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HOMES WITHOUT HANDS ; a Description of the Habi- 
tations of Animals, classed according to the Principle of L'oi.struc- 
tion. With 140 Illustrations. 8vo. 10s. 6ii. 

INSECTS AT HOME ; a Popular Account of British Insects, 
their Structure, Habits, and Transformations. With 700 Illustrations. 
8vo. lof. 6d. 

INSECTS ABROAD ; a Popular Account of Foreign Insects, 
their Structure, Habits, and Iransformations. With Coo 1 Lustrations. 
8vo. 10s. 6d. 

BIBLE ANIMALS ; a Description of every Living Creature 
mentioned in the Scriptures. With 112 Illustrations. 8vo. 10s. dd. 

STRANGE DWELLINGS ; a Description of the Habitations 
of Animals, abridged from ' Homes without Hands.' With 60 Illustra- 
tions. Crown 8vo. 3^. 6(/. 

OUT OF DOORS ; a Selection of Original Articles on 
Practical Natural History. With 11 Illustrations. CrownSvo. 34-. td. 

PETLAND REVISITED. With 33 Illustrations. Crown 

8vo. 3i. 6d. 

London : LONGMANS, GREEN, & CO. 






EEV. J. G. WOOD, M.A. F.L.S. &c. 






Ths right of translation is reserved 


The object of this work is two-fold ; first to show the great 
and important part played by Insects in the economy of the 
world, and the extreme value to mankind of those insects 
which we are accustomed to call Destructives ; and next to 
note the wonderful modifications of structure which enable 
the insects to fulfil their mission, and the surpassing beauty 
with which many of them are endowed. 

Incidentally, many interesting points connected with insect 
life are described, as, for example, the manner in which many 
of them directly support human life by furnishing food, or 
being themselves eaten. 

Thus Bees not only furnish honey, but in several countries 
are themselves eaten while in the state of grub-dom, together 
with the " bee-bread " which has been laid up in the cells. 
Several Wasp larvse share the same fate. 

Then, there are the Locusts, which, although they destroy 
vegetable life, are in many parts of the world invaluable in 
preserving animal life, by furnishing food, not only to man, but 
to beasts, birds, and reptiles. Termites, again, form a favourite 
article of food in almost every country where they are found ; 
while in Australia, the fat-bodied Butterfly popularly called 
the "Bugong Moth," affords nourishment to thousands of the 
natives, and in a few weeks changes them from starvelings into 
plump and contented beings. Tlie Dragon Flies are employed 
in the same manner in the same country. 

VI rHKl-ACF.. 

Even in civilized lands insects are utilized for food. Put- 
ting aside the cheese mites and "hoppers" vi^ith which we are 
all familiar, we find the Mexicans employing a certain honey- 
gathering ant for the purpose of making mead. In Europe 
the common Wood Ant is much used in the manufacture of 
vinegar, and in the South of France the same insect is pressed 
into the service of the pastry-cook, being used to flavour a 
certain sort of cream called "crime aux fourmis." 

By way of retaliation, the voracious Mosquitos are themselves 
eaten in some parts of the world. It is related by Livingstone, 
that the insects swarm in such vast multitudes on the banks of 
the Nyassa Lake, that they are gathered in bags and pressed 
into circular cakes about an inch thick and seven or eight 
inches in diameter. These cakes, called " kungo," somewhat 
resemble caviare in flavour. 

Larvte, especially those of the larger beetles, form an im- 
portant branch of food in many countries, and in some, as in 
certain parts of Australia, are absolute necessities. Among 
them may be mentioned the celebrated Gru-gru grub of the 
West Indies. It is the wood-boring larva of a gigantic Weevil, 
and when taken from the tree is held by the head and eaten 
alive. However repulsive the notion may appear, it has been 
found that when Europeans have once been induced to try the 
Gru-gru, they have always held it as one of their best dainties. 

Perhaps the most curious article of insect-food is the egg of 
one of the Mexican Water- boatmen (Corixa). 

These eggs are laid in countless numbers upon bundles of 
reeds which are sunk for the purpose. In a fortnight the reeds 
are covered with eggs, which are scraped ot!" and made into 
cakes under the name of " haoutle." 

Some of the insects are useful to man in a secondary manner 
by producing articles which are almost necessary adjuncts to 
civilization, such as the wax of the Bee, the irritant juices of 
the Blister Beetle, the dye of the Cochineal, and the "lac" of 
its near relative the Lac Insect. 

pni-.i'ACE. vii 


].astly, as to the book itself. Eight hundred and sixty insects 
have been described, six hundred of which have been figured, 
the illustrations and descriptions having all been made from the 
actual specimens. In order to ensure accuracy in rendering the 
"texture," the engraver has taken the trouble to inspect the 
insects themselves before touching the block on which they 
were drawn. The reader may form some idea of the labour 
which has been expended in the work, when I mention that 
more than three thousand drawers of insects have been ex- 
amined, each drawer containing, on an average, some fifty 

I now have the pleasing task of thanking most heartily the 
officers attached to the Insect Koom in the British Museum, for 
the kind assistance which they rendered through some three 
years, and the generous manner in which they afforded infor- 
mation that could have been obtained from no other source. 

Belvederk, S.E. 
May 9th, 1874. 



Ch. I. — Intropxtctiox 1 

II. — Tiger Beetles, or Cicindelid^e 6 

III. — Ground Beetles, or Carabid^ 28 

IV. — Ground Beetles, or Carabid^ — continued .... 46 

V. — Hydradephaga, or Predacious "Water Beetles . . 65 

VI. — Paussid^ and Brachelytha, or Rote Beetles ... 72 

VII. — Kecrophaga, or Carrion-eaters 81 

A^'III. — Pectinicornes, or Comb-horned Beetles .... 91 
IX. — Lamellicorn, or Lsaf-horned Beetles, sometimes called 


X. — Lamellicorns — contiimccl . 129 

XL — Sternoxi, or Skipjack Beetles .... ■ . 146 

XII. — Malacodermi, or Soft-skinned Beetles .... 166 
XIII. — Heteromera, or Party^^egged Beetles . . . .173 

XIV. — Rhynchophora, or Weevils 193 

XV. — Weevils — continued. . . . . . . . .215 


XVII. — Phytophaga, or Plant-eaters 253 

XA'III. — Pseudotrimera 267 


Ch. I.^Dermaptera, or Euplexoptera 277 


Ch. I. — Blattid^, or Cockroaches 285 

II. — MANTiDiE, OR Leaf Insects 290 

III. — Ambulatoria, or Walking-stick Insects .... 300 

IV. — Saltatoria, or Crickets, Grasshoppers, and Locusts . 317 


Ch. I.— THRIPID.B 347 




CH. I, — LlBELLULIDiE 35$ 



Ch. I.— Saw Flies 385- 

II. — Entomophaga, ok Ichneumons and Gall Flies . . . 394 


IV. — FoRMiciD^, OR Ants 427 


VI. — Solitary and Social Bees 50ft 


Ch. I. — Papilionid^ 535 

II. — Butterflies — concluded 698- 

III.— Moths 632 






To face 'p. 11 

1. Tetracha punctata. 

2. Tetracha punctata, larva. 

3. Calochroa princeps. 

4. Mormolyce phyllodes. 

5. Anthia sex-guttata. 

6. Moiiliotia glorissa. 


To face, 'p. 125 

1. Eucheirus Macleayi. 

2. Dynastes Hercules. 

3. Golofa hastatus. 



1. Goliathus Druryii. 

2. Dicranocephalus Bowringii. 

3. Kliamphorhina Petersiana. 

4. Entimus splendidus. 

5. Cyphus Linnsei. 


To face p. 243 

1. Acrociuus longiraanus. 

2. Batocera Celebiana. 


To face p. 290 

1. Mantis tinctipeunis. 

2. Mantis tinctipeunis. 

3. Deroplatys desiccata. 


To face p. 325 

1. Sanaa imperialis. 

2. Acridoxena Hawaiiana. 


To face p. 356 

1. Palpopleura marginata. 

2. Palpares Caffer. 

3. Ascalaphus Kolyranensis. 

4. Ascalaphus Kolyranensis, larva. 


To face p. 476 

1. Trypoxylon rejector. 

2. Parapison rufipes. 

3. Eumenes esuriens. 

4. Rhynchium uitidulum. 




To face 2). 458 

1. Pepsis heros. 

2. Pelopseus laetus. 

3. Vespa maiidarinia (female). 


To face p. 51 S 

1. Chrysautheda frontalis 

2. Xylocopa morio. 

3. Centris denudans. 

4. Euglossa romandi. 


To face p. 543 

1. Papilio Brookeanus. 

2. Papilio Panthons. 


To face p. 557 

1. Papilio Joesa, 

2. Papilio Euchenor. 


To face p. 585 

1. Hestia Idea. 

2. Charaxes Eudamippus. 


To face p. 595 

1. Caligo Euriloclius (upper side). 

2. Caligo Eurilochus (under side). 


To face p. 6^4 

1. Cfequosa Australasise. 

2. Cyclosia sanguifera. 


To face p. 663 

1. Attacus Jorulla. 

2. Phyllodes consobrina. 


To face p. 676 

1. Tropaea Leto. 

2. Ginaiiisa Jsis. 


To face p. 732 

1. Cicada adusta. 

2. Hotinus maculatus. 

3. Pcecilopteva circulata. 


To face p. 716 

1. Diactor bilineatus. 

2. Dalader acuticosta. 

3. Pygoplatys lancifer. 

4. Oncomeiis flavicornis. 


To face p. 752 

1. Pangonia longirostris. 

2. Acanthomera niagnifica. 

3. Mydas giganteus. 

4. Phellus glaucus. 





TN this our favoured country the insect tribes play apparently 
- -^ so insignificant a part in the economy of the world, that 
few except professed entomologists have the least idea of their 
real importance, their vast, silent, and unseen armies, and the 
enormous power which they wield. 

I say unseen, because none but a practical entomologist ever 
sees one insect in ten thousand, even when they have attained 
their perfect state ; and the most skilful naturalist can but con- 
jecture as to the countless hosts of grubs and caterpillars that 
are hidden among the foliage, buried in the ground, submero-ed 
beneath the waters, burrowing under the bark or into the solid 
wood of trees, or leading a parasitic existence within the bodies 
of living animals. Insects pervade the whole of Nature, and the 
functions which they perform are so important, that they deserve 
from man far more attention than he generally condescends to 
bestow. Individually an insect is small, feeble, and, in the eyes 
of most persons, contemptible. Collectively, the insect tribes 
are a mighty host, exercising over our world an influence that 
excites equal wonder and admiration in the minds of those who 
can appreciate it. 

Still, important as are the insects in this country, those of 
tropical lands have infinitely more influence, and that for a very 



evident reason. They have more work to do. By dint of daily 
increasing and improving agriculture, and by the rapid growth 
of population, we have so completely altered the surface of our 
land, that many species which were formerly abundant have 
utterly perished, and many others are becoming scarcer year by 
year. Insects do not now play nearly so conspicuous a part as 
they used to do, and in consequence they do not attract the 
notice of persons unaccustomed to observe. It is otherwise in 
many other parts of the world, especially those which lie be- 
tween the tropics; and the natural consequence is, that when 
inhabitants of more temperate climates travel in hot countries, 
the insects force themselves upon their attention. 

Unfortunately for science, however, the average traveller never 
thinks of observing insects for their own sakes, and only takes 
notice of those which annoy him. Unless they bite him, sting 
him, spoil his clothes, attack his cattle, or eat his provisions, 
he passes them by with utter indifference, and seems not to be 
aware that such creatures as insects exist. As to searching for 
the work which they, like all created beings, have to do in the 
world, such an idea never enters his mind, and he seems to look 
upon insects merely as if they were made for the especial pur- 
pose of being either avoided or destroyed. 

Yet, taking even the many insects which are most trouble- 
some to travellers, we can see how important are the tasks which 
they have to perform, and how great is their influence upon the 
face of Nature. 

Take the first insect of which travellers unite in complaining, 
the hated and dreaded Mosquito. In its perfect, or winged state, 
it is about as annoying a creature as can be, but then it must be 
remembered that the traveller is but a casual intruder in the 
natural domain of the mosquito, and must expect the conse- 
quences of his intrusion. Devouring travellers is not the 
normal occupation of the mosquito, for hundreds of successive 
generations may live and die, and not one of them ever see a 
human being. Their real object is a beneficent one. In their 
larval state they live in the water, and feed upon the tiny 
particles of decaying matter that are too small to be appreciated 
by the larger aquatic beings, and, by devouring them, purify the 
water and convert death into life. Even in our ponds at home, 
we are much indebted to the gnat larvae for saving us from 


miasma ; while the vast armies of mosquito larvae that swarm 
along the edges of tropical lakes and feed upon the decaying 
substances that fall from the herbage of the banks, purify at 
the same time the water and the atmosphere, and enable human 
beings to breathe with safety the air in which without their aid 
no animal higher than a reptile could have existed. 

The next insect plague of which a traveller complains is 
generally summed up in the word Ants. He seldom troubles 
himself to ascertain the species of the ant, to preserve specimens 
for the benefit of science, or to obtain the least insight into their 
habits. All he knows or cares is, that some ants, which were 
very small, stung him, each sting feeling like the prick of a red- 
hot needle. Some, which were very large, bit him even through 
his clothes, and held on with such more than bull-dog tenacity, 
that after the bodies were torn away, the heads not only 
retained their hold, but went on biting. 

Then, multitudinous ants, large, small, and middle-sized, 
swarmed into his room or tent, and ate up his provisions almost 
before his very eyes. If he put the legs of the table into water, 
they made extemporised pontoon bridges of their bodies and 
extended legs, and so enabled the ant-armies to scale the 
citadel, despite of the moat. If he hung his shelves from 
strings, the ants crawled down the strings. And, if he did 
succeed in isolating a table by putting the legs in saucers full 
of oil, the ants crawled up the walls, then on the ceiling, and 
then dropped on the table. They ate his food, they swarmed 
into his drink, and they tore to pieces all his birds and other 
specimens that he had collected. 

Of course this conduct was anything but agreeable, and it 
was very natural that the traveller, looking at everything as it 
affected himself individually, should feel aggrieved, and wonder 
why such mischievous creatures should have been made. But 
if we put aside the temporary and individual inconvenience 
caused to the traveller or colonist, and look to the real mission 
of these detested insects, we shall find that they play on the land 
a part like that of the mosquitos on the water, and rank among 
the most important of the scavengers of the earth. Their 
presence is undoubtedly disagreeable to individual men, but 
mankind %vould suffer severely if the Ant tribes were to be 

B 2 


Take two more insects, which are beyond measure annoying to 
man, — namely, the wood-boring beetles and the termites, other- 
wise, but very wrongly, called white ants. Nothing can be more 
disheartening to a planter than to have his trees and canes 
devoiired by the beetles, and every bit of timber in his house 
destroyed by the termites. We shall in the course of this work 
.see examples of the ravages of both insects, so that we need 
not go into details now. Yet, strange as it may seem, but for 
the effects of these wood-destroying insects there would be no 
forests at all. Suppose, for example, that all these insects were 
immediately exterminated, the results would be much as follows. 
A vast tree, one of the giants of the forests, dies, and is blown 
down in one of the fierce hurricanes of tropical climates. Where 
the tree fell, there it lies, and where it lies it cumbers the earth, 
and prevents other trees from springing up in its place. Years 
roll on and become centuries, tree after tree falls, and slowly 
but surely arrives the time when the jjlace of the towering 
forest, with all its wealth of life, is taken by a vast wilderness 
of dead and fallen tree-trunks. 

How different is the beneficent operation of Nature under the 
present conditions. Scarcely has a tree fallen than the insect 
hosts are at work on it. First come the large and powerful 
wood-boring beetles and deposit their eggs upon it. Armed 
with their sharp and strong jaws, which act like bone-nippers, 
the larvae bore through and through the trunk, making tunnels like 
auger-holes, and so rendering the tree permeable to air and wet. 
Smaller beetles soon follow in the wake of the large, and bore 
out the softened wood, and a host of other insects set to work 
on tlie now decaying trunk, many using it as food, and others 
carrying it off as material for their nests. The rapidity of their 
work is astonishing, and in an exceedingly short time the entire 
tree is reduced to mere dust. " Put thy foot," writes Waterton, 
in his " Wanderings," " on that large trunk thou seest to thy 
left. It seems entire amid the surrounding fragments. Mere 
outward appearance, delusive phantom of what it once was ! 
Tread on it, and, like the fuzz-ball, it will break into dust." 
And this dust serves as a fertilizer to the soil, and enables it to 
produce fresh trees in the place of that which had fallen. 

Take the white ants again, even apart from their wood-eating 
propensities, and see what good service they do even by the 


siiuple act of building their wouderful nests. They are per- 
petually engaged in transferring to the surface of the earth the 
soil which they have taken from beneath it, and so continually 
renewing and fertilizing it with fresh soil. These insects indeed 
play very much the part that our much-despised mole and worm 
do at home. It would be easy to multiply examples indefinitely, 
but I have chosen these insects in order to show how even the 
very creatures which are most detested by man, and do him the 
most direct damage, are indeed, though indirectly, among his 
best benefactors. Apart from direct benefit or injury to man, 
the whole of the insect tribes are wurking towards one purpose, 
namely, the gradual development of the earth and its resources. 
The greater number are perpetually destroying that which is 
effete, in order to make way for something better ; while others, 
whose business seems chiefly to be the killing and eating of 
their fellow-insects, act as a check to their inordinate increasCj 
and so guard against the danger of their exceeding their proper 



At the head of the insect race are by common consen; 
placed the .mtdtitudinous species wliich are collected under 
the common title of Geodephaga. This very appropriate 
title is formed from two Greek words, signifying devourers of 
the earth, and is given to the large group of carnivorous Beetles 
which live on the ground, in contradistinction to another great 
group of carnivorous Beetles which live in the water, and are 
called Hydradephaga, oi* devourers of the water. In both these 
groups, the larva or grub, and the perfect insect, agree in their 
general habits, so that the larvee of the first group are always 
found on land, and those of the second group as invariably in 
the water. 

Equally by common consent of entomologists, the Tiger 
Beetles have been placed at the head of the Geodephaga. For- 
merly they were all classed under one family, the CicindelidsB, 
but of late years, in accordance with the ever-growing mania for 
subdivision and over-refining, they have been split up into a 
number of families, the first of which are the Mantichoridse, a 
group of which we have no British representative. The name 
is a very curious one, and I will explain it before describing 
the insect which is our representative of the tribe to which it 

Some 2,300 years ago, there lived a certain Greek historian 
named Ctesias, who was taken prisoner by Artaxerxes Mnemon 
at the battle of Cunaxa, so celebrated for the retreat of Xeno- 
phon's famous " Ten Thousand." Profiting by his honoured cap- 
tivity of seventeen years, during which time he M^as the physician 
of Artaxerxes, he wrote a history of Assyria and Persia, in which 
he introduced accounts of sundry remarkable animals. There 


were ants, for example, as large as foxes, and, above all, there 
was the Martichora, a Grecized form of the Persian word Mard- 
hhora, or Man-slayer. This Martichora, a portrait of which is 
now before me, had the body of a lion, the head of a man, and 
the tail of a scorpion, armed at the tip with a bunch of porcu- 
pine's quills, which the Martichora used as missile weapons, 
flinging them at its enemies by a jerk of its tail. 

Although the beast's mouth was armed with three rows of 
triangular teeth (evidently borrowed from the shark), the 
armed tail formed its principal defence ; so that when hunters 
caught a young Martichora, they bruised its tail between two 
stones, so that it should never grow any more quills. Corrupted 
— probably for the sake of euphony — into Mantichora, this 
name was fancifully given to the present group of insects, in 
consequence of their size, strength, and ferocity. 

Fig. 1.— TMantichora mygaloides. 

The species which has been selected for our example of this 
family is the Mantichora (not Manticora, as it is generally, but 
wrongly, spelled) mygaloides. It is a most extraordinary looking 
Beetle, and may well puzzle entomologists as to the place which 
it holds in the insect world. There is something about it that 
shows its connection with the Tiger Beetles, whose terrible jaws 
are absolutely exaggerated in the Mantichora. There is some- 
thing about it that looks like a Carabus, or Ground Beetle, and 
the general shape of the body bears such a curious resemblance 
to that of the well-known Bird Spider of South America, that it 


has received on that account the specific name of mygaloides, 
i.e. like the Mygale. 

Its colour is black and shining, and the creature has a singu- 
larly menacing air, so that it well merits the fanciful name that 
has been bestowed on it. Generally, the Tiger Beetles are fur- 
nished with powerful wings, but the Mantichora is entirely 
wingless, the elytra or wing-cases being soldered together, so 
that the insect is unable to leave the ground. 

The part of this Beetle which most strikes the eye is the head, 
with its armature of crooked and most powerful jaws. In the 
illustration the jaws are represented as they appear when open. 
When they are closed, they cross each other nearly as far as do 
the fingers of the clasped hands, so that a bite from one of these 
formidable insects is no joke, even to a human being. 

Most, if not all, of the Tiger Beetles have their jaws thus 
crossing each other at the tips, — a provision, as I imagine, for 
retaining in their grasp the insect prey on which they feed. In 
this insect the jaws are not regularly curved, as is generally the 
case with insects, but take a sharp and almost angular bend at 
about one-third of their length from its base. The side of each 
jaw, or mandible, as it is scientifically called, is strongly toothed 
at the base, and altogether the insect possesses a prehensile appa- 
ratus that has few parallels among its many kinsfolk. 

The habits of the Mantichora are just those which might be 
inferred from its appearance and structure. It is swift of foot, 
quick and active in general movements, and, living in the dry 
sandy plains of Southern Africa, has a way of hiding beneath 
stones from the fierce glare of the sunbeams, and of darting 
quickly from its place of concealment when any creature passes 
by on which it can pounce. The insect is represented of the 
natural size. 

This tribe, the Mantichorides, is separated from the Cicin- 
delides on account of the structure of the fore-legs, which have 
the tarsi similarly shaped in both sexes, and with cylindrical 
joints. The present species was called by Thunberg Cicindda 

Another tribe of the Tiger Beetles is that which is called 
Megacephalides, or Big-headed Tiger Beetles. In these, as the 
name implies, the head is very large, so as to give the insects 


rather a clumsy look. 'Their legs are exceedingly long, ami, 
indeed, it is not easy to say whether the large head, or the long 
and slender legs, first catch the eye. They are winged, ])ut their 
wings are not nearly so long or so strong as those of our Eritish 
Tiger Beetles, so that they are more to be found on the earth 
than in the air. 

There is one species, indeed, Megacepliala sejmlchralis, a native 
of Brazil, which appears never to take to the wing, but runs 
very swiftly through the grass that grows on sandy soil in 
the forests. Most of the Tiger Beetles have a similar habit, 
and these insects are therefore often called by the popular name 
of Sand-runners, or Sand Beetles. This species gives out a per- 
fume which much resembles attar of roses, but which changes 
after death to a very fo3tid and disagreeable odour. The reader 
may perhaps remember that our common British Tiger Beetle 
exhales a strong and pleasing scent like that of crushed verbena 
plants, but happily, unlike the Brazilian insect, the odour does 
not become unpleasant after death. 

The accompanying illustration represents the largest of these 
insects, a very giant 
among its kin, drawn 
of its natural size. 
Its name is Mega- 
cephala Senegalensis, 
and, as the latter 
word implies, is a 
native of Senegal. 

As is often the case 

with Tiger Beetles, Fjg. 2.— Megacephala SenegalensIs. 

there is considerable 

variation in colour. The thorax, however, is always green and 
shining, and the elytra are always roughly punctated, i.e. 
covered Avith tiny holes as if the point of a blunt needle had 
been slightly pressed into the surface. There are very few 
Beetles which are entirely without these punctures, whose use, 
I believe, has never yet been ascertained or even conjectured ; 
but in some species they assume a very decided importance, the 
interior of each puncture being brightly coloured, while the 
general surface is simply dull brown or black. We shall soon 


see examples of these coloured punctures, none of which, as far 
as I know, are to be found in our insects at home. 

The colours of the elytra in this species are strangely variable, 
some specimens being brown, some green, and some blue, the 
two latter colours being often interchangeable in insects, whether 
British or foreign. The head is always coloured like the thorax, 
and the legs are pale yellow-brown. 

The habits of some species of Megacephala are not only 
terrestrial, but subterranean. There are in the tropical regions 
sundry Beetles belonging to the same group as our common 
Dor Beetle, which make burrows in the ground under animal 
refuse. There is a Brazilian species of Megacephala, which has 
an odd habit of taking possession of such burrows, and, like the 
knights-errant of old, defending them against all comers. Gene- 
rally it remains near the mouth of the hole, menacing all foes, 
real or fancied, with its powerful jaws ; but, should it find itself 
overmatched, it takes refuge at the bottom of the burrow. Even 
then it does not abandon its combatant character ; for if a blade 
of grass be pushed down the hole, the Beetle is sure to seize it 
with its jaws, and hold on with such tenacity that it can be 
drawn out of the hole, still clinging to the end of the grass-blade. 

I have often wondered whether insects are capable of retain- 
ing their memory throughout their changes, so that a dragon-fly 
on the wing can recollect its sub-aquatic existence, and the 
butterfly, while sipping the sweet juice of flowers, remember its 
caterpillar banquet on the cabbage-leaf. If such be the case, 
we may readily understand how the Tiger Beetle comes to resort 
to the earth-burrow. It is, in fact, a return to the habits of its 

All the Tiger Beetles live, when larvae, in burrows under a 
loose soil, remaining with their sickle-like mandibles expanded 
at the entrance, just like the jaws of a steel-trap, ready to seize 
any passing insect and carry it down to the bottom of the 
burrow, where it can be eaten in peace. And the mode of 
action when attacked is exactly the same in both cases, for, 
as all practical entomologists know, the recognised mode of 
obtaining the larvse of Tiger Beetles without hurting them, is 
by poking a straw or grass-blade into their burrows, and pull- 
ing them out gently while they cling to the supposed enemy 

FL-ft-TE I 


by their strong jaws. Field Crickets are taken in just the same 

On Plate I. Fig. 1, is seen a very pretty Beetle which belongs 
to the same tribe as the preceding insect. It has no popular 
name, however well it may deserve one, but is known to ento- 
mologists as Tetracha punctata. 

It is a singularly beautiful insect, and, lovely as it is, to 
describe it is no easy matter. 

Many of these Tiger Beetles are coloured in such a manner 
that it is utterly impossible to define their leading hue. It all 
depends on the direction of the light, and in many cases, as in 
the present instance, the real ground hue of the insect is a matter 
of considerable doubt. The chameleon is nothing to the Tiger 
Beetle. I have made plenty of experiments on both creatures, 
and come to the conclusion that all the ground colour of a 
chameleon may be defined; that of many a Tiger Beetle defies all 
definition. And the more pains that are taken, the more the 
microscope is set to work, the less defined is the ground colour. 

In the present species there are only two points of colour 
which may be considered as fixed. One is a yellovv^ patch at the 
end of the elytra, and the other is the yellowness of the legs and 
antennae. As to the upper surface of the body, it may be said 
to be almost any colour. I have tried these Beetles in various 
lights, and have ascertained that the leading colour is blue, fiery 
crimson, green, or bronze, exactly as the light happens to fall 
upon the insect, not to mention the intermediate colours of 
purple and violet which ripple over the surface as the light is 
shifted. As the name implies, the elytra are deeply and boldly 
punctured. The insect is found along the banks of the great 
Amazon river. 

At Fig. 2 of the same illustration is given the larva of this 
Beetle, for the purpose of showing the peculiar apparatus by 
which it is able to travel up and down the perpendicular tunnel 
in which it lives, and to maintain its place at the mouth of its 
burrow without fatigue. 

On the back may be seen a bold hump-like process, and on 
the hump are two small but strong horny hooks, set upon the 
eighth ring of the body, counting from the head. These hooks 
are boldly curved backwards, and it is chiefly by their help 


that the larva is able to scuttle up and down its tuuuel 
with such rapidity. I never had the opportunity of seeing the 
larvae of these exotic Tiger Beetles alive ; but if their habits 
resemble those of our British species as much as their forms, 
there can be no difficulty in understanding the mode of their 

Perhaps some of luy readers may be, or may have been, 
mighty bird-nesters, and been forced to climb trees which ran 
to some thirty or forty feet without a' branch, and were far too 
large to be clasped by the arms and legs. Boys cannot carry 
ladders about with them, and the tree is absolutely inaccessible 
by ordinary means. But there is a hawk's nest on the topmost 
branches of the tree, and it is clearly impossible to allow the 
eggs to be hatched without j)aying a fair toll to the discoverer 
of the nest. So, out come the " climbing spurs," iron stirruj)S 
strapped to the foot, and having on the inside of each foot a 
sharp hook, with point downwards. A long withy is now cut — 
or in default of the withy a stout piece of iron wire will do — 
and is passed round the tree-trunk. The nest-hunter takes the 
ends of the withy in his hands, raising the loop as high as he 
can, and then jumps at the tree, supporting his body by tiie 
withy, and driving his climbing-irons well into the bark. By a 
judicious shifting of feet, the young climber very soon finds 
himself among the branches, where his spurs are worse than 
useless, and he hangs them on a branch while he goes after 
the eggs. 

Now, except that the Tiger Beetle grub has to climb the inside 
of a cylinder instead of the outside, the mode of climbing is 
exactly the same. The larva stretches its body so as to raise 
itself as high as possible, and slightly bends its back, so that 
the points of the hooks hitch into the side of the tunnel. It 
then contracts its body, so as to haul itself up, and so, by re- 
peating the process, rapidly reaches the mouth of the burrow. 
When there, the hooks which raised it serve to keep it in posi- 
tion; and when it wishes to descend, it has only to unhitch the 
hooks and straighten the body, when it slides down by its own 
weight. The larva seen in the illustration is drawn from a 
specimen in the British Museum. 

Mr. W. Bates, in his " Naturalist on the Amazons," describes 
sundry species of Tetracha, and gives much curious and valu- 


able infonnation as to their habits, mode of life, and variety 
of colouring: — 

" On the sandy beach I found two species of Tetracha, a 
genus of Tiger Beetles, which liave remarkably large heads, and 
are found only in hot climates. They come forth at night, in 
the daytime remaining hid in their burrows several inches deep 
in the light soil. Their powers of running exceed everything I 
witnessed in this style of insect locomotion. They run in a 
serpentine course over the smooth sand, and when closely pur- 
sued by the fingers in the endeavour to seize them, are apt to turn 
suddenly back, and thus baffle .the most practised hand and eye. 

" I afterwards became much interested in these insects on 
several accounts, one of which was that they afforded an illus- 
tration of a curious problem in natural history. One of the 
Caripi species {Tetracha nocturna of Dejean) was of a pallid 
hue, like the sand over which it ran ; the other was a brilliant 
copper-coloured kind {Tetracha palUpes of King). Many insects 
M'hose abode is the sandy beaches are white in colour ; I found 
a large earwig and a mole cricket of this hue very common in 
these localities. 

" !N"ow, it has been often said, when insects, lizards, snakes, 
and other animals are coloured so as to resemble the objects on 
which they live, that such is a provision of Nature, the assimila- 
tion of colours being given in order to conceal the creatures 
from the keen eyes of insectivorous birds and other animals. 
This is no doubt the right view, but some authors have a diffi- 
culty in the explanation on account of the assimilation of colours 
being exhibited by some kinds and not by others living in com- 
pany with them ; the dress of some sj)ecies being in striking- 
contrast to the colours of their dwelling-place. 

" One of our Tetrachas is coloured to reseml)le the sand, 
whilst its sister species is a conspicuous object on the sand ; the 
white species, it may be mentioned, being mucli more swift of 
foot than the copper-coloured one. The margins of these sandy 
beaches are frequented throughout the fine season by fiocks of 
sandpipers, who search for insects on moonlit nights as well as 
by day. If one species of insect obtains immunity from their 
onslaughts by its deceptive resemblance to the sandy surface 
on which it runs, why is not its sister species endowed in the 
same way? 


"The answer is, that the dark-coloured kind has means of 
protection of quite a different nature, and therefore does not 
need the peculiar mode of disguise enjoyed by its companion. 
When handled it emits a strong, offensive, putrid, and musky 
odour, a property which the pale kind does not exhibit. Thus 
we see that the fact of some species not exhibiting the same 
adaptation of colours to dwelling-places as their companion 
species, does not throw doubt on the explanation given of the 
adaptation, but is rather confirmatory of it," 

The problem which Mr. Bates endeavours thus partially to 
solve is a very curious and interesting one, and certainly is not 
settled by Mr. Bates's explanation. Were it true that all these 
insects were protected in one way or another, none of them would 
ever be eaten by other creatures. It is perfectly true that many 
insects are coloiired so as to resemble the spots wherein they 
hide, and therefore escape the observation of birds and other 
insect-eaters. fSome, again, resemble in shape as well as in 
colour the vegetation on which they live, such as the well- 
known caterpillars of the Geometrse, or Loopers, which so exactly 
resemble twigs that none but an entomologist could detect 
them. So far so good, but, I think, no further, I am inclined 
to demur to Mr. Bates's theory of the protection afforded by the 
evil odour of which he writes, and for this reason. Odours are 
grateful or the reverse according to the constitution of the 
smeller. For example, even in our own sense the apprecia- 
tion of odours varies extremely. The close, filthy, foetid atmo- 
sphere of an Irish cabin, which almost chokes an average 
Englishman, is like the breath of Paradise to the peasant 
owner. Put him in a large, clean, bright room, and he will 
complain of the cold, and make for himself a cabin in one 
corner, where he can be dirty and warm. Then, our nostrils 
are generally offended at the smell of rancid grease and un- 
washed humanity, which to a Kaffir are delightful as the 
perfume of the rose. To us, the stench of a putrefying animal 
is inexpressibly odious, and even hurtful, while to the vultures, 
and to whole tribes of insects, it is the delight of their lives. 
Therefore, though the odoar of these highly-coloured, sand- 
loving Tiger Beetles be very detestable to human nostrils, it 
does not follow that it should be equally unpleasant to insect- 
eatino birds. 


Most of the dusky Beetles which Mr. Bates mentions have 
been formed into a separate genus called Phaaoxantha. This 
term is formed from two Greek words, the former signifying 
dusky, and the latter yellow. The largest of them is called 
Phccoxantha Khigii, and is a curious-looking creature, quite 
unlike our English Tiger Beetles, except in the long, slender 
legs, and the sharp, sickle-like jaws with which the large head 
is armed. The general colour is dull, pale, yellowish Lrown, 
barred with a blacker hue. If this insect were running on 
ordinary sand, it would be difficult to track its progress, in 
consequence of the sandy colouring of its body, while, if it 
remained still, it would be almost impossible to distinguish 
the body amid the yellow sand and brown stones with which 
it M'ould be surrounded. 

There is a very small species of this genus, Phceoxantha 
laminata, which is found in Brazil. It is almost uniformly 
pale brown, and the hooks which arm the back of the larva are 
exceedingly long, stout, and boldly curved. 

We now come to the typical tribe of this beautiful and 
interesting group of 

Beetles called Cicin- 
delides, which are 
distinguished by the 
structure of the tar- 
sus, or foot. In all 
these Beetles the 

males have the three Fig. 3.— Oold cross (CicindeJaauro/cwcmto). 

first joints of the tar- 
sus widened and flattened, while the corresponding joints of the 
female are uniformly cylindrical. There are so many species 
of Cicindelides, that we must content ourselves with a selec- 
tion of one or two examples, the first of which is the Gold 
Cross (Cicindela aurofasciafa) of India, one of the most striking, 
though by no means the most brilliant of the group. This very 
remarkable Beetle forms quite a type among its relatives, as in 
all of them there is a tendency to form a light-coloured cross on 
a dark ground, and in all, more or less, this cross is made by a 
V-shaped mark upon each of the elytra. 

Such is the case with the present insect. The general hue of 


the body is deep velvety black, and upon each of the wing- 
cases there is a V-shaped mark of golden yellow ; the apex 
of the V being towards the suture of the elytra, so that the 
two Vs form a St. Andrew's cross of yellow on a black 
ground. As a rule, the lower limbs of this cross are twice as 
wide as the upper, but there is a wonderful amount of variety 
in the cross-mark, not only in width, but in shape and 
colour. I have examined many specimens of this insect, and 
never found two which were exactly alike in the hue and 
form of their markings. 

Perhaps the most variable of all the Tiger Beetles is that 
lovely insect the Chinese Tiger Beetle {Gicindela Sinensis — or, 
as it is sometimes but wrongly spelled, Chinerisis). Owing to 
its extreme variableness, it is not an easy insect to describe, and 
it is a remarkable fact that certain recognisable varieties are 
found in different districts of China, so that the boundaries of 
such districts cannot be merely arbitrary, but must have some 
geographical foundation. As it is so variable, I have selected 
an average specimen from my collection, and describe it as an 
example of the ordinary colouring. 

Just as in our common Tiger Beetles green is the leading 
colour, so blue takes the chief part in the Chinese Tiger Beetle. 
The ground hue of the elytra is deep, velvet azure, and they are 
edged with glittering golden yellow, which spreads over the 
shoulders so as to form a bold cross. Two bands of rich cream 
colour cross each elytra, near the tip, and there are two little 
spots of the same colour near the outer edge. 

Under successive powers of the microscope a wonderful sight 
is revealed. On placing the insect under a moderate power — 
say about thirty diameters — the whole of t>e surface is seen to 
be broken up into innumerable shining points, all of which have 
a golden sheen when the direction of the light is changed. 
Those portions which are not touched favourably by the light 
look absolutely brown, and it is most interesting to shift the 
lioht in various directions, and see the dark brown spots flash 
suddenly into violet, purple, green, and gold, and change back 
again to their dull brown, according as the angle of light is 

Doubling the magnifying power adds to the revelation of this 


insect's beauty, and shows that the glittering points are the 
edges of innumerable pits or depressions with which the entire 
surface is covered. It is not, however, until a power of some 
two hundred diameters is employed tliat the real nature of these 
points and the cause of their changeful beauty are shown. Not 
in the minutest spot is there a smooth portion, but the elytron is 
completely covered with an elaborate series of six-sided pits or 
shallow cells. In fact, when viewed with a high power and 
a favourable light, the upper surface of the elytron looks very 
much like a honeycomb, the cells with which it is covered being 
perfectly hexagonal. The sides, however, of the cells are not 
equal as in the honeycomb, but two opposite sides are twice the 
length of the others, so as to elongate the cells without altering 
their hexagonal form. Tlie shape of the cells is best seen in the 
creamy spots, as the dazzling blue and green of the other parts 
rather distract the eye. 

Each of these cells has its surface furnished with countless 
dented lines set parallel to each other, and producing, by 
means of their power of decomposing the light, the wonderful 
effects of colour which have been mentioned. The gorgeous 
metallic plumage of the Imnmiiug-bird's breast owes its splen- 
dour to a similar cause, and so does the changeful purple of our 
" Purple Emperor" Butterfly. The opal and the pearl also owe 
their colours to this system of parallel lines, Mdiich can now be 
produced artificially on almost any substance. Delicate parallel 
lines can be ruled on steel or glass, giving to them a flickering 
brilliance of colour that seems quite foreign to the material, 
which, indeed, appears to be of secondary importance. As 
long as the lines are there, the material seems to be of little 
consequence ; and if a piece of soft cobbler's wax be pressed on 
the ruled glass' or st-" ;1, the lovely iridescence will at once be 
evident on its surface, despite the apparent incongruity of the 
dull black material and the splendid colours which play over it. 

Such are some of the revelations of the microscope with 
regard to the colouring of the velvet-like surface of the elytra. 
Now, to the unaided eye, the vivid green and azure of the head 
are much more brilliant than the same hues in the elytra, while 
they are not so bright when placed under the microscope. The 
reason is this. The surface of the head is covered with a double 
series of wrinkled folds, which are so large that they can be 



detected by tlie eye alone, Mobile the innumerable cells of the 
filytra cannot be seen without a microscope. 

The arrangement of these folds or wrinkles is worth notice. 
A line runs along the centre of the head, from which the 
wrinkles sweep in curves on either side, much like the lines of 
hair parted in the middle. Thus much can be seen with the 
naked eye ; but if the microscope be used, it will be seen that 
each wrinkle is regularly and elaborately waved throughout its 

length, thus, • — ; so adding to the richness of the effect. 

Still taking the human hair as our illustration, the waved 
structure of these wrinkles produces a similar effect to that 
which is obtained by ladies when they crimp their hair by 
artificial means. 

I have already mentioned that the upper surface of this 
magnificent insect is entirely covered with wrinkles or cells, so 
as to give it a satiny or velvety appearance. The violet under 
surface is quite smooth, and looks like burnished metal, affording 
a fine contrast to the softly brilliant hues of the upper surface. 
The one dazzles and startles the eye, the other soothes and 
satisfies it. The principle which is so perfectly carried out in 
this insect is followed imperfectly by ourselves. When a draper 
shows a piece of silk, satin, or velvet to a lady, he does not spread 
it out flat, but gathers it into folds and artistic wrinkles. 

The reason is evident enough. Supposing that a yard of silk 
or satin be spread flat, there is a certain amount of colour, with 
a tolerably uniform distribution of light and shade. But, let 
three yards of the same material be gathered into the same 
space, it is evident that three times the amount of colour is 
obtained, while each fold gives different gradations of hue 
according to the depth of shades. This is one of the many 
instances where man unconsciously borrows from Nature, and 
complacently thinks that he has invented something quite new. 

Of the habits of this Beetle I know nothing by practical 
experience, but the specimen which has been most imperfectly 
described gives a curious proof that it must be quite as fierce as 
our British Tiger Beetles. The jaws of this species are long, 
sickle-shaped, deeply toothed on the inner edge, crossing each 
other when closed, and very conspicuous from their shining yellow 
colour. The jaws of this specimen are firmly closed, and hold in 
their grasp the fore-leg of another Beetle of the same species. 



Two pieces of infonnation are thus given. The first is, that 
the bold tootli on the inner edge of the jaw most effectually 
prevents the escape of any insect that may be seized. Let the 
reader imagine a pair of sickles, each having a sharp tooth some 
three inches long on the inner edge and about four inches from 
the base. Suppose the handles of the sickles to be joined at their 
ends by a rivet on which they can play, and we shall have a 
very tolerable imitation of the Tiger Beetle's jaws. Tlie reader 
will at once see that if the sickles are closed so as to bring the 
handles together, the points will cross each other, and tha t if the 
leg or arm of a man be clasped in them the two teeth will give 
an additional hold, and, being nearer the base, will have a more 
powerful leverage than could be given to the points alone, how- 
ever sharp they may be. A familiar illustration of this principle 
is afforded by the schoolboy in cracking a nut. He does not 
place it between his front teeth, but as far back as he can, so as 
to add as much as possible to the leverage. 

The second piece of information is, that the insect was not 
killed as soon as caught, but was placed alive in confinement 
with others of its own kind. After the habits of such insects, 
the fello"w-prisoners set to fighting, and this particular specimen 
succeeded in wrenching off the leg of its antagonist. The force 
required for such an act is wonderfully great. There are many 
insects that shed their limbs without seeming any the worse for 
it, but the Tiger Beetle is not one of them. It is predacious, and 
wants its legs for the purpose of chasing its prey. Consequently, 
these limbs are firmly 
jointed to the body, 
and the insect must 
have exerted very 
great strength to tear 
away the entire limb 
as it has done. 

Fig. 4— Eight-spot Tiger Beetie. (Cicindela octonotata.) 
(Blue-green and yellow.) 

Another lovely 
species is the Eight- 
spot of India (Cicin- 
dela octonotata), which is shown in the accompanying illustration. 
The colours of this most beautiful insect are much the same as 
those of the Chinese species, but their arrangement is more 

C 2 


decided and very different. The ground colour of tlie elytra is 
the deepest and richest velvet-blue, edged with emerald green 
over which plays a golden glitter. The thorax is golden bronze 
at the edges, while the centre is metallic red or bronze, shot 
with green. The head is coloured like the thorax, and the 
spots are golden yellow. The legs of this species are very long, 
slender, and give a sort of spidery look to the creature. 

On Plate I., Fig. 3, is shown a very conspicuous example of 
the exotic Tiger Beetle. Its scientific name is Calochroa prin- 
ceps, but we may safely call it the Belted Tiger Beetle, on 
account of the three bold bars or belts which run across the 
body. The ground colour of the insect is velvet-black, and the 
bars are bright " king's yellow," as a painter would term them. 
It is a native of India. There are nine species of this genus at 
present known, and all of them are remarkable for their very 
long and very slender legs, which give to the insects a spidery 
sort of look. The name Calochroa is formed from two Greek 
words, signifying " beautifully coloured," and is very appropriate, 
as the colours of the insect, though not so vivid and rich as 
those of the Chinese Tiger Beetle, are very striking, and con- 
trasted in an exceedingly bold manner. 

In all these Beetles the tendency in the markings to form a 
cross is very notable, and much more so when the wings are 
closed than when they are spread as if in flight. 

The pretty Beetle which is shown m the accompanying illus- 
tration is one of a group which has rather peculiar habits. Mr. 
Bates, who allowed few insects to escape his notice, makes the 
following remarks on these Beetles : — 

" A variety of beautiful insects basked on the foliage where 
stray gleams of sunlight glanced through the canopy of broad 
green leaves. Numbers of an elegant, long-legged Tiger Beetle 
fOdontocheila) ran and flew over the herbage. It belongs to a 
sub-genus peculiar to the warmest parts of America, the species 
of which are found only in the shade of the forest, and are seen 
quite as frequently pursuing their way on trees and heibage as 
on the ground. 

" The typical Tiger Beetle, or Cicindela, inhabits only open 
and sunny situations, and are wholly terrestrial in their habits. 


They are the sole forms of the family which occur in the 
northern and central parts of Europe and North America. In 
the Amazons region the shade-loving and semi-arboreal Odonto- 
cheilse outnuinber in species the Cicindelae as twenty-two to six. 
All but one of this number are exclusively peculiar to the 
Amazonian forests, and this affords another proof of the adapta- 
tion of the fauna to a forest-clad country, pointing to a long and 
iminterrupted existence of land covered by forests on this part 
of the earth's surface." 

Excepting that these Sontli American species prefer the foliage 
to the ground, their habits 
iire much the same as tliose 
of the ordinary Tiger Beetles. 
They prey upon other insects, 
luid are able to catch even the 
swift-winged flies by pouncing 
on them as they settle on the 
leaves. I have seen the com- 
mon gTeen shore-crab catch 
bees and flies in a similar fig. 5.— odontocheiiadeGandii. 

manner, watching them as they ^^""^''''^ "'*^ ^'''''" '^^^'> 

alight on the sand, and fliyging itseK on them before they 
could re-open their just-furled wings. 

The name Odontocheila is formed from two Greek words 
signifying " toothed lip," and is given to this genus in conse- 
quence of the form of the upper lip, which is rather long and 

The colour of this insect is very conspicuous. Most of the 
species are green, blue, or brown, but this little Beetle is shining 
metallic crimson bronzed with green, so that it blazes out like a 
red star amidst its duller companions. There is a small S-like 
white mark on the elytra. 

We now come to a most extraordinary group of Tiger Beetles 
called Collyridge, in which the whole body is elongated, and the 
head and thorax are drawn out into a definite neck. 

One of these Beetles, named Therates labiata, is a native 
of the K6 Islands, in the Malay Archipelago. Its colour is 
deep purple-black glossed with green, and its "labium" or upper 
lip is very conspicuous, being broad, and of a bright yellow 


colour. It is owing to this peculiarity of the labium that the 
insect has gained the specific name of Idbiata. 

Its habits are rather peculiar. Unlike our own Tiger Beetles, 
which are notable for their love of bright sunny spots, this 
Therates, though in the climate of the Ke Islands it might have 
as much sunshine as it liked, prefers damp and gloomy situa- 
tions. Yet, even in these localities it displays the well-known 
characteristics of the Tiger Beetle, running and flying restlessly 
from spot to spot with a fussy eagerness, and evidently on the 
look-out for prey as it darts from leaf to leaf, and then quickly 
scurries over the broad foliage. 

As is the case with our common Musk Beetle, its presence 
may be detected by the nostril before the eye can take cogni- 
zance of it. It gives out a powerful and pleasant odour some- 
thing like that of roses, which Mr. Wallace conjectures to be used 
for the purpose of decoying the insects on which it feeds. I very 
much doubt, however, whether this can be the case. I have 
already shown that odours which are disagreeable to us are not 
necessarily so to other beings, and therefore that we ought not 
to assume that they are used for the purpose of protection. By 
parity of reasoning, though an odour may be grateful to us, it 
does not follow that it should be equally gratefid to other 
beings ; and I therefore find much difficulty in believing that one 
Beetle repels its foes by an odour which is disagreeable to man, 
and that another attracts its prey by an odour which is pleasant 
to him. 

Mr. Wallace, to whom I am indebted for the foregoing infor- 
mation, remarks that in the forests of the Ke Islands, this and 
another Tiger Beetle, Tricondyla aptera, which will be presently 
described, were the only two common and conspicuous insects. 
The name Therates is a Greek word signifying " a hunter," and is 
very appropriately given to these quick, active Beetles, which 
apparently spend their whole time in the chase. 

It is rather remarkable that the only two common insects in 
the forest should be not only Tiger Beetles, but even belong to 
the same family, the Collyridae. The name of the second species 
is TricoTidyla aptera, and, according to Mr. "Wallace's descrip- 
tion, it looks when alive very much like a large black ant, about 
an inch in length. At first sight it appears to be quite black. 



but a closer inspection shows that the black is, in fact, a very 
deep purple. 

It has no wings, as indeed is implied by its name "aptera," i.e. 
wingless, but its swiftness and quickness of foot compensate for 
its inability to fly. It is mostly found on trees, but it seems to 
prefer the trunks and branches to the foliage. Like our common 
creeper, the squirrel, and other tree-loving creatures, the Tri- 
condyla has a habit of dodging behind the branches when 
approached, and, if the intending captor goes round the tree, the 
Tricondyla goes round also, and is so adroit in keeping the tree 
between itself and its enemy, that it can only be captured by a 
sudden run and quick snatch of the fingers. Like most of its 
kin, the Tricondyla emits a strong odour, which is, however, not 
at all pleasant, but bears some resemblance to the well-known 
and very repulsive odour of the cockroach. 

A very good example of these curious Tiger Beetles is given in 
the accompanying illus- 
tration, which represents 
Collyris acrolia, an ex- 
ample of the typical 

Its coloiir is the deep- 
est indigo, so deep that 
at first sight it looks 
black, just like the 
colour of our familiar 
Oil Beetle. The long 
thorax of this insect is boldly curved, and is globular in 
the middle. The creature has no wings, and the elytra are 
firmly soldered together to the very end of the body, as is often 
the case with wingless Beetles. The name Collyris refers to 
this structure, being composed of two Greek words signifying 
*' glued tail." 

There are many species of Collyris, all very much alike in 
colour and general form, and all having the otherwise small 
head boldly developed on either side, so as to leave room for the 
large and prominent eyes. 

Fig. 6. — Collyris acrolia. 
(Deep indigo.) 

This is the last of the Tiger Beetles of which description 
can be given. They are, however, so numerous and so important 


that they must not be dismissed without a few parting 

On a review of British and foreign insects, we cannot but be 
struck with some remarkable phenomena. It might naturally 
be expected that the insects of tropical climates very far sur- 
pass in number and beauty those which inhabit the temperate 
zones. And, in comparing the insects of a tiny island like 
England with those of the vast tract which lies within the 
tropical belt, it is but natural to suppose that the disproportion 
of territory would be represented by an equal disproportion in • 
the number, size, and beauty of the insect tribes. In a certain 
degree this theory is carried out by fact, but there are cases 
where it entirely fails, as we shall presently see. With the 
Tiger Beetles, however, the increase in the number of species is 
commensurate with the area of surface. In England we have 
bat seven species of Tiger Beetle, all belonging to the typical 
genus, Cicindela. Several of them are very rare, and the most 
plentiful species, common though it may be, is seldom seen 
except by professed entomologists, who know where to look 
for it. 

The reason is evident enough. Agriculture does not agree 
with the Tiger Beetle, and, when cultivation comes in, the 
Beetle goes out. There is no help for it, and the consequence 
is, that in places where the lovely beetles used to flash their 
blue and green armour in the sunbeams, like living sapphires 
and emeralds, as long as the land remained uncultivated, not a 
single specimen can now be seen, and the Tiger Beetle has been 
forced ignominiously to resign its place to the turnip-fly and 
the cabbage caterpillar. 

No Tiger Beetle can exist in cultivated ground. They all 
love loose sandy soils, in which their burrows can be made 
without the likelihood of disturbance. Some prefer the sea- 
shore, and others the sandy, sheltered banks of inland districts. 
But in no case does a Tiger Beetle larva make its burrow in 
cultivated land. Its instinct teaches it to avoid such localities ; 
and, if any adventurous individual did choose a garden or a corn- 
field, it would have no chance of attaining maturity, inasmuch 
as its burrow would be repeatedly filled up by the gardener or 
the labourer, and the insect starved before it could get its tuimel 


iuto working order. All carnivorous creatures require a con- 
stant supply of nourishment. The internal fire fed by animal 
fuel "burns fast and fiercely, so that a Tiger Beetle larva would 
die of hunger through a temporary deprivation x)f food which 
would little affect the turnip grub or the cabbage caterpillar. 

Then, Tiger Beetles cannot exist in cold countries, because 
they could not obtain the needful supply of insect food. But 
when, as in the great tropical belts of the world, they find vast 
tracts of uncultivated land swarming with insect life, it is 
evident that all the surroundings are favourable to their de- 
velopment, and that therefore they may be expected to increase 
and multiply to the very utmost. 

Their mission is evidently twofold. As carnivorous insects, 
they form part of the "balance-wheel" of creation which has 
already been mentioned ; and, as burrowing larvae, they aid in 
developing the power of the soil. Not only do they drill the 
surface of the earth with their perpendicular tunnels, thus 
admitting the light, air, and moisture on which the fertility of 
the soil so much depends, but they leave at the bottom of the 
burrows the rejected portions of the insects which they have 
slain and eaten, together with the whole of their own refuse, 
and therefore manure as well as lighten the gTound. In culti- 
vated land both these duties are performed by human labour, 
and the spade, the fork, and the plough do the work which was 
formerly left to the Tiger Beetles. The work being done, the 
Beetles are needless, and so perish from off a soil on which they 
have no duties to perform. 

Though the indirect services which they render to man are 
thus evident, their direct services have scarcely been acknow- 
ledged. Yet there is at least one species which is used by man, 
though its use is very limited. This is a Mexican species called 
Cicindela curvata, which has a way of burrowing in moist sand. 
The natives have an idea that, like the Cantharis, or " Spanish 
tly," with which we are all familiar, it possesses medicinal 
properties, and so they prepare an infusion of the Beetles either 
in water or spirits. I am not aware that any other species of 
Tiger Beetle has been in any way utilized by man. 

On seeing a fair collection of these insects, the most super- 
ficial observer must be struck with their marve/lous beauty of 
form and colour. Even when placed in formal rows in a 


■cabinet, and disfigured by the graceless and lifeless attitudes in 
which entomologists will persist in setting all insects, without 
the least reference to their habits when living, they never fail 
to command attention even from those who know nothing 
of insects. 

Excepting the dull-coloured Phteoxanthas, which have already 
"been mentioned, the Tiger Beetles seem to concentrate in them- 
selves every beauty of the insect race. Their colours are so 
brilliant as almost to pain the human eye. Flashes of the most 
resplendent azure, crimson, gold, emerald, purple, and every shade 
of every colour, meet the eye as it glances over the insects, and 
one which is not quite so dazzling as the others gives quite a 
sense of repose. There is, for example, one species, a native of 
Madagascar, which would when taken by itself command admi- 
ration. Its name is Eurymorpha cyanipes, and its colour is to 
the naked eye deep, dull green, except on the thorax, which is 
covered with a quantity of long snowy white hair. It is 
rather remarkable, on looking over the collection in the British 
Museum, how the eye finds itself instinctively resting on tliis 
insect, the cool green and white giving a feeling of repose to the 
sense of sight, which becomes absolutely fatigued with the gor- 
geous hues which meet it on every side. 

Should any of my readers be a classical scholar and not an 
entomologist, he will probably be much surprised, and a little 
scandalized, that the name of Cicindela is applied to these 
Beetles. If we tarn to the old classic authors, Ave shall find 
that the word Cicindela was originally used as the name of the 
glow-worm, and was probably applied to any luminous insect. 
Unfortunately, the earlier entomologists, when they first began 
their formidable task of classifying the insect tribes, fell into 
various errors regarding the relationships of the different 

One of these mistakes was made by Linnaeus, wdio considered 
the glow-worm to be related to the Blister Beetle, and so gave 
it the name of Cantharis, while to the Tiger Beetles he applied 
the name of Cicindela, which by right belongs to the glow- 
worm. Subsequently he corrected several such errors, but 
persisted in retaining the name of Cicindela for the Tigoi 
Beetles, and the result has been that, entomologically, the name 


-of Cicindela is now applied to the Tiger Beetle, and that of 
Ijampyris to the glow-worm. 

As to the arrangement of this large and important group of 
insects, there have been, and are still, many conflicting opinions. 
Some entomologists divide them into a number of distinct 
families, while others gather them all into one family under 
the common name of Cicindelidre, but subdivide that rather 
unwieldy family into a number of tribes. I certainly think 
that the latter plan is the most in accordance with zoological 
i"act, and I have therefore followed it in this work. 



This great family of Beetles is quite equal in importance to the 
preceding, but in one point of view it presents a curious contrast 
to the Cicindelidse. 

In England we possess but very few Tiger Beetles, none of 
them being brilliantly coloured, whereas the exotic Tiger Beetles 
outnumber ours by some twenty times, and exhibit a brilliancy 
and variety of colouring which none of the English varieties 
possess. Our seven little soberly-clad species look very insig- 
nificant beside the array of exotic Cicindelidse, with all their 
flashing suits of azure, green, gold, and crimson. But when we 
come to the Carabidae, the case is nearly reversed. None of the 
tropical countries can produce any species that can surpass our 
familiar violet Ground Beetle, and the handsomest of all the 
foreign Carabidse is one that is a comparatively near neighbour 
of ours, being an inhabitant of Italy. Altogether, some three 
thousand species are known to entomologists, so that we can 
only select a few of the most conspicuous examples. 

The first is called Procerus tauricus, and lives, as its specific 
name implies, on the banks of the Bosphorus. It is an example 
of the genus to which belong the largest and handsomest speci- 
mens of this family, and which have been separated from the 
rest, not on account of their size, but on account of the structure 
of their feet. In the generality of the Carabi, the joints of the 
front tarsi are flattened and widened in the males, while they 
are cylindrical in the females. The Beetles, however, of which 
we are treating, have the joints cylindrical in both sexes, and 
they are on that account grouped together in tlie genus called 
Procerus. This word is Greek, signifying " a herald," and is given 



tlie Proceri because they arc?, so to speak, the heralds or fore- 
runners of the true Carabi. The accent, by the way, is laid on 
the second syllable, thus, Procerus. 

This fine insect measures about two inches in length, and at 
first sight looks rough and black. All specimens indeed are 
black on the under surface, and some are black entirely. But 
many, such as the specimen from which the drawing is taken, 
are of the richest violet, with a tendency to purple, and a 
greenish sheen round the edges of the thorax and elytra. The 
whole of the upper surface is deeply and largely granulated 
and punctured, this structure giving increased richness to the 
. splendid violet and purple with which it is adorned. 


Fig. 7.— Procerus tauricus. 
(Deep purple.) 

It will be seen, on reference to the illustration, that the pro- 
jecting tubercles which are formed of the granulations are 
arranged in nearly regular longitudinal rows, as is the case with 
several of our own Ground Beetles. This insect is spread over 
the eastern and southern parts of Europe, the Caucasus, and 
Asia Minor. It does not seem to flourish near the sea, and is 
found in best condition on the mountainous districts. 

We now take an example of the typical genus, the singularly 
beautiful Carabus Adonis, an insect which well deserves its name, 


being both elegant in shape and splendid in colour. Moreover,, 
its chief residence is Mount Parnassus. Indeed, so gorgeous is- 
the colouring, that it really looks like a tropical insect. 

As is often the case with Ground Beetles, this insect i& 
exceedingly variable both in size and details of colour. Some 
specimens are scarcely as large as our common violet Ground 
Beetle, while others are fully twice as large. Then, the hues 
with which the body is adorned are equally variable. Usually, 
however, the middle of the body and elytra are deep black, which, 
melts almost imperceptibly into green bronze, becoming fiery 
r(id along the edges of the thorax and elytra, the former of 

Fig. S.—Carabus Adonis. 
(Bronze-green, red edges.) 

which is much flattened on the outer edges. In some specimens- 
the whole of the thorax is bronze. 

There is, I believe, scarcely one species of Carabus which 
does not develop colour of some kind, and such colours are 
invariably deep and metallic, so deep, indeed, that unless ex- 
amined closely and with a favourable light, they really seem to 
be black. A good collection of Carabi is quite as splendid a 
sight as one of Tiger Beetles, and it is interesting to compare 
the two families, and see how differently the same colours can 
be developed. The very same hues of blue, green, gold, bronze, 
violet, purple, and crimson, which are found in the Tiger 
Beetles, are also found in the Carabi, the principal distinction 
being, that in the former insects the colours all have a vel- 
vety or satiny aspect, while in the latter they are shining like- 
polished metal. 


All these insects are carnivorous, and possess the power of 
emitting a very strong odour when handled or alarmed. This 
odour is not sweet and flower-like, as is the case with most of 
the Tiger Beetles, but is very foetid, repulsive, and persistent, so 
that it clings tightly to the fingers of anyone who incautiously 
seizes a Carabus with the hand. If, however, the insect be 
smartly grasped across the body, just as one picks up a live 
lobster or crayfish, the fingers are quite safe, and the Beetle 
may discharge its red-brown evil-smelling liquid as much as- 
it pleases without injuring its captor. 

All British entomologists are familiar with the splendid but 
rare Beetle, the Calosow.a sycophanta, with its glittering green. 
and gold elytra, and deep purple head and thorax. The larvae 
of this genus of Beetles feed upon the larvse of other insects, 
mostly those of social moths, and are wonderfully voracious, so 
that if two of them happen to meet, one is sure to devour the 
other. It is rather a remarkable fact, that of all the Calosomas 
our British species is by far the most splendid. There is one 
Australian species, Calosoma McLcayii, which has similar colours, 
though not nearly so brilliant. As to the others, they are no- 
where in the race for splendour of colour, and look quite dull, 
and dingy beside the British species. 

Fig. 9.— Calosoma Indicum. 
(Brown, with burnished gold punctures. ) 

There is, however, one exception, namely, Calosoma Indicum,. 
which requires a quick eye to see that it is an exception, for the 
Beetle appears at first sight to be plain chocolate brown. If we- 
look at the British insect, we shall see that among the distin- 


guishiug marks are three rows of deep punctures on each of the 
elytra, the punctures being placed on the fourth, eighth, and 
twelfth strife, or fine ridges, which run parallel to each other 
along the whole length of the elytra. In this Beetle the punc- 
tures, although their sides are polished and glittering, are of the 
same hue as the rest of the elytra. There are similar punctures 
in Calosoma Indicum, but the elytra are deep chocolate brown, 
while the punctures are not only polished and glittering, but 
shine with a golden lustre ; in fact, they look as if each punc- 
ture had been lined with gold leaf, and then burnished to a 
mirror-like brightness. 

In some lights these punctures are not seen, and it is scarcely 
possible with any arrangement of light to see the polished gold 
on both sides at once. In order to show this peculiarity, the 
artist-has drawn the insect in such a manner that the glittering 
points are visible on one side, but not on the other. When I 
first saw these remarkable points, I thought that they must be 
lined with separate scales, like those of the weevils, but the 
magnifying glass soon showed that these punctures were simply 
gold-coloured and burnished. The whole of the upper surface of 
this Beetle is very finely granulated in distinct rows, the striae, 
or ridges, being broken up by innumerable transverse depres- 
sions. As its name implies, this Beetle is a native of India. 

The tribe of Cychrides comes next in order. In England we 
have but one species of this family, namely, Cychrus rostratas, 
a Beetle which looks so like a weevil that it is often mistaken 
for one of these insects. All the Cychrides have their elytra 
fused together, and the last joint of the labial and maxillary 
palpi large, flat, triangular, and hollowed underneath. The jaws, 
or mandibles, are strong, project boldly in front of the head, and 
are toothed on their interior edges. 

The most curious of these insects is Damastcr hlaptoidcs, a 
rare Japanese Beetle, which is here represented of its natural 
size. In this genus the mandibles have only one tooth, and that 
a large one, situated near the base. Each of the elytra is drawn 
out to a point at the end, and as they gape a little at their tips, 
the pointed ends are very conspicuous. Altogether, the Beetle 
gives an idea of having been once a stout insect, but drawn out 
when soft, so that it iS' feeble in comparison with its bulk. 



Its limbs, together witli its mode of walking, strengthen the 
idea ; for instead of being, as most of the Ground Beetles are, 
quick, brisk, and active, it is slow and sluggish, crawling rather 
than running, even when it finds itself in danger. 

Ptg. 10. — Damaster blaptoides. 
(DuU black.) 

The following lively description of the capture of a Damaster 
is taken from Mr. Fortune's " Visits to Japan and China." It is 
part of a letter addressed from Dr. Adams to Mr. Fortune : — 

" I was walking solitarily — for all hands had gone on board 
to dinner — along the shell-strewn strand of Taleu-Sima, a jolly 
little island, not far from the shores of Mphon — walking along 
in a brown study, smoking a little clay cutty-pipe, and thinking 
chiefly of the contempt in which I should be held if some of my 
' very particular' friends saw me in this very disreputable ' rig,' 
for my neck was bare, and my coat was an old blue serge ; and 
as for my hat, it was brown felt, and I must say ' a shocking bad 
one.' However, the sun was bright, the clear blue rippling sea 
was calm, the little island was clear and verdurous, and I 
smoked serenely. On a sudden my abstract downward gaze 
encountered a grotesque Coleopteron, in a suit of black, stalking 
slowly and deliberately among the drift-wood at my feet — step- 
ping cautiously over the spillacan twigs. At once I knew my 
Coleopterous friend to be Damaster blaptoides ; for although 



my eyes are small, yet I have been assured by a young lady 
friend of mine — sometimes irreverently called Polly — that they 
are penetrating ; and my friend Adam White, when he warned 
me not to forget my ' Carabs,' had sent me a rough outline of 
the 'corpus' of Damaster. So I carefully lifted my unresisting 
sable friend from his native soil, and after giving him a good 
long stare, I deposited him in a bottle. From his name and 
appearance I judge him to be cousin to Blaps, and I turned 
over the rockwood for his brothers and other relations ; but 
though Helops was there, Damaster was not. Puzzled, but 
not baffled, I conceived his taste was more particular, so I 
ascended the steep green sides of the island, and cast about 
for rotten trees ; nor was I long in discovering a very pro- 
mising stump, nicely decayed, and full of holes enough to 
captivate the heart of any Beetle. Being, however, fatigued 
with my scansorial efforts, I sat down before the citadel of 
Damaster, and assisted my deliberations by smoking a solemn 
pipe. Having propitiated Mcotiana, and matured my plan of 
operations, I commenced the work of destruction, when, lo ! 
among the vegetable debris I descried a long dusky leg, anon 
two more, and then, buried among the ruins, the struggling 

" In this manner was the rarest Beetle known captured by a 
wandering disciple of -iEsculapius and an eccentric Fellow of 
the Linnsean Society." 

The colour of this insect is dull, dead black, and, both in 
general contour and in hue, it bears so great a resemblance to 
the well-known Churchyard Beetles (Blaps), that the specific 
name of hlaptoides, i.e. like the Blaps, has been given to it. 
Since the above-mentioned letter was written, many other speci- 
mens of this curious Beetle have been taken, so that it is not 
now nearly so rare as it was then. Many more travellers visit 
Japan than was the case thirteen years ago, and the habits of 
the insect are better known. 

The second example of the Cychridae belongs to the typical 
genus, and is named Gychrus vidua. 

The shape of this Beetle is singularly elegant, as can be seen 
from the illustration. It is a native of North America. Both 
in shape and colour it presents a very decided contrast to its 


relative, the Damaster, for its outlines are all graceiul, and its 
colour peculiarly intense. The hue of this Beetle is the deepest 
purple-violet, the colour being almost painfully splendid in a 
brilliant light. The thorax has more blue in it than the elytra, 
which are deeply and rather coarsely granulated in longitudinal 
lines, so as to add to the vividness of the purple. 

On looking at this Beetle from above, it seems to be a very 
bulky one ; but when viewed sideways, its body is seen to be 
curiously flat, the depth --^-,,-^,^ _ 
being apparently quite -^^ 
disproportionate to the v^;^, 
width. The object of this 
structure is evidently to 
enable the Beetle to creep 
beneath stones, under 
bark, and so to hide itself 
where a stouter insect 
could not enter. The spe- fio. u.-cychms vidua. 

. f. .7 • T . • (Deep purple. ) 

cinc name vidua is Latm 

(the " vidder" of Mr. Weller), and has been given to the insect 

on account of the very dark colour of its surface. 

It has already been mentioned that the Carabidse have the 
power of ejecting a noisome liquid when alarmed. Both from 
the mouth and the tail proceeds this weapon of defence, and in 
some of the species this latter liquid is so volatile, that when it 
comes into contact with the air it explodes with a slight report, 
leaving a cloud of thin smoke. This is specially the case with 
the tribe of Brachinides, of which our little Bombardier Beetle 
{Brachinus crepitans) is a familiar example. These Beetles are 
very social, and it is said that at least a thousand have been 
seen gathered under a single fiat stone near the river's brink. 
On being disturbed they at once begin to eject the explosive 
liquid, and a smart fusUlade is kept up for some time. 

I remember that at one time schoolboys were in the habit of 
amusing themselves during the winter evenings by scattering 
coarse grains of gunpowder very thinly along the bars of the 
fire, and then waiting for them to explode singly. The little 
explosions of the Bombardier Beetles are exceedingly like those 
of the grains of powder, and, like gunpowder used in war, are 

D 2 


intended to be employed against an enemy. The foe in question 
is generally one of the larger Carabid^, which wonld sood 
devour the small and helpless Brachinus were it not deterred 
by the repeated explosions and clouds of blue vapour that issue 
from its expected prey. 

The fluid and the apparatus which secretes it have been 
carefully investigated by M. L^on Dufour. Like most internal 
organs, the secreting apparatus is double, one on either side of 
the abdomen. M. Dufour describes the organ as consisting of 
two distinct portions, one being the "preparatory organ" in 
which it is secreted, and the other the " conservatory organ," in 
which it is reserved until wanted. The actual secreting organs 
are two slender fibres, which are in fact glands in their earliest 
condition, and which open into the preparatory organ just 
as the secreting organs of the bee or wasp open into the 

The preparatory organ of the Brachinus assumes two very 
different aspects, according to its degree of contraction or ex- 
pansion. When contracted, it is a soft, round, opaque, whitish 
body, situated under the last rings of the abdomen. When 
expanded, it becomes oblong, translucent, filled with air, and 
occupying nearly the full length of the abdomen. The reservoir, 
or conservatory organ, does not alter its shape, but is always 
small, globular, reddish-brown, tough in texture, hollow in the 
inside, and placed within the last ring of the abdomen. Both 
sexes possess this apparatus. 

As to the fluid itself, it is capable of staining the human skin 
black, and that so deeply that the stain remains for several 
days. Mr. Westwood, in his " Modern Classification of Insects," 
gives the following anecdote, which was narrated to him by the 
celebrated African traveller, Burchell : — 

" While resting for the night on the bank of one of the large 
South American rivers, he went out with a lantern to make an 
astronomical observation, accompanied by one of his black 
servant boys ; and, as they were proceeding, their attention was 
directed to numerous Beetles running about upon the shore, 
which, when captured, proved to be specimens of a large 
species of Brachinus. On being seized, they immediately began 
to play off their artillery, burning and staining the flesh to such 
a degree that only a few specimens could be captured with the 


naked hand, leaving a mark which remained for a considerable 
time. Upon observing the whitish vapour with which the ex- 
plosions were accompanied, the negro exclaimed in his broken 
English, with evident surprise, 'Ah! Massa, they make smoke.' " 

The explosive fluid is soluble both in water and alcohol, and 
after repeated explosions deposits a sort of dust on the elytra. 
The interior of the reservoir is coated with the same dusty 

The name Brachinidaj is derived from a Greek word signify- 
ing " short," and was given to these Beetles because most, though 
not all, of them have their bodies shortened and almost squared 
behind, as if they had been cut off abruptly with a knife or 

Fig. 12. — Pterosophus complanatus. Brachinus Siuensis. 

(Dark blue with yellow marks. ) (Brown with green gloss. ) 

In the accompanying illustration the left-hand figure repre- 
sents the Pterosophus com2ylanatits of India. It is a very pretty 
creature, and in its general outline and the arrangement of its 
colours really exhibits a curious similitude to the well-known 
Asparagus Beetle of this country. The ground colour of the 
elytra is dark, shining, violet-blue, and the patches upon them 
are yellow, as is the thorax. The shortened form of the elytra 
is shown very plainly in this insect. 

On the right hand of the same illustration is one of the largest 
of the true Brachini; namely, the Chinese Bombardier Beetle 
(Brachinus Sinensis). This insect really looks quite a giant 
among its kinsfolk ; and if it be able to eject a corresponding 
quantity of the volatile fluid, it must be rather a formidable 
antagonist to any insect foe. 

