive from them.

The Bees, the Humble Bees, the Wasps, and the Ants, are the best-known
types of this order of insects. Among a great number of the
Hymenoptera the females are armed with a sting, or lancet, a wound
from which causes great pain. All these insects undergo complete
metamorphoses. In the larva state the aculeate species are incapable
of motion and of obtaining food; but Nature has provided in different
ways for their preservation. They are often lodged and fed by the
workers of the tribe, unfruitful females, which, with a self-denial
very rare in Nature, seem to have no other vocation than to sacrifice
themselves to the welfare of the larvæ. The workers construct the nest
and bring in the provisions. This is the case with honey bees, wasps,
and ants.

Some deposit their eggs in the bodies of other insects, which die
immediately the larvæ which live in them have attained their full
development. The larvæ of the _Chalcididæ_ and of the _Ichneumonidæ_
furnish examples of Hymenoptera which inhabit the interior of the body
of another insect. Other parasitical species carry on their
depredations in a different way. They content themselves with laying
their eggs in the nests of other species of the order, which have the
advantage over them in being able to construct for themselves places
of refuge. Their larvæ live thus on their neighbours' goods,
nourishing themselves on the provisions which were laid up for others.
In this way live the _Cleptes_, the _Chrysides_, &c. Lastly, others,
such as the Gall-insects, and the _Tenthredinetæ_, or Saw-flies, live
in their first state exposed on plants, and feed upon their leaves.

We shall only here describe the principal families of the Order
Hymenoptera, which contains a considerable number of species. These
families will be--1st. The _Apiariæ_, containing the Honey Bees, the
_Melipodes_, and the Humble Bees. 2nd. The _Vespiariæ_, or Wasps. 3rd.
The _Formicariæ_, or Ants. 4th. The _Gallicolæ_, or Gall-insects.

BEES.--Man, from the very earliest age, before any civilisation
existed, knew the value of bees, and took advantage of the products of
these industrious insects. The Bible makes mention of honey bees.
Their Hebrew name is _Deborah_. The Greeks called them by the name of
_Melissa_, or _Melitta_.

Their wonderful architectural powers, their economical forethought,
the wonderful combination of their reasonings, which denote a real
intelligence, their admirable social organisation, have in all times
fixed the attention of naturalists, as they have also that of poets
and thinkers. Virgil has celebrated them. In the fourth book of his
Georgics, the Latin poet has summed up all that the ancients knew
about bees. He paints with a good deal of truth many traits in their
history, points out their enemies, and sets forth with accuracy all
the care that should be taken of them. In the words of the Mantuan
poet, they are heavenly gifts, _dona cælestia_, and their intelligence
excited his admiration:--

  "His quibus signis atque hæc exempla secuti,
  Esse apibus partem divinæ mentis, et haustus
  Æthereos dixere." ...

Let us hasten to say, however, that all which the ancients,
naturalists or poets, Greek or Latin, relate on the subject of bees,
is a mixture of truth and error, and rests generally on mere
supposition. Aristotle knew well the three sorts of individuals which
are comprised under the title of bees, and some other principal facts
relating to their history; but these facts are not stated accurately
and precisely in his account of them, and they are, above all,
misinterpreted. The Greek philosopher understood insects in general
very badly. He made them spring from the leaves of trees, and brought
forward a multitude of errors about them, which the most simple
observation would have sufficed to dissipate. Pliny tells us that
Aristomachus of Soles consecrated fifty-eight years to the observation
of the habits of the bee, and that Philiscus of Thrace passed, for the
same motive, all his life in the forests. But this devotion to one
object does not appear to have produced much result, if one compares
the discoveries of our own age with the errors which Pliny, Aristotle,
and Columella have chronicled respecting them. Pliny says that bees
occupy the first rank among insects, and that they were created for
man, for whom their work procures honey and wax. He adds that they
form political associations, that they have councils, chiefs, and even
a code of morality and principles.

One sees by this opinion of the Roman naturalist in what high esteem
the ancients held bees. But they had the most singular ideas on the
reproduction of these little beings; and as no one had ever seen their
generation, they invented fable after fable to explain their origin.
Some pretended that bees sprang from an ox recently killed, and buried
in manure. Others added that they only sprang into existence from the
chest of a young ox killed with violence. The most courageous bees
came from the belly of a lion in a state of putrefaction. It was from
the head of this same animal, in a state of corruption, that the
_kings_ (_i.e._, the _queens_) were formed. The carcases of cows
furnished the mild and tractable bees; a calf could only furnish small
and weak ones. Other naturalists, or rather other dreamers, made these
insects spring from the calices of sweet-scented flowers. Combined and
separated in a certain manner, the flowers engendered bees. They said,
further, that the bees sought on the blossoms of the olive trees and
of the reed a seed which they rendered fit for the formation of their

All these fables, which sprang from the imagination of the ancients,
were developed by a writer of the Renaissance, a certain Alexander de
Montfort, author of a work entitled "Printemps de l'Abeille." If we
were to believe him, the king of the bees is formed of the juice which
the workers extract from plants. These latter are created from honey;
and the tyrants, _i.e._, the females, which do not manage to become
sovereigns of a hive, are formed only of gum. It will be seen that he
had profited only too well by what he had read in Greek and Roman

The bee was very much thought of in ancient Egypt, and is often
represented on their monuments, above the sculptured ornaments which
contain proper names, with two semicircles and a sort of sheaf, or
fasciculus. Champollion Figeac thinks that this group, taken together,
represents a title added to a proper name. According to Hor-Apollon,
another commentator on Egyptian hieroglyphics, the bee in the country
of the Pharaohs was the emblem of a people sweetly submissive to the
orders of its king. Nothing can be better than this comparison. It was
for this reason, no doubt, that Napoleon I. sprinkled the symbolical
bees over the imperial mantle which bears the arms of his dynasty.

All the fables, all the hypotheses, spread about and cherished by the
ancients respecting these industrious little insects, were dissipated
in a moment when, by the invention of glass bee-hives, first made in
the beginning of the last century by Maraldi, a mathematician of Nice,
we were enabled to observe their operations and habits. It is from
this period only that our exact knowledge of the really wonderful life
of these insects dates. Before Maraldi, the Dutch naturalist,
Swammerdam, had written an excellent "History of Bees." He died before
he had published his work, and when, a long while after his death, it
was at length printed, other investigators had already pushed on their
observations further than he had. Thanks to the invention of Maraldi,
Réaumur, John Hunter, Schirach, and Francis Huber, had unveiled, by
their admirable researches, the wonderful habits of these insects. The
discoveries of Francis Huber seem to be almost miraculous, when we
remember that this observer was blind from the age of seventeen.

Deprived of sight, Francis Huber did not the less wish to consecrate
his life to the observation and the study of Nature. He caused the
best works of his day on natural history and physics to be read to
him, his usual reader being his servant, named Francis Burnens, a
native of the Pays de Vaud. The honest Burnens took a singular
interest in all he read, and showed by his judicious reflections the
true talent of an observer, and Huber resolved to cultivate his
talent. Very soon he could place implicit reliance in his companion,
and see with another's eyes as if they were his own.

The two naturalists (we do not hesitate to give this title to the poor
peasant of the canton of Vaud who so well seconded his master in his
long hours of study) conceived a host of original experiments, which
led them to discover truths which no one up to that time had dreamt
of. The results of their researches were published, in 1789, in a
volume which produced a profound sensation among naturalists.[81]
Burnens was at a later period called back to the bosom of his family,
and invested by his fellow-citizens with important functions. Francis
Huber then continued his observations through the eyes of the
excellent wife he had married. A second volume was thus composed by
him twenty years after the appearance of the first. This volume was
published by his son, Pierre Huber, to whom we are indebted for the
admirable researches concerning ants, of which we shall have to speak
further on.

    [81] "Nouvelles Observations sur les Abeilles," par François
    Huber. Paris et Genève, in 8vo. 2e edition. 1814.

We will now speak of the habits of the bees. The labours of Réaumur,
of Schirach, and of Huber, have perfectly revealed them to us, and
have initiated us completely into the habits of these precious
insects, which are for us to a certain extent domestic animals. We
will begin by describing the Common Bee (_Apis mellifica_).

During the greater part of the year the population of our hives is
composed exclusively of two sorts of individuals--the female, or
mother bee, called also the queen bee; and the working bees, or
neuters, which are, properly speaking, females incompletely developed.
A third kind of individuals, the males, called also drones, are
generally not met with except from May to July.

[Illustration: Fig. 309.--Working Bee (_Apis mellifica_).]

The working bees are the people, the crowd, the _servum pecus_, the
living force, the bee community. They are recognised by their small
size, reddish brown colour, and, above all, by the palettes and
brushes with which the hind legs are furnished.

The three pairs of legs which are inserted in its thorax are its
tools. The two hind-legs are longer than the other pairs, and present
on the exterior a triangular depression, resembling a _palette_, which
is surrounded by stiff hairs, forming, as it were, the borders of a
sort of basket, in which the insect deposits the pollen of flowers.
The broadest part of the leg articulates with the tarsus, which is of
a square form, smooth on the exterior, and having hairs on its
interior surface, which has caused it to be named the brush. The joint
is used for gathering the pollen; it folds back on the leg (Fig. 310),
and forms with it a sort of small pair of pincers; and, finally, the
leg is terminated by four smaller articulations, the last of which is
armed with hooks. The other tools of the working bee consist of a pair
of movable mandibles, which close the mouth on its two sides, and of a
trunk or proboscis (Fig. 311), which may be considered as a sort of

[Illustration: Fig. 310.--Leg of a Bee (magnified).]

[Illustration: Fig. 311.--Trunk of a Bee (magnified).]

With its mandibles the working bee seizes any hard substance. The
trunk serves it to collect the juice lying on the surface of the
petals, or at the bottom of the corolla of the flower. When a bee has
settled on a full-blown flower, it is seen immediately to make for the
interior of the corolla, to put out its trunk, and apply it to the
petals; it lengthens, shortens, and twists and bends it in all
directions. When the hairy surface of this organ is covered with
vegetable juice, the bee returns it to its mouth, and deposits the
booty in a conduit, whence the juice passes into the first stomach.
This trunk is then, in all respects, a tongue, with which the bee
sucks, licks, and pumps up the honey of flowers. But it also gathers
the pollen. When it enters a flower the bee covers itself with pollen
from head to foot, and then passing its brushes carefully over its
whole body, removes the dust which adheres to it in every part, and
piles it up on the triangular palettes of its hind-legs, in such a
manner as to form balls of greater or less size. If the flower is not
quite full blown, the bee makes use of its mandibles to open the
anthers, in which case the front pair of legs transmit the booty to
the second pair, which stores them in the baskets of the third. When
it has gathered as much as it can carry, the bee returns to the hive,
its legs laden with pollen.

[Illustration: Fig. 312.--Male, or Drone (_Apis mellifica_).]

[Illustration: Fig. 313.--Female, or Queen (_Apis mellifica_).]

This complete set of tools which we have just described is only to be
met with among the working bees. The males, or drones (Fig. 312),
larger and more hairy than the working bees, emitting a sonorous and
buzzing sound, have no palettes on their legs, the hairs on their
tarsi are not appropriated to the work of gathering, their mandibles
are shorter, and they have no _aculeus_, or sting, which is the
working bee's weapon.

The female, or queen (Fig. 313), is smaller than the male, and has a
longer body than the working bees, and the wings, shorter in
proportion, cover only the half of its body, whereas with the other
bees they cover it entirely. The only part she has to play is that of
laying eggs, and so she has no palettes and brushes. The sovereign is,
as suits her supreme rank, exempted from all work. She is always
escorted by a certain number of working bees, who brush her, lick her,
present honey to her with their trunks, save her every kind of
fatigue, and compose a train worthy of her feminine majesty. One very
remarkable fact is that only one queen lives in each hive. Perfect
sovereign of this tiny state, she rules over a people of some
thousands of workers. It is not rare to find 20,000 working bees in a
hive, and all submissively obey their sovereign. The number of males
is scarcely one-tenth part of that of the working bees; and they only
live about three months. The workers represent the active life of the

"The exterior of a hive," says M. Victor Rendre, "gives the best idea
of this people, essentially laborious. From sunrise to sunset, all is
movement, diligence, bustle; it is an incessant series of goings and
comings, of various operations which begin, continue, and end, to be
recommenced. Hundreds of bees arrive from the fields, laden with
materials and provisions; others cross them and go in their turn into
the country. Here, cautious sentinels scrutinise every fresh arrival;
there, purveyors, in a hurry to be back at work again, stop at the
entrance to the hive, where other bees unload them of their burdens;
elsewhere it is a working bee which engages in a hand-to-hand
encounter with a rash stranger; farther on the surveyors of the hive
clear it of everything which might interfere with the traffic or be
prejudicial to health; at another point the workers are occupied in
drawing out the dead body of one of their companions; all the outlets
are besieged by a crowd of bees coming in and going out, the doors
hardly suffice for this hurrying, busy multitude. All appears disorder
and confusion at the approaches to the hive, but this tumult is only
so in appearance; an admirable order presides over this emulation in
their work, which is the distinctive feature in bees."[82] A very
simple calculation may serve to give us an idea of this prodigious
activity. The opening of a well-stocked hive gives passage to one
hundred bees a minute, which makes, from five o'clock in the morning
till seven o'clock in the evening, eighty thousand re-entrances, or
four excursions for each bee, supposing there is a population of
twenty thousand workers.

    [82] "L'Intelligence des Bêtes." In 18mo. Paris, 1864.

Let us now follow their occupations from the moment in which they
establish themselves in a hive. The workers begin by stopping up all
the openings except one door, which is always to remain open. A
certain number set out to look for a resinous and sweet-scented
substance, known under the name of _propolis_, which is destined to
cover the inner surface of the hive, as its name shows, which is
derived from a Greek word signifying outskirts, or suburb. Huber
asserts that it is gathered from the buds of plants. This substance
has not yet been employed in the arts, although it possesses the same
qualities as wax, as M. de Frarière remarks in his work "On Bees and
Bee-keeping."[83] The propolis is employed in Italy for making
blisters. This gum is viscous and very adherent. The bee works it up
into balls, and carries it in this form to the hive, where other
labourers take possession of it. They seize the pellet with their
mandibles, and apply it to cracks which they have to make air-tight.
They use the propolis for another purpose still, which deserves to be

    [83] "Sur les Abeilles et l'Apiculture." In 18mo. 2e edition.

It happens sometimes that an enemy penetrates into their hive, and
that the bees are not strong enough to cast this intruder out of their
dwelling. What do they do? As soon as they have discovered the
invasion of their domicile, they set upon the impudent intruder, and
sting him to death. But how can they drag out the dead body, which is
often very heavy? such, for instance, as a slug. On the other hand, it
would be dangerous to abandon its carcase in the midst of the hive. A
Roman Emperor said that the dead bodies of our enemies always smelt
good. This is not the opinion of the bees. They know that if they
abandon the carcase in the hive it would infect the place, to the
great danger of their health. They therefore embalm it. They encase it
in propolis, which preserves it from putrefaction. It is said that the
art of embalming was practised for the first time by the ancient
Egyptians. It is an error: the first inventors of this art were bees.

If, instead of a slug, it is a snail whose evil genius has conducted
it into the interior of a beehive, the proceeding is more simple. The
moment he has received one sting, the snail retires under the
protecting roof of his movable house. The bees thereupon at once wall
him in by closing the opening to his shell with this material. The
shell is then cemented to the floor of the hive, and the house of the
poor mollusc, become its tomb, remains thus in the midst of the hive,
as a sort of decorative tumulus. When the sides of the hive are well
closed, the bees lay the foundations of their cells.

It was not formerly so easy to observe the details of the work done by
the bees as it is at the present day; for these insects, once in their
hives, have a great aversion to the light. If they are put into a
glazed hive, their first care is to shut up all the windows, either by
plastering them over with propolis, or by forming, by means of the
well-marshalled battalion of working bees, a sort of living curtain.
In order to be able to take them unawares, and study them at his own
convenience, Huber constructed a hive with leaves, which opened like a
book. Fig. 314, which represents the hive with leaves, which is
sometimes used, gives an idea of the plan adopted by Huber in order to
enable him at will to open the hive and surprise its inmates. Huber
had also recourse in certain cases to a glass cage placed in the
interior of the hive, and which he could easily move to the light.

Thanks to his ingenuity, Huber was able to follow the working bees in
all the various phases of their labours. When they begin to construct
their hives they divide the work among themselves. A first detachment
is employed to gather the wax, which is the building stone of our
little architects. It was thought for a long time that wax was solely
the pollen of flowers, elaborated in the stomach of bees, and then
disgorged by the mouth. It was reserved for a peasant of Lusac to be
the first to discover the true nature of this secretion. This
observer, who did not belong to any school, or at most belonged to
Nature's school, found the flakes of wax sticking between the lower
arches of the rings of the abdomen or belly of the working bee. The
wax, then, is produced by the insect by exudation, and is not simply
the pollen gathered from flowers. Huber himself states that bees
exclusively nourished on pollen do not secrete wax, and that, on the
contrary, they do furnish it when they eat saccharine matter. It is
easy to perceive the little plates of wax by slightly raising the last
rings of the bee's abdomen. Fig. 315 represents a bee very heavily
laden with this matter.

[Illustration: Fig. 314.--Bee-hive in Leaves.]

[Illustration: Fig. 315.--Bee seen through a magnifying glass at the
moment when the plates of wax appear between the segments of the

[Illustration: Fig. 316.--Clusters of Bees.]

The working bees suspend themselves from the roof of the hive in such
a manner as to form festoons. The first clings to the roof with his
front legs, the second hooks himself on to the hind legs of the first,
and so on, as is shown in Fig. 316. They in this manner form chains,
fixed by the two ends to the roof, which serve as a bridge or ladder
to the bees which join this assembly.

The result of all this is at last a cluster or swarm of bees which
hangs down to the bottom of the hive. In this attitude they remain at
first motionless, waiting till the honey in their stomachs is changed
into wax. When the wax is sufficiently elaborated in its organs, one
of them detaches itself from the group of which it forms a part. It
takes between its legs one of the flakes of wax adhering to the rings
of its abdomen, kneads it with its mandibles, moistens it with its
saliva, and gives it the appearance of a soft filament, which it
sticks on to a projecting point of the roof. To this first layer it
adds others, till it has exhausted all its wax. Then it leaves its
post, and returns to the fields; another worker--another mason, as
they are sometimes called--succeeds it, and continues the laying of
the foundations. Presently shapeless blocks of wax hang down from the
roof. It is in these blocks that other workers, with their mandibles,
hollow out and form the first cells. While the workers continue to
prolong the foundation-wall, and whilst the first cells are being
shaped, new ones are roughly sketched out or rough-hewn, and the work
advances with a marvellous rapidity.

Each cell forms a small hexagonal cup, closed on one side only by a
pyramidal base, produced by the meeting together of three rhombs. The
honeycombs are the result of two layers of cells placed back to back,
arranged in such a way that the bases of the one become the bases of
the other, the base of each little cell being formed by the union of
the bases of three opposite cells. The bees begin by forming the base
of the cell; they then add the six sides, or walls, which are to
complete the hexagonal cup. At the same time others set to work on the
opposite side of the comb, and construct little cells back to back
with the cells of the front surface. They do not finish them off at
once. The walls are at first very thick: new workers, who succeed
those who merely mark out the work, being occupied in planing down the
rough-hewn cells, and in reducing the walls to the desired thickness.
This work is accomplished with an incredible celerity, for the bees
can build as many as 4,000 cells in twenty-four hours. There is very
good reason for the hexagonal form being adopted by the bees in
constructing their cells, as it involves a question of economy, which
these insects have solved in their most admirable manner.

"When one has well examined," says Réaumur,[84] "the true shape of
each cell, when one has studied their arrangement, geometry seems to
have guided the design for the whole work, and to have presided over
its execution. One finds that all the advantages which could have been
desired are here combined. The bees seem to have had to solve a
problem containing conditions which would have made the solution
appear to be difficult to many geometricians. This problem may be thus
enunciated:--Given a quantity of matter, say of wax, it is required to
form cells which shall be equal and similar to each other, of a
determined capacity, but as large as possible in proportion to the
quantity of matter which is employed, and the cells to be so placed
that they may occupy the least possible space in the hive. To satisfy
this last condition, the cells should touch each other in such a
manner that there may remain no angular space between them, no gap to
fill up. The bees have satisfied these conditions, and at the same
time they have satisfied the first conditions of the problem in making
cells which are tubes having six equal sides, or in other words,
hexagonal tubes.... We see still further that the best thing the bees
could do to economise their space and materials, was to compose their
honeycombs of two rows of cells turned in opposite directions."

    [84] "Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire des Insectes," tome
    v., p. 379.

[Illustration: Fig. 317.--Cells constructed by Bees.]

This arrangement, it will be seen, enables them to economise the half
of the wax intended for making the bases of the cells. They economise
it still more by making the bases and the sides of the tubes extremely
thin; the borders only of the comb being fortified by an excess of
wax. These two-sided combs descend from the roof of the hive in
parallel series, their thickness being about half an inch. They are
fixed to the top by a sort of wax foot, and fastened to the sides by
numerous bands. The bees pass between the rows, besides excavating
circular openings, which serve as doors of communication. The form and
the general arrangement of these buildings are otherwise very varied,
according to circumstances. The bees always accommodate themselves to
the nature of the hive.

In all these operations they exhibit great judgment. It is impossible,
when one has once seen them at work, to look on them as mere organised
machines, whose instinct is their spring of action; we are forced to
concede to them intelligence.

[Illustration: Fig. 318.--The cells of a Bee-hive. A, large cell
intended for the larvæ of the _queens_. B, middling-sized cells
intended for the larvæ of the _males_. C, small cells intended for the
larvæ of the _workers_.]

The cells are of three dimensions: the small ones intended for the
larvæ of the workers, the middling-sized ones for the larvæ of the
males, and the large ones for the larvæ of the queens.

These last--that is, the _royal cells_--are generally only about
twenty in number, in a hive containing 20,000 bees. Constructed of a
mixture of wax and of propolis, resembling a rounded thimble, they
form tubes of half an inch long, turned towards the exterior, and
placed always vertically, in such a manner as to appear detached from
the comb.

The weight of a _royal cell_ is equivalent to that of a hundred other
cells. The bees spare nothing to make it comfortable and spacious. "It
is quite a Louvre," says Réaumur.

But independently of their use as cradles, these cells serve as
storehouses for honey.

A few of these are used in turn for both these purposes, but a great
number are reserved exclusively for stores of honey and pollen. This
is brought, as we have already said, in the form of pellets, in the
baskets which the hind legs form. The working bee, when it has
gathered it, pushes it into the cell, pressing it with its hind-legs.
Another then arrives, and kneads up the mass to make it adhesive. The
bee brings the honey in its first stomach, and disgorges it into one
of the cells where it is to be kept. However, it is not always by
carrying its honey into a cell that the worker is relieved of it,
often finding an opportunity to deliver it on the way.

[Illustration: Fig. 319.--Interior of a Hive.]

"When it meets," says Réaumur,[85] "any of its companions who want
food, and who have not had time to go and get any, it stops, erects
and stretches out its trunk, so that the opening by which the honey
may be taken out is a little way beyond the mandibles. It pushes the
honey towards this opening. The other bees, who know well enough that
it is from there they must take it, introduce the end of their trunks
and suck it up. The bee which has not been stopped on its road, often
goes to the places where other bees are working, that is, to those
places where other bees are occupied, either in constructing new
cells, or in polishing or bordering the cells already built; it offers
them honey, as if to prevent them from being under the necessity of
leaving their work to go and get it themselves."

    [85] "Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire des Insectes," tome
    v., p. 449.

The honey which fills the store cells is intended for daily
consumption, and also intended as a reserve for the period when the
flowers furnish no more. The empty cells are left open, the workers
making use of them when they want them, particularly during rainy
days, which keep them at home. But the cells which contain the honey
put by in reserve are closed. "They are," says Réaumur, "like so many
pots of jam or jelly, each one of which has its covering, and a very
solid covering it is too." This covering, composed of wax,
hermetically seals the pots containing this reserve of honey. The
object of this is to keep the honey in a certain state of liquidity,
by preventing the evaporation of the water it contains. It is a
remarkable fact that it does not run out of the cells which are open,
although their position is almost always horizontal. This is because
there are always in the sides of these narrow tubes points enough to
keep it in, and that besides this the last layer of honey is always of
greater consistency than the liquid in the interior, and upon which it
forms a sort of crust.

When the harvest has been abundant, many combs of closed cells may be
found in each hive, perfect storehouses of abundance, furnished for
the wants of the bad season. When the construction of the cells goes
on well--often on the day after the bees have installed themselves in
their hive--the queen goes out to meet the males. At the hour when
these are accustomed to disport themselves in the sun, that is to say,
from noon till five o'clock, she leaves the hive, whirls about for a
few seconds, and disappears into the air. At the end of half an hour
she returns, pregnant.

When the female returns to the hive, she is _the_ object of every
attention, the workers pressing round her, and forming quite a train.
Many approach her, and lick the surface of her body; others brush her,
caress her, and present her their trunks full of honey. Forty-eight
hours after her return to the hive the mother bee generally begins
laying.[86] Running over the honeycomb, she deposits an egg in each
empty cell, and fixes it to the bottom by means of a glutinous
secretion, in such a way that the egg is suspended in the interior of
the cell. They have the appearance of little oblong bodies, of a
bluish white. If the queen, in a hurry to lay, lets more than one egg
fall into the same cell, the workers who accompany her hasten to
carry out and destroy those that are in excess. This is often the case
when the combs have not enough cells to contain all the eggs laid. We
have said that the queen only lays worker eggs at this time; the
others are laid later. She continues to lay until the cold weather
approaches, when she ceases to do so, and does not resume her
occupation until the return of spring. This laying is very abundant.
The queen produces at least two hundred eggs a day; so that in the
space of two months she lays more than twelve thousand. Towards the
eleventh month of her existence in the perfect state, the queen begins
laying the eggs which will produce males, their number varying from
1,500 to 3,000; the deposition of these eggs occupies about a month.

    [86] Not invariably, the period is often longer.--ED.

Towards the twentieth day, the workers lay the foundations of some
royal cells. When these cells have attained a certain length, the
queen deposits an egg in each, allowing, however, one or two days to
intervene between the laying of these privileged eggs, so that the
young queens to whom they are to give birth should not be hatched all
at the same time, which would cause difficulties and even wars
concerning the right of their succession to the throne. This
complication human governments have not been always able to avoid, as
history shows; but the bees have found out a way of doing so.

The distribution of the eggs in the cells is not left to chance. Each
egg, according to the sex to which it belongs, is deposited in the
cell which awaits it. The eggs of the females do not, however, differ
in any way from those of the workers. The difference in their
development depends entirely on the space and food allowed them.

We represent (Fig. 320) a portion of a comb containing the eggs placed
in the cells, as also the royal cells. The regular order of laying is
such as we have just described, but the result is quite different when
the impregnation of the queen has been retarded by an accidental
captivity of two or three weeks. The longer this delay, the greater
will be the number of male eggs. If the queen is shut up for more than
twenty days after her birth, she can then lay nothing but male eggs
during the remainder of her existence. It seems, also, that this delay
troubles her intellect; for she then often makes blunders as to the
cells. She lays the eggs of the males, or drones, in the cradles
prepared for the queens, and thus brings confusion into the future

The eggs, once laid, are left to the care of the working bees, which
Réaumur called the nurses, in opposition to the wax-workers, which are
employed in works of construction. According to many bee-keepers, and
especially M. Hamet,[87] this division of duties is not positive. The
young workers are the wax-workers; the old ones, collectors of honey,
and nurses. However, when the honey-harvest is at its height, all the
workers collect the spoil. Every individual is pressed into the
service at the harvest time, as with men.

    [87] "Cours d'Apiculture." In 8vo. Paris, 1864.

[Illustration: Fig. 320.--Portion of the comb, with the eggs occupying
the cells. One of the royal cells has been opened by the queen.]

The eggs are not long in being hatched. From the moment when the larva
comes out of the egg till that of its metamorphosis into a pupa, it
keeps in its cell, rolled up, motionless as an Indian idol in its
sacred temple. The working bees visit it from time to time, to see
that it wants for nothing, and to renew its provisions. They also
carefully inspect the different cells, and assure themselves of the
good condition of their nurslings. The pap which they give them as
food is whitish, and resembles paste made of flour. It is apparently a
preparation of pollen, prepared in the body of the insect. As the
larvæ increase in size, their food is made to acquire a more decided
taste of honey, and to become even slightly acid. It seems, then,
that the bees know how to graduate the food of their larvæ in such a
manner as to bring it nearer by degrees to honey.

In the space of five days the larvæ are developed; they have absorbed
all their pap, and have no need from that time of any nourishment, for
they are about now to change into pupæ. Now the nurses pay them a last
attention. They wall them up in their cells, closing the openings with
a waxen covering. The larvæ then get close to the wax covering. In
thirty-six hours they have spun for themselves a silky cocoon, in
which they undergo their transformation into pupæ. The moult, which
precedes their metamorphosis, constitutes a crisis, as with the
caterpillars of Lepidoptera.

[Illustration: Fig. 321.--Larva of the Bee (magnified).]

The perfect insect is hatched seven or eight days after its
transformation into a pupa, the organs being developed little by
little, and the young bee is then ready to appear in the broad
daylight. It breaks through the thin transparent covering in which it
is still swathed; then, with its mandibles, it pierces the operculum,
or door of its prison, and opens a way for itself by which it can
issue forth. With the assistance of its front legs it clings to the
rim of the cell, and draws itself forward, till it has set free the
whole of its body. The other bees lavish upon this newly-arrived
little stranger all possible attention, to make its entrance into the
world easy and agreeable; assisting and supporting it till it has
become quite strong. It very soon becomes strong. If it is a working
bee, it is not long in getting to work and in mixing with its
companions in labour.

This is the way in which the hatching of ordinary bees takes place,
workers and males; the first, twenty days after they are laid; the
second, twenty-four days after. The rearing and birth of the young
queens is slightly different. In proportion as the larvæ increase in
size do the workers enlarge the cells which contain them; and then
again gradually diminish their size as the moment of their last
metamorphosis approaches. A special and peculiar food is given to the
larvæ of the queens; it is quite different from that which is given to
the larvæ of the working bees, being a heavier and sweeter substance.
This special food seems to exercise such an energetic influence on the
development of the ovaries, that simple workers which have
accidentally received any of it, during their larval state, become
pregnant and lay a few eggs. But this anomalous development remains
imperfect, because the prolific food was only administered in a small
quantity. Besides which, the size of the cells is of great importance
to the development of the larvæ imprisoned in them; and so the larvæ
of working bees, having lived in the small cells, can never attain the
proportions of the queen, nor acquire her fecundity. But all this is
changed if these larvæ are moved into the large cells and fed on this
royal pabulum; they then become veritable queens. If, with us, the
coat does not make the man nor the frock the monk, it is certain that
with the bees the cradle helps materially to make the queen.

When the queen through some accident or other has perished, the
plebeian population of the hive very quickly perceive the misfortune,
and without losing time in useless regrets, apply themselves to repair
their loss. They choose the larva of a working bee, less than three
days old, on which they bestow the treatment suited to change it into
a female. The workers enlarge the cell of this grub by demolishing the
surrounding cells, and administer to it a strong dose of royal food,
to effect its transformation. This marvellous metamorphosis is
accomplished like those which one reads of in fairy tales, where so
many poor beggars are changed, by a wave of the hand, into beautiful
princesses, covered with gold and precious stones. Only here the fairy
tale is a true story; the poet's dream is a real phenomenon. According
to Francis Huber, the larva intended to produce a female has to change
its position. The workers add then to its domicile a sort of vertical
tube, into which they push and turn round the young grub which is the
hope of the community. For twelve days a bee, a sort of body-guard,
has special charge of the person of our infant. It offers it food, and
pays it many other delicate little attentions. When the moment for the
metamorphosis has come, the orifice of the tube is closed, and the
bees await the hatching of the new queen. Thus the loss of the queen
is speedily replaced. The larvæ of the queens, when they are shut up
in their cells, have the head downwards, whilst the larvæ of the males
have the head upwards. Their hatching takes place thirteen days after
the laying of the eggs.

As soon as they have quitted their cradles, the young queens are ready
to take flight. The others, workers and males, are less strongly
organised. Before they are able to take a part in the sports and
labours of the old ones they require a rest of twenty-four hours,
during which the nurses lick them, brush them, and offer them honey.
But the young workers require to undergo no apprenticeship before they
do the work which devolves upon them. They go straight to their work,
and suppress all apprenticeship. Nature is their guide and counsellor.

When the hatching has begun, each day adds some hundreds of young
bees to the population of the hive, which is not long in becoming too
small for the number of its inhabitants. It is then that those curious
emigrations of this winged people take place which are called
_swarms_. The queen leaves the hive, with a part of her subjects, and
founds a new colony elsewhere. In the climate of France the bees
generally swarm in the months of May and June. In the south very
thickly populated hives may furnish as many as four swarms in a
season, but in the north rarely more than one or two. But in some
years swarming does not take place at all, for the want of a
sufficient population. In such cases the workers do not construct
royal cells at the period when the eggs of the males are laid, and the
swarming is put off till the following spring. It occasionally happens
that a hive, although full of bees, cannot make up its mind to send
out a swarm, and also that the hives thinly populated send out
abundant swarms. There are, then, other causes than the excess of
population which exercise an influence on this annual crisis in the
life of bees. The first swarm is always led by the old queen; if other
swarms succeed, it is the young females lately hatched who lead the

There are many signs which announce that a swarm is going to take
place. The appearance of the males, or drones, is one of the first
signs. Another sign, but far from being infallible, is the excess of
the population in the common home. The bees seem then to find
themselves so ill at ease in their over-crowded hive, that part of
them go out and keep outside, either on the stand upon which the hive
is placed, or upon the hive itself. Crowds of bees may be seen heaped
up on each other outside, only waiting for the signal of departure.
But the least equivocal of all the signs, that which points out the
event for the very day, says Réaumur, is when the bees of a hive do
not go into the country in as great a number as usual, although the
weather may be favourable and seem to invite them to do so. "There is
no sign," says Réaumur, "which points out so surely that a swarm is
preparing to take flight, as when, in the morning, at those hours when
the sun shines, and when the weather is favourable for work, the bees
go out in a small number from a hive from which they went out in great
quantities on the preceding days, and bring back only a little rough
wax. The fact of their acting in this manner seems to force us to
concede to bees more intelligence and foresight than many people are
inclined to allow that they possess; at any rate, it is exceedingly
puzzling to those who wish to explain all their actions by saying that
they are purely mechanical. Does it not seem proved that from the
morning all the inhabitants of a hive have been informed of the
project which will be executed not before noon, or, perhaps, not for
some hours after it?... There is a well-known story of an old
grenadier, who, being comfortably asleep while his comrades were
pitching their tents, answered to his general, M. de Turenne, when
questioned on the subject, '_that he knew very well that the army
would not remain long in the camp they were pitching_.'

"All our bees, or nearly all, seemed to have foreseen the move that
their queen was about to make, as that old soldier had foreseen the
general's order to his army."[88]

    [88] "Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire des Insectes," tome
    v., p. 611.

In a hive which is going to "cast," as it is called in technical
phraseology, there is often heard, in the evening, and even during the
night, a peculiar humming. All seems to be in agitation. Sometimes, to
hear the noise, it will be necessary to bring your ear close to the
hive; you then will hear nothing but clear and sharp sounds, which
seem to be produced by the flapping of the wings of one single bee.
"Those who know better than I do the language of bees," says Réaumur,
"have told marvels of these sounds. They pretend that it is the new
queen that makes this noise; that she is, perhaps, haranguing the
troops she wishes to go with her; or that, with a kind of trumpet, she
animates them to undertake the great adventure. Charles Butler, the
author of 'Female Monarchy,' attributes to this noise quite another
signification. He says that it seems as if the bee which aspires to
become queen supplicates the queen-mother, by lamentations and groans,
to grant it permission to lead a colony out from the hive; that the
queen does not yield sometimes to these touching prayers for two days;
that when she does acquiesce, she answers the suppliant in a fuller
and stronger voice; and that when you have heard the mother-bee grant
this permission, you may hope next day to have a swarm.... Butler has
determined all the modulations of the chant of the suppliant bee, the
different keys to which they are set, as also those of the chants of
the queen-mother. He pretends that it is not allowed to those who wish
to raise themselves to a superior rank to imitate the chants of the
sovereign; woe betide the young female if she should dare to do so! it
would only be in a spirit of revolt, and she would be immediately
punished by the loss of her head. The old-established queen does more
than that: at the same moment she condemns to death those bees which
had been seduced."[89] The true cause of this unusual noise is the
agitation of the wings of a great number of the bees in the middle of
the hive.

    [89] _Ibid_, tome v., pp. 616, 617.

It has been remarked, that when about to swarm the bees seem as if
mad. They lose their senses; the queen setting them the example.
Francis Huber has made the most curious remarks on this subject. Here
is, according to this immortal observer, what goes on in the hive when
an emigration is about to take place:--The queen, being angry at the
noise which the young females ready to be hatched are making in their
cells, runs about the hive, examines the cells, and endeavours to
destroy those which contain the females; but she meets with a very
firm resistance from the workers, who take upon themselves to protect
them. She endeavours here and there to lay an egg, but generally
retires without having done so. She runs, stops short, sets off again,
walks over the bodies of the workers she meets; sometimes, when she
stops, the bees near her stop also, as if to look at her. They advance
briskly towards her, strike her with their heads, and mount on her
back. She then dashes off, carrying with her some of the workers. Not
one of them offers her honey; she takes it herself from the open
cells, which are for the use of the whole hive. They no longer draw up
in line on each side of her as she moves along, her guard of honour no
longer surrounds her; she seems fallen from her high rank.

However, the first bees which were disturbed by her now follow,
running like herself, and spread alarm in their turn among the rest of
the population. The road which the queen has traversed is to be
recognised by the excitement which she has caused on her passage, and
which cannot now be calmed. Very soon she has visited every corner of
the hive, so that the fever has become general. She now no longer lays
her eggs in the cells, but lets them fall anywhere at random. She
seems to have lost her wits.

The nurses in their turn are attacked with the contagion. They pay no
attention now to their charges. Those which return from the country
have no sooner entered the hive than they take part in these
tumultuous movements, and give themselves up to the general
excitement. Not even thinking of depositing the pellets of pollen
which they carry on their legs, they run about apparently without aim.
The delirium takes possession of the whole republic. The end of all
this is a general sortie. The whole hive, with the queen at its head,
precipitates itself towards the door, and issues forth to create a
swarm. Once in the fresh air, they become quiet; their madness
subsides, and they fix themselves to a branch of a tree, and having
been captured, set to work again as usual. Francis Huber often
remarked that, in a swarm which had started, if the queen, who
directed the flight, were seized and killed, immediately all the bees
would return to the hive. It would seem that, having lost their chief,
they acknowledged themselves incapable of forming a colony.

A swarm never comes out except on a fine day, or, to speak more
accurately, at an hour of the day when the sun is shining, when the
air is calm, and the sky clear. It is generally between ten o'clock in
the morning and three o'clock in the afternoon. "We observed," says
Francis Huber, "in a hive all the signs which are the fore-runners of
a cast for a swarm--disorder and agitation--but a cloud passed before
the sun, and quiet was restored to the hive; the bees thought no more
of swarming. An hour after, the sun having shown itself again, the
tumult recommenced, increased very rapidly, and the swarm set out on
its journey."[90]

    [90] In general, bees very much dislike bad weather; when they
    are foraging in the country, the appearance of a single cloud
    before the sun causes them to return home precipitately.
    However, if the sky is uniformly dark and cloudy, and if there
    are not any sudden alternations of darkness and light, they are
    not easily alarmed, and the first drops of a gentle rain hardly
    drive them away from their hunting-ground.

At the moment which precedes their exit, the buzzing increases in the
hive. Some of the workers go out first, as if to ascertain the state
of the atmosphere. The moment the queen has passed the threshold, the
emigrants follow in a cloud behind her; in an instant the air is
darkened with bees, which crowd together and form a thick cloud. The
swarm rises, whirling round about in the air; it poises itself for a
few minutes over the hive, to allow time to reconnoitre, and for the
laggards to join, and then goes off at full speed.

The queen does not make choice of the place where the company shall
find shelter. When a branch of a tree has been selected by a certain
number, they fix themselves on it. Many others follow them. When a
great many have collected, the queen joins the throng, and brings in
her train the rest of the troop. The group already formed becomes
larger and larger every instant. Those which are still scattered about
in the air hasten to join the majority, and very soon all together
compose one solid mass or clump of bees clinging to each other by
their legs. This cluster (Fig. 322) is sometimes spherical, sometimes
pyramidal, and occasionally attains a weight of nine pounds, and may
contain as many as 40,000 bees. From this moment, although they are
uncovered, they remain still. In a quarter of an hour everything
becomes quiet, and the bees cease to hover about the cluster more than
round an ordinary hive. Now is the moment to take possession of the
swarm in a hive prepared beforehand to receive it. If delayed too
long, the troop flies off, and establishes itself in some natural
cavity, as the hollow of a tree, &c. The bees then return to their
wild state.

Under a warm climate, where flowers abound, the hives may cast several
times in succession. The first swarm, however, is always the best. It
is more numerous, and has before it more time to provision itself. If
the weather remains favourable, it is not rare to see it send out a
swarm itself three weeks after leaving the old hive. The old queen
then leads the emigration of the second swarm, abandoning the colony
she had lately founded. If the original hive sends forth several
swarms, the interval between the first and the second is from seven to
ten days; the third and the fourth follow at shorter intervals. But
these late casts have rarely vitality enough to exist long.

[Illustration: Fig. 322.--Cluster of Bees hanging to a branch.]

A swarm never returns to a hive it has once left. It is surprising
then that a hive can furnish a second swarm after the interval of a
few days, without being too much weakened. But the old queen, in
quitting her domain, leaves behind her a considerable quantity of
brood. These larvæ are not long in re-peopling the hive, so as to
furnish a second swarm. The third and the fourth casts weaken the
population more perceptibly; but there remain still enough workers to
continue operations. In some cases the agitation of the cast is so
great as to cause all the bees to quit the hive together, leaving it
deserted; but this desertion only lasts an instant, one part of the
swarm wisely returning to their home.

