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Full text of "Entomology as a hobby"

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E^TTOrOLOGY AS A HOBBY 



TOTITERSTTY OIP VI^YLMm 



ROBSHT \\\ RUSSELI. 
APRIL 4, 1941 



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&ji.rsRY 0? Ti-ncsis 



I. IDitro duct ion 

A. Brief dis cuss ion of jiitc ology 

B. Benefits to be reriYed from. En to: ology 

II. Discussion of the life cjrcle of a tvT^lcal insect, the 
Poljrpherius otli, in order to five an idea of ji:st vrtiat 
can be seen and learned in the study of insects 

III. Conclusion- statement of the particulsj" appeal of 
Ento. ologj'- to the Engineer 



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ETxTOOI iOTXiGY AS A HOBBY 

DITTRODTTCTIOK 

The hotlDr of Snto: olocT-^ (Insect Studj) is the 
source of a "Tealtri of highly interesting infor: ation an(3. the 
means hy v/h.lcr: leisure hours may he spent pleasurahly for 
anyone •■A'-ho is enda.?ed v/ith a little curiosity and a iiro- 
nomiced laclc of repugnance for liandlinf^: "huf-s." The unusual 
habits, tiie narvelous transfon-iationr: , t'.e axaazing feats of 
insects are a constant v/onder to t^ie ohserver, Tlie field of 
Entomology ±iz always new; every species of insect can he 
studied indef inj.tely v;itl.out reritition, and there arc about 
six hundred thousand species, thousands of v/hich are within 
reach of the average person, Tl:e v^^riter is iialnly Interested 
in actually raising and observing insects, since he feels 
that the fullest enjo^/rient of this avocation is thus oh- 
tained. For this reason the discussion is limited to the 
raising of insects. 

DISCUGSIOH OF A TYPICiU. INSECT 

A typically interesting insect, and one v;hich may 
be easily raised, is the Polyphe2::us iioth (Telea Pol3T)henus ) , 
Tlie large brov.-n cocoons spun by the "larvae" are easily 
collected in v/inter froi. the branches of trees. Dissection 
of one of tiese cocoons reveals the "pupa" of the iioth, a 
brov/n object about tl'.ree-cuarters of an inch long and pos- 
sessing no external organs. Prom this pupa, the moth emerges 



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in tlie late spring. At euergenoe, the adiilt insect is a 
slimy, iiiissh-apen o'bject, tottering feebly/ about ajid futilely 
vmring its d-.'arfed vrings. /in liour later this saiae r.iotli lias 
■undergone an al:..ost imbelieTa'ble cliange. ".Tliat v/as a short 
tiLie ago a lieli-leos, "bedrageled creature now sits proudly 
fanning its v/ings and "oreeninr" itr antennae- truls'- a thinf^ or 
beauty. Tlie v/ings, v.'iiioli are about fouir inches across are 
brov/n v;ith a pink tinge eoid bordered v/ith. white and blaol: 
Etri' es. On each v/ing is a transparent "ej-e spot", each spot 
suggesting tre single eye of t' e legendary giant, Polyphemus, 
from whom the noth got its nsjne. However, this regal splendor 
is short lived, for t' e noth has no laouthrarts with v;hich to 
eat, perforce starving to death. The male noth ponsesses a 
mating instinct so strong that it ecu locate the fe:^ale from 
distances of a mile or : ore. Probably the long feather^' 
antennae of tl;e iviale are coir-eho\7 en-loyed in doing this. Col- 
lectors iial-e a practice of ^u-tlng fenales oui doors in a 
screened box overnight; for \)y the next E:oming, one or tv;o 
male sT-eci e:::s v/ill probably be foimd near by. Almost as 
strong as the i^iating instinct ip for t" e r.ale, is the urge of 
the fertile female to lay eggs. The rather large, bro-wH- 
rimmed eggs are deposited wherever the fertile female chances 
to light; in fact, the v/riter has had thern dei.o sited on his 
hand. The eggs hatch following an incubation period of about 
ten days. The green larvae or caterpillars which hatch from 
these eggs have tremendous appetitec. '.Tith but short pauses, 



PLATE 




TeleQ polyphemus 






tlie lanra eats continually until it attains its full size 
of four inches. At tliis time the silken cocoon is spun and 
t':e larva changes to a pui>a, in v;hic' state the v/inter is 
st^ent. Tlie life cycie given above is but a bare outline of 
what nay be learnec; fro:-, raising this insect , for the coni- 
plete story v/ou] fi literally fill a book. Cycles such as these 
have been observed by the v.rlter for -.any insects. There is 
a mini; ■.111,1 of 'time and trouble involved, and a luasimuni of 
interest and enjojcient gained. 

CONCLUSIOH 
As an aspirant to the Engineerj.ng profession, the 
'.■.riter is struck, even more forcibl.y than laost, by the v;ide 
divergence bet\:een Engineering and Entorcology. The cause 
and effect relatjonship so proi inent in !3ngineering is 
aiff icult, if not ii.-'-possibie, to detect in jI!nto:;ology, 
T'le big equal utark v;hlch is more or less constantlj'" in the 
front of the IHngineering mind is novvhere to be seen in 
En 1 01: -o logy. Thus, Entoiaolog^'- could not only be a good hobby 
for the HSigineer but could exert a considerable broadening 
effect on his viev;point and greatly v;iden Jiis horiaon. 



Respectfully submitted, 



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BIBLIOGRAHrr 

Lutz, Jranlc E,, FIELD BOOK 03? HJSEGTS (2nd ed., Nev; York: 
G. P. Putnari.'s Sons, 1921), 1-B, 15S-159. 

Comstock, Jolm Henry, A L'iilTU.M FOR TliE STUDX Oi? HJSECTS (20tli 
ed., ITev/ York: Tlie CcMstock Publishine Co., 1931), 22-44, 251.