As is the case with many other Beetles, the colouring of this 
insect is rather variable. It may, however, be described as 
follows. The general hue is brown, slightly glossed, however, 



with green. This latter colour does not extend to the legs, 
which are entirely brown. The elytra are covered with bold 
parallel ridges, an arrangement which gives the green gloss a 
wider play than if the surface were entirely smooth. 

The tribe Lebiadae comes next in order, and we will take but 
one foreign example of it. This is Agra Megcera, which is 
represented in the accompanying illustration. The Beetles 
belonoincr to this genus have the last joint of the labial palpi 
very broad, liattish, and axe-shaped. The body is much elon- 
gated, and the head is narrowed behind. The name Agra is 

Greek, and signifies hunting, 

or the chase, in allusion to 
the predacious character of 
these Beetles. 

This is a very odd-looking 
insect, its thorax alone being 
nearly as long as the body, 
and its head being also elon- 
gated. The legs are elongated 
in proportion to the body, 
and so are the antennae. The 
general colour is very dark 
green, the elytra are squared 
and deeply pitted, and the thorax is covered with wrinkles 
interspersed with large punctures. In this genus there is a 
bold distinction between the two sets of palpi, the maxillary 
palpi being simple and thread-like, while the labial palpi have 
the last joint flat and axe-shaped. All the insects of this genus, 
which is a tolerably large one, are natives of South America. 

The habits of the Agree are rather remarkable. They are tree- 
lovers, sitting motionless on the leaves, with their long fore-legs 
and antennae stretched out in front of them. It is rather a 
remarkable fact that the leaves on which they are most fre- 
quently found are those which have been attacked by the leaf- 
rolling caterpillars, the roll forming a convenient couch whereon 
to sit. 

They are very wary Beetles, and have that habit which is so 
detested by entomologists ; namely, spying a foe at a distance^ 
and instantly dropping from the leaf to the ground, where 

Fig. 13. — Agra Megsera. 
(Dark green.) 


they are safely hidden among the grass and other herbage. 
Although they use the grass as a city of refuge, they appear to 
be very ill at ease among it, their long heads and necks coming 
awkwardly in contact with the leaves among which they are 

Of these curious Beetles forty species are known, the largest 
and handsomest of which is Agra Moritrii, an insect whose 
colour is rich metallic gold glossed with crimson. The whole 
of the upper surface is deeply pitted, which gives additional 
richness to the colouring. 

Among all the Insects Abroad, there is not one which at first 
sight takes the attention more instantly than the strange-looking 
creature which is represented on Plate I. Fig. 4. ISTo matter 
how large, beautiful, or strange may be the other insects with 
which it is placed, the eye at once fixes on this flat, leaf-like 
creature, in spite of its comparatively dull hue. Like most of 
the foreign insects, it has for some time borne no English popular 
name. Eecently, however, it has been found in considerable 
numbers near Penang, w^here it goes by the popular name of 
Fiddler, on account of its singular form, which has some 
resemblance to that of a flattened fiddle. Scientifically it is 
termed Mormolyce ^liyllodes, the meaning of which name will 
presently be explained. 

It is a native of Java and China, and is not very scarce, 
being found, as might be surmised from its shape, under bark 
and in similar localities. It has well been said that Nature 
never leaves a crevice but she makes something flat to creep 
into it, and certainly the Mormolyce carries out this theory, for 
it is so flat, that if the crevice be only wide enough, its depth 
is of little consequence. 

The actual body of this beetle, though long, is not very wide, 
the width seeming to have been given to the elytra, or wing- 
cases, and the edges of the thorax. The elytra are flattened in 
the most extraordinary manner. They are scarcely thicker 
than the paper on which this account is printed, and are of a 
horny and translucent character, so that they permit the legs 
to be seen through them. Indeed, so transparent are they, that 
if one of these beetles be held over a book printed in bold type, 
and the light carefully adjusted, the capital letters can be read 



through the elytra, and the general shape of the smaller letters 
be made visible. 

The colour of these elytra is dark red-brown. Their surface 
is highly polished, like shining horn, and is covered with 
rounded wavings like the marks left by the sea-ripple on the 
sand. The general appearance and colour of these strange 
elytra have been happily compared to the thin, flat, shining 
gingerbread called "jumbles." The edges of the thorax are also 
flattened, just as if they had been made of some soft substance 
and then pinched, and they are furnished with rather formidable- 
looking teeth at the sides. 

The legs and body are much blacker than the elytra, but the 
blackness is evidently owing to the greater thickness, inasmuch 
as the thorax, which is red-brown at the sides, where it is thin, 
is red-black in the middle, where it is thick. If the elytra be 
separated, the wings can be seen snugly packed away between 
them and the body, so that we may consider it to be among the 
flying insects. 

In consequence of its strange and almost eccentric shape, 
systematic entomologists were for a time rather puzzled as to the 
place which it ought to hold. Some wished to place it with 
the genus Sphodrus, on account of the structure of the mouth 
and the deep notch near the tip of the front tibiae. Some ranked 
it with the Brachinidae, or Bombardier Beetles, because it cer- 
tainly has, with the exception of the flattened elytra, a decided 
resemblance to some of the genera of that family. Moreover, it 
has similar habits to the Brachinidse, being always found hiding 
under some substance that wiU exclude the light, just as our com- 
mon British Bombardier Beetles are always found hiding under 
stones. Some thought that it ought to come at the very head 
of the Beetle tribes, even taking precedence of the Tiger Beetles. 
However, the multitude of counsellors has found wisdom, and 
by degrees the Mormolyce has settled down into the place which 
it now occupies; namely, tlie family of the Pericalides. 

Although a large Beetle, it does not seem to be a strong one, 
and, in spite of the saw-like edges of the thorax, its general 
aspect conveys an impression of feebleness. The head, for 
example, is small in proportion to the rest of the body, and is 
very much elongated and slightly flattened; the jaws are in- 
significant, and the legs give no indications of power. Indeed. 


the large and long antennae seem nearly as powerful as the legs, 
and quite as capable of offence. 

Like many of its kin, the Mormolyce is exceedingly variable 
in point of size, some being an inch and a half longer and two- 
thirds of an inch wider than others. This perhaps does not 
seem so very great a discrepancy on paper as it really is in 
fact. A quarter of an inch makes a very great difference even 
in a large insect. Just as an elephant of nine feet high towers 
like a giant over his companion of eight feet, or a man of six 
feet over one of five, so does a Beetle of an inch and a quarter 
in length look gigantic when compared with one which only 
measures an inch. It is for this reason that entomologists are 
so very careful in measuring the dimensions of insects and their 
several parts. 

Mr. W. L. Distant, during a recent visit to the British 
Museum, communicated the following particulars of this insect 
and its habits. Near Peuang there are a number of very large 
trees, on whose trunks grow large fungi, like the boleti that 
grow on birch, oak, and ash in this country, and are used for 
sundry domestic purposes. If one of these boleti be torn off, 
the Mormolyce is generally found hiding between the fungus and 
the bark, the crevice being so narrow that no one who was un- 
acquainted with the insect would think that so large a creature 
could find shelter there. It is much more active than might be 
supposed from its appearance, and as soon as it is exposed to 
the unwelcome light it runs off with such speed that a quick eye 
and hand are needed for its capture. 

Mr. J. C. Bowring, who took many specimens of the Mormo- 
lyce in 1860, tells me that both the larva and pupa are found 
under the same fungus. The strangest part of this curious 
insect's history is, that during its lifetime the flat elytra are 
quite soft, only attaining their hardness and stiffness after death. 
He took the insect both in Java and Peuang, and states that the 
specimens of Mormolyce phyllodes taken in Java were larger 
than those of Penang. Theie are now in the British Museum 
several specimens of the larva, pupa, and perfect insect, all 
caught and presented by this gentleman. 

Now let us pass to the name of this most singular insect. 

The word Mormolyce is Greek, and generally signifies " a hob- 
goblin." Literally, it is the exact analogue of oui" "bugbear" — 



the word Mormo, or Mormon, bearing precisely the same signi- 
fication as the old English Bugge, viz. some object of terror, and 
the latter portion of the word signifying " a wolf." There is 
certainly something very spectre-like and uncanny about the 
look of this strange beetle, which looks as if it had been smashed 
flat and in some strange way contrived to survive the accident 
and to maintain life in its flattened condition. 

The name phyllodes is also Greek, and is taken from a word 
signifying " a leaf." Indeed, anyone who is in the least conversant 
with Insects Abroad must be struck with the singular resem- 
blance in shape between the Mormolyce and the Leaf Insects, 
although they belong to totally different orders, one ranking 
among the Beetles and the other among the locusts and grass- 
hoppers. Just as the leaf insects can sit among the foliage of a 
tree and be scarcely distinguishable, even by practised eyes, 
from the living leaves, so can the Mormolyce, which is one of 
the groundlings, sit among the brown and withered leaves which 
have fallen from the branches, and be equally indistinguishable 
from them. Whether these remarkable resemblances were in- 
tended for the purpose of protection is very doubtful, but there 
is no doubt that, whatever may be their object, they certainly 

perform that office when- 
ever the Beetle ventures 
by day from the shelter 
of the fungus-home in 
which it generally hides 
itself during the hours of 
sunshine. As, however, the 
Beetle very seldom does 
so venture, its convenient 
resemblance to a withered 
leaf can scarcely be in- 

FiG. 14. — Enceladus gigas. tip j i» 

(Shining black.) tended tor delence. 

The tribe of the Siagonides is represented by the insect which 
is known by the name of Enceladus gigas. 

This is a remarkably fine and conspicuous insect, of elegant 
shape, and notable for the very broad collar which separates the 
thick, broad head from the thorax. The colour of the insect 
is very shining black, and the elytra are covered with bold. 



parallel, longitudinal ridges interspersed with deep pimctations. 
The thorax is very shining, and on either side, near the base, 
is a deep and large pear-shaped pit. A narrow groove runs 
along the centre of the thorax between the pits. It is a native 
of South America. 

I very much regret the name that has been given to this 
insect, as nothing could have been more thoroughly inappro- 
priate. The classical reader will remember that Enceladus was 
not only a giant, but a giant among giants, the leader of the 
rebellion against Jupiter, who was at last struck down by 
Jupiter's thunderbolts and condemned to perpetual imprison- 
ment under Mount Etna, whose flames were the angry breath of 
the imprisoned giant. 

The name of Enceladus therefore carries with it ideas of 
gigantic size, strength, and terror, and nothing can be more 
absurd than to give the name to any insect, especially one that 
is so slightly shaped as that which is shown in the illustra- 
tion. It might with appropriateness be given to some new 
species of whale, elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, or any 
large and terrible animal, but there is an absolute bathos in 
calling by the name of the dead giant who could only be 
vanquished by the thunderbolt, a pretty Beetle, several of which 
would go in the waistcoat pocket. 

The Graphipterides are also represented by a single example, 
Graiphi'pteriis "oarugatus. 
All the members of this 
family have a rather curious 
aspect, and have been aptly 
compared by Mr. Westwood 
to broad Tiger Beetles. 
Their bodies are all short, 
and the abdomen is broad, 
oval, and much rounded, as 
may be seen by reference 
to the accompanying illus- 

The habits of these 
Beetles are rather unlike 
Usually these Beetles are nocturnal, hiding themselves by day 

Fig. 15. — Graphipterus variegatus. 
(Dead black and white. ) 

those of the Carabidse in general 


under stones, in dark crevices, and similar habitations, so that 
they are seldom found except by those who industriously look 
for them. But there is at least one species of Graphipterus, 
which was seen by M. Lefebre in Egypt, running about quite 
actively in the hottest part of the day. This occurred in March, 
and the insect was seen near the edge of the desert. 

The same observer noticed that this is one of the noise- 
producing insects, being able, like our common Musk Beetle, to 
emit squeaking or creaking sounds. In this case the sound is 
produced by rubbing the thighs of the hind legs against the 
edges of the broad elytra. 

There are many species of Graphipterus, the most striking 
of which is, in my opinion, the insect which is represented in 
the ilhistration. The colours are simply "dead" black and 
white of a rather peculiar texture, which cannot be seen without 
artificial aid. If a moderately powerful magnifier be brought to 
bear upon the insect, the M'hole of the white surface is seen to 
be covered with exceedingly minute longitudinal black streaks, 
looking like the smallest imaginable hairs, so that by them all 
shine and ghtter are prevented. The dulness of the black 
portion is obtained in precisely the same manner, the hair-like 
streaks being best seen by a side light. The reader will doubt- 
less notice the shape of the elytra, which are very wide behind, 
and then squared off abruptly. It is a very variable insect, 
both in size and colour. This species inhabits Egypt. 

Nearly all the species of this genus are so pretty that I should 
very much like to figure them all, but our space is so limited 
compared with the enormous number of foreign insects, that I 
can only give brief descriptions of one or two. 

Tiiere is Graphipterus melanocephalus of Southern Africa, which 
is entirely dull yellow. But the yellow is only a sort of powdery 
coat or covering to the elytra, and is almost as easily rubbed off 
as the down of a butterfly's wing, showing the black elytra with 
their delicate punctures. In consequence of this peculiarity it 
is scarcely possible to obtain a really perfect specimen, and I 
should think that the only way of doing so would be to rear the 
insect from the larva. 

From the same district also comes Graphipterus elegaiis, an 
insect which thoroughly deserves its name. On the top of the 
head there is a spindle-shaped mark of deep brown-black, a 


larger on the thorax, and a still larger on the middle of the 
elytra, aU three joining each other. These marks are sur- 
roimded by a narrow band of pale golden yellow, then by a 
broad band of buff, and lastly by a second narrow band of 

Tlien there is Graphipterus Westwoodii, yellow, with a large 
butterfly-shaped black patch on the elytra ; Grapld-pterus cordi- 
gera, having a similar patch, but looking like a heart suspended 
by a string. GrapMpt&rus Senegaknsis is striped with narrow 
bands of yellow and buff- brown ; and Graphipterus exclamationis 
is black, with a grey mark on each elytra, shaped just like a note 
of exclamation. 

The generic name Graphipterus, or " written- wing," is given 
to the insects in consequence of the manner in which their 
elytra are decorated with marks defined as clearly as if they 
were drawn or written with a pen. 



The tribe of the AutMades comprehends some of the giants of 
the great family of the Carabidse — insects which are not only- 
large and powerful, but armed with jaws of enormous propor- 
tionate size. These jaws are, as is often the case with insects, 
fully developed in the male sex alone, the females having them 
comparatively small. From this fact we may infer that the 
great size, cruelly hooked shape, and sharp points of these jaws, 
show that, in the male at all events, they are not required so 
much for the purpose of obtaining food as of fighting. 

One of these Beetles, Anthia sex-guttata, is shown on Plate I. 
Fig. 5. The colour of the insect is black, and the spots are 
either white or cream-coloured. Both in the colour of the spots, 
in its general size, and in the development of its jaws, it is quite 
as variable as our own Stag Beetle, and it is impossible to see a 
series of these Anthias without being struck by the curious 
resemblance in these points between two perfectly dissimilar 
insects. The peculiar projections of the thorax are covered with 
pale down, sometimes nearly yellow and sometimes white. 

As to the habits of these insects, they can be inferred from a 
letter written by M. Westermann, of Copenhagen, to Mr. West- 
wood. The former gentleman had found in Bengal a curious 
larva, about three inches and a half in length, and, not knowing 
what it might be, sent it to M. Latreille, the celebrated naturalist. 
Mr. Westwood afterwards wrote to the discoverer of the larva, 
and received a letter, of which the following lines are an 
extract : — 

" Being on a visit in Burdwan, in Bengal, one night returning 
home, I observed, by the light of a lantern, the larva crawling in 
the road. T immediately took it to be the larva of some large 


Coleopterous insect, but had not the least idea to which it be- 
longed till the day after, when I observed at the foot of a large 
banian tree several Anthia guttata, which, however, I could not 
secure, as they retreated into holes when I came near them. I 
therefore ordered my palankin bearers to dig them out, when we 
at the same time obtained another of the larva found on the 
preceding evening. 

" Without being positive, as I wrote to M. Latreille, I now 
consider it to be that of an Anthia, and conclude it was in the 
habit during the night of leaving its hole and crawling about in 
search of worms. M. de Haan having observed to me that this 
larva appeared, according to his observations, to belong to an 
Elater, I informed him that on the very tree where we obtained 
the larvae from the holes at the roots, I found Elater fascipes 
(Fabr.) in great abundance, this being the largest Elater which 
ever came under my observation in Bengal." Mr. Westwood is 
inclined to agree with M. de Haan, saying that the larva, 
although found in the same locality as the Anthia, does not 
belong to any Carabidous insect, whereas it does present many 
of the characteristics of Elater larvje. 

To my mind, the insect which is here represented is the most 
striking and characteristic of the whole genus. 

The arch-looking jaws are of enormous proportionate size, bent 
rather than curved, and so long, that when they are closed their 
points cross each other even further than do those of any Ti^er 
Beetle. The thorax is developed in a most singular manner 
— a projecting, heart-shaped, shining-black shield guarding the 
junction between the thorax and the abdomen, and in front of 
the shield two flattened discs rendering the thorax quite as wide 
as the abdomen. In the specimen from which the illustration 
was drawn, these discs are thickly covered with yellow down, 
a narrow belt of white down runs along the edges of the elytra, 
and there is a good deal of similar down on the antennse. The 
rest of the insect is shining black. All the Anthias are confined 
to a few districts of Asia and the greater part of Africa. 

The hideling habits of the insect are well shown in M. Wester- 
maim's letter. Generally the Anthias prefer dry and sandy soils, 
in which they scrape small hollows as hiding-places in which 
they lie in wait for their prey. "In manners" (writes Mr. 


Duncan in the " ITaturalist's Library"), " and even in the figure 
of their bodies, they bear a greater resemblance to the Beetle 
named Broscus ccphaloUs, found abundantly on the sandy shores 
of the sea in many places both in England and Scotland, than 
to any other British insect. They partake of the form which 
prevails among Beetles accustomed to burrow in the soil, and 
which is best exemplified in the Scarites and Clivinse, or Mole 
Beetles as they are sometimes called, which live chiefly beneath 
the ground. 

Fig. 16. — Anthia thoiacica. 
(Shining black ; yellow down on thorax.) 

" The head is very thick and strong, fitted to make its way 
through a resisting medium, and the thorax is attached to the 
abdomen by a narrow neck-like portion, which admits of the 
anterior part of the body being easily turned in a lateral direc- 
tion, and therefore answers the same purpose as the flexibility 
of the vertebrate column in moles and other burrowing quad- 
rupeds. The hinder part of the body is considerably wider than 
the anterior, a circumstance never observed in burrowing Beetles, 
properly so called, as it would materially impede the insect's 
progress through its cylindrical excavations." 

It is one of the most variable of insects, and has consequently 
been described under several names. Some specimens are very 
much smaller than others, while the colour and arrangement of 
the down- clad patching differ so much that no one who did not 
thoroughly know the insect would be likely to imagine that 


such differently coloured creatures could be only varieties of one 
sjDecies. Sometimes the baud which edges the elytra is yellow 
instead of white, and sometimes it disappears altogether; while 
there are many specimens in which there is not only no white 
edge, but its place is taken by four large yellow spots. Most 
do\\'n-bearing Beetles are liable to similar variations, which in 
many instances are simply mechanical, the down getting rubbed 
off the more projecting portions and remaining in those which 
are hollow and therefore protected from friction. The present, 
species is a native of Southern Africa. 

The name of Anthia is scarcely appropriate when applied to 
this insect, or indeed to any insect whatever, as it was originally 
given by old Greek writers to some sort of sea-fish, and is there- 
fore singularly unsuitable to an insect which loves dry and 
sandy places. 

One of the most remarkable of the Anthiadae is Gypholoba 
Ranzonii, a native of Southern Africa. 

Fig. 17.— Cj^holoba Ranzonii. 
(Shining black ; dull rod inside the cells.) 

This singular Beetle has very short and powerful jaws, curi- 
ously short antennae, and a bold collar between the head and 
thorax and the thorax and abdomen. The colour is black, that 
of the head and thorax being rather dull, in consequence of the 
innumerable wrinkles with which it is covered, and which are 
too small to be seen without a magnifying glass. 

The chief peculiarity, however, lies in the elytra. These 
organs possess very strong longitudinal ridges, connected at 



regular intervals by cross ridges, so as to form a series of bold 
deep cells, six rows on each elytron, each cell surrounded by a 
wall of strong, shining black, horny material. These cells are, 
as it were, stamped so deeply into the elytra that their floors are 
exceedingly thin and fragile, and it is scarcely possible even to 
touch them with the point of a needle and not to break through 
the floor of the cell. 

Each cell is paved with a dusky-looking substance of a rust- 
red colour. At flrst I took this substance to be formed of yellow 
down like that on AntMa thoracica, which has recently been 
described. The magnifier, however, soon showed that it was 
not down, and then I thought that it might be a mere powdery 
deposit, such as often settles on insects which have been kepi- 
for some years. Mr. F. Smith, of the British Museum, kindly 
undertook to examine the insect more thoroughly than I could 
venture to do with specimens not my own property, and found 
that, though the powder could be removed by friction, it could 
not be touched by either water, spirits of wine, or benzine, and 
was clearly a natural growth on the insect. This is the only 
species of its genus, but there are Beetles belonging to allied 
genera which are formed after the same manner, and have their 
elytra similarly covered with deep cells paved with reddish 

The family of the Morionidse is represented by the insect 
called Hyperion Schroeteri, an inhabitant of New Holland. 

At a first glance this Beetle does not seem to be particularly 
worthy of notice, but a short inspection shows that it is too 
remarkable to be passed over without description. 

Its colour is wholly black, that of the head and thorax being 
of a satiny texture, owing to the innumerable punctures with 
which it is covered, and which are too minute to be seen by the 
unaided eye. There is a deep longitudinal line along the middle 
of the thorax, and a large, bold, deep impression on either side 
of the back of the head. Thei-e is also a deep impression on the 
forehead. The jaws or mandibles of this Beetle are very strong 
and powerful, and are remarkable for a very large tooth on the 
inner side near their bases. 

Like the thorax, the elytra are black, but are covered with 
bold longitudinal ridges, each of which is well rounded and 


highly polished, so that they look much like a number of ebony 
cylinders laid side by side. As is often the case with Beetles, 
a row of rather deep punctures runs along the outer edges of 
the elytra. 

The most remarkable point in this insect is the mode in which 
the legs are set on the body. A reference to the illustration 
will show that the hind legs are placed so far from the middle 
pair that they seem to be set quite at the end of the body. On 
looking at the under-side of the insect, however, it is seen 
that the thorax is prolonged enormously, the lower and hinder 
portion, caUed technically the meta-sternum, running under the 

Fig. is. — Hyperion Schroeteri. 

abdomen almost to its end. It is to this portion of the insect 
that the hind legs are attached, and thus the legs, which appear 
from above to be actually set on the abdomen, are really in their 
usual place. 

The tibia of the hind legs are boldly curved, and in conse- 
quence of this peculiarity Mr. Westwood proposed a new generic 
name, viz. Campylocnemis, or " crooked shin." Its name would 
at all events have the advantage of being intelligible, whereas 
the name of Hyperion gives no intimation whatever as to the 
appearance, general form, or the structure of any part of the 
insect. However, the name Hyperion has the precedence, and 

E 2 


according to zoological custom, although not nearly so appro- 
priate as Mr. Westwood's name, it must be retained. 

All the three pairs of legs are very short in proportion to the 
size of the insect. As the Beetle is long-bodied, almost cylin- 
drical, short-limbed, and possessed of powerful jaws, it has 
much the look of a boring insect, something like our own 
familiar little Beetle, Clivinafossor, which this insect very much 
resembles in general form. Nothing, however, is known of its 
habits, as is unfortunately too often the case with foreign insects. 
It is very rare, and neither of the two specimens in the British 
Museum is perfect. 

The important and interesting family of the Scaritidaj is re- 
presented by the largest known species, which is shown of its 
natural size on Plate I. Fig. 6. There is some difficulty about 
the name of this insect. It is called by one author Scaritarchus 
Midas, by another Scarites gigas, by another MouJiotia glorissa, 
&c. These names, however, have been resolved into two, both 
of which were given in 1862. MouJiotia glorissa was published 
a few months before its rival, and therefore is retained. Still, 
the first of these names is infinitely the better. The word Scari- 
tarchus signifies " chief of the Scarites," or, to transpose the two 
portions of the word, " Arch-Scarites ; " while the specific name 
Midas is singularly appropriate, referring to the golden lustre 
which makes the insect so conspicuous even at a distance. 

In this fine Beetle the chief characteristics of the Scari tides 
are well shown, and almost exaggerated. These Beetles have 
the tibiee of the fore legs broad, strong, and notched, evidently 
for the purpose of enabling them to dig in the ground. In this 
species the legs are not only powerful, but peculiarly long, and 
the tibise of the front pair are armed with three formidable teeth 
or spikes on the outer edge, those of the middle pair having two 
similar teeth. In fact, the Beetle has altogether a very spiky 
look, and would be very disagreeable if handled carelessly. The 
hind legs have not the spikes, but they have sometimes a 
tubercle or projection marking the spot where the spikes might 
be expected to be. 

For every reason it is a very conspicuous insect. In the first 
place, it well deserves the name of Scaritarchus, for it looks 
among its kin like an elephant among Shetland ponies. It is 


thickly and stoutly built, possessed of enormously laowerful 
jaws, and, in consequence of its long legs, stands rather high 
from the ground. 

Its colour is equally conspicuous. The head and greater part 
of the thorax and abdomen are dull black, but round both 
abdomen and thorax runs a broad band of most brilliant metallic 
colours, changing its hue with every shifting light, and scarcely 
any two portions appearing of the same colour at the same time. 
It is a sort of mixture of green and blue foil, fiery copper-red, 
and burnished gold, and is peculiarly fascinating to the eye. I 
should say that if one of these insects were walking at liberty 
in the sunshine, it could be detected at a distance of many hun- 
dreds of 3'ards by the metallic gleams of this splendid border. 
The middle of the elytra, black though they be, is yet handsome, 
being covered with parallel rows of bold rounded tubercles. 

As a rule the Scaritides are black and dull, so that the 
splendour of this species is all the more conspicuous. There 
are, however, two exceptions which are worthy of notice, both 
belonging to the same genus, and being inhabitants of Yucatan. 
One of these is called Molobrus yurpuratus, and has a broad 
purple-copper band round the elytra, and a very narrow edge of 
the same hue to the thorax. The second is Molobrus rotundi- 
flanis, which has its thorax surrounded with a narrow green 
edge, and a broad, red-copper band round the elytra. Both 
insects are, however, comparatively small. The name Molohrus 
is Greek, signifying " a glutton," and is given to these insects on 
account of their voracity. 

The explanation of the last-mentioned name indicates the 
general character of the Scaritides. They are pre-eminently 
carnivorous, feeding mostly on living insects and larvae. For 
this purpose they are well fitted by their firmly mailed bodies, 
their powerful legs, and strong sharp jaws, which enable them 
to pursue their prey into their very strongholds and there to 
devour them. 

Several entomologists liave observed the habits of this species, 
and agree in their accounts. They say that it is accustomed to 
burrow under cowdung, using for this purpose its powerful 
palmated fore legs, after the well-known manner of the Uor 
Beetles. It does not, however, burrow for the purpose of laying 
its eggs, but for the sake of feeding upon the larvse of the 


various Beetles whicli are found in such situations. It has even 
been seen to fall upon the Beetles themselves, though of great 
size, to pull them in pieces, and devour them. 

Like many other Beetles which are adorned with brilliant 
metallic hues, this insect seldom displays its beauties to the sun, 
but remains hidden in some dark place during the day, and only 
issues from its den after dark in search of prey. It is said to 
feed largely on cockchafers, which, like itself, are mostly noc- 
turnal in their habits. 

The sub-family or tribe of the Panagseinse is represented by 
several species, the first of which is the curious and rare Tejjlus 
Mcgerlei of Guinea. 

Fig. 19— Teftlus Megerlei. 

This insect is the largest of its tribe, though not the hand- 
somest in point of colour, as we shall presently see. Its colour 
is black, but of different quality in the thorax and abdomen. 
The former is covered with a whole network of small and intri- 
cate wrinkles, like those in the faces of Eembrandt's old women. 
The latter, which is rotund and much depressed towards the 
end, has the elytra covered with bold longitudinal rounded 
ridges, set widely apart, and having between each ridge a double 
row of squared knobs, rather longer than wide. These knobs 
break up the light in a very artistic manner, and, in spite of the 
uniform black of the colour, give a variety of light and shade 
that could hardly be expected from so simple a device. 


In point of colour, the two handsomest of the group are 
natives of Bolivia, and by far the finest of them is Brachygnathiis 
oxygonxLS. It is not half the size of the TeflQus, but is a most 
resplendent insect, its thorax being polished, shining blue, 
glossed with intense yellow, especially at the edges. The elytra 
are covered with parallel longitudinal grooves, very deeply cut 
and slightly punctured, and are reddish bronze, changing into 
green when the light falls obliquely on them. Another 
remarkable characteristic of this insect is the shape of the 
thorax, which is flattened above, and the two hinder angles 
lengthened into sharp points. The head is very small, and the 
shape of the head and thorax together is very much like that of 
a deeply barbed spear-head. The jaws are small in proportion 
to the head, thus giving rise to the generic name Brachygnathus, 
i.e. " short-jawed." The specific name, oxygonus, or " sharp- 
angled," refers to the peculiar shape of the thorax. 

The second brilliant species is Brachygnathus pyropterus, a 
Beetle coloured in a similar manner, though not so brightly, and 
not possessing the pointed angles of the thorax so proportion- 
ately long. The specific nsnae, pyropterics, or "fire- wing," refers 
to the fiery-red bronze of the elytra. 

Another species of this group is the East Indian Budema 
tomentosus, which is shown in the accompanying illustration. 

This is really a pretty, though not brilliantly coloured insect, 
attracting the attention of the 
entomologist by the strong like- 
ness to its little British relative, - 
Panagceus punctatus. The head / 
and thorax are black, and so are 
the elytra, except that near the 
slioulder and tip of each elytron 

.T • 1 n , Fio. 20. — Eudema tomentosus. 

there is a large yellow spot, (SlackandyeUow; Lairy.) 

which gives to the Beetle a look 

as if it were yellow, with a large black cross drawn upon it. 
The elytra are boldly ridged and very finely punctured, and the 
whole body and limbs are covered with very minute black hairs, 
which extend even to the tips of the antennae. 

The generic name, Budema (the " e " being short), signifies 
" beautifully banded," and the specific name, tomentosus, signifies 


" downy." Some writers employ the generic name Craspedo- 
phorus — i.e. " hem, or edge-bearing," — on account of the downy 
clothing which projects on all sides and forms a sort of edging 
or fringe round the body. There are several species of Eudema, 
and one of them, Eudema eximius, has five little round yellow 
&pots on each elytron, set like the number five on a die. This 
is in itself nothing extraordinary, but the remarkable point is, 
that there is a small variety of Eudema tomentosus which re- 
sembles the last-mentioned insect not only in size, but in having 
five little yellow round spots on each elytron. 

The many insects that belong to the group of Chlseniides are 
remarkable for possessing very similar shapes, colours, and 
habits, no matter in what part of the world they may exist. 
Their general shape can be seen by reference to the accompany- 
ing illustration. Their colour is some shade of silky green or 
brown, with a light edge, and their habits are to haunt moist 
spots. The sea-shore is the great gathering-place of these 
Beetles, which love to hide under heaps of decaying seaweed, 
where they find shelter and food. 

The present species is selected principally because it is nearly 

the largest of all the Chlseniides. 
It inhabits Senegal, and, when 
viewed among the long ranks of 

its kin, seems to be a very giant 
among them, so small are they in 
general. Some, indeed, may almost 
be ranked among the minute species, 
and the average size is barely one- 
FiG. 21. Epomis Croesus. fourth of the Epomis Crossvs. The 

(Green, yellow edge.) 7-, . . /-in i • 

name Epomis is a Greek word sig- 
nifying " the point of the shoulder-blade," and is given to 
these insects in consequence of the pointed hind angles of 
the thorax. 

This is a handsome insect, the thorax being deep polished 
green, and the elytra black-green, surrounded with a broad 
yellow edge. The legs are pale yellow, something like the 
colour of the band round the elytra. This is, as I have already 
mentioned, the typical colour of these insects ; but there are 
exceptions to every rule, some species being black, some entirely 


green, and a very few purple, while one or two are marked with 
a black cross on the elytra, like that of Eiulema. 

A MOST conspicuous example of an exception to a general 
rule is found in the strange Beetle which is shown below, and 
which seems quite out of its place, looking, in fact, as if it 
ought to have been among the Scaritides. Still, if the reader 
will compare the structure of the legs of the Scaritides with 
those of the present insect, he will see that they must belong 
to two widely different groups. The front legs of the Scari- 
tides are powerful, palmated, notched, and spiky, while those 
of the Dioctes are comparatively feeble, slender, without any 
palmations, and entirely spikeless. There are many other 
distinctions, but this is the principal. 

Fig. 22. — Dioctes Lehmaniiit 

The chief points in the shape of this insect are the enormous 
development of the head and thorax, and the very small size ot 
the rounded abdomen. The jaws are absolutely gigantic, and 
look as large in proportion as the bill of the Toucan or Hornbill 
does to the body of the bird. Then, in order to supply attach- 
ment to the large muscles which move these jaws, the head must 
necessarily be increased in size, and that in its turn requires a 
strong thorax to support it. 

The legs of this insect are very long in proportion to its 
body, and are liberally supplied with hair. The colour is uni- 
formly black, and the elytra are only marked by rows of very 
faint punctures. This Beetle is a native of Central Asia, and 


the specimen which has been described was taken at Dj&n-djan. 
The generic name, Diodes, is Greek, and signifies " a pursuer." 
The name Chlaeniidse, by which the whole tribe are distin- 
guished, is also Greek : it signifies a soft woollen mantle of 
silky texture, and is applied to these Beetles on account of the 
peculiar silken gloss of their upper surface. 

Next comes the tribe of Pterostichi. This name is formed 
from two Greek words, the former signifying " a wing," and the 
latter a "row" or "rank." It is given to these insects because their 
elytra are covered with bold ridges, set in rows or ranks parallel 
to each other. We have plenty of them in this country, mostly 
however small, black, and seldom noticed except by professed 
entomologists. They are all very quick and active in their 
movements, and, if disturbed from beneath the stones under 
which they love to hide, run to find another shelter with such 
rapidity that it is not too easy to catch them. One or two of our 
British species have received names expressive of this quality, 
among which is the generic name Steropus, or "lightning." 

One of the largest and most remarkable of these insects is 
given in the illustration on the next page. It is a native of 
Java, and is known to entomologists by the name of Catadromus 

This is altogether a big Beetle, and conveys at once an im- 
pression of very great strength. At first sight it appears to be 
nothing but shining black, but when the light falls favourably 
upon it, both the thorax and the elytra are seen to be decorated 
with a band of deep, brilliant, shining green. On each of the 
hinder angles of the thorax there is a large and deep im- 
pression, and the interior of that depression is of a similar 
green. The elytra, which are rather flat, are boldly ridged, and 
there is a sort of flattening at the ends as if they had been 
pinched while soft. Along the green edge is a series of rather 
large and moderately deep punctures. With the exception of 
the green edging the whole of the insect is shining black. 

Both the legs and jaws are exceedingly powerful, and the 
body is so formed, being of exactly equal diameter throughout 
its length, that the insect is evidently able to penetrate into 
places which would seem too small to conceal an insect of such 



dimensions, and to chase and destroy those insects and other 
living creatures on which it feeds. 

Its speed of foot is implied by the name Catadromus, which 
is formed from two Greek words signifying "running about," 
while the specific name of tenehrioides refers to its resemblance 
in point of general form to the well-known Meal Beetle {Tenebrio 
mnlitor), which is so prevalent in corn stores, and is the parent 
of the common meal-worm on which nightingales and other 
delicate cage-birds are fed. There is a variety of this insect in 

Fig. 23. — Catadromus tenebrioides. 
(Black, green edge.) 

which the colour, instead of being black, is reddish brown, the 
only sign of the splendid green margin being a very slight tinge 
of purple on the edges of the thorax. 

A SECOND example of this tribe is found in the insect which 
is called Homalosoma Vigorsii, an insect which looks as if it 
were made especially to show what wonderful contrasts can be 
got out of the deepest black. The insect is wholly black, and 
yet it looks quite lively, contrasting favourably with many 
insects that even possess positive colouring. The head and 
thorax are shining as if made of polished jet. The elytra are 
also black, traversed by bold parallel ridges of shining black 
like that of the thorax. The spaces between the ridges or ribs, 



if we may so call them, is soft, dull, dead black, very much like 
that of our common flat Silplia Beetles. The outer edges 

of the elytra are tiatteiied, 
highly polished, and fur- 
nished with large and deep 

The name Homalosoma 
signifies " similar bodied," 
and is given to the insect 
because its whole body is 
entirely black, without any 
admixture of colour, such 
as a green or coppery edge 
to the elytra. The specific name VyjorsU is of course given 
in honour of the well-known zoologist. The insect is a native 
of New Holland. 

Fig. 24. — Homalosoma Vigorsii. 

OuE last example of the great family of the Carabidse 
belongs to the tribe of Bembidiides. The insects belonging 
to this group are small, and many of them are brilliantly 
coloured. They can at once be distinguished from the other 
Carabidse by the structure of the palpi, both pairs of which have 
the last joint pointed, and so small that a magnifier of some 
power is required to show it, 
even in the largest species. 
The tibise of the front legs are 
notched on the inside near 
the tip. 

They are semi-aquatic in their 
habits, some preferring the sea 
and others the fresh water. In 
our own country, plenty of them 
may be obtained under the hillocks of seaweed which are flung 
ashore by the waves during a storm, and are left to peaceful 
decay and to be the home of sand-hoppers and other shore-loving 
creatures. Even on those coasts which afford easy access inland, 
and where in consequence the seaweed has scarcely had time 
to settle on the beach before it is carted into the fields for 
manure, the Bembidiidre may be taken in numbers, simply by 
following the men who carry off the seaweed, and in so doing 

Fig, 25. — Pselaphanax setosus. 
(Reddish brown.) 


eject hundreds of living creatures from their hiding-places. 
Marshy places, especially those which edge the banks of tidal 
rivers, are well-known haunts of the Bernhidiid?e, which abso- 
lutely swarm under the dead herbage, sticks, and other floating 
refuse which is so plentifully scattered about such lands. 

Although they chiefly feed upon dead animal matter, they 
can seize and devour living prey, even though the animal 
attacked be much larger than themselves. Thus, our own little 
Beetle, Gillenium laterale, gets under stones and bunches of sea- 
weed for the purpose of preying on the sand-hoppers, which, as 
everyone knows who has walked along a sandy shore and used 
his eyes, are fond of hiding under such shelters. The sand- 
hopper is often twice as large as the Beetle, but yet the insect 
seizes it under the body, holding on tightly with its notched fore 
legs, and so eating its way into the very centre of the creature's 
life, the nerve-cord that runs along the middle of the under 

The name Bembidiidse is taken from a Greek word which 
represented an insect of some kind. Its primary signification 
is " a whip-top," but it was also applied to some insect. Except, 
perhaps, that the active movements of the Bembidiidae may be 
thought to have some fanciful resemblance to the gyrations 
of a whip-top, I scarcely see the appropriateness of the name, 
especially as the Bembix of the ancients was an insect that 
buzzed, which the Bembidiidse certainly do not. 

The insect which has been selected as our foreign example 
of the Bembidiidse is a most remarkable little creature. It 
scarcely looks like a Beetle as it runs along, and even in a 
cabinet it is generally mistaken for a little brown ant by non- 
entomologists. In proportion to the general dimensions the head 
is very large, furnished with exceedingly long antennae, powerful 
jaws, and large, round, projecting eyes, — all these details point- 
ing to the carnivorous and predacious habits of the insect, small 
tliough it be. 

The head is connected with the thorax by a wonderfully thin 
and long neck, and that again with the abdomen in a similar 
manner, so that it really seems strange that the three parts do 
not fall asunder as the Beetle moves. The general colour of 
this curious little insect is shining reddish brown, excej)t its 
legs and antennae. The former -are yellow except the latter 


half of the thigh, which is black or green on its junction with the 
tibia. The long antennae are variously coloured in four tolerably 
equal parts. The basal quarter is reddish dun, something like 
the hue of the body, only lighter. Then comes a black portion, 
then one pure white, and the last quarter is black. 

The whole of the body is covered with bristles, which, though 
in themselves small, are quite large when compared with the 
size of the body. From this peculiarity the specific name of 
setosus, or " bristly," has been given to the insect. The generic 
name, Fselaphanax, has been given to the Beetle by way of a 
joke, on account of its very minute dimensions. It is composed 
of two words, the former of which signifies " feeling" or "groping 
by touch," and refers to the great development of the antennae 
or feelers, which are as long as the head, thorax, and abdomen 
together. The second word signifies " a king," and has been 
given to the insect ironically, just as the name of "General" or 
"Admiral" is given to a very small dwarf, and the sobriquet 
of " Baby" is often applied to a man of gigantic stature. 

As to the rest of the group, there is little of interest. They 
are mostly like our own species, so familiar to those who wander 
by the sea-shore or river brink and try to use their eyes. It is, 
however, worthy of notice, that not only do the Bembidiides 
approach the Water Beetles in their habits, but in portions of 
their forms. The reader will remember that the minute terminal 
joint of the palpi was mentioned as one of the distinguishing 
characteristics of this group. Now, there is a genus of the 
Water Beetles, called Raliplus — i.e. " a seaman" — which has the 
same joint of the same organ formed almost exactly like that of 
the Bembidiides. 

This necessarily brief history of the Carabidaj requires a few 
remarks by way of summary. 

In the first place, the word Carabus is apparently quite as 
inappropriate as is that of Cicindela. Originally it signified a 
" crab," which word indeed is nothing but a modified and con- 
tracted form of the Greek Karabos. So is the German Krehs, 
and so is the Latin Scarabceiis. It was also employed to desig- 
nate the cuttle-fish, on account of its mode oi crawling, the name 
being composed of two Greek words signifying "to walk on the 
head." By Aristotle it is applied to an insect which is evidently 


the Stag Beetle, but Linnseus was the iirst who gave it to the 
Ground Beetle; and though a protest was lodged against the 
name, it has been so universally employed that it will certainly 
continue to hold its place. 

Now as to the part which the Carabidae play in the world. 
They are of but very slight direct use to man. In fact, very few 
insects are directly utilized ; and with the exception of the Bee, 
the Silk Moth, the Lac Insect, the Blister Beetle, and one or two 
others, the hundreds of thousands of insects that inhabit the 
world are not converted to any direct use. 

With regard to the Carabidse, the only direct use that is made 
of them, as far as I can discover, is that in some places where 
they are very numerous they are collected and boiled down so 
as to extract the fat, of which a land of soap is made. I fancy 
that if the soap-makers in question were better entomologists 
they would not use for this purpose the perfect insects, but the 
larvae, these being iilled with fat which is afterwards absorbed 
into the complicated mechanism of the Beetle. 

For my own part, I think that this non-usage of insects is not 
so much due to the useless character of the creatures as to our 
inability, or perhaps negligence, in discovering their properties. 
I have no doubt that man had long inhabited the world before 
he found out that the bee which could sting him could also 
furnish him with sweet honey, and that he must have been 
many years on the earth before he discovered that wax had any 
other use than to hold honey. Then man must have been 
very far advanced when he could utilize the silken thread spun 
by a caterpillar; for he must not only have felt the need of 
clothing, but must have passed through the stages of leaf-dress, 
skin-dress, and cotton or linen dress, before the beauty and 
strength of the silken fibre could have attracted him. It is so 
at the present day, and there are many countries where silk- 
producing insects live, and yet in which no use is made of the 
silk, the men of those countries regarding the cocoons much as 
we regard those of the commonest English moths or the webs 
of the garden spiders. 

I cannot believe that the myriads of insects which surround 
us contain no more uses than those few which we have managed 
to discover and develop in so many thousand years, but think 
that we have neglected to look for those uses because insects 


are small and appear to be beneath our notice. Yet it is just in 
sucli apparently" insignificant things that the most important 
results are found. The steam-engine and the electric telegraph, 
which have altered the \vhole condition of civilized man, lay 
hidden for countless centuries in the bubbling of the pot and 
the child's amber toy; and so it may be that there lie still 
hidden in the insect hosts certain properties which may be as 
useful to man in their way as steam and electricity, and only 
wait for the hand of the discoverer to tear away the veil which 
conceals them. 



Considering the vast wealth of insect life which is seen in the 
liotter countries of the world, we might readily imagine that 
under a tropical sun every group of insects must be developed to 
the fullest extent. 

The practical entomologist, however, knows that this is not 
the case. Some groups — such, for example, as the Long-horned 
Beetles and the Ants — swarm in such vast numbers that the 
insect-hunter finds almost every rood of ground add to his 
collection numbers of species hitherto unknown to science. 
And, if another collector should go over the same ground, the 
latter is nearly certain to find many species which his pre- 
decessor had missed, partly on account of the different mode of 
working which any two practical men must needs adopt, and 
partly because the numbers of the insects are so enormous that 
it is hardly possible for one individual to exhaust the resources 
of a single district, however carefully he may ransack it. 

But, though some groups are so enormously strong in numbers, 
others are strangely deficient, sadly disappointing the ento- 
mologist, who thinks that he may add to the present stock of 
insect lore, information concerning numbers of species which he 
hopes to discover. Such a group is that which forms the sub- 
ject of the present chapter. In this country, where the hottest 
summer heats are barely the average of a tropical temperature, 
where the thermometer often indicates a frost below zero, and 
where for months together the earth is often covered with snow 
and the water with a thick coating of ice, the Water Beetles 
thrive wonderfully. They are marvellously hardy beings, revel- 
ling in the full blaze of the summer sun, and yet darting about 
in the depth of winter, apparently quite as contented with the 


water when covered with ice as when warmed by the hot sun- 
beams of July and August. Yet, though they are thus hardy, 
they have a manifest preference for warmth ; and in any place 
which is kept exceptionally warm, there the Water Beetles and 
their larvae flourish mightily. 

Close hy my house there is a little pond of this character. 
No wind but the soft southern breeze blows over it, and 
throughout the whole of the year every sunbeam that passes 
the barrier of the clouds falls on the surface of the pond. Con- 
sequently it absolutely swarms with aquatic Beetles, which can 
scarcely swim or dive through its waters without jostling each 
other; and if an ordinary insect net be simply drawn once 
through the water, it comes up laden with a large mass of 
kicking and struggling Water Beetles. 

Such being the effect of warm temperature upon the aquatic 
Beetles at home, it is but natural to infer that the ponds and 
streams of tropical climates, which are much warmer than those 
of our own country, would furnish a vast number of new species 
to the insect-hunter. This, however, is not the case, for the 
whole of the tropical countries put together scarcely exceed our 
tiny island in the number, size, and beauty of their Water 
Beetles. Our common Great Water Beetle {Dyticus marginalis) 
is about as large and just as handsome as the finest of its tropical 
relatives, and among the whole of foreign Water Beetles there 
are very few that are in any way distinguished from our own 

Mr. Bates, in his " Naturalist on the Amazons," makes some 
remarks on this subject. While at Para he was visiting a lake 
for the express purpose of collecting specimens of Natural 
History, but was much disappointed in one respect. "I was 
surprised to find no Coleopterous insects on the aquatic plants. 
The situation appeared to be as favourable for them as possibly 
could be. In England, such a richly-mantled pool would have 
yielded an abundance of Donacise, Chrysomelse, Cassidse, and 
other Beetles — here I could not find a single specimen. Neither 
could I find any Water Beetles ; the only exception was a species 
of Gyrinus, about the same size as Gh/rinus natator, the little 
shining Whirligig Beetle of Europe, which was seen in small 
groups in shady corners, spinning round on the surface of the 
water precisely as its congener does in England." 


After examining carefully a vast number of foreign "Water 
Beetles, I find that they are so exactly like our own familiar 
insects in size, shape, colour, and habits, that three examples 
wiU be quite sufficient to illustrate the whole of the Hydra- 
dephaga, numerous though they be. 

The species which is shown in the illustration, Dyticus latis- 
simus, is certainly the most conspicuous of these Beetles, and 
yet, as the reader may see, does not differ remarkably from our 
common Dyticus marginalis. 

Fig. 26. — Dyticus latissinius. 
(BrovvB, orange lines.) 

The colours are the same, though perhaps rather brighter. 
The ground hue is very dark brown with an infusion of o-reen, 
and this, besides orange, is the only colour. Eound the edoes 
of the thorax runs a band of orange, so as to leave a nearly 
square dark patch in the middle. Along the outer edge of the 
elytra there is a similar band, and there is another a little way 
inside it, running from the base of the elytron to the point, and 
rapidly becoming narrower as it approaches the tip. This 
second stripe forms the most conspicuous portion of the colour- 
ing, and is well shown in the illustration. There is also near 
the tip of the elytra a very faint and undefined stripe of orano-e 
drawn diagonally across, and looking as if it had been made 

F 2 


with a brush on a wetted surface. This streak varies somewhat 
in different individuals. 

The specific name of latissimus, or "very wide," is given to it 
on account of the peculiar form of the body, which is wider and 
flatter than our British species. The epithet, however, applies 
especially to the elytra, which are formed after a rather curious 
fashion. Although flatter than those of the British Dyticus, 
they are yet moderately convex as far as the second orange 
stripe. This forms, as it were, the crest of a ridge, from which 
the elytron is suddenly and boldly flattened, so that it looks 
very much as if it had been pressed under a heavy weight when 
soft, and then hardened while flat. 

Our second and last example of this family is an exception to 
the general rule among these insects. They are nearly all duU- 

. coloured, brown and black 

being the usual hues, relieved 
in a few species by the 
orange stripes which have 
already been mentioned in 
connection with Dyticus la- 
tissimus. As to any definite 
pattern, there is none what- 
FiG. 27.-nydaticus-festivus. ^^ therefore it is some- 

(Yellow and black.) ' 

what startling to find any of 
the family which not only possess bright colours, but are marked 
with a bold and sharply defined pattern. 

Such is the insect now before us, a native of the East Indies. 
It is exceedingly variable both in the details of the pattern and 
in the colour, and the present example has been selected as 
showing the kind of pattern which predominates. The colours 
are so exactly balanced that it is almost impossible to say which 
is the ground hue and which is the colour of the pattern, but as 
the dark hue is most conspicuous we will take that as forming 
the pattern. 

The ground hue, then, is always some shade of yellow, in 
some specimens pale, but in others becoming nearly orange, and 
the pattern is deep, shining black, so that it must be a very 
conspicuous insect when darting through the water. In some 
specimens, however, where the ground colour is very decidedly 


orange, the pattern is dark brown. The specific name of 
fcstivus, or "handsome," is given to it in consequence of its 
beautiful colouring. 

The Gyrinidte, or Whirligig Beetles, of foreign countries 
follow the same rule as the Dyticidse, being scarcely larger than 
our familiar British species, and resembling them also in colour 
and form. There is, however, one group of Gyrinidaa which is 
so utterly unlike the British species that it is well worthy of 
description. This is the genus Porrovhyvchns. 

This rather crabbed word is a very appropriate one. It is 
composed of two Greek words, the former signifying •' forward," 
and the other " a snout." It is given to these insects because 
their heads are lengthened in front to a point which projects 
forward like the snout of a pig or any similar animal. The 
word, by the way, might have been written with equal accuracy 
Prosorhynchus, and so the three successive "r's" might have been 

In these Beetles the fore -legs, which are used for seizing 
their, prey, are extremely long, 
forming a great contrast to the 
short limbs of our British species. 
The antennse are very short, thick, 
and straight, and the eyes are 
yellowish white, showing out " 

1 • I ,^ T 1 Fig. 2S. — Porrorhyuclius niarinnatu.s. 

conspicuously against the dark (Black-trown, with orange edge.) 

shining head. The colour of the 

insect is very dark black-brown, with a distinct olive-green 
gloss, and very highly polished. If the reader wiU. refer to 
the illustration, he will see that a stripe of lighter colour than 
the rest runs round the edge of the elytra. This band is yellow, 
sometimes pale, but in many specimens deepens into orange. 
The specific title tnarginatus, or " bordered," refers to this con- 
spicuous stripe. 

The general outline of these Beetles is very remarkable. The 
sharply-jDointed snout has already been noticed. At the shoulder 
the body is widest, and tlien narrows very slightly towards the 
end, where it is abruptly squared off. Each elytron, however, is 
furnished at the tips with two long and sharp spikes, the object 
of which is not easy to determine. If the insect be viewed 


sideways, it is seen to bear some resemblance in outline to a 
tortoise. The under surface is nearly flat, while the upper rises 
with a bold ridge in the middle, and thence flattens down to the 
tips of the elytra and the end of the snout. 

The genus Porrorhynchus is a very large one, and has repre- 
sentatives in many parts of the world. In the British Museum 
there are specimens from North and South Africa, Madagascar,. 
North and South America, India, and the Philippine Islands. 

In the whole of the Water Beetles, however diverse their 
size, form, colour, or habitat, one characteristic is common to 
all, — namely, the polished smoothness of the entire surface, the 
manner in which all angular projections are avoided, and the 
absolute closeness with which the elytra are fitted together, so 
as to be net only water-tight but air-tight also. This structure 
is absolutely needed, because, although finding their food in the 
water, and passing the greater part of their time beneath its 
surface, they are really denizens of air, and not of water. 

In fact, they play much the same part among the Insects as 
do the whales, seals, and dolphins among the Mammalia, living 
in the water though they do not breathe it, and imitating the 
fishes in mode of life though differing from them in mode of 
respiration. During their imperfect or larval life, they were 
actually inhabitants of the water, and capable of extracting the 
oxygen from it by means of gills, just as the fish do ; but when 
they attained the perfect state, the gills, or " branchiae," as they 
are scientifically termed, were lost, and another system of respi- 
ration was developed. Like all other insects, they then begin 
to breathe the same air as ourselves, but, instead of having the 
respiratory apparatus confined to the lungs, as is the case with 
us, they have it extending over the entire body, the tubes 
through which the air passes running even to the ends of 
the antennae, and terminating in a series of apertures called 
"spiracles" along the sides. 

Now, it is evident that if an insect has to fulfil two appa- 
rently opposite conditions — i.e. living beneath the water and yet 
breathing atmospheric air — it must possess some peculiar modi- 
fication of structure whereby the air is ensured admission into 
the spiracles and the water is kept out of them. These condi- 
tions are fulfilled by the structure of the elytra, which are wide 


enough to hang well over the spiracles, are sufficiently convex 
to contain air between themselves and the body, and fit so 
closely to each other and to the sides, that when they are closed 
no air can by any possibility escape. 

By reason of this structure the insect is enabled to take with 
it a sufficient quantity of air for respiration, and when it needs 
a fresh supply it comes to the surface, opens its elytra slightly 
at the tips, admits the air, and dives again in its perpetual search 
for food. The process by which the air is passed through the 
respiratory organs of sub-aquatic insects, has already been 
described in my " Insects at Home," and need not be repeated 



According to the system which is followed in this work, we 
take next in order a great tribe of Beetles which have been 
gathered together under the common name of Rypophaga, i.e. 
"refuse-eaters." As their name implies, these Beetles act the 
part of scavengers, feeding upon various substances, whether 
animal or vegetable, which would otherwise be decomposed and 
become nuisances. The exact order of these insects is somewhat 
obscure, and, indeed, it is not easy to fix the precise limit which 
bounds them. This work, however, treats more of the offices 
and forms of the insects than of the characteristics by wliicli 
their systematic arrangement is described, and we will theretore 
content ourselves with selecting some of the most important 
examples of each group of the Eypophaga. 

The first family is that of the Paussidse, and a most remarkable 
family it is. It is a tolerably large one in point of number, but 
all the species are very small, and require to be examined 
through a lens before their extraordinary structure can be pro- 
perly made out. None of them exceed half an inch in length, 
while the greater number ordy attain half that measurement. 
Mr. Westwood has devoted much attention to these curious 
Beetles, and for further information on the subject I must refer 
the reader to his monograph on the Paussidae, published in 
his "Arcana Entomologica," and illustrated with a number of 
coloured plates. 

They are all dull and heavy in their movements, from which 
habit they derive their name of Paussidae, that being formed 
from a Greek word signifying to "rest" or "repose." They 


have been taken in various localities. Some, which were 
captured at Sierra Leone, were caught within houses at night. 
They had been evidently concealed in the ceiling, and when 
the candles were introduced they fell on the table and so were 
taken. Some species have been found in ants' nests, and others 
under dry patches of cowdung and beneath the bark of trees. 

As to their habits little is known. Like most of the Eypo- 
phagous Beetles, they can fly well ; and several species, found 
in the Moluccas, the Sunda Islands, and Senegal, have been 
observed to possess an explosive power like that of the Bom- 
bardier Beetles, w^hich have already been described. Another 
curious property is thus described by Mr. Westwood : — 

" Afzelius also states that on looking at one of his specimens 
of Faussiis sphccroccrus (remarkable for the globular, glossy, and 
pale-coloured club of its antennae) in the evening, and happen- 
ing to stand between the light and the box in which it was 
enclosed, so that his shadow fell upon the insect, he observed, 
to his great astonishment, the globes of the antennae, like two 
lanthorus, spreading a dim phosphoric light. He adds, how- 
ever, that he w^as prevented from ascertaining the fact by 
reiterated experiments, as his specimen died. May not the 
reflected light falling upon the semi-pellucid livid-coloured balls 
of the antennae, give them the described appearances ? Or may 
it not be accounted for precisely in the same manner as the light 
emitted by the shining moss mentioned in Loudon's Magazine 
of Natural History, No. XV. p. 463, by the late Mr. Bowman?" 

On looking at a number of the Paussidas, the observer is at 
once struck with the enormous comparative size and strange 
shape of the antennae, which are as characteristic of these 
Beetles as is the proboscis of the elephant, the horn of the stag, 
or the long neck of the giraffe. Some antennoe look as if they 
were made of a number of flat discs strung together. A siniilai 
structure may be seen in some of our Eove Beetles, except that 
in them the discs are further apart. Some have their antennse 
composed apparently of only two joints, one very large joint at 
the end and a very small joint next the head. The terminal 
joint takes all kinds of forms. Sometimes it is globular, some- 
times pear-shaped, and sometimes nearly flat. Several species 
have the antennte looking exactly as if a pair of bill-hooks had 
been stuck on the head, the points outwards ; while others have 



them of a similar form, and notched like a saw below; and 
others, again, have them axe-shaped, and furnished with two or 
more long teeth. It is impossible to figure or even describe all 
the varieties of form assumed by the antennae, and I will there- 
fore select one or two of the most conspicuous insects. 

The first example is Homojjtcrtcs Brasiliensis, one of the few 

species that have been found in the New World. 

This little Beetle measures rather more than a quarter of an 

inch in length. Its colour is wholly red, without any markings, 

whence its name of Homopterus, 
i.e. " equal- wing." The whole surface 
is very delicately punctured, and the 
thorax has a channel on either side, 
just within the hinder angles. The 
legs are very short and flattened, 
and the thighs are grooved so that 
the Beetle can close its legs and shut 
up the tibiae into the grooves. The 
insect was taken on the Corcovado 
Mountain, near Rio Janeiro, by a 

negro in the employment of Mr. Miers. Tlie whole body is 

rather flattened, and the head, including the whitish eyes, is a 

trifle wider than the thorax. 

Fig. 29. 

-Homopterus Brasiliensis. 

The genus to which our next example of the Paussid^ 
belongs has been variously named. In Mr. Westwood's mono- 
graph it is called Platyrhopalus. 
This term is formed from two Greek 
words, one signifying " wide " or 
" broad," and the other a " war-club" or 
"mace." It is given to the insect on ac- 
count of the structiu'e of the antennae, 
the terminal joint or club of which is 
very wide and rather flattened, like 
the head of a metal war-mace. This 

enormous joint is so large that it is actually wider than the 
thorax, and indeed, if one of the antennae were detached 
and laid flat on the thorax, the head would be almost hidden, 
and the thorax completely so. The name Pherhopalus simply 

Fig. 30. — Flier). opalus donticni'uis. 
(Red; black marks on elytra.) 


signifies " club-bearing," and is scarcely so appropriate a name 
as Platyrhopalus. 

This is rather larger than the preceding insect, sometimes 
approaching half an inch in length, and mostly exceeding one- 
third of an inch. The large, flattened club of the antennae has 
a notch or tooth at its base, from which is derived the specific 
name denticornis, or " tooth-horned." There is a slight variation 
of form in this organ, some specimens having the club more 
pointed than others. It appears as if this remarkable club is 
formed by the fusing together of several joints ; and Mr. West- 
wood points out that in the present species, as well as in some 
others, there are slight transverse impressions which seem to 
denote the lines of junction. 

The same entomologist has examined in detail the structure of 
the organs of the mouth, which are quite as remarkable as the 
antennae, and has given many figures of them. As, however, 
su(3h details would scarcely be interesting to the general reader, 
however important they may be in a purely scientific point of 
view, I will only refer the entomological reader to Mr. West- 
wood's "Arcana Entomologica," vol. ii. Plate G8, pp. 75 — 78. 

The colour of this insect is bright chestnut-red, and the 
markings on the elytra are black, but have a slight tinge of 
red in them. It inhabits Bengal. 

The last of the Paussidae which we can mention is the 
Flwrlwpalus a'plustrifer , which is shown in the accompanying 
illustration. This singular insect may 
be at once recognised by the shape of 
the antennae, which have the outer 
edge developed into two long spines, 
the interval between them being 
deeply notched. The specific name 

ajplu&trifer refers to this peculiarity, '^^' ■^^■a"^^^"== 

being taken from the Latin word fig. si.-Pherhopaius apiu«trifer. 

o (Yellowisn red.) 

aplustre, which signifies a " pennon " 

or " streamer," the ends of which are mostly double-pointed, like 
the two long spines of the antennae. The transverse impressions, 
which have already been mentioned, are very apparent in this 
species, and are sufficiently bold to resemble wrinkles. 

The colour of the insect is yellowish red, without any markings. 


and the upper surface of the body is covered with very minute 
punctures and line down. This down extends even to the 
antennse, and is longest towards the ends of the spines. The 
head is rounded in front, short, and the eyes are yellowish 
white. The body is flattened, and the elytra are of a rather 
brighter colour than the thorax and head. This is one of the 
small species, being under the third of an inch in length. It is 
a native of Bengal. 


The systematic arrangement of insects is always a troublesome 
matter. There are, it is true, certain groups which are tolerably 
well marked by Nature; such, for example, as those which have 
already been described. But there are many others which are 
vague and uncertain to the last degree, and even in the best 
marked groups the boundary line is very undecided, while the 
order in which they ought to come, and the relationship which 
they hold to each other, are points which it is very difficult to 
ascertain. Such is the case with the insects now before us. 

It is easy to see that there must be some connection between 
the Rove Beetles and the Burying Beetles, but the exact succes- 
sion of the connecting links has always been a matter of doubt. 
In this work we cannot do better than follow the example of 
the British Museum, and accept the arrangement of Lacordaire, 
who traces the succession as follows: — First come the Brachelytra, 
or Rove Beetles, followed by the Pselaphides, which have very 
short elytra, almost exactly resembling those of the true Rove 
Beetles. Then come the Scydmaenidse, and so to the true 
Burying Beetles ; the remarkable blind insect called Leptoderus 
being evidently the connecting link. 

The name Brachelytra, which is given to this group of insects, 
is a very appropriate one. It is formed from two Greek words, 
signifying " short wing-cases," and is given to the Beetles be- 
cause their elytra, or wing-cases, ai\e so short that they seem 
quite incapable of concealing wings which are large enough to 
sustain the insect in the air. Yet, underneath these tiny elytra 


are packed a pair of broad and expansive wings, \Yhich in some 
of the species can be used almost as readily as those of a fly 
or a bee. 

The popular name of Eove Beetles is also appropriate. They 
are veritable rovers, ranging over earth, air, and even water. 
That they can fly well has already been mentioned. They are 
found in decaying animal matter, in foul or decaying vegetable 
substances, under the bark of trees, within the nests of ants, wasps, 
and even in the habitation of the formidable hornet. Some of 
them haunt the blossoms of flowers ; others, more darkling, hide 
themselves away in rocky crevices ; while some few species are 
actually in the habit of living on the sea- shore below high- 
water mark, so that they are submerged for several hours twice 
every day. 

As is the case with the groups which we have already de- 
scribed, the Brachelytra are but little represented in tropical 
countries, and, as a rule, those of temperate climates are superior 
both in size and colour to the inhabitants of tropical lands. I 
have, however, selected a few examples of foreign Brachelytra 
which present points of interest in which they differ from our 
own insects. 

The first insect is the Sterculia fidgens, a really splendid Beetle, 
outshining almost all the rest of its kinsfolk. The Sterculias 
are readily known by their very 
peculiar shape. The head is 
comparatively large, the an- 
tennae are very long, and the 
eyes are very small. The 
thorax is so narrowed in front 
that it looks like a thin, 
slender neck, and it rises in 
the middle into a bold ridge. 

Thp mflndiblp^ arp qmqll anH Fig. 3-.'.-Sterculia fulgens. 

ine manaiDies are smau, ana (MetaUic blue, purple, and copper.) 

are toothed at the base. 

The present species is found in various parts of the West 
Indies, there being specimens in the British Museum brought 
from Jalapa, Cayenne, Surinam, &c. There are many species of 
this genus, some of which have not been named at the moment 
of writing this account, and they range widely in point of colour 


and size, green and purple being the prevailing hues ; while in 
dimensions many of them are but dwarfs compared with the 
present species. 

The head and thorax of Sterculia fidgens is deep shining 
metallic blue, the head having a tendency to pink on the edges, 
and being covered with deep punctures. The elytra are also 
blue, but with a purple gloss, and deeply punctured, though not 
so boldly as the head. The abdomen is shining coppery bronze, 
and the whole of the under surface is blue, like that of the blue- 
bottle fly, and the limbs are of the same hue. It belongs to the 
family Xantholinidse. 

Another of these Beetles belongs to the typical family 
Staphylinidse. This is Stcqjliylinus versicolor, a native of Para. 
Though not as splendid as the preceding insect, it is yet far 
handsomer than any British species of the same genus, and 
I 1 deserves its name of versi- 

color, i.e. changeable coloiir. 
It is chiefly remarkable for 
^"''**^ '^^^i^iif-'K ^^"^6 enormous size of the 

mandibles and the peculiar 
shape of the head, which 
is large, and has a bold keel 
running along its centre. 
The head of the male, indeed, 
is much larger and wider than 

Fig. 33. -Staphylinus versicolor. ,, fhorfl-x- ^'hp crrpflt dp- 

(Biack, with yellow hair.) ^^^ luoiax, xuc great ae- 

velopment of the jaws ren- 
dering a corresponding development of the head necessary. 
In the female the head is comparatively small, and the jaws 

The jaws themselves are black, but in their inside there 
is a membrane covered with yellow hair. The head is dull 
black, mottled with yellow down, and so are the elytra, the 
down on them containiDg a slightly greener hue. The abdomen 
is black except the tip, which is covered with bright golden down. 
The insect is found in wet weeds, generally in decaying vege- 
table manure : indeed, it has a look as if it were meant to dwell 
in such places, its flattened body and drooping head showing 
that it is one of the darkling insects, meant to crawl into narrow 


recesses and there to pass away the greatest portion of its 

Shaped strangely like the earwigs, the Eove Beetles have 
several similar characteristics. A Eove Beetle is hut seldom seen 
in the open air, any more than is an earwig. Tear decaying bark 
away from a fallen tree-trunk, pull to pieces a fungus, turn 
over stones that are lying on the ground, dig up loose soil, shake 
the blossoms of flowers, and in each of these localities speci- 
mens of Eove Beetles may be found. Excepting the smaller 
species, which use their wings almost as readily as gnats, and 
really look very like those insects when flying, the Eove 
Beetles seldom take to the air in the daytime, so that even the 
closest observer has but few opportunities of seeing the manner 
in which the ample wings are folded and packed away under 
the tiny covering. "Whether insects abroad follow in this 
respect the examples of insects at home, I cannot say, but I 
never saw either of our two largest species on the wing, and 
only once saw the Eed Eove Beetle {Staj^hylimts Ccesareus) in the 
act of alighting. 

Mr. Gosse, in his " Naturalist's Sojourn in Jamaica," has the 
following remarks on an insect of this family :—" In Helmet- 
shells buried for this purpose, I found a Brachelytrous Beetle, 
which enjoys a very wide geographical range. It is Staphylintis 
{Creopliilus) villosus, which is so abundant in Newfoundland as 
to be quite a pest, crawling about and devouring the dying cod 
fish ; it is there called the Fish-fly. In Canada and in Alabama 
(U.S.) I have also met with it, but rarely, and now I trace it to 
Jamaica. The Brachelytra, however, are very scarce here, as 
are the carrion-eating Beetles generally ; their place is probably 
supplied by the Aura vultures. I only on one other occasion 
met with this foetid and disgusting Beetle." 

The family of the Oxytelidas is represented by a very small, 
but a very singular insect, called Megaloi^s cephalotes. In length 
it barely reaches a quarter of an inch, and, until a magnifying 
glass is brought to bear upon it, appears hardly worth notice. The 
lens, however, at once shows the extraordinary shape which is 
reproduced in the illustration. The creature seems all eyes, these 
organs being enormous in proportion to the size of the insect, and 
projecting from the sides of the head very much like two round 



dDor-handles. The generic name Mcgalops, or "large -eyed/' is 
given to the Beetle on account of this enormous development. 
It is the more striking because, as a rule, the eyes of the 
Brachelytra are small, and scarcely project at all from the head, 
as may be seen by looking at our largest and commonest species, 
the well-known "Devil's Coach-horse." What may be the use 
of such huge eyes is quite uncertain. At first sight it appears 

as if, like those of the Dragon- 
flies and many other predacious 
insects, they are intended to aid 
the Beetle in chase of prey. But 
the jaws are so slight and feeble 
that such an object seems scarcely 
possible. The specific name of 
ceplialotes signifies "large-headed," 
and is given to the insect on 
account of its shape. Without 
the eyes the head is not remarkable in point of size, but the 
head and eyes together are so enormous in proportion to the 
rest of the body that the epithet of " large-headed " is quite 

The general colour of the insect is brownish black, the head 
and thorax being very rough and wrinkled. The elytra are 
yellow, and the legs and antennae are red, the latter being tipped 
with a knob-like club. This curious insect is a native of 

Fig. 34. — Megalops cephalotes. 
(Black, with yellow elj'tra, and red legs.) 



Most of the insects which we ha^■e already seen performing the 
office of scavengers do that duty merely for their own sakes, 
devouring, and devouring largely, any decaying animal matter 
that they may find. We now come to a large group of Beetles 
which frequent similar substances for a different purpose. It is 
true tliat they do feed on the putrefying flesh of any dead 
animal tliat they can find, but that is not their chief object in 
visiting such substances. Their real business is to bury their 
eggs in it, so that the young may find plenty of food. 


The first family of this important group is called Scydmsenidfe, 
from a Greek word signifying " sullen " or " dull- coloured," and 

the name is given to the insects ^ ^ 

on account of the dull and 
dark appearance of most of the 
species. In our own country, 
the species, which are about 
nineteen or tw^enty in number, 
are very small, the largest 
being scarcely the tenth of an 
inch long. They are all more 
or less hairy. 

The curious Beetle which 
forms our example of the 

foreign Scydmtenidse is a native of Ceylon, and, like most of its 
British relations, is found in moist and marshy places, where 
there is plenty of decaying vegetable and animal substances. As 
may be seen by reference to the line above the illustration, which 
represents the actual length of the Beetle, though not a large 


Fig. 35. — Erineus iiionstrosus 


Beetle, it is quite a giant among its family. The actual colour of 
its body is reddish, and the surface is rather shining. It is, how- 
ever, coarsely punctated, and densely covered with dead pitchy- 
black and very coarse hair, so that at first sight the insect appears 
to be a black one. These hairs even extend to the head and 
legs. The body is very convex, the head is much narrowed in 
front and broad behind, and the thorax has a very similar form, 
except that it is rounded and not squared behind. Altogether 
it is an odd-looking creature, and is valuable to English ento- 
mologists as being a naturally magnified example of the minute 
species to which he is accustomed at home. 

The next group of the Carrion-Eaters is popularly known by 
the name of Burying Beetles, because they always bury beneath 
the surface of the earth the substance in which they are about 
to lay their eggs. They themselves do not know the reason 
why they are impelled to this act, but there is no difficulty in 
understanding it. The larvae or grubs, which are developed 
from their eggs, can only feed on soft substances. Their scientific 
name is Silphidse. 

There are many of the Carrion-Eaters which are strong- 
toothed, and can eat almost any animal substance that is less hard 
than bone ; but those of the Burying Beetles cannot do so, and 
must have their food kept soft for them. For this purpose there 
is nothing better than burying it in the ground, where it cannot 
be dried up by the hot sunbeams or liquefied by the wet, and 
absorbed into the ground before the grubs have lived their full 
larval life. That wonderful substance, earth, is the best pre- 
servative that could be found. The body of an animal, if covered 
with only a few inches of earth, decays but very slowly, and 
preserves its softness and moistness to the last. 