All those which start away become members of the new colony. When the
general delirium we have spoken of has taken possession of them, they
precipitate themselves together, they pile themselves up all at the
same time by the door of the hive, and get so hot as to perspire
freely. Those which are in the midst of the _mêlée_ bear the weight of
the whole crowd, and seem bathed in sweat. Their wings become damp,
and they are no longer able to fly, and even if they manage to escape,
they get no further than the stand, and are not long in re-entering
the hive, instead of following the main body of the emigrants. We must
not forget that a part of the population is always out at those hours
of the day when the swarms take place, engaged in collecting
provisions; and having collected the spoil, these workers return to
the hive abandoned by the greater part of their companions, and betake
themselves to their usual occupations, as if nothing had happened.
They form the nucleus of the new population, which is soon enlarged by
the hatching of the pupæ. We have already said that the first swarm is
always led by the old queen or mother, and that it starts before the
hatching of the young females. If she had not gone out before their
birth she would have destroyed them, and the new hive would have been
unable to re-organise itself for the want of a chief.

The first swarm having set out, those bees which remain in the hive
pay particular attention to the royal cells. If the young queens make
efforts to escape from them, their guardians watch them narrowly, and
as the prisoners destroy their covers of wax the guards restore them;
but as they do not desire the death of the inmates, they pass in some
honey through the opening before they close it, so as to ameliorate
their captivity. At the appointed moment, the issue of the first egg
laid quits her cradle. Very soon she yields to the murderous instinct
which impels her to destroy her rivals, so that she may reign with
individual sway over the community. She searches for the cells in
which these are shut up, but the moment she approaches them the
workers pinch her, pull her about, drive her away, and oblige her to
move on, and, as the royal cells are numerous, she finds with
difficulty any corner in her hive where she may be at rest.
Incessantly tormented by the desire of attacking the other females,
and incessantly driven back by the guard, she becomes very much
excited, passes through the different groups of workers at a run, and
communicates to them her agitation. She leads the inmates of the hive
the same sort of dance frequently in the course of the day.

Sometimes the young queen at the end of her attempts utters a shrill
song, analogous to that of the grasshopper. This song, so unusual
among these insects, has the effect of petrifying the bees. So says
Francis Huber, speaking of a queen which had just been hatched, and
which was trying in vain to satisfy her jealous instincts. "She sang,"
says he, "twice. When we saw her producing this sound, she was
motionless, her thorax rested against the honeycomb, her wings being
crossed on her back, and she moved them about without un-crossing
them, and without opening them. Whatever cause it was that made her
choose this attitude, the bees seemed affected by it, all of them now
lowered their heads and remained motionless. Next day the hive
presented the same appearances, there remained still twenty-three
royal cells, which were all assiduously guarded by a great number of
bees. The moment the queen approached these, all the guards were in a
state of agitation, surrounded her, bit her, hustled her in every way,
and generally finished by driving her off; sometimes when this
happened she sang, resuming the attitude which I just now described;
from that moment the bees became motionless."[91] But the fever which
had seized on the young queen ended by communicating itself to her
subjects, and, at a particular moment, a new swarm set out under her

    [91] "Observations sur les Abeilles," tome i., p. 265.

When the emigration is effected, the workers which had remained at
home set free another female. This one acts in the same way as the
first. She tries to get at her rivals still imprisoned, and whom she
can smell in their cradles; but the guards repel her with vigour,
and defeat all her attempts, till she makes up her mind to emigrate
with a new swarm. This curious scene is repeated, with the same
circumstances, three or four times in the space of a fortnight, if the
weather is favourable, and the hive well peopled. In the end, the
number of bees is so much reduced, that they can no longer keep such
vigilant guard round the royal cells, and it then happens that two
females come out together from their cradles. Immediately the two
rivals look for each other, and fight, and the queen that comes
victorious out of this duel to the death reigns peaceably over the
people she has won for herself. If, in the tumult which precedes the
swarming, a female escapes from her prison, it may happen that she is
carried away in the swarm. In this case the deserters divide into two
separate bands, but the weakest in numbers are not long in breaking
up, the deserters going to swell the principal swarm. At last all the
troop is reunited, and it then contains two queens. As long as the
swarm remains fixed on its branch, all passes quietly, in spite of the
presence of a second queen. But as soon as it has become domiciled,
the affair becomes serious; a duel to the death takes place between
the two aspirants to the command. Two queens cannot exist in the same
hive. One of them is _de trop_ and must be got rid of.

Francis Huber was the first to describe these duels between the
queens. We quote an interesting account which he has left us of a
combat which he watched on the 12th of May, 1790:--"Two young queens,"
says he, "came out on that day from the cells almost at the same
moment, in one of our smallest hives. As soon as they saw each other
they dashed one against the other with every appearance of the
greatest rage, and put themselves in such a position that each one had
its antennæ seized between the teeth of its rival; the head, the
thorax, and abdomen of the one were opposite to the head, the thorax,
and abdomen of the other; they had only to bend round the posterior
extremity of their bodies, and they would reciprocally have stabbed
each other with their darts, and both engaged in the combat would have
been killed. But it seems as if Nature would not allow this duel to
end by the death of both of the combatants. One would say that she had
ordained that those queens, finding themselves in this position (that
is to say, face to face and abdomen to abdomen), should retreat that
very instant with the greatest precipitation. And so, as soon as the
two rivals felt that their posterior parts were about to meet, they
left go of each other, and each one ran away in an opposite
direction.... A few minutes after they had separated from each other
their fear ceased, and they recommenced looking for each other. Very
soon they perceived the object of their search, and we saw them
running one against the other. They seized each other, as at the
first, and put themselves in exactly the same position. The result was
the same; as soon as their abdomens approached each other they only
thought of getting free, and ran away. The working bees were very much
agitated during the whole of this time, and their tumult seemed to
increase when the two adversaries separated from each other. We saw
them on two different occasions stop the queens in their flight, seize
them by the legs, and keep them prisoners for more than a minute. At
last, in a third attack, the queen which was the most infuriated or
the strongest, rushed upon her rival at a moment when she did not see
her coming; seized her with her jaws by the base of her wing, then
mounted on to her body, and brought the extremity of her abdomen over
the last rings of her enemy, whom she was then able to pierce with her
sting very easily. She then let go the wing which she held between her
teeth, and drew back her dart. The vanquished queen dragged herself
heavily along, lost her strength, and expired soon afterwards."[92]

    [92] "Observations sur les Abeilles," tome i., pp. 174-178.

These singular combats take place between young maiden queens. Francis
Huber, by introducing into a hive some queens from other hives
convinced himself that the same animosity impels the females which are
pregnant to fight with and destroy each other. From the moment when
the young queen to whom the sovereignty has fallen is pregnant, she is
anxious to destroy all the royal pupæ which still exist in the hive,
and which are then given up to her without resistance by the workers.

  [Greek: Ouk agathon polykoiraniê. heis koioanos hestô,
  Eis basileus....][93]

    [93] "Many ruling together is not good: let there be one
    ruler, one king."--_Homer's "Iliad,"_ ii. 110.

Become a mother, the female attacks one after the other the cells
which still contain females. She may be seen to throw herself with
fury on the first cell she comes to. She makes an opening in it with
her mandibles large enough to allow her to introduce her abdomen, and
then turns herself about till she has succeeded in giving a stab with
her sting to the female which it contains. She then withdraws, highly
satisfied with what she has done. The working bees, who up to this
moment have remained indifferent spectators of her efforts, take upon
themselves the rest of the business. They set to work to enlarge the
hole made by the ruling queen, and to draw out the carcase of the

In the meanwhile, the fierce and jealous sovereign throws herself on
another cell, and breaks into it with violence. If she does not find
in it a perfect insect, but only a pupa, she does not condescend to
make use of her royal weapon. The workers take on themselves to empty
the cell and destroy its contents. These executions over, the queen
can for the future occupy herself in laying, without having anything
to fear from rivals. Let us remark, in passing, that man is not much
behind these insects whose savage exploits in cruelty we have just
related. Among certain tribes of Ethiopians the first care of the
newly-crowned chief is to put in prison all his brothers, so as to
prevent wars by pretenders to the throne. Delivered from all dread of
rivals, our queen sets to work with an indefatigable zeal; and the
workers, animated by the hope of a numerous progeny, heap up
provisions around them.

But now a new tragedy is about to be enacted. The drones, that is to
say, the males, are now no longer wanted in the colony: their mission
is over. By an inexorable law of Nature they must be got rid of, and
the working bees proceed to make general massacre of them. It is in
the months of July and August that this frightful carnage takes place.
The workers may be seen furiously giving chase to the males, and
pursuing them to the extremity of the hive, where these unfortunate
insects seek a place of safety. Three or four workers dash off in the
pursuit after a male. They seize hold of him, pull him by his legs, by
his wings, by his antennæ, and kill him with their stings. This
pitiless massacre includes even the larvæ and pupæ of the males. The
executioners drag them from their cells, run them through with their
stings, greedily suck the liquids contained in their bodies, and then
cast their remains to the winds. This slaughter goes on for many days,
continuing till the males have been completely got rid of, they not
being able to defend themselves, as they have no stings.

They are allowed to live, however, when they are fortunate enough to
inhabit a hive deprived of its queen. There they even find a place of
perfect safety when they have been driven out of another hive, and may
be met with in this refuge until the month of January. In like manner
the lives of the males are spared in those hives which, instead of a
true queen, have only a female half impregnated, which lays only male
eggs; but a hive of this kind, whose active population cannot be
increased, ends by being abandoned by its inhabitants. The sterility
or absence of the queen entails the dissolution of the society. She
is, in fact, the life and soul of the hive; and without her there is
no hope, no courage, no activity. The populace, abandoned to itself,
falls into anarchy. Famine, pillage, ruin, and death are at its doors.
Having no progeny to set their hopes on, the bees live from one day to
another without a care for the morrow. They leave off working, and
live entirely on theft and rapine, and at last they disappear
entirely. It is a society become rotten and broken up for the want of
a moral tie.

If the loss of the mother bee takes place at a period at which there
still exist in the hive some larvæ of working bees of less than three
days old, the nurse (as we have already said) adopt some of these
larvæ, and make them into queens by means of the physical education
and special nourishment which they give them. In this case, then, the
evil can be repaired; the workers themselves find a remedy without
assistance. But if the hive possesses a degenerate queen, which only
lays male eggs, the intervention of man is necessary to save it, by
the substitution of a properly impregnated queen. If, indeed, a
strange queen wished to penetrate alone into a hive already containing
a sovereign, she would infallibly be stopped at the door and stifled
by the sentinels who guard the entrance to the hive. These would
surround her immediately, and keep her captive under them till she
perished, either through suffocation or hunger. They do not employ
their stings against an intruding queen, except in the case of an
attempt being made to deliver her from their clutches: they get rid of
her by stifling.

When it is wished to introduce into a hive a stranger queen, after
having removed the original sovereign, many precautions must be used
before putting her into the common home. It is only after some time
that the bees become aware of the disappearance of their queen; but
they then manifest great emotion. They run hither and thither, as
though mad, leaving off their work, and making a peculiar buzzing
sound. If you return to them their original sovereign, they recognise
her, and calm is immediately restored; but the substitution of a new
queen for the original sovereign does not produce the same effect in
every case. If you introduce the new queen half a day only after the
removal of the old queen, she is very badly received, and is at once
surrounded, the workers trying to suffocate her. Generally she sinks
under this bad treatment. But if you allow a longer interval to elapse
before you introduce the substitute, the bees, rendered more tractable
by the delay, are better disposed towards her. If you allow an
interregnum of twenty-four hours, the stranger queen is always
received with the honours due to her rank, a general buzzing
announcing the event to the whole population of the hive. They assign
to their adopted queen a train of picked attendants; they draw up in
line on her passing by; they caress her with the tips of their
antennæ; they offer her honey. A little joyful fluttering of the
escort announces that every one in the little republic is satisfied.
The labours out of doors and indoors then begin anew with more
activity than ever.

It is principally during stormy days, when the heat and the
electricity in the air are favourable to the secretion of pollen in
plants, that the bees go into the fields to make their harvest. They
heap up provisions in the hive against the cold season, not
forgetting, however, to watch over the eggs, their future hope, "spem
gentis," as Virgil calls them.

These peaceful occupations are sometimes interrupted by the dire
necessities of war. It happens that the bees of an impoverished hive,
impelled by hunger, that bad counsellor, make up their mind to attack
and to pillage the treasures of a neighbouring hive which is
abundantly stocked with provisions. A savage fight then takes place
between the two battalions. Each one precipitates itself with fury
upon its adversary. Two bees press against and bite each other till
one is overcome. The victor springs upon the back of the vanquished,
squeezes it round the neck with its mandibles, and pierces it between
the rings of its abdomen with its sting. The victorious bee places
itself by the side of its fallen enemy, and resting on four of its
legs, rubs its two hind ones together proudly, as a sign of supreme
triumph. Réaumur relates a strange fact, which he says he often
observed, and which proves that the insects we are treating of do not
fight to satisfy a sanguinary and savage instinct, but (which is less
reprehensible) to satisfy their hunger. Bees attacked by a superior
force are in no danger of losing their lives if their enemies can
induce them to give up their throats--that expression conveys the
idea. Supposing three or four are furiously attacking one bee: they
are pulling it by its legs and biting it on its thorax. The
unfortunate object of this attack has then nothing better to do, to
escape alive from such a perilous situation, than to stretch out its
trunk laden with sweet-scented honey. The plunderers will come one
after the other and drink the honey; then, cloyed, satisfied, having
nothing more to demand, they go their way, leaving the bee to return
to his dwelling-place.

There are also strange fights--regular duels--between the bees of the
same hive. Very hot weather has the effect of irritating them, and
making them boil over with rage. They are then dangerous to man, whom
they attack boldly. But more often it is amongst themselves that they
quarrel. One often sees two bees which meet seize each other by the
neck in the air. It happens also that a bee, in a state of fury,
throws itself on another who is walking quietly and unsuspiciously
along the edge of its hive. When two bees are struggling in this
manner they descend to the ground, for in the air they would not be
able to get purchase enough to be sure of striking each other. They
then engage in a hand-to-hand fight, as the gladiators used formerly
to do in the circus. They are continually making stabs with their
stings, but almost always the point slips over the scales with which
they are covered. The combat is sometimes prolonged during an hour,
before one of them has found the weak point in the other's natural
cuirass, and has buried its terrible weapon in the flesh. The victor
often leaves its sting in the wound which it has made, and then dies,
in its moment of triumph, through the loss of this organ. Sometimes
the two combatants, in spite of long and savage assaults, cannot
succeed in injuring either's solid armour. In such a case they leave
each other, tired of war, and fly away, despairing of obtaining a

At the end of autumn, when the bees no longer find any flowers in the
fields to plunder, they finish rearing their eggs on the pollen, which
they keep in store, and the queen ceases to lay. Numbed by the cold of
the winter, the workers cease to go out. Crowded together they
mutually warm each other, and thus hold out, when the cold is not too
intense, against the rigour of the frosts. Huddled up between the
cakes of the honeycomb, they wait for the return of fine weather, to
recommence their labours at home and abroad. After two or three years
of this laborious existence the bee dies, but to live again in a
numerous posterity, as Virgil says:--

  "At genus immortale manet, multosque per annos
  Stat fortuna domus, et avi numerantur avorum!"

There has been a good deal of discussion on the question whether bees
constitute monarchies or republics. According to our opinion, theirs
is a true republic. As all the population is the issue of a common
mother, and as each bee of the female sex can become a queen--that is
to say, a mother-bee, if it receives an appropriate nourishment--it is
manifest that the title of queen has been wrongly given to the
mother-bee. After all, she is nothing more than president of a
republic. The vice-presidents, as we have already pointed out, are all
those females which at any given moment may be called by choice--that
is, by popular election--to fulfil the functions of the sovereign,
when death or accident has put an end to her existence. "There is no
such thing as a king in Nature," said Daubenton one day, in one of his
lectures at the Jardin des Plantes. The audience immediately
applauded, and cried "Bravo!" The honest _savant_ stopped, quite
disconcerted, and asked his assistant naturalist the cause of this
applause, perhaps ironical. "I must have said something stupid,"
repeated poor Daubenton between his teeth, remembering the saying of
Phocion under similar circumstances. "No," replied his assistant
naturalist, "you have said nothing but what is quite true; but,
without meaning it, you have made a political allusion. You spoke
against kings, and our young republicans thought that you were
alluding to Louis XVI." "Indeed," said the coadjutor of Buffon, "I had
no idea that I was talking politics!" The bee republic, this little
animal society, is admirably constituted, and all its citizens obey
its laws with docility.

Bees have often served as an example, proving, according to some, the
marvellous intelligence of certain little animals; according to
others, an insect wonderfully developed. For ourselves, we have never
well understood what people mean by the word _instinct_; and we
frankly grant to the bee intelligence, as we do also to many animals.
The greater number of the acts of their life seem to be the result of
an idea, a mental deliberation, a determination come to after
examination and reflection. The construction of their cells, always
uniform, is, they say, the result of instinct. However, it happens
that under particular circumstances, these little architects know how
to abandon the beaten track of routine, reserving to themselves the
power of returning, when it is useful to do so, to the traditional
principles which ensure the beauty and regularity of their
constructions. Bees have been seen, indeed, to deviate from their
ordinary habits in order to correct certain irregularities--the result
of accident or produced by the intervention of man--which had deranged
their works.

Francis Huber relates that he saw bees propping up with pillars and
flying buttresses of wax a piece of the honeycomb which had fallen
down. At the same time, put on their guard by this sad accident, they
set to work to fortify the principal framework of the other combs, and
to fasten them more securely to the roof of the hive. This took place
in the month of January, and therefore not during the working season,
and when to provide against a distant eventuality was the only
question. M. Waland has reported an analogous observation. Is there
not here, in the first place, a true and excellent reasoning, then an
act, an operation, a work, executed as the result of this reasoning?
Now, an operation which is performed as the result of reasoning, is
attributable to intelligence. Again, the bees give different sorts of
food to the different sorts of larvæ. They know how to change this
food when an accident has deprived the hive of its queen, and it is
necessary to replace her; this is another proof of intelligence.

But it is, above all, in the face of an enemy that the intellectual
faculties of these insects show themselves. There are always at the
entrance of every hive three or four bees, which have nothing else to
do but to guard the door, to keep a watch over incomers and outgoers,
and to prevent an enemy or an intruder from slipping into the
community. When one of them perceives an enemy on the borders of the
hive, it dashes forwards towards it, and by a menacing and significant
buzzing warns it to retire. If it does not understand the warning,
which is a rare occurrence--for men, horses, dogs, and animals of all
kinds know perfectly well the danger to which they expose themselves
by approaching too near a hive in full operation[94]--the bee gets a
reinforcement, and very soon returns to the combat with a determined
battalion. All this is, it seems to us, intelligence.

    [94] The bee's sting may lead to very serious consequences. It
    often happens that large animals, such as horses or oxen, tied
    up in the neighbourhood of a beehive, and which have disturbed
    the bees, die in consequence of stings received from them.

[Illustration: Fig. 323.--Sentinel Bees guarding the entrance to the

We have just said that there are sentinels at the entrance of every
hive. They touch with their antennæ each individual that wishes to
penetrate into the house. Hornets, the Death's-head Sphinx, slugs,
&c., often try to introduce themselves into the hive. In that case, on
the appeal of the watchful porters, all the bees combine their efforts
to defend the entrance to their habitation. It would be impossible for
them, in fact, to stop the ravages of their enemies when once entered
into the interior. When a sphinx has succeeded in introducing itself
into a hive, it sits down and drinks the honey in great bumpers,
devouring all the provisions: and the unfortunate proprietors of the
house are obliged to emigrate. To stop the entrance of moths which fly
by night, the bees contract, and sometimes barricade, their door with
a mixture of wax and propolis. When a slug or any other large animal
has managed to introduce itself into the interior, they kill it and
wrap it up in a shroud of propolis, as we have already related.

However, they are quite helpless against certain microscopic parasites
which sometimes attack them. The bee-louse, which has been described
and drawn by Réaumur in one of his Memoirs,[95] and the parasite which
was described in 1866 by M. Duchemin, the _Sugar Acarus_, which is
found in the liquid honey of those hives which are attacked by the
disease called the rot (_pourriture_), are the most serious enemies of
the bee. The _Gallerias_ are also terrible enemies to them. Every hive
thus attacked is ruined. These destructive insects attack also the
wild bees, drive them from their nests, and destroy the wax of the
cakes forming the comb. The _Galleria_ impudently makes his home in
the houses of bees, wild as well as domesticated.

    [95] Tome v., planche 36.

The habits of bees in their wild state, which make their nests in the
trunks of trees and other cavities, do not differ from those of
domesticated bees. Only the latter become tame with man, getting used
to those who look after them, and becoming less aggressive towards

Apiculture, or bee-keeping, is still at the present day an important
business, although honey has lost a great deal of its utility since
the introduction of sugar into Europe. Without entering into many
details on apiculture, that is to say, on the attention it is
necessary to pay to bees, we will mention the principal duties of the

When, in the spring, the bees _font la barbe_ (as the French say),
that is, when they are getting ready to swarm, one must watch
narrowly, so as not to lose them. As soon as a swarm has settled on a
tree or on any artificial resting-place prepared on purpose in the
neighbourhood, it is approached, after having covered one's face with
a piece of transparent linen or canvas, or with a hood, and the
cluster is caused to fall into a hive turned upside down. The hive is
then turned up and again put in its place; or else, if it is only to
serve for the conveyance of the swarm to another place, shaken about
before the door of the hive which the swarm is destined to occupy. The
bees then beat to arms, and set to work to enter their new habitation
in a compact column. Fig. 324 represents the manner in which one ought
to proceed in order to gather a swarm of bees, which is fixed on a
branch of a tree, and introduce it into the hive prepared for it. Let
us listen on this subject to an experienced bee-keeper, M. Hamet: "As
soon as a swarm has fixed itself anywhere, and there are only a few
bees fluttering round the cluster, you must make your preparations for
lodging them in a hive you have got ready for the purpose. Some people
rub the hive on the inside with aromatic plants or honey, with the
object of making the bees fix themselves there more surely. This
precaution is not indispensable. What is essential is, that the hive
should be clean, and free from any bad smell. It is a good thing to
pass it beforehand over the flame of a straw fire, which destroys the
eggs of insects and insects themselves which may have lodged in it.

"After having covered your head with a veil, if the swarm has settled
in a difficult place, and you are afraid of being stung, you hold the
hive under the cluster of bees and make them fall into it, either by
shaking the branch to which the swarm is attached, very hard, or by
means of a small broom, or even with the hand, for then they very
rarely sting: it is hardly ever necessary to take any precautions in
approaching them, except for swarms which have been fixed for many
hours, or since the day before. When the bees have fallen in a mass to
the bottom of the hive, you turn this gently over, and place it on a
piece of linen stretched out on the ground near the place where the
swarm was, or on a tray, or simply on the ground itself, if it is dry
and clean. You will have taken care to place on this linen a little
wedge, a stick or a stone, to raise the hive a little, and to leave
room through which the bees may enter. A great part of the bees which
fall into the hive fix themselves on to its sides; but a good number
are dropped on the linen when the hive is turned. This is the manner
in which you act when it is determined to lodge the swarm; but when
the swarm is to be lodged in another hive, as we shall see farther on,
immediately that the bees recognise the lodging which is destined for
them, they set to work to beat to arms, and to enter in a compact
column their new dwelling; those which are fluttering about in the air
are summoned by this call, and are not long in alighting on the spot
where the rest of their companions are fixed. At the end of a quarter
or half an hour, at the most, all, or nearly all, have entered the
hive. A few still hover about round the place where the swarm was
fixed. If the number is considerable, and if many have stopped in this
place, you must make them quit it by placing some offensive herb, such
as celandine, horehound, field camomile, &c., on it, or project the
smoke of a rag upon them, which will drive away the bees and force
them to look for the colony or to return to the mother-hive. You may
also project smoke, but in moderate quantities, on the bees grouped
around and on the borders of the lodging which you have just given
them, and which they will not be long in entering."[96]

    [96] "Cours d'Apiculture," pp. 73, 74.

[Illustration: Fig. 324.--Taking a swarm.]

[Illustration: Fig. 325.--Bell-shaped hive.]

[Illustration: Fig. 326.--English hive.]

A good swarm weighs from four to six pounds; one pound contains about
four thousand bees. The second swarm weighs rarely more than two
pounds, and the third still less. You can also form artificial swarms
by drawing off the bees of one hive into another, an operation which
is easy with bell-shaped hives. A glance at Fig. 325, which represents
the common hive of the north of France, that is to say, the
_bell-shaped_, will show how easy it is to effect that drawing off,
or pouring out of the bees, by joining together at their bases two
hives, the one empty, the other containing a swarm. In order to have
control over the bees during the operation, you must slightly stupefy
them with the smoke of a smouldering rag.

Beehives are of a thousand different shapes, each of which has its
particular advantage. They are made of wood and of straw; and the
shapes used in different countries are very various. We give as
examples, Figs. 325, 326, 327, 328, 329.

[Illustration: Fig. 327.--Swiss hive.]

The site, that is, the place where hives stand, is not a matter of
indifference. It is generally supposed that bees ought to be
established in a place fully exposed to the sun, and to the greatest
heat of the day. This is a mistake. M. de Frarière, in his work on
bees and bee-keeping, recommends the hives to be placed under trees,
in such a way that they may be kept in the shade. Fig. 330 shows the
way in which M. de Frarière recommends hives to be arranged.

Dr. Monin, author of an interesting monograph of the bee, published in
1866, after treating of the different arrangements which have been
recommended for hives, concludes thus:--"It is to satisfy all these
requirements that experienced bee-keepers so much recommend for the
hives an exposure to the ten o'clock sun; that is to say, that they
should be turned in such a manner that the sun may shine on their
entrances when it has already attained a certain height above the
horizon, and sufficiently warmed the surrounding air for the bees,
which the brightness of its rays has tempted forth, not to be seized
with cold and numbed before they have been able to return home

    [97] "Physiologie de l'Abeille, suivie de l'art de soigner et
    d'exploiter les Abeilles d'après une methode simple et facile,"
    p. 94. Paris, 1866.

[Illustration: Fig. 328.--Polish hive.]

In the month of March a gathering of wax is made by cutting away the
lower part of the hives, where the cakes have grown old. The principal
honey harvest takes place towards the end of May, June, or July,
according to the place the hives are in. A larger or smaller gathering
takes place according to the quantity of honey ready, and the state of
the season. As the bees will not see the violation of their domicile
and theft of their winter provisions without anger, to get possession
of the honeycomb with which the hive is filled, you must put these
irritable insects into such a state that they are unable to injure
you. They can be rendered peaceable by smoking them. The smoke is
forced into the hive with the assistance of a pair of bellows, the
arrangement of which is shown in Fig. 331. If the fumigation is
prolonged, the bees are very soon heard to beat their wings in a
peculiar manner; they are then in what is called in French _l'état de
bruissement_, or the roaring state. When they stand up on their hind
legs and agitate their wings, you can do with them almost anything you
like--cut away the honeycomb, abstract the eggs, or take out the
honey--without their troubling themselves about it. But this state of
things must not last too long, or you may suffocate your bees. It is a
sort of anæsthesis into which the bees have been thrown; and, as with
men, this must not be prolonged.

[Illustration: Fig. 329.--Garden hive.]

Some bee-keepers, in order to collect the honey harvest, suffocate
their bees by burning sulphur matches. This is a bad practice. "Those
authors who recommend us to suffocate the bees," says M. Hamet, "under
the pretext that their colonies will become too numerous, and who
add, 'You cannot eat beef without killing the ox,' are more stupid
than the animal they have chosen for their comparison." A hive often
produces from twelve to twenty pounds of honey each year, and a
proportional quantity of wax. It may, then, furnish to the bee-keeper
an important revenue, especially as the rearing of bees gives scarcely
any trouble, and involves scarcely any labour, as it is only necessary
to select a spot with a proper exposure and well supplied with

[Illustration: Fig. 330.--Hives under the shade of trees.]

[Illustration: Fig. 331.--Bellows used to stupefy Bees].

We possess in Europe two species or races of bees--the Common Bee
(_Apis mellifica_), and the Ligurian Bee (_Apis ligustica_), whose
abdomen is tawny, with the rings bordered with black. It is this
latter species of which Virgil sang, and which is found in Italy and
Greece. It has been remarked that the Ligurian bee pierces the
calices, at their bases, of those flowers which are too long for it to
penetrate into easily, and thus gets possession of the honey, whilst
the common bees pass these flowers over. This observation proves that
the former is the more intelligent of the two races. In Egypt a bee is
reared called the Banded Bee (_Apis fasciata_).

Ten or twelve other species of honey-bees exist in Senegal, the Cape
of Good Hope, Madagascar, East Indies at Timor (_Apis Peronii_), &c.
The European bee has been acclimatised in America, but it soon returns
to its wild state, as indeed do all our domestic animals when
transported to the other hemisphere. At the Cape of Good Hope the
Hottentots seek greedily after the nests of wild bees, a bird called
the Indicator guiding them in this chase. This bird is observed
flitting about from tree to tree, making a little significant cry.
They have only then to follow this bird-informer, for it will not be
long in stopping before some hollow tree which contains a nest of
bees. The Hottentots always acknowledge its services by leaving it a
part of the booty.

Fenimore Cooper, the novelist, tells us, in his work entitled "The
Prairie," how the bee-hunters in America discover the wild hives. They
place on a plank, covered with white paint still moist, a piece of
bread covered with sugar or honey. The bees, in plundering this bread,
get some of the paint on their bodies, and are then more easily
tracked when they return to their hives. In North America they are, as
it were, the harbingers of civilisation. When the Indians perceive a
swarm trying to establish themselves in the solitudes of their
forests, they say to one another, "The white man is approaching; he
will soon be here." True pioneers of civilisation, these insects seem
to announce to the forests and deserts of the New World that the reign
of Nature has passed away, and that now the social state has begun to
play its part--a part that will never end.

The bees peculiar to South America have no sting: these are the
_Meliponas_. These (Fig. 332) are more compactly formed than our bees,
have a more hairy body, and are smaller in size. Very numerous in the
virgin forests, they make their nests in the hollows of trees. The wax
produced by them is brown, and of an indifferent quality. Under thick
leaves of wax are found cakes, with hexagonal cells, containing the
males, females, and neuters. The cells of the larvæ are closed by the
workers, and the larvæ spin themselves a cocoon inside. All around
the cradles are large round cells, entirely different in form from the
cradles, in which the honey is stored. It is probable that the males,
the workers, and the females, live together in great harmony, and even
that there is in each nest more than one female, for the absence of
the sting must prevent any combats. If a few cakes of the _Melipona's_
honeycomb are moved into the hollow of a tree, they always found there
a new colony. We may conclude from this that the workers procure for
themselves females whenever they want them by means of a special sort
of food. The savage inhabitants of the American forests collect this
honey; but, with the carelessness of uncivilised man, they at the same
time destroy the nests of these precious insects. They have now begun
to domesticate certain species of _Meliponas_, by introducing them
into earthen pots or wooden cases. These insects have been brought to
Europe, but they have always perished in the first cold weather.
During the summer of 1863 there was, in the Museum of Natural History
of Paris, a nest of _Melipona scutellaris_ from Brazil, but it did not

[Illustration: Fig. 332.--A species of Melipona.]


If in the month of March one passes through the fields, which are
beginning to get green, or through the woods, still deprived of their
leaves, there may be seen, hovering hither and thither, great hairy
insects, resembling gigantic bees. These are the females of a species
of bee, called by the French "bourdons," from the buzzing noise they
produce; and by us "humble bees," probably from their German name
"hummel," given for the same reason. These females have been awakened
by the spring sun. They examine the cavities of stones, the heaps of
moss, and the holes in banks, &c., seeking for a suitable spot to
construct a nest for their progeny.

The humble bees are of the same family as the bees, whom they resemble
in their organisation. Like them, they are divided into males,
females, and neuters, or workers. But their companies only last a
year. At the end of autumn the whole population has become extinct,
with the exception of the pregnant females, which pass the winter in a
state of torpor at the bottom of some hole, where they wait till the
spring to perpetuate their race. Their societies comprise generally
only a small number of individuals, from fifty to three hundred. They
are of peaceful habits, their ephemeral existence beginning and ending
with the flower season.

The humble bees are known by their great size, their short, robust
body, encircled by bands of very bright colours, and by the noise they
make in flying. Their hind legs are armed with two spurs. The females
and the workers have the same organisation for plundering flowers as
the bees have: they have similar trunks, and their legs are fitted
with brushes and baskets for gathering pollen. The males, like the
males of hive bees, have no sting. The greater number have their
dwelling-places underground; others make their nests on the surface of
the soil, in the cracks of walls, in heaps of stones, &c. The former
establish themselves in cavities situated as far as half a yard
underground, and approached by a long narrow gallery. It is almost
always a solitary female who has been the architect of the nest. She
cleans out the cavity she has chosen, makes it as smooth as possible,
and lines it with leaves and moss, to embellish the subterranean house
in which she is to pass nearly all her existence.

[Illustration: Fig. 333.--Male Humble Bee.]

The Moss Humble Bee (_Bombus muscorum_), called also the _Carding
Bee_, chooses an excavation of very little depth in which to make its
nest, or else itself undertakes the hollowing out of a hole in the
ground. It covers this with a dome of moss or dry herbs. But it does
not fly when transporting the moss, it drags it along the ground, with
its back turned towards the nest. Having seized a packet of the moss,
it sets to work to draw out the bits with its mandibles, and then
pushing them under its body, throws them in the direction of the nest
by a sort of kick from its hind legs. Sometimes, towards the end of
the season, many humble bees are to be seen working in line. The first
seizes the moss, and after having carded it, passes it under its body,
and throws it to the second, which throws it on to the third, and so
on, up to the nest. When the materials are ready, the insect makes use
of them to manufacture a sort of hemispherical lid, or covering,
resembling felt, which shuts the nest in, and is lined with wax. If
you lift up this covering, or small dome, which it is not dangerous to
do, for humble bees are not very aggressive, you find beneath it a
nest composed of a coarse comb.

The cells which compose the nest, and which are to receive the larvæ
of the insect, are of an oval shape, and of a pale yellow or even of a
blackish colour. Fig. 334 represents these cells. The wax of which
they are composed has none of the qualities of that of hive bees, but
is soft, sticky, and brownish.

[Illustration: Fig. 334.--Cells from a Humble Bee's nest.]

When the mother humble bee--which at first was alone and built her
house single-handed--has made a certain number of cells, she seeks for
honey and pollen, and prepares a paste, which she deposits in the
future cradles. She then lays six or seven eggs in each. The larvæ
which come from them live in common, at the same table, under the same
tent. The cell is at first only the size of a pea; it soon becomes too
narrow, splits and cracks, and requires to be enlarged and repaired
many times, a work of which our industrious insects acquit themselves
with a good deal of care and attention. Before passing into the pupa
state each larva spins for itself a shell or cocoon of very fine white
silk. It ceases to eat, remains at first rolled up, then expands
itself little by little, and changes its skin after three days. It
passes fifteen days in the pupa state in a quiescent condition. After
the normal time has elapsed for it to remain in its hiding-place, it
delivers itself from its mummy-like covering, with the help of the
mother or the workers. The humble bee then appears, robust, and its
body covered with a greyish down.

When the successive hatchings have furnished to the mother the
reinforcement she is waiting for, the workers she has raised occupy
themselves in building new cells, and in raising the wall of enclosure
which is to protect the nest. This wall, formed of wax, starts from
the base, and raises itself, like a vertical rampart, from every point
in the circumference. They then surmount this by the first roof, which
is flat, supported by some pillars, and in which they have left one or
two irregular openings. The whole is finally protected by a
hemispherical covering of moss, made into a sort of felt and lined
with wax. Fig. 335 represents, in its entirety, a nest of this humble

[Illustration: Fig. 335.--Nest of the Moss Humble Bee (_Bombus

The workers also take their part in rearing the eggs. They bring the
paste, which they slip into the cells to the larvæ by a small hole,
which is shut immediately afterwards. Later, they again give their
assistance in disengaging the pupæ from their envelopes. In short,
they make themselves generally useful; but they have one bad fault:
they are very fond of eating the eggs laid by the mother. They try to
seize them as she deposits them, or drag them from the cells, and suck
their contents. And so the mother is obliged to be incessantly
defending her eggs against the voracity of the workers, and to be
constantly on her guard, so as to be ready to drive away these
marauders from cells newly filled.

We owe to an English naturalist, Newport, the knowledge of another
curious fact relating to the laying of humble bees, which is the
expedient the females and the males have recourse to for hastening the
hatching of the eggs. They place themselves, like fowls sitting on
their eggs, over the cocoons containing the pupæ almost hatched. By
breathing quickly, these industrious insects raise the temperature of
their bodies, and consequently that of the air in the cells. Thanks to
this supplementary heat, the metamorphosis of the pupæ is much
hastened. Newport, by slipping miniature thermometers between the
cocoons of the nymphs and the sitting humble bees, ascertained that
the temperature of the latter was about 34° C., whilst the temperature
of the cocoons left to themselves was only 27° C.; that of the air in
the rest of the nest being only from 21° to 24° C. After many hours of
incubation, at the same time natural and artificial, in which Art and
Nature are so closely allied, after the sitting insects have many
times relieved one another, the young humble bees come out of their
cells. They are at first soft, greyish, moist, and very susceptible to
cold. But after a few hours they become stronger, and the yellow and
black bands with which their abdomens are surrounded begin to be
marked out. The spring laying produces exclusively workers. The
greatest abundance of eggs are laid in August and September. The
laying of the female eggs begins in July; that of the males follows
soon after.

Until autumn the humble bees are incessantly enlarging their nests,
and multiplying their little pots of honey. Without accumulating a
great stock of provisions, for which they have no occasion, they
always keep in reserve a quantity of pollen and honey for their daily
wants. The cells in which the honey is stored differ very much in
shape. Some species of humble bees give them long and narrow necks;
others, less _recherché_ in their style of construction, simply make
cylindrical vases. There are among the humble bees races of artists
and races of simple builders; the one construct with taste, the other
only seek the useful.

During the day the humble bees cull honey from the flowers. At night
they enter their home; but a certain number take the liberty of
sleeping out. Surprised by the arrival of night in the bottom of the
calyx of a sweetly-scented flower, they philosophically determine to
sleep in the open air, lying on this perfumed bed, with the heaven as
their canopy.

The coupling of the humble bees takes place towards the end of
September. It costs the males their life, as it does with the hive
bees. The impregnated females do not lay till the following spring; it
is they who, after the winter is passed, will become the mothers of
new generations. They will take the reins of the family when the
mother who founded the colony, the males, as also the workers, shall,
according to the laws of Nature, have passed away. There are often, on
the other hand, some workers which, born in the spring, become
fruitful, and lay the same year, but only the eggs of males. These
become a butt for the jealousy of the reigning mother, who pursues
them with fury, and devours their eggs. These, however, have
themselves cruel hearts. Animated by a profound jealousy, they dispute
the occupancy of the cells savagely, so as to be able to lay a few
eggs in them, which are no sooner laid than they are destroyed by
their savage sisters. However, they never make use of their stings in
any of these attacks. The humble bee population is peaceful, even in
its combats. After the first cold weather in autumn, all these
insects, as we have said, perish, except the pregnant females. These
privileged depositaries of the race, _spes altera domûs_, look for a
place of retreat, and there sleep till the following spring. Then they
wake up and found new colonies, which continue the race.

For a long while were confounded with the humble bees certain insects
which have the same appearance, that is to say, a hairy body, with
bands of various colours, but whose hind legs are adapted neither for
gathering honey nor for building. These are the genus _Psithyrus_: it
was Lepelletier de Saint-Fargeau who discovered their true position.
These are parasites, and only consist of males and fertile females,
without workers. They lay their eggs in the nest of the humble bee.
They are, indeed, so like their hosts, that they can introduce
themselves into their dwellings without raising any suspicion. The
humble bees admit them freely, and receive them as if they belonged to
the family; so much so, indeed, that the poor humble bees themselves
bring up the larvæ of these impudent guests. In the Order Hymenoptera
one meets with many examples of these sorts of parasites, which instal
their progeny in the nest of another insect, as the cuckoo does in the
nests of other birds.


We have up till now found the insects of the great family of bees
collected together in perfectly organised societies. But there are a
great number of species of this family which live alone. We will
briefly mention the most interesting of them.

The females of the solitary bees are impregnated like those of the
humble bees, and lay in spring, after having passed the winter asleep.
They build a nest divided into cells, fill it with eggs, and with a
honied paste shut it up, and die, without having seen their progeny

[Illustration: Figs. 336, 337, 338.--Anthophora parietina.]

[Illustration: Fig. 339.--Carpenter Bee, Pupæ, Eggs, Galleries, and

The _Anthophoras_ (Figs. 336, 337, 338) resemble bees, but they are
more hairy, and of greyish colour. Their nest, composed of earth
tempered and agglutinated with their saliva, is made in the cracks of
old walls or in the ground. It has the form of a twisted tube, and is
divided, by partitions, into compartments, each of which is to receive
a larva. Each insect, when hatched, pierces its own wall, and profits
by the hole of exit of the brother which preceded it.

[Illustration: Fig. 340.--Mason Bee and Nest.]

These insects do not live together in societies. Indifferent
neighbours, they do not lend each other mutual assistance. They have
their parasites, the _Melactas_, like the humble bees. These parasites
are hairy, blackish insects, spotted with white, laying their eggs in
the nests of the _Anthophoras_, which permit them to do so, and, at
the expense of their own progeny, bring up the intruder's little ones.

The Carpenter Bee, or Wood-piercer (_Xylocopa_), hollows out
galleries in decayed wood, and builds in them cells placed one over
the other--a work often occupying many weeks. She then furnishes the
bottom of the cell with pollen mixed up with honey, lays an egg in the
middle of this paste, and closes the cell by a ceiling of saw-dust
agglutinated with saliva. On this ceiling she establishes a new cell,
and so on, right up to the orifice, which she closes in the same
manner. Réaumur is astonished, with reason, at the admirable instinct
which makes this provident mother determine the exact quantity of
nourishment which will be necessary for its larva. When this has
absorbed all its provisions, it alone quite fills up its cell, and
changes into a pupa. It is worthy of remark, that the head of the
young is always turned downwards, in such a way that it is by the
bottom of its cell that it comes out. The bottom of the first is very
near the surface of the wood, so that the insect it encloses has only
a thin layer of wood to pierce through in order to set itself free.
Each one of those which are born next has only to pierce the floor of
its hiding-place to find the road before it free. The _Xylocopæ_ pass
the winter in the pupa state, and the perfect insects, with wings of a
beautiful metallic violet, appear in the spring, but are not found in
this country.

[Illustration: Fig. 341.--Interior of the Nest of the Mason Bee.]

Other solitary bees have their hind legs unsuited for the gathering of
pollen, but have the rings of the abdomen furnished with hairs for
that purpose. Such are the Mason Bees of Réaumur, belonging to the
genera _Osmia_ and _Chalicodoma_,[98] which build their nests against
walls with tempered earth, which become very hard.

    [98] At a meeting of the Entomological Society of London, Feb.
    18th, 1867, Mr. Newman exhibited the lock of a door, one of
    several which in 1866 were found at the Kent Waterworks,
    Deptford, to be completely filled and choked up with nests of
    _Osmia Bicornis_: a portion of the nest had been forced out by
    the insertion of the key. The locks were in pretty constant
    use, so that the nests must have been built in the course of a
    few days.--_Journal of Proceedings of the Entomological Society
    of London_, 1867, lxxvi.--ED.

[Illustration: Fig. 342.--Rose Megachile (_Megachile centuncularis_).]

These nests (Figs. 340 and 341) are filled with cells of oblong form
arranged irregularly. At first sight they might be taken for little
lumps of earth plastered against the wall. When the perfect insect
emerges, it is obliged to soften the mortar with its saliva, and to
remove it, grain by grain, with its mandibles. The nests of
_Chalicodomas_ are common in the environs of Paris, on walls of rough
stones exposed to the south. They are often to be found in the parks
of Meudon, of Conflans, of Vésinet, &c.

The Leaf-cutting Bees (_Megachile_) are not less worthy of remark in
their habits. These insects make their nests in tubes lined with the
leaves of the rose, the willow, the lilac, &c., placed in a
cylindrical burrow. Each nest contains generally from three to six
cells, separated by partitions of leaves. They cut off the pieces of
leaves they require with their mandibles, the notches being
wonderfully cleanly cut, as if they had been done with a punch.

They make as many as eight or ten envelopes in succession with the
leaves, which, as they get dry, contract, keeping, however, the form
given to them by the insect. The cells destined to receive the eggs
acquire thus a certain solidity. Fig. 342 represents the nest of the

[Illustration: Fig. 343.--Gallery of an _Andrena_.]

The Upholsterer Bees (_Anthocopas_) line their nests with the petals
of flowers, as, for example (_Papaver rhæas_), the corn-poppy. Their
burrows are made perpendicularly in the beaten earth of roads, and
each contains one solitary cell, lined with portions of petals. When
the egg has been laid at the bottom of this cell, the bee fills up the
rest of the hole with earth, to hide it from notice.

The Mining Bees (_Andrenæ_) hollow out in the ground tubular galleries
(Fig. 343). They are not larger than ordinary flies. A great number of
other bees are known, but their habits are little understood, and we
shall not occupy ourselves about them.


Every one knows the wasps as a race of dangerous brigands which live by
rapine, are incessantly fighting battles, and which exist only to do
harm. However, wasps, like Figaro, are better than they are reputed to
be. Their societies are admirably organised; their nests are models of
industry and artistic fancy. They have even certain domestic virtues
which deserve our esteem; only they are an excitable race it is well not
to cross. If great heat adds to their natural irritability, they
savagely attack those who annoy them, and pursue them to a distance. No
one, indeed, is ignorant that their sting is very painful. In cold
weather, and towards night, they are less vivacious and less to be

[Illustration: Fig. 344.--Wasp's Nest.]

The wasps are distinguished from the bees by a decided characteristic.
In a state of repose they fold together their upper wings, which then
seem very narrow, only spreading them out when they are about to fly;
whilst the latter when at rest keep their upper wings spread out.

Wasps live in companies, which last only a year, and are composed of
males, females, and workers. But the female wasp does not pass her
entire life in idleness as a queen, like the mother hive bee. She
occupies herself in making the nest and in taking care of the young,
like the mother humble bee. The males have also their duties. They
watch over the cleanliness of the habitation, and are the sanitary
commissioners and undertakers to the city. These are easily recognised
by their oblong bodies, having so slight a connection with the thorax,
as it were by a thread.

[Illustration: Fig. 345.--Common Wasp (_Vespa vulgaris_).]

[Illustration: Fig. 346.--Bush Wasp (_Vespa norvegica_).]

Their sting is larger than that of the bees, and is supplied with
poison from a pouch placed at its base. The males have no sting. Wasps
do not secrete wax. With their mandibles they scrape wood and plants,
the fragments of which they agglutinate together in such a way as to
form a tough cardboard. Thus, they invented the manufacture of paper
long before men. Charles de Geer, in his celebrated work, sums up the
habits of these insects in the following manner:--"Wasps," says he,
"are, like bees, fond of sweets and honey, although they rarely seek
them in flowers; but their principal food consists in matters of quite
a different kind, such as fruits of all kinds, raw flesh, and live
insects, which they seize and devour. They sometimes do dreadful
damage in bee-hives, devouring the honey, and killing the bees. They
do not gather wax; their nests and their combs are composed of a
matter resembling grey paper, which they get from rotten wood, and
which they scrape off with their jaws; they make a sort of paste of
these scrapings by moistening them with a certain liquid which they
disgorge. The cells in the combs are hexagonal, and very regular, like
those of bees."[99]

    [99] "Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire des Insectes," tome
    ii., p. 765. In 4to. Stockholm, 1771.

[Illustration: Fig. 347.--The Hornet (_Vespa crabro_).]

Wasps collect the materials with which they build near the place where
they have chosen to establish their domicile. These materials are
ligneous fibre, mixed up with saliva, with the aid of which these
insects prepare the paper-like substance, which is very tough, and
destined to form the walls of the cells and their exterior covering.
The greater number make their habitation in the ground. Of these is
our Common Wasp (_Vespa vulgaris_), which is black, agreeably
contrasted with bright yellow. The Bush Wasp (_Vespa norvegica_),
which inhabits woods, constructs its nest between the branches of
shrubs or bushes. It is smaller than the common species. The Hornet is
the largest European species of the family of the _Vespidæ_. The
substance of its nest is yellowish, and very fragile, and is
constructed under a roof, in a loft, or in the hole of an old wall,
but most often in the hollow of a decayed tree. Another species of
this family (_Polistes gallica_, Fig. 348) fixes its little nest by a
footstalk to the stem of some plant.

[Illustration: Fig. 348.--Polistes gallica.]

Wasps begin laying in spring, and go on laying all the summer. Each
cell receives one single egg, and, as with bees, the workers' eggs are
the first laid. Eight days after the laying, there comes out of each
egg a larva without feet, and already provided with two mandibles.
These larvæ receive their food in the form of balls, which the
females or the workers knead up with their mandibles and their legs
before presenting to their nurslings, very nearly in the same way as
birds give their beak full of food to their little ones. At the end of
three weeks the larvæ cease to take food, and begin to shut themselves
up in their cells, the interior of which they line with a coating of
silk. In this they change their form, and assume the appearance of the
perfect insect, with its six legs and its wings, but motionless, and
contracted together. A sort of bag keeps all the organs swathed up
together (Fig. 349). This pupa state lasts for eight or nine days, at
the end of which time the insect is fully developed; it casts its
skin, breaks the door of its prison, and launches itself into the air.
A cell is no sooner abandoned than a worker visits, cleans it, and
puts it in a fit state to receive another egg.

[Illustration: Fig. 349.--Pupa of the common wasp.]

During the summer the female wasp remains constantly in the nest,
absorbed with family cares. She is occupied in laying eggs and in
feeding her progeny, with the active assistance of the workers, or
mules, as Réaumur and Charles de Geer call them, because they are

In the interior of the nests you generally find the most perfectly
good understanding existing, and the most perfect order, in spite of
the warlike instincts of these insects. It is only on rare occasions
that this domestic peace is disturbed by the quarrels of male with
male or worker with worker; but these combats are not deadly. Never,
moreover, has one nest of wasps been known to declare war against
another for the purpose of robbing it. "The government of wasps," says
M. Victor Rendu, "explains very well the gentleness of their public
conduct. Amongst them there are no despots; no one either reigns or
governs; each one lives at liberty in a free city, on the sole
condition of never being a burden to the state. They all act in
concert, without privileges or monopolies, under the influence of a
common law--the great law of the public good, from which no one is

    [100] "L'Intelligence des Bêtes." In 18mo. Paris, 1864.

But this model republic is fatally doomed to early destruction. At the
approach of winter all the workers, as also the males, perish. Some
pregnant females alone hold out against the cold, and get through the
winter, to propagate and perpetuate their species. Before dying, these
insects destroy all the larvæ which are not hatched at the first
approach of cold weather. In spring the females revive, and begin
alone the construction of a new nest. They then lay workers' eggs,
which are not long in furnishing them a whole regiment of devoted and
active assistants. These traits are pretty nearly the same for the
different species of wasps, the only difference being in the way in
which they build their nests.

[Illustration: Fig. 350.--Exterior of a Wasp's Nest on a branch of a

We have already said that the common wasp makes its nest in the
ground. A gallery, of about an inch and a half in diameter, leads to
the nest, situated at a depth which varies from six inches to two
feet. "It is," says Réaumur, "a small subterranean town, which is not
built in the style of ours, but which has a symmetry of its own. The
streets and the dwelling-places are regularly distributed. It is even
surrounded with walls on all sides. I do not give this name to the
side of the hollow in which it is situated; the walls I allude to are
only walls of paper, but strong enough, nevertheless, for the uses for
which they are intended." Generally, the shape of the outside of a
wasp's nest is spherical or oval, sometimes conical. Its diameter is
about from twelve to sixteen inches, its surface, which resembles a
mass of bivalve shells, has one hole for entrance, and another for
exit, just large enough to allow of one single wasp passing in or out
at the same time (Fig. 350).

[Illustration: Fig. 351.--Interior of a Wasp's Nest, after Réaumur.]

The wasps' nest is composed, in the interior, of fifteen or sixteen
horizontal galleries, arranged in storeys, and supported by numerous
pillars of separation. We give here (Fig. 351) a section and view of
the interior, drawn from memory by Réaumur.[101] The cakes forming the
combs are composed of hexagonal cells, which are always used as
cradles, never as storehouses. They open below. The exterior envelope
of the nest is made with leaves of a sort of greyish, very gummy
paper, which is applied layer by layer. Réaumur has given a very
detailed account of the way in which these insects construct their
nests.[102] They collect fibres of wood--which are their raw
material--make them into a sort of coarse lint, which they reduce to
balls, and carry between their legs to the nest. These balls are next
stuck on to the work already begun. Then the insect stretches them
out, flattens them, and draws them into thin layers, as a bricklayer
spreads mortar with his trowel. The wasp works with extreme quickness,
always backwards, so that it may have incessantly before its eyes the
work it has done: the movement of its mandibles is even quicker than
that of its legs.

    [101] "Mémoires," tome vi., planche 14, p. 167.

    [102] _Ibid_, tome vi., p. 177.

Towards the end of summer the nest may contain 3,000 workers, and many
females, who live together in perfect harmony. The number of males
exceeds that of the females. A female weighs, by herself, as much as
three males or six workers. With the exception of those which are
occupied in building and in taking care of the eggs, all wasps go out
hunting during the day. They are carnivorous, and may be seen
attacking other insects, which they tear to pieces after having
killed, so as to carry the bits to their nests, where thousands of
mouths are clamouring for their food. The wasp pays great attention to
the vines. It penetrates also into the interior of our houses, and
infests the butchers' shops; but this the butchers do not much mind,
for the wasp drives away the flies which would lay their eggs on the
meat and thus contribute to its corruption.

As the winter approaches, the wasps go out less and less, and very
soon cease to do so at all. The greater number then die, huddled up in
their nest. A few females only, as we have said, get through the cold
season. They sleep with their wings and legs folded up, which gives
them the appearance of chrysalides. They can nevertheless sting in
this state, as M. Guérin-Méneville found out to his cost. The spring
wakes them up, and they then found new colonies. "It is at this
season," says M. Maurice Girard, in his book on the "Metamorphoses of
Insects," "that, with a little trouble, it would be easy to diminish
in a very perceptible degree the number of wasps, which are, later, so
destructive to the fruit, by catching in nets the females, which
might be attracted in quantities by means of the blossom of the black
currant." This is a useful hint to gardeners.

The Hornets are distinguished from other wasps by their great size.
They make their nests in the trunks of old trees, perforating the
sound wood to arrive at the heart, which is rotten, or hollowing for
themselves a hole, which they clear out by the gallery which leads to
it. In this hole they construct first a dome suspended to the top by a
footstalk; then a series of combs composed of cells, hanging the first
to this dome, the second to the first, and so on, by stalks or pillars
of a paper-like substance. When fixed under roofs, these insects have
often the form of an elongated pear. Fig. 352 represents one of these
nests, after Réaumur. The societies of hornets contain fewer members
than those of the common wasp; at most 200 insects.

[Illustration: Fig. 352.--Hanging Hornet's Nest.]

The _Polistes_ are a peculiar kind of wasp, smaller than the others,
slender, with the abdomen tapering towards the base. The construction
of their nests is more simple, having no envelopes, as shown in Fig.
353. They attach them to the stems of broom, furze, or other shrubs,
by a footstalk, or pedicle. They are like little paper bouquets,
composed of from twenty to thirty cells, grouped in circle.

[Illustration: Fig. 353.--Nest of _Polistes gallica_.]

[Illustration: Fig. 354.--The Card-making Wasp (_Chartergus

The Card-making Wasp of Cayenne (_Chartergus nidulans_, Fig. 354) is a
consummate artist. Its nest represents a sort of box or bag, made of a
substance resembling cardboard, so fine and so white that the best
worker in that material would be deceived by it. This nest has only
one single hole at its base; each of the combs it contains is likewise
pierced by a hole in its centre, to afford a passage to the wasps. In
an architectural point of view, the card-making wasp is almost
superior to the bee, for the latter does not _build_ its house, it
only _furnishes_ it, as Latreille remarks with truth. The Brazilian
species of _Chartergus_, which the inhabitants call Lecheguana,[103]
manufactures a honey, the use of which is not without danger, as it
occasions vertigo and sharp pains in the stomach. The naturalist,
Auguste Saint-Hilaire, during his sojourn in Brazil, himself
experienced ill effects from eating it.

    [103] Hence the scientific name, _Chartergus lecheguana_.--ED.

There are, moreover, solitary wasps, which make their cells in holes
which they scoop out in the ground, or in the stalks of certain
plants. In the adult state these live on honey; but their larvæ are
carnivorous, and the female is obliged to bring them living insects.
The commonest of these solitary wasps belong to the genus _Odynerus_.
This insect makes its nest in the stalk of a bramble or briar (Fig.
358) with a mortar which it prepares. The larva (Fig. 356) lines its
cell with a silky cocoon. It is the last egg laid which is hatched the
first; then come the others, in an inverse order from that in which
they were deposited. If it had been in the other order, the insects
could not have come out of the cells without destroying on their way
the less advanced pupa.

[Illustration: Fig. 355.--A species of Odynerus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 356.--Larva of the Odynerus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 357.--Pupa of the Odynerus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 358.--Nest of an Odynerus in the stem of a bramble.]


The habits of the Ants are as remarkable as the habits of the bees. In
their marvellous republics each one has his fixed duties to perform,
of which he acquits himself willingly and without constraint. In
consequence of their habits of foresight and frugality, ease reigns in
the dwellings of these little animals, which become attached to their
nest by a feeling of patriotism. Woe betide him who disturbs them in
their occupations, or destroys their house! Like bees, they form a
regular republic, composed--first, of males; secondly, of females;
thirdly of neuters, or workers. We shall see, further on, the labours
and the part played by each one of these three orders of the republic.
Let us speak first of the species.

Ants are divided into a great number of species, which have been
carefully described by De Geer, Latreille, and Francis Huber, the son
of the celebrated blind man who wrote the history of bees. All these
species have, however, some general traits in common, by which they
may be easily distinguished from all other insects. Ants have a slim
body on long legs. The workers are stouter and smaller than the males;
and these last are smaller than the females. The males have large and
prominent eyes, whilst the eyes of the workers and females are small.

[Illustration: Fig. 359.--Red Ant. Male magnified. (_Myrmica rubra._)]

[Illustration: Fig. 360.--Brazilian Umbrella Ant. (_Atla cephalotes._)]

Ants are provided with antennæ, bent in the form of an elbow, with
which they examine everything they meet, and which seem to assist them
in the communication of their ideas. Two horny, very strong mandibles
serve them at the same time as pincers, tweezers, scissors, pick-axe,
fork, and sword. A thin short neck joins the head to the thorax, to
which, in the case of the males and females, are attached four large
veiny wings. The workers only have no wings. Of the three pairs of
legs, the hind ones are the longest. Each pair is armed with a spur,
and fringed with very short hairs, which serve the purpose of brushes.
The abdomen, large, short, oval, or square, is always most voluminous
in the females.

There are three genera of ants which we shall mention. The _Myrmicæ_
have two knobs to the pedicle, by which the abdomen is attached to the
thorax; the _Poneræ_ only one. In these two genera, the females and
the neuters have a sting, and the larvæ do not spin a cocoon in which
to change into pupa. Lastly, the _Formicæ_--ants properly so
called--have but one knob on the pedicle of the abdomen, as in
_Ponera_; their larvæ spin a silky cocoon. They have no sting, but
they pour into the wounds made by their mandibles an acid liquor, the
pungent smell of which is well known. This liquid is formic acid, a
natural product, which the chemist now-a-days knows how to make
artificially, by the action of dilute sulphuric acid on maize and
other vegetable matters. Their whole body is impregnated with this
acid, and has a strong sour smell. Some people like to chew ants, on
account of their sourish taste. "They also make," says Charles de
Geer, "creams for side-dishes, to which these ants give, they say, the
taste of lemon-juice." We know, in the south of France, people who
have eaten these _crèmes aux fourmis_! _Polyergus_ forms a sub-genus
of _Formica_.

[Illustration: Fig. 361.--Sections of an Ant's Nest.]

In all these species, the workers, or neuters, have the charge of the
building, provisioning, and rearing of the larvæ--in fact, all the
care of the household, and the defence of the nest. Deprived of wings,
they are bound to the soil, and condemned to work. As compensation, to
them belong strength, authority, power: nothing is done but through
them. "Born protectors of an immense family still in the cradle," says
M. Victor Rendu, "by their vigilance, their tenderness, and their
solicitude, without being mothers themselves, they share in the duties
and joy of maternity. Alone, they decide on peace or war; alone, they
take part in combats: head, heart, and arm of the republic, they
ensure its prosperity, watch over its defence, found colonies, and in
their works show themselves great and persevering artists."

The nests of ants (Figs. 361, 362) are known under the name of
ant-hills. They vary very much, both as to their form and the
materials employed in making them--wood and earth are the principal.
That which strikes one at first sight, is the size of these dwellings,
which form a curious contrast to the smallness of their builders. Each
species of ant has an order of architecture peculiar to it. The Red
Ant (_Formica rufa_), one of the commonest in our woods, constructs a
little rounded hillock with all kinds of objects--fragments of wood,
bits of straw, dry leaves, the remains of insects, &c. This hillock,
the base of which is protected by material of greater solidity, is
nothing more than the exterior envelope of the nest, which is carried
underground to a very great depth. Avenues, cleverly contrived, lead
from the summit to the interior. The openings vary in width; and, as
night approaches, are carefully barricaded. They are opened every
morning, except on rainy days, when the doors remain shut, and the
inhabitants confined within.

The ant-hill, or _formicarium_, is at first simply a hole hollowed out
in the soil, the entrance to which is masked by the building
materials. But the miners do not cease to hollow out galleries and
chambers, arranged by stories. The earth and rubbish are carried out,
and serve to construct the upper edifice, which rises at the same time
that the excavation grows deeper. It is a labyrinth bored in all
directions. It contains corridors, landings, chambers, and spacious
rooms, which communicate with each other by passages which are often
vertical. All the corridors lead to a large central space, loftier
than the others, and supported by pillars; it is here that the greater
number of the ants congregate. These ant-hills often rise to a height
of fifteen inches above the ground, and descend to an equal depth.
Fig. 362 shows the interior of an ant-hill, drawn from Nature. Outside
it are to be seen some ants occupied in sucking plant-lice.

[Illustration: Fig. 362.--Section of an Ant-hill.]

The group of Mason Ants contains a great number of varieties: the
Ashy-black Ant (_Formica nigra_, Fig. 363), the Brown, the Yellow
(_Formica flava_), the Blood-red, the Russety (_Polyergus rufescens_),
the Black, the Miner (_Formica cunicularia_), the Turf Ant, &c. All
these species employ a mortar, more or less fine, in raising their
hillocks, at the same time that they hollow out their underground
dwellings. The Jet Ant (_Formica fuliginosa_) excavates wood,
hollowing out its labyrinth in the trunk of a tree with consummate
skill. The Red Ant (_Myrmica rubra_) plies, according to
circumstances, the trade of a mason or excavator.

[Illustration: Fig. 363.--Ashy-black Ant (_Formica nigra_). Male, female,
and worker.]

[Illustration: Fig. 364.--Ashy Ant. Male, worker, and female.]

The masons work when they can profit by the rain or by the evening
dew, to make their mortar. They only go out after sunset, or when a
fine rain has wetted their roof. Then they set to work. They roll up
pellets of earth, bring them back in their mandibles, and stick them
on to those places where the building was left unfinished. From all
sides the earth-workers may be seen arriving, laden with materials.
All these are bustling, hurrying, busy, but always in the greatest
order, and with a perfect understanding among themselves. Every part
of the building is going on at the same time. The apartments spring up
one above another, and the edifice visibly rises. The rain, the sun,
and the wind consolidate and harden the building so cunningly
contrived by these industrious workers, who have received from God
alone their marvellous science. With no other tool than their
mandibles, the excavators work their way through the hardest wood.
They bore holes right through it, riddling it completely with numerous
storeys of horizontal galleries. The Yellow Ant raises its little
hillocks in fields, and passes the winter in a burrow or underground

Independent of the principal entrances, there exist, in some nests,
masked doors guarded by sentinels. Many species also hollow out
covered galleries, which they only unmask in extreme danger, either to
open an outlet for the besieged, or to turn the enemy who has already
invaded the place. Ant-hills are, in fact, perfect fortresses,
defended by a thousand ingenious contrivances, and guarded by
sentinels always on the _qui vive_.

[Illustration: Fig. 365.--Larva of the Red Ant. (_Myrmica rubra_).]

[Illustration: Fig. 366.--Pupa of the Red Ant (_Myrmica rubra_)

The domestic life of the different species is nearly the same. The
birth and rearing of the little ones, and the duties of the adults, do
not differ perceptibly from each other in the various species of ants.
The females live together in harmony. They lay, without ceasing to
walk about, white eggs of cylindrical form and microscopic dimensions.
The workers pick them up, and carry them to special chambers. In a
fortnight after the laying, the larva (Fig. 365) appears. Its body is
transparent. A head and wings can be made out, but no legs; the mouth
is a retractile nipple, bordered by rudimentary mandibles, into which
the workers disgorge the juices they have elaborated in their
stomachs; and as they lay by no provisions, they are obliged to
gather each day the sugary liquids destined for the food of the larvæ.

From their birth, a troop of nurses is charged with the care of them.
They put them out in the open air during the day. Hardly has the sun
risen, when the ants, placed just under the roof, go to tell those
which are beneath, by touching them with their antennæ, or shaking
them with their mandibles. In a few seconds, all the outlets are
crowded with workers carrying out the larvæ in order to place them on
the top of the ant-hill, that they may be exposed to the beneficent
heat of sun. When the larvæ have remained some time in the same place,
their guardians move them away from the direct action of the solar
rays, and put them in chambers a little way from the top of the hill,
where a milder heat can still reach them. We then see the ants
themselves taking the well-earned luxury of a few minutes' rest,
heaping themselves up together, right in the sun. There is no
observant inhabitant of the country who has not seen the curious
spectacle which we have just mentioned--that is to say, the population
of an ants' nest carrying into the sun the young nurslings, so that
they may experience the action of the solar heat. We recommend the
dweller in towns who is in the country for a day to stretch himself
out near an ant-hill in the warm weather, and witness this spectacle,
one of the most curious in Nature. The care which the working ants
bestow on their young does not consist only in nourishing them and
procuring for them a proper temperature; they have also to keep them
extremely clean. With their palpi they clean them, brush them, distend
their skin, and thus prepare them for the critical trial of their

At this moment the larvæ of ants, properly so called, spin themselves
a silky cocoon, of a close tissue and of a grey or yellowish colour;
those of the _Myrmicæ_ and of the _Poneræ_ do not surround themselves
with a silky cocoon before changing into pupæ. These are at first of a
pure white, but they very soon assume a brown colour, which increases
until it becomes dark brown. They possess all the organs of the adult,
enveloped in a membrane so thin that it seems to be iridescent. Fig.
366 represents the pupa of the red ant. They are the cocoons enclosing
the pupæ, which are incorrectly called in the country ants' eggs, and
are given to young pheasants and partridges. The pupæ remain
motionless till the insects emerge, which is accomplished with the
assistance of the workers. These latter tear the covering from the
pupa, and complete its deliverance. They then watch over the
newly-born ant. For some days they feed it, help it to walk, and do
not abandon it till it can dispense with their good offices. These
workers, when provisions fail, or when the ant-hill is threatened with
any great danger, take in their mandibles the eggs, the larvæ, the
pupæ, and sometimes those females and the males which refuse to follow
them. Thus laden, they go their way, to seek for another country they
may call their own. They never forget, in their hurried emigrations,
the infirm or sick workers, which would perish in the house now
abandoned and deserted.

The males and females lately hatched do not enjoy the same liberty as
the young workers. They are confined to the ant-hill, where they are
kept in sight till the day of the general departure. It is towards the
end of the month of August that swarms of winged ants of both sexes
are seen to issue forth. The males come out first, agitating their
iridescent and transparent wings. The females, less numerous, follow
them closely. All of a sudden one sees this troop raise itself at a
given signal, and disappear in the air, where the coupling takes
place. The males perish immediately afterwards. The females
impregnated return to the paternal home, or else found new colonies
with the assistance of a few workers who are their escort. From this
moment they no longer require wings. The workers make haste to cut
them off, or, indeed, which oftenest happens, they themselves tear
them off. With their wings they lose the desire for liberty.
Henceforward, they will quit their retreat no more, the cares of their
approaching maternity now alone occupying them. The working ants
reserve for them subterranean chambers, where they are kept in sight
by the sentinels. At certain hours only are they to be met with in the
upper storeys. When they wish to walk, a company of guards presses
round them on all sides so as to prevent them from advancing too
quickly. There are no sorts of attentions they do not heap upon them
to make them forget their captivity. They caress them, brush them,
lick them, they offer them food continually. On the least appearance
of danger, the workers take possession, first of all, of the pregnant
females, and drag them out by the secret outlets, so as to put in a
place of safety their precious persons, the hope of the community. The
workers' task is immense, for their labours increase in the same
proportion as the population increases. But the division of work and
the good understanding which exists between the members of the
community, allow them to be prepared for anything that may happen, and
to supply all their necessities.

Nothing is more amusing than to observe the shifts ants are put to in
transporting objects of great size. They stumble, they tumble head
over heels, they roll down precipices; but, in spite of all accidents,
return to their task, and always accomplish it. The tranquil
inhabitants of these subterranean republics are bound together by
mutual affection in a devoted fraternity, which makes them ever ready
to assist each other. They all help one another as much as they can.
If an ant is tired, a comrade carries it on its back. Those which are
so absorbed with their work that they have no time to think of their
food, are fed by their companions. When an ant is wounded, the first
one who meets it renders it assistance, and carries it home. Latreille
having torn the antennæ from an ant, saw another approach the poor
wounded one, and pour, with its tongue, a few drops of a yellow liquid
on the bleeding wound.

Huber the younger one day took an ant's nest to populate one of those
glass contrivances which he used for making his observations, and
which consisted of a sort of glass bell placed over the nest. Our
naturalist set at liberty one part of the ants, which fixed themselves
at the foot of a neighbouring chestnut tree. The rest were kept during
four months in the apparatus, and at the end of this time Huber moved
the whole into the garden, and a few ants managed to escape. Having
met their old companions, who still lived at the foot of the chestnut
tree, they _recognised_ them. They were seen, in fact, all of them, to
gesticulate, to caress each other mutually with their antennæ, to take
each other by the mandibles, as if to embrace in token of joy, and
they then re-entered together the nest at the foot of the chestnut
tree. Very soon they came in a crowd to look for the other ants under
the bell, and in a few hours our observer's apparatus was completely
evacuated by its prisoners. When an ant has discovered any rich prey,
far from enjoying it alone, like a gourmand, it invites all its
companions to the feast. Community of goods and interests exists
amongst all the members of this model society. It is the practical
realisation of the dream formed by certain philosophers of our day,
who were only able to conceive the idea, the possibility, the project
of such a community of goods and interests, which is among ants a

How do these insects manage to make themselves understood in such
various ways, asking for help, giving advice, giving invitations? They
must have a language of their own, or else they must communicate their
impressions by the play of their antennæ.

When an ant is hungry, and does not wish to disturb itself from its
work, it tells a foraging ant as it passes, by touching it with its
antennæ; the latter approaches it immediately, and presents it, on the
end of its tongue, some juice it has disgorged for this purpose. The
antennæ, then, are used by the ants for the purpose of making
themselves understood by each other. Dr. Ebrard, who studied these
insects attentively, is of opinion that they use them in the same way
as a blind man does his stick, to feel their way with, for their sight
is not good. The age to which ants live is not well known. It is
believed that the workers live many years.

Ants eat all sorts of things. One sees them eating fresh or decaying
meat, fruits, flowers, particularly everything which is sugary. They
attack living insects, and kill them and suck their blood. Like many
insects, they are very fond of sugary liquids--honey, syrups, pure
sugar, &c. Dupont de Nemours relates in his Memoirs that, to guarantee
his sugar-basin against the invasion of ants, he had found no better
plan than to make it "an island," that is to say, to place it in the
middle of a vessel full of water. He felt sure that he had made the
fortress safe against any attack; but listen to the stratagem made use
of by the besiegers. The ants climbed up the wall to the ceiling,
exactly perpendicularly over the sugar-basin. From there they let
themselves fall into the interior of the place, penetrating thus by
main force, and without injuring any one, into the magazine. As the
ceiling was very high, the draught caused them to deviate from the
straight line, and thus a certain number fell into the fosse of the
citadel, that is to say, into the water in the vessel. Their
companions stationed on the bank made all efforts imaginable to fish
out the drowning ants, but were afraid of taking to the water of such
a large lake. All that they could do was to stretch out their bodies
as far as possible (keeping on the bank the while), to lend a helping
hand to their drowning friends. Nevertheless, the salvage did not
progress much; when the ants, which were getting very uneasy,
conceived a happy thought. A few were seen to run to the ant-hill, and
then to reappear. They brought with them a squad of eight grenadiers,
who threw themselves into the water without any hesitation, and who,
swimming vigorously, seized with their pincers all the drowning ants,
and brought them all on to _terra firma_. Eleven, half-dead, were thus
brought to shore, that is, to the rim of the basin. They would
probably all of them have succumbed, if their companions had not
hastened to lend them assistance. They rolled them in the dust, they
brushed them, they rubbed them, they stretched themselves on their
dying companions to warm them; then they rolled them and rubbed them
again. Four were restored to life. A fifth half recovered, and, still
moving its legs and its antennæ a little, was taken home with all
sorts of precautions. The six others were dead. They were carried into
the ant-hill by their afflicted companions. It seems like a dream to
read such things as this, and yet Dupont de Nemours tells us, "I have
seen it!" Ants are also very fond of a peculiar liquid which the
plant-lice secrete from a pouch in the abdomen. When they have got
possession of a plant-louse, they excite it to secrete this liquid,
but without doing it any harm. They carry the plant-lice into the
ant-hill, or into private stables. There they keep them, give them
their food, and suck them. We have already mentioned these curious
relations which are established between ants and plant-lice.[104] Fig.
367 shows an ant thus occupied. The _Gallinsecta_ also furnish the
ants with sugary liquids.

    [104] See the Order Hemiptera, _supra_.--ED.

During the cold of winter the ants sleep at the bottom of their nests,
without taking any food. A small number of species only hold out
through the severe season, by shutting themselves up in the ant-hill
with a number of plant-lice. It is thus that they pass the winter with
a supply of food. We must mention, however, that in warm countries the
ants do not hybernate.

We have just described ant society during the quiet periods, when
peace reigns supreme; but they are not more exempt than other animals
from the necessities and dangers of war. They have a great many
enemies among the population of the woods; they must, then, be
prepared to repel their attacks. They display in that the most
scientific resources of the military art applied to defence.

It is almost needless to say that the sentinels are, at all times,
posted at a reasonable distance from the ant-hill, to observe the
environs. When the fortress is unexpectedly attacked, whether by large
insects, Coleoptera for instance, or by the ants from a neighbouring
nest, these vigilant sentinels immediately fall back and give the
alarm to the camp, not, however, without having boldly confronted the
enemy and opposed to him an honourable resistance. Having re-entered
the nest in all haste, they precipitate themselves into the passages,
tapping with their antennæ all the ants which they meet, and thus
spreading the alarm in the city. Very soon the agitation has become
general, and thousands of combatants sally forth from the citadel,
ready to repel the attack and make the enemy bite the dust.

The possession of a flock of plant-lice is sometimes a subject of
discord, and becomes a _casus belli_ between two neighbouring
ant-hills. But, usually, the war has for its object to make prisoners
in other nests, and to carry off part of the inhabitants as slaves.
This is the origin of _mixed ant-hills_, which, independently of their
natural founders, contain one or two foreign species, helots whom the
conquerors have taken away from their birth-place, to make of them
auxiliaries and slaves. In these mixed ant-hills the species imported
occasionally exceed in number the original population, as it happens
sometimes in those ships which are used in the slave trade, and on
which the slaves are often found in greater numbers than the sailors
composing the crew. The phalanx of ants reduced to a state of slavery
pay all sorts of attentions to their masters. They lick them, brush
them, caress them, carry them on their backs, feed them--good and
faithful servants that they are--and even rear their progeny. The
masters impose on their slaves all sorts of work. They only reserve
for themselves the making of war. From time to time they undertake
expeditions against some neighbouring ants' nest. If they are
conquered and come back without bringing with them any prisoners, the
slaves or auxiliaries are sulky to them, and will not allow them for
some time to enter the nest. If, on the contrary, they return loaded
with booty, they flatter them, give them food, and relieve them of
their prisoners, which they lead away into the interior of the
fortress. The warlike tribes, however, never carry off any other but
the larvæ and nymphs of workers from the ant-hills they plunder. These
young captives get used to their kidnappers: brought up in fear of
their masters, they never think of abandoning them.

[Illustration: Fig. 367.--An Ant milking Aphides or Plant-lice

[Illustration: Fig. 368.--Russet Ants (_Polyergus rufescens_).]

[Illustration: Fig. 369.--Blood-red Ant (_Formica sanguinea_).]

Two species constitute the warrior tribes which form societies mixed
with the species they reduce to slavery. They are the Russet Ant (Fig.
368) and the Blood-red Ant (Fig. 369). They always attack the nests of
the Ashy-black (_Formica fusca_) and the Miners.

The Russet Ant has mandibles made for war; they appear cut out for
struggling and fighting. The Blood-red Ants are less ferocious; they
work themselves, and make none of those sweeping raids by which the
Russet Ants depopulate the neighbouring ant-hills.

What Peter Huber has done for bees, Francis Huber, his son, has done
for the ants. It is from Francis Huber that we borrow the description
which it remains for us to give of the habits of ants in times of war.
He thus relates one of these expeditions, of which he was a
witness:--"On the 17th of June, 1804," says he, "as I was walking in
the environs of Geneva, between four and five in the afternoon, I saw
at my feet a legion of largish russet ants crossing the road. They
were marching in a body with rapidity, their troop occupied a space of
from eight to ten feet long by three or four inches wide; in a few
minutes they had entirely evacuated the road; they penetrated through
a very thick hedge, and went into a meadow, whither I followed them.
They wound their way along the turf, without straying, and their
column remained always continuous, in spite of the obstacles which
they had to surmount. Very soon they arrived near a nest of ashy-black
ants, the dome of which rose among the grass, at twenty paces from the
hedge. A few ants of this species were at the door of their
habitation. As soon as they descried the army which was approaching,
they threw themselves on those which were at the head of the cohort.
The alarm spread at the same instant in the interior of the nest, and
their companions rushed out in crowds from all the subterranean
passages. The russet ants, the body of whose army was only two paces
distant, hastened to arrive at the foot of the nest; the whole troop
precipitated itself forward at the same time, and knocked the
ashy-black ants head over heels, who, after a short but very smart
combat, retired to the extremity of the habitation. The russet ants
clambered up the sides of the hillock, flocked to the summit, and
introduced themselves in great numbers into the first avenues; other
groups worked with their teeth, making a lateral aperture. In this
they succeeded, and the rest of the army penetrated through the breach
into the besieged city. They did not make a long stay there; in three
or four minutes the russet ants came out again in haste, by the same
adits, carrying each one in its mouth a pupa or larva belonging to
the conquered. They again took exactly the same road by which they
had come, and followed each other in a straggling manner; their line
was easily to be distinguished on the grass by the appearance which
this multitude of white cocoons and larvæ, carried by as many
russet-coloured ants, presented. They passed through the hedge a
second time, crossed the road, and then steered their course into a
field of ripe wheat, whither, I regret to say, I was unable to follow

    [105] "Recherches sur les Moeurs des Fourmis indigènes," p.
    210. Paris, 1810.

Huber adds that, having returned to the pillaged nest to examine it
more closely, he saw some ashy-black workers bringing back to their
home the few larvæ which they had succeeded in saving. Having later
discovered the nest of these Amazons, which is the name he gives to
the warrior ants, he found there many of the ashy-black ants living on
very good terms with their kidnappers.

The Amazons begin their expeditions at the end of June, during the
hottest hours of the day. They come out in long files, eight or ten
abreast, preceded by their scouts. These columns start at a run, in a
straight line, and without feeling their way. They have no chieftain.
The van is re-formed every moment. Those who are in front do not
remain there; at the end of a certain time they go and range
themselves in the rear, and are replaced by those which were behind.
The whole troop is thus in constant communication through its entire
length. Rarely does the expedition divide into two bodies. Arrived
under the walls of the fortress, the column halts and masses itself
into one corps. The assault is made with incredible impetuosity. In
the twinkling of an eye the place is escaladed, taken by storm, and
pillaged, and the ashy-black ants are either put to flight or led away
into captivity. The same ant-hill may be invaded as many as three
times running on the same day; but then the ashy-black ants, on their
guard, have barricaded themselves in, and in that case the aggressors
return home without pillaging them.

[Illustration: Fig. 370.--Mining Ant (_Formica cunicularia_), male,
worker, and female.]

The Mining Ants (Fig. 370) are less timid than the ashy-black; and, as
they defend themselves with more energy, there are frequently deadly
combats, and the field of battle is left covered with heads, legs, and
limbs, scattered about here and there with the dead and wounded. The
miners pursue the pillagers, and snatch their plunder from them. But
they are sometimes driven back vigorously, and the russet ants gain
their lair with the plunder.

The tactics of the Red Ants (_Formica sanguinea_) differ from those of
the russet. They only sally forth in small detachments, which begin by
engaging in skirmishes with the scouts thrown out round the enemy's
ant-hill. Couriers, despatched from time to time to the camp of the
red ants, bring up reinforcements. When the troop feels itself
sufficiently strong, it invades the nest of the ashy-black ants, and
carries off their offspring, which the latter have not had time to
secure. Sometimes, also, the red ants instal themselves in the nest
whose inhabitants they have ejected, and transfer their own population
to it. The motive for this emigration is that the old nest has become
useless, or that it is exposed to some danger. The red ants are not
the only ants which thus desert their birth-place. Many species
abandon it likewise, for analogous motives, and construct elsewhere
another dwelling, to which they transport all the population of the
first nest.

[Illustration: Fig. 371.--Philanthus triangulum.]

[Illustration: Fig. 372.--Mutilla Europæa, male and female.]

When we reflect on the habits of ants, we are forced to admit that
intelligence and reason appear still more in their acts than in those
of bees. The life of ants, as well as that of bees, as far as we are
concerned, is an unintelligible enigma. The acts of animals, in
general, are sometimes an abyss unfathomable to our reason. The
Orientals say, "The last word may be written on man: on the elephant,
never!" Let us add that they should no more say that the elephant will
be an inexhaustible theme, but that the history of the ant will
continue so always.

The best-known genera of the Fossores, or Fossorial Hymenoptera, are
_Philanthus_ (Fig. 371), which feeds its larvæ on bees, having first
numbed them by its sting; _Pompilus_ and _Sphex_, which attack
spiders; and _Mutilla_ (Fig. 372), whose females resemble ants, being
variegated with red and yellow, the males, being provided with wings
and smaller in size, and black. The _Mutillæ_ are parasitical on
solitary bees, their larvæ devouring their larvæ.

[Illustration: Fig. 373.--A species of Pimpla.]

[Illustration: Fig. 374.--A species of Ophion.]