Of this property the Beetles in question are taught by their 
instinct to avail themselves, and, inadequate as their bodies may 
seem to be for such a task, they manage to bury beneath the 
surface of the ground any small animal that may be lying dead 
upon it. This they do, not by digging a hole and putting the 
animal into it, but by scooping away the earth from beneath it, 
and so letting it gradually down. 

Even in our own country, where land is extensively cultivated, 
and where in consequence comparatively few carcases are allowed 


to lie unburied, the Burying Beetles are very numerous, and 
their work is really valuable. It is chiefly owing to their 
labours that a dead bird, mouse, rat, or any similar creature is 
so seldom seen. In the first place, all wild creatures, on feeling 
the approach of death, seek out some retired spot wherein to 
breathe their last; and, in the second place, their bodies are 
mostly found and interred by the Burying Beetles before they 
become offensive to the nostrils. The sensitive organs of these 
insects detect decaying animal matter at wonderful distances, so 
that if a dead bird be laid on the ground and left undisturbed, it 
is mostly beneath the surface in four or five days. 

AVhen collecting these Beetles for the purpose of dissecting 
them throughout their various stages of existence, and watching 
the development of the various organs, I used to take dead birds, 
mice, rats, or even pieces of butchers' offal, and hide them away 
in fields, taking care to place them on soft ground, and always 
covering them wdth a flat stone so as to prevent them from being 
seen. The stone was no impediment to the Beetles, who are 
directed by their olfactory and not their visual organs, and in 
the course of a single summer I thus obtained as many 
specimens as were needed. 

Abroad, however, and especially in those vast tracts of land 
which have never been subjected to man, the Burying Beetles 
are, as might be supposed, larger, more powerful, and more 
numerous than they are with us, and perform good service in 
placing beneath the. ground those dead animals which would 
otherwise be allowed to decay upon its surface. Thus they are 
not only scavengers, but agriculturists, for they enrich the soil 
by burying beneath its surface those substances which would 
only be wasted if allowed to decay above ground. 

There is proverbially no rule without its exception, and such 
exceptions are found in tliis group of insects. Though the 
typical Beetles do bury decaying animal substances, several 
species do nothing of the kind, among which is the singular 
insect which is shown in the illustration on the next page. 

It is a very odd-looking creature, with exceedingly long and 
slender legs and antennae, and a very smooth and convex body. 
The creature is absolutely without eyes, so that the antenna3 
prol)ably supply their place. The body is red, and the skin is 


SO translucent that when the light shines on it, it looks almost 
exactly like a red currant, the convexity of the body adding to 
the resemblance. The generic name of Leptoclerus refers to this 
peculiarity, being constructed from two Greek words signifying 
" delicate-skinned." The specific uRme sericeus signifies "silky," 
and is given to the insect on account of a sort of silken gloss 
upon the surface of its body. 

The habits of the Leptoderus are as remarkable as its form. 
As far as is known, the insect is found only in one place in 
the world ; namely, Carinthia, in Austria. It inhabits certain 
dark caves, and is found only in the deepest and darkest recesses 
of the caverns. The caves in question are profusely adorned 
with stalactites and stalagmites, and in their crevices the Lepto- 
derus is to be found. 

It walks very slowly and 
deliberately, standing high on 
its long and slender legs, look- 
ing, according to M. Lacordaire, 
as if it were walking on stilts. 
Being blind, it cannot see an 
enemy, but at the least noise 
it stops, crouches low upon the 
, , ^ substance on which it is walk- 

FiG. 36. — Leptoderus senceus. 

(Translucent red. ) ing, tucks in its legs, lays its 

long antennae over its back, and 
lies motionless until it imagines that all danger has passed away. 
In such a locality it might appear to dread no enemy, but it 
has one foe which it may well fear. This is a spider belonging to 
the genus Ohisium, which inhabits the same place, and, curiously 
enough, is also blind. The reader may perhaps be aware that there 
are many examples in the animal world of the absence of eyes 
in creatures that live in total darkness. We shall come to some 
more of them among the insects, and in the higher orders the 
most familiar examples are the Blind Proteus (Proteus anguinus) 
of the Adelsberg caves, and the Blind Fish (Amblyopsis spelceus) 
of the Kentucky caverns. 

Now we come to the insects that really deserve the name of 
Burying Beetles, the first of which is NecropJwrus grandis of 
North America. The genus to which this insect belongs is a 


very extensive oue, iiuinbeiing a vast number of species, of 
which this is the largest. In the British Museum is a very 
tine series of these Beetles, and the observer is immediately 
struck with their great similarity in shape, colour, and in fact 
in almost every point except size, which, as has already been 
explained, has very little to do with distinction of species 
in Beetles. 

In this insect the general colour is black, relieved by a red 
patch on the middle of the head and another on the middle of 
the thorax. There are also two orange patches on each of the 
elytra, one near the shoulder and the other at the tip. The 
powerful jaws are black, and so is the thorax on the edges, 
which are very boldly flattened, much like the brim of a hat, 
the middle of the thorax being much elevated and rounded. An 
orange line runs along the edge of the elytra. 

Fig. 37. — Necrophorus grandis. 
(Black, with orange-red marks.) 

One of the most striking points in this insect is the preva- 
lence of a beautiful golden down. Between the head and the 
thorax there is a sort of downy collar, but the greatest develop- 
ment in this respect is on the tarsi of the fore-legs. The limb 
itself is quite black, and is armed with a number of sharp 
spikes. The chief point of interest, however, lies in the 
abundant gold-coloured down with wdiich the tarsi are thickly 
€lad, and which have a sort of sheen as if made of spun glass 
or the glossiest of silks. 


The Beetle which is here represented eau be at once referred 
to its proper genus, if only by the shape of the ridges on its 
elytra. It is really a remarkable insect, and deserves a fuller 
notice than our limited space will permit. It has a considerable 
geographical range, as I have examined specimens that were 
taken in Borneo and India. 

The general colour is dull black, and upon the elytra tliere 
are large spots of a paler hue, which evidently ought to show 
some definite colour. If a brush charged with benzine be drawn 
over the elytra, there is an instantaneous change, the lighter 
portions showing themselves as dull red, and the rest of the 

Fig. 38. — Necrodes gigauteus. 
(Black, with dull red marks.) 

elytra assuming a deeper black. Benzine, by the way, is an 
invaluable aid in detecting colour in dark and apparently 
uniform insects. It can be used without the least danger. It 
evaporates almost as soon as applied, and does not injure the 
most delicate of tissues, but, on the contrary, destroys any 
parasites that may exist in the specimen, and makes it peculiarly 
distasteful to any that may happen to attack it afterwards. 

The antennae of this Beetle are very remarkable in their 
structure. I can only describe the organ by likening it to a string 
of birds' eggs threaded on a grass stem, and tipped with a crown 
piece. The antenna consists of a number of oval and nearly 
equal joints, and at the end is one flat, circular joint, that 
irresistibly suggests the simile which has been mentioned. 

The head and thorax are black, and the latter is boldly, not 
to say coarsely, granulated. The thighs of the hind legs are 
enormously large and powerful, like those of the grasshopper or 


other leaping insect. This development is more conspicuous 
when viewed from the under side of the insect, the polished 
shining surface of those joints contrasting boldly with the dull 
downy surface of the under side of the body. Just below the 
bases of the hind legs are two large squared patches of dull 
yellow, and a quantity of yellowish down is scattered sparingly 
over the under surface. Like the preceding insect, it has the 
tarsi of the front legs adorned with golden down, but the tarsi 
are not spiked, and the down is neither so long nor so briglitly 

There is another foreign species of this genus which seems as 
if it were made to show the connection which exists between 
these insects and the Brachelytra. Its name is Nccrodes oscu- 
Imis, and it is a native of India. The body of this insect is 
very long and narrow, closely resembling that of a Eove Beetle, 
and the similitude is increased by the dull black of its long 
body and the shining surface of its short elytra. The specific 
name osculans, i.e. "kissing," refers to this resemblance. 

Everyone who has paid any attention to our own insects 
knows the Silphas, those rounded flat-bodied Beetles which are 
found in such abundance in dead and 
decaying animals, old bones, and 
similar substances. The banks of 
tidal rivers are always sure haunts 
of the Silphas, because the drowned 
dogs and cats are invariably left 
ashore some time or other, and the 
water has scarcely receded from them 
before they are assailed by swarms 
of Burying Beetles, Silphas, Histers, Americana. 

;[ ■, ,' . , . (Black, yellow thorax. ) 

Kove Beetles, and their kin, not to 

mention the flesh-flies, blue, green, and grey, and other insects 

of similar habits. 

All our own species are dull coloured, and, as a rule, so are 
the foreign Silphas, with one exception, which will presently be 

The fine insect which has been selected as an example of 
foreign Silphas is, as its name implies, an inhabitant of America, 
being found in Georgia. The general colour of the Beetle is dull 


black, and there is a large dark spot on the middle of the thorax, 
which is much raised and of a bright yellow colour. The spot 
is slightly punctured, and has no definite boundary, the black 
fading by degrees through various shades of dim and brown into 
the yellow of the thorax. 

Underneath, it is much handsomer than on the upper surface. 
If the insect be turned over, its actual body is seen to be quite 
small and narrow, the great width being obtained by the flatten- 
ing of the elytra and the ends of the thorax. The body itself 
is dark brownish black, while the thin edges of the thorax are 
yellow and translucent. The edges of the elytra are also 
flattened, and at their extreme margin are turned up into a 
sort of narrow fold, which is covered with bright golden down. 
The chief beauty of the insect lies however in the flat portion, 
which is deeply crinkled, and of a vivid metallic green, deeply 
punctured. The contrast between the dark brown body, the 
streak of golden down, and the vivid glittering green band is 
very striking, and quite takes the observer by surprise when he 
sees it for the first time, as the upper surface gives no indication 
of the hidden beauty below. 

I mentioned that there was an exception to the general colour 
of the Silphas. This is found in tlie insect which is appro- 
priately termed Silijlta ccelestina, a Beetle which seems to have 
transferred to its upper surface the splendid colouring which 
adorns the under surface of the preceding insect. The head of 
this beautiful Beetle is shining polished green, and the thorax 
has three distinct colours, the fore-part being red coppery bronze, 
the middle dark blue, and the hinder portion dark green. The 
boldly ridged elytra are ultramarine blue, the body itself is dark 
green, and the legs are dark shining blue, so that there is scarcely 
a more beautiful insect in existence. 

Many entomologists rank the group of Beetles to which our 
next example belongs in a separate family, under the name of 
Histeridse. They are all flat, square, black, hard-bodied Beetles, 
with skins so hard and shining that they look and feel much as 
if they were incased in steel armour. None of our English 
specimens are large, but many of them are so hard that when 
they are " set " the entomologist is obliged to pierce them with a 
needle before he can get the pin through their steely elytra. 


Tliey freqvient similar localities with the Silphas, and indeed are 
mostly found in company with them. 

The present species has been chosen because it is a very giant 
among its kin. It is a native of Senegal, and its very appro- 
priate name is Hister gigas, or the Giant Hister. 

The colour of this insect is black, and, in proper condition, 
the surface is highly polished. An old specimen, however, is 
almost invariably dull-black, this eifect being produced by 
innumerable scratches over the whole of its surface, caused by 
friction against the substance in which it has been burrowing. 
The jaws are large and curved, and cross each other at the tip 
when closed. There is a good deal of golden down about their 

The thorax is smooth, but tinely punctured, and the elytra are 
also polished, and marked with deep punctures, set in regular 
lines. The fore-legs, as is the 
case with burrowing insects in 
general, have very hard and power- 
ful tibiae, armed with projecting 
spikes. The middle Ifgs are 
thickly haired. Altogether this 
is a very common insect, and 
scarcely looks like a Hister, It z 
is so big, and so rounded, that it 

*=' n 1 Fig. 40.— Hister gisas. 

much more resembles one of the (steeiwack.) 

Dor Beetles, more especially as the 

armed fore-legs of both insects are almost identical in shape. 

The last of the Necrophaga which can be mentioned in this 
work belongs to the family of the Mtidulidae. None of them 
are large Beetles, and, though they belong to the Necrophaga, 
many of them are found on flowers, under the bark of trees, and 
in the nests of hymenopterous insects. Of these last, our own 
species are mostly found in ants' nests, but that which is here 
represented inhabits the nest of a wild bee, called Trigona, in- 
habiting tropical America and New Holland. 

The nest of this bee is very curious. It is not placed within 
a hollow tree or underground, as are the nests of most social 
honey-sucking bees, but is hung to the end of a branch, the 
tough wax being plastered against the boughs so firmly that the 


nest maintains its place in spite of its weight and the tossing 
which it undergoes in windy weather. The honey is not de- 
posited in continuous combs like those of the domestic bee, but 
in separate cells or " honey-pots." The wax is first formed into 

. , strings about as thick as crow-quills, 

and made into a sort of loose net- 
work, in the interstices of which the 
oval honey-pots are fixed, with their 
mouths upwards. The wax is of dark 
yellow-brown colour, much like that 
of old leather. There is a good speci- 
Fio. 4i.-Brachypepiusamitus. men in the British Museum, where 

the Trigouas {Trigona carhonaria of 
New Holland) have deserted their usual trees and taken pos- 
session of an old box, which they have half filled with the,ir 
curious combs. 

Within this nest is found the Brachypeplus, scattered among 
the sponge-like congeries of honey -pots and network. Its colour 
is very much like that of the wax, being reddish black, tlie 
former colour predominating around the edges of the body. Tlie 
name Brachypeplus is formed from the Greek word signifying 
" short tunic," and is given to the insect on account of its very 
short elytra. The specific name auritus, or " eared," refers to the 
two ear-like projections from the head, which, as in all the 
Nitidulidse, is deeply sunk in the thorax. 



ACCOKDING to the system of Lacordaire, the Beetles which next 
corae before us are gathered into a group called Pectinicornes. 
This word signifies " combed horns," and is given to these Beetles 
on account of the rather peculiar structure of their antennae;. 
The tips of these organs are not pointed, nor simply clubbed, but 
their four last joints are furnished with flattened projections 
which stand apart from each other like the teeth of a comb. 
There is no definite number for these projections, or " lamellge," 
as they are scientifically termed, and there are specimens in the 
British Museum which show that even in the same species con- 
siderable varieties may exist in this respect. 

In that collection is a series of the common Stag Beetle 
{Lucamis cervus), showing a most singular variation in the num- 
ber and shape of the lamellfe. Some have four lamellae, some 
five, and some six. In some the lamellae are shortened so 
regularly from the tip of the antenna towards its base, that it is 
almost impossible to define where the ordinary joints end and the 
lamellae begin. In some they are all very long, while in others 
they are very short, while one specimen has them so large and 
thick that they lose altogether the comb-like appearance, and 
look like a thick, flattened, solid club. 

There is another peculiarity in these insects ; namely, the 
extraordinary development of the jawS in the males. Our own 
Stag Beetle affords an excellent instance of this development, 
but some of the insects which will presently be mentioned show 
an enlargement of jaw before which the mandible of the Stag 
Beetle appears almost insignificant. So different an aspect is 
given to the males by their large jaM'S that they scarcely seem to 
belong to the same species as the females, and, indeed, in the 


earlier days of Entomology the two sexes were set down as 
different species. 

Then, in these Beetles a still further peculiarity is found ; 
namely, the great variation in size of the males, and the differ- 
ence in shape as well as in size of their jaws. It often happens 
that two males are found in the same locality, and that one of 
them will be at least four times as large as the other, while the 
jaws of the smaller specimen shall be comparatively small and 
feeble, and without the bold teeth and knobs which arm that of 
its larger relative. It is conjectured that this difference in size 
and development is caused by insufficient food during the larval 
state, as is known to be the case with some other insects, but the 
reason for the constant appearance of this arrested development 
in the Pectinicornes is not very easy to see, 

Owing to their great size and remarkable development of jaw, 
this group of insects has always attracted attention. Dr. Thos. 
Mouffet, in his "Theatre of Insects," written about the year 
1620, has a quaint description of Beetles belonging to the 
Lucanidse: — 

" Beetles are some greater, some less. The great ones, some 
have horns, others are without horns. Those that have horns, 
some are like Hart's horns, others like Goat's horns. Others 
have Bull's horns ; others have ram's horns ; some have horns 
on their nose : we shall speak of them all in order. 

" The Platycerus, or Hart's-horn Beetle, is called Lucanus by 
Nigidius, as Pliny witnesseth. Some call it the Bull, others the 
Flying Stag. . . . Amongst all the horned Beetles, for the shape 
of its body, length, and magnitude, it may challenge the first 
place, and is the most noted. It is blackish, of a dark red, 
especially about the outward cover and the breast. It hath two 
whole horns without joynts, and w4th haunches like a stag, as 
long as our little finger in such as are grown up, but they are 
less and shorter in the young ones : or (as Pliny saith) it hath 
long and moveable horns nicked with cloven pincers, and w^hen 
it will it can bite or nip with them. 

" For it will close them wilfully, and useth its homes for that 
end for which crabs and lobsters do their clawes. The eyes are 
hard, putting forth, and whitish : it hath fore-yards on both sides 
of them, one pair that are branched between the homes and the 
eyes, the joynt thereof making almost a right angle and two 


more breaking fortli from tlie midst of the forehead straight and 
plain, ending as it were in a little smooth knot : it goes upon 
six feet ; the fore feet are longer and greater than the rest. 

" Lonicerus makes this to be the male ; but I (if there be any 
distinction between the male and the female) shall not doubt to 
call it the female ; both because the other kindes of Beetles are 
less (for, as Aristotle observes, the males in insects are far less 
than the females). The male is altogether like it, but 'tis less 
both for body and homes, which, though they be not branched 
on both sides, yet, pressed together, they do more sharply prick 
one's finger than the female doth." 

The reader will doubtlessly have noticed the curious mixture 
of correct description and wrong theory in this passage. In the 
first place. Dr. jSlouffet evidently thinks that the small undeve- 
loped males are only young Beetles which will in time grow to 
a larger size ; and in the next place he mistakes the male for the 
female — stating, however, with perfect accui-acy, that the bite of 
tlie latter is sharper than that of her larger jawed mate. 

We \\-ill now pass to an example of these Beetles, the first of 
which is the Chiasognathus Grantii of Chili. 

I really hardly know where to begin in treating of this mag- 
nificent insect, which is equally surprising from its strange shape, 
its great size, and its marvellous colouring. "We have nothing 
like it in England, and it is so peculiar in its form that, together 
with a few other Beetles, it forms the family of Chiasognatliidai. 

This is a rather long word, but it is easily explained. The 
first portion of it signifies anything that is marked with a cross, 
like the Greek character ^ o^' ^^^^' ^^ anything that crosses 
another in like form. The latter half of the word signifies " a 
jaw," and we shall frequently find it as forming portions of 
certain insects' names. This name is given to the insect on 
account of the extraordinarily shaped jaws of the fully developed 
male, which, when closed, really do bear some resemblance to 
the ;^. The word, by the way, is not quite correctly spelled, the 
proper rendering being Chiastognathus. 

The form of the extraordinary jaws is shown in the illus- 
tration, but it is impossible by the plain black and white of 
printer's ink to give any idea of their colour, which is shining 
dark bronze green, over which plays a crimson radiance according 



to the slightest change of light. This crimson hue is strongest 
near the base and upon any projections. Each of the jaws has 
a bold curve downwards, and at the base is an enormous tooth, 
boldly curving forwards, and so large as almost to look like a 
second jaw. These teeth are never exactly of the same length, 
that of the right jaw being generally, though not always, larger 
than that of the left, and when the jaws are closed these teeth 
meet each other. The whole inside edge of the jaws is covered 
with small teeth, so that what with these little teeth and the 
large teeth at the base, the hold of the jaws is extremely 


Fig. 42.— Chiasoguathus Grantii. 
(Green, bronze, crimson, and gold. ) 

Measured along the curve, the length of jaw in a fine speci- 
men is no less than two inches and a half, while from base to tip 
in a straight line it is not quite two inches. 

The head and throat are dark, metallic, shining green, glossed 
like the jaws with carmine, this gloss being very conspicuous at 
the hinder angles of the thorax, which project in two long and 
sharp spikes. There is a curious tuft of hair on the antennse, 
just where the lamellae begin. 

The legs are coloured much like the jaws, and are armed with 
a multitude of thorny points. 


The elytra are also green, but have a silky sort of a look. 
The carmine gloss also belongs to them, and is most apparent 
along the edges and in the suture. The under surface is also 
green, but is covered with a quantity of golden yellow down. 

The female is shaped much like the male, except in the jaws, 
which are very short, stout, and rounded. Still, though they do 
not look so formidable as the enormous jaws of her mate, I think 
that if I had to be bitten by either insect, I would prefer the 
bite of the male to that of the female. She is green in colour, 
but the surface is not polished as in the male, and the green is 
altogether of a duller quality. 

This splendid insect is tolerably common in forests, where it 
is found upon the trunks of trees, climbing them actively, and 
even gracefully. The great development of jaw in the males 
appears to be for the purpose of affording weapons whereby 
they may fight for their mates. During their combat they raise 
themselves upon their hind legs and bite fiercely, the stronger of 
them breaking the jaw of his weaker opponent. Nine speci- 
mens of this splendid genus are known to entomologists, but 
none of them are nearly so large and so plentiful as the present 

The Beetle which forms our second example of this singular 
group is not so striking in point of form, but is much more 

Fig. 43. — Lamprima aurata. 
(Gold-green, glossed with copper. 

splendid in point of colour than the preceding insect. It is 
called Lamfrima aurata, and is a native of Southern Australia. 


In these insects the most striking point is the colour of 
the jaws. Generally among Beetles, however brilliantly the 
head, body, and elytra may be coloured, the jaws are either 
brown or black, whereas in these Beetles the jaws are not only 
as vividly coloured as the rest of the body, but in some cases 
are even of brighter and more conspicuous hues. Such is the 
case with the present insect, the jaws of which are shining 
coppery red, very deeply punctured, and their basal parts are 
black covered with rich golden down. 

The thorax is gold-green, covered with large punctures, and 
having a large deej) pit near each of the hinder angles. If 
examined with a moderately powerful lens, it is seen that the 
spaces between the large punctures are filled with innumerable 
tiny punctures, much too minute to be detected by the unaided 
eye. It is to these multitudinous punctures that the peculiar 
gloss of the surface is due. 

The elytra are also gold-green, with a wash of coppery red, 
and at the shoulder of each elytron there is a large shallow pit. 
Like the thorax, the elytra are boldly punctured, but the lens 
shows that the whole of the surface is covered with the minutest 
imaginable furrows, drawn as if with a needle's point, from one 
puncture to another, in a sort of irregular pattern. The colour 
of the under surface is nearly the same as that of the upper. 

There are many species of this genus, which seems to be re- 
stricted to Australia. They are of all colours — azure blue, coppeiy 
red, emerald green, dark green, gold bronze, &c. ; so that a collec- 
tion of them is at first sight absolutely dazzling to the eyes. 
Not only does the colour thus vary, but... even in each species 
there is considerable variation in colours, so that in describing 
them it is necessary to select the average colouring of the species 
generally, and not that ol any individual specimen. The name 
of Lamprima is taken from the Greek, and signifies anyone 
that is adorned with gorgeous clothing, so that it is a very appro- 
priate title for so brilliant a genus. The name of auratus, or 
" gilded," which is given to the species, alludes to the conspicuous 
golden gloss which plays over the green surface as the light 

Next come the Lucanides, or true Stag Beetles, of which our 
common British Stag Beetle is so familiar an example. One of 



the finest foreign Stag Beetles is Cladognathus giraffa, which is 
represented in the accompanying illustration. There is nothing 
remarkable in the colouring of this insect, which is very much 
like that of our own Stag Beetle, i.e. brown-black, with a tinge 
of chestnut-red on the elytra. But it is a very striking insect 
on accovmt of its size and the shape of its formidable jaws. 
Their usual form in the fully developed male is shown m the 
illustration. They bear some resemblance to the gnarled boughs 
of a leafless oak-tree, and hence have secured for the genus the 
name of Cladognathus, i.e. " branch-jaw." 

V "^ 

Fig. 44. — Cladognathus giraffa. Male. 

The reader will probably notice that the upper portion of each 
jaw is formed into three strong teeth, the third of which is much 
the largest. In no instance do these teeth exactly coincide with 
each other in both jaws, but in every case one is placed a little 
higher or lower than its companion tooth, so that when the jaws 
are closed the teeth cross each other, but do not meet. Beside 
these three principal teeth there is a row of saw-like projections 
on the inner side of the jaws, and at the base is a large rounded 
projection which seems to serve the purpose of adding to the 
firmness of the articulation. In colour the jaws are shining 



If examined with a lens, the soft and almost velvety surface 
of the head and thorax is seen to be caused by an innumerable 
multitude of very minute projections or pustules, all perfectly 
circular, and placed just so closely together as to allow a small 
rins: of level surface to be seen round each of them. When 
viewed with light that falls directly upon the surface, these 
rings appear to be not circles, but hexagons, just like the lenses 
of the insect's compound eye, or, to use a familiar example, 
like those glass tumblers whose outer surface is covered with 
small hemispherical knobs. The elytra are smooth to the naked 
eye, but under the lens they are seen to be profusely covered 
with very small punctures. 

The female has remarkably small jaws, which, as well as her 
head, are covered with large and deep punctures. As her head 
has not to support such enormous jaws as those of the male, it 

Fio. 45.— Cladognathus giraffa. Female. 

is small in proportion to the jaws, and in consequence gives her 
an aspect very unlike that of her formidable mate. 

There is no species of Lucanidae in which the variation in the 
jaws of the fully and partially developed males is so marked as 
in this insect. In the collection of the British Museum there is 
a fine series of specimens, showing an amount of variation which 
would make anyone but an experienced entomologist believe 
that insects so different in size and shape must belong to dif- 
ferent species. Indeed, as we shall presently see, many such 
varieties have actually been described and figured as different 
species. In one of these small males the jaws are not half as 
large as in the fully developed insect, and the boldly branch- 


shaped projections from which the genus derives its name are 
represented by three little teeth, none of them larger than the 
saw-like scoopings on the jaw of the large insect. But the most 
conspicuous example of all is one in which the entire jaw is not 
much more than one-third of an inch in length, is scarcely 
thicker than a common worsted needle, and has only one very 
slight and blunt tooth near the middle. 

It is rather remarkable that, however small may be the 
insect, however feeble its jaws, and however destitute these 
organs may be of the branch-like teeth which render the jaws of 
the fully-developed insect so formidable, the rounded projection 
near the base is never absent. It differs in size according to the 
dimensions of the jaw ; but whether the latter be large or small, 
the rounded knob is always there. 

The genus Cladognathus contains an astonishing number of 
species. Major Parry enumerates and describes no less than 
fifty-four, and it is almost certain that others wiU be discovered 
as the habits and haunts of the Beetles become better known. 
In order to show how different are these species in colour, form, 
and size, I will briefly mention one or two of them. There is 
Cladognathus cinnamonca, the largest specimen of which is not 
half the size of the ordinary giraffa, the elytra of which are 
entirely of that peculiar w^arm yellow-brown which is so familiar 
to us in the cinnamon, the thorax and head being black-browm. 
Then there is Cladognathus vittatus, quite a small insect, scarcely 
as large as our common Ground Beetles. Like the preceding 
insect, it has the elytra cinnamon yellow, but upon each of them 
is drawn a bold black band, or vitta, in consequence of which the 
name vittata has been given to the species. 

Another is Cladognathus occipitalis, which in point of colour 
is perhaps the most conspicuous of the species. It is almost 
entirely yellow, but on the thorax there are two bold oval spots 
of shining black, each spot rising to a ridge ; there is a similar 
spot, but -diamond-shaped, on the middle of the thorax, and a 
black line is drawn along the sutures and round the edges of 
the elytra. 

Although not the most striking in colour, yet, in my opinion, 
the handsomest in that respect is Cladognathus inquinatus. In 
this species the head and thorax are shining black, and the 
elytra are warm, ruddy chestnut. But each of the elytra is 

H 2 


edged with deep black, and a broad belt of the same colour runs 
along the sutures almost as far as the tip. Indeed, if other 
species were not known, we should have some difficulty in 
deciding whether black or yellow is the ground-tint of the elytra, 
so evenly are the two colours balanced. 

There is one group of Oriental Stag Beetles which have the 
elytra more or less dun, upon which is a certain amount of 
black. They are gathered together under the generic title of 
Odontoldbris, a term composed of two Greek words signifying 
" toothed forceps," and given to the Beetles on account of the 
powerful teeth with which their pincer-like jaws are armed. 
In all the species belonging to this genus, the eyes are com- 
pletely divided by a horny projection technically named the 
" canthus," the club of the antennse is formed of three joints, 
and in the males the tibiae of the front pair of feet are armed 
with spines on their outside edges, the corresponding joints in 
the other limbs being smooth. 

It is an extremely puzzling genus, owing to the extraordinary 
variation of form, size, and colour which prevails throughout it, 
and which is so erratic that our best entomologists have been 
perplexed about the systematic arrangement of the insects. The 
insect which has been selected as an example is so variable that 
it has been described and figured under different names, the so- 
called species having been afterwards proved to be nothing more 
than varieties. The name of this species is Odontolahris Cuvera, 
and the specimen from which the drawing was taken is a good 
average example of the colouring. 

The head is large and squared, and in the front the upper edge 
is flattened and turned up something like the brim of a hat. 
The thorax is also squared, and at the hinder angles there are 
two sharp points, separated by a deep rounded notch. Both 
head and thorax are black. If the insect be turned over, each 
side of the head is seen to be covered with a multitude of pits 
about as large as those in a lady's thimble, .a few of them, how- 
ever, being much larger than the others. 

The elytra are warm yellow, and down their middle runs a 
large black patch, shaped as shown in the illustration. Generally, 
a narrow line of warm orange runs along the edge of the elytra 
and skirts the black patch, but the variation in the depth and 


extent of colour is so great, that scarcely any two specimens are 
exactly alike. Some, for example, have the elytra nearly all 
black, some are almost entirely brown, and some have scarcely 
any black about them. It has already been mentioned that in 
the Lucanidae the males are liable to extreme variation in size, 
and it is rather remarkable that in this genus the females are 
principally varied in colour. This Beetle inhp,bits China and 
Northern India, and it is thought that certain well-marked 
varieties occur within certain geographical limits, as is the case 
with the Chinese Tiger Beetle. 

Fig. 46 — Odontolabris Cuvera. 
(Black and warm yellow. ) 

There are several acknowledged species of the genus, the 
largest of which is Odontolabris dux, a really gigantic insect 
Not only is it four inches in length, but it is broad, sturdy, and 
thick-set, and must be enormously powerful. When I first saw 
the splendid specimen in the British Museum, it recalled to my 
mind a saying of a well-known German physiologist, who occu- 
pied the table next to mine in the dissecting-room. " Ach," he 
muttered, sotto voce, " I wish a peetle so pig as a lopster." The 
incident had almost been forgotten, when the sight of this 
splendid insect recalled it to my mind, and I could not help 

thinking that if Dr. C could only have possessed the insect 

before it was pinned and dried, his desire for " a peetle so pig as 


a lopster " would ha^'e been gratified. The colour of this large 
insect is wholly black, except a slight edging of golden down on 
the front and hinder edge of the thorax, and a coating of similar 
down on the inside of the tibiae of the four hinder legs. 

The Beetle which is shown in the accompanying illustration 
is, though not so large as the preceding insect, a very conspi- 
cuous species, on account of its splendid metallic colouring. The 
colour is not easily described, for the green and red vary so 
much according to the light in which the insect is viewed, that 
the Beetle may with equal truth be called green glossed with 
red, or red glossed with green. The head is very large, and the 
thorax comparatively small. The antennae, jaws, and legs are 
long in proportion to the size of the body. The club of the 
antennae possesses four joints, and each jaw has several small 

Fie. 47. — Cyclommatus tarandus. 
(Red, glossed with gold-green.) 

teeth near the tip, and two much larger teeth placed so as to 
divide the jaw into three tolerably equal portions. 

The colour of the jaws is very beautiful, and arranged in a 
rather singular manner. As far as I can make out by careful 
examination, the original hue is metallic red, with a tinge of 
brown. But their whole surface is covered with a multitude of 
punctures, and the interior of each puncture is deep, shining 
green. Thus the reader wUl see that if lighted from above, 
when the interior of the punctures becomes illuminated, the green 
predominates over the red ; whereas, if the light falls on the 
insect from the side, the interior of the punctures is thrown into 


shade, and so the hrown-red of the surface predominates over 
the green. ^ 

The thorax is covered with multitudinous bold punctures, 
between which run a vast number of tiny wrinkles, too minute 
to be detected by the unaided eye. The general hue of the 
elytra is yellowish green, with a peculiarly satiny gloss, while a 
narrow strip of dark metallic green runs on either side of the 
suture. Below, the insect is wholly green, but not nearly so 
bright as above. 

There is, liowever, considerable variation in the colour, some 
specimens being almost wholly brown, and their mandibles 
very small and without the large teeth. One such specimen has 
jaws only about half an inch in length. Near the tip there is a 
row of sixteen very tiny teeth, then a large rounded notch, and 
then another row of minute teeth near the base. 

The female is smaller than the male, has very small and com- 
paratively feeble jaws, and is not so brilliantly coloured as her 
mate. The colouring of an average specimen is as follows : — The 
head and thorax are brown with a cast of green, and covered 
with large punctures. The elytra are reddish-brown, like new 
mahogany, and upon them deep circular punctures are plenti- 
fully scattered, between which are a vast number of tiny wrinkles. 

The generic name of Cydommatus, given to this Beetle and 
its kin, is formed from two Greek words signifying " circle-eyed," 
or "round-eyed." It is given to them because the eyes, instead o£ 
being completely severed by the " ca-nthus " as in the preceding 
insects, so that they look rather like four than two eyes, are 
barely indented by it, and are therefore almost circular. The 
insect comes from Borneo. 

According to the system of Lacordaire, the Beetles of which 
our common Dorcus is a familiar example are separated into a 
distinct group called Dorcides, which is chiefly distinguished by 
the club of the antennae. This consists of four joints, and the 
projections are flatter than in the Stag Beetles. The whole body, 
too, is rather flattened. 

Our insect is a small one, measuring only an inch in length, 
but the gigantic Beetle which represents the foreign Dorcidse is 
four times that length, and correspondingly large in every respect 
Its name is Eurytraclielus Titan. 



Both names are appropriate. The generic name, Eurytrachelus, 
is formed from two Greek words signifying " broad-necked," and, 
as may be seen by reference to the illustration, one of the principal 
characteristics of the insect is its thick, sturdy form, the neck being 
as wide as any part of the body, and hardly any break of outline 
denoting the distinction between head, thorax, and abdomen. 
This peculiar form is the sure sign of a boring insect, and enables 
the creature to pass easily through passages in which any differ- 
ence in diameter would cause it to stick fast. The name Titan 
is taken from that of the well-known mythological giant, the 

Pig. 48. — Eurytrachelus Titan. 

eldest brother and rival of Satui^n. This is indeed a very Titan 
among the Dorcidee, though there is one of them, Dorcus Antceus, 
which does not fall very far short of the dimensions of the Titan. 
It is scarcely necessary to remind the classical reader that 
Antaeus was another of the race of giants, and that his name 
is in consequence conferred upon a gigantic insect. 

When the enormous and powerful jaws of the insect are 
closed, their armed points cross each other considerably, the 
right jaw passing above the left. The formidable teeth which 
spring from the centre of the jaw not only cross, but one passes 


just uuder the other, so that wlien the mandibles are tightly 
closed, scarcely any space is left between them. 

The colour of this Beetle is simply black, but it has a sort of 
satiny appearance which can only be explained by the magnify- 
ing glass. To the unaided eye both the elytra and the rest of 
the body have the satiny gloss, but with a difference of texture, 
like that of two qualities of satin. How this difference is ob- 
tained the lens reveals. The head and thorax are covered with 
myriads of raised semi-globular prominences, very similar in shape 
to those which stud the petal of a flower — say a geranium, and 
give it the peculiar softness wdiich no pencil can even approach. 

If we double a petal of a geranium, and place the folded 
portion under the microscope so as to look along it, we shall 
find that the edge, instead of being quite straight, is studded 
with a row of little semi-conical projections, thus -^^—^ ^-^.-v-^/-^ j 
each being in fact a partially developed hair. Now, if we take a 
portion of the present insect, or of any insect which possesses 
a similar texture of surface, and manage to get a side view of it, 
we shall find that it is studded with almost similar projections, 
they being partially developed spines or spikes. If, however, 
we shift our lens to the elytra, we shall see the difference of 
texture at once explained ; for the surface, instead of being 
studded with little projections or " pustules," is covered with 
little hollows or punctures, each much the same size as the 

There are many foreign Dorcidae, one of which, Dorcus Antceus, 
has already been mentioned. The only other species that pre- 
sents any distinctive points is Dorcus Dehaanii. The elytra of 
the female are covered with parallel rows of shining black ridges, 
and between each of the ridges is a double row of very large 
and deep punctures. These punctures are as dull as the ridges 
are bright, so that there is a very bold contrast between them. 

There is a small British Beetle, familiar to entomologists who 
know where to look for it, but scarcely ever seen by others. 
It is called Sinodendron cylindricum, and it inhabits decaying 
wood, being generally found within fallen ash-trees. Its cylin- 
drical body points it out at once as a boring Beetle, as does that 
of the Dorcus, and, indeed, these two insects are often found 
inhabiting: the same tree. 


Just as we have seen foreign examples of the Dorcus, so the 
Cer%tchus striatus of Vancouver's Island appears a good example 
of the foreign Sinodendron. It is larger than our British species, 
and has the surface even more conspicuously marked. It gains 
its generic name of Geruchus, or " horn-bearing," from the two 
horn-like projections of the head, which are but slightly indi- 
cated in the Sinodendron. When viewed sideways, the head is 
seen to be bent downwards, flattened and shovel-shaped, so as to 

assist the Beetle in forcing its way 
through the material in which it 
lives. Both in the larval and perfect 
states, these insects, as well as the 
Dorcus, inhabit rotten wood, so that 
the infrequency of their appearance 
in the open air is easily accounted for. 
The surface of the insect is broken 
up in a very complicated fashion. The 
^'^- *9.-ceruchus striatus. j^g^d is covcred with large punctures, 

(Shining black.) , . 

and so is the thorax, which has also 
two depressions or pits on each side, so large that they almost 
look as if they were injuries. The elytra are covered with 
bold ridges, and both they and the furrows between them 
are profusely covered with large punctures. According to the 
system of Lacordaire, this insect forms one of a group called 

The next group, called Passalides, is looked upon as a link 
between the Pectinicorn and Lamellicorn Beetles, on account 
of the form of the larva, which, as we shall see, very much 
resembles that of a Lamellicorn Beetle. Our example of the 
group is the fine insect called Neleus or Passalus interruptus. 
It inhabits Demerara. 

It is really a striking insect, though the colouring is very 
simple. The body is shining black, but there is a wonderful 
quantity of silky golden down, which contrasts boldly with the 
otherwise uniform blacl^. The upper part of the head is thickly 
covered with this down, which in this place has a dash of orange 
in it, very much like the beautiful tuft on the head of our 
golden-crested wren. Tufts of similar hair project from the 
shoulders, and densely clothe the hind tarsi, which look like 


yellow brushes. Along the middle of the thorax is a deep 
channel, and a few very shallow pits are scattered over it. The 
elytra turn rather abruptly over the sides, and that portion is 
covered with deep punctures. Each elytron is marked with ten 
bold strise, and one of them, which nms from the shoulder, 
extends only half-way along the elytron, whence comes the 
specific name i7iterruptus. 

The habits of this insect are very similar to those of the 
Dorcus and Ceruchus, both larva and beetle living in rotten 
wood. The insects of this genus possess large wings, but the 
larger species appear seldom to use them. The smaller species, 
however, are more active, and are accustomed to fly about after 

The larvae of Dorcus, Sinodendron, and their kin are, as is 
often the case with wood-boring larvae, rather deeply ringed. 

Fig. 5u. — Neleus iutemiptus. 
(Black, with golden down.) 

In the Passalides, however, the larvae are comparatively smooth, 
the rings are but slightly marked, and the general form very 
closely resembles that of the Lamellicorn larva. 

M. Lacordaire, after giving a description of the insect, makes 
a statement which seems absolutely astounding. "All those 
insects which I have observed in America are remarkable for 
the rapidity with which they die when pierced with a pin. The 
most vigorous individual scarcely survived three or four hours 
after that operation" (vol. iii. p. 45). 

From which account we gather that M. Lacordaire was accus- 
tomed to pin Beetles while still alive, and to allow them to 
remain for hours after "that operation" without killing them. 
There is a cool unconsciousness of cruelty about the whole state- 
ment which seems scarcely credible in a professed naturalist. 


especially to English entomologists, who are always searching 
for the best means of killing as quickly and with as little pain 
us possible, the insects which they need for the purposes of 
science. The idea of pinning living Beetles, and then being 
surprised to find that they died in three or four hours, would 
never have occurred to the least humane of our entomologists. 
I can but wonder how long those Beetles might have lived 
which did not die within four hours of the " operation." 



In most respects the Pectinicorn and Lamellicorn Beetles re- 
semble each other, but in many points there are decided distinc- 
tions. In the first place, the form of the larvae differs in both 
these groups, as has been mentioned in the last chapter ; and, in 
the second place, the antennae are differently constructed. In 
the Pectinicorns the club of the antennae is formed by comb- 
like projections, whereas in the Lamellicorns the projections are 
flat, like the leaves of a fan. The name Lamellicorn is formed 
from two Latin words, the former signifying " a little fiat plate," 
and the other " a horn." The second name, Petalocera, is Greek, 
and has precisely the same meaning, i.e. " petal-horned." 

The larvae of the Lamellicorn Beetles are odd-looking creatures, 
familiar to the practical cultivator who uses spade and fork him- 
self, but never seen except when turned out of the earth. They 
are large, fat, smooth, paly-white grubs, always doubled up, 
and with the hinder end very much larger than the rest of the 
body. In uncultivated lands it is probable, if not certain, that 
all these subterranean larvae perform a necessary and useful 
office. When, however, land is cultivated, and consequently 
the arrangements of Nature are altered, the office of the Lamel- 
licorn insects is altered too, some being doubly useful, while 
others are definitely injurious. Taking our own country as the 
locality, and two Lamellicorn Beetles as examples, namely the 
Cockchafer and the Dor, we find that the former has now 
liecome an utter nuisance, destroying the roots of grass in its 
larval state, and the leaves of trees in its perfect condition ; 
while the Dor Beetles confer singular benefits on the proprietors 
of pasture lands by seizing on the droppings of the cattle and 


canyiug them deeply into the earth so as to fertilize the soil and 
improve the crop of grass. 

How effectively they perform this duty is scarcely to be 
known except by those who watch the habits of the insects. 
Last year I was much struck with the amount of work done 
by these Beetles. Not far from my house there is a field which 
is used as pasture land for cattle, and which is in consequence 
thickly sprinkled with their droppings. There had been a 
succession of moderately warm and very wet days, so that the 
ground was quite soaked with the rain. Having to search for 
certain wood-boring insects, I had to pass through the field, and 
was greatly struck with the appearance which it presented. Its 
whole surface was literally riddled with the holes of the Dor 
Beetles, the burrows being placed so closely together that every 
square foot of ground contained forty or fifty of them. Here, 
then, we have a vast army of agricultural labourers, working 
without wages, and doing in a short time the work which would 
have occupied a strong body of men for a considerable time, 
and would have forced them besides to take up the turf and 
re-lay it. 

In warmer lands than ours similar Beetles also exist, but 
there are others who perform the same work in a different 
manner, as we shall presently see. The number and variety ot 
these insects are enormous. Some of them are quite small, 
soberly coloured, and smooth surfaced. Others are of huge 
dimensions, magnificently coloured, and furnished with the 
strongest imaginable projections from the head and thorax. 
Indeed, so important are they from their great numbers, the 
ofi&ces which they fulfil, the gorgeous colouring and gigantic 
dimensions of many of the species, that the late Y. W. Hope 
told me that he very much doubted whether the Lamellicorn 
Beetles ought not to be placed at the head of the insects instead 
of the Geodephaga. 

We will begin the history of the Lamellicoms with the Scara- 
beides, one of which is the most celebrated Beetle of their race — 
perhaps the most celebrated insect in the world. This is the 
Sacred Scarab^us (Ateuchus sacer), which was held in such 
veneration by the ancient Egyptians, and which is represented 
in such profusion on their tombs and even on their personal 


ornaments. The reason for its sacred character, or at least one 
of the reasons, we shall presently see. 

The mode of depositing its eggs is very remarkable. Our 
British Beetles merely dig through the patch of cowdung, carry 
some of it to the bottom of the hole, and therein lay a single 
egg. In those places, however, where the Sacred Scarabaeus 
lives, such a proceeding is impossible, on account of the difference 
of the soil. The earth of our pasture lands is comparatively 

Fig. 51. — Ateuchus sacer. 

soft and can be easily excavated, but, as a rule, in the country 
inhabited by the Sacred Scarabseus, the earth is hard and stony, 
so that the insect is obliged to search for a spot sufficiently soft 
to allow her to excavate. It is necessary therefore that the 
Beetle should be able to transport from place to place a sufficient 
amount of the material on which the young lai-va is to feed, and 
this she does in a very curious manner. 

Taught by instinct, she gathers together exactly so much of 
the material as will give to the future young an ample supply of 
food, places in the midst an egg, works it into a rudely globular 
form, and then proceeds on her travels in search of a spot in 
which she can burrow. The mode of progression also is very 
peculiar. Turning her back upon the ball, and grasping it with 


the hind legs, she works backwards, pushing the ball along 
much as a horse backs a cart. 

Her perseverance in this work is really wonderful. The task 
is a very hard one, for the insect cannot see where she is going, 
and is just as likely as not to push the ball over a steep and 
stony hillock which she might have skirted without the least 
difficulty. When quite tired out, she rests for a while and then 
sets off again on her travels, seldom failing in the end to bring 
her labours to a successful conclusion. Her work is the harder 
because the ball is never quite spherical. At first it is made 
rather at random, and by degrees becomes more rounded as it is 
rolled, just as a great snowball becomes rounder as well as 
larger while it is rolled through the snow. Still, the ball is 
never a smooth sphere, but is of an irregular outline, so that the 
difficulty of rolling it is much increased. 

There are two points in connection with this ball which are 
worthy of notice, the first being the instinctive attachment which 
the Beetle feels towards it, and the second the utter want of 
reason in such attachment. It is hardly possible to induce one 
of these insects to abandon the ball which contains her egg until 
she has laid it safely beneath the earth. But she cannot recog- 
nise her own ball from that of any other Beetle; and if two 
females be engaged in the task of depositing their eggs, and the 
balls be exchanged, neither insect seems to be conscious of the 
deception, but labours as cheerfully for the ball which contains 
her neighbour's egg as she did for that which held her own. 

For the perfectly instinctive and wdiolly irrational attachment 
to the egg-ball, we have a parallel in our own country. There 
are certain little black-brown, swift-footed spiders, which spin 
no webs, but keep to the ground, on which they catch their prey 
by fair chase. The female Wolf Spiders, as these creatures are 
called, may be seen in the summer-time carrying about with 
them a little silken bag containing their eggs. Nothing can 
induce them to relinquish their treasure, and the spider would 
sooner lose her life than her egg-sac. Yet if, as is the case 
with the Scarabgeus, the egg- sacs of two Wolf Spiders be ex- 
changed, both creatures are perfectly satisfied ; and even if a 
little particle of cotton-wool be rubbed up and placed in the 
way of a bereaved female, she will take it up and carry it about 
just as if it were her own egg- sac. 


It is both on account of the shape of the egg- ball made by the 
Scarabaius, and of the intense love which the insect bears for 
it, that the ancients employed it as an emblem of the Divine 
Creator's power. The earthen ball, with the egg in its centre, 
was taken as an emblem of fertility, and the attachment of the 
beetle to the ball was recognised as an emblem of the Creator's 
love towards His creatures. 

There are many species or varieties of this Beetle scattered 
over all the warmer portions of the world, and in most places 
they have some popular name. In many parts of America, for 
example, they are plentiful, and go by the popular name of 
Tumble-bugs, the latter word being in general use in America 
to designate a Beetle of any kind. 

In general appearance this Beetle has rather a striking 
appearance. It is black in colour, and furnished beneath with a 
quantity of long, dense, brownish hairs, to which the earth clings 
so firmly that I have hardly seen a specimen which had not its 
downy coat clogged with soil. The head is very flat and shovel- 
like, and is cut into deep notches so that it seems to be sur- 
rounded with spikes. The tibiae of the fore-legs are furnished 
on their outer edges with four long and powerful teeth ; and 
when the Beetle assumes an attitude of which it is very fond, 
i.e. placing its fore-legs on either side of its head, the whole 
front of the insect looks like a flat, spiky wheel. This attitude 
was very familiar to the ancient Egyptians, and in almost every 
case where the Sacred Scarabseus is sculptured, whether it be the 
gigantic gTanite image in the British Museum, or the tiny gold, 
glass, or porcelain figures that are strung on necklaces and 
bracelets, the insect is represented in the attitude of rest, 
crouching low upon the earth, with its fore-legs on either side 
of its head. The body is very rotund, and the elytra are nearly 
smooth, being only marked by some lines of faint punctures. 

The generic name Ateuchus signifies " unarmed," and is given 
to the insects because neither the head nor thorax possesses those 
horn-like projections which are so conspicuous in many of the 
larger Lamellicorns. The name Scarahceus has already been 
explained on page 62. 

The number of these Beetles is so very great that we must be 
contented with two type^ ; namely, the Sacred Scarabaeus which 



has just been described, and the curious insect which is shown 
in the illustration below. The genus to which it belongs 
is distinguished by the hard and rounded body, the very long 
curved legs, and the general crab-like look of the insects. They 
are spread over a considerable portion of the globe, and, indeed, 
few of the warmer parts seem to be without them. Many 
species, such as our present example, inhabit Southern Africa ; 
one, Sisyphus Sclicefferi, is known to be European ; and others 
are Asiatic. The most remarkable of the latter is the smallest 
of the genus, called Sisyphus minutus, the body of wliich is 
scarcely as large as a swan-shot. 

All the legs of the Sisyphus are enormously lengthened, and 
are bent in a most singular fashion, the peculiar curvature not 
being properly visible unless the insect be viewed from behind 

and nearly at the level of 
the eye. This peculiar form 
of the leg is probably useful 
to the insect in rolling its 

The colour of this Beetle 
^^^'^ISf^^Sic-i--- >fe^'- --u__ is dull brownish black, buL 

upon the elytra are a number 

Fig. 52 -Sisyphus mmicatu.. (^ tuftS of jet-bkck dowuy 

(Brown-black, with jet-black tufts.) , " •' 

hairs, that stand boldly from 
the surface on which they are planted, and are very con- 
spicuous. The thorax is covered with a coating of very short 
and very dense down of a dark -brown hue, something like the 
fur of the mole. All these insects fly well, and, like our 
common Eose Beetles, keep the elytra almost closed, instead of 
spreading them as most Beetles do, when they fly. 

The generic name of Sisyphus is given to these Beetles because 
their task of rolling their egg-balls has an evident analogy with 
that of the mythological Sisyphus. The specific name muricatus 
signifies "spiky," or "prickly," and is given to the insect on 
account of the bold spike-like hair-tufts with which its elytra 
are studded. The word comes from the Latin murex, a whelk, 
which, in the plural (murices), was employed to signify caltrops, 
or " crow's feet," i.e. iron spikes thrown on the ground to arrest 
the progress of cavalry. 

I cannot quit these insects without quoting a few extracts 


from De Mouffet's quaint and elaborate treatise upon the Sacred 
Scarabreus, in which he compares men and beetles together, and 
shows, very much to his own satisfaction, that the man ought to 
take example by the insect : — 

'■'The Latines call it PilulariMS, because it turns up round 
pills, which it fashions by turning them backwards with its 
hinder feet. All your Pilularii have no females, but have their 
generation from the sun ; they make great balls with their 
hinder feet, and drive them the contrary way ; like the sun, it 
observes a circuit of twenty-eight daies. . . . The Beetle called 
Pilulariics makes a round ball of the roundness of the heavens, 
which it turns from east to west so long till it hath brought it 
to the figure of the world ; afterwards it laies it up under the 
earth where it breeds, and when that hath so laid it up, it lets 
it remain there for a lunary moneth ; when that is ended, it 
casts every ball out of its nest by itself, which being dissolved in 
water, the beetle-worm comes forth without wings, but in a few 
daies it grows up to be a flying Beetle. For this reason the 
Egyptians consecrated this to Apollo, and adored it for no 
small god, by the curious interpretation of Apion, whereby he 
collected that the likeness of the sun was given to this creature, 
and so he excused the idolatrous customs of his country. 

" They wonderfully hate roses as the plague of their family, 
but dung, especially of cowes, and dunghils, they love so much 
that, smelling the smell of them a very long way off, they 
will fly suddenly to it. But they go but slowly, yet they 
labour continually and exceedingly, and delight most of all to 
produce their young ones ; for ofttimes the little round bals that 
they make, by the injury of the winds in places, fall away, and 
fall from a high place to the bottome ; but this Beetle, desiring 
a propagation, watcheth with perpetual care, and raising this 
Sisyphian ball to its hold with continual striving, and that 
tumbling back again, at length she produceth it. And truly, 
unless it were endowed with a kinde of Divine soul (as all things 
are full of God's M'onderfulnesse), it would faint and be spent 
in this great contest, and would never take this pains any more. 

" Beetles serve divers uses, for they both profit our mindes 
and they cure some infirmities of our bodies. For when this 
living creature (and scarce a living creature, for it wants some 
senses), being of the basest kinde of insects, and nothing but a 

I 2 


crust, doth excel man in divers faculties, this should teach us 
modesty, temperance, labour, magnanimity, justice, and pru- 
dence. For, though its house be but a dunghil, yet it lives 
contented therewith, and is busied and delighted in it ; nor doth 
it more willingly eat or drink among roses than in goat's dung, 
which smels in its senses as sweet as marjoram. For it lives by 
the laws of Nature, and will not exceed her orders. 

" The greatest care it takes is to make the greatest bals it can, 
as if they were sweet bals which with wonderful labour it 
rolleth from her; and if it chance to roll its burden against 
some heap, that the bals slip away and fall down again, you 
would imagine that you saw Sisyphus rolling a stone to the top 
of a mountain, and falling back upon him, yet is it not weary, 
nor will it rest till it hath rolled it to its nest, so earnest is it 
about its work. But we poor men do nothing that is worth our 
labour, or as we have power to do, and we give off in the very 
steep entrance of vertue, and we spend all our pains and dales 
in idleness, following ill-counsel, till we get a habit of mischief 
to our own destruction. 

" Who doth not see the courage of the Beetle ? if he shall 
observe him fighting with an eagle (as 'tis related of the Beetles 
in India). And indeed, though the eagle, its proud and cruel 
enemy, do no less make havoc of and harm this creature oi 
so mean a rank, than our lordly storks do to the peasant frogs ; 
yet, as soon as it gets an opportunity, it returneth like for like, 
and sufficiently punisheth that spoiler. For it flyeth up nimbly 
into her nest with its fellow-souldiers the Scara Beetles, and in 
the absence of the old she-eagle bringeth out of the nest the 
eagle's eggs one after another till there be none left : which 
falling and being broken, the young ones, while they are yet 
unshapen, being dasht miserably against the stone, are deprived 
of life before they have any sense of it." 

After narrating many similar anecdotes showing how the Beetle 
ought to " profit our mindes," the author proceeds to instruct us 
how to use the Beetle so as to " cure some infirmities of our 
bodies." Among many remedies the following deserves to be 
quoted: — "For the awaking of such as are troubled with the 
dead sleep and with the lethargy (when cantharides and 
cauteries have done no good), two or three Dung Beetles alive, 
put up together under half a walnut-shell, to be made fast about 



the nape of the neck, being first well shaved, and upon the 
muscles of the fore-part of the arms (on every muscle one), and 
under the sole of each foot one, because this doth wonderfully 
rouze up such as are in a lethargy." 

I should think that it did rouse them up ! Let any of my 
readers take into his hand one of our common Dor Beetles, 
and let it try to scratch its way out. He will not be very long 
before he lets it go. The pain which must be inflicted by the 
large and powerful Scarabseus, especially when fastened on the 
teuderest parts of the body, which have already been blistered 
and cauterized, must be something almost too horrible to 

The next family is that of the Deltochilidai, of which we 
have no example in England. These insects have the head almost 

Pig. 53. — Deltochilum Macleayi. 
(Black, with chocolate elytra. ) 

hexagonal, and the eyes are so completely divided by abroad band 
of horny substance, that a small portion of them appears on the 
upper part and a large portion on the lower. Indeed, the insect, 
like the well-known Whirligig Beetles, appears to have four eyes 
instead of two. The name Deltochikim is Greek, and signifies 
a delta-like or triangular jaw. 

The tibia of the fore- legs are broad, flat, strong, and armed 
on their outside edges with three long and sharp spikes, evidently 


used for digging purposes. It is rather remarkable that none of 
the specimens in the British Museum have any tarsi, and in all 
these Beetles the tarsus of the fore-legs is very small, and can 
be tucked away so as to be protected while the limb is employed 
in excavating the earth. Probably, in such operations the tarsus 
was broken off, but, as it is of such minute dimensions, the 
Beetles get on very well without it. 

The head and thorax are black, the former being roughly 
granulated, and the latter very finely punctured, so as to give it 
a sort of satiny surface. The elytra are rather curious. They 
are very flat, and are roughly wrinkled. At first sight the 
wrinkles appear to be without any order, and to be scattered 
over the wing-cases as vaguely as wheat-blades appear to be on a 
field, from almost every point of view. But just as the wheat 
arranges itself in regular lines when viewed from the ends oi 
tlie furrows, so do these wrinkles show themselves to be arranged 
in longitudinal rows when the eye is directed parallel to the 
central line of the body. The colour of the elytra is dark 
chocolate, and on each end they are flattened and turned up like 
the rim of a hat. If the insect be viewed edgewise, the elytra 
will be seen to be also turned downwards, so as to cover a con- 
siderable portion of the side. 

There are several species known to entomologists. They are 
mostly black and dull in colour, but one or two depart from the 
general rule, and are really brilliant insects. By far the prettiest 
is Deltochilum Icarus, which is of a bright metallic copper-red, 
slightly glossed with bronze, having the whole surface very finely 
punctured, and the elytra marked with bold striae, each covered 
with fine punctures. All these Beetles inhabit South America. 

Next come the Coprides, of which we have some six or seven 
species in England, the best-known of which is Gopris lunaris, 
the male of which has a long and upright horn on the head. 
The Coprides dig deep burrows, mostly oblique, and not perpen- 
dicular like those of our Dor Beetles. They have the power 
of making a creaking sort of noise, which is said to be produced 
by the friction of the tips of the elytra against the abdomen. 
This sound is conspicuous in the British species which has just 
been mentioned. 

The finest foreign example of these Beetles is undoubtedly 


the large and massive Oopris Hamadryas. This insect is a 
wonderfully fine one, measuring two inches and a half in lengtli, 
of a shining black colour, and being densely clothed in parts 
with long silken, gold-coloured down. It is found both in 
Africa and Asia. The general form of the male may be seen 
by reference to the illustration. The head, with its forked, 
upright horn, is deeply punctured and granulated, and so is the 
thorax, except in the middle, where it is highly polished, like 
black, burnished steel. The elytra are punctured in parallel 

Pig. 54.— Oopris Hamadryas, 
(Black, with golden yellow down ) 

rows, and are so highly polished that it is not easy to hold even 
a dead and dried specimen, as it persists in slipping through the 
fingers as though it were oiled. 

The female is without the formidable-looking horn of the 
male, and even in the latter sex there is very great variation in 
the size and shape of the horn. Some of the species have a 
curious resemblance to the Dynastidse, a family which will 
presently be described. The most curious of them is Oopris 
Lams, which has two large pointed horns on the thorax, and a 
very long horn on the head, curved back so as nearly to touch 
those of the thorax. 

If the insect be turned over so as to bring the under surface 
into view, the quantity of the golden down with which it is 
clothed is seen to be very great, especially in two large oval 


patches under the head. The fore-legs are exceedingly powerful, 
and the tibia is flat, hollowed, armed with two very bold teeth 
on the outside, and its under surface is covered with a vast 
number of slightly curved ridges, running parallel to each 
other, and diagonally across the limb. The tarsus is so small 
that hardly anyone except an entomologist would notice it. 

This species lives underground, at the bottom of very deep 
burrows, so that it would easily escape observation, even in 
localities where it was plentiful. As, however, like our own 
species, it lives under patches of cowdung, an entomologist can 
mostly hit upon its dwelling-place. It possesses large and 
powerful wings, and when it chooses to use them, which appears 
seldom to be the case, it makes a loud humming noise. Pro- 
bably it flies more by night than by day, and so its flight 
escapes observation. 

I HAVE chosen the splendid insect which is here figured, not 
only because it is the finest example of its genus, but because it is 

Fio. 55. — Phanaeus lancifer. 
(Purple and green, with violet elytra ) 

also the rarest, the British Museum only possessing a single speci- 
men, which was brought by Mr. Bates from Para, on the Amazon 
River. The length of the specimeD is an inch and three- 


quarters, the thickness of the body is an inch, and the horn of 
the head is one inch and a third in length. 

The colouring of this Beetle is singularly beautiful, and not 
very easy to describe. The head and greater part of the horn 
are deep purple, shot with green, or vice versd, just as the light 
happens to fall on it; the tip of the horn being black. The 
square, flat plate at the hinder portion of the thorax is deep 
purpL}, and is thickly and boldly punctured. The strangely 
curved elytra are rich violet in colour, are boldly ridged, and 
between the ridges their surface is deeply granulated. The eyes 
are divided like those of the Deltochilum. 

There are many species of this genus, all exceedingly variable 
both in colour and size. Some are quite black, and some 
blue, but the prevailing hue is green with a golden gloss. The 
generic name of Phanceus, or " conspicuous," is given to them on 
account of their beautiful colouring and strange form. Their 
habits are much the same as those of the preceding genus. 
Mr. Westwood mentions that one species, Phanceus melon, is 
found under dead fish, and yet smells strongly of musk ; and 
that two other species, Phanceus nigro-violaceus and sulcatits, 
dig holes under dead snakes and bury them in a few hours. 

The next family, the Geotrupidse, are so similar to our own 
familiar British species that I have only selected one species by 
way d£ example ; namely, Bolbocerus Peiehei, an insect which is 
spread over the greater part of Australasia. 

It is a thick-bodied, sturdily built Beetle, and though not 
large, measuring not quite an inch 
in length, is one of the largest of 
the genus to which it belongs. Its 
colour is a very shining yellowish 
brown, so that the Beetle looks very 
much as if it were immature and had 
not been exposed to the Hght long ^"'- ''(^eUoSo!^?''*'"' 
enough to have assumed its deeper 
colouring. The elytra are covered with parallel punctured strise. 

The most conspicuous feature in this insect is the enormous 
horn which rises perpendicularly from the head of the male, 
and which gives to it, when viewed from the front, much of the 
air of a rhinoceros. The length of the horn is rather more than 


half an inch. The lower surface of the insect is clothed with 
long and dense hair, of the same colour as the body. The name 
Bolhocerus is formed from two Greek words signifying " bulb- 
horned," and is given to this insect because the base of the horn 
is swollen into a sort of bulb. 

Like many of their kin, the Bolboceri fly in the twilight. 
M. le Vaillant mentions that great numbers are captured by 
frogs and toads, and may be found in the stomachs of these 
creatures. The reader may not be aware that the stomachs of 
toads are recognised localities for many rare Beetles. The toad 
is out all night engaged in insect hunting. At dawn the ento- 
mologist catches him, kills him, opens his stomach, and finds in 
it plenty of Beetles, some of which are nearly sure to be rarities. 
I think that the late Eev. F. W. Hope was the first entomologist 
who made me aware of the value of a toad's stomach to the 
collector of Beetles. There are plenty of other insects in the 
same locality, but they are generally too much damaged to 
be placed in a collection, while the hard and horny mail ot 
the Beetle suffers but little injury. 

One example of the Hoplidse must also suffice us. In 
England we have but one representative of this family, namely, 

Hoplia philanthus, a little dark 
^^^^v Wi IL<M~" Beetle which flies in the hottest sun- 

shine, and has a habit of conceal- 
ing itself in flowers, thus receiving 
the specific name of philanthus, or 
" flower-lover." The generic name of 
Hoplia is taken from a Greek word 
signifying " a heavy-armed soldier," 
and is given to the insects on account 
of their hard mail-clad bodies. 

Fig. 57.— Hoploscelisgiossipes. mi • i • i x i i i 

(Rlack head and thorax; chestnut elytra.) Ihe mSCCt whlch 1 haVC SClCCtcd 

at once arrests the eye on account 
of the extraordinary development of its hind-legs. The whole 
limb is very powerful, the thigh being large, stout, and 
rounded. The greatest development is, however, seen in the 
tibia, the end of which is very much widened, and is spread 
into two great horn-like projections, from the junction of which 
proceeds the long tarsus. The colour of the legs is shining 


black ; that of the head and thorax is also black, and that of the 
elytra is chestnut, or reddish brown. The insect is found at the 
Cape of Good Hope. 

Though we have not space for more figures of Hoplidas, some 
of the species are too remarkable to be passed over. 

Some are covered with long hairs, one of them (Anisonyx 
iirsm) looking so like a fat, hairy spider, that it might easily be 
mistaken for one. Its colour is black. But there is another 
(Lynx crinitKs) which is equally hairy, and which is green. 
The most hairy of all, however, is the Feritrichia. This 
remarkable insect is so thickly covered with long hair, even to 
the ends of its legs, that it has no particular outline, and looks 
exactly like a small bundle of black hairs pinched loosely 

Some of them are exceedingly beautiful in their colouring. 
One of them is bright green, covered with squared black spots 
arranged in regular rows along the elytra. Another, belonging 
to the genus Ectinohoplia, is velvety black, with two golden 
stripes on the thorax, and the whole of the elytra, except a 
patch in the middle, powdered with tiny golden spots. One 
specimen in the British Museum has the spots blue instead of 

The most beautiful of them all is the Hoplia cocruUct, a Beetle 
rather larger than our own species. To the unaided eye it is of 
a beautiful pale blue, with a sheen like that of the richest silk. 
This lovely exterior causes thousands of them to lose their lives, 
for they are taken by collectors in vast numbers, and sold for 
the purpose of being made into those " beetle pictures " which 
are an abomination to every true naturalist. 

When placed under the microscope with, say, a half-inch 
power, the secret of its beauty is at once disclosed. The reader 
may remember that many of the exotic Hoplias are thickly 
covered with hairs. In this species the hairs are modified into 
flattened scales, each scale having a changeable iridescence 
playing over its surface. Blue is the predominating colour, but 
when seen under the microscope, scarcely any two scales possess 
exactly the same colour. Some are deep azure, edged with 
crimson, while others are tipped with green and shining gold. 
Some are almost entirely green, with gold edges, while others 
are all gold except a slight edging of crimson. 


There are other species in which the hairs are changed into 
scales, but in none are the scales so splendidly coloured as in 
Hoplia cmrulea. One of these scale-bearing species is Hoplia 
squamosa, in which the scales are all of pale golden yellow. 
This is one of the smallest of the Hoplias, being no bigger than 
a small house-fly. 

When alarmed, all the Hoplias have an odd habit of sticking 
out their legs in different directions, and remaining perfectly 
motionless for a time. They rest principally on the breast, sup- 
ported by the middle pair of legs : the front pair are pushed out 
in front, and the hind-legs straightened as much as possible, and 
held high in the air. In this peculiar attitude the shape of the 
Beetle is quite altered, but whether it be intended as a mere 
counterfeiting of death, or as a protection against its enemies, is 
very doubtful. 

Now we come to the Melolonthides, or true Chafers, a family 
which is familiar to us on account of the Cockchafer and 
Summer Chafer, which are such pests both in their larval and 
their perfect stages. 

The species which has been chosen as the representative ot 
its family is a very large one, the specimen from which the 
figure was drawn being nearly two inches and a half in length 
and very stoutly built, though longer in proportion to its width 
than our own species. It is a native of India. 

The colouring of this insect is rather curious, and cannot be 
properly seen without the aid of a tolerably powerful magnify- 
ing glass. The head and thorax are very dark blackish brown, 
and the elytra are red-brov/n, each having a small oblong white 
spot near the tip. These two white spots are very conspicuous, 
and have gained for the insect the specific name of himaculata, 
or " two-spotted." When the magnifier is brought to bear on 
these spots, they are seen to consist of a number of long, leaf- 
shaped, white scales, projecting boldly over each other, and 
looking very much like a bunch of white leaves pressed nearly 
flat. The generic name Leucopholis is formed from two Greek 
words signifying " white-scaled," and is given to the insect in 
consequence of this formation. 

On looking at the elytra with some care, the observer notices 
that they are sparingly powdered with tiny whitish marks. 

rX..A.TE II. 



These marks are so minute that they really look like accidental 
particles of dust. When examined with the lens, each of these 
marks is seen to be a little white scale, shaped like a curved 
claw or horn, and projecting from the bottom of a shallow 
circular pit. These pits are set closely together and in exact 
order, so that their outer edges just touch each other. The 
whole of the under surface is provided with large yellow scales, 
80 large that their shape can be seen without the aid of a glass. 



Fio. 58. — Leucopliolis bimaeulata 
(Reddish - brown ; two white spots. ) 

The larva of this insect must be a very large one, and, if it be 
voracious in proportion to its size, must destroy a vast amount ot 
vegetation in the course of its long larval existence. 

The magnificent Beetle Eucheirus Macleayi, which is shown 
on Plate IT. Fig. 1, has caused some trouble to systematic ento- 
mologists on account of the difficulty which they find in ascer- 
taining its exact place among insects. The latest and best 
authorities have decided that it belongs to the Melolonthida;, 
and I therefore accept that arrangement. 

In both sexes of this insect the first pair of legs are greatly 
developed, but in the male they are of enormous size. They are 
long, powerful, and curved, and the tibiae have two long spikes 
on their inner edge, the second of which is remarkable for a sort 
of secondary spike or movable claw at its tip. The generic name 


of EuchciriLS signifies " beautiful hand," and refers to the peculiar 
development of these limbs. 

The sides of the thorax are strongly toothed ; there is a deep 
furrow or indentation along the middle, and the whole of the 
surface is deeply punctured. The colour of this insect is shining 
green on the head, thorax, and legs, with a slight gloss of copper. 
The elytra are green, of so deep a hue as to be nearly black, and 
they are glossed with golden bronze. Upon each of them are 
disposed a number of dull yellow spots of various sizes, dis- 
posed in irregular longitudinal rows. Beneath, it is bronze black, 
thickly clothed with yellowish brown hairs. 

It is a remarkable fact in 'this Beetle that the female is 
smaller than the male, her length not quite reaching two inches, 
while that of the male is two inches and a half. This splendid 
insect inhabits India. Another species, Eucheirus Dupontianus, 
inhabits the Philippine Islands. In this species the tibiae of 
the fore-legs do not possess the movable claw. 

The Anomalides form another group of the Lamellicorns, and 
are here represented by one insect, called Popilia dorsigera. It 
inhabits Western Africa. 

This curious insect requires a careful description. The large 
and rounded thorax (from which it derives its specific name of 

dorsigera, or " back-bearer") is deep, 
shining green, and covered with a 
number of bold and deep punctures, 
looking very much like the little 
pits in a lady's thimble. The elytra 
are chestnut, or reddish brown, and 
from under their tips projects a 
double fringe of long, flat, white 
scales, graduated in length like the 
Fig. 59.— Popilia dorsigera. pipcs of an Organ. If the inscct 

''''''" ^'XvMteMnge?'''^'"'' ^^ turned over so as to bring the 

under surface into view, eight bands 
of somewhat similar scales are seen, each band reaching nearly 
but not quite to the central line of the body. The legs are of 
the same colour as the body. 

There are many species of Popilia, comprising a great variety 
of colour and form. Some are green, and look very much like 



our well-knowu Eose Beetles, while others have the elytra 
covered with bold parallel ridges. The name Popilia has, un- 
fortunately, no signification at all, being merely a classical 
proper name. The group of Anomalides is familiar to all ento- 
mologists on account of the pretty little June Bug {Phyllopertha 
horticola), which often occurs ia such swarms as to do great 
damage in fields and gardens. Anglers use the insect as a'bait, 
chiefly employing it in " dibbing" for chub and other fish. 

The very extraordinary Beetle which is shown in the accom- 
panying illustration belongs to another group, the Pelidnotidte, 
of which we have no British examples. It was first discovered 
in Peru by Humboldt, and is now known to be tolerably 

Fig. 60.— Cliiysophora chrysochlora. 
(Golden green, glossed with crimson.) 

common in some parts of the year. As is often the case among 
insects, and especially among Beetles, the chief peculiarities of 
structure only exist in the male sex. Indeed, in this, as well 
as in many other Beetles, the males and females have been 
described by different names as two distinct species. 

The colour of this splendid insect is indicated by its scientific 
name, both being formed from the Greek. The generic title, 
Clirysophora, signifies "gold-bearer," and the specific name, 
chrysochlora, signifies " golden green." The leading hue of this 


Beetle is, as its uame denotes, golden green, but there is also a 
gloss of fiery copper-red, sometimes becoming rich carmine, which 
changes and flits from spot to spot as the light is altered. It is 
curious to see how a spot which has been emerald green, flecked 
with burnished gold, will, if the insect be moved but a hair's 
breadth, change to glowing carmine. The legs, especially the 
thighs of the hind-legs, seem to be more susceptible to this 
change. The reader will probably have noticed that the green 
and crimson are complementary colours. 