Other Hymenoptera lay their eggs under the skin of certain insects,
especially when these are in the larva or caterpillar state, thus
rendering service to agriculture by destroying a great number of
noxious insects. In lieu of a sting they have an auger, intended to
pierce the skin of their victims. It is thus that the _Ichneumons_
introduce their eggs under the skin of caterpillars. The _Pimplas_
(Fig. 373), which belongs to this group, have a very long ovipositor,
which, with its two appendages, constitute three lancets, and enable
them to get at the larvæ in their retreats. The _Ophions_ (Fig. 374)
have a sickle-shaped abdomen. They lay their eggs on the skin of
caterpillars, which they attack with the short cutting auger with
which they are provided.

[Illustration: Fig. 375.--Gall insect (_Cynips quercusfolii_).]

[Illustration: Fig. 376.--Oak Galls, produced by _Cynips quercusfolii_.]

[Illustration: Fig. 377.--Interior of a Gall.]

The _Cynips_, or Gall-insects, are small black or tawny Hymenoptera,
the females of which have an auger, rolled up spirally and hidden in a
fissure of the abdomen, with which they prick the young shoots of
plants. A peculiar liquid which they pour into the hole round the egg
they have laid, causes an excrescence to grow, which is called a
"gall." The larva is developed in the centre of this gall, and
transformed into a pupa; and afterwards into a perfect insect, which
makes its exit by a hole in the wall of its prison. Fig. 375
represents the Cynips of the oak tree (_Cynips quercusfolii_), and
Figs. 376 and 377 the galls it produces. The galls of the rose are
hairy, and are sometimes called "Robin's Cushion." The gall-nut, rich
in tannin, which is used in the manufacture of ink, is the produce of
a foreign Cynips, which lives on an oak found in the East. Apples of
Sodom, which travellers bring back from the shores of the Dead Sea,
are large galls[106] full of dry dust and larvæ.

    [106] Made by _Cynips insana_.--ED.

The _Urocerata_ and the _Tenthredinetæ_ form two tribes of insects,
of which the first are of great size, have a cylindrical body, the
abdomen being attached to the thorax in its whole breadth, without any

[Illustration: Fig. 378.--Sirex gigas.]

The insects of the genus _Sirex_ (Fig. 378), belonging to the former
of these, lay their eggs in living wood, and their larvæ live for many
years in the interior. They are to be met with in great numbers in
forests of pine trees, and, according to Latreille, show themselves
sometimes in such great numbers as to become an object of terror. The
female of the Giant Sirex (_Sirex gigas_) possesses a long rectilinear
auger. The mandibles of the larvæ are of great strength, and are even
capable of perforating lead. This fact has been observed many times.
In 1857 Marshal Vaillant presented to the Académie des Sciences some
packets of cartridges containing balls which had been pierced through
by the larvæ of the Sirex during the sojourn of the French troops in
the Crimea. Some of these insects were still shut up in the gallery
which they had hollowed out in the metal. M. Dumeril (and this was one
of the last works of that venerable and learned naturalist) wrote a
Report on this subject, in which were recorded many analogous
instances. He quoted, as an example, that M. le Marquis de Brême, in
1844, showed to the Société Zoologique many cartridges in which the
balls had been perforated by the insects to a depth of about a
quarter of an inch. These cartridges came from the arsenal of Turin.
They had been placed in barrels made of larch wood, the inside of
which had been attacked by the insects. It was discovered that it was
after having left the wood that they had gnawed through the envelopes
of the cartridges, and at last into the balls themselves. In 1833
Audouin presented to the Société Entomologique de France a plate of
lead, from the roof of a building, on which this naturalist supposed
that the larvæ of a _Callidium_[107] had made deep sinuosities, as
they do in wood. Before this, parts of the leaden roofs at La Rochelle
had been noticed not only gnawed, but pierced from one side to the
other, by the larvæ of _Bostrichus capucinus_.[108] In 1844 M.
Desmarest reported the erosion and perforation of sheets of lead by a
species of _Bostrichus_ and by _Callidium_. In 1843 M. Du Boys
presented to the Société d'Agriculture of Limoges some stereotyped
plates--composed, as is well-known, of a very hard alloy, formed of
antimony and lead--which had been pierced and riddled with holes by
two specimens of a _Bostrichus_. The holes were a seventh of an inch
in diameter by two inches in depth. The stereotypes were thus
perforated, although they had been wrapped up in many folds of paper
and cardboard. As the printing served for a work called "Les Fastes
Militaires de la France," one may say that the brave soldiers received
from an insect more wounds than their enemies had ever given them.

    [107] A coleopterous insect.--ED.

    [108] Also a beetle.--ED.

To prove that these insects have really the power to perforate metals
as others perforate and pass through woody matter, the entomologist of
Limoges made the following experiments. He placed in a leaden box, the
sides of which were thin, a living specimen of the Fire-coloured
Lepture of Geoffroy (_Callidium sanguineum_), a Coleopteron which is
commonly found in houses in France in winter, its larvæ being
developed in great numbers in firewood. Above this box he fitted on
another, also containing a specimen of this insect, which he shut in
with a third box. A few days afterwards he separated the boxes. The
middle one had been pierced through, and the two insects were found
together, the one which was below having made a hole through which it
might introduce itself into the middle box. M. Du Boys made a chemical
experiment which enabled him to establish beyond a doubt that the
insect which had gnawed the metal had not made it serve as its food.
The dried body of one of these insects was analysed. After having
immersed it in nitric acid it was completely burnt, and there could
not be found in the ashes acted upon by the nitric acid the least
trace of lead. This experiment proves that these insects had for their
object only to escape from the galleries in which they were
accidentally deposited in their larva state, and that it was not until
they had undergone their complete transformation that they endeavoured
to gain their liberty. Observations of the same kind were multiplied
after the Report of M. Dumeril. The Académie des Sciences received, in
the month of June, 1861, two Memoirs--one from M. Heriot, captain of
artillery, the other from M. Bouteille, curator of the Museum of
Natural History of Grenoble--containing many new observations on the
perforation by insects of leaden balls contained in cartridges
prepared for war. M. Milne-Edwards read to the Académie des Sciences a
short Report on these works.

The insect which had produced the perforations observed in the balls
sent to the Crimea in 1857, and which M. Dumeril particularly studied,
was the _Sirex juvencus_, and had been taken from France in the wood
forming the boxes which contained the cartridges. In the other case of
which we are speaking, that is to say, of the cartridges which were
sent in 1861 to the Académie by Captain Heriot and by M. Bouteille,
the perforations had been produced by other species. M. Milne-Edwards,
who found the insect that had caused this strange damage, had no
trouble in recognising it as the _Sirex gigas_, which, in its larva
state, lives in the interior of old trees or pieces of wood, and
which, after it has gone through all its metamorphoses, comes out of
its retreat to reproduce its kind. To clear themselves a passage, they
cut away with their mandibles the ligneous substances or other hard
bodies they meet with on their road. It was in pursuing this object
that the insects, imprisoned accidentally in the packets of cartridges
when they were yet only in the larva state, must have attacked the
leaden balls, as also the paper and the other matters which they met
with on their road, and which opposed their passage. M. Bouteille
proves, in his Memoir, that M. Dumeril has committed an error in
saying that the perforating organ employed by the _Sirex_ to attack
the leaden balls in the cartridges in the Crimea was the auger
situated at the extremity of the abdomen of the female, and intended
for cutting into that part of the wood where it is to lay its eggs. M.
Bouteille has established, in fact, that they were not only the
females which attacked the cartridges, but that the males, which have
no auger, had occasioned the same damage.

The _Tenthredinetæ_ are called "Saw-Flies," because the females are
furnished with a double auger, notched like a saw, with which they cut
into the branches in which they lay their eggs. The larvæ of these
insects have a striking resemblance to the caterpillars of
Lepidoptera. They can only be distinguished from them by a great
globular head, not hollowed out, and by their abdominal legs, in
general to the number of more than ten. They are called false
caterpillars (Fig. 379). Most of them, when touched, erect themselves
and move about in a threatening manner. They spin a silken cocoon
before changing into pupæ. The _Lophyrus pini_, which devours the
leaves of pine trees, belongs to this family.

[Illustration: Fig. 379.--Larva of a Saw-Fly. (_Tenthredo_).]

[Illustration: Fig. 380.--Lophyrus pini.]



The very small black flies which are such a source of annoyance to
travellers in the summer-time, and which fly into our eyes and crawl
over our faces during the prevalence of warm windy weather,
principally belong to a kind of insect which is characterised by
having very remarkable wings when in the adult condition. These
insects exist by myriads, and there are several species of them; and
they are all exceedingly destructive to flowers, and especially to the
bloom of cereal plants. The little black insects are to be seen on
almost every flower, and they devour the delicate cellular tissues of
the petals. _Thrips cerealium_ is very destructive when it occurs in
multitudes upon the wheat, barley, and oats, for it interferes with
the proper nutrition of the grain, by nibbling the protecting
envelopes and the tissue which connects it to the stalk.

[Illustration: Figs. 381, 382.--The Adult Insect and Larva of _Thrips
cerealium_ (magnified).]

All the members of the genus _Thrips_--and they alone constitute the
order now under consideration--possess four very narrow membranous
wings, without any folds or network upon them, but furnished and
decorated with beautiful fringes upon the edges. These fringes
characterise the Order, which in other respects is closely allied to
the Orthoptera, and they give the name to it. The Thysanoptera
([Greek: thysanoi], fringes; [Greek: pteron], a wing) have filiform
antennæ and very large eyes, and the different species of the genus
Thrips have a great diversity of wing fringing. The structure of the
wings is somewhat analogous to that observed in the Lepidoptera, in
the Pterophorina and the Alucitina.

The metamorphoses of the Thysanoptera have not received much
attention, but they are known to be of the incomplete kind. The quiet
chrysalis condition is not observed, and the larvæ are born from the
egg greatly resembling the adults. The absence of wings is the great
distinction between the larval and the imago state, as it is in the
closely-allied order of the Orthoptera. The larva moults several
times, and the wings are gradually added, the colour of the insect
altering also.



The Neuroptera--the type of which order are the _Libellulæ_, or Dragon
Flies--have four membranous wings, generally rather broad, provided
with transverse delicately reticulated nervures, which gives them the
appearance of lace. Although one of the least extensive, this Order
presents the greatest modifications of form and of habits.

One section of Neuroptera contains some insects which undergo
incomplete metamorphoses. The _Libellulæ_, the _Ephemeræ_, and the
_Termites_, belong to this category. The insects belonging to the
other section, in which are classed the _Phryganidæ_,[109] or Caddis
Flies, the _Panorpatæ_, and the _Myrmelionides_, or Ant Lions, undergo
complete metamorphoses. The pupæ of the first walk and live absolutely
in the same way as the larvæ; only, at the moment of the last
transformation, the skin of the pupa splits, and the perfect insect
comes forth. In the case of the second, on the contrary, the pupa is
motionless, inactive, and takes no food, as in the Hymenoptera,
Coleoptera, &c. In spite of this diversity in their mode of
development, all these insects resemble each other too much for us to
divide the Order; from which it follows that we must not attach too
much importance to differences of transformation by which the insect
arrives at its perfect state.

    [109] These were separated from the Neuroptera and made a
    separate order, under the name of Trichoptera, by Kirby.--ED.

The most interesting insects among the Neuroptera are the _Termites_,
improperly called White Ants, on account of the great analogy which
exists between their habits and those of ants. They constitute, by
their way of living, a striking anomaly in the order in which their
conformation places them. In fact, they live in very numerous societies,
and build very solid and very extensive dwelling-places--quite
Cyclopean or Titanic works in comparison to the tiny dimensions and
weak and feeble appearance of the insect. (PLATE IX.)

[Illustration: IX. Nests of White Ants.]

Many travellers have spoken of these insects. They are met with in the
savannahs of North America, in Guyana, in Africa, in New Holland, and
even in Europe, whither they have been imported. M. de Prefontaine
relates that, when he was travelling in Guyana, he saw the negroes
besieging certain strange buildings, which he calls ant-hills. They
dared not attack them, except from a distance, and with fire-arms,
although they had taken the precaution of digging all round them a
little fosse filled with water, in which the besieged would be drowned
if they made a sortie. These were the termites' nests.

Perhaps it is to termites Herodotus alludes when he speaks of ants
which inhabit Bactria, and which, larger than a fox, eat a pound of
meat a day.[110] Retired in the sandy deserts, these gigantic insects
hollow out (says he) subterranean dwellings, and raise mounds of
golden sand, which the Indians carry away at the peril of their lives.
Pliny, who relates the same fables, adds that there were to be seen in
the Temple of Hercules the horns of these ants. Even in our own days
some travellers have repeated absurd fables about termites. They have
attributed to them a venom which one cannot breathe without being
poisoned; they have said that a single bite was enough to cause a
mortal fever. The truth, as it is revealed to us by conscientious
observers, is still stranger than these fictions or errors. The
termites present curious modifications, on the nature of which
naturalists are not agreed. There are, in the first place, the perfect
insects, males and females, which are provided with wings; then there
are the neuters, which are divided into _soldiers_, whose duty it is
to defend the nest, and into _workers_, upon whom devolve the
architectural works and household cares. These last are smaller than
the soldiers. Latreille and some other naturalists think that these
workers are the larvæ of the termites. Smeathman thinks that the
soldiers are the pupæ. M. de Quatrefages admits that the soldiers are
the neuters, and that the workers are recruited both from the larvæ
and from the pupæ. It may be admitted, with other naturalists, that
the soldiers and the workers are neuters: the first, abortive males;
the second, abortive females. Here is, indeed, what M. Lespès has
observed in the termites of the Landes. Among these insects, the most
numerous are the workers: their size is that of a large ant, and their
duties are to excavate galleries, to search for provisions, and to
take care of the eggs, the larvæ, and the pupæ. The workers have a
rounded head and short mandibles, and are blind. The soldiers, less
numerous, have an enormous head--nearly as big as the rest of their
body--very strong, crossed mandibles, and are blind like the workers.
Anatomy showed M. Lespès that both are _neuters_--that is, the
soldiers, males, and the workers, females--with aborted organs.

    [110] De Quatrefages, "Souvenirs d'un Naturaliste," tome ii.,
    p. 377. In 18mo. Paris, 1854.

The larvæ of the females much resemble the workers. Those which are to
become males or females are distinguished from those which are to
become neuters by very slight rudiments of wings, and their pupæ show
already imperfect wings, hidden in cases; furthermore, they have eyes
hidden under the skin. The males and females alone have eyes; they
also have wings, which they lose immediately after the coupling. Those
which proceed from the pupæ with long wing cases become small kings
and queens after their swarming, which takes place at the end of May.
The pupæ with short wing-cases become perfect in the month of August,
and produce larger males and females, which become kings and queens.
All these couples are collected by the neuters; and the queens, large
and small, set to work immediately to lay. The largest are much the
more fruitful. The workers do not seem to take any care of them at
all. With the exception of this last peculiarity, everything probably
goes on in the same manner with the exotic termites; but with the
latter the queen is an object of worship.

Fig. 383 represents the four types of the republic of the _Termes
lucifugus_. On the left is a worker, on the right a soldier, in the
centre a winged male, all three very much magnified, the lines drawn
by their side showing the natural size. Below the male is the pregnant
queen (D D D D), of a species of which we are about to speak, of the
natural size.

Many species of termites were studied with care by the English
traveller, Smeathman, at the end of the last century, in Southern
Africa. His account of them is the most exact and most complete which
we have of these insects.[111] The largest of the species observed is
the _Termes bellicosus_. The workers are a fifth of an inch long, the
body soft, and of an extreme delicacy, but the sharp mandibles capable
of attacking the hardest bodies. The soldiers are twice as long, and
weigh as much as fifteen workers, and may be distinguished by their
enormous horned head, armed with sharp pincers. The male weighs as
much as thirty workers, and attains to a length of nearly four-fifths
of an inch.

    [111] "Some Account of the Termites," &c., in the
    _Philosophical Transactions_, vol. lxxi. 1781.

[Illustration: Fig. 383.--Termes lucifugus. Male (A), Worker (B),
Soldier (C), magnified. Fecundated female of _Termes bellicosus_,
natural size, surrounded by workers (D D D D).]

But the pregnant female leaves all these dimensions far behind. Her
abdomen becomes two thousand times as big as the rest of her body!
She then attains to six inches in length, and weighs as much as thirty
thousand workers. By a hideous contrast, the head alone does not
increase in size. D D D D (Fig. 383) is an exact representation of
this monster. She is always motionless and captive in her cell,
entirely occupied in laying. Her fecundity surpasses all bounds: sixty
eggs a minute, more than 80,000 a day. Smeathman is inclined to think
that this prodigious laying goes on during the whole of the year.
"This soft, whitish beast," says M. Michelet, "a belly rather than a
being, is as large, at least, as one's thumb; a traveller professes to
have seen one of the size of a crawfish. The larger she is, the more
fruitful, the more inexhaustible, this terrible insect-mother seems to
be the more adored by the fanatical rabble. She seems to be their beau
ideal, their poetry, their enthusiasm. If you carry away with any
rubbish a portion of their city, you see them instantly set to work at
the breach to build an arch which may protect the venerated head of
the mother, to reconstruct her royal cell, which will become (if there
are sufficient materials) the centre, the base of the restored city. I
am not astonished, though, at the excessive love which this people
show for this instrument of fecundity. If all other species did not
combine to destroy them, this truly prodigious mother would make them
masters of the world, and--what shall I say?--its only inhabitants.
The fish alone would be left; but insects would perish. It suffices to
be remembered that the mother-bee does not produce in a year what the
female white ant can produce in a day. By her they would be enabled to
devour everything; but they are weak and tasty, and so everything
devours them."[112] In fact, birds are very greedy after termites;
poultry destroy immense quantities of them. Ants give chase to them
and eat them by legions. The negroes in Southern Africa cannot be
sated with them. They gather such as have fallen into the water, and
roast them like coffee; thus prepared, they eat them by handfuls, and
find them delicious. The Indians smoke the termites' nests, and catch
those that have wings. They knead them up with flour, and make a sort
of cake of them. Travellers, moreover, all agree in speaking of them
as very nice food, comparing their flavour to that of marrow or of a
sugared cream. Smeathman prefers them to the famous palm worm (_ver
palmiste_ of the colonists), a delicacy known in South America, which
is the larva of the _Calandra palmarum_, a species of beetle. It
seems, however, that an abuse of fried termites brings on a dysentery
which may prove mortal.

    [112] J. Michelet, "L'Insecte," p. 328.

[Illustration: X. Nest of the White Ant (_Termes bellicosus_), in
Central Africa, after Smeathman. 1. Male. 2, 4, 5. Neuters. 3. Gravid

All the species of termites are miners, but the greater number are
also architects and masons. A few make their nests round a branch of a
tree. This nest is of enormous dimensions: it is as large as a tun.
The illustration (PLATE X.)--after a drawing in Smeathman's
work--shows a nest of the _Termes bellicosus_, composed of bits of
wood firmly stuck together with gum. Above their subterranean
galleries the greater part of termites construct vast edifices, which
contain their magazines and nurseries. The _Termes mordax_ and _Termes
atrox_ raise perfect columns, surmounted by capitals which project
beyond them and give them the appearance of monstrous mushrooms. These
columns attain a height of twenty inches, with a diameter of five;
they are constructed with a black clay, which, worked up by the
insects, acquires great hardness. The interior is hollow, or rather
perforated with irregular cells; but the most curious edifices are
those of _Termes bellicosus_. These are irregularly conical mounds,
flanked by a certain number of turrets, decreasing in height.
Smeathman gives them a height of from ten to twelve feet; but
Jobson[113] affirms that he has seen some as high as twenty feet. If
men constructed monuments so disproportionate to their size, the great
pyramid of Giseh, instead of being 146 mètres in height, would be
1,600, and would be higher than the Puy-de-Dôme!

    [113] "History of Gambia."

These knolls of earth are of a solidity which will bear any trial. Not
only can many men mount on them without shaking them, but buffaloes
establish themselves upon them as watch-towers, from which they can
see over the high grass which covers the plain, if the lion or the
panther is threatening them. These edifices are hollow; but their
sides are from fifteen to twenty inches thick, and are as hard as a
rock. They are hollowed out into galleries, which connect them with
the underground dwelling. Under the dome is a pretty large vacant
space, a sort of top storey or attic, occupying one-third of the total
height, and which keeps up in the edifice a more uniform temperature
than if all the block had been filled up. On a level with the ground
is the royal cell, oblong, with a flat floor and a rounded ceiling,
and pierced with round windows. All round are distributed the offices;
they are rooms also with rounded and vaulted ceilings, communicating
with each other by corridors. On the sides rise the magazines, with
their backs placed against the walls of the house; they are filled
with gums and with vegetable juices solidified and in powder. On the
ceiling of the royal chamber rise pillars of about two feet in
height, which support the egg rooms. These are little cells with
partitions of saw-dust stuck together with gum, which separate at the
opening the large chambers from the clay halls. Placed between the
attics and the great nave surmounting the royal hall, the nursery is
in the most desirable position possible for uniformity of temperature
and for ventilation.

The royal cell encloses a unique couple, objects of the most assiduous
attentions, but kept in closest captivity, for the doors are too
narrow to afford a passage to the monstrous queen, and even to the
male, who keeps generally crouching by her side. Thousands of servants
busy themselves round the mother; they feed her and carry away, night
and day, the myriads of eggs which she lays. The eggs are placed in
the egg houses, where they give birth to white larvæ, resembling the
workers, which nourish themselves at first on a sort of mouldy fungus
which grows on the partitions of their cells. They then become pupæ,
then neuters, or males and females, the last two being provided with

On a stormy evening the males and females come out of their nest by
millions to couple in the air; then immediately afterwards they fall
to the ground and lose their wings, when they become an easy prey to
their enemies. A few couples only, picked up by the workers, are put
under shelter, and become the nucleus of a new colony. The soldiers
have no other occupation but to defend the nest. If man attacks them,
at the first blow with the pick-axe they are to be seen running out
furiously. They attack their aggressors, pierce them till they bring
blood, and with their sharp pincers hang on to the wound, and allow
themselves to be torn to pieces rather than leave go their hold. The
negroes who have no clothes are soon put to flight; Europeans only get
off with their trousers very much spotted with blood. During the
combat, the soldiers strike from time to time on the ground with their
pincers, and produce a little dry sound, to which the workers answer
by a sort of whistling. The workers immediately make their appearance;
and with their pellets of mortar set to work to stop up the holes, and
to repair the damage. The soldiers then re-enter, with the exception
of a small number, who remain to superintend the work of the masons;
they give, at intervals, the usual signal, and the workers answer by a
whistling which means, "Here we are!" as they redouble their activity.
If the attack recommences, the soldiers are at their posts, defending
the ground inch by inch. During this time the workers mask the
passages, stop up the galleries, and wall up with care the royal cell.
If you manage to penetrate as far as this sanctuary, you may pick up
and carry away from the cell which contains them the precious couple
without the workers in attendance on them interrupting their work, for
they are blind.

They never venture in sight except in extreme cases. No one is
ignorant of the terrible destruction these insects occasion to the
works of man. Invisible to those whom they threaten, they push on
their galleries to the very walls of their houses. They perforate the
floors, the beams, the wood-work, the furniture, respecting always the
surface of the objects attacked in such a manner that it is impossible
to be aware of their hidden ravages. They even take care to prevent
the buildings they eat away from falling by filling up with mortar the
parts they have hollowed out. But these precautions are only employed
if the place seems suitable, and if they intend to prolong their
sojourn there. In the other case they destroy the wood with
inconceivable rapidity. They have been known, in one single night, to
pierce the whole of a table leg from top to bottom, and then the table
itself; and then, still continuing to pierce their way, to descend
through the opposite leg, after having devoured the contents of a
trunk placed upon the table. On account of the devastations which they
occasion, Linnæus has called the white ant the greatest plague of the

There exist in France two species of termites, the _Termes lucifugus_,
a little insect of a brilliant black (at least in the male), with
russety legs, which is common enough in the moors of Gascony; and the
Yellow-necked White Ant (_Termes flavicollis_), which lives in the
interior of trees and does a great deal of mischief in Spain and in
the south of France to olive and other precious trees, whilst the
first attacks oak and fir trees. Latreille established that it is the
_Termes lucifugus_ which causes such havoc at La Rochelle, at
Rochefort, at Saintes, at Tournay-Charente, in the Isle of Aix, &c.,
where many houses have been completely undermined by these terrible
insects. But M. de Quatrefages[114] has proved that the habits of the
termes found in towns differ in many essential points from the habits
of termes in the country. And so it is most probable that the former
belong to an exotic species, which must have been unfortunately
imported into France by a merchant vessel. According to M.
Bobe-Moreau,[115] it was only in 1797 that termites were discovered
for the first time in Rochefort, in a house which had stood for a long
while uninhabited, and which they had completely undermined. In 1804,
Latreille relates, as a "hearsay," that the termites had for some
years made the inhabitants of Rochefort uneasy; but in 1829 the same
author tells a very different tale. He speaks with dismay of the
ravages committed by this insect in the workshops belonging to the
Royal Navy. The importation of the termes into France is then of
recent date. A note which was sent to M. de Quatrefages by M.
Beltrémieux, fixes with still greater accuracy the date of the
importation of the termites; it must have taken place about 1780, a
period at which the brothers Poupet, rich shipowners, caused bales of
goods to come from St. Domingo to Rochefort, to La Rochelle, and to
other places in that neighbourhood which possess storehouses. The
ravages which the termites have committed in the towns of La Saintonge
are really frightful. Like Valencia, in New Granada, these towns will
find themselves one of these days suspended over catacombs. At
Tournay-Charente, the floor of a dining-room fell in, and the
Amphytrion and his guests tumbled together in the cellar. There may be
seen in the galleries of the Museum of Natural History of Paris the
wooden columns which supported this room, and which were preserved by
Audouin, who had been sent on a mission to report on the damages done.
Audouin also selected, as an object of curiosity, a lady's bridal
veil, which had been entirely riddled with holes by the termites.

    [114] "Note sur les Termites de la Rochelle." _Annales des
    Sciences Naturelles_, 3e série, tome xx., p. 18. 1853.

    [115] "Mémoire sur les Termites observés à Rochefort." Saintes,

At La Rochelle these insects took possession of the Prefect's house
(built by the brothers Poupet), and of the Arsenal. There they invaded
offices, apartments, court, and garden. They could not drive in a
stake, or leave a plank in the garden, but it was attacked the next
day. One fine morning the archives of the department were found
destroyed, without there being the smallest trace of the damage to be
seen on the exterior. The termites had mined through the wood-work,
pierced the cardboard, eaten up the parchments and the papers of the
administration, but had always scrupulously respected the upper leaf
and edges of all the leaves. It was by mere chance that a clerk, less
superficial than his colleagues, one fine day raised one of the leaves
which hid this _detritus_, and thus discovered the destruction of the
archives. All the papers of the Prefecture are now shut up in boxes of

These termites do not venture, any more than their congeners, into the
light of day. These terrible miners always envelop themselves in
obscurity, and construct on all sides covered galleries as they
advance into a building. M. Blanchard and M. de Quatrefages saw in La
Rochelle the galleries made by them. They are tubes formed of
agglutinated material, which are stuck along the walls in the cellars
and the apartments, or else suspended to the roof like stalactites.
Certain parts of Agen and of Bordeaux begin also to suffer from the
ravages of these insects. The danger appears to be imminent.

We are indebted to M. de Quatrefages for some interesting experiments
on the termites of La Rochelle. Not only has the learned naturalist
helped to make known to us the habits of these dark-loving insects,
but he has also told us how to destroy them. Different substances have
been tried in vain to stop these terrible ravages--essence of
turpentine, arsenical soap, boiling lye, &c. M. de Quatrefages had
recourse to gaseous injections. He tried successively binoxide of
nitrogen, nitric acid, chlorine and sulphurous acid; chlorine, above
all, fully answered his hopes. With pure chlorine he killed the
termites instantaneously; mixed with nine-tenths of air, he suffocated
them in half an hour. "For attacking the termites," says M. de
Quatrefages, "one ought to choose by preference the period of their
reproduction, so as to destroy the pregnant females. It is probable
that, like their exotic congeners, the termites of France will
endeavour to defend themselves by walling up the interior of their
galleries at the first signs of an attack. The operator must then act
with a great deal of promptitude, and direct the apparatus as much as
possible into the very centre of their habitation, where the galleries
are the broadest and the most numerous.

"With whatever care one acts, and whatever may be the success of a
first attempt, it seems to me impossible to destroy in one campaign
all the termites of a locality. In this, as in all operations of the
same kind, a certain amount of perseverance is necessary, especially
if it is in a town or in a country infested by them to a very great
degree; in that case one will be forced to repeat the operation from
time to time. When, on the contrary, the termites are already
cantoned, it seems to me that the success ought to be lasting. This is
fortunately the case at La Rochelle; and by knowing how to profit by
it, one may doubtlessly prevent the spread of these pests, which at
one time or another, may attack the whole town."[116]

    [116] "Mémoires sur la destruction des Termites." _Annales des
    Sciences Naturelles_, 3e série, tome xx., p. 15.

In 1864 the Lords of the English Admiralty addressed an inquiry to the
Entomological Society of London, on the best means of preserving wood
from the attacks of the Indian termites. In answer to this inquiry,
the Entomological Society recommended many processes: the injection
of quicklime or of creosote, the application of arsenical soap, &c.
But it does not appear that these processes are infallibly
efficacious, nor, above all, easy to employ.

[Illustration: Fig. 384.--Larva of Perla bicaudata.]

[Illustration: Fig. 385.--Larva of a Nemoura.]

[Illustration: Fig. 386.--Perla marginata (larva).]

Among other Neuroptera which undergo incomplete metamorphoses, we may
mention, first, the genera _Perla_ and _Nemoura_,[117] (Figs. 384,
385, and 386), which flutter about the banks of rivers, and settle on
stones, shrubs, and aquatic plants. Their larvæ are naked, without
cases, and always live in the water, hiding themselves under stones,
to watch for small insects, for they are carnivorous. One sees them
often balancing their bodies, holding on to a pebble. They go through
the winter, and only become pupæ in the spring. After moulting, they
have the rudiments of wings. Very soon afterwards the pupæ leave the
water, and undergo their metamorphosis. The adult lives only a few
days, for its mouth is not suited for receiving food. The larvæ have,
at the end of their bodies, two long threads, which remain in the
perfect _Perla_, but not in the perfect _Nemoura_; the latter lose the
two caudal hairs when they arrive at the adult state. One species of
_Perla_ is very common on the quays of Paris.

    [117] From [Greek: nêma], a thread; and [Greek: oura], a

[Illustration: Fig. 387.--Perla bicaudata.]

[Illustration: Fig. 388.--Nemoura variegata.]

[Illustration: Fig. 389.--Nemoura variegata (larva).]

The _Ephemeridæ_, or May-Fly family, have long, slender bodies,
provided with two or three long silky hairs. Their name indicates the
short duration of their existence. They appear in great numbers at
certain seasons of the year. Their hatching takes place at sunset;
they have coupled and laid their eggs by sunrise next day, and have
ceased to live; so that the banks of rivers, of ponds, of lakes, are
strewed with their bodies. Their number is sometimes so considerable
that, according to Réaumur, the soil seems as if it were covered with
snow, and they are gathered up for manure. The common Ephemera, or
May-Fly (_Ephemera vulgata_, Fig. 390), is of a brown colour, banded
with yellow, and the wings smoky, with brown spots. These insects are
remarkable for their elegant flight; they are continually rising and
falling. When they move their wings they rise; but if their wings,
though spread out, remain motionless, as also the silky hairs which
form their tail, they fall again. They may be seen in myriads in
places where there is much water.

[Illustration: Fig. 390.--Ephemera vulgata, imago.]

We have said that the _Ephemeræ_ live only for a few hours. This is
the general rule; but their existence can be prolonged for ten or
fifteen days by preventing their copulation. If, however, the duration
of the life of these insects is so short when they have reached the
perfect state, and when the conformation of the mouth prevents them
from taking any nourishment, their larvæ state is of very long
continuance. Swammerdam says, in his curious Memoir, entitled "Vita
Ephemeri," it is not less than three years.

The females lay their eggs in one single mass, and let them fall into
the water, in the form of a packet. The larvæ which come out of them
are very active, and swim with great ease; but generally conceal
themselves under the pebbles at the bottom. The sides of their abdomen
are provided with gills, very much fringed, which serve them, not only
for breathing the air under the water in the same way that fish do,
but also for swimming. The larvæ have, at the extremity of their body,
two or three hairs, like the perfect insect. They hollow out galleries
in the beds of rivers and ponds, and live on small insects. The pupa
(Fig. 392) differs only from the larva (Fig. 391) in having the
rudiments of wings. When about to undergo their metamorphosis, they
come out of the water and cling to plants, &c. The skin cracks on the
back when it is dry, and there comes out a heavy insect, which flies
feebly, and has opaque wings. It is still enveloped in a very thin
skin, of which a last moult, after a few hours, frees it. This skin
remains sticking to the plant on which the moulting was effected,
preserving the shape of the insect. This moult is peculiar to the
_Ephemeræ_; it is the transition from the false imago (pseudo-imago)
to the imago.

[Illustration: Fig. 391.--Larva of an Ephemera.]

[Illustration: Fig. 392.--Pupa of an Ephemera]

In the same family is the genus _Cloëon_, whose larvæ prey on minute
insects. The _Cloëon diptera_ (Fig. 393), which has only two wings, is
often to be met with in houses, resting on the window panes and
curtains. All these insects keep badly in collections; they lose their
shape, and their members are so fragile that the least shock suffices
to break them.

The _Libellulas_, or Dragon-Flies, are insects of a well-defined type.
The elegance of their shape, the grace of their movements, have won for
them among the French their common appellation of "Demoiselles." They
are always of largish size. Many are of bright and metallic colours,
which are not inferior in beauty to those of butterflies. Their wings,
of an extreme delicacy, always glossy and brilliant, present varied
tints; sometimes they are completely transparent, and have all the
colours of the rainbow. Often, the colour of the males differs from that
of the females. They may be seen fluttering about on the water during
the whole summer, especially when the sun is at its highest. They fly
with extreme rapidity, skimming over the water at intervals, and
escaping easily when one wishes to catch them. Nothing is prettier than
a troop of dragon-flies taking their sport on the side of a pond or on
the banks of a river, on a fine summer's day, when a burning sun causes
their wings to shine with most vivid colours.

[Illustration: Fig. 393.--Cloëon diptera.]

In the perfect state, as well as in that of the larva and the pupa,
the _Libellulæ_ are carnivorous. Their rapid flight makes them expert
hunters, and their enormous eyes embrace the whole horizon. They
seize, while on the wing, flies and butterflies, and tear them to
pieces immediately with their strong mandibles. Sometimes, the ardour
of the chase leading them on far from the streams, they are met with
in the fields. The female lays her eggs in the water, from which
emerge larvæ which remind one somewhat of the form of the insect, only
their body is more compact and their head flattened. The larvæ and
pupæ inhabit the bottom of ponds and streams, where, keeping out of
sight in the mud, they seek for insects, molluscs, small fish, &c. If
any prey passes within their reach, they dart forward, like a spring,
a very singular arm, which represents the under lip. It is a sort of
animated mask, armed with strong jagged pincers and supported by
strong joints, the which, taken together, is equal to the length of
the body itself. This mask acts at the same time as a lip and an arm;
it seizes the prey on its passage, and conveys it to the mouth. "When
any aquatic insect approaches them at a time when they are in a humour
for eating," says Charles de Geer, "they shoot the mask forward very
suddenly and like a flash of lightning, and seize the insect between
their two pincers; then, drawing back the mask, they bring the prey up
to their mandibles, and begin to eat it. I have remarked that they do
not spare those of their own kind, but that they eat each other up
when they can, and I have also seen them devouring very small fish
which I put by them. It is very difficult for other insects to avoid
their blows, because, walking along generally in the water very
gently, and, as it were, with measured steps--almost in the same way a
cat does on the look-out for birds--they suddenly dart forward their
mask and seize their prey instantaneously."[118] Fig. 394 represents,
to the left, the larva of the dragon-fly, with the instrument of
attack which we have called a "mask," and which it is making use of
for seizing a small insect; on the right, the adult dragon-fly coming
out of the nymph.

    [118] Charles de Geer, "Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire des
    Insectes," tome ii., 2e partie, p. 674.

[Illustration: Fig. 394.--Larva of the _Libellula_, and the perfect
insect emerging.]

[Illustration: Fig. 395.--Libellula depressa, the Common Dragon-Fly.]

The respiration of these larvæ is very singular. Their abdomen is
terminated by appendages, which they open to allow the water to
penetrate into the digestive tube, the sides of which are furnished
with gills communicating with the tracheæ. The water, deprived of
oxygen, is then thrown out, and the larva advances thus in the water
by the recoil. It has no tufts of external lateral gills, which in the
case of the _Ephemeræ_ do the duty of fins. The pupa already presents
stumps of wings. To effect its metamorphosis it drags itself out of
the water, where it has lived for nearly a year, climbs slowly to some
neighbouring plant, and hangs itself there. Very soon the sun dries
and hardens its skin, which all of a sudden becomes crisp, and cracks.
The dragon-fly then sets free its head and its thorax, and its legs;
its wings, still soft and wanting in vigour, gain strength by coming
in contact with the air, and, after a few hours, they have attained
their full development. Immediately the insect abandons, like a
worn-out suit, the dull slimy skin which had covered it so long, and
which still preserves its shape (Fig. 394), and dashes off in quest of

The _Libellulas_ are common all over the world. Their type is the
_Libellula depressa_ (Fig. 395), very common in Europe. The male is
brown, with the abdomen blue underneath; the female, of a sort of
olive-yellow, bordered by yellow on the sides. Both have the abdomen
broad and flattened.

The _Æshna_, with a cylindrical abdomen, attains to the length of two
and a half inches. Its flight is more rapid than that of the swallow.
The _Calepteryx_ flies more slowly. The male is of a metallic blue,
its diaphanous wings are traversed by a band of greenish blue; the
female, of a bronzed green, has wings of a metallic green, with a
yellowish mark on the edge. These insects rest on reeds, retaining
their wings in a vertical position.

[Illustration: Fig. 396.--Male Raphidia.]

[Illustration: Fig. 397.--Larva of a Raphidia.]

[Illustration: Fig. 398.--Pupa of a Raphidia.]

[Illustration: Fig. 399.--Mantispa pagana.]

The _Agrions_, which are of the same family, have the body white,
brown, or green, and the eyes very prominent. They are more slim and
graceful than the _Libellulas_, properly so called; their larva are
very elongated.

In the spring, one meets in the woods with insects having large heads
and elongated thoraces. The females have a long auger, with which to
deposit their eggs under the bark of trees, where their larvæ, which
feed on insects, and twist themselves about like small serpents, live.
The pupæ are also very active; they resemble the adults very much, and
have the wings laid against the body. These insects, which are met
with everywhere, but always in small numbers, are the _Raphidias_,
which we see represented (Figs. 396, 397, 398) in the state of larva,
pupa, and adult, and the _Mantispas_ (Fig. 399), one species of which
is common in the south of Europe.

[Illustration: Fig. 400.--Semblis lutarius, imago, pupa, and larva.]

M. Blanchard classes in the same tribe the genus _Semblis_, whose
larvæ are aquatic, with scaly heads, provided with eyes, and with
curved mandibles and short antennæ. The larvæ and the pupæ breathe,
like those of the _Ephemeræ_, by articulated external processes, or
gills, analogous to those of fishes. Nevertheless the pupæ live on
land, not in water. They hide themselves in the earth at the foot of
trees, and the adult issues forth at the end of a fortnight, leaving
its pupa skin behind. It lives but a few days. The female lays her
eggs on reeds, stones, &c. Fig. 400 represents the Mud _Semblis_ in
its three states.

[Illustration: Fig. 401.--Ant-lion (_Myrmeleo formicarius_).]

We now come to those Neuroptera which undergo complete metamorphoses.
They are the Myrmeleonidæ, of which the Ant-lion (_Myrmeleo_) is the
most prominent type, and the _Phryganidæ_, or Caddis Flies.

The larvæ of the Ant-lions live on the land, and are carnivorous. When
about to undergo their transformation into pupæ, they spin for
themselves a silky cocoon. The larvæ of the _Phryganeas_, on the
contrary, live in the water. They surround themselves with a sort of
protecting case, composed of a silky shell and incrustations of all
sorts. The pupæ, as well as the larvæ of these insects, breathe by
means of gills.

[Illustration: Fig. 402.--Ant-lion's funnel.]

[Illustration: Fig. 403.--Larva, cocoon, and pupa of the Ant-lion.]

The Ant-lion (_Myrmeleo formicarius_, Fig. 401) is found in the
environs of Paris. It is an elegant insect, resembling the dragon-fly,
but is distinguished from it by its antennæ. Its larva is of a rosy,
rather dirty grey, with little tufts of blackish hair on its very
voluminous abdomen. Its legs are rather long and slender; the two
anterior pair of legs are directed forwards, whilst the hind legs are
fixed against the body, and only permit the animal to walk backwards.
These larvæ are met with in great abundance in sandy places very much
exposed to the heat of the sun. There they construct for themselves a
sort of funnel in the sand (Fig. 402), by describing, backwards, the
turns of a spiral whose diameter gradually diminishes. Their strong
square head serves them as a spade with which to throw the sand far
away: they then hide themselves at the bottom of the hole, their head
alone being out, and wait with patience for some insect to come near.
Scarcely has the ant-lion perceived its victim on the borders of its
funnel, when it throws at it a shower of dust to alarm it, and make it
fall to the bottom of the precipice, which does not fail to happen.
Then it seizes it with its sharp mandibles, and sucks its blood;
after which it throws its empty skin out of the hole and resumes the
look-out. Ants especially become its prey, whence its name of
Ant-lion. Towards the month of July, the larvæ make themselves a
spherical cocoon, mixed with grains of sand, in which they are
transformed into pupæ which are hatched towards the end of August. The
perfect ant-lions diffuse an odour of roses; their flight, which is
weak, distinguishes them from the dragon-flies. We meet in the south
of France with a very beautiful species of Ant-lion, the _Myrmeleo
libelluloides_ (Fig. 404); its larva can move forwards, and does not
dig itself a funnel.

[Illustration: Fig. 404.--Myrmeleo libelluloides.]

[Illustration: Fig. 405.--Larva of Myrmeleo libelluloides.]