The head is smooth, satiny green, profusely studded with 
minute punctures, and the thorax is like the head, except that it 
is granulated as well as punctured. The elytra are closely and 
finely granulated. The chief interest of this insect, however, 
lies in the enormous hind-legs, which are so large that in a well • 
developed male, whose head, thorax, and abdomen together 
measure an inch and a half, one hind-leg measures exactly two 
inches. If the Beetle be viewed from below, the enormous 
development of the thigh is seen, this portion of the leg being 
rounded, stout, and of a glossy satin-like green. On the tibia 
coppery red prevails, and the tarsus is deep purple. The tibia 
is slightly curved, and at its extremity is armed with an enor- 
mously long and sharp spine or spur, slightly curved. 

The Chrysophora has a near relative, popularly and appro- 
priately called the Kangaroo Beetle, because its hind-legs are 
proportionately as large as those of the kangaroo. Indeed, the 
Beetle seems to be all hind-leg, the body and the other four legs 
looking quite insignificant when compared with the gigantic 
hinder limbs. This is also a green Beetle. 


LAMEILICORNS {continued). 

We now come to the family of the Dynastidje, a family which, 
taken as a whole, comprises some of the largest and handsomest 
of all the Beetle race. The name Dynastes is taken from the 
Greek, and signifies " powerful," and is very appropriate to these 
large-bodied and stout-limbed insects. Most of them inhabit 
tropical regions, and we have none of them in England, though 
one species, Oryctes nasicornis, which is tolerably common on the 
Continent, was at one time reckoned among British Beetles. 

The larvae of the Dynastidae reside in decaying vegetable 
matter, especially within rotten tree-trunks or branches, just as 
is the case with the common Eose Beetles of England. As the 
Beetles are exceedingly large, the larvse are necessarily of 
gigantic proportions, and I fancy that the sight of a full-grown 
Dynastes larva would frighten almost anyone but practical 
entomologists. Even the larva of the common Stag Beetle is a 
terror to most persons unaccustomed to insects, and the larva of 
the Dynastes is to that of the Stag Beetle what a lobster is to 
a prawn. 

I have already mentioned (on page 4) the incalculable service 
which the wood-eating insects render to the forest lands. Some 
strong-jawed insects are able to attack the tree as soon as it is 
fallen or has died, and, having riddled the timber with their 
galleries, their task is over. In the wet seasons the rain pene- 
trates into these tunnels, lodges there, and decay sets in. In 
course of time the tree would gradually be formed into a vege- 
table mould, but so much time would be occupied by the process 
that the spot on which it lay would be absolutely barren, and so 
the forest would by slow degrees vanish from the face of the 
earth, did not these large Beetles accelerate the process of 


In temperate climates, such as our own, trees are compara- 
tively few and their size comparatively small, and, in conse- 
quence, the Eose Beetles and their kin are quite large enough 
for the task which they have to perform. But in those lands 
where vegetation absolutely runs riot, where not only are the 
trees of gigantic dimensions, but the forest tracts are measured 
by thousands of square miles, the Beetles have a proportionately 
great task to perform, and are therefore not only multitudinous 
in number, but huge in size. Nothing but these gigantic larvae 
could consume the enormous annual supply of decaying wood, 
and it is therefore in the heavily-timbered districts where they 
are most found. 

We shall do well to treasure up those Dynastidae, which have 
already become rare. I am sure that in course of time the 
Dynastidaj will suffer the same fate as has befallen the wild 
beasts of many countries, and that they will be driven further 
and further away from the habitations of men, until those 
species which are now common have become scarce, and the 
rarer species have perished altogether. 

AH the Dynastidse are remarkable for the enormous develop- 
ment of the thorax and head with horny projections. If the 
reader will refer to Plate II. Fig. 2, he will see an admirable 
example of the Dynastidse, called, from its great strength, 
Dynastes Hercules. In this insect the upper part of the thorax 
is prolonged into a single horn, so that the thorax is twice as 
long as the abdomen. This horn is curved downwards. The 
head is prolonged into a similar horn which is curved upwards, 
so that the head and thorax look like two enormous jaws, 
instead of being, as they are, two distinct parts of the insect. 
Indeed, on showing this Beetle to persons who were unac- 
quainted with entomology, I liave had great difficulty in per- 
suading them that the thorax was not the upper and the head 
the under jaw, and have generally had to point out the real 
jaws of the insect before they could understand so strange a 

The whole under surface of the thorax-horn is clothed with a 
ridge of dense, stiff, short, golden yellow hairs, the object of 
which I have never been able even to conjecture, and a quantity 
of similar hair is on the under surface and edges of the abdomen. 
The thorax, head, and legs are shining black, and the elytra are 


grey green, much wrinkled, and have a few black spots scat- 
tered over them. It has very large and powerful wings, which 
are needed in order to bear so bulky an insect through the air. 

Some persons state that Dynastes Hercules saws off the 
branches of trees by gras^^ing them between the head and the 
thorax and flying round and round the branch, the opposed pro- 
jections acting like the teeth of a saw. The same story is 
narrated of other Beetles, but there is no direct evidence on the 
subject. It is certain, however, that the insect lives on the 
mucilaginous juices of certain plants, but whether it ^vounds 
those plants in order to obtain the juice is very doubtful. 

According to Lacordaire, the liabits of the various Dynastidse 
are very similar. During the daytime they are seldom seen, 
having a habit of concealing themselves in dark hiding-places, 
or at most crawling in the recesses of woods. By night they 
come from their concealment and fly about the trees, in search, 
as M. Lacordaire thinks, of food, but, as Mr. Westwood more 
justly observes, of their mates. It is rather remarkable that, just 
as British Eose Beetles are sometimes found in ants' nests, some 
of their gigantic exotic relatives are found in similar places. 

On the same plate, Mg. 3, may be seen an allied insect named 
Golofa hastatus. The Beetles belonging to this genus have been 
separated from the genus Dynastes on account of the formation 
of the tarsi. In the males the tarsi of the first pair of legs are 
very long, and so formed that they must always be curved when 
extended. The head and thorax are both armed with horns 
more or less upright. 

The present insect, which is a native of Mexico, has both 
these horns very curiously developed. That on the thorax rises 
quite upright, and is slightly bent forward at the tip, which is 
diamond-shaped, or like the head of a spear. It is for this 
reason that the species has been given the name of hastatus. 

The head horn, though curving slightly upwards, is directed 
forwards, and is most curiously formed. The projecting portion 
is deeply grooved along the middle, and its edges are cut into a 
series of bold teeth, from among which project a number of stiff, 
bristle-like hairs. Its length is rather more than three-quarters 
of an inch. The colour of the thorax is dark chestnut, except 
the horn, which is black and very shining, and the greater part 

K 2 


of it is covered with very large and deep punctures scattered 
rather sparingly over it. The elytra are rather light chestnut, 
except a narrow dark band which completely surrounds them. 
The length of the specimen from which the drawing is taken is 
rather more than two inches. 

There are many species of Golofa, varying much in size and 
colour, but none are so handsome as that which has been chosen 
for illustration. 

The group of the Pimelopidee is represented by the fine 
insect Dvpelicus Cantori, which is shown in the accompanying 

Fig. 61. — Dipelicus Cantori. 
(Black head and thorax, chestnut elytra.) 

This is a most extraordinary looking Beetle. It is solid, 
massive, and the thorax is most usually developed into two 
horns in front, then a deep scoop, and then an anvil-shaped, 
flat-topped, two-toothed projection. The head is armed with an 
upright horn, sharp and pointed at the tip, and much rounded at 
the base. The lower parts of both head and thorax are thickly 
clothed with long downy hairs. The colour of the head and 
thorax is black ; that of the elytra is shining chestnut, and upon 
them are drawn a number of striae, not parallel with the central 
line of the insect, as is mostly the case, but slightly diagonal, 
being wider apart at the base of the elytra than at their tips. 


The most conspicuous part oi' the insect, however, is the hiud 
leg. There is an old Oriental proverb concerning conceit : " The 
king sent his horses to be shod, and the Beetle held out his 
foot." Now, this Beetle looks exactly as if it were offering its 
foot for some such purpose. The thigh is rounded, thick, and 
highly polished. The tibia is of a most remarkable shape, 
almost conical in form, and looking as if it were made of two 
hollow cones, one placed within the other. The Grreek name 
Dipelicvs, or "double basin," is given to the insect in conse- 
quence of this singular formation. Three flattened projections 
are fixed to the second basin, if we may so call it, and curve 
over the small tarsus. The general appearance of this part 
of the leg is wonderfully like the hoof of a cart-horse. The 
middle pair of legs are formed after a similar fashion, but are 
smaller and not so conspicuous. The total length of the Beetle 
is about two inches. 

The species was first discovered by Dr. Cantor in the island 
of Chusan, and is now known to be spread over Java generally. 

"We will now take a few e:s.amples of the Oryctides, that group 
to which belongs the OrycUs nasicornis, which has already been 
mentioned. The name is taken from the Greek word Oryx, 
which signifies " a long-horned antelope," and is given to these 
insects on account of the horny projections of the head and 

The illustration on the next page represents the insect called 
Megaceras chorineus, which was brought by Mr. Bates from Para 
in South America. 

This is a very solidly-made insect, the thorax aloue looking as 
if it could furnish sufficient material for half-a-dozen Beetles. 
This portion of the body is not merely de\ eloped with horn-like 
appendages, but is raised with a thick and apparently solid 
mass, covering over the head, and boldly scooped at the end so 
as to present the appearance of a pair of stout, blunt horns 
curving inwards. 

The head is prolonged into a long curved horn, the end of 
which rises above the points of the thorax. The length of the 
head-horn is an inch and a half ; the tip of it is widened and 
scooped, something like the thorax, but on a much smaller scale. 
At its base are the eyes, which are nearly but not quite divided 



by a curved, forked band of the same material as that of "vvhich 
the head is composed. 

The head and the upper part of the thorax are very polished 
and smooth, but on either side the latter is deeply wrinkled. 
The elytra are also black, but not so shining, and on either side 
of the suture there is a line of punctures. The generic name 

Fig. 62. — Megaceras chorineus. 

of Megaceras signifies " large-horned," and is given to the insect 
on account of the great size of the horns with which the head 
and thorax are armed. 

In those Dynastides and Oryctides which we have examined, 
the projections of the thorax are the most conspicuous parts of 
the insect. In the present example the thorax, though it rises 
rather high, and is developed into a double point in front, is 
•quite thrown \Ti\f> the background by the enormous development 
of the head. The Megaceras has the end of the head-horn ex- 
panded and formed into two bhmt projections, but this Beetle 


has the horn doubly branched, and each branch forked. Indeed, 
the shape of it is exactly like that of the well-known sea-weed 
so familiar under the popular name of Carrageen or Irish Moss, 
and the scientific name of Chondrus crispus. 

The colour of the head and thorax is black, the former being 
strongly wrinkled even to the tip of the horn, and the latter both 
punctated and granulated, so as to give it a duller surface than 
that of the head. The elytra are shining chestnut brown, some 
specimens having more red in them than others. The fore-legs 
are rather powerful, and the tibia is armed with three blunt 
and strong projections. The generic name Xylotrwpes signifies 

Pig. 63.— Xyiotiupes dichotomus. 
(Black head and thorax, chestnut elytra.) 

" wood-borer," aud is given to the insect on account of its sup- 
posed powers of cutting branches so as to feed on the sap which 
exudes from the wounded places ; and the specific name dicho- 
torrms is also from the Greek, and signifies something that is 
divided into two parts. This name of course refers to the pecu- 
liar form of the head-horn. The insect is a native of China. 

The last of the Oryctidse which we can mention is the 
splendid Beetle which has been appropriately named the 
Elephant Beetle {Megalosoma eUphas). 

In this enormous and formidable-looking insect the head is 
very much lengthened and developed into two distinct horns, 
one projecting in front just like the horn of the white rhino- 



ceros, and the other curved forward somewhat in the shape of 
the letter C. The end of the first horn is boldly forked, and its 
length is exactly two inches in a fair specimen. 

The colouring of the Elephant Beetle is very remarkable. 
The ground colour of the whole insect is black, but, with the 
exception of the first horn, the entire surface is so thickly 
covered with dense, soft, upright fur, that in a perfect specimen 

Fig. 64. — Megalosoma elephas. 
(Black, covered with chestnut and yellow fur.) 

Che real colour of the Beetle cannot be seen. Such an insect, 
however, is very seldom found, and, as the fur comes off easily,' 
almost every specimen has several bare patches from which the 
fur has been rubbed, and which show the black hue of the surface. 
There is another species of the same genus, Megalosoma 
ActcBon, m which the surface is entirely black and wrinkled. 
Upon the second horn the fur is dark chestnut brown, and a 


similar but rather lighter hue upon the thorax, while the fur of 
the elytra is bright yellow, so that the insect presents a most 
remarkable aspect. Its total length is five inches, and the width 
of the body two inches, so that it well deserves the name of 
Megalosoma, i.e. " big-bodied." It is a native of Nicaragua. 

There is a very remarkable group of Cetoniidse, known by the 
name of Goliath Beetles. As their name imports, they are of 
very large size, some of them being the most gigantic of the 
insect race, though some are but of moderate dimensions. They 
are all distinguished by the peculiar construction of the head, 
which is prolonged in front and developed into two horn-like 
projections. ' This peculiarity belongs only to the males. 

On Plate III. Fig. 1 is shown one of the handsomest and 
largest of these Beetles, called Goliathus Druryii, the latter name 
being given to it in honour of Mr. Drury, who figured it and 
first brought it into notice. Although the colours of this splendid 
Beetle are simple, they are very effective. The head, with its 
curious projections, is greyish white, except the front horns, 
which are black and Yery deeply punctated. The thorax is black, 
and upon it are drawn a number of stripes of creamy white, 
shaped as shown in the illustration. The elytra are warm 
chocolate, with a velvet-like surface, surrounded with a belt ot 
the same creamy white as that upon the thorax. Below it is 
black, with a mixture of green. 

The tibiae of the first pair of legs are much flattened, and very 
deeply granulated and punctated. They are of a reddish hue. 
Those of the hind pair are furnished on the inner edge with a 
dense clothing, or rather ridge, of long golden hairs with a 
silken gloss. The tarsi are black, and if the insect be turned 
over, the thighs of the hind pair of legs are seen to be very 
strong and powerful, and at the base of each is a circular white 
spot one-tenth of an inch in diameter. The effect of this spot 
on the dark surface is very remarkable. 

The length of the specimen is four inches and a quarter, and 
its breadth exactly two inches. It is therefore a very bulky 
insect, and even in its dried condition is exceedingly heavy. 

For many years this was the rarest of insects. Only one 
specimen was known, that which was described by Drury, and 
was preserved in the Hunterian Museum of Glasgow. It had 



been found dead, floating in the Gaboon River, opposite 
Prince's Island. Nothing was known of its habits until lately, 
when travellers have succeeded in capturing a tolerable number 
of specimens, one of which, now in the British Museum, is 
singularly valuable. That the Cetonia larvae enclose themselves 
when full fed in earthen or wooden cocoons is well known, and 
naturalists were therefore anxious to know what kind of a 
cocoon could be constructed by the enormous Goliath Beetle. 
The question has been set at rest by the discovery of a cocoon 
of the present species, which is now in the nest-room of the 
British Museum. 

It is oval, about as large as a swan's egg, and has wonderfully 
thin walls. The most remarkable point about it* is the thick 
belt with which it is encircled, probably for the purpose of 

Fig. 65.— Cocoons of Searabfeus and GoBatli. 

strengthening it. How this belt was made is to me a mystery. 
A larva which inhabits a cocoon must of necessity make that 
cocoon from the inside, and how it is possible for a creature 
which builds its cocoon around itself to form an external 
strengthening belt is a riddle that has not yet been explained. 
The fact is patent — the means are unknown ; and when those 
means are discovered, we shall have solved a very interesting 
problem in Natural History. 

The above illustration of this invaluable specimen is taken 
from my " Homes without Hands," published by Messrs. 
Longman and Co. As, on account of the size of the cocoon, it 


was impossible to give it of the full size, it has been reduced, 
and a common house-fly has been drawn upon it, so as to give 
some idea of its real dimensions. One end of the cocoon is 
broken so as to show the tips of the elytra and part of a tarsus. 
The best mode of realizing the real dimensions of the cocoon is 
to turn to Plate III. Fig. 1, on which the insect is shown of its 
lull size, and then to compare it with the size of the Beetle as 
it appears within its cocoon. 

The smaller cocoon, or earth-ball, is the work of a Scarabseus. 

Ox Plate III. Fig. 2 is shown another example of the 
Goliath Beetles, remarkable for the extreme development of the 
head-horns. Its scientific name is Dicranocephalus Bowringii, the 
former of the two titles referring to the structure which has just 
been mentioned. It is formed from three Greek words, the first 
signifying "double," the second "a skull," and the third "a head." 

This singularly pretty Beetle is a native of China. The head- 
horns are so curiously lengthened and curved that they much 
resemble those of the stag, and, as is often the case with Beetles 
in which there is a horn-like development of the head or 
thorax, the female is destitute of these appendages, while in the 
male they are exceedingly variable both in size and shape. 

The whole surface of the thorax and elytra is covered with a 
very short, but very thick, yellowish green down, the ground 
colour being black. This is shown in one or two places, such as 
a belt round" the edge of the elytra, a short elevated streak on 
the shoulder and at the tip, and a couple of rather long stripes 
on the thorax. As the yellow down is easily removed by 
friction, these bared portions look very much as if they had 
been rubbed ; but on examination of a series of specimens we 
find that the bare marks are always in the same places and 
much of the same shape. Three species of the Dicranocephalus 
are known. 

Our last example of the true Goliath Beetles is the Rham- 
phorhina Petersiana, which is shown on Plate III. Fig. 3. 

The generic name Bhamplioo^hina is formed from two Greek 
words, which may signify either "beak-nosed" or "crooked- 
nosed." There are many species of this genus, differing very 
greatly in size, some being almost dwarfs, Avhile others are com- 


paratively gia.iits. Still, though the Ehamphorhinas do belong 
to the Goliaths, none of them are very large ; their brilliancy ot 
colour, however, compensating for their lack of dimensions. 

At first sight this Beetle gives the observer the idea that it is 
made of the most brilliant green porcelain, and, indeed, it almost 
looks as if it were artificial rather than a real insect. The oddly- 
formed head is flattened and rather scooped, and in the male is 
deeply toothed in front, and furnished with a sharp curving horn 
on either side, shaped very much like the well-known horn of 
the chamois. The head is white, and the horns are black. The 
head of the female is much smaller, entirely without horns, and 
almost entirely without the teeth on the front edge. 

The thorax is rounded, very highly polished, and of the most 
vivid emerald green, with a sort of translucent effect about it, so 
that it looks very much as if it were made of the finest porcelain 
or enamel. The elytra are of a similar green, except that upon 
them is drawn a large white mark, the shape of which can be 
seen by reference to the figure. The legs are long in proportion 
to the size of the body, and the first pair are very much 
developed, and bear on the under side of the tarsus a bunch of 
long, golden yellow hair. 

If the insect be turned over, the under surface is seen to be 
quite as beautiful as the upper, though in a different way. The 
under side of the head, instead of being white, is rich chestnut 
red, and the general colour of the body is bronze, with a porce- 
lain-like surface, much like that of the thorax and elytra, though 
not so brQliant. One very curious point about this Beetle is the 
longitudinal projection between the middle and last pair of legs. 
This projection is pear-shaped, lies on the central line of the 
body, and is of an opaline green. It seems to have an analogy 
with the sharply-pointed projection in the Dyticus and other 
Water Beetles, though no one appears to have discovered its 

The length of the specimen from which this description was 
taken is one inch and three-eighths. The female, besides being 
unarmed, is much duller in colour, and does not possess the 
peculiar porcelain or enamel-like surface which distinguishes 
the other sex. The length of a fine specimen is nearly an inch 
and a half. 

The habits of the Goliath Beetles are very much like those of 


our own Eose Beetles. They are mostly taken on the wing, 
and, as is the case with the Eose Beetles, the males are much 
more numerous than the females. In flight the elytra are not 
raised, and, indeed, are scarcely opened at all, the wings pro- 
jecting at the sides of the nearly closed wing-cases. 

They feed upon the liquid juices of various plants, mostly of 
trees. In some parts of Africa there is a sort of vine which 
climbs to the tops of trees, and is so full of sap that it affords 
plenty of drink for a thirsty traveller. This vine is frequented 
by several species of Goliath Beetles, which wound the vines 
with their horny jaws, and so drink the juices. Some species 
inhabit certain trees when they renew their buds and blossoms, 
the juices being then easy of extraction. 

Thus, as is remarked by Dr. Harris, of Harvard University, 
" the food of the Goliath Beetle is fluid, like that of the Trichii 
and Cetonice, insects belonging to the same natural family ; but 
the latter live chiefly on the nectar of flowers, and the former on 
the sap of plants. The long hooks on their maxillae and the 
diverging rows of hair that line their lower lips are admirably 
fitted for absorbing liquid food, while their horny teeth afford 
these Beetles additional means of obtaining it from the leaves 
and juicy stems of plants when the blossoms have disappeared. 
Thus every new discovery in N"atural History, even when least 
expected, serves to increase the evidence of skilful contrivance 
and perfect adaptation of structure in all organized beings." 

Some species of Goliath Beetles are eaten by the natives of 
the country in which they live. They are gathered together, 
boiled over a Are, and are said to be very sweet and good, I 
suspect that if entomologists could only see some of the insects 
which are thus ignorantly eaten instead of being preserved for 
the benefit of science, they would feel like that well-known 
naturalist who, on finding that a savage had just eaten an 
animal until then unknown to science, could hardly refrain 
from cutting the man open on the spot. 

We now pass to the true Cetoniides, the typical insects of this 
splendid family. The rare insect which is figured on the next page 
belongs to the sub-family, and is a native of Northern India. It 
is briefly described in Westwood's " Oriental Entomology" under 
the title of Jumnos Ruckerii. The generic name of this and 



allied insects is due to the form of the snout, Avhich is shaped 
something like the mathematical figure called a rhomb. The 
length of the male is nearly two inches. 

It is a very handsome and striking insect, the contrast of 
colours being exceedingly bold. The thorax, which is covered 
with very fine punctures, is shining green with a gold gloss, and 
the elytra are of a similar colour, but having a changeable sheen 
so as to appear blue in some lights. The four spots on them 
are orange yellow. The legs are bright green, and the tarsi of 

Fig. 66. — Rhomborhina Ruckerii. 
(Green, orange spots.) 

the middle and hind pair of legs are fringed with golden hair. 
Those of the first pair of legs are strongly toothed, especially at 
the junction of the tarsus. Underneath it is entirely green, 
glossed with coppery red. 

There are many species of this genus, varying much in size 
and colour, the generality being of moderate size and brightly 
coloured, while others are of small dimensions and dull brown 
in hue. The species which is figured is at once the largest and 
most beautifully coloured of all the genus. These insects are 
mostly captured on the wing, but many specimens have been 



rule, all its members 

taken in the hollows of trees, those being evidently the spots in 
which they have passed their larval existence. 

]SIext comes the remarkable insect called Gt/mnetis hiero- 
glyphica, a native of Brazil. The insects of this genus may be 
easily distinguished by the peculiar formation of the thorax. 
The scutellum is wanting, but in its stead the thorax is pro- 
longed in the middle into a sharp point, which takes the place 
of the scutellum so completely that at a hasty glance that por- 
tion of the insect is not missed. 

This is a very large genus, and, as 
are very boldly marked. The present 
species is bright " king's yellow," with 
a slight mixture of red. It does not 
shine, but has exactly that appearance 
which is produced in water-colours by 
laying on a thick coating of body- 
colour. The marks are deep black, so 
as to give the insect a sort of zebra- 
like appearance. These marks are 
exceedingly variable, so that after 
examining a long series of individuals 
it is scarcely possible to find two 
specimens exactly alike. Underneath 
it is wholly black. 

The insects of this genus, though 
they are true Cetonias, partake some- 
what of the nature of the Goliath Beetles, in that they 
frequent the young leaves of trees rather than flowers. There 
are very many species, differing little in size, though considerably 
in colour. All, however, Avhatever may be their ground colour, 
yellow, chestnut, brown, or grey, are covered with black marks. 
One of the most striking of them, Gymnetis liolosericea, has the 
middle of tlie body and elytra black, with boldly curved edges. 
Most species are black on the under surface. 

Fig. 67. — Gymnetis hieroglyphica. 
(Yellow, black marks.) 

We can only find space for one more example of the Cetonias, 
namely, the splendid insect called Inca Sommerii, the former of 
the names being given to it as being the Inca, as it were, or 
king, of the South American Cetonias, and the latter in honour 


of M. C. Sommer, Esq., of Altona, who forwarded the insect to 
Mr. Westwood for description in his beautiful work, " Arcana 

The genus Inca may faiily be considered as representing in 
tropical America the Goliaths of Africa and India, which so 
closely resemble it in the horn-like projections of the head that 
It might readily be taken for one of those insects. These horns 
only belong to the male, the head of the female being perfectly 
plain. In colour they are black, and they are furnished with a 
dense coat of orange fur, as shown in the illustration. The 
thorax is rich green with a velvety lustre, and has several 

Fig 6S.— Inca Sommerii. 
(Velvet green, yellow stripes and spots.) 

yellow stripes upon it. The elytra are also green, and covered 
with a number of small yellow spots. The legs are dull green, 
and it is of the same colour below, the thighs being sprinkled 
with reddish fur like that onthe head. 

This is an exceedingly variable insect. In the British 
Museum there is one specimen which is entirely without yellow 
spots, and another yellowish with green spots. Those which 
were sent by Mr. Sommer, and are described in the " Arcana 
Entomologica," had blue-black head and thorax with whitish 
stripes, the scuteUum green, and the elytra puiple green. It 
is as variable in size as in colour, but a fine male specimen 
measures about two inches in length, the female appearing 
smaller on account of the absence of head-horns. 

The Incas, of which there are a tolerable number of species, 


are, as a general rule, inhabitants of Mexico, though, as we shall 
presently see, the rule is not without its exception. They feed 
upon the young leaves of trees, and in the daytime may be 
seen flying round the trees at some height from the ground. 
During the early morning they sit among the foliage, resting, as 
do so many insects, on the under surface of the leaves, so as to 
be protected as much as possible from sight. The larvce are 
found in rotten wood, much like those of our own Eose Beetles. 
One species, Inca lineola, was brought from Africa, having been 
captured at Sien-a Leone by the Kev. D. Morgan. It is quite a 
small insect, not larger than our common Eose Beetle, but longer 
and more slender. It is curiously mottled with black, yellow, 
and grey, and has on each of the elytra a short black line, from 
which the specific name of lineola, or " little line," has been 



I USE the word which is placed at the head of this chapter 
because it is a more appropriate name than that which is some- 
times given to this tribe of Beetles; namely, Serricoroes, or 
" saw-horned." Many Beetles might be termed Serricornes, but 
the name of Sternoxi, or "sharp-breasted," is expressive of a 
characteristic peculiar to this tribe. The Sternoxi have the 
sternum, or under part of the thorax, prolonged into a sharp, 
spike-like appendage, which fits into a corresponding hollow 
between the bases of the middle pair of legs. This structure 
can be easily seen by taking any of our common Skipjack or 
Click Beetles and examining it with a lens. 

While so doing the observer will probably find that the insect 
will bend back the thorax, and then, with a smart jerk and a 
clicking sound, fling it forward. If at the time the Beetle be 
lying on its back, it will spring high into the air, and in most 
cases fall on its feet, this being evidently the object for which 
the structure of the thorax was intended, the legs being in many 
species so short, that if the insect falls on its back on a smooth 
surface it can scarcely ever regain its feet. 

Perhaps the reader may ask why the Beetle should be so 
much in the habit of falling on its back that a special provision 
should be made to enable it to get upon its feet ? The reason is, 
that whenever the insect is alarmed it always loosens its hold of 
any object to which it may be clinging, and falls to the ground, 
where it lies motionless as a stone, until the danger, real or 
imaginary, has passed away. Now, if it should happen to fall 
on a smooth instead of a rough surface, it would lie there until 
it died, the legs being so short that they could not touch the 
ground. The power of springing into the air, however, com- 


pensates the Beetle for this defect, a>^ it almost always turns 
over before it reaches the ground, and comes down with its feet 
well under it. 

Such a process requires also a peculiar structure of the thorax. 
If the three parts of which it is comi^osed are fixed tightly 
together the insect cannot leap, hut if they are loosely jointed 
it can bend itself about in the way that has been described. 
Although many, not to say most, of the Sternoxi have this 
power, such is not the case with some of them, among which 
are the family of the Buprestidse, to which our first few examples 
belong. All these Beetles have their heads sunk deeply into 
the thorax, and the antennae short, boldly toothed, and inserted 
in cavities. 

We have but few species of BuprestidtB in England, and they 
are but small and insignificant. Abroad, however, the Buprestidae 
attain considerable dimensions, and many of them are so magni- 
ficently coloured as to take rank among the most splendid of the 
iusect race. If anyone wishes to know what colour can do for 
an insect, he should visit the splendid collection of Buprestidse 
made by the late Eev. F. W. Hope, and now in the Oxford 
Museum. As a rule their surfaces are highly polished, and they 
glow with every imaginable hue, the colours tiitting from spot to 
spot as the light changes. Green and crimson are the two pre- 
vailing hues, but they are relieved by gold, fiery copper, azure, 
and purple. 

This being the case, it is a matter of rule that the insects 
should be largely used as ornaments. Sometimes they are 
employed entire, but generally the wing-cases alone are used. 
In India, for example, the green wing-cases of a Buprestis are 
sewn in patterns upon dresses, sometimes formed into leaf-like 
groups, and often running in a pattern along the edge. The 
same wing-cases are also used as ornaments for baskets, fans, 
and other similar objects. 

Among the savage tribes of Guiana the elytra of certain 
Buprestidse are in great favour. The}^ are strung loosely on the 
lovely feather aprons which the natives wear while executing 
their dances ; and as the dancers move, the hard, pendant elytra 
clatter together in time to the steps. Children's rattles are also 
made of the same materials, the elytra being hung round a little 
wooden hoop, and sometimes three or four such hoops being 

L 2 



fastened above each other, and a little gourd suspended from 
the middle of them. A few small stones are in the gonrd, and, 
to judge from analogies, such a toy must be very pleasing to a 
Guianan child, especially as it can easily be pulled to pieces. 

The first sub-family of the Buprestidae is the Julodides, a 
beautiful example of which is the insect shown in the accom- 
panying illustration. Before proceeding to the description of the 
various Buprestidae, we will ascertain the meaning of the name. 

Fig. 69.— Stemocera stemicornis. 
(Shming green, white spots.) 

It is formed from two Greek words signifying " ox-burner," from 
an idea that it scorched or injured oxen whenever they happened 
to eat it as it lay concealed in the herbage on which they fed. 
That some poisonous insect was signified by the Buprestis is evi- 
dent, because the references to it are so numerous and so specific." 
For example, a special law was made against its use in the 
Pandects of Budseus : " Qui Buprestem . . . aut mortiferi quid 
veneni ad necem accelerandam dederit, judicio capitali et poena 
legis Cornelias afficiator." (Whosoever shall administer a Buprestis 
or any other poison for the purpose of destroying life, shall be 
held guilty of a capital offence by the Cornelian law.) 


The insect was said to have a very powerful odour, to be of a 
greenish gold colour, to be long in the body, and to have long 
antenu£e. Putting all these descriptions together, there is little 
doubt that the Buprestis of the ancients was nothing more or 
less than the Cantharis, or Spanish Fly, and that the insects 
which we scientifically call Buprestidse have nothing in common 
with the Buprestis except its name, which they have wrong- 
fully usurped. 

As to its manners and customs, it was a very curious Beetle 
indeed. According to De Mouffet, " It feedeth on flies, cankers, 
worms, and other the like insects, provided she kill them in 
fight, for those that dye of themselves, or are killed by others, 
she will not touch : when she liath filled herself with the car- 
kasses of the slain, what she leaves she drawes into her hole, and 
when she is hungiy again feeds on them. A great foe to the 
Beetle and the Lizard, aiming at their bellies (as being the softer 
and more penetrable part), which presently she gnaws through • 
and when she fears to be overcome or caught, presently she 
retreats and hides herself. 

" Other savage qualities of this little creature let Peter Turner 
and William Brewer (physicians for learning and integrity of 
conversation second to none) relate, who, together with Pennius 
at Heidelberg, did observe its life and manners." 

The larvae of the Buprestidse are wood-eaters, the eggs being 
laid in the chinks of tree-bark. In order to aid her in placing 
her eggs properly, the last segments of the abdomen are in the 
female formed into an ovipositor, with which she can push the egg 
into very narrow crevices. In consequence of this arrangement, 
when the insect is viewed on the under surface it seems to have 
only five segments to the abdomen, all the others being internal. 

One of these Beetles passed a most singularly lengthened life. 
A fij-plank was brought from the Baltic, made into a desk, and 
then placed in a London office. For twenty years the desk 
stood like any other desk, but at the expiration of that time a 
living Buprestis splendens was discovered in the act of extri- 
cating itself from the desk. In order to discover the position 
which the insect had occupied, the upper j^art of the plank was 
2)laned away, and then the track of the larva was laid open. 
"Whether the twenty years had been j)assed as egg, larva, pupa, 
or perfect insect, is unknown. Most probably it was in the 


larval stage, as the larva always does live for several years 
before it becomes a pupa, and in this case development would 
be hindered by the dryness of the wood. Several other foreign 
insects have been imported in like manner, and are mostly 
found about the Docks. 

The full account of this curiously prolonged life is found in 
one of the early volumes of the " Linnean Transactions," and in 
the same " Transactions " is an account of a larva of an Indian 
Buprestis, which had been sent over in a bale of goods, and had 
eaten its way completely through fifteen pieces of muslin — the 
holes which it made being of course multiplied by the folds of 
the muslin, which I should imagine must have furnished rather 
innutritions diet. 

The present species is a native of the East Indies, and is a 
very beautiful insect. The whole of the body is bright shining 
green above, and more polished on the thorax than on the 
elytra. Both thorax and elytra are covered with bold punctures, 
the former looking very much like the pits on a lady's thimble. 
On the elytra the punctures are not only deep, but on a close 
examination are seen to be white inside. This curious colouring 
is most perceptible on two large circular pits on the shoulders. 
Besides having these punctures, the whole of the surface of the 
elytra is covered with very tiny granulations. The boldly- 
toothed antennse are covered towards their extremity with fine 

On looking at the under surface a peculiar structure is shown, 
which explains the generic name. The middle portion of the 
thorax, technically named " meso-sternum," is prolonged into a 
rather long, stout, and sharp spine, which projects completely 
beyond the base of the first portion of the thorax, or "pro- 
sternum." If the reader will examine the under-surface of a 
common Eose Beetle he will see a similar development, except 
that the spine of the Rose Beetle is not so stout nor so propor- 
tionately large as that of the Buprestis. The generic name 
Sternocera is formed from two Greek words signifying " breast- 
horn," and is therefore a very appropriate one. The specific 
name sternicornis is nothing more than a literal Latin rendering 
of the same word. The whole of the under surface is green, 
speckled with tiny yellow hairs. 


This is a very large genus, and has representatives from many 
parts of the world. They are of various sizes and various 
colours, most of them, however, being of brilliant hues, and 
the thorax the most polished part. Some are simply brown, 
black, or grey, while others are olive green or bright green. The 
most curious of them in point of colour is Buprestis feldspathica, 
in which the colour is purple, but highly iridescent. It comes 
from Western Africa. 

The group or sub-family of the Chalcophoridse is represented 
by one or two examples, the first of which is the handsome 
Beetle called Catoxantha gigaidea, a native of India. 

Fig. 70.— Catoxantha gigautea. 
(Green, yellow spots.) 

This splendid insect measures three inches in length, and 
seven-eighths of an inch in width. It is flatter in form than the 
last-mentioned species, and not so boldly punctured. The head 
and thorax are very dark green, and on either side of the latter 
there is a rounded patch, chestnut brown in colour, and covered 
with deep punctures. Just at the base of the thorax are two 
triangular depressions, one on either side of the central line. 
The colour of the elytra is bright, shining green, and on the 


lower third of each is a large irregular patch of orange-yellow, 
surrounded by an indistinct but very beautiful blue band. 

The under side is nearly as beautiful as the upper. In the 
first place, the under surface of the elytra is of the same lovely 
blue as that which surrounds the yellow patch. This is a most 
remarkable fact, because, as a rule, the under surface of elytra is 
duU, no matter what the upper surface may be. Take, for ex- 
ample, the elytra which have already been mentioned as attached 
to the dancing apron of the Guianan Indians. Above they 
are very brilliant, being of a metallic copper, glossed with 
green bronze ; but below they are dull olive, inclining to brown, 
and scarcely showing a trace of the splendid colouring of the 
upper surface. 

The body itself is bright yellow, to which is owing the generic 
name Catoxantha. This term is Greek, signifying "yellow 
beneath," and is given in consequence of the colour of the 
abdomen. From the end of the body project the tips of the 
wings as they lie folded under the elytra. If carefully removed 
and spread, these wings are found to be very ample, serving to 
convey even so heavy an insect through the air. Like our own 
Skipjack Beetles, the Buprestidse are much on the wing, espe- 
cially during the hours of sunshine. They fly with drooping 
bodies, and if an unsuccessful attempt be made to capture them, 
they close their wings, fall to the ground, fold their legs and 
antennae under the body, and there lay motionless. 

Many species of Catoxantha are known ; and though their 
colour is mostly green, some of them are blue, the colour of the 
blue baud thus extending over the whole body. 

The illustration on the next page represents a very beautiful 
Buprestis from Java. 

It is rather deceptive in point of colour, and, large as it is, 
must be examined closely before its beauties can be known. At 
first sight it appears to be only a yellow and black Beetle, but 
on a careful inspection, aided by a strong light, it is seen to be 
one blaze of splendour. The centre of the thorax is rich violet, 
and on either side is a large patch of fiery, burnished copper, 
very deeply and profusely punctured. The elytra are smooth 
and of a "king's yellow" colour, while in their middle is a large 
circular patch of the most splendid purple, and the last third of 



the wing-cases is of the same colour. A very strong light is 
needed to develop the full beauties of this splendid colour. It 
is so deep that in a poor light it looks black, but when properly 
illuminated the purple is so intense as almost to dazzle the eye ; 
and as it is contrasted with its complementary colour, yellow, 
it necessarily appears peculiarly vivid. 

If possible, the under surface is even more beautiful than the 
upper. The head and thorax are of the same coppery carmine 
as that Avhich adorns the sides of the thorax ; and the abdomen is 
shining violet, not quite so dark as the purple of the elytra. 
The legs are violet. The generic name of Chrysochroa, or " golden 

' ^y&^'''>{/ 

Fig. 71. — Chrysochroa Buquetii. 
(Yellow and deep violet.) 

surface," has been given to these insects in consequence of the 
j)revalence of golden yellow in their colouring. This is a large 
genus, and is represented in the East Indies, China, &c. One of 
the most startling in point of colour is Chrysochroa vittata of China. 
The elytra of this insect are burnished green glossed with gold, 
while down their centre runs a band (in Latin, vitta) of brilliant 
carmine. Another species, Chrysochroa linibata, though small, not 
an inch in length, and not shining, is yet a very beautiful insect. 
It is deep olive green ; the elytra are boldly ridged, and round 
their edges runs a broad belt of golden yellow. The specific 
name limhata is formed from the Latin word lirabus, wihch signi- 
fies a hem, border, or frill, and refers to this yellow belt. 



The group of Buprestides is represented by one insect, which, 
however, looks as if it could do duty for many. Like most 
foreign insects, it has no English popular name, but its scientific 
title— and, as we shall presently see, a very appropriate one 
— is Stigmodera variabilis. The generic name is formed from 
two Greek words, the former signifying " a mark " or " a blotch," 
and the latter " a back," in allusion to the bold markings of 
the elytra. 

The specific name, variabilis, or " variable," is singularly 
appropriate ; for whereas there are many specimens which are 
perfectly plain, and have no marks at all on the elytra, there 

Fig. 72. — Stigmodera variabilis. 
(Green and chestnut, with purple markings.) 

are scarcely any two specimens which are precisely alike in 
every respect. I have looked through a long series of this extra- 
ordinary Beetle, and have not yet discovered two specimens which 
are exactly alike. As to the various divergences from the 
original type, whatever that may be, they are so numerous as to 
preclude all description. Suffice it to say that examples of this 
Beetle can be found which bear no more resemblance to each 
other than does a Newfoundland dog to an Italian greyhound ; 
and yet, just as we acknowledge the dog to belong to the same 
species, so do we with regard to the Beetle. I should very much 
like to give figures of some of the principal varieties of this 
curious Beetle, but our space is far too limited. 

We will begin with the specimen which is figured in the 
illustration, and which seems to be a fair example of the best 
type of this insect. The head and middle of the thorax are deep, 
rich, shining green, profusely and finely punctated, while the 
sides of the thorax are yellow. The ground colour of the elytra 


is rich, warm chestnut, rather deeply furrowed, and each furrow 
being marked with a row of bold punctures. Across the elytra 
run four bands of the deepest purple, shaped as shown in the 
illustration. Below, it is bright, shining green, punctured like 
the thorax. 

Now for some of our varieties, of which I shall only describe 
three or four. One has the elytra chestnut, and in the middle, 
nearer their base, there is a square violet spot. Exactly in the 
middle of the elytra is another violet spot shaped like the ace ot 
diamonds, having a small square spot of the same colour on 
either side. Then comes a bar which extends nearly but not 
quite across the elytra, and a patch of the same hue occupies 
the extreme tip. Next, perhaps, we find a specimen which has 
markingsalmost exactly the same in point of shape and number, 
but deep green instead of purple or violet. Next comes a spe-- 
cimen where a diamond-shaped spot occupies the place of the 
square mark, and a chevron-shaped mark takes the place of the 
diamond in the middle. Some of these Beetles, indeed, would 
do very well to illustrate the elements of heraldry, and it would 
be very convenient if we could use the heraldic terms, such as 
" chief," " fesse," " party per pale," &c. &c., in describing colours 
or marks. 

Some specimens are wholly brown, or very dark green ; 
some are deep red, with one, two, three, or four bands of violet, 
blue, purple, black, or green. More than four bands I never 
saw. Some are so small as to be scarcely one-tenth the size of 
the specimen which has been figured, and without any marks 
on the elytra, which are uniform pale brown, the thorax being 
a few shades darker. 

Being so exceedingly variable a species, it is naturally a very 
troublesome one to entomologists, who find that colour, size, and 
marks absolutely go for nothing at all, and have been obliged to 
discard them from their calculations. In consequence, there are 
few insects which have been furnished with so many names as 
this, zoologists having not only considered the varieties as dif- 
ferent species, but even placed them in different genera. 

We now come to the group of Elaterides, which are possessed 
of the power of leaping when laid on their backs. If one of the 
large species be taken, such as those which we are about to 


examine, and held on their backs, the mode of jumping is at 
once seen. A very strong spine extends from the " pro-sternum," 
or first portion of the thorax, and projects so far backwards that 
its end passes into a deeply-grooved cavity formed by a projection 
between the middle pairs of legs. A side view of this spine 
shows that it is shaped just like the "pall" and ratchet in 
machinery ; indeed, so exact is the resemblance, that in looking 
at the leaping spine of a large Elater, it seems as if the pall and 
ratchet must have been copied from it. 

Now for its use. When the Beetle falls on its back, it first 
feels about with its legs, trying to find a foothold, and, after 
failing, makes up its mind to leap. It gathers up its legs closely 
to its body, and, in some instances, lays its antennae in two 
grooves which run along the under surface of the thorax. It 
then bends its thorax very far back, so as to arch itself com- 
pletely from the surface on which it is lying. This movement 
lifts the end of the spine just out of the notch in which it has 
lain, and which is so made that whereas the spine can be slipped 
out easily enough, it cannot be restored to its place without some 
force and a sharp jerk. 

The insect then begins to straighten its body, but is prevented 
by the end of the spine. Were the spine perfectly stiff, the 
insect would probably never straighten itself again; but being 
highly elastic, it bends, and then springs into its place with a 
sharp clicking sound, thereby jerking the shoulders — if we may 
so call them — against the ground, and flinging the insect high 
into the air. Some writers have said that the end of the abdomen 
and the head are struck against the ground, but I am certain 
that the method which I have described is that which is em- 
ployed by the Skipjack Beetles. 

The name Elater, signifying " striking " or " bounding," refers 
to this remarkable power of leaping. 

Our example of the Elaterides is the curious Beetle called 
Alaus mosrens, a native of India. The whole upper surface of 
this insect is cream colour clouded with grey, and covered with 
a number of black spots, streaks, and patches, too numerous to 
describe, and varying in different specimens. There is, however, 
always a large patch on the outer edge of each elytron, nearly in 
the middle. On a closer inspection it is evident that the real 


colour of the elytra is black, and that the white surface, which 
looks just like paint, is only superficial. It is, however, stronger 
and attached more firmly than is generally the case, and will 
resist a moderate scratch of a needle. 

When the antennae and legs are tucked close to the body, this 
Beetle scarcely looks like an insect, but resembles a piece of bark 
covered with white lichen. I feel quite certain that if one of 
these Beetles were to cling to the bark of an old lichen- covered 
tree, the keenest eye would not detect it except by accident. Those 
who are practically acquainted with our own Skipjack Beetles 
know that there is one species, Lacon murinus, which is in colour 
so exactly like a piece of old bark, that if it flies to an elm or 
oak trunk and settles there, it will hardly ever be discovered, 
even though it were actually seen to settle. 

Fio. 73. — Alaus mcErens. 
(Black and white.) 

There are many species belonging to the genus, all of which 
are dressed in the same sober hues, and some are marked in a 
manner which is almost grotesque. One of these is Alaus 
oculatus, of Florida. The thorax in this insect is dark creamy 
grey, and on either side is a large oval spot of jetty black, 
surrounded by a narrow belt of pure white, so as to have an 
eye-like appearance reminding the English entomologist of the 
similar spots on the caterpillar of the Elephant Hawk Moth. 
Then there is another species, Alaus lymphatus, with the 
whole of the upper surface snowy white, relieved by a few 
small black spots. 

The generic name Alaus is Greek, and signifies " dull " or 
"obscure," and the specific name mcerens is Latin, signifying 



"mourning;" both names being given to tlie insect inconse- 
quence of the sober black and white of its colouring. 

The splendid insect which is shown in the accompanying 
illustration belongs to another group of Elaters. If the reader 
will look at the figure of the Alaus and at that of our present 
species, he will see that the ends of the elytra are, in the former 
insect, blunt and rounded, and in the latter, drawn oiit into long 
sharp points. The name Oocynopterides, which is given to this 
group, signifies " sharp-winged," and refers to this formation. 

Fig. 74. — Oxynopterus Cumingii. 
(Reddish brown.) 

The most striking point in the appearance of this insect is the 
beautifully feathered structure of the antennae in the male. To 
each of the joints is attached a long, narrow, flat projection, or 
" flabellum," not unlike those of the Lamellicorn Beetles, which 
gives to the whole organ the appearance of a fan. The female 
does not possess these beautiful appendages, her antennae being 
only toothed, the point of each tooth showing where the flabellum 
would be in the other sex. So important is the antenna in the 
general appearance of the insect, that although the female is 
larger than the male, she absolutely seems to be smaller, so much 


does the absence of the feathered antennse detract from her 

The colour of this fine Beetle is reddish brown, but there is a 
difference between the thorax and elytra. The former looks 
rather paler than it really is, because it is sprinkled with tiny, 
very short, yellow hairs. These hairs are not thick enough to 
constitute a downy coat, but are sufficiently plentiful to modify 
the colour of the surface. The elytra are mahogany-red, and 
each of them has three slight ridges extending throughout its 
entire length. The insect was brought from the Philippines by 
Mr. Cuming, whose exertions in the cause of science are of 
world-wide reputation. 

Owing to the great size of this Beetle, the structure of the 
leaping apparatus is beautifully shown ; and I should think that 
as the elastic spike is quite as large as a crow-quill, and about 
three-quarters of an inch in length, the leap which the insect 
makes must be an enormous one, and the clicking sound pro- 
portionately loud. 

The Elaterides are represented by an insect of universal 
celebrity, the Firefly of the Tropics {Pyrophorus noctilucus). 

This wonderful insect has the power of emitting a powerful 
greenish light from two oval spots, one on either side of the 
thorax, together with a differently coloured light from the under 
surface. The two luminous spots of the thorax are pale sliining 
yellow, and look very much as if a second pair of compound 
eyes had been placed there. This light has been so admirably 
described by Mr. Gosse in his " Naturalist's Sojourn in Jamaica," 
that I cannot do better than quote his account : — 

" I will now speak of one other luminous insect, the Glow-fly 
{Pyrophorus noctilucus). From February to the middle of sum- 
mer this Beetle is common in the lowlands, and at moderate 
elevations. Lacordaire's account of the luminosity of this 
Elater (known to me, however, only by the citation in Kirby and 
Spence's Introd. to Ent. ii. 333, 6th edit.) differs so greatly from 
the phenomena presented by our Jamaica specimens, that I 
cannot help concluding that he has described an allied but veiy 
distinct species, and I feel justified, therefore, in recording what 
I have myself observed. 

" The light from the two oval tubercles on the dorsal surface 



of the thorax is very visible, even in broad daylight. When the 
insect is undisturbed, these spots are generally quite opaque, of 
a dull white hue ; but on being handled they ignite, not sud- 
denly, but gradually, the centre of each tubercle first showing a 
point of light which in a moment spreads to the circumference 
and increases in intensity till it blazes with a lustre almost 
dazzling. The colour of the thoracic light is a rich yellow green- 
In a dark room, pitch dark, this insect gives so much illumination 
as to cast a definite shadow of any object on the opposite wall, 
and when held two inches from a book the whole line may be 
read without moving it. 

" The under part of the thorax has a singular appearance 
when the tubercles are fully lighted up ; for the horny coat of 

skin, being somewhat pellucid, dis- 
plays the light within redly and 
dimly, as if the whole thorax were 
red hot, particularly at the edges, 
immediately beneath the tubercles. 
Wlien left alone, the insect soon 
relapses into stillness, and the tu- 
bercles presently fade into darkness, 
either total or redeemed only by a 
spark scarcely perceptible. 

" I had been familiar with this 

Glow-fly for some weeks, and had 

made the above observations on 

it without being aware that it pos- 

i, 1^'/ 7 ' \|N^ sessed any other source of light 

•^ " \\ than the thoracic tubercles. I had, 

indeed, remarked that when flying 
at liberty the light which it diffused 
was of a rich ruddy glow, and yet 
these individual insects, if captured and held in the hand, 
showed only green light. I much wondered at this, but knew 
not how to account for it until a friend explained it, illustrating 
his remarks by experiment. 

" On the ventral surface, when the abdomen is extended, there 
is seen, between its first segment and the metathorax, an oval 
transverse space, covered with thin membrane, which glows 
with orange-coloured light, totally concealed, however, when the 

Fio. 75. — Cuciyo, or Firefly 
Pyrophorus noctilucus. 
(Pale yellow-brown.) 


abdomen is relaxed, by the overlapping of the metathorax. 
When the insect is placed on its back, it throws itself into the air 
like other Elaters ; but if it be made to repeat this many times, 
it appears to become weary, and endeavours to raise itself by 
bending the head and the abdomen back, so as to rest on the 
extremities, in hope to roll over. It is when thus recurved that 
the abdominal light suddenly appears, the oval space being un- 
covered. When held in the hand, the same effect is produced by 
forcibly bending back the abdomen with the fingers ; but this is 
not very easy of accomplishment, on account of the resistance of 
the closed elytra ; but if these be held open with one hand and 
the abdomen recurved with the other, it is readily shown. 

" As the open space, then, can be exposed only when the 
elytra are expanded, the reason is manifest why the red light is 
never displayed by the insect when walking or resting: the 
green thoracic light, on the other hand, may be displayed at any 
time ; it is, however, very rarely shown during flight. On one 
occasion two or three glow-flies, having entered the sitting- 
room in the evening, gave out the red light most brilliantly as 
they fl^ew round near the ceiling, the spectators being beneath 
them. One of these, being alarmed by my efforts to capture it, 
gave out the thoracic light also very brightly ; and the mingling 
of the red and green light in the evolutions of flight produced 
an effect indescribably beautiful. 

" That the thoracic light is subject to the will of the insect is 
indubitable ; but whether the same can be predicated of the 
abdominal light I am not assured. During flight it is every 
second intermitted, as far as the observer can detect; but its 
appearance or disappearance may depend upon whether the dorsal 
or ventral surface is presented to the eye. This is when, soon 
after dark, the insect is sweeping in rapid, headlong, irregular 
curves over the fields or along the edges of the forest ; when the 
appearance resembles that of a stick with the end on fire (but 
not in flame), carried or whirled along by one running swiftly ; 
quenched suddenly, after a course of a dozen yards, to appear 
again at a similar distance. When slowly flying over the grass, 
the progress of one may often be traced by the red glare on the 
ground beneath ; a space of about a yard square being brilliantly 
illuminated, when no light at all reaches the spectator's eye from 
the body of the insect. 



" Whether any light would appear pervading the abdomen if 
the segments were stretched, I cannot positively say, for I have 
not in my journal any note on this point. I think not, however, 
for in my repeated handlings of these insects and experiments 
on their abdomens, I could scarcely have avoided extending the 
segments, even unintentionally ; but I am quite certain I never 
saw any light except in the one ventral and the two thoracic 
spots. If one be trodden on, a mass of mixed light remains for 
some minutes among the fragments." 

" The story told by Peter Martyr of these Elaters having been 
hunted for, to eat the mosquitos, is sufficiently " amusing ; of 
course it is not right to contradict a statement because one has 
never verified it, but I may be permitted to observe that I 
utterly disbelieve it. That they might afford a substitute for 
candles in performing household operations that required no 
great exactness is certainly true, provided they were constantly 
carried in the fingers; but if put under a glass, or allowed 
liberty in a room, as I have abundantly .proved, they very 
quickly conceal their light, I have found, too, that one kept 
beneath a glass would display very little light the next evening, 
even under the excitement of being handled, and on the follow- 
ing night would be irrecoverably dark ; this may have resulted 
from the lack of food, or of exercise ; not, I think, from the lack 
of air or of moisture. 

" Peter Mart}'r asserts that the natives of Hispaniola, at the 
time of the discovery, were in the habit of tying one of these 
glow-flies to each of their great toes when they journeyed by 
night through the woods ; a thing not at all improbable. The 
two insects would throw a considerable light around the tra- 
veller's steps, and, if they should withhold their luminosity, 
might easily be replaced by others freshly caught. On this 
custom Southey, in the beautiful poem already quoted, has 
founded a pretty incident. When Coatel was guiding Madoc 
through the cavern — 

' She beckoned, and descended, and di-ew out 
From underneath her vest, a cage, or net 
It rather might be called, so fine the twigs 
Which knit it, where, confined, two fire-flies gave 
Their lustre.' 

Madoc, 11, xvii," 


•' Of the earlier stages of any of these light- bearing insects I 
have been able to procure little information. About the middle 
of May a larva of an Elateridous Beetle was brought to me 
which was luminous ; in the dark the whole insect was pellucid, 
but the divisions of the segments showed distinct light, blue and 
pale, not very vivid. It was impatient of being liandled, and 
bit fiercely at the hand, but ineffectually. 1 suspect that it was 
the larva of the Glow-fly. The specimen is now in the British 
Museum. And at Content, in the latter part of July, I found 
in fresh-turned earth a larva of a Lampyris, small and lengthened : 
the abdomen, like that of the European glow-worm, was fur- 
nished with a retractile brush of divergent filaments, ordinarily 
concealed ; but having no lens with me, I could not examine it 

I may here mention that the light of the Cucujo has been tested 
by the spectroscope, but with very little result, the spectrum 
being merely a " continuous " one, i.e. without any bars across it, 
either dark or luminous. I have tried the common glow-worm 
by the same test, and found the same result. It is as well 
with the latter insect to have several specimens together, as the 
light is not nearly so powerful as that of the Cucujo. 

It is said that the Cucujo will fly to a lamp or torch, but this 
statement has been denied by some travellers. That they have 
not succeeded in attracting the insect to a light may be true 
enough, but that the insect can be so attracted is perfectly true, 
as is shown by the following letter which I received lately from 
one of my brothers, who has lived for some years in Brazil, and 
has always taken great interest in entomology : — 

" There was a very strange case of the attraction of light for 
some species of insects. On Tuesday last, a Brazilian gentleman 
was with me looking out of the door after dark, and we saw a 
very bright light some five hundred yards off. It was moving 
about the trees on the side of a high hill that rises from the side 
of the river. 

" After watching it for some time, my friend said that it was a 
' vagalume' and that if I put a light out at the door it would 
come to it. So, though rather imbelieving, I brought out a lamp, 
and, sure enough, the light, instead of continuing among the 
trees on the other side of the river, came straight to the lamp, 
and not two minutes from the time that I brought out the lamp 

M 2 


the creature was in the net. It turned out to be what in your 
ISTatural History is called the ' Cucujo.' 

" I have it still alive in a chip pill-box, through which the light 
is perfectly visible in a dark place. I want to try some expe- 
riments with the luminous spots, and, if possible, detect their 
nature and origin." 

That this habit of coming to the light was known to the earlier 
naturalists is evident from the same Peter Martyr, or Pietro 
Martire, to whom Mr, Gosse has alluded. In his " Decades of 
the New World " he remarks concerning the insect : " Whoso 
wanteth cucuij, goeth out of the house in the first twilight of the 
nio-ht, carrying a burning firebrande in his hande, and ascendeth 
the next hillock, that the cucuij may see it, and hee swingeth 
the firebrande about, calling cucuius aloud, and beateth the ayre 
with often calling and crying out, cucuie, cucuie. 

" Many simple people suppose that the cucuij, delighted with 
that noise, come flying and flocking together to the bellowing 
sound of him that calleth them, for they come with a speedy 
and headlong course ; but I rather think that the cucuij make 
haste to the brightnesse of the firebrande because swarmes of 
guattes fly into every light, which the cucuij eat in the very 
ayre, as the martlets and swallows do. Some cucuius sometimes 
followeth the firebrande, and lighteth on the grounde ; then is he 
easUy taken, as travellers may take a beetle, if they have need 
thereof, walking with his wings shut. 

" In sport is merriment, with the intent to terrify sucli as are 
afraid of every shadow, they say that many wanton wild fellowes 
sometimes rubbed their faces by night with the fleshe of a 
cucuius, being killed, with purpose to meet their neighbours with 
a flaming countenance ; as with us wanton young men, putting 
a gaping vizard over their faces, endeavour to terrify children or 
women who are easily frighted." 

Some of these insects have been brought alive to England, 
the bags in which they were kept being every day dipped in 
water. They fed upon sugar-cane, which they easily broke with 
their mandibles, and when the cane was exhausted they fed 
freely on brown sugar. Mr. Lees, who first succeeded in this 
attempt, remarks that when the insects were roused and in 
perfect vigour, the whole body seemed to be saturated with 
luminosity, even the back shining when the elytra and wings 


were expanded. His account is given at length in the " Zoological 
Journal," vol. iii. 

The larva as "well as the perfect Beetle feeds upon sugar-cane, 
and, considering the vasb numbers of the insect, it probably does 
much harm to the sugar crops. Mr. Hill suggests that as the 
sugar-cane, in order to prosper, requii-es a great amount of phos- 
phates in the soil, the phosphorescent light may be primarily 
referred to the soil. 

Beautiful as is this insect by night, it is by day but an ordinary 
brown Beetle, without a single element of beauty except a certain 
elegance of form. The thorax is dark brown, and the elytra 
apparently of a lighter colour. They are in reality black, but 
are covered with a pale dun-coloured down, which is but lightly 
attached and easily rubbed oflf. Below, it is black, rather deeply 
punctured, and thickly sprinkled with small yellowish hairs. 
There are several species of Noctilucus, but that which has been 
described is the best known and the most brilliant. This is by 
no means the only insect that is called by the name of Firefly ; 
some are closely allied to the Cucujo, and others more nearly 
related to the well-known glow-worm. 



The insects which are classed under the title of Malacodermi, or 
Soft-skinned Beetles, agree in some points with the Elaters, while 
in others they depart widely from them. The bodies of these 
insects, including the elytra, instead of being hard and firm, are 
soft, flexible, and generally covered with down. Indeed, the 
elytra are so delicate in some of these insects, that the circula- 
tion of the blood may be observed through their textures. It 
is easy enough to see the circulation in the wing itself, as any- 
one who has a microscope may prove ; but that the tiny, trans- 
parent, colourless globules should be seen through the wing-case 
itself, is rather startling. The antennas are long, slender, and 
often deeply-toothed, and the jaws are quite feeble. Our common 
" Soldiers " and " Sailors," and the glow-worm, are familiar ex- 
amples, of the Malacodermi. 

In this country none of the Malacoderms attain very great 
size, neither is there much to notice in their forms. Abroad, 
however, they are much larger than in England, and assume 
some very singular forms, one or two of which will be presented 
to the reader. 

The Lycidpe are in many of their habits like our Soldier Beetles. 
Tliey are fo^^nd in flowers, especially the umbelliferous flowers 
that grow on the borders of woods. Everyone who has watched 
the habits of insects knows that the Soldiers thoroughly deserve 
their popular name, they being, in spite of their soft exterior and 
harmless appearance, the most combative of insects, even the 
two sexes fighting Avith each other, and the victor generally 
eating the vanquished. The Lycidse are equally ferocious, and, 
from this propensity to kill and eat their fellow insects, have 



derived their scientific name, which signifies " wolf beetles." Like 
onr Soldiers, they are accnstomed to let themselves fall to the 
gi'ound when alarmed, and simulate deatli until they think that 
the danger has passed away. 

The remarkable insect which is shown in the illustration 
affords a good example of the exotic Lycidse. Its elytra are very 
broad and very flat, somewhat like those of the Mormolyce, or 
Fiddler, which is described on page 39. If the insect be viewed 
on the under surface, the elytra are seen to be exceedingly thin 
and almost transparent, with a sort of network texture wrinkled 
longitudinally, and having the edges slightly rolled over so as to 
form a narrow, strengthening rim. The head is lengthened, 
pointed, and turned downwards, so as to enable the insects to 
reach the flowers which are 
their legitimate food. The 
colour of this species, and 
indeed of nearly all the 
Lycidse, is orange with black 
marks. This Beetle is a na- 
tive of Africa, which is the 
home of the Wolf Beetles. 
The elytra are not quite 
rounded behind, but each is 
slightly scooped at the top, 
very much as if a piece had 
been bitten out of them. It is to this circumstance that the 
species owes its name oi 'prcemorsus, or "bitten." 

There are very many species of Lycus, one of which, Lycus 
scutellaris, has the elytra scarcely thicker than silver paper, and 
instead of being scooped at the end, the tips are drawn out into 
black, flattened projections, very much like the wings of the 
SwaUow-tailed Butterfly. Most of the species show scarcely any 
difference of shape in the two sexes, but some of them, such as 
Lycus Bremii, a native of Southern Africa, are extremely different, 
the male having the elytra wide and flat, while those of the 
female are not only narrow, but even scooped at the sides. 

Nearly all the Lycidse are foreign insects, but we have two 
British species, both belonging to the genus Dictyopterus. The 
best known of them is Dictyopterus Aurora, which is found in 
Eannoch Wood, Perthshire. It is almost always taken under 

Fig. 76. — Lycus praemorsus. 
(Orange and black.) 



felled timber, and, being very slow in its movements, is easily 
captured. The colour of its elytra is red, and the length of the 
Beetle is barely half an inch. The generic name, Dictyopterus, is 
formed from two Greek words signifying " net-winged," and is 
oiven to the insect on account of the network-like texture of the 


elytra, which has already been mentioned in connexion with 
Lvcus prcemorsus. 

The very remarkable insect which is shown in the illustration 
belongs to a group which are appropriately named Ehipidoceridse, 
from the structure of their antennae. The name is Greek, signify- 
in^ " fan -horned," and is given to the Beetles because the antennae 
of the males are furnished with a number of flattened or linear 

appendages, which in some species 
radiate like the sticks of a lady's 
open fan. These insects are re- 
markable for another peculiarity. 
As a rule, the antennae of Beetles 
have eleven joints, but those of 
the Rhipidoceridse have from six- 
teen to forty joints, according to 
species. The present insect has, 
altogether, thirty - one joints ; 
namely, three simple joints next 
the head, then four toothed joints, 
and then twenty-four joints each furnished with a flabellum of 
greater or less length. In the female the number of joints is 
less, and they are merely toothed. 

The Beetle which is called Bhipidocera mystacina is a native 
of New Holland, and has been selected as forming an excellent 
type of the family. The thorax is black and hairy, and the 
elytra are also black, longitudinally ridged, deeply granulated, 
and decorated with a number of snowy white spots arranged in 
longitudinal rows. The legs are black, except the thighs, which 
are deep red. 

The antennae of this insect are singularly beautiful. Each of 
the numerous flabella with which it is adorned is formed very 
much like a spear, supposing the shaft to be beaten flat and 
more or less bent. In consequence of this formation, and the 
extreme regularity with which they are set on the antennae, dark 

Fio. 77.— Rhipidocera mystacina. 
(Black, speckled with white.) 


patches seem to play among them as the light shifts, exactly as 
we have all seen when walking in a diagonal direction to a row 
of iron palings. The specific name mystacina is Greek, and 
signifies " moustached " — the latter word, indeed, being only 
a Gallicized form of the Greek, and from the French naturalized 
in English. 

Like the preceding insect, the Ehipidocera is slow and 
sluggish in its movements, and neither on foot nor on the wing 
does it move swiftly enough to make its capture difficult. It 
never rises to any height in the air, but, like our own Soldiers 
and Sailors, is found on the low plants at the edges of the 
forests. It does not, however, feed upon the flowers, but prefers 
the leaves and the young tender shoots. M. Lacordaire believes 
that in its larval state it feeds upon decaying wood, as he once 
saw a newly-disclosed specimen sitting in a burrow near the 
entrance, as if about to emerge into the outer world. 

Some allied insects are gathered together under the generic 
title of Gallirhipis, i.e. " beautiful fan." The males of these 
insects have only eleven joints in their antennae, but each of 
them is furnished with a very long, thread-like flabellum, in one 
species (Gallirhipis Childreni of Brazil) almost three-quarters as 
long as the entire body. Indeed, so long and so delicate are 
they, that the observer naturally wonders how the insect can 
keep them in order, a task which seems impossible without the 
use of a comb. Another species {Gallirhipis Dejeani) has the 
flabellse of the antennae much flatter, and pressed closely 
together, like the sticks of a lady's fan when closed. 

In all these insects the males are much more common than 
the females, not so much on account of their greater number, 
as by reason of their habits. The male flies abroad, and can 
easily be seen, while in many of the species the female never 
moves out of the burrow in which she passed through her trans- 
formations, the male having to search for a mate under these 
very adverse circumstances, and not even having the satisfac- 
tion of seeing her when he has found her. 

We now come to the family of the Cleridse, a group of insects 
which is mostly brightly coloured and banded, and generally 
has the body covered with hairs. In their larval state many of 


them feed upon the larvpe of other insects, especially upon those 
of the solitary bees. A very pretty species of this family, Clerus 
formicarius, is well known to English entomologists. It is a 
very pretty little Beetle, red, yellow, and black in colour. Even 
the larva is dark pink, spotted with black. Its larva is found 
under bark, where it feeds on the larvte of other wood-boring 

The present insect, which is found spread over a considerable 
portion of Asia and part of Europe, especially round the shores 
of the Mediterranean, is in every way an admirable representa- 
tive of the Cleridse. In the larval or grub state it inhabits the 
nests of wild bees, the larvae of which it devours. It is beauti- 
fully coloured. The head and thorax are of the richest blue, the 

colour of which is, however, rather 
obscured by the thick downy hairs 
with which it is covered. The elytra 
are warm dun, deeply punctated, and 
across them are drawn two broad 
bands of deep purple, a patch of the hue occupying the tips of the 

Fig. 7S.— Trichodes crabroniformis. a i i i 

(reuow and purple.) elytra. Altogether, except that it 

is so much larger, it is wonderfully 
like the British Clerus which has already been mentioned. 
The legs are purple, just like the bands on the elytra. 
There is a downy clothing on the elytra, but the hairs are 
neither so thick nor so long as on the thorax and head. The 
wings are large, and, as is the case with our own insects, a 
portion of them can mostly be seen towards the end of the body, 
as the ends of the elytra slightly diverge. 

The generic name Trichodes is Greek, and signifies " fine 
hair;" and the specific name crahroniformis is Latin, signifying 
" hornet-like," in allusion to the dark stripes on the yellow body, 
which at a little distance really do give to the Beetle a very 
hornet-like air. 

There are many species of these beautiful insects, nearly all 
of which have a strong family likeness. Some are very small, 
and some are very splendid in colour, the most striking of which 
is a North African species, rather larger than our common Tiger 
Beetle. It is very hairy, has a black thorax, and yellow elytra 
banded and edged with the deepest green. 


The curious family of the BostrichiJce is represented by a fine 
and remarkable insect, Apate terebrans, a native of Western 
Africa. All the Bostiichida3 are cylindrical in form, and show at 
once by their shape that they are wood-borers. As their bodies 
and elytra are quite hard, it seems strange that they should be 
ranked among the soft-bodied Malacoderms. They are, how- 
ever, so evidently allied to Beetles which are acknowledged 
jNIalacoderms, that although the Malacoderms are, as a rule, soft- 
bodied and the Bostrichidre are hard-bodied, we cannot deny 
them their relationship. Only four British species of the Bos- 
trichidse are known. Others have been found in England, one 
of which, Dinoderus oceUaris, was discovered by Mr. Westwood 
floating in a cup of coffee. It was evidently an imported 

All the Bostrichidse may be distinguished by the shape of the 
thorax, which projects like a hood over the head. One of the 
British species has this peculiarity so well marked that it has 
gained the specific name of capncinus. The head cannot be 
retracted into the thorax, but the 
latter organ is so large that the 
nead is quite hidden under it. 

The species which is shown 
in the illustration is the largest 
of its genus. Although it is 
not very large, only about an 
inch in length, it is wonderfully *i<^- i'a— Apate terebrans, 

stout and solid, and the holes 

which it makes must be of corresponding diameter. It has 
nothing remarkable about its colour, which is simply black, 
but its form is so curious as to require a somewhat detailed 

Beginning at the head, we find that this portion of the body 
appears quite of secondary importance. It is bent downwards, 
and so completely concealed by the large, solid, hood-like thorax 
that when the insect is viewed from above the head cannot be 
seen at all. The jaws are small, but are yet strong and sharp, 
and capable of cutting their way entirely through wood. 

Next comes the thorax. This is also black, and the fore 
portion of it is covered with a number of little tubercles that 
gradually increase in size until near the junction of the head 


with the thorax. One of them on each side is developed into a 
veritable curved horn, having at its base another but shorter 
horn, so that the two look much like a pair of callipers with one 
leg rather shorter than the other. The back of the thorax is 
quite smooth, though profusely and finely punctated. 

The elytra are very curiously formed. They are deeply ridged 
longitudinally, and nearly at the end each ridge projects in a 
sharp point. After this the elytra bend downwards over the end 
of the body in a manner which reminds the zoologist of the 
Pichiciago of South America. 

The whole surface of the elytra is deeply granulated in rather 
a peculiar manner. Those of my readers who have been at 
Oxford must be familiar with a mode of ornamenting stone 
which was absolutely a passion some thirty or forty years ago. 
In order to break the lights, the stone-cutters were accustomed 
to carve the whole surface of the stone into a series of winding 
channels, to which they did their best to impart an air of uu- 
studiedness, though it was only too evident that each line was 
carefully arranged before it was carved. But here, in the elytra 
of this Beetle, and produced by natural means, is the very effect 
for which these masons toiled in vain, the lights being well 
broken up, and yet no evidence of arrangement being visible. 

Beneath, the Beetle is rather dull black, and is clothed with 
a thick coating of yellow fur. 

There are many other species of Apate scattered over the 
world, some being inhabitants of Africa, while some are found 
in China, and others in India. The generic name is G-reek, and 
signifies "deceit" or "craft." The specific name terebrans is 
Latin, and signifies " a borer." 



Now comes a group of Beetles which are but poorly represented 
in England, though in the warmer parts of the world they are 
very numerous. These are the Heteromera, a word for which it 
is not easy to find an English synonym, except that which I 
have ventured to propose. It signifies " unequal jointed," and is 
given to them because the tarsus of the hind legs contains only 
four joints, while that of the first and middle pair conjtains five 
joints. In point of fact, however, the missing joint really does 
exist, though it is so small as to be hardly perceptible, being 
merged in the first or basal joint, which is longer than the 

There is one foreign species which has even a less number of 
joints, the tarsus of the first and middle pair of legs having four 
joints, and that of the hinder pair only two. In fact, however, 
there are the same number as in the ordinary Heteromera, the 
apparent difference being caused by the fact that in all the legs 
two joints are fused together so as to appear like one. In this 
country the chief representatives of this group are the common 
Cellar or Churchyard Beetle, the Oil Beetle, the Meal Beetle, 
and the Cardinal Beetle. The eyes are almost invariably of a 
kidney-like shape. 