[Illustration: Fig. 406.--Larva of Ascalaphus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 407.--Ascalaphus meridionalis.]

The genus _Ascalaphus_ (Fig. 407) is remarkable for the long clubbed
antennæ of its members, and for their rapid flight. They like the sun,
and live especially in hot countries; however, one meets with the
_Ascalaphus_, in the month of July, near Paris, on the dry declivities
of Lardy and of Poquency. Their larvæ (Fig. 406) have mandibles
adapted for suction. They watch for insects under heaps of stones, and
spring upon their prey.

The first states of the _Nemoptera_[119] (Fig. 408) are as yet little
known. They are insects with wings spotted with yellow and black, the
lower ones almost linear, and are met with in southern countries, and
but very rarely in the south of France.

    [119] From [Greek: nêma], a thread, and [Greek: pteron], a wing.

The _Hemerobii_, to which are given by the French the name of
_Demoiselles terrestres_, or Land Dragon-Flies, are very small
delicate insects, of an apple-green colour, with golden red eyes.
These insects leave on the fingers, when seized, an offensive odour.
Réaumur calls them _Lions des pucerons_ (Plant-Lice Lions), because
their larvæ, which resembles the larvæ of the ant-lions, and which
live on plants, feed on plant-lice. They attack also caterpillars.
Their mandibles are provided with a canal for suction, like those of
the foregoing species.

[Illustration: Fig. 408.--Nemoptera Coa.]

[Illustration: Fig. 409.--Osmylus maculatus.]

The insects of the genus _Osmylus_ (Fig. 409) are rather rare; but may
be found in the shrubs which border ponds. They also belong to the
_Hemerobidæ_. Their larvæ live in wet ground.

[Illustration: Fig. 410.--Panorpa, male and female.]

The _Panorpatæ_ constitute a singular little family, having a peculiar
shaped head, which is prolonged to a sort of long and slender beak.
Aristotle called them Scorpion Flies, and thought they were winged
scorpions. The _Panorpas_, properly so called (Fig. 410), are found on
hedges and plants during the summer. They have slim bodies spotted
with yellow and black, and four straight wings, also spotted with
black. In the males the abdomen terminates in a pair of pincers (Fig.
411), which rather remind one of the tail of a scorpion, and which are
destined to seize their prey, which they kill by piercing with their
beak. The female lays her eggs in the ground (Fig. 412). In a week the
larva makes its appearance; it is a month in developing, it then
buries itself still deeper in the earth, and changes into a pupa,
which, after a fortnight, comes again into the light in the form of a
perfect insect. There are two other genera of _Panorpatæ_, of which
_Bittacus tipularis_ (Fig. 413), resembling a large gnat, furnished
with four wings, and _Boreus hyemalis_ (Fig. 414), of a brilliant
black, met with in Sweden and in the elevated parts of the Alps,
jumping about on the snow in considerable troops--are representatives.
The latter has been found in England.

[Illustration: Fig. 411.--Pincer of male Panorpa.]

[Illustration: Fig. 412.--Female Panorpa laying.]

[Illustration: Fig. 413.--Bittacus tipularis.]

[Illustration: Fig. 414.--Boreus hyemalis (magnified and natural size).]

[Illustration: Fig. 415.--Larva of Phryganea rhombica.]

[Illustration: Fig. 416.--Phryganea rhombica, in repose.]

[Illustration: Fig. 417.--Phryganea rhombica.]

The _Phryganidæ_, or Caddis Flies, are known by their larvæ, of which
anglers make great use. Réaumur classed them as aquatic moths. The
soft and delicate body of the larvæ is protected by a case, to which
they cling by two hooks, placed at the extremity of their abdomen.
They are called by different names in allusion to their habits; as,
for instance, case worms, from their living in a case covered with
little bits of wood or sand, which they draw after them as they go.
Their scientific name, _Phryganea_, signifies _fagot_.[120] The
_Phryganeæ_, in the adult state, very much resemble moths. They
approach them in having rudimentary mouths, and wings without
articulations, but furnished with small hairs, analogous to the scales
of Lepidoptera. They may be said to form a sort of connection between
the Lepidoptera and Neuroptera. They have been called _Mouches
papilionacées_, or Papilionaceous Flies. The eggs laid by the female
_Phryganea_ are enclosed in gelatinous capsules, which swell in the
water and attach themselves to stones, &c. The larva has the
appearance of a little worm without feet. It is soon hatched, and
resembles at first a little black line, and may be easily reared in an
aquarium. The operation of making the silky case which it draws after
it, and which protects its abdomen, may then be observed. When it is
disturbed, it retreats entirely within its case. The interior is
smooth, and lined with mud; on the exterior it is fortified with
stones, &c.

    [120] From [Greek: phryganion], a stick.

[Illustration: Fig. 418. Regular cases of a Phryganea.]

The _Phryganea rhombica_ (Figs. 415, 416, 417) furnishes its case with
bits of wood or grass, arranged as shown in Fig. 418. Some species
arrange these bits of wood and glass in spiral, others in parallel
series. The _Phryganea flavicornis_ covers its dwelling with little
shells. "These kinds of dress," says Réaumur, "are very pretty, but
they are also excessively singular. A savage who, instead of being
covered with furs, should be covered with musk rats, moles, or other
entire animals, would have on an extraordinary costume; this is in
some sort the case with our larvæ." Other _Phryganeæ_ employ for
constructing the case which serves them as a dwelling sand and small
pebbles; each species always employing the same materials, unless they
are entirely deprived of these and obliged to employ others. These
cases protect the larvæ against the voracity of their enemies. The
larvæ have a scaly head; and the three first rings of their body are
harder than the rest. They live in water, and breathe by means of
branchious sacs, arranged on the abdomen in soft and flexible tufts.
They eat everything that is presented to them: leaves, and even
insects and the larvæ of their own kind. The pupæ are motionless. They
stay about a fortnight in their case, the orifice of which is closed
by gratings of silk, then break through the gratings, and leave their
prison. In this state (Fig. 419) they swim on the water until they
meet with an object to which they can attach themselves, and so get
out. Then they swell till they crack their skin over the back, and the
perfect insect emerges.

The _Phryganea pilosa_ (Fig. 420) is of a yellowish grey, with hairy
wings, little adapted for flying. These insects do not eat, and never
leave the neighbourhood of the water. During the day they rest on
flowers, on walls, or on the trunks of trees, their wings folded back,
and their antennæ together. In the evening they fly in dense swarms
over streams and ponds. They are attracted by light, as are many
nocturnal insects; and are sometimes found in great numbers on the
lamps on the quays in Paris.

[Illustration: Fig. 419.--Pupa of Phryganea pilosa, magnified.]

[Illustration: Fig. 420.--Phryganea pilosa.]

The _Hydropsyches_ (Fig. 421) and _Rhyacophili_ (Fig. 422) are small
insects which resemble the _Phryganeæ_ very closely. Their larvæ have,
for the purposes of respiration, some gills, others retractile tubes.
They construct for themselves fixed places of shelter, more or less
imperfect, at the bottom of the water, and against large stones,
which they leave occasionally for a few moments. Sometimes these
cases contain several larvæ. Fig. 421 represents the various states of
a _Hydropsyche_; the larva is seen on the left, the pupa on the right,
the winged insect in the middle. Two of the insect's tents, or places
of shelter, are represented below. Fig. 422 shows the different states
of _Rhyacophilus vulgatus_, larva, cocoon, pupa, and imago. The genus
_Rhyacophilus_ has this peculiarity, that the larva spins itself a
cocoon in the interior of its dwelling before changing into a pupa.

[Illustration: Fig. 421.--Hydropsyche (Phryganea) atomaria, larva,
pupa, imago, and larva-case.]

[Illustration: Fig. 422.--Rhyacophilus vulgatus, larva, pupa, cocoon,
and imago (male).]



In collections of insects the Coleoptera almost always occupy the
principal place. They are sought after by collectors on account of
the brightness of their colours, of the solidity of their integuments,
and the facility with which they can be preserved. This circumstance
has contributed much to give to the Coleopterous Order marked
preponderance in the immense series of insects. Many more have been
collected than any one has as yet been enabled to describe; and the
collections are encumbered with species of which no naturalist has yet
given an account.

Admitting that the first-rate collections contain each about 25,000
perfectly distinct species, and that a certain fraction of these
treasures is peculiar to each collection, M. Blanchard came to the
conclusion that we must estimate the number at more than 100,000 of
the species of Coleoptera which would be obtained if the different
entomological collections of France, England, and Germany were put
together. But every day we see arriving from different regions of the
globe new riches, hardly dreamt of up to that time; and it is not only
the small species, but the larger and more beautiful also, which
furnish their contingent. It may, then, be believed that, if the
entire surface of the earth were carefully explored, we should
obtain an incalculable number of Coleoptera, having sufficient
characteristics to constitute distinct species or kinds.

The Coleoptera (from [Greek: koleos], a sheath, and [Greek: pteron], a
wing) are insects with four wings. The anterior wings, or _elytra_,
are not used in flying; they are sheaths, more or less hard, sometimes
varied with bright colours, and never crossing over each other. The
posterior wings are membranous, presenting a ramification of veins,
and usually folding up under the _elytra_, which protect them when at
rest. The mouth of Coleoptera is provided with mandibles, with jaws,
and two quite distinct lips, and is suited for mastication. They
undergo complete metamorphosis. After an existence of greater or less
extent in the larva state (in the case of the cockchafer three
years), the insect changes into a pupa, which remains in a state of
complete immobility. After a certain time, the pupa bursts its
envelope and assumes the form of a perfect insect. The Coleoptera
presents the utmost variety of habits as regards their habitations and
food. One does not find in this Order those admirable instincts, those
manifestations of intelligence, which bring certain Hymenoptera near
to those beings which are highest in the animal scale; but they offer
peculiarities very well deserving serious and profound study. Some are
carnivorous, and thus they are useful to man in destroying other
noxious insects, which they seek on the ground, on low plants, on
trees, and even in the depths of the waters. Many of these Coleoptera
feed on animal matter in a state of putrefaction. We may look on them
as useful auxiliaries: they are Nature's undertakers.

A great number live in the excrements of animals. The dung of oxen,
buffaloes, and camels afford shelter to Coleoptera of different
families, which thus live on vegetable matter more or less animalised.
Others attack skins and dried animals in general; and some are the pest
of entomological collections. Lastly, immense legions of Coleoptera are
phytophagous; that is to say, they attack roots, bark, wood, leaves, and
fruits, and cause much annoyance to the agriculturist. Above all, the
larvæ are to be dreaded. Those which live in wood may in a few years
occasion the loss of trees, vigorous and full of life; or completely
destroy the beams of a building. Certain larvæ, such as those of the
cockchafer, eat away the roots of vegetables, and so destroy the
harvests. Others, lastly, devour the leaves and the stalks of plants,
attack the flowers in the gardens, or the corn in the barns; and so man
makes desperate war against them.

In the immense variety of known Coleoptera we must be contented to
choose those types which are most prominent and most characteristic.
We will begin with the _Scarabæides_, with their heavy compact body,
and short antennæ, terminated by a foliaceous club. It is to this
tribe that belongs the beautiful Rose Beetle (_Cetonia aurata_), which
lives on roses; the Cockchafer (_Melolontha vulgaris_); the
_Scarabæus_ of the Egyptians; &c.

This is the most interesting tribe of the whole Order Coleoptera. It
corresponds with the great division of the _Lamellicornes_ of
Latreille. This name of _Lamellicornes_ was intended to remind us of
the arrangement into laminæ, more or less close together, of the club
of the antennæ of these insects. Many _Scarabæi_ have their mandibles
membranous, or at least partially so, and always small. This
peculiarity corresponds to their habits. Never, indeed, have they to
triturate hard bodies; they all feed either on flowers, on leaves, or
on stercoraceous matter. Their larvæ resemble each other much, even
those of families very widely differing from each other in the perfect
state. They are large, whitish worms, with diaphanous skins, scaly
heads, furnished with toothed mandibles, living in the ground or in
rotten wood. The pupæ are fat and stumpy, and they already show the
features of the perfect insect. They make a chamber in which to
undergo their changes. They remain generally three years in the larva
state. The duration of the pupa is very short, as also is that of the
perfect insect. The differences of the sexes are often very marked on
the exterior, by protuberances, horns, &c., which constitute the
distinctive ornament of the males.

In the group of _Scarabæides_ we shall have to speak, above all, of
the _Cetoniadæ_, the Chafers, and the _Scarabæi_ properly so called.
The family _Cetoniadæ_ is one of the most remarkable, on account of
the beauty of the insects which compose it and of the richness of
their metallic lustre, some being of great splendour, and others
having velvety tints. The larvæ live in wood in a state of
decomposition; the perfect insects frequent flowers, and like the sun.

[Illustration: Fig. 423.--Rose Beetle (_Cetonia aurata_).]

This family contains a great number of species, the type of which is
the Rose Beetle (_Cetonia aurata_), of a beautiful green colour shot
with gold, with transverse whitish lines. The rose beetle frequents
roses especially, of which it eats the petals and the stamens. It is
the _Golden Melolontha_ of Aristotle, who tells us that this
unfortunate insect shared with the cockchafer the privilege of amusing
children. The _Cetonia_ flies by day and by night, making use of its
inferior wings without opening the elytra (Fig. 423). When seized, it
pours out from the extremity of its abdomen a foetid liquid, the
only means of defence the poor insect possesses. The larva (Fig. 424)
much resembles the larva of the cockchafers, but the legs are shorter.
It is found in rotten wood, and often in ants' nests. When it has
acquired its full development it makes a cocoon of an oval form (Fig.
424), in which it transforms itself into a pupa; the cocoon is
composed of bits of wood agglomerated with a silky matter which the
larva secretes.

[Illustration: Fig. 424.--Larva and cocoon of the Rose Beetle.]

The larva of the _Cetonia splendidula_--which is the most magnificent
found in France--is met with sometimes in the nests of wild bees. In
Russia the rose beetle is considered a very efficacious remedy for
hydrophobia. In the governorship of Saratow, which is traversed by the
Volga, hydrophobia is very frequent, on account of the heats which
reign during the whole summer in its arid steppes. The inhabitants,
incessantly exposed to be bitten by mad dogs, have tried in succession
a great many preparations to remedy the results of these terrible
accidents. It appears that the _Cetonia_, dried and reduced to powder,
has produced on many occasions good effects. This is the recipe which
an inhabitant of Saratow published in a Russian journal--adding, that
he had employed it for thirty years, that not one of the patients
treated by him had died, and that his remedy could be employed with
success in all the phases of the disease:--In spring they search at
the bottom of the nests of the wood ant for certain white larvæ, which
they carefully preserve in a pot, together with the earth in which
they were found, till the moment of their metamorphosis, which takes
place in the month of May. The insect, which is the common rose
beetle, is killed, dried, and kept in pots hermetically sealed, so
that it may preserve the strong odour which it exhales in spring,
which seems to be a necessary condition of the remedy proving
efficient. When a case of hydrophobia presents itself, they reduce to
powder some of these, and spread this powder on a piece of
bread-and-butter, and make the patient eat it. Every part of the
insect must enter into the composition of this powder, which, for this
reason, cannot be very fine. During the whole time a patient is under
treatment he must avoid drinking as much as possible, or, if his
thirst is very great, he must only drink a little pure water; but he
may eat. Generally, this remedy produces sleep, which may last for
thirty-six hours, and which must not be disturbed. When the patient
wakes, he is, they say, cured. The bite must be treated locally with
the usual surgical appliances.

As to the dose of the remedy, that depends on the age of the patient
and the development of the disease. They give, to an adult,
immediately after the bite, from two to three beetles; to a child,
from one to two; to a person in whom the disease has already declared
itself, from four to five. Given to a person in good health, the
remedy, however, would not be the least dangerous. In cases in which
the symptoms of hydrophobia show themselves some days after the
employment of the remedy, they recommence the treatment. They have
also tried to prepare this remedy with insects collected not in their
larvæ but in the imago state, by catching them on flowers, and it
seems that these attempts have succeeded. According to M. Bogdanoff,
in many governorships of the south of Russia the lovers of sporting
are in the habit of making their dogs from time to time swallow (as a
preservative) half of a _Cetonia_ with bread or a little wine. Every
one in those countries is persuaded of the efficacy of this means for
stopping the development of the disease. One ought not, perhaps, to
reject a belief so widespread and deeply rooted without some
experiments to guarantee us in doing so, for medicine does not yet
possess any remedy against hydrophobia: it might not then be useless
to try this.

Two smaller species than the rose beetle, the _Cetonia stictica_ and
the _Cetonia hirtella_, which has yellowish hairs, live on the flowers
of thistles. Western Africa, the Cape, Madagascar, &c., are very rich
in species of _Cetoniæ_. Among the _Cetoniadæ_ is the genus
_Goliathus_, gigantic insects which inhabit Africa. Their total length
sometimes attains from three to five inches. Their colours are
generally a dull white or yellow, which has nothing metallic about it,
with spots of a velvety black--these are due to a sort of down of an
extreme thinness, and which very easily comes off. The head of these
enormous Coleoptera is generally cut or scooped out, and is adorned
sometimes with one or two horns. Their legs, strong and robust, are
armed with spurs, and sometimes present on their exterior sharp
indentations, which give to these insects a crabbed physiognomy, which
their inoffensive habits are far from justifying. All these horns, and
all these teeth, which look so terrible, are nothing, in fact, with a
great number of these insects, but simple ornaments. They compose the
picturesque uniform of the males. They are equivalent to the bear-skin
caps, the flaming helmets, and the bullion-fringed epaulettes of our
soldiers. The dress of the female _Goliathus_ is much more modest, as
is becoming to the sex. We here represent the _Goliathus Derbyana_
(Fig. 426) and Polyphemus (Fig. 427).

The Goliaths were formerly excessively rare in collections, and of a
price inaccessible to ordinary amateurs--one single specimen costing
as much as twenty pounds. But for some time the Goliaths of the coast
of Guinea and of Cape Palmas have been sold to European amateurs at a
modest price, thanks to those travellers who, after the example of Dr.
Savage, have collected them by hundreds in the countries which produce
them. These enormous Coleoptera are seen on the coast of Guinea
fluttering about at the top of trees, the flowers of which they are
seeking after. To catch them the trees are felled or else they are
shot at with a gun loaded with sand, as is also done for the
humming-birds. The species which Dr. Savage made common is the
_Goliathus cacicus_, of which we represent the male and female (Figs.
428, 429). It is met with on the coast of Guinea. The _Goliathus
Druryi_ (Fig. 430) inhabits Sierra Leone, on the west coast of Guinea.
The numerous expeditions which are at the present moment being made
into the interior of Africa will not fail to increase the number of
species of these splendid insects, which are the ornament of all

[Illustration: Fig. 425.--Cetonia argentea.]

The group of the _Trichiadæ_, which has in this country and in France
a few representatives, is very nearly the same as that of the
_Cetoniadæ_. The _Trichiadæ_ have the elytra shorter, the abdomen
bigger, and the legs more slender. The _Trichius fasciatus_, which is
black, and covered with an ashy down, with the elytra yellow, and with
three black bands, is to be met with in quantities on the garden
rose-tree, in the months of June and July. The larvæ live in the
interior of old beams of wood, respecting their surfaces. In a garden,
at a few leagues from Paris, a little wooden bridge had been built. It
seemed on the outside to be in a perfect state of preservation.
Nothing on the exterior would have led one to think it was possible
for the oak timbers which composed it to break down. A good many of
them, however, broke suddenly. It was then seen that the wood had been
scooped out right up to the surface, which was nothing better than a
thin sheet, of an imperceptible thinness. All the interior was full of
_Trichii_, in the states of larva, pupa, and perfect insect.

[Illustration: Fig. 426.--Goliathus Derbyana.]

[Illustration: Fig. 427.--Goliathus Polyphemus.]

The _Trichius fasciatus_, sometimes called the Bee Beetle, is very
common in the environs of Paris. Geoffroy has described it under the
rather quaint name of the "Livrée d'Ancre," because the Marquis of
Ancre made his servants wear yellow coats, bordered by braid
alternately crossed with green and yellow.

[Illustration: Fig. 428.--Goliathus cacicus, male.]

[Illustration: Fig. 429.--Goliathus cacicus, female.]

The _Osmoderma eremita_ is a large insect, of purple colour,
formerly common in the environs of Paris, and which, now-a-days,
cannot be found nearer than Fontainebleau. One must look for them in
earth which fills up the cavity of old willows or of pear trees. The
smell of Russia leather, or of plum, which it exhales, has caused it
to be called, in some places, the Plum-tree Beetle.

[Illustration: Fig. 430.--Goliathus Druryi (natural size).]

The _Gnorimus nobilis_ much resembles the rose beetle, and is found on
elder flowers, the whiteness of which this golden insect relieves. One
species, much smaller, only one or two lines long, is the _Valgus
hemipterus_, which is often met with in spring, in the dust of the
roads. The female has a long auger, which enables it to deposit its
eggs in rotten wood. Dumeril has described at length the singular
movements of this little insect:--The jerking and, as it were
convulsive, movements by which it transports itself from one place to
another; its tottering attitude, resulting from the excessive length
of its hind legs; the vertical carriage of these, which, by their
singular direction, interfere much with the walking, which is directed
by the other legs. One should, above all, notice the artifice which
the _Valgus_ employs, as indeed do many Coleoptera, to escape from his
persecutors, by counterfeiting death. As soon as it is seized by any
enemy, its members stiffen and become motionless. The body, abandoned
to itself, lies unevenly on whatever side it falls, for its legs no
longer bend; if you bend them over, they remain in the inclination
given to them. Nothing then betrays life in this little dry and
slender being, frozen with fear, and imitating death, without,
perhaps, being aware itself of what it is doing.

We must still further mention here the _Incas_--beautiful insects of
the same group, which are met with in South America, and whose males
have an extraordinary head. They fly during the day round the great
trees on which they live. Fig. 431 represents the _Inca clathrata_.

The most commonly-known insect of the family with which we are now
occupied is the cockchafer. The French word for cockchafer,
_hanneton_, according to M. Mulsant, comes from the Latin, _alitonus_
(which has sonorous wings), which first became _halleton_. Linnæus
gave them first the name of _Melolontha_, which they probably had
among the Greeks, and which seems to be the case from this passage in
Aristophanes, in his comedy of "The Clouds:"--"Let your spirit soar,"
says the Greek author, "let it fly whither it lists, like the
Melolontha tied with a thread by the leg." We see that the habit of
martyrising cockchafers is of very early date. The Common Cockchafer
(Fig. 432) is one of the greatest pests to agriculture. In its perfect
state it devours the leaves of many trees, principally those of the
elm; and so children call the fruit of the elm-tree by the name of
"Pains d'Hanneton." But the destruction which they occasion in their
perfect state is little when compared with that which is caused by
their larvæ--those white grubs so dreaded by agriculturists.

[Illustration: Fig. 431.--Inca clathrata.]

Cockchafers make their appearance from the month of April, if the
season is warm. But it is in the month of May that they show
themselves in great quantities; and so they are called in Germany
_Maikäfer_ (Maychafer). They are met with also in June. The duration
of their life as a perfect insect is six weeks. They fear the heat of
the day and the bright sunshine, so, during the day, they remain
hooked on to the under surface of leaves. It is only early in the
morning, and at sunset, that one sees the cockchafers fluttering round
the trees which they frequent. They fly with rapidity, producing a
monotonous sound by the friction of their wings. But the cockchafer
steers badly when it flies; it knocks itself at each instant against
obstacles it meets with. It then falls heavily to the ground, and
becomes the plaything of children, who are constantly on the look-out
for them. There is a saying, "Étourdi comme un hanneton." What
contributes still more to render the flight of these insects heavy and
sustained only for a short time together is that they are obliged to
inflate themselves like balloons in order to rise into the air: it is
a peculiarity which they share with the migratory locust. Before
taking its flight, the cockchafer agitates its wings for some minutes,
and inflates its abdomen with air. The French children, who perceive
this manoeuvre, say that the cockchafer "compte ses écus" (is
counting its money), and they sing to it this refrain, which has been
handed down for many generations:--

  "Hanneton, vole, vole,
  Va-t'en à l'école."

A variation which we hear in the western provinces of France is the

  "Barbot, vole, vole, vole,
    Ton père est à l'école,
  Qui m'a dit, si tu ne voles,
    Il te coupera la gorge
  Avec un grand couteau de Saint-George."

[Illustration: Fig. 432.--Cockchafer (_Melolontha vulgaris_).]

During the day the cockchafers remain under the leaves in a state of
perfect immobility; for the heat which gives activity to other
insects, seems, on the contrary, to stupefy them, and it is during the
night only that they devour the leaves of elms, poplars, oaks, beech,
birch-trees, &c. In years when their number is not very great, one
hardly perceives the damage done by them; but at certain periods they
appear in innumerable legions, and then whole parts of gardens or
woods are stripped of their verdure, and present, in the middle of the
summer, the appearance of a winter landscape. The trees thus stripped
do not in general die; but they recover their former vigour with
difficulty, and, in the case of orchard trees, remain one or two years
without bearing fruit. It is principally the trees skirting woods, and
situated along cultivated fields, which are exposed to the ravages of
the cockchafer, because the larvæ of these insects are developed in
the fields. In the interior of forests they are never met with in
great numbers.

In certain years cockchafers multiply in such a frightful manner
that they devastate the whole vegetation of a country. In the environs
of Blois 14,000 cockchafers were picked up by children in a few days.
At Fontainebleau they could have gathered as many in a certain year
in as many hours. Sometimes they congregate in swarms, like locusts,
and migrate from one locality to another, when they lay waste
everything. To present an idea of the prodigious extent to which
cockchafers increase under certain circumstances, we will give a few
statistics:--In 1574, these insects were so abundant in England that
they stopped many mills on the Severn. In 1688, in the county of
Galway, in Ireland, they formed such a black cloud that the sky was
darkened for the distance of a league, and the country people had
great difficulty in making their hay in the places where they
alighted. They destroyed the whole of the vegetation in such a way
that the landscape assumed the desolate appearance of winter. Their
voracious jaws made a noise which may be compared to that produced by
the sawing of a large piece of wood, and in the evening the buzzing of
their wings resembled the distant rolling of drums. The unfortunate
Irish were reduced to the necessity of cooking their invaders, and,
for the want of any other food, of eating them. In 1804, immense
swarms of cockchafers, precipitated by a violent wind into the Lake of
Zurich, formed on the shore a thick bank of bodies heaped up one on
the other, the putrid exhalations from which poisoned the atmosphere.
On May 18, 1832, at nine o'clock in the evening, a legion of
cockchafers assailed a diligence on the road from Gournay to Gisors,
just as it was leaving the village of Talmontiers; the horses, blinded
and terrified, refused to advance, and the driver was obliged to
return as far as the village, to wait till this new sort of hail-storm
was over. M. Mulsant, in his "Monographie des Lamellicornes de la
France," relates that in May, 1841, clouds of cockchafers traversed
the Saône, from the south-east in the direction of the north-west, and
settled in the vineyards of the Mâconnais. The streets of the town of
Mâcon were so full of them, that they were shovelled up with spades.
At certain hours, one could not pass over the bridge without whirling
a stick rapidly round and round, to protect oneself against their

[Illustration: XI. A Diligence surrounded by a Cloud of Cockchafers.]

The coupling takes place towards the end of May, after which the males
die; the females only surviving them from the time necessary to ensure
the propagation of the species. The number of eggs which a female lays
is from twenty to thirty. With her front leg she hollows out a hole in
the ground from two to four inches in depth, and deposits her eggs, of
a yellowish white and of the size of hemp-seed, therein. Her instinct
leads her to choose soft, light, and well-manured soils, which are, at
the same time, the best ventilated and the most fertile. We may
conclude from this that cultivation and labour have made the
cockchafer more common than it was formerly. It is the child of
civilisation, the parasite of agriculture. In from four to six weeks
after being laid, the little larvæ are hatched (Fig. 433), and
immediately attack the roots of vegetables. They have a hard and
horny head, and slender black legs, longer than in any other species
of _Scarabæides_. Their body is composed of a whitish pulp under a
transparent skin; the head and the mouth have a reddish tinge. The
length of their existence in this state is three, sometimes four
years. From the egg laid in the month of June is hatched a larva, in
the month of July. It increases in size during the last six months of
the year, and continues to do so during the two following years,
changing its skin many times during the period. Towards the end of the
third year it changes into a pupa, after having surrounded itself with
a cocoon consolidated with a glutinous froth and some threads of silk.
The pupa (Fig. 434) is of a pale russety yellow, with two little
points at the extremity of its body; the elytra and the wings, lying
down, cover the legs and the antennæ.

[Illustration: Fig. 434.--Pupa of the Cockchafer (_Melolontha

[Illustration: Fig. 433.--Larva of the Cockchafer (_Melolontha

Towards the end of October the perfect insect is already marked out,
but it is still soft and weak. It passes the winter in its
hiding-place, hardens and becomes coloured at the end of the winter,
and shows itself by degrees on the surface of the ground. In the month
of April, three years after its birth, the cockchafer emerges from the
earth, and commences its attack on the leaves of trees. This long
duration of the development of the insect explains why we do not see
them every year in the same number. When they have once appeared in
great quantities, it is not for three years afterwards that we need
expect to see their progeny again in proportionate numbers. It is,
then, every three years that we have a _cockchafer year_ like 1865,
but in the intermediate years they are never very abundant. For the
first year the little larvæ do not eat much. They feed then
principally on fragments of dung, and on vegetable detritus, and keep
together in families. In winter they bury themselves deeply, so as to
be secure against frost and floods. Next spring the want of a greater
abundance of food forces them to disperse. They then make subterranean
galleries in all directions, without, however, going far from the
place where they were hatched. They begin attacking the roots which
they find within their reach; the damage they do increasing with their
size and the strength of their mandibles. Among roots, they seem to
prefer those of the strawberry and of rose-trees; but they do not
despise other vegetables, and attack legumes and cereals as well as
bushes and plants. The ravages which they occasion are sometimes
incalculable; market gardens are sometimes entirely devastated. Fields
of lucerne have been seen partially destroyed by them; meadows of
great extent lose their pasturage; oat fields die off before they have
come to maturity; and many of the ears of corn fall before they are

In proportion as they increase in age and in strength--especially in
their last year--do they attack also ligneous vegetation. When they
have gnawed away the lateral roots of a young tree, the new shoots
corresponding to them dry up. The larvæ then attack the principal
root, and thus bring about the death of the tree. There will be found
round the roots of trees thus attacked immense numbers of these worms.
M. Deschiens relates that he had seen six hectares of acorns, sown
three times in the space of five years with a perfect result, entirely
destroyed as many times by the larvæ of the cockchafer. A nurseryman
of Bourg-la-Reine suffered, in 1854, from the ravages of these
terrible larvæ, losses which he estimated at 30,000 francs. Others
only preserved about a hundredth part of their plants. In Prussia they
destroyed, in 1835, a considerable nursery of trees in the _Institut
Forestier_. In the forests of Kolbetz more than a thousand measures of
wild pines were destroyed in the same way.

We shall not, then, be surprised to learn that the thunders of
excommunication were formerly launched at the cockchafers, as they
were also at the caterpillars and the locusts. We do not know whether
this had much impression upon them. In 1479, the cockchafers having
occasioned a famine in the country, were cited before the ecclesiastical
tribunal of Lausanne. The advocate (Fribourg) who defended them, did not
find, doubtlessly, in the resources of his eloquence arguments powerful
enough in their favour; for the tribunal, after mature deliberation,
condemned the accused troop, and sentenced them to be banished from the
territory. But it is not enough to pass a sentence--there must also be
the means of putting it in execution; and these were wanting to the
tribunal of Lausanne. And so the condemned cockchafers continued to live
on Swiss land, without appearing mindful of the condemnation which had
been fulminated against them.

The larvæ of the cockchafer are not easily destroyed. They
successfully resist those scourges which one fancies must harm them.
Thus, the inundation which devastated the banks of the Saône, fifteen
years ago, had no effect on them. The land and meadows, which had
remained for from four to five weeks under water, were none the more
rid of them. The only circumstance which is really hurtful to them,
and to the adult cockchafer, is late frost in the months of April and
May. When these frosts come after mild weather, they surprise the
larvæ at the surface of the soil, and kill them. Unfortunately, the
same causes do harm to the plants which have already begun to spring
up. Nature has not, then, sufficiently provided the means of
destroying these mischievous beings. One would say that she had not
foreseen their extraordinary multiplication, which has been, we must
confess, encouraged by agriculture and by the cultivation of the land.

Animals do not contribute much towards limiting the number of
cockchafers, although the latter are not wanting in natural enemies.
Among insects, it is the large species of _Carabus_ which search after
the larvæ as well as the adult cockchafers. The _Carabus auratus_
attacks them with great coolness. M. Blanchard saw a carabus seize a
cockchafer in the middle of the road, open its belly with its
mandibles, and devour its intestines. The cockchafer tossed about from
one side to the other, and even walked, while it was undergoing its
cruel punishment; and the _Carabus_ followed it without interrupting
its work. Some reptiles, many carnivorous animals, such as the
shrew-mouse, pole-cats, weasels, rats, and certain birds, especially
the night-birds, prey upon the cockchafer and its larvæ. Ravens and
magpies, which are seen going from clod to clod, make savage but
insufficient war against them. In fact, all these animals together do
not destroy the hundredth part of the cockchafers which are born every

As an example which will show the extent of the evil, a field of 29
acres was ploughed up into 72 furrows. At the first ploughing were
gathered 300 larvæ per furrow; at the second, 250; at the third, 30
more; which amounted to 600 per furrow, and to 43,200 in all. Man, who
is the victim of these ravages, has been necessarily obliged to think
of a means of destroying this enemy. Many _infallible_ means have been
proposed, which have, however, given no result. Prizes have been
offered, but the evil has not diminished. Here are a few of the
processes recommended.

Immediately after the ploughing, you must turn into the field infested
by the larvæ a flock of turkeys, to whom it will be a great treat to
devour them, or else you must sow in the field rape-seed, very
thickly, which you must then bury by a very deep ploughing, when it is
as high as your hand. Colewort, it is said, kills the larvæ, while it
at the same time manures the soil. Or again, you must plough up the
land on the approach of hard frosts, to expose the worms to the cold.
Lastly, you can water the field with oil of coal, or sprinkle it with
ashes of boxwood. All these are expensive. The simplest means are here
the best. It is better to depend upon labour than destructive
substances, whose employment always presents inconveniences.
Considering the difficulties which oppose themselves to us in our
search after larvæ, we had better collect them in their adult state by
violently shaking the branches of the trees on which they doze during
the day, and then kill them in some way or other, thus destroying from
twenty to forty eggs with each female. A general cockchafer hunt,
rendered obligatory by a law, and encouraged by prizes, would be the
only efficacious means of opposing a pest which costs agriculture many
millions. This means would also be less costly than the turning up of
the land concealing the larvæ, when it is remembered that they prefer
land in full bearing.

In 1835 the General Council of La Sarthe voted a sum of 20,000 francs
for a cockchafer hunt. Nearly 600,000 litres were delivered in, thanks
to a prize of three centimes per litre. As a litre contains about 500
cockchafers, there were thus destroyed about 300,000,000 of them. It
is true that M. Romieu, then Prefect of La Sarthe, who was the
principal promoter of this excellent measure, became food for the wit
of the newspapers, and was represented dressed like a cockchafer in
the _Charivari_. Derision and ridicule are too often the reward of
useful ideas. In Switzerland were taken, in 1807, more than
150,000,000 of these insects. But these isolated measures were useless
in producing a durable result.

It has been tried to make use of cockchafers in industrial arts.
According to M. Farkas, they have succeeded, in Hungary, by boiling
them in water, in extracting from them an oil, which is used to grease
the wheels of carriages; and, according to M. Mulsant, the blackish
liquid which is contained in the oesophagus may be used for
painting. But the produce arising from these industrial occupations is
not considerable enough to ensure them a certain extension, which is
to be regretted, for agriculture would thus be rid of one of its most
formidable scourges. Poultry are sometimes fed on these insects; pigs
are also very fond of them.

The _Melolontha Hippocastani_ differs from the common species in
having black legs. The _Melolontha fullo_, twice as large as the
common species, is variegated with tawny and white. It is met with on
the sea-coasts, and on the downs of the north and south of France, as
its larvæ feed on the roots of maritime plants.

Among the genera very near to the cockchafer we will mention the
little _Rhizotrogus_, light-coloured and hairy, which flies in the
evening in the meadows, and the _Euchloras_, or _Anomalas_, of
splendid metallic colours. The _Anomala vitis_ is an insect of about
half an inch long, of a beautiful green, bordered by yellow, with the
elytra deeply furrowed. It sometimes causes extensive ravages in the

After the _Cetoniadæ_ and the Cockchafers, we come to the
_Scarabæidæ_, properly so called. The _Oryctes nasicornis_ (Fig. 435)
is very common all over Europe. It is about an inch long, of a
chestnut-brown, and perfectly smooth. The male has on the head a horn,
which is wanting in the female (Figs. 436, 437). Its larva, which is a
great whitish worm, larger than that of the cockchafer, lives in
rotten wood and in the tan which is employed in hot-houses and in
garden-frames. They were to be found by hundreds in the old hot-houses
of the Jardin des Plantes at Paris. The market-gardeners, who employ
the tannin of the oak bark, have rendered this Coleopteron very common
in the environs of that capital. Fig. 438 represents an exotic
species, the _Xylotrupes dichotomus_.

Among the true _Scarabæi_ we meet with many species of gigantic size,
especially in America. _Dynastes Hercules_, a great insect of a fine
ebony black, with its elytra of an olive grey, is not rare in the
Antilles. Its thorax is prolonged into a horn as long as its body, and
bent round at the extremity; its head has also a long horn standing
erect. The females want these appendages. Fig. 439 represents the
_Golofa claviger_ of Guyana.

[Illustration: Fig. 436.--Head of Oryctes nasicornis, male.]

[Illustration: Fig. 435.--Oryctes nasicornis, male.]

[Illustration: Fig. 437.--Head of Oryctes nasicornis, female.]

[Illustration: Fig. 438.--Xylotrupes dichotomus.]

The _Geotrupes_ are insects almost as common as the chafers. As their
name reminds us, they make holes in the ground, which they scoop out,
particularly in meadows, under cow-dung which has grown dry on the
surface. It is under the excrements of ruminating animals and horses
that they must be looked for. They fly especially at night, and may be
seen buzzing about on fine summer evenings in the vicinity of dung

[Illustration: Fig. 439.--Golofa claviger.]

The _Geotrupes stercorarius_, the Shard-born Beetle, Clock, or
Dumbledor, is of a brilliant bluish black, and attains to a length of
about two-thirds of an inch. We may consider this Coleopteron as a
useful auxiliary of man in ridding the soil of excrementitious matter.
The genus _Trox_, which belongs to the same group, generally inhabits
sandy countries, and has its body nearly always covered with earth or
dust; it lives on vegetable substances, or on animal matter in a state
of decomposition. The habits of the genus _Copris_ resemble those of
_Geotrupes_; they live in excrement. The form of their clypeus, broad,
rounded, without teeth, and advancing over the mouth, suffices to
distinguish the kindred species. In the environs of Paris and in
England the _Copris lunaris_ is found. The larvæ of these insects form
a cocoon composed of earth and dung, before transforming themselves
into pupæ; this cocoon is more or less round, and acquires a great

The species of the genus _Ateuchus_ collect portions of excrement,
which they make up into balls, and roll till they are as perfectly
rounded as pills, and in which they lay their eggs. This habit has
gained for these insects the name of pill-makers. Their hind legs seem
to be particularly adapted for this operation, for they are very long
and somewhat distant from the other legs, which gives to the
_Ateuchi_ a strange appearance, and makes it hard work for them to
walk. They walk backwards and often fall head over heels. They are
generally seen on declivities exposed to the greatest heat of the
sun, assembled together to the number of four or five, occupied in
rolling the same ball; so that it is impossible to know which is the
real proprietor of this rolling object. They seem not to know
themselves; for they roll indifferently the first ball which they meet
with, or near which they are placed.

[Illustration: Fig. 440.--Scarabæus (Golofa) Porteri.]

[Illustration: Fig. 441.--Scarabæus enema, or Enema infundibulum.]

The _Ateuchi_ are large flat insects, with a broad-toothed clypeus;
they all belong to the Ancient Continent. The type of the genus is the
_Ateuchus sacer_ (Fig. 442), the Sacred Scarabæus of the Egyptians.
This insect is black, and attains to a length of a little less than an
inch. It is to be found commonly enough in the south of France, in the
whole of southern Europe, Barbary, and Egypt. The paintings and
amulets of the ancient Egyptians very often represent it, and
sometimes give it a gigantic size. It is, doubtless, then, this
species which was an object of veneration with the Egyptians.

There exists another species, which is always represented as of a
magnificent golden green, and to which Herodotus also attributes this
colour. As it was not to be found in Egypt, it was thought for a long
while that the Egyptians had painted the black species of a more
splendid colour in order to pay it homage. But in 1819 M. Caillaud
actually found at Meroe, on the banks of the White Nile, the _Ateuchus
Ægyptiorum_, which resembles the _Ateuchus sacer_ much in colour, but
has a golden tint. Since then it has also been brought from Sennaar.
The two species were both probably sacred. Hor-Apollon, the learned
commentator on Egyptian hieroglyphics, thinks that this people, in
adopting the scarabæus as a religious symbol, wished to represent at
once, _a unique birth_--_a father_--_the world_--_a man_. The _unique
birth_ means that the scarabæus has no mother. A male wishing to
procreate, said the Egyptians, takes the dung of an ox, works it up
into a ball, and gives it the shape of the world, rolls it with its
hind legs from east to west, and places it in the ground, where it
remains twenty-eight days; the twenty-ninth day it throws its ball,
now open, into the water, and there comes forth a male scarabæus. This
explanation shows also why the scarabæus was employed to represent at
the same time a _father_, _a man_, and _the world_. There were,
however, according to the same author, three sorts of _Scarabæi_: one
was in the shape of a cat, and threw out brightly shining rays
(probably the Golden Scarabæus, _Ateuchus Ægyptiorum_); the two others
had horns; their description seems to refer to a _Copris_ and a

As other remarkable species of _Scarabæi_ we represent the _Scarabæus
enema_ (Fig. 441), with strong horns, the _Megacerus chorinæus_ (Fig.
443), the _Megalosoma anubis_ (Figs. 444 and 445), and the _Dynastes
Hercules_ (Fig. 446).

The last family of the _Scarabæidæ_ contains the _Lucanidæ_, or Stag
Beetles. These Coleoptera are of great size, and their head is armed
with enormous robust mandibles, which give them a ferocious air, which
their inoffensive habits do not in any way justify. They live in
half-rotten trees, the destruction of which they accelerate. Their
mandibles, of such prodigious size only in the male, are of more
inconvenience to them than they are of use, as they impede their
flight. Their strength enables them to raise considerable weights, but
they make no other use of them than to show their strength, which is
enormous. They do not attack other insects, and live only on vegetable

The common Stag Beetle (Figs. 447[121] and 448) attains to a length of
two inches, or more, including its mandibles, and is of a dark brown
chestnut colour. They are met with during the months of May, June, and
July, in large forests, climbing along trees and hooking themselves on
to the trunks by their mandibles. Charles De Geer says that the Stag
Beetle imbibes the honeyed liquid which is found on oak trees, a tree
it particularly seeks after, which has caused it to be called in
Swedish _Ek-Oxe_ (Oak ox). It is supposed that it eats the leaves
also. It sometimes attacks insects. Westwood says that it has been
seen to descend from a tree carrying a caterpillar in its mandibles.
Swammerdam had one which followed him like a dog when he offered it
honey. They only fly in the evening, holding themselves nearly
straight, so as not to see-saw. Their larvæ--which are whitish, with
russety heads, live in the interior of trees, their existence in that
state lasting nearly four years. Many naturalists think that the larva
of the _Lucanus_ was the _Cossus_ of the Romans, which figured on the
tables of the rich patricians, and particularly of Lucullus.

    [121] The figure may possibly mislead, as it shows the larva
    and pupa in the ground, for although recent observations show
    that this species does occasionally undergo its metamorphoses
    therein, it is not probable that the larva lives anywhere but
    in wood.--ED.

[Illustration: Fig. 442.--The Sacred Scarabæus of the Egyptians
(_Ateuchus sacer_).]

[Illustration: Fig. 443.--Megacerus chorinæus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 444.--Megalosoma anubis (male).]

[Illustration: Fig. 445.--Megalosoma anubis (female).]

[Illustration: Fig. 446.--Dynastes Hercules.]

[Illustration: Fig. 447.--Common Stag Beetle (_Lucanus cervus_).]

Fig. 448 represents the Stag Beetle (_Lucanus cervus_); Fig. 449, an
exotic species, the _Lucanus (Homoderus) Mellyi_, from the Gabon; Fig.
450 the _Lucanus bellicosus_; and Fig. 451 another exotic species from
Celebes, _Dorcus Titan_.

[Illustration: Fig. 448.--Stag Beetle (_Lucanus cervus_).]

[Illustration: Fig. 449.--Lucanus (Homoderus) Mellyi.]

The _Syndesus cornutus_ (Fig. 452) of Tasmania, and the _Chiasognathus
Grantii_, from the coast of Chili (Fig. 453), of a beautiful golden
green, shot with copper, belong to genera akin to _Lucanus_.

We arrive now at the tribe of _Silphales_, which are still more useful
to man than the Dung Beetles (_Scarabæidæ_), since many of them
disencumber the soil of the carcases of animals in a state of
putrefaction. The most remarkable insects of this tribe are the
_Histers_, the _Silphas_, properly so called, and the _Necrophora_.

[Illustration: Fig. 450.--Lucanus bellicosus.]

The _Histers_ are small insects, to be recognised by their body being
almost round, smooth, and shining, with the elytra marked with striæ,
and their mandibles pretty well developed. They attain to a length of
about a fifth of an inch. The _Silphæ_, thus named on account of their
broad and rounded form, are of a large size (about half to
three-quarters of an inch), of a dark colour, and exhale a sickly
odour. When seized, they disgorge a blackish liquid. They introduce
themselves under the skin of the carcases of animals, and devour their
flesh to the very bone. The larvæ, flat and serrated, live like the
adults, in carrion. The commonest species is the _Silpha obscura_, of
an intense black, delicately dotted. Two species found in England and
in the environs of Paris, _Silpha quadripunctata_ and the _Silpha
thoracica_, climb trees and attack caterpillars. It appears to be
certain that the larva of the _Silpha obscura_ does a great deal of
damage to beet-root, whose leaves it devours. The _Necrodes_ come very
near to the _Silphæ_. They are distinguished from them by having the
hind legs larger. Only one, _Necrodes littoralis_, occurs in England.
Fig. 459 represents the _Necrodes lacrymosa_, from Australia. The
_Necrophori_, or Grave-diggers, are honest undertakers, who carefully
bury carcases left on the soil. As soon as they smell a field-mouse, a
mole, or a fish in a state of decomposition, they come by troops to
bury it, getting under the carcase, hollowing out the ground with
their legs, and projecting the rubbish they dig out in all directions.
Little by little the carcase sinks; at the end of twenty-four hours it
has generally disappeared into a hole five inches in depth, but the
_Necrophori_ sink it still lower--as far as from seven to ten inches
below the surface. They then mount it, cast the earth down into the
grave so as to fill it, and the females lay their eggs in the tomb,
where the larvæ will find an abundance of food. When the ground is too
hard to be dug, the _Necrophori_ push the carcase further, till they
find permeable soil. A mole has been run through with a stick, or else
tied by a string, to see how the _Necrophori_ would get over the
difficulty. They scooped out the soil underneath the stick, and cut
through the string, and the mole was buried in spite of the obstacles.
Fig. 460 represents a troop of _Necrophori_ burying a small rat.

[Illustration: Fig. 451.--Dorcus Titan.]

[Illustration: Fig. 452.--Syndesus cornutus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 453.--Chiasognathus Grantii.]

[Illustration: Fig. 454.--Hister rugosus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 455.--Silpha quadripunctata.]

[Illustration: Fig. 456.--Silpha thoracica.]

[Illustration: Fig. 457.--Necrodes littoralis (male).]

[Illustration: Fig. 458.--Necrodes littoralis (female).]

[Illustration: Fig. 459.--Necrodes lacrymosa.]

[Illustration: Fig. 460.--Burying Beetles (_Necrophorus vespillo_)
interring the body of a rat.]

The _Necrophorus vespillo_ (Fig. 461) is variegated with yellow and
black; the _Necrophorus Germanicus_ (Fig. 462) is larger, quite black,
and rarer. All these insects exhale a disagreeable musky smell. Their
bodies are often covered with parasites, which are carried along by
them by hooking on to their hairs, and which make use of the
_Necrophorus_ as a vehicle in which they get their food.

[Illustration: Fig. 461.--Necrophorus vespillo.]

[Illustration: Fig. 462.--Necrophorus Germanicus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 463.--Staphylinus (Ocypus) olens, imago, pupa, and

The _Staphylinidæ_ live in the carcases of animals, on manure, in
detritus, and attack living insects. They are, for the most part, of
small size, and are distinguished by their elytra, which are short,
and resemble a waistcoat or a jacket; but their wings are fully
developed. The large species have strong mandibles. When irritated,
the _Staphylini_ disgorge an acrid black liquid; and by the abdomen
they emit a volatile fluid having a musky odour.

We see frequently on roads the _Staphylinus olens_ (Figs. 463 and
464), which, when it finds itself attacked, raises its abdomen, and
thrusts out two little whitish bladders, which pour out a volatile
liquid. Its larva lives under stones, and its habits are the same as
those of the adult insect. It is very carnivorous, and very active,
and often attacks those of its own kind. The _Staphylinus hirtus_
(Fig. 466) resembles at a distance a humble-bee, on account of its
long yellow hairs. The _Staphylinus maxillosus_ (Fig. 465) has black
and white hairs. The genera _Pselaphus_ and _Claviger_, akin to the
above, contain little insects which live as parasites in the nests of
ants. The _Pselaphus Heisii_ (Fig. 467), less than a line long, lives
on the _débris_ of reeds, on the borders of marshes.

[Illustration: Fig. 464.--Staphylinus (Ocypus) olens.]

The _Claviger foveolatus_ (Fig. 468) is met with in the nest of a
little yellow ant, which takes as much care of it as of its own
progeny, because the _Claviger_ secretes a liquid very much
appreciated by ants, who are continually occupied in licking its back.

[Illustration: Fig. 465.--Staphylinus maxillosus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 466.--Staphylinus hirtus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 467.--Pselaphus Heisii (magnified).]

[Illustration: Fig. 468.--Claviger foveolatus (magnified).]

The _Dermestidæ_ attack by preference the tendons and the skins of
carcases. A few of the insects of this family are the plague of our
collections and the furriers. They devour a quantity of dry
substances--skins, feathers, catgut, hair, objects made of
tortoise-shell, the dried bodies of insects, &c. Some other
_Dermestidæ_ feed on animal matter still fresh: such is the Bacon
Beetle, _Dermestes lardarius_ (Fig. 469), which is to be met with in
some dirty pork-shops. It is black, with the base of its elytra tawny
and marked with three black spots. The larvæ are covered with a
russety hair; they eat bacon, skins, and also attack each other. The
perfect insect does no damage. Like all the _Dermestidæ_, it
counterfeits death when handled. The _Dermestes vulpinus_, of a tawny
grey, injures furs; and the Hudson's Bay Company, whose storehouses in
London were infested by this insect, offered a reward of £20,000 for a
means of destroying this insect. The furriers have also cause to dread
the _Attagenus pellio_ (Fig. 470), whose larva, covered with yellowish
hairs, has at its extremity a sort of broom, which assists it in

[Illustration: Fig. 469.--Bacon Beetle (_Dermestes lardarius_),
magnified and natural size.]

[Illustration: Fig. 470.--Attagenus pellio, magnified and natural size.]

The _Anthrenus museorum_, the fifteenth of an inch in length, black,
with three grey bands, drives collectors to despair, for its larva
destroys their collections. It is covered with grey and brownish
hairs, which it bristles up the moment it is touched. The perfect
insect feeds on flowers, and counterfeits death when seized. All
possible means have been tried for getting rid of the _Anthrenus_ by
placing in the collection camphor, benzine, tobacco, sulphur, &c., but
benzine very soon destroys them.

[Illustration: Fig. 471.--Hydrophilus piceus.]

The _Hydrophili_, very different to the group which we shall presently
consider, are herbivorous, and are to be found on the leaves of
aquatic plants. The _Hydrophilus piceus_ (Fig. 471), which attains to
an inch in length, is common in our fresh waters. It must not be
seized without taking precautions, as its breast is provided with a
strong point, which pierces the skin. It draws in air by thrusting its
antennæ out of the water, and placing them against its body, the
bubbles of the air, which get involved in a sort of furrow, slip under
the body, and fix themselves to the hair, in such a manner that the
animal seems to be clothed in pearls. It is thus the air reaches the
spiracles. The female of the _Hydrophilus_ is sometimes seen clinging
to aquatic plants, head downwards, forming her cocoon, terminated by a
long pedicle, in which she places her eggs, by means of the two
bristles situated at the extremity of the abdomen (Fig. 472). After
having drawn this after her for some time, she leaves it to itself in
calm water. At the end of a fortnight there come out from it little
brown larvæ, very active, which ascend the water plants. These larvæ
are at the same time herbivorous and carnivorous. They live on plants
and small molluscs, which they seize from underneath, and whose shell
they break by pressing them against their back, to extract from it the
animal. If attacked, they emit a black liquid, which discolours the
water, and enables them to escape. At the end of two months the larva
comes out of the water, and burrows into the ground to undergo its
metamorphosis into a pupa (Fig. 473), which becomes a perfect insect a
month afterwards. The latter gets its colour little by little, and
comes out of the ground at the end of twelve days. According to M.
Dumeril, the intestine of the larva grows gradually longer and longer,
and its diet becomes that of herbs, the adult preferring vegetable
food to animal matter. It is at the end of summer that the
_Hydrophilus piceus_ becomes perfect, and it passes the winter in a
state of torpor at the bottom of the water. The females lay in the
month of April. A small species, _Hydrous caraboides_, is commoner
than the large one; its body is more rounded behind.

[Illustration: Fig. 472.--Bristles at the extremity of the abdomen of
the Hydrophilus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 473.--Pupa of the Hydrophilus.]

We are now going to consider a series of aquatic and carnivorous
insects; the _Dytisci_, Water Beetles, the _Cybisters_, and the
_Gyrinidæ_, or Whirligig Beetles. These are perfect corsairs, whose
rapacity even exceeds that of many of the land Coleoptera. Not
contented with devouring one another, when pressed by hunger, with
attacking especially the larvæ of all aquatic insects, such as the
_Libellulæ_ and _Ephemeræ_, they feed also on molluscs, on tadpoles,
and on small fish. It is easy to rear them in captivity. If confined
in a small aquarium, their habits would be much more amusing than a
few golden fish, which one meets with everywhere, and which are only
good enough to amuse European _Schaabahams_. Care must be taken to
cover the aquarium at the top with gauze, to prevent the perfect
insects from escaping. This tribe is not very numerous nor varied in
its forms. An oval body, legs curved and widened into oars, provided
with hairs, distinguish the insects which compose it. They imbibe air
at the surface of the water.

[Illustration: Fig. 474.--Dytiscus marginalis, male and female, and
front leg of male magnified.]

The most carnivorous of this group are the _Dytisci_ and the
_Cybisters_. They may be called the sharks of the insect world.
Nothing which lives in the water is safe against the voracity of the
_Dytiscus_. They attack small molluscs, young fish, tadpoles, larvæ of
insects, and suck greedily the bits of raw meat which are thrown to
them. They may be kept in an aquarium for many years by feeding them
on animal matter. Their oval-shaped body, with its sharp sides,
permits them to cut through the water with great ease--the hind legs
serving as oars. They are to be found in stagnant waters during the
greatest part of the year, but principally in autumn. During the
winter they bury themselves in the mud and under moss. The females lay
their eggs in the water. The larvæ are long, swelling out at the
middle, furnished with hairs, and grow rapidly. To undergo their
metamorphosis into pupæ they bury themselves in the earth.

[Illustration: Fig. 475.--Pupa and larva of Dytiscus marginalis.]

[Illustration: Fig. 476.--Dytiscus latissimus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 477.--Cybister Roeselii.]

The perfect insects are amphibious, and fly from one pond to another
to satisfy their voracious appetites. The most common species of this
genus is the _Dytiscus marginalis_ (Fig. 474), of a dark greenish
brown, yellowish on the sides. The elytra of the male are smooth;
those of the female are fluted. The front leg of the male is provided
with suckers. The larva is brown; the pupa of a dirty white.

[Illustration: Fig. 478.--Acilius sulcatus (male).]

[Illustration: Fig. 479.--Acilius sulcatus (female).]

[Illustration: Fig. 480.--Acilius fasciatus (male).]

[Illustration: Fig. 481.--Acilius fasciatus (female).]

[Illustration: Fig. 482.--Noterus crassicornis.]

The _Dytiscus marginalis_ sometimes attacks _Hydrophilus piceus_. It
pierces it between the head and the thorax, that is, in the weak point
of the cuirass, and devours it, in spite of its being the stronger.
The largest of the _Dytisci_, the _Dytiscus latissimus_ (Fig. 476), is
almost confined to the north of Europe. The _Cybisters_ abound
especially in warm countries. The _Cybister Roeselii_ (Fig. 477), a
European species, has the reputation of having been taken in England.
This group contains also a great number of insects more or less
resembling the preceding in their conformation and habits. We will
confine ourselves to representing a few by figures.

[Illustration: Fig. 483.--Colymbetes cinereus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 484.--Colymbetes notatus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 485.--Colymbetes striatus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 486.--Haliplus fulvus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 487.--Hydroporus griseo-striatus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 488.--Hydroporus confluens.]

[Illustration: Fig. 489.--Suphis cimicoides.]

[Illustration: Fig. 490.--Laccophilus variegatus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 491.--Laccophilus minutus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 492.--Hydaticus grammicus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 493.--Pelobius Hermanni.]

[Illustration: Fig. 494.--Gyrinus natator.]

[Illustration: Fig. 495.--Larva of Gyrinus natator.]

The _Gyrinidæ_, which come very near to the _Dytiscidæ_, like water
which is clear and a little agitated. They are small black insects,
living in troops, and which swim with rapidity, describing incessantly
capricious circles, which has gained for them the name of "Whirligigs."
They are remarkable for the disposition of their eyes, which are double;
so that the _Gyrinidæ_ seem to have four eyes. The lower ones look into
the water and watch for the prey or the fish that advances as an enemy;
whilst the upper eyes look upwards towards the air, and warn the insect
of the approach of enemies from above. To escape from fish, the
_Gyrinus_ jumps out of the water, and also makes use of its wings; to
escape from birds it dives rapidly. This activity, and this double
sight, make the capture of the _Gyrini_ a task of great difficulty. They
must be caught with a net. At the moment of being seized they emit a
milky and foetid liquid.

The females lay their eggs end to end, on the leaves of aquatic
plants. The larvæ are long and narrow, and of a dirty white. They come
out of the water at the end of the summer, and form for themselves a
cocoon on the plants bordering the banks. After a month, the perfect
insect is hatched, and plunges into the water. The _Gyrinus striatus_
(Fig. 496) is found in the waters of southern Europe.

All these species are of small size, and do not exceed a fifth of an
inch in length; but in the tropics we find _Gyrini_ two-thirds of an
inch long. One of these species, _distinctus_, exists in the little
lake of Solazies, in Réunion Island, noted for its mineral waters. The
visitors amuse themselves by fishing for this insect with a line
baited with a bit of red cloth, which it attacks. It is found also in
a mineral spring in Algeria. The _Epinecti_ (Fig. 498) are large
_Gyrinidæ_ from Brazil, with very long front legs.

[Illustration: Fig. 496.--Gyrinus striatus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 497.--Gyrinus distinctus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 498.--Epinectus sulcatus.]

The carnivorous land insects _par excellence_--those which are most
formidable, on account of their ravages and voracity--are the
_Carabidæ_. This family, one of the most numerous of the Order
Coleoptera, consists of insects with long legs, and armed with
powerful mandibles, suited for tearing their victims to pieces. They
are the lions and the tigers of the Coleoptera, whilst the
_Necrophori_ and the _Silphæ_ play the part of hyænas and jackals. The
eyes of the _Carabidæ_ are very prominent, which allows them to see
their prey at a great distance. They take refuge under stones and
under the bark of trees; but in fine weather they are also to be seen
running along roads. Ardent and audacious, it is by no means rare to
see them attacking species much bigger than themselves. The activity
which distinguishes these insects is found also in their larvæ, which
pursue living prey, instead of remaining shrouded in the midst of
their food, like the larvæ of the _Scarabæidæ_.

These carnivorous insects are very numerous--a fortunate circumstance,
considering the immense quantity of small noxious creatures,
caterpillars, weevils, and an infinity of other parasites, the pests
of agriculture, which they destroy. The popular prejudice, then, is to
be regretted, which leads ignorant farmers to exterminate them. They
ought, on the contrary, to be introduced into market gardens, as toads
are, and as cats are into granaries. "The _Carabidæ_," says M.
Michelet, "immense tribes of warriors, armed to the teeth, which,
under their heavy cuirasses, have a wonderful activity, are perfect
rural constabulary, day and night, without holidays or repose,
protecting our fields. They never touch the smallest thing. They are
occupied entirely in arresting thieves, and they desire no salary but
the body of the thief himself." But ignorance destroys these useful
hunters. Children, seduced by the richness of the elytra of the
_Carabi_, amuse themselves in catching these vigilant protectors of
our farms, without knowing the bad effect of what they are doing.
Fortunately, education is spreading little by little in the country;
the farmers begin to be awakened to their true interests, and to know
how to distinguish the useful animals which it behoves them to
preserve in their fields for the safeguard of their crops. In some
places in France they have already made attempts to introduce the
_Carabidæ_ and the _Cicindelidæ_ into gardens, and they have found
them succeed very well.

The true _Carabi_ are to be known by their oval convex body, their
long antennæ, and elegantly-carved thorax. They are, in general, of
more massive forms than the _Cicindelidæ_, which compose a kindred
family. The latter form, in some sort, the vanguard and the light
troops; the others, the heavy battalions. The _Carabi_ coming out in
general at night, or at least at twilight, and keeping themselves
hidden under stones during the day, it is not easy to observe their

The _Carabus auratus_ (Fig. 499), which abounds in fields and gardens
on the Continent, may be considered as the type of this genus. It has
elytra of a beautiful green, with three ribs, and the legs yellowish.
When it is touched it disgorges a black and acrid saliva, and ejects
from the abdomen a corrosive liquid of a disagreeable odour. It lives
on the larvæ of other insects. It has been seen to attack even large
insects, such as the cockchafer.

[Illustration: Fig. 499.--Carabus auratus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 500.--Carabus violaceus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 501.--Carabus canaliculatus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 502.--Carabus Adonis.]

[Illustration: Fig. 503.--Carabus nodulosus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 504.--Larva of Carabus auronitens.]

[Illustration: Fig. 505.--Calosoma auropunctata.]

[Illustration: Figs. 506, 507.--Pupa and larva of Calosoma auropunctata.]

In England and the environs of Paris, _Carabus violaceus_ (Fig. 500),
whose dress, of a sombre colour, is surrounded by shades of red and
violet, is met with. In the Pyrenees many _Carabi_ with metallic
reflections are found, whose beautiful colours are the delight of
collectors; the _Carabus splendens_, the _Carabus rutilans_, &c. But the
most beautiful insects of this tribe come from Siberia and the north of
China. Let us mention, for example, the _Carabus smaragdinus_, of a
beautiful grass-green; the _Carabus Vietinghovii_, of a beautiful blue
black, bordered with azure, with a golden band, &c.

[Illustration: Fig. 508.--Calosoma sycophanta pursuing a Bombardier
Beetle (_Brachinus explodens_).]

The _Carabus Adonis_ (Fig. 502) is not rare in Alsace, and is found on
the banks of streams.

The long flat larvæ of the _Carabi_ live in the trunks of trees, among
leaves, under moss, &c. They are active, and live on other insects.
Fig. 504 represents the larva of the _Carabus auronitens_.

Another genus of the same family is _Calosoma_. They have wings under
their elytra--the true _Carabi_ have not--which they use in passing
from one tree to another.

In the month of June is to be found on oak trees the beautiful
_Calosoma sycophanta_ (Fig. 508), the occasional occurrence of which
in England is unquestionable; it is, however, presumed that the
specimens have reached our shores from the Continent by flight,
favoured by strong easterly winds. This insect is of a beautiful
violet blue, having the antennæ and the legs black, and the elytra of
a splendid golden green, with longitudinal streaks. According to
Réaumur, the larva of the _Calosoma_ often chooses a home in the nest
of the Procession-Moth Caterpillar (_Bombyx processionea_), on oak
trees, and it very soon rids the tree which is infested by them.

[Illustration: Fig. 509.--Procrustes coriaceus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 510.--Procerus gigas.]

[Illustration: Fig. 511.--Omophron libatum.]

[Illustration: Fig. 512.--Nebria arenaria.]

The _Calosoma auropunctata_ is found in the south of France. Its larva
(Fig. 507) devours snails, and establishes itself in their shells.
These larvæ have been known to fill themselves so full of food as to
become double their natural size, in which state they are sometimes
devoured by those of their own species. A smaller kind, the _Calosoma
inquisitor_, is very frequently to be met with in woods. Fig. 508
presents _Calosoma sycophanta_ pursuing a Bombardier (_Brachinus
explodens_), which squirts out a vapour of pungent odour.

In the countries of the south-east of Europe, and in Asia Minor, one
finds enormous _Carabidæ_, the _Procrustes_ and the _Proceri_, which
attain nearly two inches in length, and whose integuments resemble
very rough shagreen. One species alone is met with in France, the
_Procrustes coriaceus_ (Fig. 509). In Austria is found the _Procerus
gigas_ (Fig. 510).

The genus _Omophron_ (Fig. 511) contains small, almost globular
_Carabidæ_ of a pale yellow, with green lines, and which live in the
sand bordering rivers. The _Nebrias_ in general prefer mountainous
countries. The largest species, the _Nebria arenaria_ (Fig. 512), is
found all along the coast of the Mediterranean, and even on the
western shores of France. But its colours grow paler as it advances
northward on the African coast. It is of a bright yellow with black
lines. The _Nebrias_ hide themselves either under masses of seaweed
cast up by the waves, or under the stumps of trees cast ashore by the
sea. When they are deprived of their place of shelter, they run away
with such rapidity that it is very difficult to catch them. In Senegal
is found the genus _Tefflus_ (Fig. 513), great black _Carabidæ_ with
fluted elytra.

Other kindred genera are--_Damaster_ (Fig. 514), remarkable for
elongated pointed elytra; _Anthia_ (Fig. 515), which is met with in
sand in Africa and in India, and whose head is armed in a formidable
manner; and _Campylocnemis_, of which _Schroeteri_ (Fig. 516), an
Australian insect, of a bright black, attains to more than an inch and
three quarters in length, and whose short serrated legs enable it to
hollow out the ground. There is found on the coasts of the south of
France a representative of this group in the _Scarites lævigatus_
(Fig. 517), which conceals itself in a hollow, like the cricket, and
devours everything which comes within its reach.

[Illustration: Fig. 513.--Tefflus Megerlei.]

[Illustration: Fig. 514.--Damaster blaptoides.]

The innumerable tribe of _Harpalidæ_ contains carnivorous beetles of
very small size, sometimes of a bronze-green, sometimes black, either
dull or shining, and which render great service to our gardens. Hidden
under stones, in dry leaves, at the foot of trees, they attack a
number of small insects, caterpillars, millepedes, &c., and thus
exterminate a quantity of vermin. The _Harpalus æneus_ (Fig. 518),
which is seen shining in the midst of the paving stones like a little
bronze plate, is found everywhere. The _Galeritas_ (Figs. 519 and 520)
are distinguished by their antennæ, which are thick at the base; they
exhale a very strong odour: nearly all are peculiar to America. One of
the most curious insects of this tribe is the _Mormolyce phyllodes_ of
Java (Fig. 521) whose elytra project in such a manner as to give it
the appearance of a leaf. It lives under bark. The larva and the pupa
(Fig. 522) resemble those of other genera of which we have been

[Illustration: Fig. 515.--Anthia thoracica.]

[Illustration: Fig. 516.--Campylocnemis Schroeteri.]

The next great family of the tribe of carnivorous beetles is composed
of the _Cicindelidæ_--slender insects, with large prominent heads,
very long legs, and which are very active in their movements. The
_Cicindelidæ_ like sandy plains. When the sun shines they fly in a
zig-zag manner, but their flight is not continued for long together.
In dull weather they are to be seen running on the turf or hiding
themselves in holes, and are met with on the sea-shore, where they
are seen sometimes to pop up by hundreds. They live on flies and
little shrimps, which abound on the sea-shore.

[Illustration: Fig. 517.--Scarites lævigatus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 518.--Harpalus æneus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 519.--Larva of Galerita Lecontei.]

[Illustration: Fig. 520. Galerita Lecontei.]

[Illustration: Fig. 521.--Mormolyce phyllodes.]

[Illustration: Fig. 522.--Larva and pupa of Mormolyce phyllodes.]

[Illustration: Fig. 523.--Tiger Beetle (_Cicindela campestris_).]

The _Cicindela campestris_ (Fig. 523), or Tiger Beetle, is of a
beautiful green, spotted with white; the abdomen is of a bronze red.
In this country it is the commonest of the genus. The _Cicindela
hybrida_, of a dull green, relieved by light bands, inhabits sandy
woods. The _Cicindela maritima_ differs from the preceding. The
_Cicindela sylvatica_, which flies very well, is not easy to catch,
and is to be often met with in the warm glades of the forest of
Fontainebleau and at Montmorency; it is not unfrequent here. Its
colour is brown, spotted with white; it diffuses a strong smell of the
rose, to which succeeds, on being seized, the acrid odour of the
secretion which it disgorges. We here represent the _Cicindela
Dumoulinii_ (Fig. 524), the _Cicindela rugosa_ (Fig. 525), the
_Cicindela scalaris_ (Fig. 526), the _Cicindela heros_ (Fig. 527), the
_Cicindela quadrilineata_ (Fig. 528), and the _Cicindela capensis_
(Fig. 529).

[Illustration: Fig. 524.--Cicindela Dumoulinii.]

[Illustration: Fig. 525.--Cicindela rugosa.]

[Illustration: Fig. 526.--Cicindela scalaris.]

The ferocity of these insects is remarkable. They quickly tear off the
wings and legs of their victim, and suck out the contents of its
abdomen. Often, when they are disturbed in this agreeable occupation,
not wishing to leave it, they fly away with their prey; their flight,
however, is not sufficiently powerful to allow of their carrying to
any great distance such a heavy burden. When a _Cicindela_ is seized
between the fingers, it moves about its mandibles and endeavours to
pinch, but its bite is inoffensive and not very painful. They are
prodigiously active in running. Armed with jaws which are powerful
enough to overcome their victims and to seize them at once, they can
dispense with stratagem.

[Illustration: Fig. 527.--Cicindela heros.]

[Illustration: Fig. 528.--Cicindela quadrilineata.]

[Illustration: Fig. 529.--Cicindela capensis.]

[Illustration: Fig. 530.--Larva of Cicindela campestris.]

[Illustration: Fig. 531.--Ambush of larva of Cicindela campestris.]

Their larvæ (Fig. 530) are soft, and have short legs. To satisfy their
voracity they are obliged to lie in ambush in holes. They are
two-thirds of an inch long; their head is horny and in the form of a
trapezium. The first segment is also horny, and of a metallic green.
The eighth has a pair of tubercles with hooks, of which the larva
makes use in ascending and descending its vertical hole, like a sweep
in a chimney. This hole (Fig. 531) is a foot or more deep. To dig it,
the larva employs its mandibles and its legs in the following manner:
it twists itself round, loads with earth the flat surface which covers
its head, climbs along the chimney by twisting itself into the form
of the letter Z, and thus transports its load, as a bricklayer's
labourer carries a hod of mortar up a ladder. Arrived at the mouth of
the hole, it throws to a distance the rubbish with which its head is
loaded; or, if too heavy, it simply deposits it, pushing it away as
far as possible. It is difficult to watch their proceedings, for they
are very mistrustful, and retire immediately into their hole when
alarmed. They remain in ambush at the entrances of these subterranean
passages, which they hermetically seal with their head and thorax. It
is a species of pitfall which sets itself in motion the moment
anything endeavours to pass it. The unfortunate who ventures is
precipitated into the well, and the _Cicindela_ forthwith devours it.
These habits remind one of those of the ant-lion. When the time
arrives for the metamorphosis, the larva of the _Cicindela_ enlarges
the bottom of its hole, and stops up the entrance with earth before
changing. The pupa (Figs. 532, 533) is of a pale glossy yellow,
covered with small spines. The metamorphosis takes place between
August and October; the perfect insect emerges in spring.

[Illustration: Fig. 532.--Pupa of a Cicindela (Upper-side).]

[Illustration: Fig. 533.--Pupa of a Cicindela (Under-side).]

[Illustration: Fig. 534.--Tetracha Klugii.]

[Illustration: Fig. 535.--Tetracha oxychiloides.]

[Illustration: Fig. 536.--Tetracha bifasciata.]

Nearly akin to the _Cicindelas_ are the _Tetrachas_ (Figs. 534, 535,
536), from Africa and tropical America; the _Manticoras_ (Fig. 537),
which are distinguished by their robust and thick-set appearance;
the _Pogonostomas_ (Fig. 538), which live in Madagascar; the
_Ctenostomas_, peculiar to America (Fig. 539), remarkable for the
length of their pendent and bristly palpi; the _Omus_, of California;
the _Therates_ (Fig. 540), insects of the East Indian Islands, &c.

The tribe of _Tenebrionidæ_, called formerly _Melasomas_, because they
are nearly all black, resembles in some points the _Carabici_. They
seek after dark places, and avoid the light, and are found on the
ground under stones; their movements are slow, and they walk with
difficulty. The best-known insect of this group is the _Blaps_, of
repulsive smell, inhabiting dark damp places, such as cellars, and
only coming out of its retreat during the night. The elytra are
joined together, and they have no wings. The vulgar regard them as an
omen of ill-luck. Fig. 541 represents the _Blaps obtusa_. According to
the report of a traveller, the women in Egypt eat the _Blaps sulcata_
cooked with butter, to make them fat. They are employed also against
the ear-ache, the bite of scorpions, &c.

Another genus of the same family is the _Tenebrio_ (Fig. 542), of a
blackish-brown, with the elytra striated, and of half an inch in
length. The larvæ, the well-known meal-worms, live in flour; they are
cylindrical, and of a light tawny colour (Fig. 542). The insect which
is considered as a type of the tribe of the _Pimelides_ is the
_Pimelia bipunctata_, which is common in the south of France.

[Illustration: Fig. 537--Manticora tuberculata.]

[Illustration: Fig. 538.--Pogonostoma gracilis.]

We come now to the tribe of blistering beetles, of which the best
known is the Cantharides (_Cantharis_ or _Lytta_). These insects are
generally of soft consistency, and their elytra very flexible. A few
remain constantly on trees. All are very brisk and active. When
swallowed they are a dangerous poison, but are used in medicine for
making blisters.

[Illustration: Fig. 539.--Ctenostoma rugosa.]

[Illustration: Fig. 540.--Therates labiata.]

[Illustration: Fig. 541.--Blaps obtusa.]

[Illustration: Fig. 542.--Tenebrio molitor (larva and imago).]

The Cantharides of commerce (_Cantharis_ [_Lytta_] _vesicatoria_) are
of a beautiful green, attain to a size of four-fifths of an inch, and
are found on ash-trees, lilacs, and other shrubs. Commerce for a long
time brought them from Spain, and some still come from that country;
hence the common name of _Spanish fly_. As they live in great numbers
together, collecting them is easier and less expensive than would be
that of other species of the same family which are not gregarious, but
which have the same medicinal properties. The presence of the
Cantharides is manifested by the strong penetrating odour which they
diffuse to some distance. When, by aid of this smell, they are
discovered, generally settled on an ash, they are collected in the
following manner:--Very early in the morning a cloth of light tissue
is stretched out at the foot of the tree, and the branches are shaken,
which causes the insects to fall (PLATE XII.). These, numbed by the
cold of the night, do not try to escape. When there is a sufficient
quantity, the four corners are drawn up and the whole plunged into a
tub of vinegar diluted with water. This immersion causes the death of
the insects. They then carry them to a loft, or under a very airy
shed. To dry them they spread them out on hurdles covered with linen
or paper, and from time to time, to facilitate the operation, they are
moved about, either with a stick or with the hand, which is more
convenient; but it is then necessary to take the precaution of putting
on gloves, for, if touched with the naked hand, they would cause more
or less serious blisters. The same precaution must be observed in
gathering them.

When the Cantharides are quite dry, they put them into wooden boxes or
vessels of glass or earthenware hermetically sealed, and preserve them
in a place protected from damp. With these precautions, they may be
kept for a long while without losing any of their caustic properties.
Dumeril made blisters of Cantharides which had been twenty-four years
in store, and which had lost none of their energy. When dry, they are
so light that a kilogramme contains nearly 13,000 insects. Aretius, a
physician who flourished at Rome in the first century of our era,
seems to have been the first to employ Cantharides, reduced to powder,
as a means of vesication. Hippocrates administered them internally in
cases of dropsy, apoplexy, and jaundice. But it is pretty nearly
established that the Cantharides of the ancients were not the same
species used at the present day; they were, probably, a kindred
species, the _Mylabris chicorii_. A blistering principle has been
extracted from these insects, called _Cantharadine_. This organic
product presents itself under the form of little shining flakes,
without colour, soluble in ether or oil. One atom of this matter
applied to the skin, and particularly to the lower lip, makes the
epidermis rise instantaneously, and produces a small blister filled
with a watery liquid. In spite of the corrosive principle which the
_Cantharis_ contains, it is attacked, like other dried insects, by the
_Dermestes_ and the _Anthrenus_, which feast on them without suffering
the smallest inconvenience.

[Illustration: XII. Gathering Cantharides.]

The _Stylopidæ_, for which Kirby,[122] in 1811, instituted a distinct
Order, which he called _Strepsiptera_, in allusion to the contortion
of the elytra, and to which Latreille[123] subsequently applied the
name of _Rhipiptera_, are, perhaps, the most anomalous of all insects.
Great diversity of opinion has existed respecting their affinities;
but modern systematists, with but few exceptions, concur in referring
them to the Order _Coleoptera_, and locating them in proximity to
_Meloë_. In the larva state, all the known species of the family
inhabit the bodies of hymenopterous insects of the genera _Andrena_,
_Polistes_, &c., in this particular resembling the dipterous genus
_Conops_, which inhabits the body of humble bees,[124] and apparently
in no way inconveniencing their victims; a fact which has been
accounted for on the supposition that their existence in the larva
state is but short, and that their attacks being directed against the
abdomen, and not the thorax, the seat of life in insects, their
presence does not affect the activity of the victim. The larva has a
soft fusiform body, surmounted by a somewhat globose head. While
feeding, the head is towards the base of the abdomen; but on changing
to a pupa, this position is reversed, and the head--at first of light
brown, but which after a short time becomes black--thrust out between
the plates of the abdomen.

    [122] "On a new Order of Insects," _Linn. Trans._, vol. xi.

    [123] In Cuvier, "Le Règne Animal," ed. i., tome iii., p. 584.

    [124] See p. 69.

The imagos, which are of small size, namely, about the eighth of an
inch long, are found during May and June. They have four wings, but
the anterior pair, of hard texture, somewhat resembling elytra, but
hardly answering to them in structure, are very poorly developed, and
curled round the front pair of legs, hence the name bestowed, by
Kirby, from [Greek: strepssis], a twisting, and [Greek: pteron], a
wing; the posterior wings are fully developed, and fold up like a fan,
whence the Order received the name of _Rhipiptera_ from Latreille. The
eyes, the facettes of which are few in number, are placed on a
footstalk, whence the name of the genus _Stylops_. The parts of the
mouth connect the Strepsiptera with the mandibulated insects, although
by some supposed to bear analogy by their functions to those parts in
the Diptera. The male only is winged; the female is very like an
apodal larva, the larva being an active hexapod.

The family _Stylopidæ_ is divided into four genera, of which two only,
_Xenos_ and _Stylops_, were described by Kirby in the essay referred
to above. First, _Xenos_, from [Greek: xenos], a guest, the most
prolific in species, of which _Xenos Rossii_, sometimes called
_vesparum_, may be taken as the type. Secondly, _Elenchus_, of which
_Elenchus Walkeri_ is the type. Thirdly, _Stylops_ (Fig. 543),
parasitical on various species of _Andrenæ_, of which _Stylops
Melittæ_, having a fleshy abdomen and the wings longer than the body,
may be considered typical: and lastly, _Halictophagus_, of which only
one species, infesting _Halictus æratus_[125] named _Halictophagus
Curtisii_, is known to exist, and which makes its appearance in the
month of August.

    [125] _Halictus_ and _Andrena_ are two genera of Bees.

[Illustration: Fig. 543.--Stylops (magnified).]

These singular insects are found in various parts of the
world--Europe, Australia, and America. They were discovered by
Professor Peck almost simultaneously with Mr. Kirby's discovery in
this country, and to whom he sent specimens of a species which has
received the name of _Xenos Peckii_ lately, in New Zealand and

Siebold, in 1843, having obtained some eggs, was able to observe the
larvæ, and he soon discovered that the females of Stylops, one of the
Strepsiptera, were blind, had no legs, and always retained the
appearance of larvæ, and that they never quitted the bodies of those
insects, in which they pass a parasitic existence. George Newport paid
great attention to the history of these curious insects, and when he
wrote his article, "Insecta," in the "Cyclopædia of Anatomy and
Physiology," four distinct genera of these minute parasites had
already been discovered. One of the largest species (_Stylops
Spencii_) is scarcely more than two lines in length, while the
smallest species yet known is not more than two-thirds of a line, or
scarcely a line in breadth with its wings expanded. They undergo
metamorphosis; and the males, when they have become perfect insects,
fly and roam about, but the females are condemned to a perfectly quiet
life. The head and the thoracic segments of the bodies of these last
are united completely, but the abdomen, which is very large, always
remains soft, so that the whole of the body only appears to be formed
of two portions. They are ovo-viviparous insects, and the young larvæ
escape as such from the body of the mother. They are active creatures,
and, being furnished with long legs, crawl over the hairs and skin of
the hymenopterous insect they are parasitic upon. They behave like the
larvæ of Meloë and Sitaris, whose peculiar methods of life have been
noticed in our description of the Coleoptera. Clinging on to a wasp or
a bee, they are carried off, and finally arrive in the nest or hive,
as the case may be, and there they attack the larvæ. When once fixed
upon the hymenopterous larvæ, they undergo a change of skin, and their
shape then becomes totally different, and their legs are atrophied.
But these parasites being exceedingly small, do not kill the larvæ;
they suck their juices, after the manner of the Ichneumons, and do not
interfere with the metamorphoses of the insects upon which they are
parasitic. On the right hand, in the accompanying engraving (Fig.
544), there is a larva much magnified, lately born, and climbing upon
the hair of one of the Hymenoptera, and on the left hand there is a
perfect female insect, very much magnified, with ovo-viviparous larvæ
within its abdomen, and between the two figures there is a
representation of a larva of the natural size. It is evident, however,
that ova may be expelled from the mother before they are hatched.

[Illustration: Fig. 544.--Female and Larva of Stylops.]