The habits of these Beetles are exceedingly diverse, and it is 
generally easy to tell from the shape and colour of the insect 
what its habits are. Some frequent dark and damp places, just 
as do our common Cellar Beetles, and these insects are generally 
dull and sombre in colour, usually, if not always, being deep 
dull black. Some, which are dusky brown, inhabit sandy and 
dry places in hot countries ; and others, again, of which our 


beautiful Cardinal Beetle is a I'aniiliar example, frequeut 

The larvse are as various in their habits as are the perfect 
insects. Some, such as the Oil Beetles (Mdoe) and the Ehipi- 
phorus, are parasitic in the nests of other insects, mostly those 
of the bee tribe, but not always. 

For example, there is a curious little Beetle {Symhius hlat- 
tarum) which, as its specific name imports, is parasitic on the 
bodies of cockroaches on board ship. I wish that some practical 
entomologist could establish the Symbius in our houses. Oddly 
enough, just as is the case with the insects in which it makes 
its larval residence, the male only is winged, the female pos- 
sessing neither wings nor elytra. Tlie larva of this Beetle is 
almost exactly like the perfect female, and might be mistaken 
fur it save by the greater development of the antennae in the 
perfect insect. 

Some live under the bark of trees, some in fungi ; some, sucli 
as the too familiar mealworm (the larva of Tenebrio molitor), in 
fknir, bran, meal, biscuit-casks, and similar localities. Some are 
found within the stems and roots of living plants, and some on 
leaves. It is a pity that, as the habits of the larviE are so 
diverse, so little should be known about them, especially as the 
foreign Heteromera are very numerous when compared with our 
own. Any entomologist whose vocation leads him to some hot 
portion of the earth, no matter in what country it may be, will 
find his labours amply repaid, and will confer an inestimable 
benefit to entomology if he will set himself the task of investi- 
gating the transformations of the Heteromera, many species of 
wliich he is sure to find if he looks for them. 

Perhaps some persons may ask, what can be the use of study- 
ing the habits of insects and the mode of their transformations ? 
1 have already shown that, even with our limited knowledge on 
the subject, we know that the transformations of many insects 
are a great power in the development of the world. It is there- 
fore but reasonable to infer that if our acquaintance with the 
subject were more complete, we should learn that even the 
smallest insects have their parts to play in the world, and that 
in proportion as man knows their capabilities, so is he carrying 
out one of the objects for which he, as Avell as they, were placed 
in the world. 


Our first example of the Heteroiiiera belongs to the laniily of 
the Anisosiidoe, and is called Anisosis caudatus. 

This little Beetle is very simple in colour, being dull black, 
with a finely punctated surface. Its chief peculiarity lies in the 
tarsus of the hind legs. The reader will remember that in the 
Beetles of this division the tarsus of the hind legs only contains 
four perfectly developed joints. We should naturally therefore 
expect this member to be shorter than those of the first and 
middle pairs of legs. It is therefore very remarkable to find 
that in spite of this small number of joints this tarsus should be 
of any great length. Yet, in looking at tliis insect, we are at 
once struck with the extraordinary 
development of the tarsus of the 
hind legs. They are necessarily 
very slender, and almost look like 
little black hairs rather than joints. 
The magnifying glass, however, 
reveals that the four joints of the 
tarsus are each drawn out to a very 
great length, the basal or first jouit p^^ so. -Anisosis uaudatus. 

being, as usual, the longest : indeed, (Biack.) 

the tarsus alone is nearly as long- 
as the entire body. At the end of the tibia there is a very long 
and very slender spine, projecting inwards, so that the appear- 
ance of the limb is really remarkable. 

The generic name Anisosis is Greek, signifying " unequal,'' 
and is given on account of the inequality in length of the legs. 
The Latin specific name caudatus signifies " tailed," and alludes 
to the shape of the body, which is narrowed at the end into a 
sort of tail. This species conies from Cape Negro. 

The family of the Adesmiidse is represented by an insect 
called Adcsmia variolaris, which may be taken as the typical 
form of the family. 

Although in its hues this insect is nothing remarkable, its 
colour being only soft brown, it is really a handsome Beetle, on 
account of the bold sculpturing Avith which the elytra are 
adorned. The whole body is very convex, and comes to a 
tolerably sharp point at the end. The elytra are very wide, 
folding over the sides of the abdomen so as to cover a full half 



of it. Their upper surface is covered with large knobs running 
in longitudinal lines and very regularly arranged. These knobs 
are, in fact, nothing more than partly developed ridges, and the 
same can be said of any Beetle whose elytra are covered with 
symmetrically arranged knobs. 

As in the last-mentioned insect, the hind legs are long, 

but in the Adesmia it is the 
tibia and not the tarsus which is 
lengthened. There are many 
species of Adesmia, nearly all of 
which are black, so that the 
present insect, which is a native 
of Old Calabar, looks quite hand- 
some among its duller relatives. 
The specific name variolaris 
signifies " pitted with small-pox," 
and is given to the insect in allu- 
sion to the knobs or pustules with which the elytra are covered. 

Fig. si. — Adesmia variolaris. 
(Brown. ) 

The family of the Zopheridse is represented by a member of 
the typical genus Zopherus Bremii. Before proceeding further. 

Fig. S2.— Zopherus Bremii. 
(Yellowish grey, with black knobs.) 

I may remark that some authors spell the generic name Zophorus, 
but wrongly. The word is Greek, signifying "gloomy," or 


" dusky," and is given to the insects partly on account of their 
dull colouring, and partly because they hate the light and are 
always found in dark and gloomy places. 

The present species is a very fine one. The head and thorax 
are black, but the elytra are covered with a coating of yellowish 
grey, which is very firmly adhesive to the surface, but can be 
scraped off so as to show that the natural colour of the elytra is 
black. The upper surfice is covered with a number of bold, 
rounded knobs, arranged in regular longitudinal lines, and being 
much larger near the suture than on the edges. If the insect be 
viewed sideways, these knobs, the colour of which is black, are 
seen to project to a considerable height from the surface of 
the elytra. 

Beneath, the colour is also dull black, but upon it are a 
number of round whitish spots, which on examination with a 
lens are seen to be formed exactly in the same manner as the 
white of the upper surface, and equally capable of being scraped 
off. The legs are black, but upon them are scattered a number 
of tiny white scales of the same character, only so small as to be 
mere specks, just as if a little of the finest flour had been dusted 
on them. 

The habits of this insect are tolerably indicated by its shape 
and colour. It is a very slow walker, crawling along as if half 
stupefied, and even when dislodged from its hiding-place it never 
seems capable of hurrying its deliberate pace. It is to be found 
in woods, chiefly hiding itself in the bark or under the trunks of 
felled trees, or in the heaps of chips which the woodcutters have 
struck off while cutting down the trees. Consequently, an ento- 
mologist has a better chance of capturing this fine Beetle if he 
searches a spot Avhere the woodmen have been at work, than if 
he goes into the yet untouched forest. 

There are many species of Zopherus, all with similar habits, 
and all of sombre colours, the present species being perhaps the 
least dull of the whole genus. One of them is rather curiously 
coloured. The projections on the elytra are nearly hexagonal, 
and are set very closely together. As in Zopherus Bremii, 
the knobs are black and the flat surface white, so that the 
surface of the elytra looks something like a white net with an 
ebony ball in every mesh. The present species is a native of 



Most of the Beetles which we are now examining are slow, 
slusffish, and dull black, or at all events sombre in hue, and so 
constant a character is this dulness that some systematic ento- 
mologists have gathered them into a general group under the 
name of Melasoma, or " black-bodied." These insects are indeed 
the typical representatives of the Heteromera ; and as some of 
them are of considerable size, the structure of the foot can be 
arrived at without difficulty. 

The family of the Blapsidse is familiar to all English entomo- 
logists on account of our familiar insect the Cellar Beetle, or 
Churchyard Beetle {Blajps miicronata), which, as its popular 
name imports, is to be found in dark and damp places. 

Pig. 83. — Blaps polychrestos. 
(Dull black, washed with purple.) 

All the Blapsidse are so much alike in their habits that the 
description of one species M'ill equally serve for others, no matter 
what may be their country. Of their own will they are never 
seen in the daylight, and even in their own familiar darkness 
they have no liveliness, but crawl sluggishly about with great 
deliberation, slowly lifting one leg after another, and reminding 
the observer of the gait of a tortoise. With such habits it is 
evident that they cannot need wings, and accordingly they are 
entirely without organs of flight, their elytra being so firmly 
soldered together that they cannot be separated without injury. 

These Beetles emit an odour which is singularly unpleasant, 
and so peculiar as almost to baffle description. It is not like 
that of the larger Eove Beetles, of the Burying Beetles, or the 
Ground Beetles, but is a sort of mixture of them all, together 


witt a little asafoetida and any other odour which the reader may 
happen to dislike ; and as it clings very tightly, and is not 
easily abolished, even by several washings, the Blaps is an insect 
to be let alone, especially as it does no harm. 

The present species is found in the country through which the 
White Nile flows. Its colour is dull black, but when it is illu- 
minated by a side light a slight wash of purple is perceptible. 
The whole surface is very finely punctured. In appearance it 
differs little from our own species, except that the elytra — instead 
of being brought to a single sharp point, from which the Beetle 
has derived its specific name of mucronata, or " dagger-shaped," 
— diverge from each other at the ends, which are prolonged 
into two rather long points. 

In Mouffet's " Theatre of Insects" there is a quaint account of 
the Blaps, in which the author takes for granted that the insects 
are quite as disagreeable to each other as to manldnd, and are 
perfectly aware of the fact : — 

" It is of a pure black glistening colour, very slow-paced, as no 
creature the like, the body so framed and ordered that you would 
swear it were winged and had sheath-wings ; • nevertheless none 
of them have any wings, no, not the male itself amongst this 
sort of them (whatever Pliny dreameth to the contrary). 

" It hath thin slender long shanks ; remains in deep cellars ; 
it creepeth very slowly, but at the least glimpse of light and 
whisper of talk, she hides herself; a shamefac't creature, cer- 
tainly, and most impatient of light, not so much for its ill- 
favouredness, but the guiltiness of its conscience in regard of 
the stinke it leaves behind it, and of its ill behaviour, for it 
frequents base places, and digs through other men's wals, and 
doth not only annoy those that stand near it, but offends all the 
place thereabouts with its filthy savour. The mouth of it is 
forked, the back covered (as it were) with a sheath-wing ; so soli- 
tary a creature that you shall scarce find two of them together." 

It is rather remarkable that Mouffet, though he persistently 
calls the insect which he is describing a "'Blat," and is good enough 
to place it among the Moths, gives a reaUy fair figure of the 
Blaps and a very good description of the insect. Alluding to 
the then popular notion that the imperial purple dye (which was 
kept a profound secret by the few dyers who knew how to 

N 2 


prepare it) was made from tlie Blaps, lie proceeds as follows :— • 
" These little creatures, though they are baleful to nature itself, 
to men and bees, yet God hath endued them with sundry 
virtues, in which they excel the Blattse Bizantine. For take off 
his shell or mail, which is thin between its head (called papaver) 
and its neck, what doth the belly contain but the ornament to 
dye withall, and to delight the eyes with their colour ? And be 
it so that princes and great men will buy it though never so 
dear, and by the greatness of the price make it only fit for kings 
to wear; yet notwithstanding when you have heard the virtues 
of these Blattse, otherwise so contemptible, you will say they are 
far more esteemed than purple." 

The same writer then proceeds to affirm that the Blaps is a 
certain cure for ear-ache if beaten up with old wine, honey, 
pomegranate-rind, ungitentum Syriacum, apple-juice, tar, and 
onion. This delightful mixture is to be boiled in a pipkin, and 
when cold to be poured into the ear. 

The reader will remember that many of the dark-bodied 
Heteromera are very dull and slow in their movements. In 
allusion to this disposition the name of Moluridce, or " sluggish," 

Fig. S4 — Moluris Rowleyiana. 

is given to the vast family of Beetles. The particular species 
which has been chosen as the representative is Moluris 
Roioleyiana. Moluris is one of the many genera that have 
been made out of Pimelia, which may almost be called a genus 
of all work, or a refuge for destitute Heteromera, so large did it 


become by the additions which were perpetually being made 
to it. 

The present insect is one of the largest of its kind, the speci- 
men from which it was drawn being an inch and tln-ee-quarters 
in length. The colour of this species is black. The head and 
thorax are finely granulated, and if examined with a magnifier 
the whole surface is seen to have a peculiar gloss, caused by the 
edges of the granulations being highly polished, while the in- 
terior of the cells is dull and rough. 

The elytra have several curved ridges upon their surface, nob 
running parallel to the suture, as is generally the case with such 
ridges, but taking a slight and graceful double curve. These 
ridges do not extend throughout the entire length of the elytra, 
but start near the base and reach nearly but not quite to the tip. 
Thev are very narrow at their commencement, swell out aradu- 
ally in the middle, and then become attenuated again towards 
the end, where they join each other. Beneath, the insect is 
wholly dull black, and the legs are of the same hue. There is a 
little golden down on the under surface of the shoulders. 

The present species has rather a wide range of country, speci- 
mens in the British Museum having been taken both in East 
and West Africa. There are man}" species of Moluris, and it is 
worthy of remark that there are two distinct types of form, 
some of the insects being shaped like that which has just been 
described, while others are much thicker, more rounded, and 
have the thorax nearly globular. Among them may be men- 
tioned Moluris Boidetii, which looks almost like a black spider, 
the abdomen being shaped almost exactly like that of our com- 
mon garden spider, and the little head so overshadowed by the 
round globular thorax, that it scarcely seems to be a distinct 
part of the insect, and the two seem to be fused together, as is 
the case with the spiders. This species is quite smooth and 
shining, but others have a few waved marks on their elytra, very 
much like those of Moluris UowUyiana. 

Then there is Moluris Perreti, a very odd-looking spider-like 
Beetle, with curiously ornamented elytra. The upper half is 
tolerably smooth, but over the remainder of the surface are 
scattered a number of projecting knobs, while towards the tips 
the elytra are lengthened and flattened. Moluris alhifrons of 
Southern Africa has a very curiously shaped body. The elytra 


are flattened at the top, and dull black. They are tlien suddenly 
folded over so as nearly to cover the sides, and are then 
polished, shining black, of a steely character. The legs are 
entirely covered with pale yellow down, and contrast boldly 
with the shining black of the body. In some species the body 
is large, round, and thick, and upon it are scattered a number 
of long yellow hairs, which give the insect a sort of bee-like 

It is said that in one of the allied species the female has 
a round, hard, granulated spot on the middle of the second 
segment of the abdomen, and that by striking this upon any 
hard substance she produces a sound which seems to attract the 
male. I very much doubt, however, whether this hard spot be 
used for such a purpose. In the first place, it would be no easy 
matter to strike hard enough to produce a sound which the male 
is likely to hear ; and, in the second, such sounds appear to be 
always produced by the male insect, such, for example, as the 
grasshoppers, crickets, cicadae, and the like. 

The family of the Amarygmidse is represented by the remark- 
able insect which is shown in the illustration on the next page, 
and which has been hitherto undescribed. It is found in Southern 
Africa. At first sight it looks wonderfully like a cockroach, its 
long and comparatively slender legs stretching far from the body 
just as do those of a cockroach, and the long, slender antennai of 
the male having a very blatta-like aspect. So great is the deve- 
lopment of the limbs, that, whereas the entire length of the 
insect is only an inch and a quarter, the hind legs measure 
very nearly two inches in length. The generic name, Uupezus, 
signifying " well-footed," refers to the great length of limb. 

The legs are black, and profusely punctured. The reader will 
notice that the length of the leg is chiefly owing to the develop- 
ment of the tibiae, which are slender and slightly curved. Those 
of the first and second pairs of legs are clothed with dense golden 
pile, while those of the hind pair of legs are entirely plain. The 
object of this down is quite a problem to entomologists. It can 
hardly be meant for mere ornament, inasmuch as it often appears 
on the under side of the insect. It certainly must serve some 
definite purpose, though at present that purpose is unknown. 

If it appeared always in one part of the body, some conjecture 


as to its use might be offered ; but it is exceedingly capricious, 
a|ipearing now on one part of the body, now on another, and 
seeming to obey no particular rule. For example, in Eupezus 
nigerrimus, the down exists on two pairs of legs and not on 
the third. In the Mohiris it occupies the shoulder and dis- 
appears from the limbs. In the Hercules Beetle a ridge of 
such hair runs along the under surface of the beak-like thorax, 
and in a weevil, which we shall presently see, the elongated 
head is surrounded with radiating golden down, so that it looks 
like a small bottle-brush. 

Now, it is evident that whatever may be the function which 
this yellow down exercises, it must be one which belongs equally 

Fio. 85.— Eupezus nigemmus. Now species. 

to all the parts of the body on which it appears, and that there- 
fore it cannot be for the purpose of giving the insect a firmer 
hold, as has been suggested by those who have judged from its 
presence on the legs ; or for the purpose of absorbing the juices 
of plants, as has been said by those who judged from its pre- 
sence on the head ; or for the purpose of affording warmth, as 
has been conjectured by those who judged from its presence on 
the body. There can be no doubt that it does exercise some 
function which it can discharge in all these positions, though 
what that function may be is at present a mystery. 

To return to our present insect. The head and thorax are 
shiny black, and so are the elytra, which are striated and punc- 



tured. In the male the antennae are long and slender, as shown 
in the illustration, hut in the female they are comparatively 
short, being only about one-half as long as the body. There are 
but a few species of Eupezus, all of which are black, though 
none are so jetty black, so shining, so large, or so long-legged 
as EujMZUs nigerrimus. 

Of the family of the Nycteliidse we take as our example Gyrio- 
soma Zeuzotii. AVith regard to this genus, Lacordaire has the 
following statement : — " These are large and remarkable insects, 

mostly black, shining, and silky, having 
on each of the elytra a variable number 
of oblique channels which are filled 
with short, white furry down, lying 
nearly flat along the furrows." The 
present species is a native of Chili. 
Its colours are pitch black and greyish 
white, arranged as shown in the illus- 
tration. The head is black, and so is 
the thorax, the front angles of which 
are rounded, and the hinder angles 
long and pointed. The centre of the 
upper surface or disc, as it is scientifically termed, is thickly 

The elytra are not punctated, but are covered with irregular 
striae. Eunning from the scutellum towards the tips of the elytra 
are several white patches. These patches are irregular, not only 
in shape and size, but even in number, some specimens having 
only five, while others have six or seven. Beneath, the insect is 
pitchy black. 

Like most of the Heteromera, this insect is of a shy and 
retiring disposition, hiding itself under stones and in similar 
localities, and is slow and sluggish in its movements. 

Fig. 86.— Gyriosoma Leuzotii. 
(Black and white.) 

The family of the Lagriidae is very familiar to English entomo- 
logists on account of the only British representative of the family, 
Lagria hirta, so plentiful in the summer in hedges and upon 
flowers. The name Lagriidae is formed from a Greek word signify- 
ing " a hare," and is given to these Beetles on account of the 
dense and long down with which many of the species are covered. 



Lagria basalts, which has been chosen as the representative ol 
the family, is a native of Northern India, and is a singularly 
beautiful insect. Its body is very convex, so as to be nearly 
cylindrical. The head and thorax are apparently black, but 
when viewed by a strong light are seen to be the very deepest 
purple, just as a so-called black coat is mostly blue, and not 
black. The elytra are curiously granulated, the granulations 
running in curves so as to produce a sort of uncertain spiral 
pattern, thus giving a peculiar soft richness to the surface. The 
colours of the elytra are so equally divided that it is not easy to 
say which is the ground hue. The basal half of each elytron is 
deep, glowing purple, to which fact the insect owes its specific 
name of basalis. The remainder of the elytron is yellow, the 
punctures or granulations being shown much more distinctly on 
the yellow than on the purple half. The under surface of the 
body is dull black. 

There are many species of this genus, the present being by far 
the largest in point of size and the handsomest in point of 
colour. Little seems to be known 
of the larvae of the various species 
and their habits. The larva of our 
own species is, like the perfect insect, 
clothed abundantly with long hairs, 
and its shape is rather cylindrical, 
but flattened beneath. The pupa is 
also hauy. Mr. Westwood mentions 
that he has often beaten the larva out 
of whitethorn hedges in the spring 
and autumn ; and Lyonnet states that 
he took the larva at the foot of oak- 
trees, under a quantity of fallen leaves, on which they were feeding. 
Their larva is, however, generally thought to be carnivorous. 
When disturbed they roll themselves up, and Lyonnet states 
that they assumed the pupal form at the beginning of July, 
emerging in the perfect state in the wane of the same summer. 

Fig. S7. —Lagria basalis. 
(Purple and yellow.) 

The Beetle wliich is represented in the illustration on the next 
page has never before been described. It belongs to the family 
Evanioceridse, and I have given to it the name of Trigonode.ra 
anyulata. The former of these names is Greek, and signifies 


" triangular-skinned." It is given to all the Beetles of the genus 
hecause, when viewed from above, the thorax appears more or 
less triangular. 

In the male insect the antennae are beautifully feathered, and 
the eyes are greatly developed, meeting together on the top of 
the head. Indeed, the head seems to be all eyes, much like 
the head of a blue-bottle, and it is so bent downwards under the 
thorax that it cannot be seen when the insect is viewed from 

above. In the female the antennae 
are comparatively simple, and the 
eyes are much smaller. 

In all the species of Trigonodera 
the hinder curves of the thorax are 
pointed, but in this species, espe- 
cially when viewed in profile, the 
curves are elongated into such 
sharp, angulated points, that I have 

Fig. 88— Trigonodera angulata. New given it the SpCCiflC name of a.nqu- 
species. " -"- , '^ 

(Reddish brown.) lata. Whether vicwcd from above 

or from the side, there is a curious high-shouldered appearance 
about the Trigonodera that is especially conspicuous in this 
species, it being the largest of the genus. 

All the Trigonoderse are soberly clad, and this insect is no 
exception to the rule, its colour being pale reddish brown 
above and below, and its surface covered with a soft, silky 
down. This hairy covering is easily rubbed off, and then shows 
the real colour of the deeper elytra beneath. 

Australia has been celebrated as the home of some of the 
most singular mammals in the world, such as the Echidna, 
popularly called the Porcupine Ant-eater, the various species of 
Kangaroo, the Tasmanian wolf (which is not a wolf at all, but a 
marsupial), and the Duckbill. She likewise produces plants and 
trees which are quite as distinct from those of the old world as 
are her marsupials from ordinary mammals. And, as we shall 
presently see, she keeps up her reputation for strange forms by 
producing some very odd-looking, not to say grotesque, insects. 

Among these are the Beetles belonging to the genus Helaeus. 
So remarkable are the insects which constitute the family of 
the Heliidae, and so bizarre are their forms, that I sincerely 



regret the necessity for selecting only one species as an example 
of them. 

The members of the genus Helseus are found throughout 
Australia, and, while agreeing in general form, have some remark- 
able varieties of detail. Among the details in which they agree 
is the flattening of the sides of the thorax and elytra, the abdo- 
men and radial thorax being rounded, as is shown in the illus- 
tration. As to the head, it is quite invisible when the insect is 
viewed from above, being completely hidden under the flattened 
perthorax. There are no wings. 

The colour of the present species is rather dark reddish brown, 
very much like that of the "jumbles," to which reference has 
been made in the description of the INIormolyce, or Fiddler Beetle, 

Flu. Sy. — Helseus perforatus. 
(Reddish brown.) 

on page 40. As is the case with that Beetle, the colour is darker 
in t^e middle of the thorax and abdomen. The sides of the 
elytra are very much flattened and slightly turned upwards, so 
as to give to the insect the form of a shallow dish. We have 
no British insect which is exactly like it in this respect, but the 
flattened body of the common Water Scorpion {Nepa cinerea) 
will convey a tolerable idea of the Helseus. In spite of the 
large size of the elytra, there is not more material in them than 
would be the case were they not flattened, but they are so 
squeezed out that they are scarcely thicker than the paper on 
which this account is printed. 

At the first glance at the insect it is evident that the middle 
of the elytra is covered with a dense coating of long hairs that 
stand boldly upwards, but have a very slight curvature at the 


tips througli their owu weight. These hairs appear, when the 
insect is viewed from above, to be merely planted thickly on the 
elytra without any particular arrangement ; but when the Beetle 
is viewed from either end, a really beautiful arrangement is at 
once visible. The hairs are set in rows running longitudinally 
upon the elytra and lying parallel to each other, being set, in 
point of fact, upon those ridges with which the elytra of so many 
Beetles are decorated. The extreme edges of the elytra are 
slightly thickened and rounded, evidently to give strength to a 
material so thin that the light shines plainly through it, even 
when the insect is in a cabinet. 

Proceeding from the elytra to the thorax a similar structure is 
visible, except that there are no hairs. There is, however, a very 
curious element in this part of the body. Towards the front of 
the thorax, and in the centre, there is an oval perforation, which 
seems to have been made for the purpose of permitting the head 
to move up and down, and the eyes to perceive objects above 
them, which would otherwise be hidden by the overhanging 
thorax. On examining the insect closely, this apparent perfo- 
ration is seen not to be a perforation at all. 

The thorax is flat and moulded in front into two flattened horns, 
which are curved so as to cross each other at the tips and thus 
to leave an oval aperture. The left horn is uppermost, and they 
as well as the sides of the thorax are slightly thickened at their 
edges. The thorax and abdomen are so formed as to present 
an almost unbroken outline, scarcely any line of demarcation 
being visible except when carefully searched for. The true 
shape of the Beetle can only be seen by turning it over and 
looking at the under surface, when the distinction between the 
body and the flattened sides is shown very clearly. 

There are many species of Helaeus, all of which have some 
peculiarity which is worthy of notice. I can, however, only 
mention one of them, Helceus echidna, which was brought from 
King George's Sound by Captain (irey. 

The thorax of this insect is black, highly polished in the 
raised and rounded middle and duller on the flattened sides. 
The elytra are also black, and they, as well as the thorax, are so 
boldly turned up on their flattened sides, that whereas Helceiis 
'pcrforatus resembles a dish, this species is more like a boat. On 
the raised centre of the elytra there are no hairs, but instead of 

Tllh; IMMELlAb. 189 

them are six rows of large, sharply-pointed spikes, those next 
the suture being the longest. It is in consequence of this struc- 
ture that the insect has received the specific name of echidna, 
the spikes having some analogy with those of the well-known 
Echidna or Porcupine Ant-eater of the same country. Below, 
the insect is dull black. 

The generic name Heloevs (which ought properly to have been 
written Helaios) signifies "an olive." I know not why it should 
have been given to these Beetles. The olive does not grow in 
Australia, and so the name could not have been given because 
the olive supplies food for the insect in any of its stages. And 
neither in form nor colour do the Hela^i bear the least resem- 
blance to olives. The specific name perforatus refers of course 
to the aperture in the thorax, but it would have been equally 
applicable to all the species, as in all the true Helsei the 
flattened horns of the thorax are curved over each other in a 
very similar fashion. 

The reader may remember that a reference was lately made 
to the great and unwieldy genus Pimelia, which has since been 
broken up, not only into genera, but even into families. The 
typical family is the Pimelidae, of which the Beetle which is 
called Prionotheca coronata is a characteristic example. None 
of the Pimelidae possess wings, and the elytra are soldered 
together, as is often the case with wingless Beetles. Eespecting 
this family, Mr. Westwood has the following observations : — 
" But few of this extensive family of Beetles are found in this 
country ; they are most abundant in Southern and Eastern 
Europe, and in the deserts of Africa. But little is known of 
their habits ; they shun the light, and reside in salt or sandy 
situations, many frequenting the shores of the sea, particularly 
the Mediterranean. 

" Their colours are black and obscure ; they are uncommonly 
sluggish, and on being alarmed they emit a disagreeably fetid 
fluid, which in some species produces a coating of a whitish 
colour upon their bodies when dried. . . . The Pimelia hijnmc- 
iata, observed by Latreille, inhabits the sandy shores of the 
Mediterranean, concealing itself in holes which it excavates 
with its legs. . . . Some few of the genera have only ten dis- 
tinct joints in the antennae." 


The present species inhabits many parts of Africa, specimens 
in the British Museum having been brought from Egypt, Abys- 
sinia, &c. The colour of the insect is black, but the thorax is so 
thickly covered with yellow hair that at first sight it seems to 
be yellow instead of black. The rather globular elytra are 
covered with little rounded knobs, running in parallel rows ; and 
just at the edge, if we may so call it, where the elytra turn over 
the abdomen, there is a row of spikes radiating from a common 
centre like the rays of a coronet. The disc or middle of the 
elytra is plain black, but the rest is clothed with long yellow 
hairs, scattered rather sparingly over the surface, and without 
any apparent attempt at arrangement. 

Fig. 90. — Prionotheca coronata. 
(Black, reddish down on feet." 

Like the body, the legs are black, and are profusely though 
finely granulated. There is one peculiarity about them which 
is at once conspicuous; namely, the presence of a quantity of 
orange silken down upon the tarsi of all the legs. Beneath, the 
insect is dull black, and over the surface a small quantity ot 
similar down is sparingly scattered. 

In the British Museum there is an insect belonging to this 
genus which is considered to be a new species. It has a black 
head and thorax, and reddish brown elytra surrounded with a 
row of very small spikes. It was taken out of a Sinaitic 
mummy by Dr. Birch, of the British Museum. Whether or not 
it really be a distinct species I can hardly say, because the 
difference of colour could easily be caused by its long sojourn 
in the mummy. 


Our last example of this group of Beetles is Anomalipus 
lineatus, which belongs to the family of the Opatridte. We have 
two species of this family in England, the best known of which 
is Opatrum sabulosum, a Beetle which is foviud on the sandy 
shores of the southern coast. By some writers the word is 
spelled Hopatrum, but this is incorrect, as the Greek word, 
which signifies " sprung from the same father," does not contain 
the aspirate. 

The name of Anomalipus, i.e. •' anomalous foot," is given to 
the genus on account of the structure of the fore-legs. As the 
reader may see by reference to the illustration, the tibiae of this 
insect are very large, flattened, and armed with spikes. They 
very much resemble the same members in the Scarabidie, and 
are evidently used for the same purpose, i.e. digging. As if to 
show that such is really the object of these powerful limbs, the 


Fig. 91. — Anomalipus lineatus. 

specimens of the Anomalipus which are brought to this country 
are generally so covered with the earth in which they have been 
excavating, that they must be washed before the markings on the 
body can be distinguished. 

The general colour of the species is black, and its form is 
rather flattened. The thorax is widened, and on either side 
of the centre there is a large depression or pit, shaped some- 
thing like a pear, the large end of which is uppermost. The 
elytra are really black, though at first sight they appear to be 
lighter than the thorax. This is caused by a quantity of 
brownish hairs, which are set in parallel rows between the boldly 


projecting ridges which traverse the elytra. The contrast be- 
tween these soft brown hairs and the shining black ridges is 
very strongly marked, and it is in consequence of this structure 
that the specific name of lineatns has been given to the insect. 

The legs are also black, but the tibire have a decided wash of 
purple, and are very deeply granulated. The under surface of 
the thighs is thickly covered with golden red silken down, and 
a similar coating of down is seen upon the curved tibiae of the 
hind-legs. The insect inhabits Southern Africa. There is in 
the British Museum a Beetle yet undescribed, which evidently 
belongs to this genus. It was brought from South Africa by the 
late Captain Speke. It is shaped much like the preceding insect, 
but is covered with spikes and projecting angles. The elytra 
are surrounded with spikes much like those of the Prionotheca : 
there are two bold horn- like spikes on the upper part of the 
thorax, the hinder angles of which are long and sharp. Alto- 
gether it must be a very unpleasant insect to grasp in the hand 
when alive, as its legs, though not so powerful as those of 
Anovialipvs lineatus, are quite strong enough to force the spikes 
well into the hand. The colour of this species is dark brown. 



The hidden virtues of the Weevils have yet to he discovered. 
That such virtues exist there can be no doubt, but at pre- 
sent they are so very deeply hiilden that they are quite 

V/e are perfectly aware that even in this country the Weevils 
do an enormous amount of direct injury to man. The Corn 
"Weevil, for examj^le, tiny though it may be individually, is 
collectively a formidable enemy, attacking grain in such vast 
swarms that the proprietors of corn-stores are obliged to sift 
their grain before they deliver it, and find that the Weevils 
which they have separated from tlie corn may be measured by 
the ton. Then the Eice Weevil is just as destructive in the 
grain from which it takes its name, and the Apple AVeevil and 
the Nut Weevil do great damage in the orchards. Some Weevils 
attack trees, others garden plants, and others the growing crops 
of peas, beans, and other vegetables. Abroad, the Weevils are 
infinitely more destructive, because they are so much laro-er. 
There is, for example, the Palm Weevil, which will presently be 
described, which attacks the palm-trees and does much damage 
to them ; and the Sugar Weevil, which causes like destruction 
among the growing sugar-canes. 

None of our Weevils are large, and the most destructive of 
them are fortunately the smallest. Abroad, however, and espe- 
cially in tropical climates, the Weevils attain very great dimen- 
sions, and their larvse are correspondingly destructive. Yet, 
though some of these insects are so large, others are exceedinglv 
small, some being so minute that without the aid of a magnify- 
ing glass it is not easy even to distinguish the order to which 


they belong. Their variety in form and colour is quite as re- 
markable as is that of size. 

Many of them are among the soberest of Beetles, clad in dull 
browns, blacks, and greys, while others are gorgeous beyond all 
powers of description, and look as though they had been clothed 
in mail formed of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and opals, set in 
a network of gold. People in general do not know it, but we 
have in this country many AVeevils which to the careless eye 
appear to be nothing more than little dull green Beetles, but 
which, when placed under a microscope and viewed in a strong 
light, blaze out with so intense a radiance of many-coloured 
refulgence that the eye can scarcely endure its splendour. 

As to form, they exhibit the most extraordinary shapes, many 
of them being absolutely grotesque. Some of these Beetles are 
round, short, and squat, while others have their bodies, heads, or 
elytra elongated to the most extraordinary extent. Generally 
the antennae of the Weevils are short, but there are some groups, 
examples of which we shall presently describe, that have the 
antennse drawn out to as great a length as can be seen in any of 
the Longicorn Beetles. Some are smooth, while others are covered 
with spikes, knobs, and sharp edges. As to their -number, I 
can best convey an idea of it by mentioning that in the British 
Museum there are one hundred and eighty drawers full of 
Weevils, so that to make a moderately comprehensive selection 
from such an array is no easy task. I have endeavoured, how- 
ever, to choose from them those species which fairly represent 
the principal groups into which the AVeevils are divided. 

The word Rhyncliopliora is Greek, signifying "beak-bearing," 
and has been given to the Weevils because in most of the species 
the head is elongated into a beak-like form of greater or less 
length. Some of them have the beak but slightly indicated, 
while in others the head is drawn out to a length that really 
seems incredible. 

The family of the Bruchidse are well known in England, better 
perhaps known than liked, except by professed entomologists. 
One of them, the Pea Weevil (Bruchus pisi), whose little white 
larvse are so plentiful in peas, is a member of this genus, but 
is supposed to be one of the many Weevils which have been 
imported from other countries in cargoes of grain. The Bed- 


legged Weevil {Bruchvs rufimanus), the larva of which resides 
within beans and other similar seeds, is a genuine Briton, as aie 
the remaining six members of the genns. 

All our Bruchidse are little insects, but those of foreign coun- 
tries often attain a considerable size. Such is the case with our 
present example of the family, Caiyophagns Bcoihdi, wliicb is 
represented of its natural size. It is a native of Australia. Tlie 
generic name of this insect, signifying " fruit-eating," denotes its 
habits, which are like those of the Englisli Bruchidiie. 

In this insect the thorax is black and finely granulated, and the 
elytra are dark chestnut, marked with a few slightly defined 
longitudinal lines. They are 
rather curiously formed, not 
reaching to the end of the ab- 
domen, but being cut away 
diagonally on either side from 
the suture to the outer edge. 
The head is rather elongated 
and slightly curved downwards, 

, , , , Fio. 92. — Carpoi)liagus Bauksii. 

and the antennae are placed (Biack thorax, chestnut eiytia.) 

near its tip. The legs are 

strong, especially the thighs, which are pear-shaped, the smaller 

end being jointed to tlie body, and the larger bearing the curved 


The name of Bruchidse ought not to have been used for a 
Beetle of any kind. It rightly signifies a larval locust, and is 
derived from a Greek word which signifies " biting " or " grazing." 

The Anthribidte are represented in this work by two examples, 
one of them showing the ordinary shape and appearance of the 
insect, and the other the extravagance, if we may so call it, of 
variation which is sometimes found in foreign Weevils. We 
have eight British examples of Anthribidie, the best known of 
which is the little Choragus Sheppardii, which has a habit of 
skipping and hopping about when disturbed. This power of 
jumping is the inore remarkable because the thighs of the hind 
legs are not thickened, as is generally the case with jumping 

The Anthribidas are not so injurious as the Bruchidoe, some 
living in fungi, some in decaying wood, and others being found 

" o 2 



ill flowers. Indeed, many of them are actually useful to man, 
inasmuch as they are parasitic on the Coccus, or Scale Insect, 
which is so injurious to many plants. 

Our first example of these Beetles is called Toplioclercs frenatus, 
and is a native of Madagascar. It is entirely black and white, 
and must be almost invisible if clinging to a lichen-covered tree- 
trunk. The surface is covered with variously sized and shaped 
tubercles, all of which are black. Along either side of the head and 

thorax runs a narrow yellowish white 
stripe, which is continued over the 
shoulders of the elytra. These stripes 
really look very much like the reins 
of a horse, and on their account 
the specific name of frenatus, or 
"bridled," has been given to the 
insect. Below, the surface is rather 
dull black, profusely and finely 
punctated. The legs, like the body, 
are parti-coloured, the thighs and 
tarsus being black, and the tibia 

The generic name of TophodercK 
refers to the peculiar black and white 
colouring of the upper surface. It is 
composed of two Greek words, the 
latter of which means " a skin " or 
external surface, and the other 
signifies a kind of mottled stone, which is known to mineralo- 
gists by the name of " tufa," or " tuff-stone," this being a corrup- 
tion of the Greek toplios. The Latin word tophus is only 
another form of the same word. 

Fig. 93.— Tophoderes frenatus. 
(Black and white.) 

On looking at the figure of the last-mentioned insect, the 
reader will probably notice that the antennse are much 
leno'thened. This elongation extends through many of the allied 
species, some of which are so exactly like the Longicorn Beetles 
that it is scarcely possible to imagine them to be Weevils. The 
most remarkable species at present known of these long-horned 
Weevils is that which is represented in the illustration on the 
next page, and known by the name of Xenocerus lineatus. 


The former of the two names seems to have been composed 
much as Dickens' author composed his woi'k on Chinese meta- 
physics, by taking a cyclopicdia and reading the article " China" 
under the letter G, "Metaphysics" under the letter if, and com- 
bining his information. The author has evidently got hold of an 
Englisli-Greek lexicon, and, wanting an equivalent for "strange- 
horned," looked for the word " strange," or " stranger," under the 
letter ^', and found X(g;i06\ Then he looked for "horn" under 
the letter H, and found Kcras. Then, by combining his in- 
formation, he formed the word Xenocervs, not in the least 
seeing that Xenos signifies "a stranger," i.e. a guest, or a 
stranger in the house, and has nothing to do with the word 
"strange" in the sense of exceptional or wonderfnl, that 
being evidently the meaning which the writer meant to convey. 

/ .-r-' f)), 


Fig. 94.— Xenoceius lineatus. 
(Brown, with white stripes.) 

The insect which is now before us comes from the Aru 
Islands, and is one of the many beautiful species which have 
been brought to England by Mr. Wallace. The antennse of the 
male are of extraordinary length, and are extraordinarily slender 
except for the first two or three joints. The colour of the 
antennae is black, except the first or basal half of the fifth joint, 
which is white. They are arranged much in the same manner 
in every specimen. The first joint is short, stout, and rounded. 
Tiie next is long, and has a slight and somewhat variable double 
curvature. The third is very short ; and the fourth is the longest 
of all the joints. Then comes the fifth joint, which is slender, 
short, and has the basal half white ; and the rest of the joints 
are nearly equal in length and very delicate, no thicker, indeed, 
than an ordinary horse-hair. 


As is the case with many insects, the antennse of the female 
are very much shorter than those of the male, being, indeed, 
only about half as long as the body, and inconspicuous in every 
respect. In many cases the pattern of the body differs in the 
two sexes, so that the male and female might easily be mis- 
taken for different species. The eyes are extremely large in 
the male, and their black globular surfaces seem to occupy 
the whole head. 

The general colour of the body is chocolate brown, and \i]ion 
it are drawn a number of pale whitish grey stripes, very sym- 
mi'trically arranged. One runs along the middle of the head, 
and two others diverge from it on either side, the three looking 
very much like the well-known royal mark, the "broad arrow." 
Three similar stripes run down the thorax, but parallel to each 
other. The abdomen is adorned in like manner, one curved 
stripe being on each shoulder, one running along the centre, and 
then two more diverging from the middle stripe, so as to form a 
second "broad arrow." The legs are white, except the ends of 
the tibiae and joints of the tarsus, which are black. Beneath, 
the insect is white, powdered with brown scale-like marks. 

There are many species of this remarkable genus, some 
coming from the Philippine Islands and some from Ceram, 
Sarawak, Celebes, &c., so that it has rather a large geographical 
range. Their colours are not brilliant, being simple grey- brown 
or black, but there is always a pattern of white, so that the dark 
aud light portions are boldly contrasted. 

Considering the length and slenderness of the antenna) of 
these insects, it is evidently no easy task to preserve them in 
their integrity. Everyone who has collected insects knows h »w 
ditiicult it is to avoid snapping off the antennae of insects, ev\m 
when they are merely removed from one drawer to another. 
When therefore insects have to be packed for travelling, then 
to. undergo journeys by land and water, and then, which is 
perhaps the worst trial of all, to be unpacked, 2:)inned, and set 
the difficulty of saving these long and delicate antennse may be 
imagined. The mode employed by Mr. Wallace is the best that 
I know. 

He takes with him a number of hollow paper cylinders, just 
like squib-cases, varying considerably in diameter, so as to 
accommodate different-sized insects. When he has taken and 


killed one of these long-horned Beetles, he pushes it head tore- 
most into a suitable cylinder, talcing care to let the antenua; lie 
along the sides of the body. The ends are then stopped, and 
there is the Beetle, perfectly safe. When packed for travelling, 
the cylinders, eacli with a Beetle inside it, are arranged in boxes, 
just like cigars, and by means of a little cotton-wool, tow, or 
similar substance, are kept from shaking about. When tlie cases 
are unpacked, the stoppers are taken out of the cylinders, nnd 
the Beetles gently drawn out with fine forceps. They are then 
placed in the " relaxing" pans, and in a day or two they are as 
easily set as if they had only just been killed. 

Next come the Attelabidse, a family in which the antennse 
are not elbowed, as is the case with most Weevils. We have 
only two examples of this family in England. One of them, 
Attelabus curciilionoidcs, is well known for the peculiar mode in 
which the female attacks the young leaves of oaks, i.e.. by rolling 
them up in packets shaped like thimbles, and placing her eggs 
in the packets. It is a common insect, and most jicrsous who 
use their eyes must have seen these thimble-like masses on 
the oak-trees. 

The very remarkable insect T rachelophorus giraffa is a native 
of Madagascar, and is exceedingly rare, the specimon from whip]\ 
the drawing was taken being believed 
to be the only one known. 

In this insect the antennae are only 
of moderate length, but the head and 
thorax, especially the former, are in- 
ordinately elongated. The colour of 
the elytra is very dark red, and they 
are covered with punctures arranged 
in parallel rows. The body is stout ^ „ , , 

. "^ Fig. 95. — Trachelophorus giratta. 

and thick, and suddenly turned down- (Steel-Uue Lead and thorax, daik 

wards at about two-thirds of its length "' * ^ ^^' 

from the base. The head and antennie are very dark, .steely blue. 
The head is very movable in an up-and-down direction, and 
when it is bent downwards nearly at a right angle the Beetle 
has a most singular, not to say grotesque appearance, the attitude 
bearing much resemblance to that of a giraffe when trying to eat 
something on the ground. It is to this resemblance that the 



Specific name of giraffa is due. The generic name is Greek, and 
signifies " neck-bearer," in allusion to the elongated thorax. 

Although only one specimen of this particular species is 
known, there are plenty of species belonging to the genus, 
scattered over many hot parts of the globe. For example, there 
are specimens in the British Museum from Java, India, Ceylon, 
the Philippines, Burmah, and China. None of them are so large 
as that vvliich has been described, and many of them are quite 
small. As a rule, dusky red is the principal colour, but there is 
one little species from the Philippines, Trachelophorus contractus, 
which is quite black. 

\■4^^ C 

Of the typical genus there are not many species, and their 
colour is, with one or two exceptions, rather dull. One of the 
exceptions is Attelabus sumjjtuosus, which is really a splendid 

little insect, blazing out in beauty 
far beyond aDy of its fellows. It 
is, as are so many of the bril- 
liantly coloured Beetles, a native 
of Mexico. 

At first sight this insect re- 
minds the observer of the com- 
mon but splendid Fire-tail bees 
of our own country. The whole 
upper surface is covered with 
punctures, and shining as if made 
The head and thorax are crimson, 
and along the middle of the elytra runs a broad baud of ultra- 
marine blue. The sides of the elytra are shining crimson, and 
round their edges runs a narrow band of golden green. The legs 
are of the same gold-green as that of the elytra, and the whole 
of the under-surface is either blue or green according to the 
angle at which the light happens to fall on it, so that this insect 
very well deserves its specific name oi sitmptuosus. 

The wings of all the species are large and ample. The only 
other species which even approaches this beautiful insect in 
colour is one that was brought from China and has not yet been 
described. It is very small, and of a dark blue colour, much 
like that of some of our well-known little Chrysomelas. 

Why the name of Attelabus has been given to these insects J 

Fig. 96. — Attelabus sumptuosus. 
(Blue and crimson,) 

of burnished steel or enamel. 


cannot imagine, inasmuch as the word evidently signifies " a 
locust." Herodotus, by whom the name is mentioned, evidently 
takes it in this sense, as may be seen from a passage occurring 
in his Fourth Book, chapter 172 : — " The Nasamones, a very 
numerous people, adjoin the Auschiste westward. In the summer 
they leave their cattle on the coast, and go up to the region of 
Augila, in order to gather the fruit of the palm-trees, which grow 
in great numbers and of a large size, and are all productive. 
When they have caught locusts {atteldboi) they dry them in the 
sun, reduce them to powder, and, sprinkling them in milk, drink 
them." Moreover, another author describes certain insects as 
being "locust-eyed" {attelah-ophthalmus). It is a pity that such 
a mistake should have been made, as the word Attelahus would 
have answered very well as a name for a genus of locusts, and a 
suitable name for these Beetles could easily have been found. 

Aristotle also describes the habits of the Attelabus, which are 
precisely those of the locust ; and Mouffet remarks that " a little 
locust is said to be the mean between Locust and Bruchus ; it 
hath such little wings that it is reputed to have none, and seems 
rather to creep than fly ; for this cause, wheresoever it is bred, it 
briugeth all as it were to meal or rust, by grinding and con- 
suming. It seems to some to be of the kind of Bruchus, till the 
wings grow forth, and then it growes into the number of the 
locusts." From this last sentence it is tolerably clear that the 
Attelabus was a locust in its larval or pupal state, when it has 
the form of the perfect insect, but without wings in the former 
state, and with undeveloped wings in the latter. The derivation 
of the word is so uncertain that I fancy Herodotus must have 
taken a local name and Grecized it, as he often was forced to do. 
Some writers, however, give it a very far-fetched derivation from 
a word which signifies " absence of wings." 

In the family of the Brenthidte we have another example of a 
misapplied name, the Greek word Brcntlios signifying some un- 
known water-bird of a stately carriage. However, the name has 
so long been applied to these Weevils that the evil of retaining 
it is infinitely less than that of exchanging it for one that is 
more appropriate. 

In England there are no Brenthidte, and it is believed that 
only one species exists in Europe, namely Arrhenodes coronatus. 



which was taken by Mr. Speuce in Italy. It has also been found 
in ants' nests. As far as is known, the habits of the Brenthidte 
are very similar in the different species. In the larval state 
they live under the bark of felled timber, and sometimes within 
the wood itself, but do not appear to injure living trees. Some 
of the North American species inhabit felled oak-trees, and have 
been found under the bark of " sleepers" on a railroad. 

The extraordinary insect which is figin-ed below is a native 
of Java. The head of the male is much elongated, and, 
slender as it is, would be still more slender but for the thick 
coating of brown scales with which it is clothed, and which 
gives it a roughness of surface which, when the insect is viewed 
through an ordinary magnifier, looks very much like the familiar 
maple-bark with its deep corrugations. In this insect, the head 

Fig. 97. — Diurus furcillatus. 
(Dark brown, with white spots.) 

of the female is very much shorter than that of her mate. The 
long antennse are similarly clothed, except that the seventh 
and eighth joints are white, and that the scales are lengthened 
into hairs. 

It is worthy of notice that the antennae are very movable, and 
retain their mobility after the insect is dead and quite dry. If 
one of these insects be taken and turned in various directions, 
the antennai swing about as if they had been set on hinges ; 
and, if a drawer full of the Diurus and its allies be moved, the 
effect of all the antennte swinging about is most singular, not to 
say striking, all the insects looking as if they had come to life 
a^ain, and waving their antennte as if to show that they had 
done so. 

The thorax is small and of a dark-brown colour, and has 


ziotlnng remarkable about it. The elytra, however, are well 
worthy of a careful examination. In the first phice, they are 
elongated to a most extraordinary extent, and the outer edge of 
each is drawn out into a long, sharp, slender appendage as long 
as the abdomen and thorax together. Indeed, the entire lengtli 
of the insect may be divided into three tolerably equal parts, the 
head being one, the body and thorax another, and the appen- 
dages to the elytra the third. These appendages are, like the 
head, covered with dark-brown scales, which give them a 
roughened outline. 

By the unaided eye the up|)er part of each elytron is seen to 
be adorned with a tiny white spot, but a tolerably powerful 
magnifier is needed before the nature of the spots is made clear. 
The whole of the surface is deeply pitted in regular parallel 
rows, so as to look very much like a honeycomb. Many of the 
cells, especially tliose near the suture, are filled Avith some white 
material which produces the appearance which has already been 
mentioned. Even near the suture itself the white material has 
been lost out of several cells, which then show their full depth 
iind assume the honeycomb-like aspect which has just been 
mentioned. Beneath, the insect is blackish brown, over which 
a number of white scales are sparingly scattered. 

The generic name Biurus, or " double-tail," is given to these 
insects on account of the elongated elytra; while the specific 
name furcillatus, or " forked," refers to the mode in which the 
antennae project from the end of the head like the prongs of a 
fork. Four species of Diurus are known, Sarawak and India 
being their homes. There are besides many allied genera, which 
in most respects resemble the Diurus. 

Another example of this most singular family is called Tera- 
mocerus harhicornis, and comes from New Zealand. The generic 
name is formed from two Greek words signifying "delicate- 
horned," the antennae of this genus being more slender than that 
of the last-mentioned insects, though they also are covered with 
down-like scales. In this insect, and that which wiU be pre- 
sently described, the elongation of the head seems to have 
reached the greatest possible extent. In one specimen which I 
have just measured, the entire length, including the elongated 
i-lytra, is three inches and a half, oi which the head alone 



occvipies an inch and three-quarters. If the Beetle be examined 
in profile, the head is seen to form a slight but graceful curve 
downwards, and, in order to enable it to make this curve with- 
out bringing the extremity of the head against the ground, the 
thorax takes a curve upwards. 

Along the whole of the under-surface of the head runs a 
band of long yellow hairs, which towards the extremity 
becomes longer and thicker, and takes a dark-red hue. It is 
on account of this hair that the species has received the name 

Fig. 9S. — Teianiocerus bjubicornis. 
(Black .'lud chestnut. ) 

of harhicornis, i.e. "bearded horn." The ridge of hair which has 
ji.Tst been mentioned is so narrow that it can only be seen when 
tlie insect is viewed in profile, being quite invisible when it is 
seen from above. 

The colour of the head is black, and so is that of the thorax, 
the latter having a deep central groove, and profusely wrinkled, 
so that it looks something like a black kid-glove that has been 
crumpled together when wet. 

The elytra are much lengthened at tlie tips, but not so much 
as those of the preceding insect, and diverge so that their shape 
somewhat resembles the pincers of a female earwig. The ground 



colour of the elytra is black, and upon each of them there are 
four large chestnut-coloured marks shaped as seen in the illus- 
tration, and producing a definite tliough not conspicuous pattern 
of chestnut on black. The legs, especially the first pair, are very 
Jong and rather powerful, and in all probability the length of 
the front legs is needful in order to enable the insect to keep its 
<3longated head off the ground. 

As in the preceding insect, the head of the female is very much 
shorter than that of the male, and in consequence, though a 
curious-looking Beetle, she is not quite so strange and weird in 
appearance as the male. The elytra ai-e decorated with longi- 
tudinal ridges, and in the furrows between each pair of ridges 
is set a row of circular impressed pits something like those of 
the Diurus, but not possessing the white substance which dis- 
tinguishes that insect. This Beetle is quite as variable in point 
of size as our Stag Beetle, some specimens being scarcely one- 
third as large as that which I have described. 

The extraordinary insect which is shown in the accompanying 
illustration has a head longer in proportion to its width and the 
size of the owner than is the case with any known insect in the 
world. It is called Antliarhinus Zamicc, and is a native of 
Southern Africa. On ac- ^ 

count of the extraordinarily \;^ '' 
long head, with its peculiar ^* 

curve, the insect was at 
first placed in or near the 
genus Balaninus, of which 
our common Nut Weevil 
is so excellent an example. 

The head is scarcely 
thicker than a human hair, 
and is quite three times as 
long as the body. The 
antennae are placed near 
the base of the head instead of near the end, as in the previous 
examples of the Brenthidse, and the mouth is set at the extreme 
tip. In many Beetles where the mouth is at the end of a long 
" rostrum," as this peculiarly developed head is called, the tip of 
the rostrum is widened so as to accommodate the jaws and other 

Fig. 99. — Antliarhiuus Zamiae. 
(Reddish brown.) 


parts of the mouth. But in this Beetle there is no such 
enlargement, and consequently the mouth is so small, that 
even with a fairly powerful pocket lens it i.s no easy task to 
find it. 

In its larval state this Beetle lives on a palut-tree, Cijcas or 
Zamia Caffra, one of the group which furnishes sago and arrow- 
root, their trunks containing a large quantity of starch. Zamia 
furfiiracca, for example, a West Indian species, affords the finest 
quality of arrow-root. 

On the fruit-clusters of the palms the larva of this "Weevil 
lives, eating not only the nuts themselves, but the red, fleshy 
envelope which surrounds them. The larva is nearly all white 
and covered with stiff, white, erect hairs. The head, together 
with the first segment of the thorax and a patch on the last 
segment but one, is brown, and there are some slight longi- 
tudinal punctured black lines on the body. It has six true 
legs, and some false legs like those of a caterpillar, set upon 
the abdomen. The last pair are rather the largest. 

The colour of this species is reddish brown. The eJ.ytra are 
slightly hollowed at the sides, and are deeply ridged. The ridges 
themselves are broken into little knobs, and the spaces between 
them are finely punctured. There are five species of this 
genus in the British Museum, one of which, Antliarhinus Dregei, 
is very small, and has its antennte nearly as long as the head. 
It is brown, with a black patch in the iriddle of the elytra. 
The name Antliarhinus is formed from two Greek words, and 
refers to the long and tube- like firm of the head. The first 
word signifies anything by which water is drawn, and the other 
signifies "a snout." 

We nou" come to the Eutimidae, a family which contains some 
of the most splendid Beetles in the world. They are remarkable 
for their wonderful colouring, which is obtained by the iridescent 
scales with which their bodies are clothed. The name Enfimida' 
is Greek, and signifies something that is honoured or prized. One 
of these Beetles, Entimus splendidus, a native of Brazil, is shown 
on Plate III. p. 1. Green, gold, and black are the prevailing 
colours of this insect. The thorax has a bright green stripe 
running along its centre, and the sides are green-gold, except the 
black knobs which project plentifully from it. The elytra are 


l)!ack, but have a number of oval marks on theiu. The-^^e mai-ks 
are green-gold, similar to the colour of the thorax, and between 
several of them are two or three deep circular punctures. 

The best known of these insects is the celebrated Diamond 
IV^etle {Entimns impcriaHs), also a native of Brazil. This 
Beetle, magnificent as it is when the microscope is brought to 
boar upon it, is not to the unaided eye nearly so beautiful as 
many insects which are not so splendidly adorned. The elytra 
of this insect are black, and upon them are many parallel 
circular spots, each about as large as a pin's prick. To the 
unaided eye these spots are glittering green, but when the 
microscope is brought to bear on them their true beauty is 

Each of these is a shallow, circular pit, set thickly with scales, 
which are arranged something like the tiles of a house, one pro- 
jecting over another. These scales are mostly green, but each 
of them possesses many colours as the light happens to change. 
One of these scales in the specimen now before me is entirely 
shining gold, while its immediate neighbour is gold in the centre 
warming into orange on its tips, and has at the base a patch of 
crimson on one side and azure on the other. The next scale has 
the basal half of a rich shining ruddy gold, and the other half 
deep purple. The next scale is entirely emerald green, so that 
the little shallow pits look as if studded with leaf-shaped gems, 
no two being of precisely the same colour. 

If even the direction of the light be changed, the colours 
change with it, the green shifting gradually into gold, blue, 
purple, orange, and crimson, just like the changing flashes of 
a good brilliant. Generally, but not always, a small space at 
the bottom of the pit is devoid of scales, its dead blackness 
producing a remarkable contrast with the dazzling brilliancy 
around it. These gem-like scales are but loosely attached to 
the surface, so that they can be easily removed and examined 
under a high power of the microscope, either as transparent or 
opaque objects, the latter being the best plan for bringing out 
their beauties, provided that a sufficiency of oblique light can be 
thrown upon them. The whole of the body is adorned with 
similar scales, though nowhere aie they so large or so beautiful 
as on the elvtra. 


Another example of these lovely Beetles is shown in tlie 
illustration below. Its name is Rhigits Schuppellii, and, like the 
Diamond Beetle, it is a native of Brazil. 

It is much more knobby — if I may use the term — than the 
preceding insects. On the thorax there are two rows of knobs, 
and there are eight much larger knobs on the elytra ; namely, 
two rows of three knobs in each row, and one upon each 
shoulder. The ground colour of the elytra is green, but the 
knobs are beautiful golden yellow, both colours being produced 

by scales somewhat similar to 
those which have been described 
when treating of the Diamond 
Beetle. There is a distinct gold 
edging to the elytra, which are 
punctated in parallel lines. The 
legs are green, and the thighs, 

(Gi-re:>!tittToidTnSe'^^^^^^^^ especially those of the first five, 

are large and powerful. 
This is an exceedingly variable insect in point of colour and 
in the comparative size of the knobs. There is in the British 
Museum a curious variety of this Beetle, in which the Avhole 
of the colour is pale yellow, and the knobs scarcely project at" 
all from the surface. The reason for the generic name Rhigus 
I cannot see, inasmuch as the word is Greek, signifying "a 
shivering from cold," a circumstance which is scarcely likely 
to happen in tropical America, and which seems singularly 
inappropriate to a Beetle. Perhaps the traveller Avho captured 
and named the first specimen took an ague, and commemorated 
it by the name which he gave to the Beetle. 

The Beetle which is represented on the next page belongs to 
the family of the Brachyceridse. This word signifies "short- 
horned," and is given to the insects because their antennae are 
stout and extremely short in proportion to the size of the body. 
There is plenty of material in them to make long and slender 
antennse like those of the Xenocerus, but it is utilized in width 
instead of length, the antennse being small at the base, and 
gradually increasing in diameter to the tip, which is broad and 
blunt. The insects belonging to this family are mostly African, 
though some are found on the shores of the Mediterranean. 


Tlie present species inhabits Southern Africa, and is perhaps 
the best example of the whole family. 

Tlie coloiir of the insect is rather dull black, with the excep- 
tion of some spots on the elytra which will presently be desciibed. 
The rostrum, or fore part of the liead, is thick, stout, and much 
widened towards the end, and the upper surface is deeply 
wrinkled. The thorax is rather curiously formed. In the centre 
and in front there is a projecting portion, something like a horse- 
shoe, or rather like the under-surface of a horse's foot, even the 
"frog" being represented with wonderful fidelity. Then come 
two small pear-shaped projections, side by side, and then a 

Fig. lul. — Braehycerus imperialis. 
(Black, red spots.) 

number of little pustules. On either side, the thorax is covered 
with small rounded projections, one of which is very large and 
elongated, so as to resemble a sharp horn. 

The elytra are rather glossy and covered with very minute 
pustules, which become greatly larger towards the tips, which 
lire much turned downwards. On each of the elytra there are 
eight rows of round, reddish spots, slightly depressed. If the 
insect be placed under a microscope, the reddish colour is seen 
to be produced by a number of little oval bodies, very much 
like grains of red corn or rice, which are fixed to the elytra by 
one end, and lie nearly flat upon each other. They are set 
much in the same way as the scales of the Diamond Beetle, but 



whereas tliose scales are placed with much regularity, al! 
radiating from a common centre, these seem to be scattered 
without the least pretence to order. They cling tightly to the 
surface of the elytra, but, although they are partially protected 
by being sunk in their shallow pit, there is scarcely a spot in 
which several of the scales are not missing, and others quite 
loose and evidently ready to fall. 

On the under surface of the abdomen and on the sides of the 
thorax, similar scales are scattered in patches, making the insect 
look as if a, brush had been dipped in vermilion and dashed 
carelessly against it. The legs are very strong and thick, and 
are profusely granulated, the tibiae especially being so rough that 
their surface, when rubbed with the finger, feels just like that of 
a file. The hind thighs are curiously curved, so as to suit the 
rotund body, and, when the Beetle moves its hind legs back- 
wards and forwards, the leg passes over the rounded elytra, just 
as if the thigh had been moulded on the elytron. The middle 
legs are also curved, but not nearly so much, as they only have 
to pass over the shoulder of tlie elytra. 

As the legs of this species are thick and sturdy, they afford a 
good opportunity for examining the rather peculiar construction 
of the tarsus. To the naked eye, and even when viewed through 
an ordinary magnifier, the tarsus consists of only four joints. In 
reality, however, there is another joint ; namely, the true fourth. 
This, however, is exceedingly minute, and is quite hidden in the 
third joint, the front part of which is widened and swollen 
into two lobes. I mention this fact because it will explain two 
terms by which these insects have been mentioned. One is 
Tetramera, i.e. " four-jointed," which was given to them because 
the tarsus w^as thought by the earlier entomologists to have only 
four joints. Mr. Westwood, however, when he discovered the 
existence of the missing joint, very properly altered the name to 
Pseudo-tetramera, i.e. "false four-jointed." The only way of 
seeing this tiny fourth joint is by taking the tarsus to pieces. 

The present species is in great favour with the Bechuana 
tribe, wdio use it as an amulet. They piill off the head, legs, and 
thorax, cut away the lower portion of the abdomen, and remove 
the whole of the interior, so as to leave only an empty shell. 
Several of these hollow bodies are then strung on strips of 
leather, and hung round the necks of children. They are sup- 


posed to be very efficacious during the time of teething, and to 
mitigate the various ills to which juvenile humanity is liable. 
Deceived by the shape of these amulets, some of the earlier 
travellers described them as whistles. 

There are many species of Brachycerus, differing exceedingly 
in shape, size, and colour. One of these, called appropriately 
Brachycerus ohesus, or the "fat short-horn," is as round and 
smooth as a black-heart cherry, and very much of the same 
colour ; while another, Brachycerus ocellatus, though much 
resembling it in form, has the whole surface of the elytra 
^adorned with parallel undulating lines of red on a black ground. 

On some of the insects of this genus Mr. Westwood has the 
following remarks : — "The species of the genus Brachycerus are 
found upon the ground in hot sandy situations, early in the 
spring. An anonymous MTiter informs us that Brachycents 
undatus feeds on the leaves of Arum arisarum in October. 
Brachycerus harharus attacks the medicinal squill, several being 
generally found at the heart of the leaves near the root. Bra- 
chycerus Algerus feeds on the leaves of a large lily growing in 
sea-sand. Latreille informs us, in the appendix to ' Caillaud's 
Voyages,' that the women in Ethiopia string these insects 
together, and wear them round their necks as an amulet." 

From the last sentence it is evident that the superstitious 
ideas concerning the preservative virtues of these Beetles have 
a very wide scope, since we find that both in Southern Africa 
and in Ethiopia the same insects are used in the same manner 
and for the same purpose. 

Next we come to the family of the Pachyrhyncidae. This 
name is formed from two Greek words, signifying " thick- 
mouthed," and is given to these Beetles because the rostrum is 
very short, thick, and rounded ; so short, in fact, that when the 
insect is viewed from above, no portion of the rostrum is to be 
seen, and a profile view is required before the real shape of the 
head can be made out. 

The species which is represented in the first of the illustra- 
tions on the next page is called Pachyrhynchus gemmatus, because 
the large green spots with which its metallic body is covered 
look very much like emeralds set in red gold. It is a native of 
the Philippines. 

p 2 



Fig. 102.— Pachyrhynchus gemmatus. 
(Copper, with green spots ) 

The ground colour of this beautiful insect much resembles 
burnished copper, with a distinct dash of carmine, and has quite 
a metallic look about it. 

On the head, thorax, and abdomen are a number of spots, 
arranged as shown in the figure. These spots are, like those of 
the Brachycerus which has already been described, slightly 
depressed, and their centres are filled with the most brilUant 

green scales, over which plays a 
strong iridescence as the light 
changes. It is rather remarkable, by 
the way, that while the scale-clad 
pits of the Diamond Beetle have the 
centres blank, and the scales set in a 
sort of broad ring, exactly the oppo- 
site arrangement is found in this 

The elytra are very large, and are 
turned far over the sides, which, if 
possible, are even more gorgeous than the back, the green 
spots being exceedingly numerous. As the legs are bright 
metallic red, and as they are seen very conspicuously when the 
insect is viewed from the side, the profile view of the Beetle has 
an added splendour. 

Another of these insects is here given as an example of the 
extraordinary varieties of colouring that prevail in this genus. 

In this insect the ground colour is black. Upon the thorax 
is drawn a bright green cross, and the elytra are covered with ft 
network of the same colour, the 
meshes being largest and fewest on 
the back, and smallest and most 
numerous on the sides. The legs are 
also thick, with a green patch on 
each. Although the colouring is so 
simple, being composed of only two 
hues, it is wonderfully effective, the 
pattern being as clear and sharp as 
if traced by the finest crow-quill, and 

the contrast between the shining jetty-black and the glittering 
crreen being almost startling. Even on the under-side, which is 

Fig. 103.— Pachyrhynchus reticulatus 
(Black, with green network.) 


generally comparatively plain in Beetles, the same arrangement 
of green spots on a coppery ground prevails. This, like the 
preceding insect, is a native of the Philippines. 

Of these Beetles there are very many species, the greater 
number inhabiting the Philippines, but others being found in 
Australia, New Guinea, and Polynesia. Many of them have 
not yet received names or been entered in the catalogue of 
acknowledged species. There is an infinite variety of colouring 
among them. Black is the usual ground hue, and green the 
prevailing colour of the pattern. Next in frequency to green 
comes red, and then copper, all these colours being produced by 
scales which are visible with an ordinary pocket magnifier. 

The next family is named Gouatoceri, a term formed from 
two Greek words signifying "angle-horned," and given to the 
insect because the antennae are bent into definite elbows, whereas 
those of the preceding insects are only curved. 

The insect which is here figured is all black, rather shining 
above and dull below. It is a native of New Holland. 

r w 

Fig 104. — Gagatophorus SchciDlierri. 
(Black. ) 

There is scarcely any portion of the upper surface of this insect 
which is quite smooth, those parts which are not knobbed being 
grooved. The upper part of the head has a wide and rather 
deep groove. The thorax is rounded and covered with knobs, 
which are comparatively scanty on the disc, but become very 
numerous and crowded on the sides. These projections are 
Avithout any apparent order, but those of the elytra are arranged 
in three distinct rows. The elytra are very large, and are 
turned over the sides rather abruptly. On the edge where they 
are folded, is a row of nine knobs, so long and pointed that they 


may well be called spikes. Next comes a row of seven knobs,, 
and next to the suture is a third row of four knobs, these last 
being placed rather irregularly. The sides are nearly flat, and 
are quite smooth, so that when the insect is viewed in profile, 
the smooth, shining side and the back, which is studded with its 
eight-and-twenty projecting tubercles, are curiously contrasted. 
The legs are long, black, and deeply wrinkled. 

Two species of this genus are known, both of which are 
in the British Museum, One is the insect which has just been 
described, and the other is Gagatopliorus Boisduvalii. In general 
appearance these two insects are very much alike, but the latter 
is more slender in proportion to its size. 



On Plate III. p. 2 may be seen a very curious Beetle, called 
Cyphus Zinncci. This belongs to the family CyphidiB, which 
contains more beautifully coloured species than any other 
family of Beetles, not even excepting the Entimidse. The name 
Cyphus is Greek, signifying "hunchback," and is given to these 
Beetles because their shoulders are very high and thick. They 
are natives of South America, especially the districts within 
the tropics. 

The present species is very remarkable on account of the long 
hair which covers the thorax, and which, together with the 
peculiar shape and spotted body, gives to the Beetle an air 
resembling the well-known wingless ants called Mutillse. This 
hair is deep brown, and of a peculiarly soft, chinchilla-like 
character. The ground colour of the elytra is black, with a 
velvety sort of surface, and on it are placed a number of spots 
arranged as shown in the illustration on the next page. The 
large spot over the shoulder is bright red, and all the others are 
yellow, so that the insect is an exceedingly handsome one. 

The last-mentioned species is of rather an exceptional cha- 
racter, so I have here taken one which is a good example of the 
ordinary form and colouring of this most splendid genus. Its 
name is Cyphus gloriandus. Viewed with the naked eye, it is a 
very beautiful insect, the surface being golden yellow, diversified 
with jetty-black marks. Its full beauty, however, cannot be 
appreciated without the aid of the microscope, and I shaU there- 
fore describe one of these insects as seen with the aid of the 
half-inch object glass. 

If the microscope be directed on the upper surface of th^* 


elytra, those organs are seen to be thickly covered with a pro- 
fusion of glittering scales, set closely together like those of a 
golden carp. Their general effect is emerald green, with a little 
dash of pink and gold ; but the best plan is, to take one scale 
and analyse its colours. Each scale will then be seen to consist 
of a number of colours, such as yellow, pink, blue, and green, 
the last hue being generally the most briUiant. Every one of 
the scales has one portion which is more brightly illuminated 
than the others, and the colour of this spot changes together 
with the direction of the light, casting successively every hue of 
the rainbow. 

Should the observer merely look down upon the scales, he 
will see the general effect of this varied colouring; but if he turns 
the Beetle so as to get a side view of the scales, he will perceive 
how that effect is j)roduced. Each scale is covered with a 
number of very fine parallel ridges, or striae, the effect of which 

Fic. 105.— Cyiilmsgloriandus. 
(Gold-green, with black marks.) 

is to break up the light that produces those wonderful opalescent 
effects which have been described. Indeed, the opal owes its 
well-known changing tints to a similar cause, the stone having 
multitudes of the minutest imaginable fractures which produce 
exactly the same effect as the striae of the scales. Glass which 
has been buried for a very long time becomes opalescent from 
the same cause, as everyone knows who has seen the glass 
vessels that have been taken out of Egyptian tombs and other 
sepulchres of ancient date. 

The head, thorax, legs, and under surfaces are equally covered 
with these scales, which in some places take a reddish hue 
as their ground colour. On the thorax they seem to be rather 


larger and to lie flatter than tlibse of the elytra. If the elytra 
be spread and viewed on the under side, a very remarkable 
appearance is presented. Even on the upper surface it is evident 
that the elytra are regularly striated, but on the under surface 
the striae are very bold, and marked by rows of round black dots 
on a shiuing chestnut ground. Tliese striae follow the outline of 
the elytra, being waved in graceful curves and converging towards 
the tip. Altogether, the under surface of this organ is so hand- 
some that were it transferred to the upper surface the Beetle 
would be considered a beautiful one. 

There are many species of Cyphus, all of them beautiful, and 
most of them splendid insects, especially when viewed by the 
■aid of the microscope. There is, for example, Cyphus Germari, 
a species which is exceedingly variable, most of the specimens 
being green, but others a pale purple or violet. Thus one 
species, which is appropriately named Cyphiis azurca, is always 
azure blue, upon which are a number of velvety black spots 
which contrast beautifully with the brilliant azure of the sur- 
rounding scales. There are, it is true, one or two sj)ecies which 
do not possess the startlingly brilliant colours of their kin. 
Such, for example, is the Cyphus modestus, which is not only 
dull brown, but is very small, and therefore inconspicuous. Yet 
even these soberly clad creatures possess beauties which only 
require the aid of the microscope and properly adjusted light to 
show that they are really scarcely less beautiful than those 
which are adorned with more brilliant colours. The winjirs of 
all these species of Cyphus are large and capable of bearing 
their owners for long distances. 