Packard describes the curious history of the female Stylops, which he
found parasitic on one of the bees. He caught the bee, and on
examining it he noticed a pale reddish-brown triangular mark on the
abdomen, and this was the flattened head and thorax of a female
Stylops. The creature is included in the body of the bee, and is
nourished by its juices. The head and thorax of the parasite were
noticed to be soldered into a single flattened mass, the baggy hind
body being greatly enlarged, like that of the female white ant. On
carefully drawing out the whole body from the bee the mass was found
to be very extensible, soft, and baggy, and on examining it under a
high power of the microscope, multitudes of very minute larvæ were
observed, and they began to issue out from the body of the parent all
alive, and not as eggs. The male of this _Stylops childreni_ is
totally unlike its partner, having large hind wings, and being able to
fly, as has already been noticed. It appears, then, that the larvæ are
hatched or crawl out of the body of the mother on to the body of the
bee, and are then transported to its nest; then they enter the body of
the bee larva, and live upon its fatty matter. The male Stylops is
turned into a pupa within the bee, and so is the female; but after the
second metamorphosis the male flies off, leaving his wingless partner
imprisoned for life, and she usually dies immediately after giving
birth to her myriad offspring (Packard). The female respires by
peculiarly arranged tracheæ, and absorbs nourishment through her skin
as well as by means of an alimentary canal, which ends in a blind sac.
All the beauties of the female, so far as they are visible to the
male, consist in the tiny patch which appears just without the body of
the unfortunate bee, and the ova collect in a space which opens
between the united head and body and the abdomen.

The genus _Mylabris_ corresponds most in structure, in appearance, and
in properties, to _Cantharis_, whose place they take in the East, in
China, and in the south of Europe. They are found in clusters on the
flowers of chicory, thistles, &c. The _Mylabris chicorii_, common
enough in France, especially in the south, is of small size, whilst
the other species are rather large. It is black, hairy, with a large
yellowish spot at the base of each elytron, and two transverse bands
of the same colour.

Another genus of this family is _Meloë_, with very short elytra, and
without wings. They walk slowly and with difficulty on low plants, the
female dragging along an enormous abdomen filled with eggs. They are
generally observed in spring. In Germany they give them the name of
_Maiwurm_ (Mayworm). Their succulence would expose them, without
doubt, to the voracity of birds and of insect-eating Mammifers if they
had not the power of exuding at will, in the moment of danger, from
all their articulations, an unctuous humour of a reddish-yellow
colour, the odour and probably also the caustic properties of which
repel the aggressor. The females lay their eggs underground, and out
of these come forth larvæ of a strange shape. Swallowed by cattle,
they cause them to swell and die. It is for this reason that Latreille
has given it as his opinion that these insects are the _Buprestis_ of
the ancients, of which the law of Cornelius speaks, "Lex Cornelia de
sicariis et veneficis." But the name of _Buprestis_ was applied by
Linnæus to a genus of which we shall treat farther on, and it has been
generally adopted by naturalists.

[Illustration: Fig. 545.--Sitaris humeralis.]

[Illustration: Fig. 546.--First larva of Sitaris humeralis (magnified).]

The commonest among the _Meloës_ is the _Meloë proscarabæus_, which is
to be found in abundance, in the month of April, in the meadows near
the bridge of Ivry in the environs of Paris. The metamorphoses of the
insects of this family had remained for a long time surrounded with
an impenetrable veil of mystery, but the researches of Newport in
England, and of M. Fabre (of Avignon) in France, has made known in our
days, phases, extremely curious, under which are accomplished the
metamorphoses of the _Meloë cicatricosus_, and of the _Sitaris
humeralis_, a species which belongs to the same family.[126] These
observations, of which we are about to give a rapid summary, will
probably help towards unravelling the first states of _Cantharis_.

    [126] "Annales des Sciences Naturelles," 1857, 4e série, tome
    vii., p. 300.

[Illustration: Fig. 547.--Pseudo-nymph of Sitaris humeralis.]

[Illustration: Fig. 548.--Third larva of Sitaris humeralis.]

[Illustration: Fig. 549.--Pupa of Sitaris humeralis.]

The _Sitaris humeralis_ (Fig. 545) takes no nourishment when arrived
at the perfect state. When the female has been impregnated, she lays
at the entrance of the nest of a solitary bee from 2,000 to 3,000
small whitish eggs, stuck together in shapeless masses. A month
afterwards there come out of these eggs very small larvæ, of a shiny
dark green, hard-skinned, armed with strong jaws, and long legs and
antennæ (Fig. 546). These are the first larvæ. They remain motionless,
and without taking food, till the following spring. At this period are
hatched the male bees, which precede the appearance of the females by
a month. As the bees come out of their nests, these larvæ hook
themselves on to their hairs, and pass them to the females, at the
coupling period. When the male bees have built the cells, and
furnished them with honey, the female, as we know, deposits in each an
egg. Immediately the larvæ of the _Sitaris_ let themselves fall on
these eggs, open them, and suck their contents. Then they change their
skin, and the second larva appears. This one gets into the honey, on
which it feeds for six weeks. It is blind, whereas the first larva was
provided with four eyes, no doubt to enable it to see the bees which
were to serve as its conductors, in like manner as the companions of
Ulysses watched the sheep of Polyphemus, so as to escape out of the
cave in which they were retained as prisoners. A few days later, and
this second larva contracts, and detaches from its body a transparent
skin, which discloses a mass, at first soft, which very soon hardens,
and becomes of a bright tawny colour; it is called the _pseudo-nymph_
(Fig. 547). It goes through the winter in this state. In the spring
comes forth a third larva (Fig. 548), resembling the second. This one
does not eat, and moults after a time. It very soon changes into an
ordinary pupa (Fig. 549), of a yellowish-white, from which comes forth
the adult _Sitaris_, which lives only a few days, to ensure the
propagation of its species, as is observed in the case of the
_Ephemeræ_. The larvæ of the _Sitaris_ had for a long time been
remarked clinging on to the hairs of the _Anthophoras_, but they were
always taken for _Acari_, and they had been described as such.

[Illustration: Fig. 550.--Lampyris noctiluca (male and female).]

The _Lampyridæ_ have the elytra weak and soft, like the insects of the
preceding tribe. In their perfect state they frequent flowers. The
larvæ are carnivorous, attacking other insects or worms. It is to this
group that the _Lampyris noctiluca_, or glow-worm, which one sees
shining during summer nights on grass and bushes, belongs. It has the
power of making this natural torch shine or disappear at will.

The luminous properties with which these insects are endowed have for
their object to reveal their presence to the opposite sex, for the
females alone possess these properties. In the same way as sounds or
odours exhaling from some insects attract the one towards the other
sex, so with the _Lampyris_ a phosphorescent light shows the females
to the males. The seat of the phosphorescent substance varies
according to the species. It exists generally under the three last
rings of the abdomen, and the light is produced by the slow combustion
of a peculiar secretion. It has been stated that it is evolved quickly
when the animal contracts its muscles, either spontaneously or under
the influence of artificial excitement. Some chemical experiments have
been made to ascertain the nature or the composition of the humour
which produces this strange effect; but up to this moment, they have
only enabled us to discover that the luminous action is more powerful
in oxygen, and ceases in gases incapable of supporting combustion. In
the most common species, the _Lampyris noctiluca_, or glow-worm, the
phosphorescence is of a greenish tint: it assumes at certain moments
the brightness of white-hot coal.

The females have no wings, while the males have them, and possess very
well-developed elytra. The females resemble the larvæ much, only they
have the head more conspicuous, and the thorax buckler-shaped, like
the male. The larvæ feed on small molluscs, hiding in the snails'
shells, after having devoured the inhabitant. They also possess the
phosphorescent property in a less degree than the adult females. The
female pupa resembles the larva; the pupa of the male, on the
contrary, has the wings folded back under a thin skin. The perfect
insect appears towards the autumn.

The Glow-worm (_Lampyris noctiluca_, Fig. 550) is of a brownish
yellow. It is common in England. In a kindred species, the _Luciola
Italica_, the two sexes are winged, of a tawny-brown, and equally
phosphorescent. They are met with in great numbers in Italy, and the
lawns are covered with them. Other insects of this family are without
the faculty of emitting light; as, for example, the genus _Lycus_, of
brilliant colours, which are met with in Africa and India. One of the
finest is the _Lycus latissimus_.

_Drilus_ is another genus, comprising insects of very singular habits.
The type is the _Drilus flavescens_. The male--a quarter of an inch
long, black and hairy, with elytra of a testaceous yellow, and with
pectinated antennæ--for a long time was alone known. The female--from
ten to fifteen times as large, without wings and elytra, of a
yellowish brown--was not discovered till much later, having apparently
nothing in common with the male in shape or colour. The metamorphoses
of these curious insects are now perfectly understood. Mielzinsky, a
Polish naturalist established at Geneva, found the _Drilus_ in the
larva state in the shell of the _Helix nemoralis_. These larvæ devour
the snail whose dwelling they occupy, as do the larvæ of the
_Lampyris_. Mielzinsky saw them emerge, but obtained only females,
which differed scarcely at all from the larvæ from which they
proceeded. He made a separate genus of them, under the denomination of
_Cochleoctonus_, and called the species _Vorax_. Later, Desmarest
resumed these observations. He provided himself, at the Veterinary
College of Alfort, with a number of shells of the _Helix_ filled with
the same larvæ. He saw come out of them, not only _Cochleoctoni_, but
also _Drili_, and he watched their coupling. It was then proved, by
this unanswerable argument, that these two insects, so unlike each
other, belong to the same species.

[Illustration: Fig. 551.--Jumping organ of the Elater.]

[Illustration: Fig. 552.--Jumping organ of the Elater, seen sideways.]

[Illustration: Fig. 553.--Larva of the Elater.]

The larva of the _Drilus flavescens_ fixes itself upon the shell of
the snail by a sort of sucker, like a leech. Little by little it slips
in between the mollusc and its house, and devours it entirely. To
change into a pupa, it shuts up the entrance to the shell with its old
skin; and when arrived at the perfect state, quits the shell which
served it as a temporary dwelling. The females of the _Drilus
flavescens_ take refuge under stones and dry leaves, or crawl slowly
along the ground; whilst the males, which fly with great ease, are on
the plants and brushwood. These insects are not rare in the environs
of Paris. M. H. Lucas has observed, in Algeria, near to Oran, another
curious species, the _Drilus Mauritanicus_. The larva of this insect
lives at the expense of the animal of the _Cyclostoma Volzianum_,
which closes the entrance to its shell with a covering of some
calcareous substance. It fixes itself on the edge of the shell, with
the aid of its sucker, and directs its strong mandibles to the side on
which the snail is obliged to raise the covering, either to breathe
the air or to walk. In this position it has the patience to wait for
many days at the door. The snail puts off for as long a time as he is
able the fatal moment. But when, overcome by hunger or nearly stifled
in his prison, he decides at last to open the door, the _Drilus_
profits immediately by this opportunity, and cuts the muscle which
keeps back the foot of the snail. The breach being made, nothing more
opposes itself to the entrance of the enemy. He slips in, and sets
to work to eat at his leisure the unfortunate inoffensive mollusc,
which affords him board and lodging. The _Ptilodadylides_, the
_Eucinetides_, and the _Cebrionides_ belong to the same family. The
first is exotic.

The _Elateridæ_ are rather large insects, often of hard texture,
having the prosternum prolonged into a point (Figs. 551 and 552), and
the antennæ indented saw-wise. They have the power of jumping when
placed on their backs, and of alighting again on their legs. Hence
their name of _Elater_ (derived from the same root as the word
_elastic_). They produce, in leaping, one sharp rap, and often knock
many raps when they are prevented from projecting themselves. This is
the mechanism which permits the skip-jack to execute these movements.
It bends itself upwards by resting on the ground by its head and the
extremity of the abdomen, and then it unbends itself suddenly, like a
spring. The point at the end of the thorax penetrates into a hollow of
the next ring; the back then strikes with force against the plane on
which it rests, and the animal is projected into the air. It repeats
this manoeuvre till it finds itself on its belly, for its legs are
too short to allow of its turning over. Its structure supplies it with
the means and the strength of rebounding as many times as it falls on
its back, and it can thus raise itself more than twelve times the
length of its body.

The larvæ of the genus _Elateridæ_ (Fig. 553) are cylindrical, with a
scaly skin and very short legs. They live in rotten wood or in the
roots of plants. According to M. Goureau, they pass five years in this

The larvæ of the genus _Agriotes_ occasion considerable damage to
wheat-fields. They have much resemblance to the meal-worm, or larva of
the _Tenebrio_. The _Tetralobides_ are the largest of the _Elateridæ_,
attaining to a length of two inches; and are inhabitants of Africa and

In America are found phosphorescent _Elateridæ_. These are the
_Pyrophori_, which the Spaniards of South America call by the name of
_Cucuyos_. They have, at the base of their thorax, two small, smooth,
and brilliant spots, which sparkle during the night; the rings of the
abdomen also emit a light. They give light sufficient to enable one
to read at a little distance from them. The _Pyrophorus noctilucus_
(Fig. 554) is very common in Havannah, in Brazil, in Guyana, in
Mexico, &c., and may be seen at night in great numbers, amongst the
foliage of trees. At the time of the Spanish conquest, a battalion,
just disembarked, did not dare to engage with the natives, because it
took the Cucuyos which were shining on the neighbouring trees for the
matches of the arquebuses ready to fire. "In these countries," says M.
Michelet, "one travels much by night, to escape the heat. But one
would not dare to plunge into the peopled shades of the deep forests
if these insects did not reassure the traveller. He sees them shining
afar off, dancing, twisting about; he sees them near at hand on the
bushes by his side; he takes them with him; he fixes them on his
boots, so that they may show him his road and put to flight the
serpents; but when the sun rises, gratefully and carefully he places
them on a shrub, and restores them to their amorous occupations. It is
a beautiful Indian proverb that says, 'Carry away the fire-fly, but
restore it from whence thou tookest it'"[127] The Creole women make
use of the Cucuyos to increase the splendour of their toilettes.
Strange jewels! which must be fed, which must be bathed twice a day,
and must be incessantly taken care of, to prevent them from dying. The
Indians catch these insects by balancing hot coals in the air, at the
end of a stick, to attract them, which proves that the light which
these insects diffuse is to attract. Once in the hands of the women,
the Cucuyos are shut up in little cages of very fine wire, and fed on
fragments of sugar-cane. When the Mexican ladies wish to adorn
themselves with these living diamonds, they place them in little bags
of light tulle, which they arrange with taste on their skirts. There
is another way of mounting the Cucuyos. They pass a pin, without
hurting them, under the thorax, and stick this pin in their hair. The
refinement of elegance consists in combining with the Cucuyos,
humming-birds and real diamonds, which produce a dazzling head-dress.
Sometimes, imprisoning these animated flames in gauze, the graceful
Mexican women twist them into ardent necklaces, or else roll them
round their waists, like a fiery girdle. They go to the ball under a
diadem of living topazes, of animated emeralds, and this diadem blazes
or pales according as the insect is fresh or fatigued. When they
return home, after the _soirée_, they make them take a bath, which
refreshes them, and put them back again into the cage, which sheds
during the whole night a soft light in the chamber. In 1766, a Cucuyo,
brought alive from America to Paris, probably in some old piece of
wood which happened to be on the vessel, caused great terror to the
inhabitants of the Faubourg St. Antoine, when they saw it flying in
the evening, glittering in the air. In 1864 a number of Cucuyos were
brought from Mexico to Paris by M. Laurent, captain of the frigate _La
Floride_. An experiment, made in the laboratory of the École Normal,
showed that the spectrum of their light is continuous, without any
black rays; it differs, besides, from the spectrum of the solar light
by a greater intensity of the yellow colour. The light is produced
probably as it is in the case of the _Lampyris_, by the slow
combustion of a substance secreted by the animal. The Cucuyo can,
nevertheless, at will, increase or diminish the splendour of this
light by means of membranes which it superposes, like screens, in
front of the phosphorescent bumps which it has on its thorax.

    [127] "L'Insecte."

[Illustration: Fig. 554.--The Cucuyo (_Pyrophorus noctilucus_).]

[Illustration: Fig. 555.--Buprestis (Cyria) imperialis.]

In the Indies, and in China, the women use for dressing their hair
with, or as ear-rings, another Coleopteron of the same tribe, which
begins even to be employed for this purpose by the women of the south
of France. It is a _Buprestis_, of splendid colours, and of metallic
brightness. Linnæus, as we said above, gave to it, wrongly, the name
of _Buprestis_, which among the ancients served to designate a very
different insect, the _Meloë_, of the family of the _Cantharidæ_; but
modern naturalists have allowed this illegitimate title.

The _Buprestidæ_ walk heavily, but fly with the greatest ease during
the heat of the sun, and settle on the trunks of trees exposed to its
rays. In Europe, and especially in the North, they are very rare, and
of very small size. They must be looked for on birch-trees, whose
white colour seems to attract them. In the hottest parts of the world
they are very abundant, of large dimensions, and adorned with
sparkling colours. They do not jump, and are not endowed with the
phosphorescent property. Their larvæ have no legs, are elongate,
whitish, of a fleshy consistency, with the first ring of their bodies
very much broadened. They live in the trunks of trees, between the
bark and the wood, hollowing out for themselves irregular galleries,
and remaining sometimes in this state for ten years before
metamorphosing. Laporte de Castelnau and Gory have described and made
drawings of about 1,300 species of _Buprestidæ_. Fig. 555 represents
the _Buprestis imperialis_. The _Buprestis albosparsa_, the genera
_Julodis_, the _Chrysochroas_, and the _Trachys_ belong also to the
great family of _Buprestidæ_. The _Cleridæ_ are connected with the
preceding. They have the thorax narrower than the elytra, and rather
long; their integuments are less solid than those of the _Elateridæ_
and the _Buprestidæ_. The latter are phytophagous, the former
carnivorous. The principal type of this family is the _Clerus
formicarius_, russety, with the head and legs black, whose larva lives
at the expense of the larvæ of the weevil. Another genus, the
_Necrobia_, which lives on dried animal matter, has become celebrated,
as it was the cause of the salvation of the greatest entomologist of
France. The name of _Necrobia_ (from [Greek: nekros] and [Greek:
biôs]) does not mean "which lives on dead bodies," but it means "life
in death." Here is the story of which this name is destined to
preserve the remembrance, and which Latreille himself has related in
his "Histoire des Insectes." Before 1792, Latreille was known only
from some memoirs which he had published on insects. He was then
priest at Brives-la-Gaillarde, and was arrested with the curés of
Limousin, who had not taken the oath. These unfortunates were then
taken to Bordeaux in carts, to be transported to Guyana. Arrived at
Bordeaux in the month of June, they were incarcerated in the prison of
the Grand Séminaire till a ship should be ready to take them on board.
In the meanwhile, the 9th Thermidor arrived, and caused the execution
of the sentence which condemned the priests who had not taken the oath
to transportation to be for a while suspended. However, the prisons
emptied themselves but slowly, and those who had been condemned had
none the less to go into exile, only their transportation had been put
off till the spring.

"Latreille remained detained at the prison of the Grand Séminaire. In
the same chamber which he occupied there was at the time an old sick
bishop, whose wounds a surgeon came each morning to dress. One day as
the surgeon was dressing the bishop's wounds, an insect came out of a
crack in the boards. Latreille seized it immediately, examined it,
stuck it on a cork with a pin, and seemed enchanted at what he had

"Is it a rare insect, then?" said the surgeon.

"Yes," replied the ecclesiastic.

"In that case you should give it to me."


"Because I have a friend who has a fine collection of insects, who
would be pleased with it."

"Very well, take him this insect; tell him how you came by it, and beg
him to tell me its name."

The surgeon went quickly to his friend's house. This friend was Bory
de Saint Vincent, a naturalist who became celebrated afterwards, but
who was very young at that time. He already occupied himself much with
the natural sciences, and in particular with the classing of insects.
The surgeon delivered to him the one found by the priest, but in spite
of all his researches, he was unable to class it.

Next day the surgeon having seen Latreille again in his prison, was
obliged to confess to him that in his friend's opinion this
Coleopteron had never been described. Latreille knew by this answer
that Bory de Saint Vincent was an adept. As they gave the prisoner
neither pen nor paper, he said to his messenger, "I see plainly that
M. Bory de Saint Vincent must know my name. You tell him that I am the
Abbé Latreille, and that I am going to die at Guyana, before having
published my 'Examen des Genres de Fabricius.'"

Bory, on receiving this piece of news, took active steps, and obtained
leave for Latreille to come out of his prison, as a convalescent, his
uncle Dayclas and his father being bail for him, and pledging
themselves formally to deliver up the prisoner the moment they were
summoned to do so by the authorities. The vessel which was to have
conducted Latreille to exile, or rather to death, was getting ready
whilst these steps were being taken, and while Bory and Dayclas were
obtaining leave for him to come out of prison. This was quite
providential, for it foundered in sight of Cordova, and the sailors
alone were able to save themselves. A little time afterwards his
friends managed to have his name scratched out from the list of
exiles. It is thus that the _Necrobia ruficollis_ was the saving of

The tribe of weevils is even much more numerous than that of the
_Elateridæ_ and the _Buprestidæ_. One may know them by their head
prolonged into a snout or trunk, by their rudimentary mouth, and by
their elbowed antennæ. About twenty thousand species are said to
exist. They feed on vegetables. Their larvæ are soft, whitish worms,
without legs, with very small heads, and live in the interior of the
stalks or seeds of plants, often occasioning enormous damage. They are
one of the plagues of agriculture. Each of our dry vegetables, each
variety of our cereals, has in this immense family its particular

First are the _Bruchi_. The Pea Weevil (_Bruchus pisi_, Fig. 556),
which is brown with white spots, comes out of the pea at the end of
the summer. The female lays her eggs on peas which are ripe, and still
standing, in which the larva scoops out a habitation, and then makes
its exit by a circular hole (Fig. 557). It remains at rest all the
winter, and is not hatched till towards the following spring. The Bean
Weevil (_Bruchus rufimanus_) marks each bean with many black spots.
The vetch has also its special _Bruchus_. The Wheat Weevil (_Calandra
granaria_), of a darkish brown, lays its eggs on the grains, of which
the larvæ then eat the interior. A host of ways of getting rid of the
weevil have been proposed. The best means is to store corn properly,
and to keep the heap well aired. Let us mention further, the Clover
Weevil, belonging to the genus _Apion_, the Weevil of the Rape
(_Ceutorhynchus brassicæ_), the Turnip Weevil, &c., &c.

Fig. 556.--Pea Weevil (_Bruchus pisi_), magnified.

Fig. 557.--Pea pierced by the larva.

All vegetables, the vine, fruit trees, the ash, pines, &c., are eaten
by some weevil or other. As an example we give a figure of the spotted
_Pissodes pini_, which, as the figure shows, takes the precaution of
cutting half through the young stems and the stalks of the buds of the
pine, "so as," says M. Maurice Girard,[128] "that the sap flows only
with difficulty into the withered organ, and cannot suffocate the
young larvæ."

    [128] "Metamorphoses des Insectes," p. 116.

[Illustration: Fig. 558.--Pissodes pini.]

[Illustration: Fig. 559.--Hylesinus piniperda.]

[Illustration: Fig. 560.--Larva of Scolytus.]

_Scolytus_, _Hylesinus_, and _Bostrichus_, which are connected with
the weevils, hollow out galleries between the wood and the bark of
different trees, when in the larva state, and devour the leaves in the
adult state. Fig. 559 represents the _Hylesinus piniperda_. The
_Scolyti_ are sometimes so numerous in the forests, that the trees are
tattooed all over by the larvæ. In 1837, they were obliged to cut
down, in the Bois de Vincennes, 20,000 feet of oak trees, aged from
thirty to forty years, completely ruined by the ravages of the
_Scolytus_, whose larva is here represented (Fig. 560). The genus
_Tomicus_, hairy, and of a tawny colour, are a terrible plague to pine
forests. In 1783, in the Forest of Hartz, 1,500,000 of trees were
destroyed by these insects. Often have the priests implored, in the
churches, the Divine clemency, to put an end to the devastations made
by them.

We arrive at the tribe of the _Longicornes_, which contains beautiful
insects, of elegant shape and varied colours, sometimes also of rather
large dimensions.

[Illustration: Fig. 561.--Imago and pupa of Cerambyx heros.]

The genus _Cerambyx_ has the antennæ very long; they exceed in some of
the species two or three times the length of the body. The larvæ are
large whitish worms, which live in the wood of trees, the adult
insects frequenting flowers, rotten trees, &c. In the month of June,
on the Continent, one meets on the oaks with the Great Capricorne
(_Cerambyx heros_, Fig. 561), of a dark brown, whose larva (Fig. 562)
scoops out its galleries in the interior of the tree, and often
occasions much damage.

[Illustration: Fig. 562.--Larva of Cerambyx heros.]

[Illustration: Fig. 563.--Larva of Lina populi.]

[Illustration: Fig. 564.--Larva and imago of Crioceris merdigera.]

[Illustration: Fig. 565.--Lady-bird (_Coccinella septempunctata_).]

[Illustration: Fig. 566.--Larva of the Lady-bird.]

The _Chrysomelidæ_ are other phytophagous insects, dressed in the
brightest colours, having short and thick-set bodies. The larvæ, soft
and ovoid, devour the leaves of trees. One of the best known species
is _Lina populi_, of a bronzed colour, with red elytra, whose larva
(Fig. 563), of a greenish grey, devours the leaves of the poplar-tree.
The _Galerucæ_ and the _Alticæ_ belong to the same family, as also do
the _Cassidæ_, the _Crioceres_, and the _Donaciæ_. The _Cassida
viridis_ frequents nettles and artichokes; the elytra are of rounded
form. Fig. 564 represents the _Crioceris merdigera_, a great rarity
in this country. The _Crioceris asparagi_, or Asparagus Beetle,
tawny, and barred with black, resembles it in habit.

The last tribe of Coleoptera comprises the _Coccinellidæ_, or
Lady-birds (Fig. 565). These little globular, smooth insects, red or
yellow, with black spots, are very useful to us, for they clear the
trees of the aphides and other mischievous insects. Their larvæ (Fig.
566) make use of their front legs to carry their prey to their mouths.
When danger threatens a _Coccinella_, it hides its feet under its
body, and remains sticking to the stem of the bush. If you touch it,
it allows itself to fall to the ground, but sometimes opens its
elytra, and flies off rapidly. It also exudes from the articulations
of its abdomen a yellow mucilaginous liquid, of a pungent and
disagreeable odour. This is the only means of defence possessed by
this little inoffensive being, which deserves in all respects the name
of "Bête à bon Dieu," which the French children give it.



  Abdomen, The, 1, 167.

  Abdominal Cavity, contraction and dilation of, 16.

  Abraxas grossulariata, 268.

  Acalyptera, 70, 85.

  Acanthia ciliata, 94.
    "      lectularia, 92.

  Acanthops, 291.

  Acherontia Atropos, 203, 204.

  Acilius fasciatus, 480.
    "       "        _Male and Female_, 480.
    "     sulcatus, 480.
    "       "       _Male and Female_, 480.

  Acridium, 300.
    "       migratorium, 301.

  _Acrocinus longimanus, Thorax of_, 6.

  Acronycta aceris, Larva of, 151.
    "         "     _Larvæ of_, 152, 153 (_three figs._).

  Ædia pusiella, 269.
    "  _pusiella_, 269.

  Ædipoda migratorium, 301.

  Agrion, 423.

  Agriotes, Larvæ of the Genus, 512.

  Ailanthus Silkworm, 245.

  Alimentary Canal of Insects, 8, _et seq._

  Alticæ, 520.

  Alucita granella, The, 279.

  Amphidasis betularia, 268.

  _Andrenæ, Gallery of an_, 367.
    "       The, 367.

  Anomala, 456.
    "      Vitis, 456.

  Anostostomæ, The, 300.

  Ant, 313, 377.
    "  Ashy, 382.
    "    "   _Male, Female, and Worker_, 382.
    "  Ashy-black, 382.
    "    "         _Male, Female, and Worker_, 382.
    "  Black, 382.
    "  Blood-red, 382, 393.
    "  _Blood-red_, 390.
    "  _Brazilian Umbrella_, 379.
    "  Brown, 382.
    "  _Ant, Hill, section of_, 381.
    "  Jet, 382.
    "  Mason, 382.
    "  Mining, 382, 392.
    "    "     _Male, Female, and Worker_, 392.
    "  _Nest, sections of_, 379.
    "  Red, 380, 382, 383, 390.
    "    "  _Larva of_, 383.
    "    "  _Male, magnified_, 378.
    "    "  Pupa of, 383.
    "    "  _Pupa of_, 383.
    "  Russety, 382, 390.
    "  _Russet_, 390.
    "  Turf, 382.
    "  Yellow, 382.
    "  White, _see_ Termes.
    "    "    _Nests of_, 403, 410.

  Antennæ, 5; Function of, 5.

  _Antennæ_, 169.

  Anthia, 489.
    "     _thoracica_, 491.

  Anthocharis cardamines, 177, 178.
    "         _cardamines_, 177.

  Anthocopas, The, 367.
    "         papaveris, 367.

  Anthomyia, 84.
    "        pluvialis, 84.
    "        _pluvialis_, 84.

  Anthomyzides, 70, 84.

  Anthophora parietina, 364.
    "        _parietina_, 363.

  Anthophoras, The, 364.

  Anthrax, 51.
    "      sinuata, 52.

  Anthrenus museorum, 475.

  Antithesia salicana, 269, 271.
    "        _salicana_, 271.

  Ant-lion, 402, 425.
    "       _Ant-lion_, 424.
    "       _Funnel of_, 425.
    "       _Larva, Cocoon, and Pupa of_, 425.

  Apatura Ilia, 190.
    "     _Ilia_, 190.
    "     Iris, 190.

  Aphidæ, The, 101.

  Aphides and Ants, 128, 389.
    "    _and Ant_, 128.
    "    _Ant Milking_, 389.
    "    _Winged_, 117.
    "    _Wingless_, 117.

  Aphis, Charles Bonnet on the, 120; of the Apple, 118; of the Oak, 121;
         of the Plantain, 120.

  Aphrophora, The, 112.
    "         _Larva of the_, 113.
    "         spumaria, 114.

  Apiariæ, The, 314.

  Apis fasciata, 356.
    "  mellifica, 356.
    "  Peronii, 356.

  Aptera, Probable Dismemberment of the Order, 27.

  Argyrolepia æneana, 269, 271.
    "         _æneana_, 271.

  Articulate Animals, egg state common to, 20.

  Ascalaphus, 427; Larva of, 427.
    "         _Larva of_, 427.
    "         meridionalis, 427.
    "         _meridionalis_, 427.

  _Asida, Antennæ of a Species of_, 5.

  Asilidæ, 49.

  Asilus crabroniformis, 50.
    "    _crabroniformis_, 50.

  Ateuchus, 458.
    "       Egyptiorum, 460.
    "       sacer, 460.

  Attacus, the genus, 210, 241; of the Ailanthus, 245; of the
           Castor-oil, 247.
    "      Atlas, 249, 250.
    "      _Atlas_, 250.
    "      Cynthia, 245.
    "      _Cynthia, Eggs, Larvæ, and Cocoons of_, 246.
    "      Mylitta, 241, 243.
    "      _Mylitta_, 244.
    "        "        _Cocoon of_, 245.
    "      Pernyi, 241, 243.
    "      _Pernyi_, 244.
    "        "       _Cocoon of_, 243.
    "      ricini, 247.
    "      yama-maï, 241.
    "      _yama-maï_, 242.
    "        "         _Cocoon of_, 242.
    "        "         _Larva of_, 241.

  Attagenus pellio, 475.
    "       _pellio_, 475.

  Bee, 313; Cells constructed by, 324; Bellows used to Stupefy, 355;
       _Bellows used to Stupefy_, 355.
    "  _Cells constructed by_, 325.
    "  Banded, 356.
    "  Carding, 358.
    "  Carpenter, 364.
    "  _Cluster of, hanging to a branch_, 323, 337.
    "  _Larva of_, 331.
    "  _Leg of a_, 318.
    "  _seen through a Magnifying Glass_, 322.
    "  _taking a Swarm of_, 350.
    "  _Trunk of_, 318.
    "  Common, 317, 356.
    "  Humble, 313, 357; Male, 358.
    "  Larva of, 331.
    "  Leaf-cutting, 367.
    "  Ligurian, 356.
    "  Male, 319.
    "  Mason, 366.
    "  Mining, 367.
    "  Moss, 360.
    "  Queen, 319.
    "  Solitary, 362.
    "  Upholsterer, 367.
    "  Wood-piercer, 364.
    "  Worker, 317.

  Beetle, Asparagus, 521.
    "     Bacon, 475.
    "     _Bacon_, 475.
    "     Bee, 441.
    "     _Burying, interring the body of a rat_, 471.
    "     Clock, Dumbledor, Shard-born, 458.
    "     Rose, 436.
    "     Stag, 461.
    "     Tiger, 494.
    "     Water, 477.
    "     Whirligig, 478.

  Bittacus tipularis, 428.
    "      _tipularis_, 429.

  Blaps, 497.
    "    obtusa, 498.
    "    _obtusa_, 499.
    "    sulcata, 498.

  Blatta, 285.
    "     Germanica, 286.
    "     Laponica, 286.
    "     Orientalis, 287.

  Blepharis, 291.
    "        mendica, 291.
    "        _mendica, and its Larva_, 290.

  _Blue-bottle Fly, magnified_, 79.
    "            "  _Retractile Proboscis of_, 80.

  Boatman, The, 97.

  _Bocydium globulare_, 115.

  Bombus muscorum, 358.

  Bombycidæ, 249.

  Bombycina, 209.

  Bombylidæ, 49.

  Bombylius major, 51.
    "       _major_, 50.

  Bombyx, 210; Caterpillar of, 220; of the Ailanthus, 245; of the
          Castor-oil, 247.
    "     Atlas, 249.
    "     Cynthia, 245.
    "     mori, 210, 220; Apparatus for Stifling the Chrysalides of, 236;
                Cocoon of, 237, 238; Larva, Pupa, and Moth of, 236.
    "     _mori, Cocoon of_, 235.
    "       "    _Larva, Pupa, Cocoon, and Moth of_, 236.
    "       "    _Spherical Cocoon of_, 235.
    "     neustria, 249.
    "     Pernyi, 241.
    "     processionea, 249.
    "     ricini, 247.
    "     yama-maï, 241.

  Boreus hyemalis, 429, 430.
    "    _hyemalis_, 429.

  Bostrichus, 518.
    "         capucinus, 397.

  Bot-fly, The, 54, 60.
    "      _Bot-fly_, 60.
    "      _Bumps produced on Cattle by Larvæ of_, 64.
    "      _Herd of Cattle Attacked by_, 61.
    "      _Imago of, emerging_, 65.
    "      _Ovipositor of the_, 65.

  Brachycera, meaning of the word, 47.

  Brachycola robusta, 288.

  Breeze-fly of the Sheep, 66.

  Bruchus, 517.
    "      pisi, 517.
    "      rufimanus, 517.

  Bug, 91; Egg of, 93; Means of Destroying, 94; Moquin-Tandon on, 93.
    "  Bed, 92.
    "  _Bed_, 93.
    "  _Egg of_, 93.
    "  Fly, 94.
    "  Needle, 97.
    "  Red Cabbage, 91.
    "  Red Garden, 92.
    "  Water, 90, 97.
    "  Wood, 91.

  Buprestidæ, 514.

  Buprestis, 514.
    "        albosparsa, 515.
    "        imperialis, 515.
    "        _imperialis_, 514.

  Burnet Moth, 193.
    "      "   Six-spot, 193.

  Butalis, 279.

  Butterflies, Copper, 179.
    "          _Different Forms of the Scales of_, 165.
    "          Hair-streak, 178.

  Butterfly, Definition of, 165; Eyes of, 168; Flight of, 167;
             Scales of, 165.
    "        Black Hair-streak, 178.
    "        Black-veined White, 175.
    "        Blue Argus, 181.
    "        Brimstone, 178.
    "        Brown Argus, 182.
    "        Brown Hair-streak, 178.
    "        Cabbage, 149, 176.
    "        Clouded Yellow, 178.
    "        Comma, 187.
    "        Green Hair-streak, 179.
    "        Green-veined White, 177.
    "        Large Tortoise-shell, 182, 183.
    "        _Leg of, armed with hooks_, 167.
    "        _Leg not suitable for Walking_, 167.
    "        Meadow Brown, 192.
    "        Orange-tip, 177.
    "        Painted Lady, 187.
    "        Peacock, 182.
    "        Purple Emperor, 190.
    "        Purple Hair-streak, 179.
    "        Red Admiral, 186.
    "        Scarce Swallow-tailed, 174.
    "        Small Tortoise-shell, 182.
    "        Small White, 177.
    "        Swallow-tailed, 172.
    "        White Admiral, 189.
    "        _Butterfly's Trunk_, _Section of_, 170.

  _Cabbage Butterfly_, _Caterpillars of the_, 150.

  Caddis Flies, 402, 430, 431.

  Calandra granaria, 517.

  Calepteryx, 423.

  Callidium, 397.
    "        sanguineum, 397.

  Calliphora, 77.
    "         vomitoria, 77; Réaumur on, 77.

  Calosoma, 487.
    "       auropunctata, 486.
    "       _auropunctata_, 486.
    "         "             _Pupa and Larva of_, 486.
    "       inquisitor, 489.
    "       sycophanta, 487.
    "       _sycophanta pursuing a Bombardier Beetle_, 487.

  _Camberwell Beauty_, 185.

  Campylocnemis, 489.
    "            Schroeteri, 489.
    "            _Schroeteri_, 491.

  Canary-shouldered Thorn, Caterpillar of, 142.

  _Canary-shouldered Thorn_, _Caterpillar of_, 142.

  Cantharadine, 500.

  Cantharides, 498.
    "          _Gathering_, 501.

  Cantharis, 498.
    "        vesicatoria, 499.

  Capricorne, Great, 519.

  Carabus Adonis, 485.
    "     _Adonis_, 485.
    "     auratus, 484; Nervous System of, 18.
    "     _auratus_, 485.
    "       "        _Digestive Apparatus of_, 9.
    "       "        _Nervous System of_, 19.
    "       "        _Secretory Apparatus of_, 11.
    "     auronitens, Larva of, 486.
    "     _auronitens_, _Larva of_, 486.
    "     _canaliculatus_, 485.
    "     _nodulosus_, 486.
    "     rutilans, 487.
    "     smaragdinus, 487.
    "     splendens, 487.
    "     Vietinghovii, 487.
    "     Carabus violaceus, 485.
    "       "     _violaceus_, 485.

  _Carpenter Bee_, _Pupæ_, _Eggs_, _Galleries_, _and Nests_, 363.

  Cassida, 520.
    "      viridis, 520.

  Castor-oil Plant, Silkworm of the, 247.

  Caterpillar, food of, 143; Description of, _ib._; Scaly Legs of the
               Gipsy Moth, 139; Looper, 141, 265.
    "          _Membranous Legs of a Large_, 140.

  Catocala, 151.
    "       Americana, The, 260, 262.
    "       _Americana_, 262.
    "       fraxini, 260, 262; Larvæ of, 152.
    "       _fraxini_, 262.
    "         "        _Larvæ of_, 152.
    "       nupta, 261, 263.
    "       _nupta_, 263.
    "       paranympha, 260.
    "       _paranympha_, 263.

  Cebrionides, 512.

  Cecidomyia, 43, _note_.

  Centrotus cornutus, 116.
    "       _cornutus_, 115.

  Cephalemyia ovis, 66.
    "         _ovis_, 66.
    "           "     _Sheep attacked by_, 67.

  Cerambyx, 519.
    "       heros, 519.
    "         "    _Imago and Pupa of_, 519.
    "         "    _Larva of_, 520.

  Cetonia argentea, 440.
    "     _argentea_, 440.
    "     aurata, 437.
    "     hirtella, 439.
    "     splendidula, 438.
    "     stictica, 439.

  Cetoniadæ, 437.

  Ceutorhynchus brassicæ, 517.

  Chærocampa Elpenor, 196, 200.
    "        nerii, 196.

  Chafers, 436.

  Chalcididæ, The, 288; Larvæ of, 314.

  Chalicodoma, 366; Nests of, 367.

  Charaxes Jasius, 190, 191.
    "      _Jasius_, 191.
    "        "       _Larva of_, 191.

  Chartergus lecheguana, 376.
    "        nidulans, 376.

  Chelonia caja, 153; Larva of, 153.
    "        "   _Larva of_, 153.
    "        "     "         _forming its Cocoon_, 154.

  Chermes variegatus, 129.

  Chiasognathus Grantii, 466.
    "           _Grantii_, 469.

  Chigo, The, 30; Eggs not Hatched in the Wound made by, 30.

  Chimatobia brumata, 267, 268.
    "          "      _Male and Female_, 268.

  Chionobas aello, 191, 192.
    "       _allo_, 192.

  Chlorion compressum, 288.

  Choreutes dolosana, 269, 271.
    "       _dolosana_, 271.

  Chrysalis, 19, 146; meaning of the word, 160, _note_.

  Chrysides, The, 314.

  Chrysochroa, the genus, 515.

  Chrysomelidæ, 520.

  Chrysops cæcutiens, 48.
    "      _cæcutiens_, 49.

  Chylific Ventricle, 9; its Appendages, 9.
    "       _Ventricle, Posterior Extremity of_, 10.

  Cicada, 101.
    "     (_male_), 103.
    "     Ash, 108.
    "     _Larva of_, 107.
    "     (_female_) _laying her eggs_, 106.
    "     (_male_) _Musical Apparatus of_, 105.
    "     orni, 109.
    "     plebeia, 108.
    "     _Pupa of_, 107.

  Cicadæ, 101.

  Cicindela campestris, 494.
    "       _Larva of_, 495.
    "       _Ambush of Larva of_, 495.
    "       capensis, 494.
    "       _capensis_, 495.
    "       Dumoulinii, 494.
    "       _Dumoulinii_, 494.
    "       heros, 494.
    "       _heros_, 495.
    "       hybrida, 494.
    "       maritima, 494.
    "       _Pupa of_, 496.
    "       quadrilineata, 494.
    "       _quadrilineata_, 495.
    "       rugosa, 494.
    "       _rugosa_, 494.
    "       scalaris, 494.
    "       _scalaris_, 494.
    "       sylvatica, 494.

  Cicindelidæ, 484, 491.

  Cimex lectularius, 92.

  Circulation in Insects, 12, _et seq._; Incomplete, 25.

  Claviger, 473.
    "       foveolatus, 473.
    "       _foveolatus_, 474.

  Cleptes, 314.

  Cleridæ, 515.