The family which now comes before us is the Cholidae, of 
which the Rhinastus pcrtusus is a good example. In these 
Beetles the antennae are boldly elbowed, as in the last family, 
•and, especially when the insect is viewed from above, form a 
characteristic feature in its appearance. 

The present species, which is a native of Brazil, is rather a 
curious insect. The head is developed into a long rostrum, boldly 
curved downwards. It is black, but upon the surface are a 
number of yellow scales, formed much like those which have 
been described when treating of the Cyphus, but without the 
^)arallel ridges which give to these scales their wonderful opal- 


escence. On the under surface, the rostrum is toothed and 
furnished with hairs. The eyes are situated close to the base, 
and the antenuse are set about one-third of its length from 
the tip. 

The thorax is very narrow in front, and swells out rapidly to 
the shoulders with a bold and graceful curve. It is yellow, but 
with a shade of black, the reason being that the real colour of the 
thorax is black, and that upon its surface are scattered a number 
of yellow scales between which the original colour can be seen. 
Whether from friction or not I cannot say, but all the specimens- 
which I have examined have the scales much more thinly 
scattered towards the basal angles of the thorax, so that there 
the colour is darker than on the disc. The whole thorax is 
rather flat. 

The form of the elytra is very curious. Together, they have 
a sort of heart-like shape, the sides being rounded, and the 
tips coming nearly to a point. For about one-third of an inch 

Flo 106. — Rliinaslus peitusiss. 
(Yellow. ) 

from the tips the elytra look as if they had been pinched flat 
while soft, and had then become hardened. The remarkable 
points in their structure are, however, at their bases. Each of 
them is so deeply scooped that the basal angles form bold 
teeth, which project well over the thorax, and are then cut into 
a doubly waved outline, just like a bracket { in printing. 

The surface of the elytra is very flat, so flat, indeed, that the 
tips do not seem to be very much depressed. Like the thorax, 
they are covered with yellow scales, but much more thickly, so 
that the colour is more determined, and looks something like 
yellow cloth. As is the case with many Weevils, the elytra are 
very ample, and are bent over the body at the sides so as ta 
cover about half the abdomen. With many of the Weevils the 


line where the elytra are folded over is marked in some definite 
manner ; in some, such as the Gagatophorus, being decorated by 
a row of spikes or knobs, and in others, such as the present 
species, by an unbroken ridge, which in this instance is highest 
in the middle, and decreases to a mere point towards the base 
and tip. 

The legs are rather long, and the joints of the tarsus are 
spread into double lobes and covered with a profusion of hair. 
Only three species are known. The generic name Rhinastus is 
formed from a Greek work signifying " a snout " (which may be- 
recognised in the familiar name of Khinoceros), and is given to 
the insects of this genus in consequence of the great develop- 
ment of the rostrum. The specific name of pertusus is Latin,, 
and signifies something that is bored or perforated. It is given 
to this insect because the peculiar structure of the base of the 
elytra makes the insect look very much as if a hole had been 
bored through each shoulder. 

Three species of Rhinastus are known, all of which are in the 
British Museum. 

The name of Cryptorhynchidce strikes upon the ear of the 
English entomologist with a familiar sound, inasmuch as more 
than eighty species of Beetles are known in England which 
belong to this family. The name of Cri/ptorhynchidce is formed 
from two Greek words signifying " hidden-beak," and is not very 
intelligible unless the insects are seen in a living state. 

If the observer merely examines specimens that are " set " 
and placed in a cabinet, he scarcely sees how the term can be 
applied to the insects, many of which have the rostrum parti- 
cularly conspicuous. Should he, however, come across the living 
insects, the meaning of the word at once becomes apparent. 
However long the rostrum may be, there is always on the under 
side of the thorax a cavity which exactly contains it. Now, in 
common with many other insects, the CryptorhjTichidaB are in 
the habit of falling to the ground when alarmed, and remaining 
perfectly motionless until the cause for alarm has passed away. 

As most of them have not only long legs, but a long beak, they 
would find some difidculty in disguising their forms were it not 
for the groove which has just been mentioned. Legs can be 
easily folded closely to the body, but a head with a long project- 


ing beak is not so easily hidden. If, however, the head be 
■capable of being bent downwards, and there is a deep groove or 
channel on the under surface of the thorax into which the beak 
fits, it will be seen that the insect lias only to gather its legs 
•closely to its body, and to bend the head well under the thorax, 
to be transformed in one moment from a long-legged, long-nosed 
Beetle, into the similitude of a round pebble or a casually fallen 
seed. One of our best-known species, Ordbites ci/aneus, looks, 
when thus packed up, so like the little black seed of the wild 
hyacinth, that even a practised entomologist cannot detect it 
without a close examination. 

We can only take one example of this family, namely, Cratoso- 
mus Roddami, a native of Brazil. As is the case with several 
■of our own Cryptorhynchidte, the colours of this species are so 
arranged that the insect must be very difficult of detection. 

l''iG. 107. — Cralosoiiius Rodrlami. 
(Yl-IIow, with lil.ick spots.) 

The head is nearly black, and is furnished with a rather long 
and curved rostrum, the eyes being at the base, and the antennae 
set at about the middle. The front of the thorax has a coatinsr 
of warm down, and the rest is grey, diversified by round spots 
of jetty black. The elytra are warm yellow and deeply striated. 
On the striae are numbers of oval black spots, which, like those 
of the thorax, look exactly as if they were drops of thick black 
ink or paint that had been suffered to dry, and in consequence 
project slightly from the surface of the insect. There is a 
narrow white edge to the elytra. 

The legs are black, and have a number of greenish scales 
scattered over them. The third joint of the tarsus is spread 


into two very wide lobes, and is covered with a dense coatincr of 
thick, brush-like hairs. Beneath, the Beetle is black, and upon 
the surface are a number of long yellowish scales, lying nearl y 
flat upon the surface. These scales are rather interesting on 
one account ; namely, that they form a kind of transitional link 
between scales and hairs, showing that the latter are only 
developments of the former. 

I may here observe that the transition of scales to hairs may 
be observed on the wings of many Lepidoptera, specially those of 
the Plume Moths, our very common White Plume {Pterophorus 
•pentadactylus) being an admirable example. In the same way, 
some of the shark tribe, especially the well-known Saw-tish, ex- 
hibit in a singularly beautiful manner the transition from scales 
to teeth, the change being so gradual that it is quite impossible 
to say where the scales end and the teeth begin. 

Of this genus there are many species, all natives of Brazil. 
None of them are brilliantly coloured, sober greys and browns 
being the ground hues, which are either spotted or mottled with 
dark-brown and black. One curious species is Gratosomus vari- 
cosus, in which the thorax is very flat, and the elytra have five 
black knobs which are so prominent that they may almost be 
called horns. 

The last family of the Weevils is the Ehynchophoridae. This 
name is formed from two Greek words signifying "snout-bearing," 
and is given to the Beetles because their head is elongated into 
a long rostrum, or snout. The first example of these insects is 
Rhina barhicornis, which is shown in the illustration on the 
next page. 

The colour of this Beetle is black, but it is curiously adorned 
with hairs, ridges, and punctures, so that it is a very striking 
insect. The head is very long, slender, and at the end is widened, 
rather flattened, and cut into a sort of fleur-de-lys shape. The 
antennae are placed near the middle. Por the greater part 
of its length the head is completely surrounded with a quantity 
of dense, long hair of a reddish brown colour. The hairs do 
not lie flat, but radiate boldly from the head, which really 
bears a strong resemblance to a fox's brush, the similitude being 
increased by the colour. A quantity of similar hair, but of a 
yellower hue, is placed beneath the thorax. As is often the case 



with insects, this remarkable adornment is restricted to the malo 
sex, the rostrum of the female being quite smooth and hairless. 

The thorax is rounded and thickly and deeply granulated. 
The elytra are regularly and boldly striated, and adorned in a 
very curious manner. If examined by the unaided eye, the 
surface is seen to be striated and speckled with white ; but if a 
tolerably powerful magnifier be brought to bear upon it, a very 
ela,borate system of decoration is seen. Along the surface of the 
elytra run a number of bold rounded ridges, lying parallel to 
■each other, and having a rather broad channel or groove between 

Fig. 108.- 

-Rhina bai'bieomis. 

them. The ridges themselves are covered with deep punctures, 
and in the channels between them are placed a number of cir- 
cular pits, too large to be called punctures, and nearly as wide as 
the diameter of the channels, so that there is a single row of 
pits in each channel. 

As we have noticed to be the case with several of the Weevils, 
these pits are filled with some white substance, so as to produce 
the effect of a series of white speckles. In most of them the 
white deposit remains, but in some it is absent, and allows the 
eye to penetrate to the bottom of the pit. What this white 
deposit may be, how it gets into the pits, and what may be its 
•o-ffice, are mysteries as yet unknown. 



The legs of this insect are very long and slender, especially 
the first pair, which are armed in the tibiae with a number of 
slight and sharp teetli. This is a very variable Beetle, some 
specimens not being half as long as others. The Beetle is a 
native of Brazil, and specimens have been brought to this 
country by Mr. Bates. The Greek name Rhina signifies "a 
snout," and the specific name harhicornis is Latin, and signifies 
"bearded-horn," in allusion to the brush of hair which sur- 
rounds the elongated head. 

The enormous Weevil which is here shown is a native of Java, 
■and belongs to the same family as the last-mentioned insect. 

Fio. UI9. — Piotx)cenis colossus. 
(Black thorax, yellowish elytra.) 

Its name is Protocerus colossus. The former of these two names 
is Greek and signifies "principal-horned," in allusion to the 
manner in which the rostrum is prolonged into a horn-like form. 
The latter name is given to the insect on account of its dimen- 
sions, which are colossal when compared with those of other 
Weevils. In this country we often complain, and with reason, 
of the depredations committed by the Weevils, our largest being 
to the Protocerus what a hare would be to an elephant. Of 
the habits of this species, nothing has, I believe, been published, 
but if we may judge from the depredations committed by its 



near relatiou, the Palm Weevil (which will be presently de- 
scribed), it must be capable of doing great damage to those 
trees on which it feeds. 

The long, snout-like head of this Beetle is black, and moulded 
above into a shallow groove. On either side are five bold knobs, 
set opposite to each other, and apparently increasing the depth 
of the groove. The antennae are set at the base of the head, 
just by the eyes, and are rather curiously formed, their terminal 
joint bearing a curious resemblance to a flat-iron. The thorax 
is nearly black, and on its upper surface has a curious velvety 
or plush-like aspect, very difficult to describe. Perhaps some 
of my readers will understand its texture when I say that it 
is very like the same organ in our common Mole Cricket. On 
the sides the thorax loses this velvety look, and is covered with 
rather bold punctures. 

The elytra do not quite reach to the end of the abdomen, 
which is turned downwards very much like that of the cock- 
chafer. Their surface is marked with punctures disposed in such 
a manner as to give them an appearance as if they had been cut 
out of deal, the peculiar concentric lines of punctures looking 
strangely like the grainings of deal. In fact, they much more 
resemble deal than an ordinary painter's graining resembles the 
true grain of the oak or maple which he flatters himself that he 
imitates by the aid of his brush, cloth, and graining comb. The 
abdomen is shining black, and punctured. 

The legs are very remarkable. The first pair are very long, 
powerful, and rather flattened. The thighs are nearly straight, 
whereas the tibise are boldly curved and terminate in a sharp 
hook. They are black and shining, and under the tarsus is a 
good deal of golden yellow hau\ This is most conspicuous in 
the hind legs, the last joint of which is very long and curved, so 
that the yellow down of the preceding joint shows itself boldly. 
The wings are very large and ample. 

Closely allied to this species, and very much resembling it in 
size and general appearance, is the Palm Weevil {Rhina 
Ijalmarum) of the West Indies. This insect resembles the pre- 
ceding in almost every respect. It differs, however, in the 
structure of the head, which, instead of being grooved and 
knobbed above, is quite smooth. 


This gigantic Weevil is terribly destructive both to palm-trees 
and sugar-canes. The lai-va of this species is popularly called 
" Gru-gru," and is a huge, whitish, fat, soft-bodied grub, curved, 
and without legs. It burrows into the palm-trees, where it is 
eagerly sought, not only by negroes, but by the white colonists, 
to be used as an article of food. 

To us the grub of a Beetle appears to be the very last thing 
that anyone would wish to eat, but those who have tried the 
Gru-gru mostly go on with it, and ever afterwards look upon it 
as one of the greatest delicacies which that fertile country can 
produce. Many persons are so fond of it that they are in the 
habit of eating the grubs alive, just as we eat oysters, holding 
them by the hard, horny heads, and so eating the grub as we 
would eat a radish. As they are of very great size, a few of 
them will make a sufiQcient meal for a man, and many persons 
have been saved from starvation because they knew where to 
find the Gru-gru grub. 

When full fed, this larva makes for itself a cocoon by tearing 
off strips from the stem of the palm-tree and weaving them 

When this insect attacks the sugar-cane, it always prefers the 
plants which have been just planted, being probably attracted by 
the sweet juice which exudes from the cut ends of the cane. 

Another species is equally damaging to the tamarind, and 
another, called the Sugar Weevil {Calandra Sacchari), a smaller 
but quite as destructive an insect, works great damage among 
the sugar-canes. It is rather remarkable that the insect does 
but little damage to the plant itself, though it utterly ruins the 
sugar which it secretes. The greater part of the juice is eaten 
by the grub, and that which is left is so injured that it can never 
be made into sugar, persisting in remaining as molasses in spite 
of aU exertions on the part of the manufacturer. Mr. King 
states that "no 'temper' of any kind, whether lime or any 
more powerful alkali, can produce sugar from it. It might 
be possible to desiccate it by continued boiling, but the result 
would be charcoal, and not sugar." 

And the worst of this damaged juice is, that if it should be 
mixed with sound juice the whole is tainted, and all that por- 
tion of the crop is wasted. ]\Ir. King thinks that much of the 



damage is caused by carelessness with regard to the manure 
which is used for the ground. In the West Indies, the cattle are 
littered with cane- tops and leaves ; and if these be taken to the 
fields before they have been thoroughly decomposed, eggs or 
larvai of the Sugar Weevil will most probably be taken with them, 
and so placed in the very best position for damaging the crops. 

Vigilant sugar-planters keep a watchful eye on the young 
plants ; and when they see the whorl of terminal leaves begin- 
nino' to drop, they know at once that the Weevil-grub is there. 
Such plants are at once pulled up and burned, and their places 
supplied by healthy plants. Besides this precaution, another is 
taken, viz. of " trashing " the whole of the plants, i.e. removing 
the lower leaves, which act as a sort of cover for the Weevil. 
This operation should be performed at least every two months, 
and oftener if possible, so as to give the Weevil as little chance 
as possible of penetrating the cane. Loose sugar-cane leaves are 
known by the popular name of "trash," and hence the term 
" trashing" is used to express simply the removal of such leaves. 

We will now notice a portion of Mr. King's elaborate memoir 
on the Sugar Weevil, as quoted in Mr. Gosse's " Naturalist's 
Sojourn in Jamaica : " — 

"An egg the size of a small bead, in a considerable degree 
transparent, is deposited within the succulent vessels of the 
cane, where the adhering footstalk of the leaf retains the de- 
cayed foliage hanging to the germinating joint. 

" The egg deposited is hatched at the time when the growing 
bud, usually called the eye, exhibits the active influences of both 
heat and moisture. As soon as the maggot is formed, it com- 
mences its voracious injuries by worming its way from the verge 
of the footstalk where it had been hatched, into the very body 
of the succulent and vegetating shoot, where it grows with its 
growth, and strengthens with its strength. It then occupies the 
centre of the plant, making its way upward through the growing 
cane, but remaining within the sweet and perfected joints, and 
never ascending to the greener tops to devour the germ and 
destroy vegetation. It entirely exhausts the saccharine fluid in 
those joints in which it has lodged — filling the excavation it 
makes with an excrementitious deposit, extremely injurious to 
the cane liquor from the mill ; deteriorating it rapidly if it 
remain untempered while running into the pans. 


" When the canes are cut, the grub-worm has already arrived 
at its second transformation. It has enveloped itself within the 
gallery it has bored, in a shroud of decayed trash wrought with 
curious neatness ; the shreds being plaited and wound together, 
and so closely fastened at the ends, that the air is excluded ; and 
if exposed to the weather, no weather could injure it. I have 
watched the grub in the act of making this cerement. It first 
wraps itself all over with such of the rotting fibres of the cane 
as are near it. It tears the strips asunder with its forceps, and 
matting the pieces one within the other, it completely conceals 
itself within that kind of case usually called a cocoon, where 
it remains dormant for a little interval of time. 

"It has now assumed its third or beetle state, and emerges from 
the excavated cane a Weevil, bearing a rostrum or snout charged 
with fracticorn feelers, and wearing a splendid livery, striped 
yellow and brown — an ins6ct about the size of the nail of one's 
finger. If the cocoon be opened before this last transformation, 
the pupa found within is of a dingy brown colour, and its bulky 
body is well supplied with the usual milky fluid, stored for that 
final change in which it comes forth from its temporary sleep, to 
become the parent of a succession of enemies to the planter." 

The object of trashing the whole of the plants in the field 
is here given, together with directions for cleaning damaged 
juice : — 

" The sheathing footstalk is not only a shelter for this Weevil, 
but it hinders the outer covering of the cane from hardening, 
and fixing that deposition of white powdery glass which resists 
the puncture of its proboscis. If with all this care the planter 
finds himself overwhelmed by the numbers of his assailants, or 
by the success with which they have established themselves in 
his fields, nothing remains but destruction by fire. 

" But great as is the damage which this insect does in the 
field, it is a still greater calamity to have it in the mill-house. 
To mingle the juice of the injured cane with the uninjured, is 
to ruin a crop. The expedient of tempering the liquor, while 
running into the pans, may arrest the increase of the evil, but it 
does not get rid of it. 

"If, however, the most painstaking watchfulness has not secured 
the manager from an occasional bundle of infected canes getting 
into the mill, and if the pernicious consequences have begun to 

Q 2 


tell upon tlie proceeds of the boiling-house, I would recommend 
correcting the cold liquor with an alkaline mixture of potash and 
alum, in equal quantities. These, with the addition of as much 
boiling water as will hold them in solution, may be added to the 
temper lime commonly used in plain tempering. 

" Such a measure of this mixture should be added to the 
liquor in the pan as would be deemed sufficient to correct the 
prevailing acidity. When the liquor has been boiled into what 
is called first syrup, it should be racked through the cock. By 
this timely remedy I have secured well-grained sugar which 
has not deliquesced during the voyage to Europe, even when I 
had had the misfortune to have ground tainted canes." 



The insects wliich now come before us are mostly characterised 
by the structure from which they derive their name. The 
antennse are mostly long, and are never thickened at the ends. 
In many of the Longicornes, the antennae have each joint 
widened at the end, so as to produce a serrated appearance, the 
widening being always on the inside. The first, or basal joint, is 
always large, long, and stout, especially towards the end. 

The jaws are always powerful, sharp, and shear-shaped, often 
being so bent downwards that when the insect is viewed 
from above, they are hidden beneath the head. The eyes are 
almost invariably kidney-shaped ; but there are some instances 
where they are absolutely divided by the basal joint of the 
antennae, so that the insect appears to have four eyes instead of 
two. Such is the case with the Beetle called Tetrops prceustus, 
which is common in the London district, and has its antennae 
seu in the very middle of its eyes. The head is generally broad 
and squared, and is never lengthened so as to form a rostrum, 
as is the case with the Weevils. 

The reader may remember that in the Weevils the elytra are 
very large, in most instances folding over the sides, and conceal- 
ing half of the abdomen. This structure is not found in any of 
the Longicornes, the elytra being comparatively flat and not bent 
at the sides, so that when the insect is viewed in profile, nearly 
the whole of the abdomen is visible. 

The legs are never short, and in some instances, as for example 
the Harlequin Beetle, which is drawn on Plate IV., are of very 
great length, so as to give a very quaint aspect to the insect. 
The tarsus shows a similar structure to that of the Weevils, the 
joints being widened into two lobes in front, and the fourth joint 


being so small as to be practically absent. The first three joints 
are always clothed with fur-like hair, which in many species is 
of a bright golden colour, and exceedingly conspicuous. 

In the larval state, the Longicornes are all wood-borers, and 
to them is appointed the chief part of the task of destroying 
dead timber. It has long become a mooted question whether 
any of the Longicorn larvse attack sound and healthy trees. At 
all events it is quite certain that, whether they do or not, they 
infinitely prefer dead timber, and that when a practised entomo- 
logist wants to find Longicorn Beetles in their larval or pupal 
stages, he always goes to dead timber, and not to living trees. 

Take, for example, one of our commonest and most beautiful 
wood-borers, the Musk Beetle. It is very true that the insect 
may be found in willow-trees which are in full leaf. But the 
willow, as we all know, is one of those trees which is perfectly 
content so long as its bark exists entire, and flourishes and in- 
creases thougb the trunk be entirely hollow. And whenever 
the larva of a Musk Beetle is discovered, it is invariably found 
in the decaying, and not in the sound wood. So again with our 
smaller Longicornes. The best specimens are always taken by 
being dug out of decaying wood, — mostly rotten stumps in 
which the supply of sap has not quite ceased, but no entomo- 
logist would waste his time by looking for them in sound and 
healthy trees. 

The larvae are white, flatfish, soft-bodied, hard-headed grubs, 
always larger in front than behind, so that they may pass the 
easier through the tunnels which they gnaw in the wood. The 
jaws are exceedingly sharp and powerful; made almost exactly 
like a surgeon's bone-nippers, and the head can be drawn back 
so that it is almost hidden by the thorax. They possess legs, 
but do not require to use them, thrusting themselves forwards by 
means of the rings of the body, which are very deeply cut, and 
furnished with a sort of hump on the upper surface. 

In order to enable the female to deposit her eggs in favour- 
able positions, she is furnished with a long, telescopic ovipositor, 
which can be protruded to a considerable distance, and is almost 
as mobile as the proboscis of the elephant or the tail of the 
Spider Monkey. With this instrument she can push her eggs 
under the bark, or into crevices, feeling about until she has satis- 
fied herself that the egg is in a safe position. 


The first family of the Longicornes is the Prionidce, in which 
are comprised some of the giants of the insect race, one, indeed, 
being the largest insect in existence, measuring nine inches in 
length, and being very wide and thick of body. I should very 
much have liked to have it engraved, but it is so large that 
by no possibility could space be found for it, even if a whole 
page were given up to it. The name Prionidce is taken from 
the Greek, and is very appropriate, signifying " a sawyer," in 
allusion to the manner in which the larva cuts its way through 

Some of the species are said to saw branches in two, by 
grasping them in their toothed jaws and then flying round and 
round the tree. The late Mr. Waterton showed me a branch of 
a tree which fell at his feet, and which had evidently been cut 
through in some such way. But he did not actually see the 
insect cut it ; and though he was assured by his companions that 
the Sawyer Beetle really did cut branches in such a fashion, he 
could not say that the branch in question had actually been 
severed by the insect. 

The particular species which is generally pointed out as the 
Sawyer is Prionus cervicornis, a large flattish Beetle, mostly 
black and yellow, having the yellow of the elytra formed into 
an intricate net-like pattern. Its jaws are long, powerful, and 
have one long tooth in the middle and about sixteen lesser 
teeth on each side, so that the insect deserves its popular nama 
of Mouche scieur de long. 

That the perfect insect does eat away the bark in a circular 
direction is perfectly true, and, as may be expected, the branch 
dies, so that in the first high wind it is likely to fall. But 
that it cuts the branch completely across is scarcely credible, 
nor indeed would there be any object in so doing, as the sap, 
for which alone the tree is wounded, belongs to the bark, and 
not to the solid wood. The female is said to use her jaws in 
biting holes in the bark, so as to make convenient receptacles 
for her eggs. 

The larva of this Beetle is very destructive, penetrating into 
the branches of trees, and driving tunnels so completely through 
the wood, that a mere shell of the branch is left in a perfect 
state, and so, like those that are " girdled " by the perfect insect, 
the branch is nearly sure to fall to the ground in tempestuous 


weather. The mimosa trees are terribly infested with this de- 
structive Beetle. 

There is no difficulty in distinguishing the Prionidse. Their 
heads are squared and there is no neck, and the thorax is also 
squared and drawn out into a sharp, tooth-like projection on 
either side. The elytra are sharp and spine-like at the tips. In 
England there is only one species of this family, — namely, 
Prionus coriarius ; a large, flattish Beetle, with its surface 
coloured, as is expressed by its specific name, like untanned 

The old naturalists had some very wild notions about the 
Prionus, as is shown in Mouffet's work, reference to which has 
already been made. " It hath a little broad head, great oxe-eyes, 
almost three fingers overthwart in length ; it hath a forked 
mouth, gaping and terrible, with two very hard, crooked teeth : 
with these, while he gnaws the wood (I speak by experience), it 
doth perfectly grunt aloud like a young pig. Maybe this is 
the reason why Hesychius hath related that they, bound to 
a tree, will drive away fig-gnats. 

" The shoulders of it are curiously wrought by nature : they 
seem to be a hilt made of ebony and polished. It hath six feet, 
distinguished with three little knees ; but they are very weak 
and faint, and altogether unfit for such a burden. These receive 
help by two horns that grow above their eyes, and are longer 
than their whole bodies : they are flexible, with nine or ten 
joynts ; not exactly round, but are rough like goat's horns, which, 
although it can move them every way, yet when it flies it holds 
them only forth directly ; and being wearied with flying, she 
useth them for feet : for knowing that his legs are weak, he 
twists his horns about the branch of a tree, and so he hangs at 
ease, as our Bruerus saw in the country about Heidelberg ; in 
that it resembles the Bird of Paradise, which, wanting feet, 
clings about the boughs with those pendulous nerves, and so, 
being tired with labour, takes its ease. 

" They thrust upon us some German fables, as many so say 
it flies only, and when it is weary it falls to the earth and pre- 
sently dies. These that are stories and tales, render this reason 
just. Terambus, a satyrist, did not abstain from quipping of 
the Muses, whereupon they transformed him into a Beetle called 
Ceramhyx, and that deservedly, to endure a double punishment, 



for he liatli legs weak that he goes lame, and like a thief he 
haugs on a tree." 

The Beetle which is represented in the accompanying illustra- 
tion is a native of Java. It is a singularly fine insect, large, 
boldly outlined, and standing very high on its long legs. In con- 
sequence of its generally handsome appearance, it has received 

Fig. 110. — Prionocalus Eucklcyi. 

the generic name of Prionocalus, i.e. " beautiful Prionus." The 
head is boldly scooped in front and on the sides, so as to be 
shaped very much like the thorax, i.e. squared and pointed at 
the sides. The thorax has three spikes or points on each side 
and, like the rest of the body, it is nearly black. The elytra are 


oranulated ; there is a flattish edge on the sides, and on either 
side of the suture is a long and prominent ridge. The long legs 
are flattened, especially the thighs of the hind legs. Each elytron 
has a curved and very sharp spike on the shoulder, so that the 
Beetle has a sufficiently formidable aspect. 

The jaws are flat, powerful, strongly curved, and each is armed 
near the tip with a double tooth. Their colour is black, and the 
surface is finely granulated. 

Most of the Prionidffi are dull-coloured, but there are one or 
two exceptions. Such, for example, is Psalidognaihus Friendii, a 
native of Columbia. This insect is exceedingly variable. Some 
are brown, others blue, and others deep purple, while many 
specimens exhibit both colours. They also differ in size, some 
being one-third less than others, while some of them have their 
elytra shaped differently from those of their relatives. 

When the Prionus larva is full fed, it encloses itself in a 
cocoon made of little strips of the timber in which it has lived ; 
and, after the manner of all tunnelling insects, it always under- 
goes its transformation close to the bark of the tree, so that when 
it assumes its perfect shape, it may find its way out of the tunnel 
with as little difficulty as possible. For the perfect Beetle is 
much wider than the larva, and not so flexible, so that, in spite 
of the very powerful jaws with which it is armed, it would not 
be able to force its way through the narrow channel which it 
had formerly occupied. 

The large species to which reference has been made is Prionus 
giganteus, a Brazilian Beetle. Its eggs are remarkable for their 
size, far exceeding in dimensions those of many humming-birds ; 
and indeed, but for their shape, which is much elongated and 
similar at both ends, they might well be taken for the eggs of a 
bird, and not of an insect. In order to place their eggs securely, 
the ovipositor of some of the species is provided with a curious 
apparatus much resembling two short spears set side by side, 
each spear-head being furnished with one or more knobs on 
the outside, apparently for the purpose of fixing the apparatus 
while the egg slides along it. The larva of one of the large 
exotic Prionidae is used for food, and in all probability many 
such larvae are edible, though they do not particularly suit 
our own ideas of delicacies. 



The family of the Pyrodides is entirely American, and a veiy 
Deautiful family it is, many of the insects being large, and most of 
them conspicuous in their colouring. They may be known by 
the sharp horn-like projections on the shoulder of the elytra. 
The present species, Fyrodes jpictus, is a native of Brazil, and is 
here represented of its natural size. The general colour of the 
Beetle is dark, blackish chocolate, diversified with certain mark- 
ings. The sides of the thorax are covered with long, almost hair 
like scales, of a yellow colour, and two lines of similar scales 
extend from the head over the thorax, meeting on the scutell\im. 

Fig. Ill — Pyrodes pictus. 
(Dark chocolate and yellow.) 

The deep chocolate brown surface of the elytra is profusely 
wrinkled and punctured, and is decorated with bold yellow 
marks, varying greatly in shape, size, and number in difi'erent 
individuals : generally there are three of those marks — a long, 
pear-shaped one near the base of the elytra, with its narrow 
end pointing towards the angular shoulder ; then a small oblong 
mark, and lastly a long, sharply bent stripe near the tip. In 
some specimens, however, the first and second of these marks 


are fused together into a single V-shaped stripe, while the third 
mark is rounded instead of angular. 

The spikes of the thorax, the first joint of the antennae^ and 
the thighs are black, while the rest of the antennse, and the 
long, slender tibise, are chestnut. Beneath, the thorax is black, 
with some stripes of yellow hair like that of the upper surface. 
The teeth are black, very powerful, and so bent downwards as 
to be invisible when the insect is viewed from above. 

I have already mentioned that many of these Beetles are 
exceedingly beautiful. The handsomest of them is Pyrodes 
marginatus. The head and thorax are rich gold-green, deeply 
wrinkled, and the latter being armed with sharp spikes. The 
elytra are of a deep purple, glossed with warm copper, and each 
elytron is completely surrounded by a very narrow stripe of 
shining gold. It is not quite so large as the species which is 

Then we have Pyrodes Smithianus, an exceedingly variable 
insect, some being blue, glossed with crimson ; while others are 
wholly olive green, some wholly copper, and others have the 
centre of the elytra green, and their edges, together with tho 
thorax, metallic copper. Another species, Pyrodes pulcherrimus, 
is rich shining blue, with a single broad golden band across the 
elytra ; and yet another, Pyrodes columhinus, deep shining blue. 

The sub-family of the Torneutides form a group of long-bodied, 
narrow, flattish Beetles, none of them common, and most of the 
species being very rare. They all belong to the hotter parts of 
South America. The name Torneutides is Greek, and signifies 
anything that has been turned on a lathe. It is given to this 
group of insects because their bodies are so smooth and regular 
that they look very much as if they might have been formed 
on a lathe. 

In the genus to which our example, Phcenicocerus Dejeanii, 
belongs, the chief characteristic lies in the antennae of the 
males, which are very much like those of the Oxynopterus, which 
has been already described on page 158. The generic n'^me 
Phcenicocerus signifies " a conspicuous horn," and has been given 
to these Beetles in recognition of the extraordinary antennae. 
As is often the case where the structure of the antennsa is in 
any way remarkable, the male sex alone possesses it, the 



antennae of the female being quite plain and simple. In conse- 
quence of this dissimilarity, the two sexes have such a different 
aspect that they have been called by separate names, being 
thought to belong to two distinct species. Even the appearance 
of the surface differs in the two sexes, that of the female being 
more boldly punctured than in the opposite sex. 

The colour of our present species is black, but the whole 
upper surface is covered with yellow hair-like scales sprinkled 
rather sparingly on the thorax, but set so thickly upon the elytra 
that their real colour is not to be seen except in places where 

Pig. 112. — Phoenicoeerus Dejeanii. 
(Black, covered with yellow down.) 

they have been rubbed off by ill-usage. The whole of the sur- 
face is very deeply punctured, so deeply, indeed, that even 
through the covering of scales the punctures are plainly visible. 
The tips of the elytra are boldly scooped. If the antennjB be 
carefully examined, it will be seen that each of the joints, except 
that at the base, is furnished with a long, narrow, flattened 
appendage, so that there are ten of these curious objects on each 
of the antennae. 

This insect, although perhaps, on the whole, the best example 
of the Torneutides, is not the largest. This is Torneutes palli- 
dicornis, a native of Uruguay, the head and thorax of which are 


without scales, so that they show themselves in their original 
shining blackness, while the elytra are so thickly covered with 
the scales that not a particle of the black can be seen. 

A STAKTLINGLY strange group of Beetles now comes before 
us, namely, the Hesthecidse, all Australasian insects. When these 
Beetles are first seen, it is almost impossible to believe that they 
belong to the Longicorns, being to all appearance neither more 
nor less than Brachelytra. Indeed, some of 'them are not only 
unlike the Longicorns, but by non-entomologists would scarcely 
be taken for Beetles at all, as they imitate with wondrous 
fidelity the forms and colours of sundry hornets and other 
members of the w^asp tribe. 

In all of them the head is sunk as far as the eyes into the 
thorax, and the elytra are quite as short as those of any of the 

Fig. 113. — Hesthesis ferrugineus. 
(Yellow, with black baud. ) 

Kove Beetles ; but whereas in those insects the wings are care- 
fully packed up under the elytra, so as to be quite invisible when 
they are folded, in the Hesthecides they are as exposed as those 
of a wasp or bee, except just at the base, where they are par- 
tially covered by the small elytra. It is worthy of notice that 
the left wing is always crossed over the right. 

Our first example of these Beetles is the largest, handsomest, 
and most brightly coloured of the whole group, and is called 
Resthesis ferrugineus. The latter of these terms signifies " iron 
rust," and is given to the Beetle in allusion to the reddish yellow 
down with which nearly the entire upper surface is decorated. 


Wlietlier with wings spread or closed, this Beetle bears a most 
singular resemblance to a very large hornet. 

The thorax is bright yellow, and when examined by the aid of 
a magnifier, the colour is seen to be produced by a quantity of 
hair-like scales which look very mueli as if they had been twisted 
into loose ropes, coiled backwards and forwards on the insect, and 
then pressed flat. The centre of the thorax is always darker 
than the sides, and in some specimens has well-defined edges like 
the ace of diamonds turned black. The elytra are covered with 
similar scales, of a dark chestnut colour, and the greater part of 
the abdomen is of the same bright hue as the thorax. 

There is, however, a broad jetty-black belt across the middle 
of the abdomen, and several black spots on its sides, which are 
fltittened and turned up, so as to form a sort of flat ojjen box in 
which the wings can lie. The part of the abdomen which lies 
under the elytra is also black. The ample wings are shining 
yellow, and much resemble, both in colour and outline, the wings 
of a hornet united and spread for flight. 

Like many Longicorn Beetles, this is an exceedingly variable 
insect both in size and colour, some specimens being barely one- 
fourth as large as that from which the description was taken ; 
while some, instead of bright yellow scales, are clothed in a suit 
of dull brown. 

There are several species of this genus, the most remarkable 
of which is Hesthesis cingulatus, which is almost startlingly like 
one of our common sand-wasps, being black, with two yellow 
bars across the abdomen, which is narrowed at the base, then 
swells out boldly, and then tapers rapidly to a point exactly 
like that of the sand-wasp. Indeed, anyone not practically 
acquainted with entomology might be excused for thinking that 
it was armed with a sting. 

With regard to the name of these insects, I accept it because 
it is given by Lacordaire, whose arrangement is employed in the 
British Museum. But I only accept it under protest. Had the 
name of the group been given as Usfhesides, and that of tlie 
genus as Esthesis, it would have been perfectly correct. Esthesis 
is a Greek word signifying '' clothing," and referring to the dense 
coat of hair-like scales with which the body is clothed. But there 
is no aspirate, and the " c " in the middle of the word ought to be 
" s," as any of my readers may see by reference to a Greek lexicon. 


There is a family of Longicorn Beetles in which a portion of 
the antennae is covered with prickles, and which are therefore 
called Batoceridse, i.e. thorny-horned Beetles. On Plate IV, Fig. 
2, is shown one of these insects, Batocera Gdehiana, which, as 
its name implies, inhabits the Celebes. Being a large species, 
it shows well the characteristic spikes with which the very long 
second joint of the antennae is armed. The usual spikes at the 
sides of the thorax are well developed, and there is a short 
sharp spike on each of the shoulders of the elytra. 

The general colour of this Beetle is black, but parts of it are 
covered with a secondary coating of white or red, arranged as 
may be seen by reference to the plate. On the upper part of 
the thorax are two large patches of a rust-red, looking indeed 
very much like splashes of actual rust. 

The surface of the elytra is covered with rounded tubercles of 
various sizes, the tubercles themselves being shining black, and 
the space between them filled with yellow down. On each of 
the elytra are four white spots. One large irregularlys-haped 
spot is on the middle of each elytron, sometimes being nearly 
oval, and sometimes having a sort of curved tail like a comma. 
Above it is a small circular spot, below it a similar spot, and 
near the tip of the elytra another, but much smaller mark. AH 
these marks look, when examined with a low magnifying power, 
as if they were made of plaster of Paris spread thinly on the 
surface, and are full of tiny cracks just like those of the plaster 
when it has been exposed to moisture. When a tolerably high 
power is brought to bear on these red and white spots, they are 
seen to be formed by a number of oblong scales laid as regularly 
as the tiles of a house, instead of being flung loosely over the 
surface like the hair-like scales of the under parts of the body. 

Beneath, the insect is black, thickly sprinkled with yellow 
down, and on each side of the thorax, just below the elytra, is a 
broad white stripe, very clearly defined and with jagged edges. 

Among the many species of this genus we may mention 
Batocera Icena of the Arii Islands. This is a very much larger 
Beetle than the preceding, and much blacker. The antennae are 
remarkable for having the spikes on every joint except the 
two last, which are very slender and delicate. The whole of the 
surface of the elytra is covered with tubercles. 

One of the most variable species is Batocera Thomsonii of 



Java. Not only does it vary much in size, some specimens 
being barely half as large as others, but it has an extraordinary 
scope of variety in the markings of the elytra. The general 
colour is brown. Some specimens have only two large white 
spots, which are placed in the centre of the elytra ; otliers have 
twelve spots ; while in some, the spots, instead of being white 
are rust-red, like those of the first-mentioned species. Batoccra 
lineolata is covered with grey down and white spots, also variable 
in form, size, and number. But in all the species, however much 
they may differ from each other, the broad, jagged white stripe 
along the sides of the thorax is present and is equally conspicuous. 

We now come to the group called Callichromides. This is a 
very appropriate name, as it signifies beautiful colours, and most 
of the insects which belong to the group are remarkable for the 
splendour of their hues. It is a very large group, comprising 

I'lu. 114. — PhyUocnema yhyllopus. 
(Deep velvet-purple.) 

some twenty-nine or thirty species, of which only one is known 
to inhabit Europe. This is Aromia, to which our familiar Musk 
Beetle belongs — the only British species of this splendid group, 
but one which very efficiently represents it, not only in the 
splendour of its coloui'ing, but in its size and the fragrant odour 
which it diffuses. 

The insect which has been selected as a representative of this 



group is one which is well worthy of description. It is a native 
of Brazil. When viewed by a dull light, or when merely seen 
from above, it looks as if it were dull, dead black. It seems as if 
it must have crawled down the chimney before it could have 
attained such a depth of blackness, compared with which the 
blackest velvet seems quite brilliant. 

But let a gleam of sunshine touch its surface, and the insect is 
at once transformed. Instead of being the dull, sober Beetle 
that it appeared only a moment ago, it is clothed in robes of 
imperial purple, so rich, so deep, so piercing, that the eye can 
scarcely endure its splendour. It is an insect that absolutely 
fascinates the observer, and one is never tired of shifting it to 
and fro in the sunbeams, in order to watch the wonderful play 
of colour over its surface. 

As if to add to its beauty, the elytra are furnished with several 
broad ridges, elevated very slightly above the rest of the surface. 
The effect of this structure is, that when the rest of the elytron is 
deep, velvety purple, the ridges are of the most dazzling azure, 
shifting in their turn to purple when the insect is moved so as 
to throw the light into the furrows -between the ridges, and to 
develop the azure splendour of their clothing. It looks, if we 
may use such a simile, as if stripes of blue satin had been sewn 
on purple velvet. Add to this, that the wings themselves are 
deep, shining green, like those of our demoiselle dragon-flies, and 
the reader may form some very faint idea of the beauties which 
lie hidden in this insect until revealed by the light. 

The form of this Beetle is as remarkable as its colour. The 
head and thorax are small, the latter being boldly spiked at 
either side. The legs are all rather slender, and moderately 
long, but the hind pair are much elongated, and the tibia are 
developed into large flat blades, much resembling in form the 
head of a racket, having one side much rounded and the other 
comparatively straight. The similitude is increased by a thickened 
edge which runs round the flattened portion, like the frame of a 
racket. Like the elytra, the legs are purple, and have a satiny 
surface, which is shown by the microscope to be due to a dense 
clothing of very fine purple down. 

The name of the insect is Phyllocncma 'phyllopus. Both words 
have a similar meaning; the former signifying "leaf-legged," and 
the latter "leaf-footed." 




This is not the only insect of the genus which possesses the 
tlattened tibiie. One in particular, Fhylloaiema mirijica, has 
them so large that each of the flattened portions would nearly 
cover the entire body of the insect. Indeed, they are so 
enormous in proportion to the size of the insect, that it is im- 
possible to avoid a feeling of wonder at their use, and of surprise 
that the Beetle can walk at all with such apparently unwieldy 

One of the most striking examples of the Longicorn Beetles 
is the Harlequin Beetle (Acroci/ius longimanas), which is given 
on Plate IV., Fig. 1, It belongs to the group Acrocinides. Its 
colours are black, red, and yellow, disposed in a very singular 
manner, so that they really do bear some resemblance to the 
corresponding colours in the tightly-fitting dress of a stage 

The ground colour is black, of a velvety texture, warmed by 
the very short but very dense down wdth which its surface is 
covered. Upon the whole of the upper surface, head, thorax, 
and elytra included, is drawn a complicated pattern which is 
not easily described, but which can be understood by reference 
to the illustration. The long antennae are black, and so are the 
legs, with the exception of a broad scarlet band round the end 
of each of the thighs. 

All the legs are long, but the first pair is enormously developed, 
covered with very small teeth, and having ten long spines, one 
at the base of the thighs and the others at the end of the tibiae, 
which are so boldly curved n^ar tlieir extremities as to look 
like hooks. 

These very long legs are employed in traversing the 
branches of the trees among whicli the insect lives, and those 
who have seen the Beetle in motion say that its movements, 
though slow, can almost be called graceful as it swings itself 
from bougli to bough. Indeed, these long fore-limbs very 
strongly remind the observer of the fore-limbs of the Spider 
Monkeys which inhabit the same spots as the Harlequin Beetle. 
On the ground, the inordinate length of limb seems to be very 
much in the Beetle's way, and accordingly it crawls in a sluggish 
manner, and, like the sloth on level ground, drags itself along 
rather than walks. 

K 2 


The Harlequin Beetle is extremely fond of the juice which 
is secreted by the Bagasse tree {Bagassa Guianensis). This 
juice is white, thick, and, when newly taken from the tree, 
gives out a strong and penetrating odour, which the Beetles 
perceive at a considerable distance. The collectors take advan- 
tage of this predilection, and, when they go in search of the 
Harlequin Beetle, they attract it by wounding a Bagasse tree 
and allowing the sap to flow freely. Negroes, when employed in 
collecting, are apt, with the usual improvidence of their race, 
to cut down the trees so as to secure a greater number of 
Beetles at the time. In consequence of the fondness of the 
insect for this juice, it is popularly called Mouclie Bagasse. 

The Beetle can fly pretty well, and, like most of its kin, takes 
to the air in the evening, remaining quiet during the day. The 
long fore-legs appear to incommode the Harlequin Beetle when 
flying, for it seems to have but little power of directing its course, 
and is apt to blunder against any object that may happen to be 
in the way. When it does so, like our own Stag Beetle, it fall& 
to the ground at once. It has rather a noisy, rustling flight, and,. 
when walking, it makes a sort of creaking sound which betrays 
it to anyone who knows its customs. 

It is an extremely variable insect, both in size and colour. 
The variation in the latter, however, is often due to the effect 
of light, the bright scarlet and yellow fading into dull red and 
dusky ochre if the insect has been kept for any length of time 
in a case which is exposed to light. Those specimens which are 
obtained near the coast are said to be much more brilliant than 
those which are found inland. These are not uncommon insects, 
and as they are exceedingly handsome and imposing, and look 
well in show-cases, the negroes who choose to hunt after them 
can be sure of earning money by capturing them and selling 
them to the professional collectors, who are always ready to buy 
up any insects which are likely to have a sale in Europe. 

The wood-boring habits of this splendid Beetle are well shown 
by a specimen in the British Museum. It was fortunately 
secured before it had escaped from the piece of timber in which 
it had vmdergone its change into the perfect state, and there lies, 
with its long legs packed up in a most wonderful manner, so as 
to take up a space wliich is very small in proportion to the 
size of the insect and the length of its limbs. 


There is a group of Longiconies whose exact place in the 
system is very doubtful. They form a M'ell-marked group, and 
can be at once distinguished by the peculiarity from which they 
derive their name. Tlie term Phrissomides is formed from two 
Greek Avords signifying '" spiked body," and is applied to these 
insects because not only the thorax but the whole of the upper 
surface is thickly covered with sharp spikes. The Phrissomides 
are natives of Southern Africa. 

The present species, Phrissoma horridum, is the most con- 
spicuous of the group. Beside the usual spikes on the sides 
of the thorax, there are two others on the upper surface, so that 
their points radiate much like those of a dog's spiked collar 
Un each of the elytra there are three parallel rows of similai 
but shorter spikes, their bases set closely together ; so that when 

Fig. 115. — Plu-issoma honiduin. 
(Blackish brown.) 

the insect is viewed sideways, the spikes look just like the teeth 
of three saws. Between them the surface is studded with a vast 
number of smaller spikes, or rather tubercles, their tips being 
blunt instead of pointed. In fact, the insect appears to be all 
spikes, and to be a very unpleasant one to handle. The colour 
of these projections is shining black at the tip, becoming dull, 
however, at the base. 

All of my readers who have paid any attention to British 
entomology must be familiar with the Wasp Beetle (Clytus 
arietis), our best-known example of the Glytides, which is so 
common in the hedgerows, its black body with its yellow base 
giving it a very wasp-like air as it slips in and out of the foliage. 
Neither this Beetle nor any of its relatives does much harm iu 


this coTintry, the larva merely boring into old posts, rails, and 
other dead timber. But in those parts of the world where 
coffee is grown, one of the Wasp Beetles becomes an absolute 
plague, under the name of " The Borer." 

The female gnaws a small hole into the tree, very much like 
the perforation of a gimlet, and there places her eggs. As soon as 
they are hatched, the larvae begin to eat their w^ay through the 
tree, and often drive so many tunnels, upwards and downwards, 
that the tree dies. Mr. A. E. W. Lascelles, managing director 
of the Moyan Coffee Company, makes the following remarks in 
a little work on coffee-plantations : — 

"The part of the tree above their entrance generally gives 
at once unmistakable indications of their presence ; and if 
these are noticed, and the tree cut off at the place where 
the perforation is seen, the grub will be found inside and the 
lower portion of the tree be saved, and ultimately send out a 
sucker to supply the place of the lost stem. But it frequently 
occurs that large trees with heavy crops on them fall victims to 
this pest, and then it becomes necessary to root up the old tree 
and plant a fresh seedling in its place. 

" The Beetles may be observed flying about in numbers in 
the evenings after rain in March, April, and May ; and if bright 
fires of weeds, grass, &c. are lighted on tlie various roads and 
other vacant places on the estates, they will be attracted by the 
blaze and light, and fly into the fires. This method has been 
found very efficacious, and is neither expensive nor difficult of 

" It may be remembered that the Borer is most abundant in 
rather dry localities, and is not so troublesome in virgin forest 
land as in what has been already described as ' bamboo ' land." 

Tills " bamboo " land, which is so favourable to the Borer, is 
described as gentle undulating slopes, sparsely covered with 
large trees and bamboo thickets ; the soil being heavy, deep, 
hard, and full of weeds. When properly cleared, this land suits 
the coffee tree admirably, but unfortunately it suits the destroyer 
as well as the tree. 

The Sternacanthides are here represented by one species • 
namely, Lojphonocerus larbicornis. The name Sternacanthides is 
Greek, signifying " thorny-breast," and, as the reader will see 


hy reference to the illustration, it is a very appropriate title. 
They have si.x spines on the thorax — namely, four long spines 
and two shorter — besides two small but bold spines on the 
collar. They are all natives of South America. 

The fine insect which is here represented is an excellent 
example of the group. In colour it is wholly black and orange, 
the two hues being arranged so as to form a bold pattern, 
as seen in the illustration. This pattern is rendered the bolder 
from the fact that the orange portions are raised and slightly 
rounded, while the black parts are depressed. The spines upon 
ilie thorax are shining black. 

Though the vivid colours and well-defined marks of the 
elytra render the insect a very conspicuous one, they fade into 

Kio. 11(5— Lopliouocerus baibicorni;. 
(Black and orange.) 

comparative insignificance before the extraordinary anteniuTe. 
The first four joints of these appendages are covered with thick 
long hairs, pointing slightly forward, but radiating equally on 
every side like the bristles of a bottle brush. They are black 
at their bases and orange at their tips, so that they carry out the 
colours of the elytra. The remaining joints are very slender 
and of a pale yellow. Both scientific names of this insect refer 
to the antennie. The generic name Lophonocerus is formed from 
two Greek words signifying "plume-horned," and the Latin word 
harhicornis signifies " bearded horn." There are very many 
species of the Sternacanthidae, of which the present is certainly 
the best example. 



The extraordinary little Beetle which is represented below 
belongs to the group called Ehopelophorides. This word signifies 
"club-bearer," and is given to the Beetles on account of the 
club-like appearance which is given to the antennae by a single 
large tuft of hair with which they are adorned. They are mostly 
Australasian, and are small insects, our present example being 
the largest, and one or two very tiny creatures. 

The word Cosmisoma signifies an adorned or decorated body, 
and is probably given to these insects on account of the 
beautiful colour of the body. The hue of the Cosmisoma scopipes 
is either blue or green, the insect being exceeding variable in this 
respect, and the surface is covered with rather bold punctures. 
The antennas are very long and slender, and the fourth joint is 
furnished towards the end with a large round tuft of long black 

Fig. 117. — Cosmisoma scopipes. 
(Blue-green, with black hair tufts.) 

hairs. The hind legs are equally remarkable. They are chestnut 
in colour, very long in proportion to the size of the insect, and 
the end of the thighs is much enlarged. The tibiae are slender, 
boldly curved, and from their outer edges radiates a fiat brush of 
black hairs similar to those upon the antennae. 

Another species of the same genus, Cosviisoma ochraceum, is 
very similar to this insect, except that it is smaller and has the 
hair-tufts yellow. There are many otlier allied insects which 
bear tufts on the antennae. The most remarkable of them is 
called Disaulax hirsuticornis, whose peculiar structure is implied 
by the specific name, which signifies " hairy horns." In this 
insect there are no tufts on the legs, but the first four joints of 
the antennae are wholly covered witli long black hair, which 
radiates equally round them, so that they appear cylindrical 
rather than conical, as is the case with the I-ophonocerus. 



The Sternotomides are represunted by the Beetle called 
Zoyraphiis oculator. The name of this group is formed from 
two Greek words signifying cut, or truncated, thorax, and is 
given to the insects because the thorax is wide and short, as if 
it had been abruptly cut off, or like a draughtsman set on its 
edge. They are all natives of Africa. The projections at the 
sides of the thorax, instead of being sharp spines, are large 
thick tubercles, rounded at the tip. 

The present species is a really handsome insect. Its colour is 
black, and across the head and thorax are drawn some very 
narrow yellow lines, their edges as clearly defined as if they 

Fig. lis. — Zographus oculatov. 
(Black, with yellow marks.) 

were done with a pen and ink. The elytra are covered with 
tiny Avrinkles, and are marked with bold ridges, boldly armed at 
the shoulder and running nearly parallel with the suture. Upon 
each of the elytra are four large yellow marks, deepening into 
chocolate in the centre. The name Zograjjhus, which signifies 
anything that is painted from life, is given to the insects on 
account of the lines and spots wherewith they are adorned. 
The specific name oculator, which is formed from the Latin word 
oculus, an eye, refers to the eye-like form of the marks on the 

The antennae of this insect are extremely variable in different 
individuals, being in some specimens fully one- third longer than 



in others. They are exceedingly beautiful, even if viewed with 
the naked eye, and much more so when the magnifying glass is 
brought to bear upon tliem. Their colour is a soft blue grey, 
with a sort of a chalky look about the surface. This effect, when 
the antennce are examined witli a mici"Oscope, is seen to be pro- 
duced by the grey scales with which the entire organ is covered. 
As if in order to break the uniformity of the antennae, the end 
of each joint is jetty black. 

There are many species of this group, and many of them are 
beautifully coloured. Among the more conspicuous insects we 
may note Sternotomus Bohemanna, a Beetle of a shining green 
colour, covered with a multitude of chocolate spots and stripes. 
Sfernotomvs hifasciata is chocolate, with blue bands on its head, 
thorax, and elytra. Sternotomus mirabilis is black, with green 
stripes and spots ; and Sternotomus regalis is black, with multi- 
tudinous green and chocolate marks. Its antenii?e are peculiarly 
long and slender. 

Another African group of Beetles, the Tragocephalides, now 
comes before us. This word is Greek, and signifies " goat- 

There are very many species belonging to this group, all of 
which are remarkable for the velvet-black of their surface, upon 

Fig. 119.— Tragocephalus variegulus,. 
(Velvet-black and orange.) 

^vhich are markings of sundry other hues. Our first examjale. 
Tragocephalus variegatus, has more of the lighter blue t.han the 
darker colour, and is bright orange. Two bold, black velvety 



stripes run along the upper surface of the thorax, and the spines 
on eitlier side are also black. Upon the elytra are three bold, 
black marks, winch are much too complicated for description, 
out which can be understood by reference to the illustration. 

Some of the more remarkable insects of this genus are Trago- 
ccphalus pulchclla, which is black, with marks of vivid green and 
golden yellow ; Tvagocciilialusgcm maria, fully deserving its name, 
its velvet-black surface being studded with little azure spots, just 
like jewels ; Tragocephahtsphospliorus, which is vivid yellow, with 
a black heart-shaped mark on the elytra; and lastly, Tragoccphalus 
iiohilis, which is velvet-black, with a golden yellow baud round 
the thorax, and three belts of a similar colour across the elytra. 

The name Tmesisternides, by which the next group of Longi- 
corn Beetles is distinguished, signifies " cut-thorax," and is given 
to them because the thorax is narrow behind, broadening rapidly 
to the front, where it is suddenly truncated, as if a portion had 
been cut away. 

They have a large range of country, being found spread over 
the whole of Australasia and Polynesia. The present species, 

Fig. 1:;0. — IchthyosDina mirabilis. 
(Blue or green, with white marks ) 

Ichthyosoma mirabilis, conies from the Aru Islands, and is quite 
new to science, having only lately been discovered. It is the 
largest of the whole genus, and is a very conspicuous insect, the 
colours being very brilliant and boldly contrasted. The colourinc 
of the insect is as follows : — 


The upper surface of the head, thorax, and abdomen is shining 
l)lue or green, some individuals being of one tint and some of 
the other. Three bands of pure white are drawn across each of 
the elytra, two of the bands being continuous, and the last, which 
is close to the tip, being broken up into several small rounded 
portions. The legs are rather curiously coloured. The whole 
of the thigh and about one-quarter of the length of the tibite 
are deep shining blue, while the rest of the tibiae is yellow. 
The tarsus is of the same hue as the thigh. The antennae are 
entirely blue. 

The generic name Ichthyosoma is formed from two Greek 
words, and signifies " fish-bodied." I cannot, however, see any 
particular appropria-teness in the term, as this insect bears no 
more resemblance to a fish than do the other Longicornes which 
have already been described- 



There has been, and still is, some difficulty in the aiTangeraent 
of the Beetles which come next in order. As, however, this is 
not intended for a work on systematic entomology, there is no 
need for entering into any such controversies. As may be in- 
ferred from their title, these insects feed upon plants, and are 
mostly found on the leaves. 

The first group of these insects, the Sagrides, are almost en- 
tirely exotic, being represented in England only by four small 
inconspicuous Beetles belonging to the genus Orsodacna. Many 
of the exotic Sagrides are, however, exceedingly beautiful in 
their colours, though few of them run to any great size. 

They form a portion of the large family Crioceridae, of which 
our well-known Asparagus Beetle {Crioceris asparagi) is a 
familiar example. Other British examples of this family are 
the lovely Donacia Beetles which stud the leaves of water-flowers 
like living gems. The Sagrides are nearly allied to the Donacias, 
though the splendid colouring of the former only belongs to the 
exotic species. 

The species which is shown in the illustration on the next 
page, Sagra Buquetii, is at once the largest and most splendid of 
tlie genus. It is found in Java. 

In all the species belonging to the genus, the hind legs are 
greatly developed, and in this species they are absolutely enor- 
mous when compared with the body of the insect. The thighs 
are thick, powerful, boldly curved, and armed with a series of 
teeth on the inner surface. The tibise are correspondingly 
powerful, and continue the curve of the thighs near their tip ; 
the inner surface is clothed wdth rather long and thick hair, 
of a shining golden yellow. The tarsus is so small as to 


appear absolutely useless. The other legs are rather small than 

The colour of this Beetle is singularly beautiful.- In the first 
place the elytra are rich shining green, with the exception of a 
tiery copper-red stripe in the middle, which is wide at the base 
and narrows gradually to the tip. The whole surface is thickly 
"■ranulated. A decided golden gloss tinges both the green and 
the red, the golden gloss shifting with every change of light. 
The head and thorax are also green, and so are the legs, the 
surface of which is grnuulated like that of the elytra, but not so 

Fig. 121. — Sagra Buquetii. 
(Green and coppery red.) 

This is an exceedingly variable insect, especially in point of 
size, some not being one-fourth as large as that which has been 

The Sagrides have a very wide geographical range, being found 
in Australasia, Java, and India. Their colours are exceedingly 
various, though green of some kind is generally the predominant 
hue. The present species, for example, is mostly green, and 
Sagra dvrysochlora is entirely golden-green. Sagra empurca, 
however, is almost entirely blue ; and Sagra nigrita, a small 
Cingalese species, is dull black. 

Now come a vast number of Beetles, with outlines more or 
less circular. For this reason they have been named Cyclica, 
this being a Greek word signifying " a circle." Xone of them 
are of any great size, the largest barely reaching an inch in 
length, and on an average being seldom more than one-third of 



thai leDgth. In beauty of colour, however, they compensate for 
their small size, for there is scarcely a colour of the rainbow 
which is not represented in some of tlie Cyclica. This beauty 
is not attained by the iridescent hairs with M-hich many Beetles 
are clothed, but is due to the surface of tlie body itself. 

The family of the Clythridse is represented in England by 
only three little species, which are very seldom found, on account 
of the locality in which they live. They inhabit ants' nests, and 
their larvae contrive to make moveable cases of a tough and 
leathery nature, in which they conceal the greater part of their 
bodies. Only the head, thorax, and legs project from the narrow- 
end of the case, the rest of the body being concealed within it. 

Whether this covering be intended for a protection against the 
stings of the ants is a very doubtful point. That it should 
be supposed to serve such a purpose is natural enough, 
especially as it would form an effectual protection against the 
attacks of ants or even stronger enemies than they are. But 
we must remember that in most instances where Beetles are 
parasitic upon ants, both parties seem to live in jjerfect amity ; 
and, indeed, in one case, if the nest be 
broken open, the ants take as much 
care of the Beetles as of their own off- 
spring. A somewhat similar case is 
formed by Beetles belonging to the 
genus Poropleura, which will presently 
be described. 

Our example of this family is a very n;^-- 
pretty Brazilian Beetle belonging to the 
genus Themesia, of which there is only 
one species in the British Museum. 
The front of the thorax is bright blue, 
shining and punctated, and the elytra 
are of the same hue, the latter being 
sometimes green or even copper. The 
middle of the thorax is covered with 

abundant golden yellow hair, not set regularly, as is generally 
the case with insect hair, but laid in tufts, very like moss pressed 
flat. The under surface is clothed with similar hau's. 

I have no doubt that the specific name aurkapilla, which is 

Fig. 122. — Themesia aurisapilUi. 
(Blue and yellow ) 


absolutely meaningless, is wrongly spelled. Had it been auri- 
capilla, it would have signified " golden-haired," and would 
have had a direct reference to this yellow down. But as the 
name is spelled aurisapilla in the printed catalogues, it must 
perforce be retained. 

Next to the Clythidaj come the Cryptocephalidse. This rsthei 
long name is formed from two Greek words signifying " hidden- 
head," and is given to the insects because their small heads are 
almost entirely sunk in the thorax, so that when viewed from 
above they look, but for the antennae, as if they had no head at 
all. The elytra do not quite cover the end of the body, and the 
entire form is thick, cylindrical, and looks as if it had been 
abruptly truncated in front. We have in England only one 
genus, Cryptocephalus, of wliich about eighteen species are 
known. They are bright little insects, and may be found on 
fine summer days basking in the blaze of the hottest sunbeams. 
Their larvae inhabit odd moveable cases, which are formed, like 
the covering of the Cricoeridse, from the excrement. 

Several of the species have been lately discovered, and it is 
believed that others yet remain for discovery. Indeed, every 
collector, when he visits a new locality, especially to the North 
of England or Scotland, is sure to keep a careful watch on the 

foliage, in hopes of detecting 
some species of Cryptocephalus 
at present unknown. And as 
they are small Beetles, and apt 
to be exceedingly variable, it is 
- likely that there may be in 
cabinets more than one species 
which has not been inserted in 
any catalogue. 

Fig. i23.-Poropieura monstrosa. In Order to show morc clcarly 

the extraordinary form of the 
insect which has been selected as an example of this family' it 
has been found necessary to magnify it, the length of an ordinary 
specimen being about half an inch. 

This is a most diflacult insect to describe. Its colour is a rich, 
shining violet, with a metallic glitter like that of foil. The whole 
surface is knobbed, and creased, and wrinkled, and channelled, and 


punctured full of holes, so that it really looks as if a piece of 
violet foil had been loosely rolled between the hands, and then 
pinched into the rough semblance of a beetle. The generic 
name Poropleura, which signifies " channelled-side," refers to 
this extraordinary formation. In order to bring out all its 
peculiar beauty, the insect must be taken into a strong light, 
examined through a lens, and turned in every direction, so as 
to allow the light to reveal the multitudinous knobs and grooves 
and pits with which the surface is covered. To judge by the 
long series of specimens in the British Museum, there is but 
little variation, either in size or colour. 

Another species, Poropleura cliimoera, is about the same size 
and formed in much the same manner, but is green instead of 
blue ; while Poropleura hacca, a smaller insect, looks as if made 
of crimson foil, the edge of each fold and the top of each pro- 
jection being vivid green. Poropleura cuprea looks, as its name 
implies, as if it were made of copper foil. All the insects are 
natives of Brazil. 

It has been mentioned that the larvae of the Cryptocephalidae 
inhabit moveable cases. In the British Museum are two of the 
cases made by the larvae of Poropleura. They are conical and 
curved, looking like very thick and blunt cows' horns, being 
hollow at the larger end. Their texture is almost exactly like that 
of very fine sponge, and the colour is either yellow or brown. 

The splendid family of the Chrysomelides thoroughly deserves 
its name. The word signifies "golden apples," and is given to 
the insects on account of their rounded, smooth, and polished 
bodies, which are often decorated with golden green, crimson, 
blue, and in fact almost every combination of colouring. None 
of the species are large, by far the largest of our British Chry- 
somelides being tho well-known Bloody-nose Beetle {Timarcha 
tenebricosa) , whose round, indigo bodies are so familar to all who 
live in the country. They have a very wide geographical range, 
and, indeed, wherever the climate permits insects to live at all, 
some of the Chrysomelides may generally be found. 

The fine insect which is shown in the illustration on the next 
page is a native of Brazil. Its name is Dorypliora icssellata, 
both of which words are very appropriate, both to the genus and 
the individual. The generic name Doryp)hora is Greek, and 


signifies " spear-bearing." It is given to the insects because the 
mesosternum, i.e. the central portion of the lower side of the thorax, 
is lengthened into a projecting spike of a spear-like form. The 
reader may perhaps remember that in the Dyticus a somewhat 
similar spike, only fork-headed, projects from the metasternum, 
or third portion of the thorax. 

The beautiful species which is here shown is a native of 
Brazil. Its ground colour is yellow, and across the elytra are 
drawn five rows of squared black or chestnut spots. The thorax, 
as is the case with nearly all the species, is plain, dark chestnut. 

Some of the species are worthy of 

notice for the way in which they are 

coloured. Doryphora duodecim-guttata, 

which is found in Para, is shining green, 

thickly punctated, and having six round 

yellow spots on each of the elytra. Dory- 

phora testudo, of Bolivia, has five similar 

marks and blue surface, the lowest being 

heai*t-shaped. Doryphora pura is pale 

Pig. 124. -Doryphora tesseuata. grceu. Borypliora ceueo-yuttata is gTeen, 

(Yellow, with black marks.) ^ud has a T-shaped mark upon the 

elytra, and a spot of the same colour on 

each shoulder. Doryphora irrvperialis, another Brazilian insect, 

is yellow, variegated with green or black spots. 

Perhaps the most beautiful of them all is the largest of the 
whole genus, and so called Doryphora princeps. The colours of 
this fine insect are so varied that it is not easily described. The 
head is yellow, with a deep-blue circular spot on either side 
The edges of the thorax are yellow, each having a similar blue 
spot. On the middle of the thorax is a yellow mark much resem- 
bling the ace of spades, and the rest of the thorax is deep shining 
blue, thickly punctated. On each of the upper inner angles of 
the elytra there is a large rounded yellow spot, a similar spot is at 
their tip, a yellow band is drawn across the middle, and the rest 
of the elytra is deep blue, crossed with many zigzag black lines. 

The beautiful insect which is represented in the illustration 
looks very tame in the plain black and white with which its 
shape, but not its splendid colour, is shown. In common with 
most of its genus, it is a native of Brazil. 


The colour of this splendid insect is not easily described, 
because it varies together with the direction of the light. The 
surface is always brilliantly metallic, but its exact hue seems to 
depend entirely on the light, so that it may be green, copper, 
gold, or blue. Tliei'e is always a narrow bright line along the 

Fig. 125 — Eumolpus fulgidus. 
(Metallic copper and green.) 

edges of the elytra. There are many species, some being deep 
indigo blue, some purple, and a few brown. 

An allied insect, which inhabits Southern Europe {JEumolpus 
vitis), is very destructive to the vine. It is very small, but 
exceedingly plentiful. The larva feeds upon the young leaves 
and twigs, just as they are shooting forth in the spring-time, so 
that the proper development of the foliage is prevented. But 
this is not the worst of its ravages ; for as soon as the grape- 
bunches are fairly formed, the insect fastens upon the stems, and 
gnaws them all round so as to prevent the flow of sap. In form 
it resembles Eumolpus fulgidus. 

The word Eumolpus has no reference either to the qualities or 
the appearance of the insect, being only a classical proper namcL 

There is a curious genus of Chrysomelides called Metacycla, 
from the shape of the insects which belong to it. The name 
comes from two Greek words signifying any object that is 
capable of being rolled about. The females of these insects have 
the head and thorax small, but the abdomen of enormous size, 
being capable of becoming almost globular. The present species 
is called Metacyda Sallei, and is a native of Mexico, The 
abdomen of the female is so large, round, black, and shining, that 



Fig. 126. — Metocycla Sallei. 
(Black, with violet elytra. ) 

it looks just like a ripe black currant. The elytra are violet in 
colour, thickly punctated, very short and rounded, and appear 
like mere useless excrescences on the back of the insect. 

The male Metacycla is quite different in shape, the body being 
quite twice as long as it is wide, and the elytra reaching to its 
end. There are several species of this genus, 
among which may be mentioned Metacycla 
turgida, which is yellow, and has the elytra 
decorated with six large black spots. Also 
there are several allied genera, such as Meta- 
lej)ta and Rupilia. Some of these insects 
might easily be mistaken for Eove Beetles, 
their bodies being long and their elytra very 
short. One of the most notable of them is 
Rupilia ruficollis, a native of New South 
Wales. It derives its name of ruficollis, 
or " red neck," from the bright ruddy chest- 
nut of its thorax, which hue extends to its 
head. The elytra are blue in some specimens 
and green in others, and the abdomen is chestnut, like the thorax. 
We have in England two little Chrysomelidse which present 
exactly similar peculiarities. They belong to the genus Gastro- 
pliysa, i.e. " swollen-belly," and may generally be found in the 
common dock. 

The insect which is here repre- 
sented is an exceedingly variable one, 
especially in point of size, many 
specimens being so small as to look 
by the side of others like dwarfs be- 
side giants. It also varies in colour. 
The head and thorax are always 
shining yellow, but the elytra are 
sometimes green and sometimes 
black, though, as the name of the in- 
sect implies, they are mostly purple. 

This is a very large genus, containing some splendidly coloured 
Beetles. Aplosonyx hasalis, a species which inhabits Manilla, is 
curiously and boldly marked, the upper half of the elytra being 
shining jetty black, and the lower half yellow. Another species. 

Fig. 127. — Aplosonyx purpurasaeus. 
(Yellow and purple. ) 


which has not yet been named, and which comes from Dorey, ia 
black, with a yellow belt ; while another, also unnamed, is yellow, 
with a large oval patch of black on the middle of the elytra, 
and a round spot on the shoulder. Some species, again, are 
yellow, with a blue band across the middle of the elytra. Amid 
all the variety of colouring, the reader will see that yellow is 
the hue whicli most prevails throughout the genus. 

The last family of these Beetles is called Cassidiidse. This 
name is taken from the Latin word Cassida, which signifies " an 
iron cap," and is given to the Beetles because their shape closely 
resembles that of the basin-like steel cap which has been in and 
out of fashion so often. Don Quixote's celebrated Helmet of 
Mambrino really did bear some resemblance to the peculiar head- 
covering called Cassida. 

We have but one genus of Cassidiidse in England, namely, the 
well-known Tortoise Beetles, all belonging to the single genus 
Cassida. These derive their popular name from the tortoise-like 
appearance of the body, the resemblance between the insect and 
the reptile being so close as to be at once apparent. Indeed, 
suppose that anyone who was w^holly ignorant of entomology 
were shown a number of insects and asked to pick out the 
Tortoise Beetles, he would do so without ever having seen a 
Cassida before. 

None of ovir species are remarkable for beauty, their colour 
being mostly a dull, pale green, which renders them almost in- 
visible when they are clinging, according to their custom, to the 
surface of some leaf. It is true that one or two species have 
golden stripes on their elytra, but this colour fades after death 
■even more completely than the green, which, when the insect is 
perfectly dry, becomes brown or yellow, with scarcely a tinge of 
green in^t. The exotic Cassidas, however, are often so splendid 
and their colours so permanent, that several of the species, par- 
ticularly those from South America, are often set in gold and 
worn as jewels. 

The illustration on the next page gives a figure of a fine 
•Brazilian Tortoise Beetle, called Mesom2Jhalia illustris. The 
thorax is very flat and of a deep satiny green hue. It is 
covered with punctures, and on either side there is a rather deep 
depression. The elytra are curiously formed. They are rounded 


and dome-like in the middle, and very flat round the edges, 
so that the general shape is very much like that of the Helseus, 
which is figured on page 187. Their colour is deep green, 
and they are profusely punctated. 

On each elytron there are three rather large spots, exceedingly 
variable in shape and size. They always, however, occupy the 
same positions : one, which is more or less oval in shape, at the 
base, a rounded spot on the middle of the flattened edge, and 
another near the tip. These spots, contrary to the usual struc- 
ture of Beetles, are quite as brilliant on the under as on the 
upper surface of the elytra ; and if the elytra be opened and the 
insect held up to the light, the spots shine out like the red 

danger-lamp of a railway. The body 
of the insect is dark blackish green. 
In the British Museum there is 
a well-preserved specimen of the 
larva of this species, which admi- 
rably shows the very remarkable 
^ characteristics of the Cassida larva- 
It is rather pear-shaped, with a 
boldly elevated back, and having 
the whole of the body surrounded 

Fig. 128. — Mesomphalia illustns. "^ 

(Green, with red spots.) by loug radiating filaments, just like 

the blazing rays with which the 
ancients decorated the head of Apollo when represented in his 
character of the Sun-god or Helios. The end of the body is 
turned upwards, an attitude which is natural to it, and for a very 
singular cause. 

It is now well known that leaf-feeding larvse live in reality 
upon the juices of the leaf, and that the only object in biting 
off and swallowing small pieces of the leaf is, that the digestive 
organs may extract the juices which the mandibles or jaws could 
not procure in sufficient quantity for the subsistence of the 
larvae. As for the pieces of leaf themselves, they pass through 
the digestive system almost unchanged, and, when ejected, can 
be easily unrolled by steeping them in warm water, just like tea- 
leaves. If they be then placed beneath a microscope, it is seen 
that they have scarcely undergone any perceptible change, and 
that even the delicate hairs which stud the surface remain in 
their places. With most leaf-eating larvse, the ejected portions 


fall to the ground, but this is not the case with the larvae of the 
Tortoise Beetles and one or two other insects. Each portion as 
it is ejected is received upon a sort of forked appendage to the 
tail, which is turned over the body. It rapidly becomes dry^ 
and in its turn is pushed forwards by those that successively 
follow it. In this way a sort of cover or shield is formed, which 
completely covers the body, and so disguises its appeaiance that 
no one who was not acquainted with its appearance would 
recognise it. "When the cover becomes too heavy and unwieldy, 
it is thrown off, and another soon takes it place. 

There are many species of Mesomphalia, some of which are 
very curious insects. Such, for example, is Mesomphalia latevit- 
tata, in which the elytra look exactly as if they were made of 
the thinnest tortoiseshell, the flattened edge being black. Then 
there is Mesomphalia festiva, a lovely and most variable insect. 
The whole of the upper surface is covered with a beautiful net-like 
pattern, which is mostly green, but in some specimens is blue, 
in others copper, in others purple, and in some is composed of a 
mixture of these colours. Mesomphalia discoides is either green 
or black, but always has a row of large yellow spots across the 
middle of the elytra. And lastly, Mesomphalia dissecta is pale 
yellow, but has the elytra traversed by a few narrow red lines 
which divide them into eight portions, very much like the pieces 
of a dissected puzzle. 

The name Mesomphalia is Greek, and refers to the rounded 
shape of the centre of the elytra. It is formed from two words, 
one of which signifies " the middle," and the other " a boss " or 
rounded projection. 

The variety of form which is seen among insects is really 
endless, and, no matter how deep and practical may be the 
experience of an entomologist, he is perpetually discovering 
varieties of form where ho least expects them, and for which he 
cannot even conjecture the use. Such is the case with the 
singular genus of Tortoise Beetles, one of vt^hich is here shown. 

As a rule, the elytra of the Tortoise Beetles are quite smooth, 
but in these insects there is a most singular development of 
them. Close to the suture, and not very far from the base, each 
elytron is furnished with a single spike, which runs upwards 
quite perpendicularly. So upright are these spikes, and so closely 



are they set together, that if the insect be viewed from above, 
especially when seen through the glass of a cabinet drawer, they 
might easily escape observation in spite of their great develop- 
ment. When, however, the insect is viewed edgewise, the horn- 
like projections are exceedingly conspicuous, and show out as 
may be seen by reference to the illustration. 

There are several species of Bato- 
nota, all being Brazilian. The present 
insect is dark, almost black olive, and 
the surface is covered with deep 
punctures. The shape of the elytra 
is rather remarkable, as they run out 
on either shoulder into a sharp, elon- 
gated point, looking very much like 
the blade of an Indian dagger. The 
outline of the elytra is very graceful, 
forming a succession of bold curves, 
and very much resembling that of the well-known insects which 
are popularly called Bishops' Mitres, and which are so troublesome 
in orchards. The generic name Batonota is Greek, and literally 
signifies " thorn-back," so that it is a very appropriate one. 

Fig. 1-"J. — Batonota bidens. 
(Blackish olive.) 

There is a very remarkable genus of Tortoise Beetles, called 
by the appropriate name of Aspidomorpha, i.e. " shield-shaped," 
the particular kind of shield to which reference is made being 
circular and having a boss on the centre, like the target which 
was formerly used by the Highlanders. 
They are found in many parts of the 
world, as we shall presently see, and 
there are many species, the present 
example being at once the largest and 
most conspicuous in point of colouring. 

The sides of the elytra and of the 
thorax are flattened and widened, and 
are so delicately thin that they look 
just as if they were made of very pale 
yellow gelatine, such as is used for 
the ornamental cases in which hon- 
hons are enclosed. So translucent, 
indeed, are these flattened portions, that not only the legs 

Fig. 130. — Aspidonioi-pha Sancts 


(Pale transparent yellow, with dark 

brown centre.) 


of the Beetle, but even the antennae, which are very slight and 
slender, can be easily seen through them. The middle of the 
thorax and elytra is raised, somewhat like the same portions of 
the preceding insect, and is of a dark brown. Upon the shoulders 
of the elytra, and near their tip, are two rounded spots, which 
at first sight are of the same dark brown as the centre. If, how- 
ever, a strong side light be directed on them, they are seen to be 
of a shining metallic green, almost exactly like common green 
foil, and having almost the- same little crumples and wrinkles as 
the foil. 

There are very many species of this genus. The present ex- 
ample comes from India. There is another from New Guinea, 
and therefore named Aspidomorpha Novce-guineensis, which has 
the cross-like marks of a deep black, but not reaching each 
otlier in the middle of the elytra ; and Aspidomorpha mutata, of 
Sierra Leone, which is the palest and most glass-like of all the 
species, has a black Y-shaped mark instead of the usual cross. 

As is often the case with insects, some members of this group 
are so unlike their companions, that at first sight they appear to 
have no connection with each other. The Hispides afford a good 
example of this fact. They belong to the great family of the 
Cassidiidse, and yet their bodies, instead of being round and 
flattened, are oblong, and the head projecting from the thorax 
instead of being buried in it and hidden under it. Nearly all 
the Hispides are exotic, and there is not a single species which 
is acknowledged by modern entomologists as being truly British. 
Some of the species have the head prolonged into a horn, while 
others not only have the head horned, but the first joint of the 
antennae armed with a spine. 

The typical species of the Hispidse is Alurnus marginatus, a 
native of Brazil. This is one of the largest of the Phytophagus 
Beetles, and is indeed a very conspicuous insect, owing to the 
bold contrasts of its colours. 

The ground colour appears at first sight to be dark brown, but 
when illumined by a brilliant light, such as a sunbeam, it mani- 
fests itself in its true splendour. It then appears to be dark 
gxeen, glossed with purple ; and if examined with a tolerably 
powerful magnifying glass, the whole surface will be seen to be 
covered with wrinkles and punctures, each puncture seeming to 



have its own separate hue of sparkling carmine or ultramarine 
blue, so as to produce the beautiful colouring which has been 
mentioned. The sides of the thorax are mostly yellow, but 
sometimes red, and a band of the same colour runs completely 
round each of the elytra, and also across its middle, so as to 
form a sort of cross when they are closed. The thighs of all the 

legs are of the same hue as the 
edging of the elytra, except at 
their ends, which are nearly black, 
as are the tibise and tarsi. 

This is a most variable insect, 
some being scarcely half the size 
of others, and the coloured edging 
varying both in hue and dimen- 
sions. In some specimens the 
colour is bright king's yellow, in 
others it is vermilion, while in 
some the cross bar is wanting. 
All, however, possess the coloured edge of the thorax and elytra 
and the coloured legs. 

A remarkable instance of variation is found in another species 
of the same genus, Ahirnus tlioracicus. This insect is generally 
black, with a broad vermilion band across the middle of the 
elytra. There is, however, a well-selected series in the British 
Museum, in which the red band is progressively wider and 
wider, until, in one or two insects, it spreads over the whole 
of the elytra, leaving only a few little black dots scattered over 
the surface as an indication of its. normal hue. 

Fig. 131. — Alumus marginatus. 


P S E U D O T R I M E R A. 

Another large section of Beetles comes next in order. This is 
called by the name of Pseudotrimera, or False Three-jointed 
lieetles, because the tarsi only appear to have three joints. In 
reality, however, they have four joints, but the third is very 
minute, and is hidden in the doubly lobed end of the second 
joint. The whole section is a very miscellaneous one, and 
receives a great number of Beetles which appear to have but 
slight relationship with each other. The first family, or rather 
group, of these insects is called Erotylidse, of which we have about 
five species in England, belonging to three genera. They have 
been also called by the appropriate name of Clavipalpi, or clubbed 
palpi, because those organs terminate in a large knob-shaped 
joint. The ends of the antennae are also clubbed and flattened. 
Our own species are all inhabitants of fungi, and can be obtained 
in the autumn by opening the various fungi that are found at 
that season of the year. The name Erotylides is Greek, signifying 
" little darlings," and has been fancifully given to the insects 
because they are not large and many of them are exceedingly 
beautiful. The antennae have the flattened club formed of three 
joints. The body of these insects is generally oval, and mostly 
raised in the middle. The surface is smooth and polished, and 
is almost invariably more or less covered with clearly defined 
marks, sometimes black, but often red and yellow. 

The first illustration on the next page represents a very con- 
spicuous example of this gTOup, called Encaustes verticalis. The 
name Uncaustes is Greek, signifying anything that is scorched or 
burned, as a hot iron burns wood, and is given to the insects on 
account of their rather peculiar colouring. The present species 
affords a good type of the genus. Its colour is yellow, in many 



specimens inclining to chestnut. The bold markings with which 
it is thickly covered are deep black, and the general effect is 
exactly that of lines traced on a board with a red-hot iron. The 
" poker-drawings " which were so much in vogue some twenty 
years ago, produced exactly the same rich tints as those of the 

Fig. 132. — Encaustes verticalis. 
(Yellow and black.) 

As is often found in boldly-marked insects, the Encaustes is 
exceedingly variable, the amount of the black markings being 
seldom precisely alike in any two specimens, while some speci- 
mens are very small indeed, and might be easily taken for dif- 
ferent species. This species belongs to Java. 

The remarkable Beetle which is here shown also belongs to 

Fro. 133.— Erotylns histrio. 

(Yellnw, hlar-k. .-iiifl red.) 

the Erotylides, and is a good instance of the typical genus. 
Both in shape and colour it differs so greatly from the preceding 


insect, that few persons who did not know them wouki think 
that they belonged to the same group. 

When viewed from above, the shape of the Beetle very much 
resembles the ace of diamonds, as it is sharp at either end and 
very broad in the middle. If viewed from the side, it is seen to 
be quite flat below and with its back forming a sort of hunch in 
the middle, and altogether slug-like in shape. The front of the 
flattened thorax is so scooped out as to project in a sort of 
crescentic horn on either side, and the hinder angles form a 
somewhat similar, though blunter, horn. 

As for describing precisely the colours of this insect, such a 
feat is all but impossible, inasmuch as the arrangement of the 
markings is exceedingly variable. Suffice it to say that the 
ground hue is yellow, and that upon it are drawn a vast number 
of bold and very complicated black marks, scattered in a pro- 
miscuous manner over the whole surface. The only point in 
which" all the specimens agree is, that a broad, jagged band of 
these black marks runs completely over the middle of the body, 
and there are three similar but shorter and narrower bands, one 
above and two below the central band. On each shoulder is a 
roundish red spot, and a similar spot is on the tips of the elytra. 

The name of histrio, or " mountebank," is given to this 
species in consequence of the jagged and irregular markinos 
bearing a fanciful resemblance to the many-coloured dress used 
by the race of mountebanks, which is nearly extinct in this 
country. The head and thorax are simply black, flat, and 

Many species of Encaustes are known, all differing greatly 
from each other, but all possessing the characteristic jao-o-ed 
lines. Erotylus Guerenii, for example, is jetty-black, and is 
diversified with one broad yellow band and two red bands. 
Erotylus peregrinus has four narrow belts thus arranged : yellow, 
red, yellow, yellow. Another has one red and five yellow bands. 
Another is black, with five yellow bands, each tipped with 
scarlet, just at the outer edge of the elytra. Some are all ver- 
milion, with a few black bands, and the red has so spread 
itself as to oust the black as a ground colour ; and, on the other 
hand, one species is all black except one or two little yeUow and 
red spots, the only remains of the coloured bands. 

This genus can easily be distinguished by the shape of the 


maxillary palpi, i.e. those feelers wliich are attached to the 
maxillae, or inner jaws. In all the Erotylidae they are terminated 
by a large flattened joint, but in the typical genus this joint is 
boldy crescentic in its shape. 

That the exotic Erotylides are fungus-eaters like our British 
species, is evident from the observations made upon the larva 
of Erotylus surinamensis. The perfect insects are always to be 
found about boleti, and within these fungi the larvae are taken. 
They are rather large, white, flat-bodied grubs, with short, sharp, 
sturdy jaws supported on a black head, which can be withdrawn 
into a cavity in the front of the thorax. It is smooth, but on 
the first segment of the body there is a soft, fleshy tubercle, 
from which issues a pale, scented liquid, the object of which is 
quite unknown. 

Mr. Westwood, to whom I am indebted for the above account, 
gives, in his " Introduction to Entomology," a figure of the larva 
of an allied species, which in many respects is very much like 
that of our English Erotylidae, save that it is much larger. 

The exact position of the family of the Languriida?, and its 
relationship to the other families, are matters respecting which 

Fig. 134. — Fatua Weidraannii. 
(Yellow and black.) 

there has been much doubt. As, however, they are placed next 
to the Erotylidae in the British Museum, we will accept that 

This species, Fatua Weidmannii, comes from China. The legs 
are very long, especially the first pair, which have the thighs 
much elongated and slightly bent, and the tibiae of moderate 
dimensions and rather boldly curved. The antennae are also 
long, and have little tufts of stiff hair at each joint. 

The colour of the head and thorax is yellowish and partly 


translucent, so as to give them a liorny aspect. They are pro- 
fusely covered with punctures. The elytra are " puncto-striate," 
i.e. have parallel rows of punctures drawn along them from 
the base to the tip. In the specimen represented above, the 
colour is black, but there are several examples in the British 
Museum which are brown. In size, as well as in colour, this is 
an exceedingly variable insect, some specimens being so small 
that they hardly seem to belong to the same species. 

The family of the Coccinellidse is a very familiar one to us 
under the popular name of Lady-birds. The name of Coccinella 
is a diminutive of a Latinized Greek word, signifying " a round 
grain," or " kernel," and is given to these Beetles on account of 
the rounded shape of their bodies. 

They are very useful creatures, and in this country are beyond 
all price, their larvae feeding entirely upon the aphides, which 
occasionally do so much damage to the crops, and would do so 
much more, but for the Lady-birds. 

There is a great similarity between all the Coccinellidse, so 
that it is always easy to distinguish them from other Beetles. 

In consequence of this similarity I have only selected one 
exotic species as an example of them all. 
This is Synonycha grandis, an insect which 
is found in China and Japan. It is ex- 
ceedingly variable in colour, the ground hue 
being of any shade between yellow and 
brown. The marks upon it, which do not 
vary, are black. A North Indian species, 
Synonycha spilota, is red, with a large black 
cross-shaped mark and one or two black 
spots; and Synonycha diiodecim-punctata ^^^^^^_^^,^^^,,^^^ ^^^^^^ 
is yellow, with six large black spots on (Yeuow, with biack spots.) 
each elytron. These marks are so large that 
they occupy almost the entire surface, and leave only a narrow 
hexagonal network of yellow. 

Next come the Endomychides, which may easily be distin- 
guished from the Erotylides by the antennae, which are longer 
than the head and thorax, and by the shape of the maxillary 
palpi, which never possess the hatchet-shaped last joint, but are 


thread-like throughout. Like the preceding family, they are 
found on fungi of various kinds. Some of them live under the 
bark of trees, but even in this case they have the same habits, 
eating the living fungi which grow in such situations. ISTot 
only do they resemble the Erotylidse in their habits, but in their 
appearance, so that but for the distinctive character of the 
maxillary palpi, it is not always easy to pronounce whether an 
insect belongs to one family or the other. 

The name Endomychidce is Greek, signifying " one who in- 
habits the innermost parts of a dwelling," and is given to the 
insects on account of their habit of lurking in the interior of 
fungi and under bark. 

We have but four British examples of the Endomychides, the 
best known of which is Lycoperdina hovistm, an insect which, as 
its name implies, is found in the interior of the common puff-ball. 
The difficulty of placing these Beetles in their proper situation 
may be inferred from the fact that several of them have been 
placed by some entomologists among the Burying Beetles. 

The curious genus, an example of which is here given, has a 
tolerably wide geographical range. The present species, Eumor- 
phus marginalis, is a native of Penang, 
and others are found in the East Indies 
and part of America. In all these insects 
the club of the antennae is flat and three- 
jointed, and there is a bold notch in 
the front of the tibia of the fore-legs- 
The body is rounded, and the elytra are 
much expanded, and flattened at the 
sides so as to form a sort of rim. The 
PTo.i36.-Eumorphusmarginaiis. gpgcies which is uow beforc US aflfords 

(Purple, with yellow spots.) ^ ■,^ ^ i r j.i • i i i 

an excellent example oi this remarkable 
form, which we. now see repeated for the third time, namely, in 
Mormolyce, described on page 39 ; Helseus, described on page 
187; and in the present genus. We shall again see a similar 
structure when we come to the Orthoptera. 

The thorax of this insect is much raised in the middle, where 
it rises to a blunt angle. It is curiously shaped, having a very 
deep scoop in front, through which the head is seen. It is 
rounded in front, but each of the hinder angles as lengthened 
into a slender spine, which projects backwards well over the 


shoulders of the elytra. The colour of the thorax is black, and 
that of tlie elytra is a lovely rich purple, with a silky or satiny 
lustre. They are thickly covered with punctures, and on exa- 
mination with the microscope the purple is seen to be produced 
by means of the punctures, which are nearly equally crimson 
and blue, so that the l)lending of the two hues in the eye has 
exactly the same effect as if the colours had been mixed and 
laid on the insect with a brush. The silky gloss is given b}^ the 
punctures, wdiicli are small and set very closely together. On 
each of the elytra are two large round yellow spots, one near the 
shoulder and the other near the tip. 

There are several species of this genus, among which may be 
noticed Eumorplms dilatatus, which is yellow, with the raised 
portion of the elyti'a dark brown ; and Euviorphus bijntndatus, 
which has, as its name implies, two large black spots on a yellow 
ground. This is the largest of all the genus, and is a really 
handsome insect. 

The larva of one species of Endomychus was found by the 
late Eev. F. W. Hope feeding on fungi under the bark of the 
willow-tree, and by him given to Mr. Westwood. It exactly 
looks, but for its colour, like that of the Silpha. Tlie head is 
rather small, forming a curious contrast to the three segments 
corresponding with the thorax of the future Beetle, and which 
in this larva are of enormous comparative size. The remaining 
segments, which correspond to the abdomen, are rather flattened, 
and each of them is turned up at the side and produced into a.^ 
sort of hook. 

It seems strange that in- 
sects differing so much in ap- 
pearance as the last-mentioned 
Beetle, and that which is here 
shown, could belong to the 
same group, and yet this is the 

We have seen examples of 

1 ., . , 1 , ,, - Fig. 137.— Amphisternus Satanas. 

several spiky insects, but this (Deep violet.) 

is by far the spikiest of them 

all. Indeed, when it' sits with its legs drawn up to the body, 

it is scarcely possible to distinguish, without some little trouble, 


between spikes, legs, and antennse. Its colour appears to be 
jetty, sliining black, but, when a strong light is directed upon 
it, is seen to be the deepest purple, something like that of a 
watch-spring, and having a similar surface. 

Each front angle of the thorax is armed with a long, slender 
spike, straight and sharp as a needle. A similar spike 
projects from each shoulder of the elytra, a large double, forked 
spike occupies the disc, and another projects from the tip, so that 
altogether there are ten long spikes, besides two short, sturdy 
points at the upper angles of the elytra. The whole surface, 
both of thorax and elytra, is very deeply granulated. Altogether 
the insect reminds the readers of Bon Gualtier of " Slingsby of 
the manly chest," the celebrated slayer of the snapping turtle, 
with his suit of spike-armed mail. 

The antennae are long, and so are the legs, which are rather 
curiously formed, the thighs being quite slender at their attach- 
ment to the body, and -then swelling out rapidly into a rounded 
knob at the tip. The tibire are long, slender, and slightly curved, 
and the whole of the limb is the same shining violet as the body. 
Altogether there is a very uncanny look about the insect, which 
almost justifies the very expressive specific name which has been 
given to it. This species comes from Borneo. 

There are many species of this genus, and a more extraordi- 
nary set of insects it is not easy to imagine. Being small, they 
only look grotesque ; but if they were about ten times their 
size, they would appear to be among the most formidable of 
the Beetle tribe. They are, however, despite their appearance, 
perfectly harmless^ and can only damage the fungi on which 
they feed. 

Of the other species we will mention two. One is Amjjhi- 
sternus hamatus, which is deep violet, with six red spots, three 
on each of the elytra. Another species, Amphisternus tuher- 
culatus, is brown, with four yellow spots. It has no spikes, 
these being modified into tubercles. 


T 2 





The position, and even the very name of the insects which now 
come before us, are by no means settled. We all know what to 
call a beetle, a bee, a butterfly, or a gnat ; but there is no such 
certainty about an Earwig — some naturalists considering them 
as forming an order of their own, some as coming at the end 
of the Beetles, and others as belonging to the Orthopterous 
insects, and being a link between them and the Beetles. 

Van der Hoeven, in his " Handbook of Zoology," makes the 
following remarks in favour of this arrangement : — "At all events, 
these insects have greater agreement with the Orthoptera than 
with the Coleoptera ; they differ from the last by their incom- 
plete metamorphosis and by many particulars of internal struc- 
ture. The great size of tlie under wings in comparison with tlie 
elytra is very common in the Orthoptera (to refer to Phasma 
alone), and the reflexion of the point of the wing also is not 
wanting in some other Orthoptera." 

Then there is a difficulty about their scientific name. By 
some they are called Dermaptera, i.e. " skin- winged," because 
their elytra are soft and leathery, instead of being hard and 
stiff, like those of most beetles. By others they are termed 
Euplexoptera, or " beautifully folded wings," in allusion to the 
wonderful manner in which their large, gauzy wings are folded 
beneath the tiny elytra. As if to add to the perplexity, some 
entomologists have given the name of Dermaptera to the grass- 
hoppers, cockroaches, crickets, and other insects which are better 
known by the title of Orthoptera. I cannot bring myself to 


acknowledge that this last-mentioned arrangement can be correct; 
and so I shall retain the word Orthoptera as representing the 
grasshoppers and their kin, and give my readers the choice of 
Dermaptera or Euplexoptera to represent the Earwigs. 

There is even a difficulty about the popular names of these 
very plentiful insects. It has been suggested, and with much 
probability, that the English name " Earwig " ought rightly to 
be " 'Ea.vwing," because the wings are shaped very much like the 
human ear. Be this as it may, there is a belief, not only in 
Eno-land but in other countries, that the insect creeps into the 
ears of sleeping people, and so eats its way into the brain. 
Anyone who has the slightest acquaintance with the structure 
of the ear of course detects the utter absurdity of such a notion, 
but the power of ignorance is so great that this belief prevails 
in spite of all entomological and anatomical remonstrances. 

H;ow deeply rooted is the idea in this country everyone knows, 
and how the insect is equally feared and hated. In Germany 
the same notion prevails, as is evident from the popular name 
Ohr-icurm, or Ear- worm ; and it is expressed as strongly us 
possible in the French Perce-oreille, or Ear-piercer. Such are 
a few of the discrepancies connected with these insects, and 
* which we need not trouble ourselves to reconcile. We will 
content ourselves with the usual English name of Earwig, and 
will follow, as in " Insects at Home," the arrangement which 
forms them into a separate order under the name of Dermaptera. 
It might reasonably be expected that the exotic Earwigs 
would infinitely surpass our own insects in size, in number of 
species, in shape, and in extraordinary habits. Such, however, 
is not the case, and, like the Water Beetles, which have already 
been described, the foreign Earwigs are almost exactly similar 
to our own in size, form, and colour. As to their habits, 
scarcely anything seems to be known about them, so that we 
are left to conjecture that as they resemble our own species in 
form and colour, so they do in their manners and customs. 
So we may safely conclude that, like the English Earwigs, those 
of other countries are omnivorous, feeding on the petals of 
flowers when they can get nothing better, and choosing for their 
special food the larvae and pupae of solitary bees. 

In the collection of the British Museum are many species, 
among which there are only three which appear to be worthy of 


notice. The first of these is new to science, and I have given 
it the name of Forficula Petropolis, in honour of the spot 
where it was taken. This is really a curious insect. In colour 
it resembles our ordinary Earwig, except that the antennae have 
a white portion near the end, and the tibiae are light yellow. 
The wings are large, and pro- 
ject considerably from beneath ^j^ 
the elytra, unlike those of our -y-^x^^a^^^t f^l •^'^ 
British species — in which the 
only projecting point is the 
end of the principal hinge by 
means of which the wing is 

p , , J Fig. 13S. — Fovttcula Petropolis. Xi'W species. 

lOlded. (Reddish brown, with yellow legs.) 

The forceps, by means of 
which the wings are packed under the elytra (and, as some 
naturalists say, unpacked), are strangely constructed. They are 
very powerful in comparison with the size of the insect, and, 
instead of being rounded on tlie outside edges, are boldly 
elbowed. They have also a bold tooth near the base, and the 
tip is widened, flattened, and scooped so as to form a pair of 
teeth on each side. 

The strangest part of the structure, however, lies in the abdo- 
men. This is very wide, much flattened, and the third and two 
following segments project on either side, so as to form three 
distinct teeth, slightly curved, and sharp at their tips, like those 
of a circular saw. This very curious insect was captured in 
1857 by Mr. H. Clark, at Petropolis, in South America. 

The remarkable insect which is shown in the illustration 
on page 280 is, like the preceding species, a native of South 
America. It was captured by Mr. Janson, at Choritales, a place 
in Nicaragua. In some respects this insect reminds the EngKsh 
entomologist of our Giant Earwig (Forficesila gigantea), which 
was formerly one of our rarest insects, only one specimen having 
been known for many years. Unlike that insect, it is paler in 
colour than the generality of Earwigs. This species is nearly 
black ; but in both insects the forceps of the male are of very 
great proportionate length. As in the Giant Earwig the forceps 
of the female are comparatively small, we may suppose that the 
same is the case with the present species. 


The forceps are quite as long as the body of the insect, and 
have but a very slight curve until nearly the tip, where they 
suddenly curve inwards so as to cross each other when closed. 
About a quarter of an inch from the base a strong tooth is 
developed on the inner surface, and between the teeth and the 
base is a row of very tiny teeth, too small to be detected without 
the use of the magnifying glass. In fact, supposing the whole 
of the forceps to be removed from the tip to the large tooth, 
there would still remain an instrument capable of pinching 
severely and retaining its hold firmly. 

Fig. 139. — Forficesila longissiiua. New species. 

The hinges of the wings project rather boldly beyond the 
elytra ; and as they are pale brown, they are easily seen against 
the shining black of the abdomen and elytra. The upper part of 
the elytra is covered with bold punctures, and there is a belt of 
similar punctures across the middle of the body. 

Our I'ast example of the Earwigs is the very fine insect called 
Forficesila Americana. There are several specimens in the 
British Museum, and one of them has fortunately been set with 
its wings expanded. There is no apparent difference in the 
structure of the wing when compared with that of our own 
species, but its great size renders the mode of folding easier of 
examination than is the case with the smaller species that 
inhabit England. The peculiar fan-like folds are well seen, 
togetlier with the slight transverse hinge on which the wings 
when furled are doubled up so as to lie under the ehtra. 

Very slender are these hinges, looking to the casual observer 
merely like a fine continuous nervure running nearly jjarallel 
with the edges of the wing ; and it is not until a tolerably 
powerful glass is brought to bear on them that their real cha- 



racter is seen. Needs be that they must be so delicate, for the 
wings to which they are applied are themselves of almost in- 
credible delicacy. They are too delicate even to be called gauzy ; 
and while they have all the lovely prismatic colouring of the 
soap-bubble, look scarcely less fragile. By far the strongest 
part of the wing is the principal hinge, as from it diverge all the 
lesser hinges on which the wings are folded. 

In the illustration this part of the wing may be seen just 
beyond the ends of the elytra, and when the wings are closed 
the hinge still projects, and, as has been already stated, is very 

Fig. 140. — Forflcesila Americana. 
(Dark browu.) 

conspicuous. When examined with a lens, the shape of the 
principal hinge is seen to bear some resemblance to that of a 
cocked hat turned upside down, the hollow occupying the centre, 
and apparently forming a caxdty in which the ends of the 
supplementary hinges can meet. This fine insect belongs to 
South America, and the specimens in the British Museum were 
brouiiht from Jamaica. 

In the British jNIuseum there are many unnamed species of 
foreign Earwigs. One, which comes from Eio de Janeiro, is 
long, light brown, and slender, with such long legs that it looks 
very much like a "Daddy-long-legs" witiiout its wings. Another, 
a small species which was brought from Tejuca, is entirely 
black, with the exception of a yellow patch in the middle. 
Another Tejucan Earwig, much larger than the preceding species, 
is dark chestnut-brown, with the exception of the wing-hinges. 


which are bright yellow, aud project well beyond the ends of the 
elytra. In a moderately-sized Earwig from Petropolis, the whole 
of the thorax and elytra are yellow, and have a black stripe 
running down the centre. This is by far the most showy of all 
the Earwigs in point of colour, though in size it is inferior to 
several of those which have been already described. 

As to the uses of the Earwigs, this is a problem which has 
never been solved. We know perfectly the harm which they 
do in ci\dlized lands, but cannot see how that is counterbalanced 
by any good which they do either in this or other countries. 
They eat the petals of our best flowers, they have a wonderful 
knack of forcing their way into the ripest peaches, plums, and 
apricots, and lying hidden between the stone and the fruit. 
They certainly do destroy the larvae of solitary bees, and have 
been observed to eat several insects, their own species included ; 
but as the solitary bees do no harm, the Earwigs do no particular 
good by destroying them. 





There are two orders of insects which have several character- 
istics ill common, and which, in many instances, bear so close an 
external resemblance to each other, that a beginner in ento- 
mology is nearly certain to confuse them together. These are 
the Orthoptera and the Heteroptera, the Grasshoppers being 
familiar examples of the former, and the Water Boatmen of 
the latter. The word Orthoptera, which stands at the head of 
this chapter, signifies " straight wings," and is given to the 
insects because the wings are, when closed, laid straight along 
the body, and, though they must be folded longitudinally to 
enable them to be packed under the elytra, are not folded trans- 
versely as is the case with the Earwigs and Beetles. The elytra, 
if we may retain the name, are of a parchment-like consistence, 
and, when closed, cross each other at the tips. 

Now, if the structure of the wings were the only mark of 
distinction, there would be some difficulty in separating the 
Orthoptera from the Heteroptera. But the structure of the 
mouth is so radically different in these two orders, that the 
merest glance is sufficient to prevent any confusion between 
them. In the latter of tliese orders the mouth is formed for 
suction, and the insect is furnished with a sharjD proboscis, 
whereas in the former the mouth is formed for eating, and is 
furnished with powerful jaws. 

It is evident from the name which is given to these insects, 
that most of them are winged, thougli there are some species 
which possess scarcely the least rudiments of wings. In those 


cases where the wings are fully developed, they are always 
very beautiful in form, and often so in colour, having always a 
more or less shining iridescence, and in some cases being as 
brilliantly coloured as those of any butterfly. 

As to the arrangement of the Orthoptera, Mr. Westwood 
divides them into four sections. The first is the Cursoria, or 
Runners, so called because their legs are formed for running, 
and the insects are consequently swift of foot. The too-familiar 
Cockroach is an example of this section. Next come the 
Raptoria, or Snatchers, the fore-legs of which are formed for 
seizing and holding. The Mantis, or Praying Insect, is an 
example of this order. These are followed by the Ambulatoria, 
or Walkers, such as the Walking-stick Insects or Phasmas ; and 
last come the Saltatoria, or Jumpers, such as the Grasshopper, 
whose hind legs are greatly developed and used for leaping. 

We will begin with the first section, namely, the Cursoria, 
which consists of a single family, the Blattidte, or Cockroaches. 
Our indigenous Cockroaches are few in number, small, and live 
in the open air, the singularly unpleasant insect which frequents 
our dwelling-houses being a comparatively recent importation. 
In various parts of the world, especially those where the climate 
is sultry, the Cockroaches are very numerous and often very 
large. One of these species is well known to sailors for its 
predilection for ship-life. A ship thus infested is infinitely more 
disagreeable than a house can be ; for, in the first place, the 
insect is much larger than the Blatta orientalis of our houses, 
and, in the next place, it pervades the whole vessel, especially 
at night, and causes woful discomfort to the inmates. 

Even so experienced a sailor as the late Michael Scott, author 
of " Tom Cringle's Log," could not bring himself to endure the 
Cockroach, and writes as follows: — "For the information of 
those who have never seen this delicious insect, I take leave to 
mention here, that when full-grown it is a large, dingy-brown 
beetle, about two inches long, with six legs, and two feelers as 
lono' as its body. It has a strong anti-hysterical flavour, some- 
thing between rotten cheese and assafoetida, and seldom stirs 
abroad when the sun is up, but lies concealed in the most 
obscure and obscene crevices it can creep into ; so that when it 
is seen, its wings and body are thickly covered with dust and 



dirt of various shades, of which any culprit who chances to fall 
asleep with his mouth open is sure to reap the benefit, as it 
has a great propensity to walk into it, partly for the sake of 
the crumbs adhering to the masticators, and also apparently 
with a scientific desire to inspect by actual measurement, with 
the aforesaid antennse, the state and condition of the whole 

It is greatly to the nocturnal and light-hating habits of the 
insect that its safety and increase are owing. When the Cock- 
roaches ai'S out of their retreat, most insect-destroyers are asleep, 
except perhaps the hedgehog, which works great havoc among 
them, and, if servants can only be induced to appreciate and 
protect it, becomes a most desirable inmate of a house. 


Fio, 141.— Polyphaga ^gyptiaca. 
(Dark brown. ) 


In Egypt, the Cockroach attains rather formidable dimensions, 
as may be seen by reference to the accompanying illustration, 
which represents both sexes of their full size, the female being, 
as is usually the case among insects, much larger than the male, 
and being totally destitute of wings. These creatures infest the 
Nile boats to such an extent that, before a traveller engages a 
vessel for a trip up the river, he always, if he be an experienced 
hand, sees that the boat is sunk for several days, so as to drown 
out the Cockroaches and other insect plagues. Orientals are 
strangely indifferent to such things, and will rest in perfect con- 
tentment where an Englishman would be half distracted with 
pain and annoyance. 

The Egyptian Cockroach {Pohjpliaga J^gyptiaca) very much 
resembles our own domesticated species, except that it is much 



larger. As with ours, tlie female has no wings, though the 
male is provided with those organs, and is much smaller than its 
mate. This species has a very wide range, and there are speci- 
mens in the British Museum taken from Turkey, Malta, Greece, 
Bagdad, Egypt, Algeria, and Asia Minor. The generic name 
Polyphaga is formed from two Greek words, signifying "a 
general eater." 

The rather formidable insect which is shown in the accom- 
panying illustration is a native of Australia. There is more 
colour ahout it than is generally the case with Cockroaches, dark 
reddish brown being their usual hue. 

The whole surface is finely granulated, and, though at first 

Fig. 142.— Polyzosteria cuprea. 
(Copper-brown, -with yellow marks.) 

sight it appears to be simply brown, a decided coppery wash is 
seen when it is viewed by a side light. On the front of the 
thorax is seen a white stripe, and on either side are two similar 
marks. In the insect itself these marks are bright yellow ; and 
if the creature be elongated, so as to separate the segments, it 
will be seen to have the front edge of each segment marked 
with the same colour, though hidden by the segment immedi- 
ately in front of it. The legs, too, are similarly coloured, being 
banded alternately with yellow and dark brown. The name 
Polyzosteria, which is a Greek word signifying " many-banded," 
refers to these alternate belts of different colours. 

Plain as are the generality of Cockroaches in respect of hue, 


there is one genus, rather widely spread, which has a tolerable 
amount of colour about it. Paratropes elegans, of South America, 
is black, striped with yellow ; while Paratropes orientalis is black, 
with a yellow edge round the entire body. Paratropes pica, a 
Brazilian species, has a broad black stripe down the centre of 
the body, a large yellow spot on either side near the middle, and 
a similar pair of spots near the thorax. All, however, are not 
equally gifted with colour, Paratropes melanaria looking much 
like our own species, except that it is much blacker, and Para- 
tropes decipiens, a native of Brazil, being dark, very small, and 
more like a beetle than a cockroach, a peculiarity from which 
it has derived its specific nameof decipiens, or " deceptive." 



The very remarkable insects wliich now come before us form the 
whole of the group called Eaptoria, or Snatchers. This name is 
a Very appropriate one, as the insects are carnivorous in their 
habits, and feed almost wholly upon other insects, which they 
catch by means of the singular structure of their fore-legs. These 
limbs are very long, and when stretched out at full length project 
greatly in front. 

If the reader will refer to Plate V. he will understand the 
structure of the fore-legs better than by a mere description. At 
first sight these legs seem to have an additional joint. This, 
however, is not the case, the coxa, which is in most insects very 
shoTt and comparatively insignificant, being so greatly developed 
as nearly to equal the thigh in size, and so to give to the limb 
its required length. The thigh is very strong, flattish, slightly 
curved on the under side, and boldly grooved, the groove having 
a row of teeth or spikes on either side. Into this groove the 
tibia can be shut just as the blade of a clasp-knife is shut into 
its handle, and, as the tibia is flat and armed with spikes like 
those of the thigh, it is evident that an insect which is seized in 
so formidable a trap has but little chance of escape. 

Being slow of foot, the Mantis is not able to capture its prey 
by speed, but does so by craft. Holding the two front legs 
raised above its head in the attitude represented in Plate V. 
Pig. 1, it steals slowly and gently towards its prey until it is 
within reach of its stroke, when a sharp and rapid movement of 
the raptorial legs encloses the hapless insect in their grasp, 
where it is held until eaten. As in most cases, the colour 


of the body harmoniziug with that of the surrounding objects, 
the intended prey is the less cognizant of its approach. 

Like many other predacious creatures, the Mantis will remain 
motionless for hours, its fore-legs raised over its head, ready to 
strike at any insect tliat may come within reacli. This attitude 
has been strangely misconstrued, not only in Europe but in 
other parts of the world. The attitude, really one of menace, is 
mistaken for that of prayer, and accordingly one species which 
inhabits Southern Europe is called the Praying Mantis {Mantis 
religiosa). This insect is called Pric-Dicw by the French 
peasants, and Lomxi Bios by the Portuguese ; while, according 
to Sparrmann, the Hottentots worship the Mantis as a deity, 
and hold anyone to be a saint on whom one of these insects 
may alight. 

Mouffet, in his " Theatre of Insects," evidently inclines to the 
belief that the ^Mantis does possess some supernatural power. 
" They are called Mantes, ' foretellers,' either because by their 
coming (for they first of all appear) they do shew the Spring to 
be at hand, so Anacreon the poet sang ; or else they foretell 
death and famine, as Ccelius the scholiast of Theocritus has 
observed. Or, lastly, because it alwaies holds up its fore feet 
like hands, praying as it were after the manner of their Di- 
viners, wlio in tliat gesture did pour out their supplications to 
their gods. 

" So divine a creatm'e is this esteemed, that if a childe aske 
the way to such a place, she will stretch out one of her feet and 
shew him the right way, and seldom or never misse. Her tail 
is two-forked, armed with two bristly prickles ; and as she 
resembleth those Diviners in the elevation of her hands, so 
also in likeness of motion ; lor they do not sport themselves 
as others do, nor leap, nor play, but Avalkiug softly, she retains 
her modesty, and shewes forth a kind of mature gravity." 

The insect seems to have taken a singular hold of the super- 
stitious mind, for there is a well-known monkish legend that St. 
Francis Xavier, seeing a Mantis moving slowly forward, with its 
fore-legs raised, assumed it to be engaged in prayer, and ordered 
it to sing aloud, whereupon the insect immediately chanted a 

Slow as is the gait of the Mantis, the stroke of the raptorial 
legs is quick and sharp, and given with such force that when 

u 2 


two of them fight, as they are tolerably sure to do if they meet, 
a successful blow with the flat edge of the leg will cut the 
unlucky insect in two. In fact, the movements of two of these 
insects when fighting have been compared with those of men 
armed with sabres. On Plate V. two specimens of Mantis tincti- 
pennis are shown as they appear when engaged in combat. The 
lower insect has struck its blow and missed, while its antagonist 
is raising its legs to make its stroke in return. 

This species is a native of Ceram, and is a very good typical 
example of the Mantidas. The lengthened thorax, which is cha- 
racteristic of the family, is plainly shown, undisguised by the 
flattened appendages to the sides which are seen in many spe- 
cies, notably in that which is represented in the lowest figure 
of Plate V. This lengthened thorax, which resembles a long 
neck, has gained for the Mantis in some countries the popular 
name of Camel Cricket. 

The raptorial legs are boldly toothed, and if they be closed it 
will be seen that not only does the tibia sink deeply into the 
groove of the thigh, but that the sharp teeth with which the lower 
edges of both these joints are armed, interlock with each other, 
so as to make the escape of any prey almost a matter of impossi- 
bility. As is often the case among insects, the female is larger 
than the male and has more powerful fore-legs. Being also more 
quarrelsome, if she be sought by a male, she is much more likely 
to quarrel with him than to agree with him ; and in the former 
case she is certain to kill him first and eat him afterwards. 

The colour of this insect when living is a lovely leaf-green. 
Unfortunately, the colour is very fugitive, and, in spite of all 
trouble that may be taken, fades soon after death. It is remark- 
able that with these insects, which are green so as to resemble 
the leaves of the tree which they frequent, the colour changes 
with the season of the year, changing from green to yellow or 
brown towards the fall of the leaf. The same phenomenon 
occurs with the Leaf Insect, which will be presently described. 

At Fig. 2 on Plate V. is seen a rounded object fastened to a 
twig. This is an egg-cluster of the Mantis, these insects laying 
them much after the manner that is so familiar to us in the 
domestic cockroach, except that the outer envelope which protects 
them is not of so hard and tough a material, and is applied 
after the eggs are deposited. Indeed, considering the size and 


number of the eggs, it would be absolutely impossible for the 
insect to deposit them within a single envelope as the cock- 
roach does. 

These egg-clusters are really remarkable objects, and worthy 
of a close examination. I have never been fortunate to obtain 
one in a recent state, but I have made vertical and transverse 
sections of a dried cluster. Though made of very thin and 
slight material, the investing membranes are so tough that much 
force must be used, and they are so delicate that, unless the 
knife be very thin and sharp, they are broken down and their 
shape lost. My sections were made with an amputating knife, 
and by means of a swift drawing-cut, the sections answered 
admirably, one longitudinally down the centre, another along 
the side, and a transverse section across the middle. These cuts 
show that there are four rows of egg-sacs ; and if each sac repre- 
sents a single egg, the group will have consisted of about one 
hundred and sixty eggs. When the larvse emerge they are black, 
long-legged little beings, looking much more like spiders than 

The last-mentioned insect is an inhabitant of trees, and there- 
fore the colour is green, so as to harmonize with that of the 
leaves among which it lives, and to enable it to steal unobserved 
on its prey. The species which is now before us inhabits sandy 
spots, and is of a dark yellowish-brown, so exactly resembling 
the colour of sandy ground, that the insect cannot be detected 
without some difficulty, in spite of its rather large size. It is a 
native of Egypt, and some specimens in the British Museum 
were brought thence by Sir J. G-. Wilkinson. The generic name 
Eremiaphila is formed from two Greek words signifying " desert- 
lover," and is given to the insects in allusion to their habits. 

It is an odd-looking creature, the fore-legs being thick and 
sturdy, while the two remaining pairs are long and very slender. 
They are of a paler colour than the rest of the body. Both the 
elytra and wings are thick, short, and rounded, from which the 
insect derives its specific name of rotundipennis, or " round- 
winged." Even the wings themselves, which in this group of 
insects are generally translucent, are in this species dark and 
opaque like the elytra. If, however, the elytra are opened and 
the insect examined from beneath, a brightly-coloured metallic 



spot will be found on the under surface, the only example of 
bright colour in the entire insect. 

The groove on the under side of the fore-legs is exceedingly 
bold and deep, and the teeth with which each edge of the 
groove is fringed are very numerous, though not so spike-like as 
is the case with many species. The movements of the Eremia- 
phila are very slow. 

Dull-coloured as are the Eremiaphilas, there are some insects 
belonging to an allied genus which are of metallic brilliancy. 

Fro. J43.— Eremiapliila rotundipennis. 
(Sandy brown.) 

and which have given to the genus the name of Metalleuiica 
or Metallyticus. One of these insects, Metalleuiica splendida, 
which was brought from Borneo by Mr. Wallace, is a really 
splendid creature. The body is burnished blue or green, accord- 
ing to the light in which it is viewed, the elytra are glossy green 
washed with gold, and the translucent wings are very pale and 
delicate brown. The legs are also green, and the raptorial legs 
are remarkable for the width of the thighs and the great strength 
of the teeth or spikes with which the thigh and tibia are armed. 



The remarkable insect which is represented in the illustration 
below is called Thespis purpurascens, the latter name being 
given to it on account of the splendid purple hue with which 
a portion of the wings is coloured. The specimen in the 
British Museum is, I believe, unique. It was brought from Ega, 
in South America, by Mr. Bates. 

"When the wings are closed, the creature looks much like one 
of the ordinary " walking-stick " insects, some of which will 
be presently described ; both the elytra and wings lying quite 
closely to the body, and the latter being only slightly darker 
than the general hue. The head is set cross- wise, like that of 

Fig. 144. — Thespis purpurascens. 
(Green, with yellow and purple wings.) 

the Hammer-headed Shark, or, to use a more familiar example, 
like the head of our common Demoiselle Dragon-flies. 

When the wings are opened and spread, a wonderful store of 
splendid colouring is displayed. The basal portion of each wing 
is very pale brown, and is covered with multitudinous tiny pen- 
cillings of snowy white. The rest of the wing is bright yellow, 
on which are two large marks of deep shining purple, rather 
tending to red on the upper surface and to blue on the lower, 
which is more brilliant than the upper. All the legs, even the 
raptorial pair, are very long and slender. 

There are several species of Thespis, but this is by far the 
most beautiful, though not the largest. One species, Thespis 
ingens, is of very great size, but has very small and absolutely 
useless wings ; while Thespis Bcefiea, although not brilliantly 



coloured, has very large wings wliicli can be used for flight. 
One of these insects, Thespis Xiphias, is remarkable for having 
its body nearly flat, and armed down each side with a row of 
small teeth. The naturalist who named it thought that its body 
bore some resemblance to the beak of the sword-fish, and accord- 
ingly gave it the name of Xiphias. 

Another lovely- winged Mantis is the Ear pax ocellaria, of 
Southern Africa. 

In this creature we see the germs of the curious flattening 
which distinguishes the well-known Leaf Insects. The head is 
flattened in the middle, and the large eyes protrude on either 
side like those of a lobster. Each side of the thorax is much 
flattened, and there is a flattened projection on the inner side of 

Fig. 145. — Harpax ocellaria. 
(Green ; elytra with a yellow, black, and green spot.) 

the two hinder pairs of legs. The body is also flattened, and 
three of the segments project at the sides so as to form teeth, 
almost exactly like those of the earwig figured on page 279. 

In this insect both the wings and elytra are nearly of equal 
beauty. If the reader will refer to the illustration, he will see- 
that the basal half of each wing is rather darker than the rest. 
This portion of the wing is opaque yellow, much like the " king's 
yellow " of painters, the rest of the wing being beautifully trans- 
lucent and of a crystalline clearness. The colour of the elytra is 
rather more complicated. First comes a patch of green next the 
base, and then, as far as the edge of the eye-like mark, the colour 


is opaque yellow, like that of the wing. The " eye " -.tself is 
composed of a black central spot, round which is a ring of 
yellow, then an interrupted circle of black, and then an outer 
ring of green. The end of the elytron is translucent. 

When the insect sits with its wings closed, these eyes have a 
very curious effect. The right elytron passes almost but not 
entirely over the left, so that the eye of the right elytron comes 
exactly in the middle of the back, the edge of the corresponding 
eye of the left elytron just showing beneath it. There is much 
variation in the eyes, in size, colour, and arrangement. 

The generic name Harpax is Greek, and signifies " a robber," 
in allusion to the predacious character of the insect ; while the 
specific name ocellaria, or " eyed," refers to the eye-like marks of 
the elytra. There are several other species of Harpax, one of the 
prettiest of which is Harpax tricolor. In this insect the elytra 
are green, and the translucent wings are green at the edge, and 
are crossed by a ruddy chestnut stripe followed by a pink band. 

On Plate V. Fig. 3 is a most singular insect, called iJeroplatys 
desiecata. The former of these two words is Greek, and signifies 
" broad-backed ; " while the latter signifies something that is 
dried up, in allusion to the general appearance of the insect, 
which looks very much like a ragged dry leaf. 

The eyes of this insect are black and very prominent, and 
have rather a fierce appearance. The fore-legs, too, are decidedly 
formidable, not only being large and powerful, but armed with 
long, sharp, black teeth. The middle and hind pair of legs are 
very slight in proportion to the rest of the insect, and at the end 
of the thighs have a flattened, axe-shaped projection. 

The thorax has a most singular aspect. In the middle it 
rises to a rather sharp ridge, and is then suddenly flattened and 
rounded, on either side. Towards the base, it is cut into a 
very deep and bold tooth, something like the barb of a spear, 
and then is finely notched like the edge of a rose-leaf. Several 
of the segments of the abdomen are flattened and drawn out 
on either side into tooth-like projections. 

Both the elytra and wings are ample, and, as is often the case 
with these insects, are more beautiful on the lower than on the 
upper surface. The wings have in their centre a very large 
patch of dark, shiumg brown, next to which comes a border of 



grey, the rest of the wing being pale brown with a yellowish 
tinge. On the upper surface the elytra are brown, just like a 
withered leaf, which they also resemble in the character of the 
nervures. Below, however, the elytron is boldly and beautifully 
marked. Its general colour is yellow-brown, but towards the 
tip it is adorned with a large eye-like spot, the centre of 
which is black, surrounded by a broad ring of grey, and com- 
pleted by a semicircular patch of dark brown on the side next 
the base. 

The extraordinary being called Phyllonemia 'paradoxa is a 
native of Natal. 

Even in the illustration it scarcely looks like an insect, but 
without the aid of colour it is absolutely impossible to give even 
an approximate idea of its utterly un-insectlike aspect. Take 
a dry oak-leaf, rub it between the hands, pinch out little bits 
from the sides, and there will be a very tolerable representation 
o{- Phyllonemia paradoxa. 

Its colour is just the withered brown of a dry leaf, finely 
granulated with black, as is a leaf that 
has for some time been lying on the 
ground. The end of the head is 
squared, elongated, and flat; the 
sides of the thorax are flat, the legs 
are furnished with sundry flattened 
projections ; while the abdomen is not 
only flat, but is bent upwards just as 
a dry leaf is curled by the heat of the 

sun. There is nothing straight or 

Fig. 146. — Phyllonemia paradoxa. 

regular about it, and it is so crum- 
pled, jagged, and twisted, that if it 
were placed among a number of dried 
leaves, even the most experienced eye 
could hardly distinguish the leaf from the insect. 

The generic name of Phyllonemia is a very happy one. It 
is composed of two Greek words, the former signifying " a 
leaf," and the latter "a fibre or filament," in allusion to the 
appearance of its body and limbs, which exactly resemble 
a leaf torn into jagged strips. The word paradoxa needs no 



Theee seems to be absolutely no limit to the extraordinary 
forms which are seen in these insects, each new shape appearing 
more strange and grotesque than its predecessors. Here is an 
example, yiz.,the Umpusa gongyloides of Ceylon ; an insect whose 
name and appearance are 
equally grotesque and per- 
fectly suitable to each other. 

Every peculiarity of the 
Mantidae seems to be exagge- 
rated in this species. The 
elongated thorax is drawn 
out to a wonderful length, so 
that the fore-legs are at a 
great distance from the middle 
pair, and, when the creature 
is among the branches, look 
almost as if they belonged to 
two dilTerent insects. The 
sides of tlie upper portion of 
the thorax are flattened and 
pointed ; the raptorial fore- 
legs look, with their sharp 
edges and deep grooves, just 
like a pair of dry beech-nuts 
armed with sharp thorns ; the 
other legs have circular, flat 
projections like patches of 
dry leaf stuck on the ends of 
the thighs ; the elytra look 
just like two withered but 
entire leaves, while the sides of the abdomen are flattened, 
pinched, and torn into a weird resemblance of dead leaves that 
have been blown about by the wind, and tattered by the thorns 
and stones among which they have been hurled. 

The word Empusa is Greek, and is the name of a terrible 
female goblin that was thought to haunt sleeping infants and 
suck their blood. 

Fig. 147.— Empusa gongyloides. 
(Brown. ) 



This group, like the preceding, is composed of a single family, 
called Phasmidai. The term is taken from a Greek word signi- 
fying a ghost or spectre, and is applied to the insects on account 
of the spectral appearance which many of them possess. 

Formerly, the Phasmidse were arranged with the Mantidse, the 
relationship between the two groups being easily seen. There 
are, however, distinctions between them which quite justify 
their separation. In the first place, the Phasmidae do not possess 
the armed raptorial legs which are so characteristic of the 
Mantidse. The mode of depositing the eggs is quite different ; 
for, whereas the eggs of the Mantidse are enclosed in a common 
envelope, such as has already been described, those of the Phas- 
midse are laid separately, and are very large and thick-walled 
when compared with those of the previous group. The eggs of 
one of the best known species will be presently described at 
length. From the Crickets and Grasshoppers the Phasmidse are 
at once distinguished by their slender hind legs, which are made, 
not for leaping, but for walking. 

Some of the Phasmidse are of enormous size — veritable giants 
among insects, and look so formidable, even when dead and 
dried, that many persons will not venture to touch them without 
a sort of mental shock. 

Many of these insects are entirely wingless, and even when 
these organs exist, their structure is very curious. The elytra 
are always very small ; and as the wings are broad, ample, and 
able to sustain the heavy, long-bodied insect in the au', they are 
utterly useless for protection. Yet the delicate, gauzy wings 
need some protection, which is afforded by the wing itself. In 



all cases where wings are present, these organs are '-'plicated" 
longitudinally in a multitude of folds, each fold being very 
narrow towards the base, and increasing regularly in width 
towards the edge; so that when the wings are closed, all the 
folds lie exactly on each other in a single line, precisely like 
the folds of a fan. 

Indeed, it is hardly possible for an entomologist to see a fan 
without recognising its origin in the wing of a Phasma. Each 
wing thus lies along the body of the insect, and, in consequence 
of its neat folds, does not break the continuous outline of the 
stick-shaped insect. The delicate membrane of the wing, how- 
ever, needs some protection, and this is found in the outermost 
fold, which is stiff and stout, and, when the wing is closed, lies 
over and protects the wing just as the outermost " stick " of a 
fan protects the delicately-painted folds of the fan itself 

OuE first example of the Phasmidse is represented in the 
illustration on the next page, and is known to naturalists by the 
name of Phihalosoma pythonius. The former of these two terms 
is composed of two Greek words signifying " fig-bodied," perhaps 
because the insect bears some resemblance to the young branch 
of a fig-tree. The latter of the words is also taken from the 
Greek, and signifies the gigantic serpent of mythology which 
was slain by Apollo. 

Certainly the creature deserves its name, for it is a " big 
thing." One of these insects which I have measured is as thick 
as a man's thumb, and is fifteen inches in length when its legs 
are stretched out according to its custom when living. So 
gigantic an insect could not be represented of its full size, and 
the artist has therefore been obliged to reduce it considerably. 
But if the reader wishes to form some idea of the size of this 
enormous insect, let him take a rule, measure a length of fifteen 
inches, and draw the creature on that scale, taking care to re- 
present the body as thick as the thumb of an ordinary man. 
It is scarcely possible to get these gigantic creatures into an ordi- 
nary entomological drawer ; and when, after much doubling up 
of their legs and folding back of their antennse, they are com- 
pressed within the needful limits, they must be supported by a 
double row of pins throughout their entire length, and each 
limb must be separately kept in its place by pins and braces. 



lest they should break from their hold, and by their sheer weight 
destroy the other occupants of the drawer. 

This insect is in the habit of assuming an attitude which 
gives it so exact a resemblance to a green stick, that as it re- 
mains motionless it can hardly be detected. The two front 
legs are held straight in advance of the body, and are either 
stretched to their full length, or have the tibia doubled back on 
the thigh. The other legs are pressed closely to the body, the 
feet clinging tightly to the branch on which the insect is sitting. 

Fig. 148. — Phibalosoma pythonius. (Reduced figure.) 

There is one point about the formation of the fore-legs which is 
worth mentioning. In order to enable them to project on either 
side of the head, the inner side of the thigh is deeply scooped 
towards the base ; so that when the legs are stretched forward, 
the head is almost concealed in the hollow formed by these two 

The figure, which is necessarily very much reduced, represents 
the female, which is always longer, thicker, and more powerful 
than the male, which is fully three inches shorter, and has a body 



scarcely thicker than a crowquill. The female, however, is wing- 
less, while the male possesses very large and beautiful wings. The 
wiug-cases are green, with a yellow edge, while the wings them- 
selves are greenish at the base, with a yellow line, and the 
costal area yellowish buff. 

There are many species of Phibalosoma in Fiji, discovered, I 
believe, by Mr. M'Gillivray. In the British Museum are some 
of the eggs of this species. They are small in comparison with 
the size of the insect, being scarcely as large as millet seeds, 
brown, hard-shelled, and rough on the surface. 

The insect which is shown in the accompanying illustration 
is of necessity much reduced in size, as, if it were drawn of its 

Fig. 140. — Eurycantha hornaa. (Reduced tigurt*,* 

full dimensions, the entire page W'Ould not contain it. The 
thig-h alone of the hind lecc is more than an inch and a half in 


length, and half an inch in thickness, so that the reader can 
easily infer how large the insect itself must be. 

The generic name Eurycantha is Greek, and signifies " thick- 
thorned" — a very appropriate title, inasmuch as the creature 
is one of the thorniest of insects. It has thorns on either side 
of the body, six on each segment, thorns on the upper part 
of the thorax, and thorns all over its legs. Even when dead, 
it is not pleasant to the touch, for one or other of the sharp 
curved spikes is sure to scratch or to prick. When it is 
alive its captor had better seize it with forceps, or at least 
with thickly-gloved hands, for it is enormously powerful, 
and has a way of driving its leg-prickles into the hand and 
drawhig blood. 

The specimen which is figured is a female. The male is 
easily known by the shape of the hind legs, the thighs of which 
are much thicker, shorter, and barrel-shaped. It is remarkable 
that if one of the limbs be lost during the larval state, it is 
replaced by another, which, however, never attains to the full 
dimensions. After the insect has reached its perfect stage, any 
such loss is irreparable. 

The egg of this species, which is a native of New Guinea and 
the adjacent islands, is a large one — quite as large, indeed, as 
that of one of the small humming-birds. It is oval, and gene- 
rally dark green in colour, covered with granulations, so that 
it resembles an emeu egg in miniature. Sometimes, however, 
it is grey, mottled with brown, or entirely brown. 

Another species of this genus, Eurycantha Tyrrhcea, is a 
native of the New Hebrides. It is much flatter than the pre- 
ceding species, and has an aspect very much like that of a 

M. Montrouzier remarks that it swarms in marshy grounds 
where the sago-palms grow. Yet, although it is so plentiful, 
he could not succeed in keeping any of the insects alive, as they 
all refused to eat, no matter what food he provided for them. 
It is a dark-loving insect, always crouching into the shade 
when set at liberty, and being found mostly hidden under the 
parasitic vegetation that in that climate grows so thickly on the 
trunks of old trees. He calls it by the name of Karabidion. 

For some time he thought that it was only the larval form of 



some insect, not even a trace of wings or elytra being discover- 
able. But, as some of his specimens laid eggs which afterwards 
were hatched, there was no doubt that the insects had attained 
their perfect stage. On an average, each female lays about one 
hundred eggs, and when the young larvis emerge they are about 
an inch long, and look like little black threads rather than 

Fig. 150. — Eur)'cantlia Tyrrhaea. 
(Pale grey-biown.) 

The illustration represents the species about half its proper 
size, as a full-sized drawing would nearly occupy the entire 

There are many species of this curious genus, varying consider- 
ably in size and colour, and they are spread over a considerable 
portion of the world. There is, for example, Eiirycantlia Australis, 
which, is found on Lord Howe's Island, and which has the barrel- 
shaped hind legs of the male sex strongly developed. The other 
species present few points of interest, except that one, Eunj' 
cantha olivacea, a native of Cevlon, is green instead of brown. 



Heee we have an insect, the male o/ which is not known. 
Indeed, so dissimilar are often the sexes in the Phasmidse, that 
it is rather difficult to avoid the danger of labelling the male 
and female as belonging to two different species. 

This insect has three distinct peculiarities, on account of 
which it was selected for illustration. In the first place, the 
sixth segment of the abdomen is much widened and flattened, 
so as to assume an almost heart-like shape. 

Fig. 151.— Pterinoxylus difformipes. 
(Brownish, with f;rcen elytra.) 

Secondly, the two front legs are fringed along the sides with 
flat, foliated projections, deeply notched, and looking very much 
like the edges of an oak-leaf The middle and hind pairs of 
legs are nearly simple, except that a slight projection near the 
end of the thigh takes the place of the foliation. It is in 
allusion to this structure that the species has been named 
" difformipes," i.e. differently formed legs. 

Thirdly, the wings themselves have a very curious structure, 
which is not seen until they are spread. When closed, as seen 
in the illustration, the wings look very like two sharply-pointed 


plates projecting from beneath small, rounded elytra. The 
generic name of Pterinoxylus, or " sharp-winged insect," has 
been given to it on account of the appearance of the wings when 
closed. If, however, they be opened and spread widely, a very 
curious structure is seen. The upper edge of the wing is modi- 
fied into a green, almond-shaped, Hat, horny plate, which covers 
the ga^^zy portion of the wing, and is the only part which is 
visible when the organ is closed. 

At the base of the wing, and partly overlapping the horny 
plate, is an oval mirror-like patch, very smooth, very shining, 
and having no veins or other markings upon it. As nearly as 
possible this patch is the same size as the elytra, so that when 
the wings are closed, as seen in the illustration, it is wholly 
covered by them. Whatever may be the case with the male 
insect, the wings of the female are much too small to be of any 
use for the purpose of flight. The elytra themselves are green, 
patched with brown. 

This remarkable insect inhabits tropical America. It is drawn 
rather smaller than its actual size, the length from the tail to 
the claws of the outstretched fore-legs being about seven inches. 

As, in the case of several of the preceding insects, the drawing 
has to be made on a reduced scale, so it is with the species 
represented on the next page. Its length from head to tail is, 
in the female, about seven inches; and the fore-legs will add 
some three inches to this measurement. 

The name Gypliocrania is formed from two Greek words 
signifying "bowed-head," and is given to the insects of the 
genus because the head always droops greatly downwards. 
The name Enceladus is that of one of the giants of mytho- 
logy, and is applied to the species in consequence of its 
gigantic size. It is not, however, the largest of its kind, for 
it is far excelled in dimensions by Cyphocrania gigas, which is 
rather more than eight inches in length from head to tail, and 
its spread of wing is exactly eight inches in one of the specimens 
which I measured. This, therefore, may be considered as one of 
the three or four largest insects of the world ; and I should very 
much like to weigh some of them while they are still living, so 
as to obtain an approximate idea of the amount of material con- 
tained in each. 

X 2 



In estimating the comparative size of animals, the best plan, 
next to seeing the creatures themselves, is to draw them to scale. 
If the reader will enlarge the illustration below, making the 
spread of wing eight inches, and the length of the body about 
eight inches and a half, he will form a very correct idea of the 
enormous size of the insect. 

Large as are the wings, they can be folded so closely and laid 
so neatly along the body, that they scarcely break the outline, 
and the insect retains its curious resemblance to a stick. When 

Fig. 15:2. — Cyphocrania Enceladus. 
(Green-brown ; wings brown, spotted with white.) 

the great wings, however, are opened from beneath their tiny 
elytra, the whole aspect of the creature is altered, and it at once 
exchanges its stick-like appearance for that of an active, flying 
insect. The wing-cases are merely brown blotched with yellow, 
but the wings themselves are very delicate and gauzy, and 
coloured a dark, blackish, shining brown, relieved by a number 
of pure white spots, varying greatly in shape, number, and size, 
according to the individual. 

The peculiar hollowing of the fore-legs at their bases is very 


plain in so enormous an insect ; and if the first, or thigh joint, 
alone be examined, it will be seen to bear a most singular resem- 
blance to a bayonet, even to the groove along the inner surface. 
With the exception of a few little pointed tubercles on the upper 
part of the thorax, the insect is entirely unarmed. 

Next comes an insect which is a great contrast to the former, 
especially in the male sex, which is here represented. It is so 
stick-like in its aspect, that I really wonder how it can have 
been detected at all among the slender twigs and branches which 
it resembles so much in shape and colour. All practical ento- 
mologists know how difficult it is even for their skilled eyes to 

Fig. 153.— Bacillus Natilis. 

detect the larvae of sundry Geometridse, as they project from the 
branches in exact resemblance to dried and broken twigs ; and, 
in the case of the Bacillus, I should think that the difficulty 
must be infinitely increased. 

Eespecting the habits of this particular species, little or 
nothing seems to be recorded ; but in Mr. Westwood's " Intro- 
duction," Vol. I. p. 434, there is an abridgment of a paper by 
the Rev. L. Guilding on an allied species, Bacteria coriiutum, a 
native of the "West Indies. 

"This is one of the apterous species, and there is a great 
diversity in the size of the sexes, the male being 3| inches in 
length, while the female is 7^. It is very abundant in tropical 
America and the adjacent islands, feeding by night upon the 


leaves, whicli it greedily consumes. It walks with a very vacil- 
lating motion, and, when resting, extends its fore-legs along the 
head, so as to defend the antennae. It is tenacious of life. It 
occurs in the imago state throughout the year. 

" The female deposits twenty-two eggs from September to 
November. These eggs are oval and greatly resemble a legu- 
minous seed, having numerous scattered impressed dots and an 
elongated chain-like spot. Tlie operculum at one end is distinct,, 
and impressed like a honeycomb. The eggs are retained for n 
long time in the ovipositor at the extremity of the abdomen 
before they are relinquished by the parent insect, which rejects 
them without any attention. According to StoU, the eggs are 
deposited in the earth like those of the locusts. 

" The egg-state continues from seventy-nine to one hundred 
days ; the larva is hatched from May to August. The young 
larva has all the appearance of the imago, but differs in its 
colours. After throwing off its first exuvise, it grows rapidly 
until the horns of the head appear. If it lose a leg by violence, 
this is reproduced, but of a smaller size, in the next moulting. 
The pupa scarcely differs in any respect from the imago." 

The generic name Bacillus, or, as it ought rightly to be, 
Bacillum, is Latin, signifying " a little stick." The specific 
name Natalis refers to Natal, in which district it is found. The 
female of this insect is much shorter and thicker than the male. 
The colour is yellowish green during life, and there is a white 
line running along each side of the head, the thorax, and part of 
the abdomen. 

Again we are obliged to employ a reduced figure, though in this 
case the reduction is not so great as in one or two of the Phas- 
midse which have just been described. The present species, 
Necroscia Zeuxis, measures four inches in length from head to 
tail, so that it is really a large though not a gigantic insect. 

The genus is a very large one, comprising about ninety species, 
and it has rather a large geographical extent, being found in 
most of the islands of the Indian Ocean, and over India gene- 
rally. Of this species only one specimen is in the British 
Museum, and this was taken in Borneo. 

Even in its dried state it is a beautifiil insect, and when 
alive must have been lovely. Its beauty depends mostly upon 



its wings. The elytra, as may be seen by reference to the illus- 
tration, are so small as to be entirely useless by way of protec- 
tion to the wings, which are very large and beautifully coloured. 
The ground colour is shining black, but upon the disc of the 
wing is a large patch of yellow, edged with a number of bright 
blue spots. The antennae are of extraordinary length, reminding 
the observer of the same organs in the familiar Long-horned 
INIotlis of England. 

KiG. 154. — Necioscia Zeuxis. 
' (Green; wiugs marked with blue and yellow.; 

Many species of this genus are beautifully coloured, among 
which may be mentioned Necroscia rosei2)ennis of Borneo, in 
which the hard upper edge of the wing is green, and the rest a 
beautiful pale pink, just like the hue of a blush rose. Another 
species, Necroscia annulipes, is remarkable for the bands of 
bright yellow which not only surround the legs, as is implied 
by the specific name, but even extend to the antennae, although 
those organs are scarcely thicker than human hair and run to a 
very great length. In all these insects the wings when closed 
lie flat along the back, protected by their hard upper edge ; and 
the contrast between the same insect with its wings closed and 
open is absolutely startling. I presume that the <ieneric name 



Necroscia, which is formed from a Greek word signifying " death," 
is given to the insects in consequence of their resemblance to 
dead bits of stick as tliey sit with their wings closed. 

The difference between the sexes in the Phasmidse, to which 
allusion has more than once been made, is very strongly appa- 
rent in the insect which now comes before us. 

The figure of Ecstatosoma tiriatum, which is here given, repre- 
sents a female. In this sex the body is very large, covered with 
spikes, especially on the head, which has as it were a crown of 
spikes ; the legs are flattened at the sides into leaf-like append- 
ages, and several segments of the abdomen are developed at the 

Fig. 155.— Ecstatosoma tiriatum. 

sides so as to form projecting teeth. The wings are so small as 
to be useless for the purposes of flight. The male insect has 
scarcely one-sixth the bulk of the female, his body is slight and 
smooth, without the projecting segments, and he is furnished 
with a pair of exceedingly ample and very delicate wings. 
Indeed, so totally different are the two sexes, that at first sight 
it seems scarcely possible to realize the fact that they belong to 
the same species, particularly when the wings of the male are 

The colour of the insect is emerald green. The egg is more 
globular than oval, and at one end there is a projecting point 
which marks the " operculum " or moveable door which permits 



the young to escape wheu hatched. The larva of this insect is 
quite as different from the perfect male or female, as they are 
from each other, and bears a curiously close resemblance to the 
FhyUune7fiia paradoxa, which has been described on page 298. 
It is a native of Australia. 

The very rare insect which is here shown is a native of Fiji. 
There is only one specimen in the British Museum. It is about 
four iijches in length, the illustration beiog drawn half the size 
■of the real insect. 

Fiu. 156. — Platyciania plielaus. 

The generic name Platycrania, or " wide-skulled," refers to 
the shape of the head, which is rather broader than is generally 
the case with the Phasmidse. The body is very smooth, and the 
upper surface of the thorax rises into a bold longitudinal ridge. 
As is often the case with these insects, the wings are more 
beautiful than the body — that and the elytra being green, while 
ihe gauzy wings are bright yellow. 

Several species of Platycrania inhabit India ; and there is an 
eatable species, Platycrania edulis, found in Ceram. 



The remarkable being which is shown below is the best known 
of those creatures which are popularly designated as Leaf Insects, 
in consequence of the almost exact resemblance which they bear 
to leaves. 

If the reader will imagine that the insect in question is of a 
bright leaf-green, he will see how close is the resemblance. 
Indeed, I have found great difficulty in pointing out a living 
specimen to persons who came on purpose to look at it, so exact 

Fio. 157.-Phynium Scythe. 

was the resemblance between the insect and the leaves of the 
plant on which it was sitting. This resemblance is stronger in 
the female than in the male, in consequence of the absence of 
wings and the greater size of the elytra, with their leaf-like 
nervures. It is a very variable insect in point of size, some being 
about as large as the figure, and many being very much larger. 
It is a native of India. 

If the elytra be examined against a strong light and with 
a moderately powerful magnifying-glass, they will be seen to 
be covered with delicate reticulations very much like the old 


childish puzzle called " Eosamond's Bower." Each of the meshes 
has a green patch in the centre, and a slightly raised yellow edge. 
Owing to its peculiar form, the insect is very fragile when dried, 
and, unless it be carefully supported by pins and braces, is sure 
to lose one or two of its joints before very long. 

The egg of the Leaf Insect is of very singular form. If viewed 
from above, it looks something like a five-rayed star, the rays 
being very irregularly disposed — three of them tolerably close to 
each other, and the remaining two wide apart. It is not easy to 
describe the shape of the egg without a figure, but we may form 
some idea of it from the following simile. Suppose we take a 
rather short and stout Stilton cheese, and set it on end. Then 
let us cut five deep longitudinal scoops, so as to leave five 
angular walls, and there is a tolerable imitation of the shape of 
the egg. Now, on the top of the cheese, and in the centre, let 
us place a conical pat of butter, with the base downwards, and 
there is the operculum of the i^gg. 

The shell of the egg is very hard and tough, and, if examined 
with a lens, is seen to be extremely rough on the surface, and 
furnished with sundry depressions which are evidently intended 
as openings to the fine channels by which air is admitted to the 
creature within. If the egg be opened, the interior will be seen 
to be beautifully smooth, polished, and of a faint pinky white, 
very much like fine porcelain. There is little doubt that the 
larva is hatched within this receptacle for some time before it 
emerges. A most interesting account of the growth and habits 
of the Leaf Insect is given by Mr. Murray, in the " Transactions 
of the Linnsean Society." 