  Clerus formicarius, 515.

  Cloëon, 419.
    "     diptera, 419.
    "     _diptera_, 420.

  Coccinella septempunctata, 520.

  Coccinellidæ, 521.

  Coccus, 129.
    "     cacti, 129.
    "     ilicis, 136.
    "     lacca, 136.
    "     manniparus, 137.
    "     polonicus, 136.
    "     sinensis, 139.

  Cochineal, 129.
    "        _Insects_ (_male and female_), 130.
    "        _Branch of Cactus with_, 134.
    "        _Gathering in Algeria_, 132.
    "        oak-tree, 129.

  Cochleoctonus, 510.
    "            vorax, 510.

  Cochylis francilana, 269, 271.
    "      _francilana_, 271.

  Cockchafer, 445, 446; Larva of, 452; Pupa of, 452.

  _Cockchafer_, 447.
    "           _Diligence surrounded by_, 450.
    "           _Larva of_, 452.
    "           _Pupa of_, 452.

  Cockroach, 284, 285, 286.
    "        _The_, 287.

  _Cocoon, after Réaumur_, 152.

  _Cocoons, Sheets of Paper prepared for Moths with rows of_, 238
            (_two figs._).
    "       _Apparatus for Stifling the Chrysalides in_, 237.

  Colias edusa, 176, 178.

  Colymbetes cinereus, 481.
    "        _cinereus_, 481.
    "        notatus, 481.
    "        _notatus_, 481.
    "        striatus, 481.
    "        _striatus_, 481.

  _Comma Butterfly_, 187.

  Conops, 54, 59.

  _Conops_, 69.
    "       rufipes, The, 69.

  _Convolvulus Sphinx_, The, 204.

  Copiphora, 300.

  Copris, 458.
    "     lunaris, 458.

  Corixa, 98.
    "     femorata, 99.
    "     mercenaria, 99.
    "     striata, 98.
    "     _striata_, 98.

  _Cornea, a compound_, 2.

  Corydia, the species of, 288.

  Cossus, the genus, 257.
    "     ligniperda, 257.

  Crachat de Coucou, 112.

  Creophili, The, 70.

  Cricket, The, 284, 293.
    "      Field, 293.
    "      House, 294.
    "      Mole, 296.

  Crioceris, 520.
    "        asparagi, 521.
    "        merdigera, 520.
    "        _merdigera, Larva and Imago of_, 520.

  Crop, The, 8.

  Ctenostoma, 497.
    "         _rugosa_, 499.

  Cuckoo's Spittle, 112.

  Cucullia verbasci, 155; Cocoon of, 165; Larva of, 165.
    "        "       _Cocoon of_, 155.
    "        "       _Larva of_, 155.

  Cucuyo, 512.
    "     _The_, 514.

  Culex, The, 35.

  Culicidæ, The, 35.

  Cursoria, 293.

  Cybister, 477, 480.
    "       Ræselii, 479.
    "       _Ræselii_, 479.

  Cynips, The, 394.
    "     insana, 395.

  Cynips quercusfolii, 395.

  Cynthia cardui, 187.

  Cyphocrana gigas, 291.

  _Cyphonia furcata_, 115.

  Cyria imperialis, 514.

  Dacus, 85.
    "    oleæ, 86; M. Guérin-Méneville on, 86.
    "    _oleæ_, 86.
    "    _Gallery formed by_, 88.
    "    _Larvæ of_, 88.
    "    _Olives attacked by_, 87.

  _Daddy Longlegs_, 45.

  Damaster, 489.
    "       _blaptoides_, 490.

  _Death's-Head Hawk-Moth_, 205.
    "             "         _Chrysalis of_, 207.
    "             "         _Larvæ of_, 206.

  Decticus verrucivorus, 299.
    "      _verrucivorus_, 299.

  Deilephila, the genus, 196.
    "         Elpenor, 196, 200.
    "         _Elpenor_, 200.
    "           "        _Larva of_, 201.
    "           "        _Pupa of_, 201.
    "         Euphorbiæ, 196.
    "         _Euphorbiæ_, 197.
    "           "          _Larva of_, 197.
    "         nerii, 196, 198.
    "         _nerii_, 198.
    "           "      _Larva of_, 199.
    "           "      _Pupa of_, 199.

  Dermaptera, the Order, 284, _note_.

  Dermestes lardarius, 475.
    "       vulpinus, 475.

  Dermestidæ, 474.

  Dichæta, The, 54.

  Dicranura verbasci, 259.
    "       _verbasci_, 259.
    "       vinula, Larva of, 158, 259.
    "       _vinula_, 258.
    "         "       _Larva of_, 258.

  Diptera, Fecundity of the, 34; Divisions of the Order, 34; Meaning of
           the Name, 33; Organs of the, _ib._; Immense Numbers of Species
           of, 34; the Office of the, _ib_.; Strength in the, 24.

  Dom Allou, Réaumur's mention of, 39.

  Donacia nymphea, 23.

  Donaciæ, 520.

  Dorcus Titan, 466.
    "      "    _Dorcus Titan_, 468.

  Dragon-fly, 402, 419; Common, 422.

  Drilus, the genus, 510.
    "     flavescens, 510.
    "     Mauritanicus, 511.

  _Drone, or Male Bee_, 319.

  Dynastes Hercules, 457, 461.
    "      _Hercules_, 464.

  Dytiscus, 477.
    "       latissimus, 480.
    "       _latissimus_, 479.
    "       marginalis, 480.
    "         "         _Male and Female_, 478.
    "         "         _Pupa and Larva of_, 479.

  Earwig, Common, 284, 285.
    "       "     _Larva_, _Pupa_, _and Imago_, 285.

  Echinomyia, the genus, 70.
    "         _grossa_, 70.

  Écume printanière, 112.

  _Elater, Jumping Organ of_, 511 (_two figs._).
    "      _Larva of the_, 511.

  Elateridæ, 511.
    "        phosphorescent, 512.

  Elenchus, 504.
    "       Walkeri, 504.

  _Emperor Moth_, 249.

  Empidæ, M. Macquart on the, 50, 51.

  Empusa, 291.
    "     gongylodes, 291.

  Enema infundibulum, 460.

  Ephemera, 402, 418; Larva of an, 419; Pupa of an, _ib._
    "       Common, 418.
    "       _Larva of an_, 419.
    "       _Pupa of an_, 419.
    "       Respiratory Apparatus of, 17.
    "       vulgata, 418.
    "       _imago_, 418.

  Ephemeræ, 51.

  Ephemeridæ, 417.

  Ephippiger, 300.
    "         vitium, 300.

  Epinectus, 483.
    "        sulcatus, 483.
    "        _sulcatus_, 483.

  Erebia Euryale, 191.
    "    _Euryale_, 191.

  Erebus strix, 261, 264.
    "    _strix_, 264.

  Eremiaphila, 291.

  Eremobia, The, 311.

  Euchlora, 456.

  Eugonia alniaria, Larva of, 142.

  _Eyed Hawk-Moth_, 208.

  Eyes, 2; Compound, _ib._; Number of Facettes in Various Insects,
        _ib._; in the Genus Scarabæus, _ib._; Crystalline of, 3;
        Pigment of, _ib._; Simple, 4.

  Femur, 6.

  _Field Cricket_, 294.

  Flea, 27; Jump of a, 22; Strength of, 28; Eggs of, 29; the Learned,
        _ib._; Metamorphosis of, 29; Larva of, ib.
    "    _Flea_, 27.
    "    Grasshopper, 114.

  Flies, a beggar eaten by, 73.

  _Fly, Extremity on the Proboscis of_, 80.
    "   Lancet of a, 82.
    "   Executioner. 83.
    "   House, 83.
    "   Lantern 109.
    "   _Lips of the Proboscis of_, 81.
    "   Ox, 83.
    "   Spanish, 499.

  _Forester, The_, 194.

  Forficula, 285.
    "        auricularia, 285.

  Formica cunicularia, 392.

  Formicæ, 378.

  Formica flava, 382.
    "     fuliginosa, 382.
    "     fusca, 390.
    "     sanguinea, 390, 393.

  Formicariæ, 314.

  Fossores, 393.

  Fossorial Hymenoptera, 393.

  Froghopper, 114.
    "         _The_, 114.

  Fulgora lanternaria, 109.

  _Gad-flies, Herd of Horses attacked by_, 56.

  Gad-fly, 54; M. Joly on, _ib._
    "      Eggs of, 57.

  Galerita, 490.
    "       Lecontei, 492.
    "       _Lecontei_, 492.
    "       _Larva of_, 492.

  Galerucæ, 520.

  _Gall Insect_, 395.

  Galleria, Bee-hive, or Wax, 278, 348.
    "       _Galleria cerella_, 278.

  Gallicolæ, 314.

  Gallinsecta, 129.

  Gall-insects, The, 314, 395.

  _Gall, Interior of a_, 395.

  Galls, Oak, 395.
    "         _produced by Insect_, 395.

  Ganglions, Cephalic, 18.
    "        Lacordaire, M., on, 18.

  Geocorisæ, The, 90.

  Geometers, 142, 264.

  Geometrinæ, the Family of the, 264.
    "         Caterpillars of the, 264.

  Geotrupes, 457.
    "        stercorarius, 24, 458.

  Ghost Moth, The, 257.

  _Gipsey-Moth, Scaly Legs of the Caterpillar of_, 139.

  Gizzard, The, 9.

  Glossina morsitans, 74.

  Glow-worm, 509

  Gnat, The, 35; Water good for the Cure of Bites, 38.
    "   _The_, 35.
    "   _Antennæ of_, 36.
    "   _Eggs of, magnified_, 42.
    "   _Head of_, 36.
    "   _Lancets of_, 37.
    "   _Larva of_, 38.
    "   _Pupa of_, 39.
    "   _Trunk of, magnified_, 37.

  _Gnats emerging_, 41.

  Gnorimus nobilis, 445.

  Goat Moth, 255.
    "        _The_, 256.

  Goliathus, 439.
    "        cacicus, 440.
    "          "      _Male and Female_, 442, 443.
    "        Derbyana, 440.
    "        _Derbyana_, 441.
    "        Druryi, 440.
    "        _Druryi_, 444.
    "        Polyphemus, 440.
    "        _Polyphemus_, 441.

  Golofa claviger, 458.
    "    _claviger_, 458.
    "    Porteri, 459.

  Gonepteryx rhamni, 178.

  Grapta, C. album, The, 187.

  Grasshopper, 284, 293.
    "          Great Green, 299.

  Grave-diggers, 470.

  Gryllacris, the genus, 300.

  Gryllo-talpa vulgaris, The, 295; Nest of the, 297.

  Gryllus campestris, The, 293.
    "     domesticus, The, 294.
    "     sylvestris, The, 295.

  Guérin-Méneville, M., on the Sciara, 46.

  Gullet, 8.

  Gyrinidæ, 477.

  Gyrinus, 482.
    "      distinctus, 483.
    "      _distinctus_, 483.
    "      natator, 482.
    "      _natator_, 482.
    "      _Larva of_, 482.
    "      striatus, 483.
    "      _striatus_, 483.

  _Hair-Moth_, 282.

  Halictophagus, 504.
    "            Curtisii, 504.

  _Haliplus fulvus_, 481.

  Harpalidæ, 490.

  Harpalus æneus, 490.
    "      _æneus_, 492.

  Hautle, M. Virlet d'Aoust's description of, 98.

  Hawk-Moth, Elephant, 196, 200.
    "        Eyed, 208.
    "        Lime-tree, 209.
    "        Oleander, 196, 197.
    "        Poplar, 209.

  Head, The, 1.

  Heart, 13.

  Helomyza, 85.
    "       _a Species of_, 85.

  Helophilus, 52.
    "         _Larvæ of a_, 53.
    "         _Species of_, 53.

  Hemerobidæ, 428.

  Hemerobius, 427.

  Hepialus, the Genus, 257.
    "       humuli, 257.

  Herisson, 153.

  Heterocera. _See_ Moth.

  _Heterocerus, Hind Legs of a_, 7.

  Hipparcia Janira, 192.

  Hister, 467.
    "     _rugosus_, 470.

  Hive, Bell-shaped, 351.
    "   _Bell-shaped_, 351.
    "   _Cells of_, 326.
    "   English, 351.
    "   _English_, 351.
    "   Garden, 354.
    "   _Garden_, 354.
    "   _in Leaves_, 322.
    "   Interior of a, 327.
    "   _Interior of a_, 327.
    "   Polish, 353.
    "   _Polish_, 353.
    "   Swiss, 352.
    "   _Swiss_, 352.
    "   _under Shade of Trees_, 355.

  Homoderus Mellyi, 466.

  _Honeycomb, Portion of, with Eggs in Cells_, 330.

  Hop-dog, The, 253.

  Hornet, The, 370, 375.
    "     _The_, 370.

  _Hornet's Nest, Hanging_, 375.

  _Horse-fly, Male and Female_, 57.
    "         _Larvæ of, in Stomach of Horse_, 58.

  _House-fly_, 83.

  Humble Bee, 313; Nest of, 358.
    "         _Male_, 358.
    "         _Nest of the Moss_, 360.

  _Humble Bee's Nest, Cells from_, 359.

  _Humming-Bird Hawk-Moth_, 195.
    "             "         _Caterpillar of_, 196.

  Hybernia defoliaria, 267.
    "      leucophearia, 267.
    "      _leucophearia, Male_, 267.

  Hydaticus grammicus, 482.
    "       _grammicus_, 482.

  Hydrocorisæ, The, 90, 97.

  Hydrometræ, The, 91, 96.

  Hydrometra stagnorum, 97.
    "        _stagnorum_, 97.

  Hydrophili, 476.

  Hydrophilus, Four Stages of the, 20.
    "          piceus, 476.
    "          _in its Four Stages_, 21.
    "          _Abdomen of_, 477.
    "          _piceus_, 476.
    "          _Pupa of the_, 477.

  Hydroporus confluens, 481.
    "        _confluens_, 481.
    "        griseo-striatus, 481.
    "        _griseo-striatus_, 481.

  Hydropsyche, 432.
    "          atomaria, 433.
    "          _atomaria, Larva, Pupa, &c._, 433.

  Hydrous caraboides, 477.

  Hylesinus, 518.
    "        piniperda, 518.
    "        _piniperda_, 518.

  Hymenoptera, Fossorial, 393.
    "          Power of Flight in the, 24.

  _Hypsauchenia balista_, 115.

  Iassus devastans, 114.

  Ichneumons, The, 394; Larvæ of, 314.

  Imago, 19.

  Inca, 445.
    "   clathrata, 445.
    "   _clathrata_, 446.

  Insect, Names of the Principal Parts of an, 1; Various Stages of, 20;
          Strength of, 21; Power of Traction in, 23; Classes of, 26.
    "     Leaf, 285.
    "     _The Adult_, 400.
    "     _Head of_, 1.
    "     _Mouth of a Masticating_, 6.
    "     _Organs of Circulation_, 8.
    "       "        _Breathing in an_, 14.

  Intestine, Large and Small, 8.

  Julodis, The Genus, 515.

  _Jumping Insect, Posterior Leg of a_, 7.

  Kakerlac Americana, 287.
    "      insignis, 288.

  Kermes, 136.
    "     Polish, 136.

  Laccophilus minutus, 482.
    "         _minutus_, 482.
    "         variegatus, 481.
    "         _variegatus_, 481.

  Lackey Moth, The, 249.
    "    _The_, 250.

  Lady-bird, 520.
    "        _Larva of the_, 520.

  Lady-birds, 521.

  Lamellicornes, The, 436.

  Lampyridæ, 509.

  Lampyris noctiluca, 509.
    "        "        _Male and Female_, 509.

  Lantern Fly, The, 110.

  Larva, 19; Meaning of the Word, 20.
    "    _The_, 400.
    "    _Aquatic, Branchiæ of_, 17.

  Leaf-rollers, 272.

  Lecheguana, The, 376.

  Legs of Insects, 6, _et seq._

  Leopard, Wood, 257.

  Le petit Diable, 116.

  Lepidoptera, Meaning of the Word, 138; Antennæ of, 169.

  Leptidæ, 49.

  Libellula, 402, 419.
    "        depressa, 422.
    "        _depressa_, 422.
    "        _Larva of perfect Insect emerging_, 421.

  _Lime Hawk-Moth_, 207.
    "     "         _Larva of_, 208.

  Limenitis Camilla, 189.
    "       _Camilla_, 189.
    "       Sibilla, 189.

  Lina populi, 520.
    "    "     _Larva of_, 520.

  Lions des Pucerons, 427.

  Liparis, The Genus, 210.
    "      chrysorrhoea, 253.
    "      _chrysorrhoea_, 254.

  Lobster Moth, 259.
    "       "   _Larva of_, 259.

  Locust, 284, 293, 301.

  _Locust_, 301.
    "       _A Cloud of in Algeria_, 303.

  Locusta viridissima, 299.

  Longicornes, 519.

  _Looper Caterpillar_, 141, 144 (_four figs._).
    "       "           _Hanging by its Thread_, 265 (_five figs._).

  Lophyrus pini, 399.
    "      _pini_, 399.

  Louse, 31; Means Employed to Kill, 31; of the Bee, 348.
    "    _magnified_, 31.
    "    Plant, 101, 116.

  Lucanus, 465.
    "      bellicosus, 466.
    "      _bellicosus_, 467.
    "      cervus, 466.
    "      Mellyi, 466.
    "      _Mellyi_, 466.

  Lucilia Cæsar, The, 72.
    "     hominivorax, The, 72.
    "     _hominivorax_, 72.

  Luciola Italica, 510.

  Lycæna, Genus, 180.
    "     Ægon, 182.
    "     _Ægon_, 182.
    "     Battus, 181.
    "     _Battus_, 182.
    "     Corydon, 181.
    "     _Corydon_, 182.
    "     _See_ Polyommatus.

  Lycænidæ, Family of the, 178.

  Lycus, The Genus, 510.
    "    latissimus, 510.

  Lygæus, Genus, 91, 92.

  Lytta, 498.
    "    vesicatoria, 499.

  Macroglossa, The Genus, 194.
    "          stellatarum, 194.
    "            "          _Pupa of_, 196.

  Malpighian Vessels, 11.

  Mandibles, Nerves of the, 18.

  Manticora, 497.
    "        tuberculata, 498.
    "        _tuberculata_, 498.

  Mantidæ, The, 288.

  Mantis, The Genus, 284, 285.
    "     oratoria, 289.
    "     religiosa, 289, 290.
    "     _religiosa, and its Larva_, 290.

  Mantispa, 423.
    "       pagana, 423.
    "       _pagana_, 423.

  Marte, Le, 153.

  Mason Bee, Nest of, 364.
    "     "  _and Nest_, 364.
    "     "  _Interior of the Nest of the_, 365.

  May-fly, 418; Respiratory Apparatus of, 418.

  _Meadow Brown_, 192.

  Meal-worm, 498.

  _Meat-fly_, _Eggs of_, 77.
    "         _Lancet of_, 83.
    "         _Trunk of_, 79 (_two figs._).

  _Megacerus chorinæus_, 463.

  Megachile, 367.
    "        centuncularis, 366.
    "        Rose, 366.

  Megalosoma anubis, 461, 463.
    "        _Male and Female_, 463, 464.

  Melasoma, 497.

  Melipona, 356, 357.
    "       _a Species of_, 357.
    "       scutellaris, Nest of, 357.

  Meloë, 507.
    "    proscarabæus, 507.

  Melolontha, 445.
    "         fullo, 456.
    "         Hippocastani, 456.
    "         vulgaris, 447; Larva of, 452; Pupa of, _ib._

  _Membracis foliata_, 115.

  Mérian, Mdlle. Sybille de, 111.

  Metamorphoses, 21.

  Migratory Locust, 301.

  _Mole Cricket_, 295.
    "             Nest of the, 297.
    "             _Nest of the_, 297.

  Mormolyce phyllodes, 491.
    "       _phyllodes_, 493.
    "         "          _Larva and Pupa of_, 493.

  Moth, Definition of, 193.
    "   Bee-hive, 270.
    "   Brown-tailed, 253.
    "   Burdock, 282.
    "   Carpet, 282.
    "   Cherry-tree, 282.
    "   Clothes, 270.
    "   Currant, 268.
    "   Emperor, 249.
    "   Fur, or Skin, 279, 282.
    "   Hair, 279, 282.
    "   Hawthorn, 282.
    "   Peppered, 268.
    "   Procession, 249.
    "   Rustic, 282.
    "   Winter, 267.
    "   Woollen, 279.
    "   _attached to piece of cloth_, 282.
    "   _just emerged_, 163.
    "   _whose wings are developing_, 164.
    "   _whose wings are developed_, 164.
    "   _whose wings are folded up_, 163.
    "   _portion of wing of, magnified_, 166.

  Mouches Papilionacées, 431.

  Mouth of Insects, 1, 5.

  _Mulberry Leaves, the Empress Si-ling-chi Gathering_, 213.

  Musca bovina, 83.
    "   carnifex, 83.
    "   domestica, 83.

  Muscides, The, 70; M. Macquart on the, 70.

  Mutilla Europæa, 393.
    "       "      _Male and Female_, 393.

  Mylabris chicorii, 500.

  Myrmeleo, 424.
    "       formicarius, 425.
    "       libelluloides, 426; Larva of, 427.
    "       _libelluloides_, 426.
    "         "              _Larva of_, 427.

  Myrmeleonidæ, 424.

  Myrmeleonides, 402.

  Myrmicæ, The, 378.

  Myrmica rubra, The, 378, 382; Larva of, 383; Pupa of, 383.

  Myzoxylus mali, 118.

  Nebria, 489.
    "     arenaria, 489.
    "     _arenaria_, 488.
    "     brevicollis, 23.

  Necrobia, Genus, 515; Meaning of the Name, _ib._
    "       ruficollis, 516.

  Necrodes, 469.
    "       lacrymosa, 470.
    "       _lacrymosa_, 470.
    "       littoralis, 470.
    "         "         _Male and Female_, 470.

  Necrophorus, 467, 470.
    "          Germanicus, 472.
    "          _Germanicus_, 472.
    "          vespillo, 23, 471.
    "          _vespillo_, 472.

  Nemobius sylvestris, 295.

  Nemoptera, 427.
    "        Coa, 428.
    "        _Coa_, 428.

  Nemoura, 416.
    "      _Larva of a_, 416.
    "      variegata, 417.
    "      _variegata_, 417.
    "        "          _Larva of_, 417.

  Nepa, 97.
    "   cinerea, 97.
    "   _cinerea_, 97.

  Nervous System in Insects, 18.

  Neuroptera, Strength of, 24.

  Noctua brunnea, The, 260.
    "    _brunnea_, 261.
    "    musiva, 260.
    "    _musiva_, 261.
    "    nebulosa, 260.
    "    _nebulosa_, 260.
    "    tegamon, 260.
    "    _tegamon_, 260.

  Noctuina, The Group, 259; Caterpillars of the, 261.

  Noterus crassicornis, 480.
    "     _crassicornis_, 480.

  Notonecta, 97, 99.
    "        glauca, M. Léon Dufour on the, 99, 100.
    "        _glauca_, 100.

  Nymph, 19.

  Nymphalidæ, The Family, 189.

  Nyssia zonaria, The, 268.
    "      "      _Male and Female_, 268.

  _Oak leaf rolled perpendicularly_, 272.
    "    "  _rolled sideways_, 272.

  Ocelli, 2, 4.

  Ocypus olens, 473.

  Odynerus, 376.
    "       _Larvæ of_, 377.
    "       _Nest of_, 377.
    "       _Pupa of_, 377.
    "       _Species of_, 377.

  OEcanthus, 296.

  OEcophora, 270; Caterpillars of the Genus, 282.

  OEsophagus, 8.

  OEstrus, 54; Parasitical on Man, _ib._; M. Joly on, 54, 59.
    "      bovis, 60.
    "      equi, 54.
    "      ovis, 66.

  Ommexeca, 312.

  Omophron, 489.
    "       _libatum_, 488.

  Omus, 497.

  Onthophagus nuchicornis, 24.

  Ophion, 394.
    "     _a Species of_, 395.

  Orange-tipped Butterfly, 177.

  Orgyia, 210, 252.
    "     pudibunda, 253.
    "     _pudibunda_, 253.

  Ortalidæ, 85.

  Ortalis, the Cherry-tree, 86.

  Oryctes nasicornis, 23, 456.
    "       "         _Male_, 457.
    "       "            "    _Head of_, 457.
    "       "         _Female, Head of_, 457.

  Osmia, 366.
    "    bicornis, 366, _note_.

  Osmoderma eremita, 443.

  Osmylus maculatus, 428.
    "     _maculatus_, 428.

  Ovipositor, 20.

  _Painted Lady Butterfly_, 186.

  Palpi, 6.

  Panorpas, 428.

  _Panorpa_, _Male and Female_, 428.
    "       (_Female_) _Laying_, 429.
    "       (_Male_), _Pincer of_, 429.

  Panorpatæ, 402, 428.

  Papilio, 172.
    "      Alexanor, 173, 174.

  _Papilio Alexanor_, 173.
    "      Hospiton, 174.
    "      Machaon, 172; Larva of, 172.
    "        "      _Larva and Chrysalis of_, 172.
    "      Podalirius, 172, 174.

  Papilionidæ, Family of the, 171.

  Parnassius, The Genus, 171.
    "         Apollo, 171, 175.
    "         _Apollo_, 175.
    "         Mnemosyne, 171, 175.

  _Pea Pierced by the Larva_, 517.

  _Pea Weevil, magnified_, 517.

  _Peacock Butterfly_, 184.

  Pediculus capitis, 31.

  Pegomyas, The, 84.

  Pelobius Hermanni, 482.
    "      _Hermannii_, 482.

  Pentatoma, 91.
    "        Blue, 92.
    "        Grey, 91.
    "        _Grey_, 91.
    "        ornata, 91.

  Penthina pruniana, 269.
    "      _pruniana_, 269.

  Perla, 416.
    "    bicaudata, 416.
    "    _bicaudata_, 417.
    "      "          _Larva of_, 416.
    "    marginata, 416.
    "    _marginata_, 416.

  Phalanges of the foot, 6.

  Phaneroptera, 300.

  Phasma, 285, 291.
    "     gigas, 291.
    "     Rossia, 291.
    "       "     _Male, Female, and Larva_, 292.

  Philanthus, 393.
    "         triangulum, 393.
    "         _triangulum_, 393.

  Philobacera fagana, 269.
    "         _fagana_, 270.

  Phryganea, 51, 425.
    "        atomaria, 433.
    "        flavicornis, 431.
    "        pilosa, 432.
    "        rhombica, 430, 431.
    "        _Regular Cases of_, 431.
    "        _pilosa_, 432.
    "          "       _Pupa of_, _magnified_, 432.
    "        _rhombica_, 430.
    "        _Larva of_, 430.

  _Phryganea in repose_, 430.

  Phryganidæ, 402, 424, 430.

  Phthiriasis, the Disease called, 32.

  Phyllium, The Genus, 291.

  Pieridæ, The Family of the, 175.

  Pieris brassicæ, 149, 176; Pupæ of the, 151.
    "    _brassicæ_, 176.
    "      "         _Caterpillar and Chrysalis of_, 151, 177.
    "      "         _Pupæ of_, 151.
    "    Callidice, 175, 176, 177.
    "    cratægi, 175.
    "    napi, 175, 177.
    "    _napi_, 177.
    "    rapæ, 177.

  Pimelia bipunctata, 498.

  Pimelides, 498.

  _Pimpernel, small Caterpillar of_, 154.
    "         _Cocoon of the_, 154.

  _Pimpla_, _a Species of_, 394.

  Pissodes pini, 517.
    "      _pini_, 518.

  Platydactylus, 296.

  Pneumoræ, 312.

  Poedisca autumnana, The, 269.
    "      _autumnana_, 270.
    "      occultana, The, 269, 271.
    "      _occultana_, 271.

  Pogonostoma, 497.
    "          _gracilis_, 498.

  Polistes, 375.
    "       gallica, 370; Nest of, 376.
    "       _gallica_, 370.
    "         "        _Nest of_, 376.

  Polyergus, 379.
    "        rufescens, 382, 390.

  Polyommatus, 181.
    "          Gordius, The, 180.
    "          _Gordius_, 181.
    "          phlæas, 179.
    "          _Small Copper_, 180.
    "          virgaureæ, 181.
    "          _virgaureæ_, 181.
    "          _See_ Lycæna.

  Pompilus, 393.

  Ponera, 378.

  _Poplar Hawk-Moth_, 209.
    "       "         _Larva of_, 210.

  _Privet Hawk-Moth_, 202.
    "       "         _Larva of_, 203.

  Procerus, 489.
    "       gigas, 489.
    "       _gigas_, 488.

  Procession Moth, Larvæ of the, 252.
    "          "   _Larvæ of_, 252.

  Procris, 194.
    "      statices, 194.

  Procrustes, 489.
    "         coriaceus, 489.
    "         _coriaceus_, 488.

  Pselaphus, 473.
    "        Heisii, 473.
    "        _Heisii_, 474.

  Psithyrus, 362.

  Psyche, 254.
    "     graminella, 254.
    "     _graminella_, 254.
    "        "          _Case of_, 254.
    "        "          _Larva of_, 254.
    "     muscella, 254.
    "     _muscella_, 254.
    "        "       _Case of_, 254.
    "     rubicolella, 254.
    "     _rubicolella, Case of_, 254.

  Ptilodactylides, 512.

  Pulex irritans, 27.
    "   penetrans, 30.

  Pupa, 19.
    "   _a Conical_, 159.
    "   _having Angular Projections_, 159.
    "   _of a Butterfly_, _Angular_, 159.

  Puss Moth, Larva of the, 158.

  Pyralina, the Section, 268.

  Pyralis of the Vines, 270, 275, 276; Caterpillar of, 276;
                        Chrysalis of the, 276.
    "     corticalis, Cocoon of, 157.
    "     _corticalis, Cocoon of_, 157.

  Pyrophorus, 512.
    "         noctilucus, 513.

  _Queen (or Female) Bee_, 319.

  Ram Sphinx of Geoffroy, 193.

  Ranatra, 98.

  Raphidia, 423.
    "       _Larva of a_, 423.
    "       _Male_, 423.
    "       _Pupa of a_, 423.

  Raphigaster griseus, 91.

  Rat-tailed Maggot, 53.

  _Red Admiral Butterfly_, 186.

  Red Underwing Moth, 261.

  Reduvius, 91.
    "       personatus, 94; De Geer on, 95.
    "       _personatus_, _Pupa of_, 96 (_two figs._).

  Régnier's Dynamometer, 22.

  Respiratory System, 13; Lyonet's Discovery of, in the Caterpillar of
                      the Goat-Moth, 15; M. Milne-Edwards on, 16; of
                      Aquatic Insects, 16.

  Rhipiptera, 503.

  Rhizotrogus, 456.

  Rhodocera rhamni, 176, 178.

  Rhopalocera, 171.

  Rhyacophilus, 432.
    "           _vulgatus_, 433.
    "           _Larva, Pupa, Cocoon, and Imago_, 433.

  Robin's Cushion, 395.

  _Rose Beetle_, 437.
    "     "      _Larva and Cocoon of_, 438.

  _Rose Megachile_, 366.

  Saga, 300.

  Saltatoria, The, 293.

  Sarcophaga, 71; the Females Viviparous, _ib._

  Sarrothripa revayana, 269, 271.
    "         _revayana_, 271.

  Saturnia carpini, 249.
    "      Pavonia-major, 248; Magnified Wing of, 166.
    "      _Pavonia-major_, 248.

  Satyridi, The Family of the, 191.

  Satyrus janira, 192.

  Sauterelles-Puces, 114.

  Saw-flies, 314; Larvæ of, 398.

  _Saw-fly, Larva of_, 399.

  Scarabæides, 436, 456.

  Scarabæus, 436; Number of Eyes in the Genus, 2.
    "        _of the Egyptians, Sacred_, 462.
    "        enema, 461.
    "        _enema_, 460.
    "        Sacred, 460.
    "        _Porteri_, 459.

  Scarites lævigatus, 489.
    "      _lævigatus_, 492.

  Scatophagus, 85.

  Sciara, The, 46; Superstitions Connected with, 47.

  Scolytus, 518.
    "       _Larva of_, 518.

  Secretion of various fluids used as defences, &c., Apparatus for, 11.

  Semblis, 424.
    "      lutarius, 424.
    "      _lutarius, Imago, Pupa, and Larva_, 424.

  Semblis Mud, 424.

  _Sentinel Bees guarding Hive_, 347.

  Sericaria, The Genus, 210.

  Sericoris Zinkenana, 269, 271.
    "       _Zinkenana_, 271.

  Sesia, 193.
    "    apiformis, 193.
    "    _apiformis_, 193.

  Sesiidæ, The, 193.

  Silk, kinds of, 235; Winding Establishment, 240.

  _Silk-secreting Apparatus_, 221.

  _Silk-winding Establishment_, 239.

  Silkworm, 220.
    "      _during Moulting, Head of_, 222.
    "      _Position of_, 222.
    "      _Eggs and Five Ages of_, 223, 224 (_five figs._).
    "      _Membranous Legs of_, 140.
    "      _Moth, Male and Female_, 226.
    "      _Rearing Establishment_, 228.

  _Silkworms, Lozenge-shaped Net for_, 232.
    "         _Square Net for_, 232.
    "         _Sprigs of Heather for_, 234.

  Silpha, 467.
    "     obscura, 468.
    "     quadripunctata, 468.
    "     _quadripunctata_, 470.
    "     thoracica, 469.
    "     _thoracica_, 470.

  Silphales, 466.

  Sirex, 396.
    "    Giant, 396.
    "    gigas, 396, 398.
    "    _gigas_, 396.
    "    juvencus, 398.

  Sitaris humeralis, 507.
    "     _humeralis_, 507.
    "       "          _Larvæ of_, 507, 508.
    "       "          _Pseudo-nymph of_, 508.
    "       "          _Pupa of_, 508.

  _Six-spot Burnet Moth_, 193.

  Skeleton, Exterior of Insects, 8, 25.

  Smerinthus, 208.
    "         ocellatus, The, 209.
    "         populi, 209, 210.
    "         tiliæ, 209.

  _Sorrel, Leaf of, cut and rolled by Caterpillars_, 273.

  Sphæria, The, 296.

  Sphex, The, 393.

  Sphingidæ, The Family, 194.

  Sphinx convolvuli, 203.
    "    Convolvulus, The, 204.
    "    Humming-bird, 194.
    "    ligustri, The, 201.
    "    _ligustri, Pupa of_, 203.
    "    Privet, 201.

  Spider, Water, 97.

  Spiracles, 14, 16, 25.

  Spring Froth, 112.

  _Stag Beetle_, 466.
    "     "      _Common_, 466.

  Staphylinidæ, 472.

  Staphylinus hirtus, 473.
    "         _hirtus_, 474.
    "         maxillosus, 473.
    "         _maxillosus_, 474.
    "         olens, 473.
    "         (_Ocypus_) _olens_, 473.
    "         _Imago, Pupa and Larva_, 472.

  Stauropus fagi, 259.

  Stemmata, 4.

  Stomoxys, 72.
    "       calcitrans, 72.

  Strength of Insects, M. Felix Plateau on, 21, 24.

  Stylopidæ, 503.

  Stylops, 503.

  _Stylops_, 504, 505.
    "        Melittæ, 504.

  Sugar Acarus, 348.

  Suphis cimicoides, 481.
    "    _cimicoides_, 481.

  _Swallow-tailed Butterfly_, 172.
    "               "         _Scarce_, 174.

  Swarm of Bees, 349.

  Syndesus cornutus, 466.
    "      _cornutus_, 469.

  Syromastes, 92.

  Syrphidæ, 52.

  Tabanidæ, The, 48.

  Tabanus, 48, 58.
    "      autumnalis, 48.
    "      _autumnalis_, 49.
    "      bovinus, 48.

  Tanystomæ, 49.

  Tarsus, 6, 31; of Lepidoptera, 167.

  Tefflus, Genus, 489.
    "      Megerlei, 490.
    "      _Megerlei_, 490.

  Tenebrio, 498; Larva of, 498.
    "       molitor, 499.
    "       _Tenebrio molitor_, 499.

  Tenthredinetæ, 314, 395, 398.

  Tenthredo, 399.

  Termes, 22, 402.
    "     of La Rochelle, M. de. Quatrefages on, 415.
    "     atrox, 411.
    "     bellicosus, 406.
    "     flavicollis, 413.
    "     lucifugus, 406, 413.
    "     _lucifugus_, 407.
    "     mordax, 411.

  _Tetracha bifasciata_, 497.

  Tetracha Klugii, 496.
    "      _Klugii_, 496.
    "      _oxychiloides_, 496.

  Tetralobides, 512.

  Tetrix, 312.

  Tettigonia fraxini, 108.

  Thecla, 178.
    "     betulæ, 178.
    "     _betulæ_, 178.
    "     pruni, 179.
    "     _pruni_, 179.
    "     quercus, 179.
    "     _quercus_, 179.
    "     rubi, 179, 180.
    "     _rubi_, 180.

  Therates, 497.
    "       _labiata_, 499.

  Thorax, the, 1, 6, 25.

  Thrips, 400.

  Thyreophoræ, 85.

  Thysanura, 32.

  Tibia, 6.

  _Tiger Beetle_, 493.

  Tiger Moth, The, 153.

  Tinea cerasiella, 282.
    "   cratægella, 282.
    "   _granella_, 279.
    "   lapella, 282.
    "   rusticella, 282.
    "   tapezella, 280.
    "   _walking, Larva of_, 281.

  Tineina, 279.

  Tipula culiciformis, The, 44.
    "    oleracea, 45.

  Tipulidæ, 35, 43.

  Tomicus, Genus, 519.

  _Tortoise-shell Butterfly, Large_, 113.
    "               "        _Chrysalis of_, 161, 162.
    "               "        _Larva of_, 183.
    "               "        _Small_, 184.
    "               "        _Caterpillars of_, 147.
    "               "        _Chrysalides of_, 147, 148(_three figs._).

  Tortrix, Green, 270.
    "      roborana, 269, 270.
    "      _roborana_, 270.
    "      sorbiana, 269.
    "      _sorbiana_, 270.
    "      viridana, 270.

  Tracheæ, 14, 15, 25.

  Trachys, The Genus, 515.

  Trichidæ, 440.

  Trichius fasciatus, 23, 441.

  Trichoptera, Order, 402.

  Tridactylus, The Genus, 298.

  Trochanter, 6; of Lepidoptera, 167.

  Trox, 458.

  Truxales, 312.

  Tsetse Fly, The, 74; Livingstone on the, 75.
    "      "  _The_, 74.

  _Umbonia Spinosa_, 115.

  Urocerata, The, 395.

  Valgus hemipterus, 445.

  Vanessa antiopa, 185.
    "     Atalanta, 186.
    "     C. album, 187.
    "     cardui, 187.
    "     Io, 185.
    "     polychloros, 182, 183; Chrysalis of, 162.
    "     urticæ, 147, 184, 185.

  _Vapourer Moth_, 252.

  Vermileo, 52.
    "       de Geeri, 52.
    "       _de Geeri_, 52.

  Vespa crabo, 370.
    "   Norvegica, 370.
    "   vulgaris, The, 369.

  Vespiariæ, 314.

  _Vine Pyralis_, 276.
    "   _Caterpillar of_, 276.
    "   _Chrysalis of_, 276.
    "   _Three States of_, 277.

  Visceral cavity, 15.

  Volucella, The, 52, 53.
    "        _a Species of_, 52.

  Wasp, 313, 367; Pupa of Common, 371; Nest of, Exterior, 372;
        Interior of, 373.
    "   Bush, 370.
    "   _Bush_, 369.
    "   Card-making, 376.
    "   _Card-making_, 376.
    "   Common, 370.
    "   _Common_, 369.
    "     "       _Pupa of_, 371.

  _Wasp's Nest_, 368.
    "     _Exterior of_, 372.
    "     _Interior of_, 373.

  Water Scorpions, 97.

  Weevil, 517.
    "     Bean, 517.
    "     Clover, 517.
    "     Pea, 517.
    "     Rape, 517.
    "     Turnip, 517.
    "     Vetch, 517.
    "     Wheat, 517.

  Whirligig Beetle, 478.

  _White Admiral_, 189.

  White Ant. _See_ Termes.

  _Willow Leaves rolled by Caterpillar_, 274.

  Wings of Insects, 8.

  _Winter Moth, Male and Female_, 267.

  Woolly Bear Caterpillar, 153.

  _Woollen Moth_, 280.
    "            _Larvæ of_, 280.

  _Working Bee_, 317.

  Xenos Peckii, 504.
    "   Rossii, 503.
    "   vesparum, 503.

  Xylocopa, 364.

  Xylopoda fabriciana, 269.
    "      _fabriciana_, 269.

  Xylotrupes dichotomus, 456.
    "        _dichotomus_, 457.

  Zeuzera æsculi, 257.
    "     _æsculi_, 257.

  _Zophosis, Front Leg of a_, 7.

  Zygæna filipendulæ, 193.
    "    _Cocoon of the_, 193.

  Zygænidæ, 193.

  _Zygia oblonga, Antennæ of_, 5.

                         TRANSCRIPTION NOTES:

  The original spelling and grammar have been retained. Footnotes have
  been moved to the end of the paragraphs in which they are referenced.
  Minor adjustments to hyphenation and other punctuation have been made
  without annotation.

                 Typographical changes to this volume:

  pg 69  bristling with small black turbercles[tubercles]
  pg 121 its own species was forbiden[forbidden] to the
  pg 179 Illustration: Fig. 149.--Thecla qercus[quercus]
  pg 183 bordered by a black brand[band], with a stripe
  pg 229 with large sheets of paper. (Plate IV[VI].)
  pg 282 and sometimes in hair matresses[mattresses]
  pg 339 but the guard[guards] repel her with vigour
  pg 388 by the ants from an eighbouring[a neighbouring] nest
  pg 408 you see them instanly[instantly] set to work
  pg 416 we my[may] mention, first
  pg 438 of an oval form (Fig. 423[424])
  pg 498 genus of the same familly[family] is the
  pg 510 influence of artifical[artificial] excitement

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