After showing that in so roomy and well-ventilated an apart- 
ment the insect attains a considerable amount of development 
before emerging, Mr. Murray proceeds as follows: — "After having 
reached the form of a six-legged jointed insect, it emerges from 
the egg by pushing off the lid. It comes out middle foremost ; 
that is, its head and tail are packed downwards, so as to meet 
each other. The back between these first appears, and they are 
drawn out next ; the legs are extricated last. 

" The colour of the insect at this stage is a reddish yellow, 
something of the hue of a half-dried beech leaf; for it is to be 
observed that although the colour of the insect varies at different 
periods of its life, it always more or less resembles a leaf in some 


stages. When it has once settled down to eat the leaves on 
which it is placed, the body speedily becomes bright green. 

" Among tlie leaves of the common myi^tle it cannot be dis- 
tinguished by the colour of the body (the Jegs are, however), and 
the habit of carrying itself adds to the deception. It bears its 
tail generally curled up a little, ]ust about as much bent as the 
myrtle leaf. As it bends its tail up, however, the arch would be 
the wrong way unless the insect walked back downward, which, 
in fact, is its constant habit — adhering to the under side of the 

" This habit brings to light another beautiful contrivance for 
still farther heightening its resemblance to a leaf. The upper 
surface is opaque green, the under surface glossy glittering 
green, just the reverse of the myrtle or guava leaf, so that by 
reversing its position it brings the glossy side up and the dull 
side down. This peculiarity is much more distinctly seen in 
the young state and living insect, than in the dried specimen." 

I possess a few eggs of the Leaf Insect, which I have placed 
in a hothouse, and which I hope may be liatched in some two 
months or six wrecks after this account was written. Fortu- 
nately there is plenty of myrtle in the neighbourhood, so that if 
the young Leaf Insects should emerge from the egg, there will 
be abundance of food for them. Specimens which have been 
hatched in England have passed into their perfect state and 
lived for some eighteen months, so that the sight of a living 
Leaf Insect will not be so wonderful as it was a few years ago. 



Once more we are on familiar ground. Not a single example of 
tlie Mantidne or the Phasmidaj is known in this country, but the 
Saltatoria are plentiful enough — some of them too plentiful in 
the eyes of agriculturists and housekeepers. They are well 
known by the structure of the hind legs, which are very long 
and powerful, and, when the insect is at rest or only walking, 
project considerably above the body. The antennae are slender, 
and in some species are of a very great length. 

The first family is that of the Gryllidae, or Crickets. The 
popular name of these insects is evidently derived from the 
sound produced by the male insect. The instrument by which 
the cry is made is found in the elytra, which are furnished with 
a ridged apparatus, the friction of which produces the shrill 
grating sound with which we are so familiar. A detailed 
description of this apparatus is given in my " Insects at Home," 
and need not be repeated here. The elytra lie horizontally in 
repose, and in many species the wings, when folded, project 
from under the elytra. In some of the Gryllidse they are very 
greatly elongated. The fore-legs are more or less fossorial, 
i.e. suited for digging, and tlie feet, or tarsi, have three joints. 

An admirable example of the elongated wings is seen in 
Acheta monstrosa, called by some entomologists Scliizodactylus 
monstrosus. The reasons for this second title we shall soon 
learn. In this insect, the ends of the wings are not only of 
very great length, but are rolled up in spiral coils, so as to avoid 
interference with locomotion. The elytra, as well as the wings, 
have this remarkable structure. On reference to the illustration, 
the reader will see that there is a sort of a chequered look on 
the elytra. This is caused by their delicacy and transparency, 



which permit the nervures of the lower wing to show through 
the substance of the upper. 

This is the largest known species of Cricket ; and if its 
powers of producing sound be as much stronger than those of 
our domestic insect as its body is larger, it must be a singularly 
noisy neighbour. The antennas are slender and of very great 
length, so long indeed that the artist could not manage to intro- 
duc'e their entire length into the figure. Each of these organs 
has two hundred and forty joints. 

Fig. 158. — Aeheta [or Srliizodactylus] moustrosa. 
(Pale brown.) 

This insect, which is a native of India, has many of the habits 
of our well-known Field Cricket, and, like that insect, resides in 
burrows, which it sometimes sinks to the depth of three feet. 
It is nocturnal, never being seen outside its burrow in the 

The generic name Schizodadylus, which has already been 
mentioned, refers to the structure of the feet, and is formed from 
two Greek words, the former signifying anything that is cleft or 
divided, and the latter a toe, or finger. If the reader will look 


at tlie tarsus, or foot as it is popularly called, he will see that 
it is very curiously constructed. The first joint is very long, 
and in the hind pair of legs is furnished on either side with a 
triangular flattened plate. Then come two short joints, each 
of them with a long, flat projection on either side ; and then 
comes the fourth, or last joint, which is long and rather powerful. 
Besides these appendages, there are six little plates of similar 
form on the end of the tibia, three on either side. 

To my mind the most extraordinary of the Crickets is a spe- 
■cies called Cylindrodes Camphcllii, which inhabits Australia. 
At a hasty glance it is almost impossible to believe that it 
belongs to the Crickets at all, looking, as it does, wonderfully 
like the larva of some wood-boring insect. It is about as thick 
as an ordinary artist's pencil, and, as its generic name implies, 
almost as cylindrical as the pencil. 

It has but rudiments of wings, and the two hinder pairs of 
legs are very small, and pressed closely against the body. The 
thorax is also cylindrical and shining, and the two front legs, 
which are very much like those of our common Mole Cricket, 
are very flat, and, like the other legs, pressed closely against 
the sides, which are sculptured into cavities. Thus, there is 
scarcely any break in the outline of the body when the insect 
presses all its legs against its sides. Its structure shows that 
the creature must be one of the borers, and accordingly it 
is found to inhabit timber, — a very strange residence for one 
of the Gryllidse. 

Many of the insects which have been recently described have 
been of such large dimensions that the figures Avere necessarily 
diminished, so as to get them within the limits of our pages. 
Just the contrary is the case with the Rhipipteryx marginatus, 
which is drawn of exactly double the linear dimensions of the 
real insect. 

The thorax of this insect is shining black, but it has in the 
middle two oval yellow marks, and it is surrounded with a 
narrow yellow baud, whence comes its specific name of margi- 
natus. These markings are not quite the same in all specimens, 
the yellow spots varying in size and the band in thickness. 
Sometimes the two spots are merged into one, but in all speci- 


mens the band exists, and is very conspicuous. The thorax is 
covered with a coating of very fine down. The elytra are very 
narrow, and of a pale brown colour, with a black stripe along 
the centre. 

The chief beauty of the insect is not seen until it expands its 
wings, which are extremely delicate, and of very great size when 
compared with the dimensions of the insect. Indeed, so sniall 
are the elytra, and so large are the spread wings, that the insect 
bears a most curious resemblance to an earwig, as may be seen by 
comparing the figure of the Ehipipteryx with that of Forficesila 
Americana, on page 281. The name BUinpteryx refers to the 

size and shape of the wing, being 
formed of two Greek words, the 
former of which signifies " a fan," 
and the other " a wing." 

This species is a native of 
Mexico. Small as it is, there 
are others very much smaller ; 
one of them, an inhabitant of 
Ceylon, being no larger than a 
common gnat, for which it might 
easily be mistaken. Its name is 

Fig. 159. — Rliipipteryx niarginatus. ^^t • • / / m • i ^ i \ ■ 

(Brown-yellow, and black thorax.) BhipipteriJX (OV 1 ridactyluS) nifjrO- 

ceneus. Writing of the strange 
shapes assumed by foreign Achetidae, Mr. Westwood makes the 
following remarks : — " I possess several very curious minute 
species belonging to this family, which singularly represent 
Coleopterous insects. Of these, a Brazilian species has all the 
appearance and even colours of a Cicindela ; whilst a small 
Mauritian species has the wing-cases thick and glossy, oval, 
convex, and meeting with a straight suture, exactly like elytra 
(of beetles)." 

The next family is the Locustidae. The insects belonging to 
this family may be known by their elytra, which are "so deflexed" 
when at rest, i.e. turned down on either side of the body, that 
the general shape of the insect much resembles that of a gabled 
roof. The antennae are slender, but moderate in length, and all 
the tarsi have three joints. The two latter characteristics are 
useful in separating this family from that which immediately 



follows. It is rather remarkable, by the way, that the insects 
which are popularly called Locusts do not belong to this family. 

The formidable-looking insect which is called Cerherodon viridis 
is quite as formidable as it appears to be, and fully deserves its 
generic name, which will be presently explained. It is a native 
of Brazil, As the specific name imports, the colour of the insect 
is green. 

It is chiefly remarkable for two points, the first of which is 
the structure of the legs. All the limbs are furnished with thorn- 
like spikes, but the front pair are most powerfully armed in this 

Fig. 100. — Cerberodon viridis. 

respect, the tibia having ten long curved spikes, five on each side, 
arranged as seen in the illustration. The thigh is also armed, 
but the spikes are not nearly so long and so powerful as those 
of the tibia. 

The second characteristic lies in the jaws, which are really 
gigantic in proportion to the rest of the body. They are long, 
stout, curved, and furnished with teeth on the inner surface. In 
this genus, the left jaw is much larger than the right, and is 
prolonged into a sickle-like point. The name Cerberodon refers 
to this peculiarity. It is formed from two Greek words, one signi- 
fying "a tooth," and the other Cerberus, the three-headed dog of 




inythology, who guarded the gates of the infernal regions, and 
prevented the imprisoned souls from escaping. 

There are several allied species, the most remarkable of which 
is PhmopMlacHs funesta, of Sierra Leone. This insect looks 
wonderfully like a huge spider, its legs being very long and 
slender, and its body short, stout, and rounded. 

The strange-looking insect shown in the accompanying illus- 
tration is a tolerably common one, and is found throughout the 

Fig. 161. — Callimenus onismi.'?. 
(Green ; red abdomen, spotted with black.) 

warmer parts of Europe, Greece and Turkey seeming to be 
favoured localities for it. There are several species belonging 
to this genus, of which the present is the largest that is 

All the insects of this genus are strange, awkward, ungainly- 
looking beings, having rather the appearance of larvse or pupaj 
than of perfect insects. The name oniscus, which signifies " a 
wood-louse," is given to the insect in consequence of its extra- 
ordinary shape. Generally, among Orthoptera, even if the females 


are without wings, the male possesses those organs ; but here is 
one of the exceptional examples to which allusion has already- 
been made, where neither sex possesses wings. In order to show 
more fully that this is the case, the illustration has been drawn 
from a male insect. Tlie female is very much like the male, but 
is at once known by the short, broad, sharp-pointed, sabre-shaped 
ovipositor, the blades of which have a strong tendency to sepa- 
rate after the death of the insect. 

The insect is a curious, but not a pretty one. The squarefT 
thorax is green, bright during life, but becoming dull yellowish 
green after death. The thick, rounded abdomen is almost 
entirely dull red, upon which are a number of black patches, 
placed as seen in the illustration. These black patches are 
slightly raised above the rest of the surface, and are thus- 
much more prominent. Towards the end of the abdomen there 
are a number of green patches, so that the ungainly form i» 
in some way compensated by the variety of colour. 

One species, Ccdlimcnus clasypus, of Hungary, is entirely black, 
shining, and granulated like very rough sand-paper. It has a 
number of large tubercles along the back. There are some most 
extraordinary insects allied to the Callimenes, of which Lesina 
lutescens is perhaps the most singular. It is a little, flat, yellow 
creature, with its head developed into a sharp projecting spike,, 
and its long tliorax furnished with three distinct sets of jagged 
spikes, laid flat on the back, each set looking very much like 
some of the ancient battle-axes. 

Another is Vates latifolium, which bears, as its name imports, 
a singular resemblance to a leaf. It has no spikes like the pre- 
ceding insect, but its body is flat, and shaped much like that 
of the Phyllonemia, which has already been described, except 
that it is, if possible, rather flatter, while the legs are furnished 
with flattened, ragged-edged appendages, that look exactly like 
scraps of torn and jagged leaves. Instead of the bold spikes of 
Lesina, it has a number of fine, needle-shaped prickles on the 
thorax, which look exactly like the hairy edges of a leaf-stem, 
so that when the creature is alive and green, the resemblance to 
a leaf is wonderfully exact. 

On pp. 324 and 325 are depicted two figures of the same 
insect, showing the difference of appearance which sometimes 

Y 2 



exists between the sexes. The name of the insect is Acripeza 
reticulata, and it is a native of Tasmania. 

The female is without wings, but she possesses large elytra, 
which are thick, convex, and opaque. Their colour is dark brown, 
mottled with black ; and when they are closed, the insect has a 
very curious appearance, looking very much like our common 
Bloody-nose Beetle (Timarcha tenehricosa), greatly magnified, 
and turned brown. The abdomen is large, thick, and rounded. 

FiG. 162. — Acripeza reticulata. Female. 
(Green-brown, mottled with black.) 

dark in colour, with a row of white spots on the edge of each 
segment. The legs are banded after a similar fashion. There 
is no ovipositor in this species, although it exists in several 
insects which are closely allied to it. 

The male Acripeza is so different from the female, that the 
two insects scarcely seem to belong to the same species. His 
body, instead of being large and rounded is slightly made, and 
not one quarter as large as that of his mate. The elytra are 
very large and long, and the wings of corresponding dimensions; 




so that when they are opened, the insect seems to be all wing 
and no body. 

It has just been mentioned that although the Acripeza has no 
ovipositor, there are allied insects which do possess that organ. 
These belong mostly to the genera Ephippiger, Nabrus, and Odon- 
tura. The last-mentioned insect inhabits many parts of Europe, 

Fig. 163. — Acripeza reticulata. Male. 
(Brown, mottled with black.) 

such as Sardinia, Germany, and Spain, and is also found in 
Algeria. The female has a short, boldly-curved ovipositor, both 
edges of which are deeply notched like the edge of a saw. The 
name Odontura, i.e. " tooth-tailed," refers to this structure. 

On Plate VI. may be seen two very beautiful examples of 
these insects. The upper figure represents Acridoxena Hawaiiana, 
which, as its name implies, is a native of Hawaii. Whether its 
wings be opened or closed, it presents a very striking appearance, 
as we shall presently see. The illustration represents it as in 
the act of flying, in which attitude we will first describe it. 

The general colour of the body, including the thorax, is green, 
with a tinge of yellow, the head being very much darker, and, 
indeed, almost black. The elytra are decorated after a very 
elaborate manner. Their outer portion is ruddy chestnut. 


mottled with bold streaks of black and four semi-oval marks of 
pale yellow. The inner portion is yellowish green, with three 
bold patches of very dark and very soft brown, and the end of 
the elytra is the same colour, with the exception of an indistinct 
bar of ashen grey, which runs diagonally through it. 

The wings themselves are voluminous, and are covered with 
a vast number of short, narrow, wavy white stripes, shaped 
exactly like the conventional marks used by artists to represent 
birds flying at a distance. In some specimens there is a slight 
variety in the arrangement of the marks, and the colour of the 
body is bright emerald green. When the insect is at rest, its 
whole aspect is altered. The folded wings lie along the body 
and are entirely concealed under the elytra, which are so formed 
as to produce not only a ridge along the back, but a sharp hump 
or gable in the middle of the back. The right elytron passes 
over the left, concealing about one-third of it, so that the brown 
marks just meet, and form continuous bands of brown on the 
green surface. 

The ovipositor of the female is long and sabre-shaped, and it 
is rather curious that not only in this species, but in other 
insects, the blades of the ovipositor are apt to separate at the tip 
as the insect becomes dry after death. The name Acridoxena 
is formed from two Greek w^ords, and intended to signify a strange 
grasshopper. The name, however, is open to the same objection 
as that of Xenoccros, which has already been mentioned on p. 197. 

The lower figure represents a very singular insect, of which 
there is but one species in the British Museum. Its name is 
Sanaa (or Acanthodes) imperialis, and it was taken at Silhet, in 
Northern Hindostan. 

The whole aspect of this creature exactly resembles that of 
withered foliage. It is pale yellow -brown in colour, and is all 
crumply and spik)^, like a withered branch of some thorny plant. 
The thigh and tibia of the fore-legs are flattened and notched 
like dried oak-leaves, and the long hind legs are furnished with 
thorn-like spikes down to the feet. On the upper part of the 
thorax is a crown-like patch of spikes, and there are two large 
spikes at the end of the abdomen, just at the base of the 
ovipositor. The abdomen is mucb raised along the centre, so as 
to form a decided ridge. 


Tlie elytra are exactly like withered leaves, even to their 
nervures, aud are curiously shaped, each of them having a very 
deep notch near the inner angle. On each of the elytra are 
three round spots of a greyish hue, just like the fungus-marks 
that are so common on decaying leaves. The wings are very 
dark, except a broad band round their edges, in which the 
colour is almost exactly the same as that of the elytra. When 
spread, the wings do not lie Hat, but are crumpled in a most 
singular manner towards their bases. The jaws are enormously 
powerful, and being tipped with shining black, they have a 
very formidable appearance. / 

There are several allied insects which deserve a short notice. 
One is Mccjalodon cnsifcr, a native of Hindostan. It derives its 
generic name of Mcgalodon, i.e. "large-toothed," from the enor- 
mous comparative size of its jaws, in which respect it rivals 
the insect which has just been described. The specific name 
ensifer is Latin, and signifies " a sword-bearer." It is o-iven 
to the insect on account of the gigantic size of the ovipositor, 
which is so long that it cannot be carried after the usual 
fashion, but takes a sudden turn upwards close to the abdomen. 
It is very wide as well as long, so that the female of this 
insect is very conspicuous. Along the back are three tufts of 
spikes, similar to that on the thorax of the Sanaa imperialis. 

Another species, Storniza i^allicornis, of Bogota, is brio-ht 
green in colour, and in shape very much resembles the common 
spider-crab, even to the shape of the head, which is produced 
into a sharp point. The spikiest of them all, liowever is 
Panacanthus varius, of Quito. This very remarkable insect 
fully deserves its name of Panacanthus, which is formed from two 
Greek words, and signifies something that is all thorns. The 
last of these remarkable insects which will be here mentioned is 
Copiophora cu^idata, of Brazil. Just as the Storniza resembles 
a spider-crab in shape, so does the Copiophora resemble a shrimp 
and, so close is the likeness, that at the first glance at the drawer 
in which it is preserved it is hardly possible to avoid the idea 
that a shrimp has by accident been placed among the insects. 

The illustration on the next page represents the male Pterochroza 
ocellata. The female differs little from the male, except that hei 
body is shorter and thicker, and at the end of the abdomen there 



is a long, flat ovipositor, boldly curved upwards, like the blade of 
an Indian tulwar or sabre. It is a native of Para, and is one 
of the many beautiful and strangely-formed insects that were 
brought from South America by Mr. Bates. 

Like several other insects of the same group, it bears a won- 
derfully strong resemblance to withered leaves, especially when 
its wings are closed. The nervures of the elytra are, as may be 
seen by reference to the illustration, exactly like those of a leaf, 
and the similitude is increased by the colour, which is reddish 

Fig. 164. — Pterochroza ocellata. 
(Brown, wings with eye-like marks.) 

brown. The lighter spots which are seen on the elytra are 
dull white. This colouring belongs only to the upper surface 
of the elytron, that of the lower under surface being for the 
present reserved. 

The true wings are very large, and are beautifully mottled 
with yellow streaks, disposed as is shown in the figure. Near 
the tip of each wing is a large eye-shaped spot, almost exactly 
resembling the " eyes " on the wings of our familiar Peacock 
Butterfly. There is spme variation in the cojours of the eye and 


their arrangement, but the colours are generally as follows. The 
half of the eye nearest to the base of the wing is rich ruddy 
chestnut, while the remainder is dark brown. In the middle of 
the eye are two crescent-shaped marks of pure white, the points 
of the upper crescent being turned towards the tip of the wing, 
and those of the lower crescent to the lower edge cf the wing. 

Altogether, the body seems so small, and the spread of wing 
so great, that we almost wonder why so little a body should 
require such enormous wings. It must be remembered, however, 
that much of this space is taken up by the elytra, which are not 
only useless for flight, but are absolutely so much additional 
weight which the wings have to support. 

We will now return to the elytra. As in one or two other 
insects, though this is seldom the case, the under surface is 
much more beautiful than the upper. Viewed from above, the 
elytra are simple reddish brown ; but when seen from below, 
they are bright pink, diversified with bold mottlings of black. 

This curious disposition of colour has led to several attempts 
at fraud, one or two examples of which are kept in the British 
Museum as warnings to those who purchase insects without the 
exercise of due discretion. There is as much "jockeying " in 
insects as in horses, dogs, or pigeons, and the blacklegs of the turf 
are quite equalled by those of the cabinet. " Doctored " insects 
are as common as Birmingham antiquities, and the renowned 
Flint Jack himself was not a more successful impostor than are 
many entomological forgers. One of the most ingenious ento- 
mological impostures that I have seen was not intended for sale, 
but merely as a hoax by way of a practical joke. The fabri- 
cated insect was mostly made up of parts taken from other 
insects, but the ingenuity lay in the manner in which six spider- 
legs were s-ubstituted for the original limbs, and each joint nicely 
coloured so as to carry off the eye from the fabrication. The 
head was altogether a fiction, being very neatly cut out of cork, 
and painted so as to give it an almost exact resemblance to a 
real head. 

Parts of one insect are substituted for those of another, and 
in those cases where mimicry of form prevails, as in the Clear- 
wing Moths and the Bombylidse, the deception is not easily 
detected. In the fraudulent specimens above mentioned, the 
insect forger has displayed an astuteness which almost 



amounts to genius. Knowing that at the British Museum 
any attempt to substitute a portion of one insect for that of 
another would be detected, he has removed the elytra, and 
replaced them with the greatest neatness, only ivith the, under 
surface uvvards. The effect on the appearance of the insect is 
really wonderful. There is nothing obtrusive about it, but the 
splendid colouring of tlie elytra harmonizes so well with the 
wings and the rest of the body, that none but an accomplished 
■entomologist, apt to suspect and keen to unmask imposture, 
would think that the insects in question were not genuine speci- 
mens. The ingenuity of the procedure was further enhanced by 
the fact that several specimens were offered for sale together. 
A single specimen might have aroused suspicion, but three or 
four, all exactly alike, were calculated to lull it. 

The Philippine Islands produce the beautiful insect which is 
known under the name of Gryllacris signifera. It is represented 

Fio. 106.— Gryllacris signifera. 
(Greeu. Wings with alternate dark stripes.) 

of the natural size. The chief point of interest in this insect 
lies in the wings, which are very large and marked with alter- 
nate dark stripes. 

There are several species belonging to this genus, one of which, 
Gryllacris spurcata, from Java, is remarkable for the enormous 



size and beautiful colouring of the wings. When the insect 
opens its wings for flight, they spread out on either side in 
a fan-like form, very nnich resembling the pectoral fins of the 
Flying Gurnard, the resemblance being increased by their dark, 
shining surface. The generic name Gryllacris is Greek, signify- 
ing " cricket-locust ; " and the specific name sifjnifera is Latin, 
and means " a standard-bearer." 

The next family is called ..4 fr/c/iVZa', from a Greek word signi- 
fying " a grasshopper." The Acriciidse resemble the Locustidse 
in the arrangement of their elytra, which are boldly deflexed. 
They may, however, be distinguished by their antennae, which are 
very slender and hair-like, after running to a wonderful length, 
and sometimes having more than two hundred joints. They also 
differ from the Locustidte in the structure of the feet, which 
have four joints instead of three. There are very many species 
•comprised in this family, and it is therefore necessary to select 
a few examples of those species wdiich present the most striking 

The first and perhaps the most important of these insects is 
the Migratory Locust, so familiar to us by its frequent mention 

Fig. 166.— Pachytylus iiiigratorius. 
(Green, mottled with dark brown.) 

in Holy Writ. The elytra of this insect are green-brown, 
mottled with a darker hue, the colour being much more brilliant 
during the life of the insect than after its death. Some of these 


mottlings extend to the head, where they assume shapes bearing 
some resembhmce to Arabic letters. In his " Thalaba " Southey 
makes au ingenious use of these marks : — 

" The admiring gii-l surveyed 
His outspread sails of green, 
His gauzy underwings, 
One closely to the grass-green body furled, 
One ruffled in the fall and half unclosed. 
She viewed his jet-orbed eyes, 
His glossy gorget bright 
Green glittering in the sun ; 
His plumy, pliaiit horns. 
That, nearer as she gazed. 
Bent tremblingly before her breath. 
She marked his yellow- circled front 

With lines mysterious veined ; 
And ' Knowest thou what is here inscribed. 

My father I ' said the maid. 
* Look, Thalaba, perchance these lines 

Are in the letters of the Ring, 
Nature's own language written there.' " 

The vast masses in which these insects appear have been too 
often described to need more than a passing aUusion. Suffice it 
to say that they come in great clouds, which look in the distance 
like those of an approaching thunderstorm, and that where they 
settle, they consume every green leaf and grass blade, even 
devouring the young and tender twigs of the trees. They seem 
to have but little power of guiding their flight, but are forced 
to be blown by the wind in any direction which it may happen 
to take ; and when a swarm is seen in the far distance, the 
unhappy agriculturists know that there is no hope for their 
crops but in a change of wind. Various means have been 
tried, but none have succeeded in arresting or even mitigating 
the damage which a few hours' visit can work among the 

They are not tenacious of life, and a cold wind will kill 
them almost at once, while myriads upon myriads perish 
should they be blown out to sea. In such a case, their bodies 
have been known to form a continuous wall along the sea-shore,, 
extending for several miles in length, and giving out an abso- 
lutely intolerable odour. 


The eggs of the Migratory Locust are small, long, and oval, 
about the size and shape of rice-grains. They are gathered 
together iu rounded groups of some forty in number, the eggs 
projecting like almonds from a pudding. A quaint and simple 
account of the growth and habits of the Locust is given by 
Mouffet in his " Theatre of Insects." 

" Now the female bringeth forth (as Aristot. saith), the little 
stem that grows to her tail being stuck in the ground, and thus 
layeth all her burden together in the same place, which scatter- 
ing up and down, look as it were like a honey-comb. Hence 
proceeds a kind of little worm iu the likeness of an egge, in- 
cluded in a little earthly thin membrane, the which being forced 
open, out come the locusts and fly abroad. But (by the favour 
of so great a philosopher) they lay eggs indeed at the beginning 
of autumn, though not of the fashion of eggs, as I have seen 
with my eyes and have had them in my hands. The which 
feture is so tender, that with the least touch it is bruised to 

"JSTeither is it laid upon the superficies of the earth, but 
somewhat deeper, and in the winter underground : where in 
the winter they being perfected by concoction, in the subsequent 
year, almost at the latter end of spring, they come forth out of 
the shell or membrane aforesaid, wherein they were, being yet 
little blackish locusts creeping up and down without either 
shanks or wings, which afterwards in a short time become 
bigger. They bring forth at the latter end of summer, and 
when they have so done they forthwith die, certain little vermine 
breeding about their necks (as it happeneth to the beetle) Avhich 
do strangle them. These dying after such foolish fashion as 
they do, are yet able at their pleasure, any one of them, if it do 
but fasten on his chaps, to kill a serpent. 

" In a wet spring the eggs perish, but in a dry there is 
great increase of them. Some will have them to be brought 
forth and to dye twice a year (in the number of whom is 
Willichius,) that is to say, at the rising of the Pleiades they come 
forth, and dye at the setting of the Dog-star, then others to be 
brought forth. Some say at the setting of Arcturus. In 
mountainous places, and of a thin air, there breed no locusts, but 
in plains and places full of clifts and chaps ; nor do they lay 
their eggs upon the superficies, but in the chinks and caverns of 



the earth, both that they may be the better concocted, or else 
better preserved from cold and rains. 

" That they should bo generated of the carkasse of a mule 
01 asse (as Plutarch reports in the life of Cleonides) by putre- 
faction, I cannot with philosophers determine : first because it 
was permitted by the Jews to feed on them ; secondly, because 
no man was ever yet an eye-witness of such a putrid and ignoble 
generation of locusts." 

The insect which is here represenied is another of the de- 
structive creatures which are known by the general name of 
Locusts. All the insects belonging to this genus have the 
thorax exceedingly prolonged, so as to form a sort of neck. 

Fig. 167. — Tryxahs inguiculata. 
(Reel-brown, with coloured wings.) 

If the reader will refer to the illustration, he will see that the 
antennae are constructed after a very curious fashion. In most of 
the Orthoptera these organs are very long and slender, consisting, 
as we have already seen, of more than two hundred joints. In 
this genus, however, the material which might have served for 


the usual long and slender antennae is formed into two short, flat, 
few-jointed antennae, narrow at the base, then widening rapidly, 
and at last coming to a sharp point, very much like the antennte 
of several moths. 

This is really a beautiful creature, though its beauties cannot 
be seen until it spreads its wings. As it sits at rest, or merely 
crawls after the fashion of its kind when not alarmed, it is a 
simple, plain-bodied insect, in no way more remarkable than one 
of our own grasshoppers ; but as soon as it takes to the air, it 
displays a wondrous amount of hidden beauties. The upper 
edge of the wing is dark brown, through which runs a stripe of 
snowy white. The base of the wing is azure blue, followed by 
bright pink, which fades gradually until the wing appears of a 
crystalline clearness. There is also a patch of green just beyond 
the blue mark. This is the usual arrangement of colour, but the 
insect is a very variable one both in size and hue. 

There are many species of Tryxalis, the genus being spread 
widely over the world, even Japan and New Guinea possessing 
representatives of it. As an example of the wide range of these 
insects, I will mention one species, Tryxalis nasuta, specimens 
of which, now in the British Museum, have been taken in the 
Ibllowing localities : — Switzerland, Marseilles, Leghorn, Galilee, 
Nubia, Sierra Leone, Gambia, South Africa, interior of South 
Africa, North Hindostan, Ceylon, Cambodia, New^ South Wales. 
and Sandwich Islands. 

Some time ago I was at a singularly interesting conversazione 
at the Albert Hall, into which electric wires were brought from 
various parts of the world : among others, there was one com- 
municating with Kurrachee, in India. Having ascertained that 
an operator was on duty at the Indian end of the wire, our 
operator asked if anything was then going on. The answer came 
back in a few minutes, that a vast swarm of locusts was passing 
over Scinde. And I have little doubt that the locusts in 
question belonged mostly to the very species which has just 
been mentioned. 

In Hardwicke's "Science Gossip" for April 1871, there is a 
very interesting paper on Locusts, by Mr. C. Home. As far as 
I can gather from his description, the insects belonged to the 
genus Tryxalis : — 

" I had been more than twenty years in the country before I saw 


a locust, and, strangely enough, the first flight visited my station 
when Dr. Jerdon, who had been very many more years than I 
had been a resident, was staying with me, and he too had never 
witnessed a visit of these insects. It was on September 13, 
1863, when just after luncheon it suddenly became quite dark, 
and the servants coming in, told us that the locusts had arrived, 
and so we went out to see them. 

"The whole sky, as far as the eye could reach, in every direc- 
tion, was full of them. They flew from the north-east at a great 
pace, with a strange rustling, filling the air with sound, which 
seemed to come from every point, and were much scattered 
in their flight, which ranged from thirty to two hundred feet 
from the ground. The wind at the time was blowing from 
the north-east, and they were borne along upon it Pre- 
sently we noticed them returning, having been turned by a 
storm of wind and rain which was coming up from the south- 
west, and which advanced to within a quarter of a mile of the 
place where we were standing. They faced round, and every- 
one they met turned with them and hurried towards the north- 
east, as did those which had alighted in the trees. 

" About ten minutes or a quarter of an hour after this, there 
came up a heavy storm of wind and rain from the north-east, 
with a little thunder and lightning. This again turned them, 
and they were floating rapidly past, when a terrific downpour of 
rain obscured all from our view, and caused them to settle on 
every tree in which they could find shelter. 

" One emli, or tamarind tree, standing in the middle of a large 
field, was so covered with them, that at a little distance, instead 
of the brillant green for which this tree is noted, it appeared of a 
dull red. Next morning there was not a leaf left, only bare twigs, 
while under the tree there must have been half an inch deep of 
•excreta. . . . About 10 a.m. many thousands were flying about, 
and I expected great damage. The sun however came out, and 
with dried wings they all departed. They first rose into the air 
like pigeons, gyrated a little, and then went straight off to the 
north-west. The whole of this flight, from a careful examination 
we made, appeared to have been young males. 

" On the 16th September there were tln-ee more large flights, 
extending for miles, but a very few settled ; little harm was 
done to the crops. The appearance of a flight on the horizon 


is curious. It is like a thiu, dark streak, which increases in 
density every moment till it has arrived. Any computation of 
the number of insects of which such a swarm consists, would 
be quite impossible. 

" What strikes everyone, as they approach, is the strange 
rustling of millions on millions of crisp wings. Often after 
this there were flights, but it was impossible to trace their 
direction, nor is it certainly known where they generally breed. 
Many swarms settled in the Punjaub, where they laid their eggs 
in the ground, and thousands of men, women, and children col- 
lected these, and they were destroyed. Still, marfy remained, 
and the young wingless larvae crawled over the ground, creating 
far greater havoc than their winged parents. 

" When they come, everyone turns out with pots, kettles, and 
pans, and makes as much noise as he can. This certainly pre- 
vents them from settling, and I thus twice saved my garden, and 
trust never to see them again. 

" In the evening I had asked two gentlemen to dinner to meet 
the doctor, and I gave them a curry and croquet of locusts. They 
passed as Cabul shrimps, which in flavour they much resembled, 
but the cook having inadvertently left a hind leg in a croquet, 
they were found out, to the infinite disgust of one of the party, 
and the amusement of the others. Here is a receipt for cooking 
them, taken from the Akhbar, a native Algerine journal, under 
date August 1866 : — ' Criqtiets d la Benoiton. — Take the locust 
gently between the finger and thumb of the left hand ; cut it in 
two with a knife, and pour into the animal's inside a small 
quantity of good rum; let it stand tW'O days, and then cover 
it with a fritter paste and fry them. Then sprinkle with 
sugar, and pour into the dish a small quantity of Burgundy.' 
I never tried it. 

" The bodies w^ere as tough as leather in the curry, and quite 
uneatable ; but the croquets, in which they were well broken 
up after having been deprived of their legs, heads, wings, and 
wing-cases, were very fair ; and if thoroughly sun-dried, with 
a little salt, I can fancy, when ground and mixed with other 
food, they would be very tasty. Our Mahommedan servants 
ate them, and they told us how that in many parts they were 
extensively used, being dried and kept in sacks. All animals, 
such as cattle and camels, are said to like them ; and amongst 




birds, the only ones that did not touch them were the doves 
and parakeets, both vegetable feeders." 

The bear appears to be especially fond of locusts. Mr. 
Shaw mentions that in 1863, when vast multitudes of these 
insects perished on a glacier, the bears came by dozens to 
feed on the dead bodies, wliich in some places filled the 
crevasses ten or twelve feet deep. The animals were so 
occupied with their feast, that they scarcely noticed the pre- 
sence of travellers, and allowed them to pass without taking 
any notice. 

Like many of its kin, the Rhomalea centurio loses much of its 
beauties soon after death, its bright green hues, in particular, 


Fig. 168.— Rhomalea centurio. 
(Bright green, with scarlet wings.) 

becoming dull yellow, brown, or even black. Many insects can 
be guarded against loss of colour by being kept in absolute 
darkness, the action of light causing them to fade. But with 
these creatures, though the light is quite as destructive of colour 
as in others, the drying up of the juices produces a similar 



tsffect, and sooner or later the lovely hues vanish, no matter 
whether the insect be kept in a light or a dark place. 

The general colour of this insect is bright green, mottled 
with black. The elytra are pink, covered with a fine black 
network, and even the very legs are of the same brilliant green 
and black as the body. The chief beauty, however, lies in the 
wings themselves, which are almost wholly of a blazing scarlet, 
the only exception being an edging of deep black, widest in 
front, and rapidly narrowing as it proceeds towards the base. 
In order to see the insect to its full advantage, its wings and 
elytra sliould be spread, and it should then be held up against 
a strong light. And, if the magnifying glass be also employed, 
the exquisite structures of the wings and elytra will well repay 
the trouble of examination. 

This insect is a native of South America. The generic name 
Rhomalca is taken from a Greek word signifying " strength ;" 
and the specific name centurio is probably given to it on account 
of the brilliant scarlet of the wings, which gives to the insect a 
sort of military air. 

The insect which now comes before us has an equally strange 
look, whether its wings be closed or open. Its name is Teratodes 
monticollis. It is a native of Hindostan. 

i iG 169 — Teratodes montieolhs 

In the structure of this creature the most conspicuous point is 
the singular development of the thorax. We have seen many 

z 2 


examples where the thorax has beeu widened and even furnished 
with flattened appendages at the sides. Here, however, the case 
is quite different. The thorax is narrowed, very much raised, 
and shaped very much like the head of an axe with the edge 
upwards. The resemblance to an axe is increased by the fact 
that a narrow and highly polished ridge runs along the upper 
edge of the thorax, giving it an appearance as if it had been 
ground and sharpened. 

The colour of the thorax is green, with a yellowish tint. It 
is very rough on the surface, the roughness being produced by 
a vast number of tiny elevations surrounded with a sort of net- 
work, such as has been described in connection with several 
beetles. On each side of the thorax, and nearly in the middle, 
is a round, suuken spot, of a much darker hue than the rest of 
the thorax. The head is shaped so as to suit the thorax, and is 
sunk rather deeply in it. It is also furnished with a row of 
slight notches over the top and front. 

The elytra are covered with extremely fine network, and the 
wings are translucent and gauzy, adorned with a number of very 
fine black lines, each line only running across a single fold. 
These lines are set alternately, like those of bricks in a building, 
and really produce a very pretty effect. The body is green, as 
are the legs, which are very long and slender. The figure repre- 
sents the insect of the usual dimensions, but there are one or 
two specimens in the British Museum that are considerably 

The generic name Teratodes is Greek, and is formed from a 
word signifying " wonderful." The specific name monticoUis is 
composed of two Latin words, the first signifying a "hill" or 
" mountain," and the second a " neck." It is given to the species 
on account of the strangely elevated thorax. 

The beautiful insect called Chromacris colorata fully deserves 
both its names, which will be presently explained. It is a 
native of Brazil, and is represented of the ordinary size. It is, 
however, extremely variable in this respect, some specimens 
being very much smaller than the figure, though few, if any, 
are .larger. 

The general colour of the insect is dark opaque green, but 
upon the head, thorax, and abdomen there are a number of spots 



which are of a very brilliant green. The elytra are also dull 
green, so that when they are closed there is nothing remarkable 
about the insect's appearance. Towards the end of each elytron 
there are a number of squared reddish brown spots, arranged 
with perfect regularity at a little distance from each other, so 
that when examined with a magnifying glass the end of the 
elytron looks as if it were a network of square green meshes, 
each mesh having a chestnut centre. 

The wings themselves are shining black, but each wing has a 
large patch of bright yellow extending in a fan-like shape from 
the base nearly to the edge, and just beyond this patch are two 
large oval spots of a similar hue. Indeed, the two colours are 
so equally divided, that it is not easy to say definitely whether 
the black or the yellow be the ground hue of the wing. The 
reader will see, by looking at the figure, and remembering the 


Fig. 170. — Chromacris colorata. 
(Green ; wings black, with yellow marks. ) 

colours, how very different must be the aspect of the insect when 
flying, with its beautiful black and yellow wings expanded, and 
when at rest, with those wings folded away under the dull 
green elytra. 

The generic name Chromacris is Greek, and signifies "a 
coloured grasshopper," and the Latin specific title of colorata 
carries its own interpretation. Some allied species have the 
colouring of the wings arranged after a similar fashion, except 
that the yellow is replaced by scarlet. 



The insect which is appropriately called Cystoccelia immacu- 
laia is one of the oddest of its kind, though its oddness cannot 
be expressed by the plain black and white of the printer's ink. 
The illustration can but represent a large-bodied flying insect. It 
cannot represent that the large, rotund, smooth body is quite 

If a very ripe and very large green gooseberry were taken 
from the bush, the contents removed, and the empty skin in- 
flated and attached to the thorax of a grasshopper, some idea 
may be formed of the extraordinary appearance of the insect. 
In fact, the creature has come to be called the " Flying Goose- 
berry," by way of a popular name. The inflated abdomen is 
quite transparent, so that if held up to the light and the finger 
be passed across it, the shape of the finger can be plainly seen 
through the body of the insect. Inspection conducted in this 

Fig. 171. — Cystoccelia immaculata. 
(Pale green; abdotuen hollow and transparent.) 

manner shows that the whole of the vital organs live in a small 
band occupying the centre of the under surface of the abdomen, 
the w^hole interior of the abdomen being, with this exception. 


absolutely as empty as a blown bladder. The object of this 
singular structure is at present unknown. 

The rest of tlie insect differs little from the ordinary structure 
of the Saltatoria. The thorax rises very high in the middle, and 
if the insect be viewed sidewise, it will be seen that the thorax- 
is drawn out into a point behind, and projects over the first few 
segments of the abdomen. Its colour is opaque green, except 
that along the ridcje which crowns its summit is a slender line 
of light scarlet. 

The genus is distributed rather widely through the world, and 
is found in most of the hot countries. Of the habits of this 
particular species, which belongs to Southern Africa, nothing has 
been recorded ; but Mr. A. W. Scott has taken some very inter- 
esting notes respecting an allied insect, Cystoccelia Saiindersii, 
which inhabits Ash Island, situated in Hunter's Kiver, New 
South Wales : — 

" These insects are extremely numerous on Ash Island, prin- 
cipally inhabiting an orange grove of about 1,200 trees, and we 
scarcely ever remember seeing one beyond a few rods of the 
limits of this garden, nor have we ever heard of or discovered a 
single specimen elsewhere, with the exception of the few brought 
by Sir Thomas Mitchell from the interior. 

" During the short twilights of this country, the male com- 
mences and ends his song, which resembles a loud, deep guttural 
R, continued incessantly and with vibrations. So loud, indeed, 
is this sound, that when near to several insects it becomes 
painful to the ear. It is, moreover, very unlike the shriller and 
harsher notes uttered by the common Cicada. 

"In this brief period after sunset the males and females 
occasionally fly from tree to tree, their flight being slow and 
steady, particularly that of the former. The only other time 
these insects are heard is immediately, in hot and sultry weather, 
before a thunderstorm, and then only at broken intervals. This 
habit was particularly noticed on our placing the males on a 
bunch of flowers in the drawing-room, where every evening they 
regaled us with their short-lived song, and at other periods 
occasionally predicted the coming storm. 

" The larvae live underground on the roots of plants, and in 
cheir habits and transformations closely approximate to those of 
the common Cicada. 


" The perfect insects appear early in September, and are to 
be found until about February. They are extremely easily 
captured, the females being taken when in flight by a 
common butterfly-net, and the males by going to the spot 
from where their voices proceed and suddenly shaking the 
bough, which causes them to drop to the ground, when they 
may be picked up." 





The rather long name which is given at the head of this chapter 
is formed from two Greek words, and signifies " tassel-winged," 
because the wings of the insects are furnished with long tassel- 
like hairs. They have no network-like pattern upon them, and 
are laid Hat upon the back when the insect is at rest, one wing 
lying almost completely over the other. 

The exact position of these insects is not easily decided. It 
is true that they are very small, but then the microscope has 
abolished all difliculties in that direction, while the discovery of 
certain foreign species, such as that which is here figured, has 
rendered examination comparativel}^ easy. The structure of the 
mouth forms the principal obstacle to the systematic arrange- 
ment of these insects. They have mandibles, but these organs 
are modified into a pair of slightly curved and very slender 
bristles, technicall}^ called " setiform," from the Latin word 
seta, a bristle. 

Mr. "Westwood, who was the first to describe the parts of the 
mouth, sums up the description in the following words : — " The 
relations of this order are very difficult. The nature of the meta- 
morphoses would unite it with the Orthoptera or Hemiptera, 
wliile the structure of the wings and mouth removes it from both 
these orders. The mouth, indeed, seems to be of a character 
almost intermediate between the Mandibulata and the Haustel- 
lata ; the setiform mandibles are very like those of the Hemi- 
ptera, whilst the general disposition of the other parts of the 
mouth are more like those of a mandibulated insect. It appears 



doubtful to me, however, whether the action, even of the 
maxillae, can be transverse, or whether the insect can be said 
to bite its food." 

"Without exception our English species of the Thripidae are 
exceedingly small, some so minute as to be scarcely recog- 
nisable as insects. Take the finest of fine-pointed steel pens, 
draw with it the lightest possible line as long as the letter " i " 
(without the dot), and that will give a tolerable idea of the 
average English Thrips. Small as they are, they are both 
directly and indirectly injurious to man. They are directly 
injurious by their inveterate habit of getting into the eye and 
causing severe pain, the tasseled end of the wings being highly 

Pig. 172. — Iclolotlirips spectrum. 

irritant. This habit they share with the smaller Eove Beetles, 
whose turned-up tails are as painful to the eye as the wings of 
the Thrips. 

They are indirectly injurious in consequence of the mischief 
which they do among plants, especially in greenhouses and hot- 
houses, where the leaves of the plants are often quite blackened 
by the numbers of these tiny creatures. They infest the garden 
and field as well as the greenhouse ; the vegetable marrow, French 
beans, and other plants being subject to their attacks. They 
even damage the wheat, getting betw^een the flower and the 
grain and depriving the future seed of its moisture. Both on 
the Continent and in England the wheat has suffered so severely 
from the inroads of the Thrips, that nearly one-third of the crop 
has been rendered useless. 

The species which is shown in the illustration is a native of 


New Holland, and is by far the largest of its kind. Indeed, 
it bears about the same relation to the ordinary Thripidse that 
an elephant bears to a cat, being more than one-third of an 
inch in length. The figure is slightly magnified, in order to 
show the structure more clearly, the exact length being indi- 
cated by the line in the upper part of the illustration. The 
antennae are moderately long and very slender, and the head is 
long and narrow. On each side of the abdomen are seven tooth- 
like appendages, and the insect is also armed with long, sharp, 
bristly spines. 

The larvte of the Thripidse are active, and somewhat resembling 
the perfect insect. There is but little change of form in the 
pupa, except that the rudimentary wings are very plain, and 
the limbs are rather hampered by a filmy covering, so that the 
creature is sluggish in its movements. 



C H A P T E E I. 


The next order of insects is appropriately named Neuroptera, 
i.e. Nerve-winged Insects. It comprises the Dragon Flies, Ant 
Lions, Lace- winged Flies, May Flies, and the insects which are 
popularly, though wrongly, called White Ants. In this order 
the wings are four in number, the upper being used for flight, 
and not employed as a protection for the lower pair. They are 
divided into a vast number of cellular spaces by means of bold 
nervures, thus giving to the insects the name of Neuroptera. 
No other order of insects has the wings divided into so many 
cells as is the case with the Neuroptera. 

As a rule the wings are of the same size, but in many cases 
the hinder pair are very much narrowed, in some species being 
little more than narrow threads. Sometimes the hind wings 
are absent altogether, and in some species both pairs of 
wings are absent. Indeed, although there is little difficulty 
in referring insects to this order, the characteristics are so 
variable that, as Mr. Westwood very justly remarks, there is 
scarcely one which does not meet witli an exception. 

The best known group of the order is the Libellulidse, 
popularly known by the name of Dragon Flies, in consequence 
of the swiftness and voracity displayed by these insects. 

In England they are often known as Horse-stingers, from an 
absurd idea that they possess stings. This notion has evidently 
arisen from the facility with which a Dragon Fly can bend its 
long abdomen, the movement bearing some resemblance to that 

A A 


of the wasps, bees, and other sting-bearing insects. The very 
prevalent idea respecting tlieir habit of stinging horses has 
probably arisen from the fact that they live entirely upon 
insects, which they capture on the wing. As various flies do 
persecute horses greatly in the summer months, and often follow 
them in swarms, the Dragon Fly finds an ample supply of prey 
near the horse, and is^ in fgct, the protector rather than the 
persecutor of the animal. 

In the larval and pupal stages of their life they are inhabit- 
ants of the water, and are quite as predacious under water as 
they are in the air when they obtain their wings. There is but 
little difference of shape in the larva and pupa, except that 
in the latter the rudimental wings are seen on the back, in 
the form of four thick, leather-like plates, giving little promise 
of the ample, gauzy, shining wings which are concealed beneath 

Both the larvae and pupue of the Dragon Flies possess a most 
curious development of the lower lip, technically named the 
" mask," because, when it is not in active use, it covers the face 
of the insect exactly as a mask would do. The mask cannot be 
exactly described without the use of diagrams. Sufl&ce it to 
say that it forms a curiously jointed weapon, armed at the end 
with a pair of toothed jaws. It can be darted out with very 
great quickness, and when the prey has been caught, the mask 
is folded back, and thus brings the captured insect into the 
mouth of its destroyer. 

As both the larvae and pupae of the Dragon Flies are plentiful 
in any of our ponds or ditches, the reader can easily capture 
some specimens, and watch their habits, whicli are very interest- 
ing. The creatures almost always lie under the shelter of weeds 
and close to the bank, so that they may be caught by passing 
a net closely along the bank where the weeds lie thickest. 
They are very fond of the shelter of the common duck-weed, 
and I have taken three or four specimens in such spots with a 
single sweep of a net only five inches in diameter. 

As a rule these larvae and pupte feed upon subaquatic crea- 
tures which are sutficiently active to escape in case they were 
alarmed by the movements of their foe. In order therefore to 
enable them to dart quickly through the water without causing 
much disturbance, the Dragon Fly larvae are furnished with a 


very singular iiieclianisni. There is a large hollow in the body, 
extending nearly through the entire length of the abdomen, and 
having an opening at the end of the tail. 

The primary object of this cavity is respiration, for the gills 
of the larva open into it, and when the creature is at rest the 
cavity is gently filled with and emptied of water, so as to keep 
the gills constantly supplied. If, however, the larva be alarmed, 
or desirous of darting rapidly on its prey, the enclosed water 
is suddenly and violently ejected, so that, by its reaction, the 
insect is driven forward on exactly the same principle us that 
by which a rocket is driven through the air. It can fill and 
discharge this chamber with much celerity, so that it traverses 
the distance of a yard or so with very great speed. It seldom, 
however, uses this mode of progression if it wishes to travel to 
n distance, but prefers its legs. As a rule the larva does not 
discharge the water-chamber more than three or four times in 

The appearance presented by the undeveloped wings of the 
pupa has already been mentioned. When the pupa has finished 
feeding and is about to pass into the perfect state, it crawls out 
of tlie water by means of a reed or other aquatic plant, or, in 
cases where no convenient plants exist, ascends the bank. 
"When in the air it climbs to some little height, mostly above 
a foot, and then clings tightly to the object on which it has fixed 
itself. The skin soon dries, and as the creature bends itself 
backwards and forwards, splits along the back, and allows 
the perfect Dragon My to emerge. As is the case with the 
butterflies and moths, the wings are small, thick, and damp, 
but are rapidly expanded by having air driven through the 
^■essels with which they are thickly permeated, and by being 
constantly shaken in the breeze. As soon as they are dry, the 
insect darts off in search of prey, and renews in the air the 
predacious habits which it possessed in the water. 

As all the Dragon Flies are very similar in their habits, tliere 
is little to be said respecting each species. I have therefore 
selected only a few examples of these insects, so as to show the 
different groups into which they have been arranged. Without 
going deeply into systematic entomology, it will be sufficient to 
state that the Dragon Flies fall naturally into two groups, which 
are at once distinguished by the shape of the head. In the first 

A A 2 


group, called Libellulidse, the head is rounded, and in the other, 
called Agrionidee, it is very much wider than long, almost cylin- 
drical, and set on the body like the head of a hammer on its 

We will begin with the former group. On Plate YII. Fig. 1 
is represented Palpople'iLra marginata. 

This is a small, boldly-coloured, exceedingly variable insect. 
Except that the ends of the wings are always colourless, it is 
not easy to describe the distribution of the hues, so varied are 
they in different individuals. As a rule the ground colour of 
the wings is shining yellow, which in many cases forms a sort 
of edge to the wings, thus giving to the insect the specific title 
of marginata. The rest of the wing is covered with rich brown, 
in some specimens being almost black and covering nearly the 
entire wing, while in others it is very pale, and only occupies a 
few patches set at distant intervals from each other. 

The handsomest of this genus in point of colour is Palpopleicra 
fasciata. It is really a most lovely insect, its wings glittering 
with iridescent hues of metallic purple, green, blue, and gold, 
these colours being brighter at the base than towards the ex- 
tremity of the wings. 

The illustration on the next page represents an insect belong- 
ing to the typical genus. It is a native of Southern Africa (the 
specimens in the British Museum having been taken in the 
neighbourhood of Natal), and its name is Lihellula variegata. 

During life the body of this insect is bright red, but after 
death the colour fades so completely that only an ex23erienced 
eye can detect the least trace of the hue that was formerly so 
conspicuous. All entomologists know that our own Dragon 
Flies are similarly disposed to lose their colour, and have 
lamented that the brilliant hues which decked the insects when 
they were taken must inevitably fade into dirty browns and 
blacks. There is no help for it, as far as our present knowledge 
goes. It is possible, by dissection and paint applied internally, 
to retain the colours of the abdomen, but no art has yet been 
discovered by which those of the thorax and head can be 

And even if all these colours could be made durable, nothing 
can replace the wondrous brilliancy of the eyes. In the living 

I'Tj.A.TE -vii. 



insect, the play of light and colour throngh the eyes is like 
that of an opal, supposing the opal to be translucent. Nothing 
of the kind exists after death. By means of the magnifying 
glass the multitudinous lenses of the eyes can be seen, but 
the light, the life, and the glory have departed from them 
for ever. 

So, in this species, it is just possible in the dried specimen to 
see that the colour of the body has once been red, though that 
hue has faded into dusky brown. The upper wings are dark 


Fig. 173. — Libellula variegata. 
(Body red, wings mavbled with brown.) 

brown at the base, and this colour exists as far as the middle 
of the wing, the rest being transparent. The lower wings are 
almost entirely brown, darkening towards the base, and having 
a few transparent patches. 

There are few insects in which there is so much tendency 
towards variation as in the Dragon Flies. Even in our own 
species this peculiarity is very noticeable, but it is especially 
conspicuous in those which come from other parts of the 

The insect which is shown in Fig. 174 affords a good example 
of variation, as, out of a collection of many specimens, there are 
scarcely two that are exactly alike. There is one characteristic 


in wLich they all agree, namely, that each wing has three spots, 
but in the sliape, size, colour, and even the exact position of 
the spots, there is more variety than might have been thought 

Fig. 174. — Libellula pulchella. 
(Wings with three dark spots. ) 

possible with such simple materials. This species is found in 
the Delaware district. 

The Carolina Dragon Fly, which is shown in the illustration 
on the next page, inhabits Florida, and is rather a conspicuous 
insect. There is nothing worthy of special remark in the upper 
wings, but the lower pair has a very large patch of rich brown 
at thf' base, this patch occupying about one-third of the wing, 
and having a boldly-toothed ovitline. The light-coloured patches 
at the base are bright yellow, and contrast admirably with the 
dark brown. 



In looking at the Dragon Flies in a cabinet, or at their por- 
traits in a book, scarcely anyone would see anything to denote 
a power of concealment by means of resemblance to surrounding 
objects. Yet many of the Dragon Flies possess this power in a 
very remarkable degree, and I suppose that it is shared by all 
On the wing, scarcely any insect is so conspicuous as a large 
Dragon Fly, and yet I have often noticed that when at rest, and 
on the watch for prey, scarcely any insect can escape the eye 
more effectually. 

It might be thought tliat the large shining wings, which are 
often decked with bold and conspicuous markings, must make 

Fig. 175. — Libellula Carolina. 
(Wings with brown patch at base.) 

the insect visible wherever it may settle. Yet, to judge by our 
own species, these very cliaracteristics aid the Dragon Fly in its 
temporary and rapid concealment. When engaged in the search 
for prey, the insect always manages to settle upon some object 
with which its wings will harmonize in colour and general out- 
line, a bunch of leaves being a favourite resting-place. There 
it will sit with its legs all drawn together so as to be as little 
conspicuous as possible, and with its motionless wings so com- 
pletely merged into the surrounding objects, that, when the 
insect suddenly dashes into the air, it seems to have started out 
of space into existence. 


There is another peculiarity which is worthy of remark. The 
Dragon Flies prefer for their sport sunshiny days with frequent 
gusts of wind. The warm sunshine attracts into the open air 
the insects on which Dragon Flies feed, and the gusts of wind 
render them an easy prey to their pursuer. Many insects are 
almost helpless in the wind, especially if it should come on by 
fits and starts, while the firm, strong pinions of the Dragon Fly 
render it almost independent of wind, and give it a tremendous 
advantage over its weaker-winged prey. 

We now come to the second group of Dragon Flies, namely, 
the Agrionidse. This name is formed from a Greek word sig- 
nifying something that lives in the open air. 

These insects are very familiar to us on account of the beau- 
tiful species which are so plentiful about our brooks, ditches, 
and ponds. The most conspicuous of them is one of the hand- 
somest of all the Dragon Flies, the male being rich blue, with 
black wings, and the female all shining green. It is generally 
known by the popular name of Demoiselle. Unlike the pre- 
vious group of Dragon Flies, which fly far and wide in search of 
prey, most of the Agrionidse of this country confine themselves 
to the vicinity of the water in which they had passed their 
larval and pupal stages, so that any entomologist who wishes to 
capture these pretty insects may feel tolerably sure of success 
if he hunts along the water-side. 

The lovely insect shown in Fig. 176, which is appropriately 
called Ewplima splcncUns, is a native of India. The generic name 
Euplicea is composed of two Greek words signifying something 
that is beautiful in appearance, and the Latin specific name 
sphndens explains itself. 

At first sight, if viewed directly from above, the insect 
appears to be entirely brown, and requires a rather strong side- 
light to bring out all its beauties. When so viewed, the upper 
wings still retain their brown hue, but the lower pair flash out 
into vivid metallic green. The brilliancy of this colour is in- 
creased by the structure of the Aving, the surface of which is 
formed into innumerable parallel ridges that break up the light, 
and give a singular richness of effect to the green hue. All 
the wings are transparent and colourless at their bases. 



Several other species of this genus are remarkable for their 
beauty. There is, for example, UupJura tricolor, of Borneo, in 
which the wings are crimson, blue, and green, according to the 
light in which they are viewed. Then, Euphcea refulgens is of 

Fig. 176. — Euphsa splenden.'!. 

(Lower wings metallic green.) 

equal though more delicate beauty, the wings being shining, 
opalescent, and looking exactly as if they had been made of 
very thin flakes of mother-of-pearl. 

Both names of the insect whose portrait is given on the 
next page are very appropriate, though not altogether classical. 

The generic name Mcgaloprepiis is formed from two Greek 
v.'ords, the former signifying " greatness," and the latter ' con- 
spicuousness." As may be seen from the illustration, in which, 
for want of space, only one side of the insect is fully drawn, this 
is a very large creature, or rather it spreads over a very large 
space. No more material is used in its structiire than in that 
of the Dragon Flies, which have been already described. But 
that material is so attenuated, both in length and width, that 
the insect which is formed from it is really a large and 
important one. 

A more conspicuous insect can hardly be imagined. Its head 



and thorax are of no great size, and if those portions of the body 
alone were seen, anyone would attribute them to a Dragon Fly 
of ordinary size, scarcely larger than our own blue and green 

But the abdomen is drawn out to such a wonderful length, 
being nearly six times as long as the head and thorax together, 
and the wings are so wide and ample, that it is really wonderful 
how the small thorax can contain muscular power sufficient to 

Fig. 177. — Megaloprepus brevistigma. 
(Dark bniwn patch on the wings.) 

work these enormous wings, to sustain the leverage of the long 
abdomen, to control the powerful and tightly-clinging legs, and 
yet to atiord sufficient space for the all-permeating air-vessels, 
the gullet — which is in constant requisition— and the great 
nerve-centres which supply all the body with sensation and 
motive power. No one who has not been in the habit of dis- 
secting insects can appreciate even the mechanical difficulties 



which are here overcome; and the best mechanician that the 
world has known must stand humbly amazed before such an 
astonishing application of mechanics to a mere insect. 

The wings are translucent, with the exception of a broad 
waving band of dark brown near the tip. Perhaps the reader 
may have noticed, and if he be an entomologist he must know, 
that Dragon Flies have upon the outer edge of the upper wings 
an oblong black spot. This spot is technically called the 
" stigma," and by its shape and position is extremely useful in 
distinguishing one species from another. In the present insect 
the stigma is situated almost at the tip of the wing, and is very 
short, thus gaining for the species the name of hrcvistigma, or 
" short stigma." The insect is a native of Bogota. 

Fig. 17S.— Mecistogaster ornatus. 
(Wings tinged with yellow at tips.) 

The insect whose portrait is here given was brought by Mr. 
Dates from Para, on the Amazon Pdver. 


During life the general hue is yellow, and even after death the 
yellow stripes upon the thorax are plainly visible. The wings 
are coloured after a rather curious fashion. They are translucent 
for nearly two-thirds of their length, and then become gradually 
tinged with yellow. Across the tips runs a bold dark line, and 
the extreme tip of the wing beyond this dark line is opaque 
chrome yellow. 

The speciiic name ornatiis, or " ornamented," refers to the 
coloured wings, while the generic name Mecistogaster signifies a 
very long abdomen, and is given to the insect in allusion to the 
strncture of that part of the body. 



AVe how come to a family of insects which has many points 
of resemblance to the Dragon Flies, though those resemblances 
are rather apparent than real. This faniily comprises those 
insects which are popularly known as Ant Lions, and scien- 
tifically as Myrmeleonidae, this word literally signifying '■ Ant 
Lion." None of these insects have been found alive in England. 

Bearing some external resemblance to the Dragon Flies, these 
insects have, nevertheless, very many points in which they 
differ. In the first place they possess antennae, which is not 
the case with the Dragon Flies, and in the next they pass their 
larval and pupal state on land, breathing atmospheric air by 
means of tracheae or air-tubes, whereas the Dragon Flies undero-o 
those changes in the water, and breathe by means of gills. 

In habits the perfect insect differs greatly from the Dragon 
Flies. As everyone knows, the Dragon Flies are essentially 
creatures of the day, exulting in the sunsliine, and always 
making their appearance in the bright summer weather. The 
Ant Lions, on the contrary, are creatures of the dusk, scarcely 
ever being seen on the wing by day, and resting during the 
hours of light among the thickest foliage, where their sombre 
colouring renders them perfectly secure from detection. 

The chief interest of these insects lies in their larval state, 
and it is in this stage of development only that the name of 
Ant Lion is rightly applicable to the creature. On Plate VII. 
Fig. 4 is a figure of one of these remarkable larvae. It is flat, 
wide-bodied, and is very sluggish in its movements, the slender 
legs only serving to push it slowly backwards. Indeed, M. 
PLcaumur found that if the legs were cut off, the larva could 
move nearly as fast as when it . possessed all its limbs, the 
rings of the abdomen forming the chief motive power. 


Were the creature a vegetable feeder, such an inability to 
move would not interfere with its capability of obtaining 
nourishment, for many well-known larvae, especially the mud- 
feeders, have no locomotive power, nor do they require it, their 
food being at their mouths. The Ant Lion larva, however, is 
carnivorous and predacious, feeding entirely upon living insects, 
and unless we knew its habits, we should not be able to under- 
stand how it could obtain its food. Its mode of life, however, 
has been so completely investigated by M. Reaumur and other 
observers, that its peculiar structure is seen to be exactly 
what is required for the capture of living and active insects. 
In fact, E^aumur has done for the Ant Lion larva exactly 
what Waterton did for the sloth, and has shown that so far from 
being a bungled performance of Nature, as some foolish persons 
designated it, the whole of its structure is admirably adapted 
to its peculiar position in the world. 

Being, as has been said, incapable of movement, except back- 
wards, and then very slowly, it is evident that tlie creature 
cannot catch its prey by running after it, but must wait for 
insects to come within its reach. Now, there are few square 
inches of ground over which many insects do not run in the 
course of the day, so that the problem is not the bringing of the 
insects to the vicinity of the Ant Lion, but of rendering them 
incapable of escaping from it. This problem is solved in the 
following manner : — - 

Choosing some portion of ground that is covered with fine 
dry sand, the Ant Lion begins to push itself backwards in a 
circular direction, so as to make a shallow furrow. By means 
of inaking a succession of these furrows, or rather by excavating 
one spiral furrow, and throwing out tlie sand with its broad 
head, the larva makes a conical pit of no great depth, but with 
very loose sides. When this pit is finished, the Ant Lion buries 
itself in the sand at the bottom, leaving nothing but its enormous 
jaw^s exposed. Should a luckless insect approach the edge of 
the pit, the loose sand gives way, and down goes the insect 
with a small avalanche of sand, into the very jaws of the 
expectant Ant Lion. 

The jaws are very curiously constructed. The reader is 
probably aware that in insects there are two sets of jaws, the 
outer being called "mandibles," and the inner "maxillse." 


These can be very well seen in any of our large beetles, 
especially the Tiger or the Ground Beetles. In tlie Ant Lion 
larva the mandibles are sickle-shaped, and rather deeply grooved 
on the inner edge. Within this groove the niaxillse play, so 
that when an insect is seized with the mandibles, the maxillae 
set to work at extracting its juices. A short time generally 
suftices to suck an insect as dry as a squeezed orange, and when 
this is done, the emptied carcase is flung out of the pit by a 
jerk of the head, and the interior of the pitfall having been 
cleared of the falling sand in a similar manner, the trap is ready- 
set for more victims. 

It has been said that if an insect should elude the nmrderous 
jaws and try to escape by scrambling up the sides of the pit, 
the Ant Lion brings it down again by throwing showers of sand 
on it. This I believe to be somewhat of an exaggeration, as it 
is not likely that the larva would be able to fling the sand with 
any definite aim. I am rather inclined to think that as the 
captive insect, in its attempts to escape, must cause some of the 
sand to fall into the pit, the Ant Lion instinctively flings it out, 
so that some of it may accidentally fall on the insect, and in 
that case would certainly bring it within reach of the jaws. 

Mr. Westwood remarks that the Ant Lion larva is capable of 
existing without food for a long time, one of his specimens 
having lived for six months without any nourishment whatever. 
This is to be expected, as the supply of nourishment must neces- 
sarily be very precarious ; so that on a fine, still, hot day, for 
example, a considerable number of insects may fall into the pit, 
while, during a succession of wet or windy days, not one insect 
will come out of their hiding-places. 

The following account of a West Indian species of Ant Lion is 
taken from j\Ir. Gosse's " Naturalist's Sojourn in Jamaica: " 

"One of the old buildings, now fast going to decay, on Blue- 
fields Estate, was, in the time of sugar cultivation, the mill-house. 
The wheel was turned by water power — a stream from the upper 
part of the rivulet having been led through a long aqueduct into 
the mill, and passing off through a deep and narrow trench to 
the lower course of the river. Through this winding trench, cut 
to a depth of fifteen or twenty feet, but not more than a yard 
wide, and now so entirely choked up and overgrown with rank 
vegetation as to be quite dark, access is with some difiicultv 


obtained to the basal floor of the mill, which is covered with a 
layer of impalpable sand — tlie residuum, no doubt, of the water 
that shot upon it when the wheel was in operation. The floor- 
ing planks of the upper level have been removed, leaving only 
the rafters ; and the walls of the mill consist now of scarcely 
more than the posts and beams, so that sufficient light descends 
to the lower level notwithstanding its depth. 

" Here I found many little conical pits in the flne sand, which 
upon examination proved to be the traps formed by the grubs of 
a species of Ant Lion (Myrmcleon) and inhabited by them. The 
appearance of the crafty insect, its motionless vigilance at the 
bottom of its den, the curved tubular jaws expanded to their 
utmost stretch, and the broad body concealed in the sand ; the 
alertness displayed when an unfortunate ant slipped over the 
edge, the struggles of the prey to escape, the reiterated showers 
of sand vigorously cast up from the head of the expectant Giant 
Grim, and falling on the miserable victim ; and the slow but 
sure sliding down of the latter, until the formidable jaws closed 
upon it — I observed with intense pleasure, not only for the 
interest attached to so curious an example of insect cunning, 
but also for that of repeating observations long ago made in 
a distant part of the world, and, no doubt, on another species. 
The manners of these Jamaican Ant Lions agreed minutely with 
those of the Myrnuleon formicariiis of the South of France, 
as recorded by the accurate Eeaumur. 

" The singularity of the spot chosen in this case for the exhi- 
bition of ^% stratagem strikes one at first sight : but, on reflec- 
tion, we perceive that this very circumstance is but a further 
display of unerring instinct; for the frail pits on which the 
insect's success depends would be filled up and effaced by a 
breath of wind, spoiled by a shower of rain, and destroyed, with 
their ingenious architects, by a passing footstep of man or beast. 
The depth of this locality was a protection against the flrst 
contingency, its inaccessibility precluded the last, while rain 
was kept off by the remaining roof of the building ! 

" How inexhaustible are the resources of Divine wisdom, when 
the outgoings of it in the meanest insects are so wonderful ! 

" I took two or three of the grubs into the house, and put 
them into a small box partially filled with sand, hoping to 
witness the construction of the pitfall. They soon began to 


work, proceeding backward, and shovelling the sand exactly as 
described, but only in irregular lines, leaving one after it had 
proceeded for some distance, and beginning another; so that 
they did not make even one complete circle. I was called to 
a distance, however, and the insects were thrown away. The 
species was probably M. Leachii, of which I have taken a 
single specimen near Bluefields — the only one I ever met with 
in a perfect state. 

" This rarity of the imago, contrasting with the abundance 
of the larva, of this insect, has been noticed by Guilding in 
St. Vincent's. He obsei-ves that not a single perfect insect 
had been found by him in a state of liberty, though the larvae 
swarm under every rock or shed calculated to protect their 
pitfalls from the rain and wind." 

In this genus the antennae are extremely fine and are knobbed 
at their tips, so as to bear a close resemblance to the antennae of 
butterflies. When the insect is at rest it assumes a very singular 
attitude, depressing the wings and elevating the abdomen at a 
considerable angle, so as to harmonize in outline with the twigs 
among which it sits. 

When the Ant Lion larva is full-fed, it encloses itself in a 
beautifully made cocoon formed from sand-grains fastened to 
each other with fine silken threads. The walls of the cocoon are 
very slight, and the interior is lined with silk. Considering the 
size of the perfect insect, the length of its abdomen, and the 
wide spread of its wings, the dimensions of the cocoon are very 
small, the diameter rarely exceeding half an inch. As, how- 
ever, is the case with insects in general, the wings are not 
expanded until they have been exposed to the open air ; they 
are easily contained in the diminutive cocoon. 

Still, though we can thus account for the wings, we cannot for 
the dimensions of the body, which is about an inch and a half in 
length when the insect is fully developed. The wonder is not 
decreased if the cocoon be opened, for the enclosed pupa will be 
then seen to be very small, scarcely half an inch in length, the 
legs and immature wings folded on the breast. In order to 
understand the manner in which this curious problem is solved, 
we must watch the creature as it escapes from the cocoon. 

The pupa is furnished with a pair of broad, short, stout, saw- 
edged mandibles, not the least like the sickle-shaped jaws of the 

B B 


larva, or the tootli-like jaws of the perfect insect. With these 
weapons it gnaws a hole in the side of the cocoon, and shortly 
afterwards the pupal skin splits along the back. The insect then 
forces itself through the aperture, leaving the cast skin inside 
the cocoon ; and as soon as it has fully extricated itself, the soft 
abdomen rapidly extends to some three times its former length, 
after which the skin becomes hardened, and the abdomen is as 
straight and firm as that of a dragon fly. 

From this brief account the reader will observe that we have 
in the Ant Lion pupa the curious phenomenon of a pair of ex- 
tremely powerful jaws, made simply for the purpose of gnawing 
through the sand-wall of the cocoon, and being used once and 
once only in the creature's life, and then cast aside. 

The central figure on Plate VII. represents a very fine insect^ 
called Palmares Coffer, which, as its specific name denotes, is a 
native of Southern Africa. 

This is a very variable insect in point of colour, and I will 
therefore describe only the specimen from which the illustration 
was drawn. The general colour is pale brown, but on either 
side of the front edge of the thorax there is a patch of bright 
yellow, and the abdomen has a ring of the same colour on the 
lower edge of each segment. On the upper part of the abdomen 
are a number of long, fine hairs, pale brown in colour, and all 
pointing backwards. 

Both pairs of wings are spotted and blotched with brown, but 
the lower pair have the spots much larger, and more decided in 
outline, and darker than the upper wings ; and in all specimens 
the large spots are three in number. Over the rest of the wing 
a number of smaller and paler spots are placed somewhat at 
random, and iu some specimens the upper wings have a decided 
golden yellow tinge. 

There are many species of this genus, found in different parts 
of the world. They all have a very strong family likeness ; and 
as they are exceedingly variable in the shape, number, and 
colour of the spots which variegate the wings, it is no easy 
business to discriminate between the species. Two species, how- 
ever, caU. for a brief notice. One of them is Palpares immensus, 
also a South African insect, being found in Damara Land. Its 
upper wings are most beautifully pencilled with a delicate zigzag 


pattern of black on a ground of shining white slightly tinged 
with yellow. Palpares tigroides, of India, is a very line insect, 
one of the largest of the family, and having the wings adorned 
with a number of pale brown stripes, from which it derives its 
specific name of tigroides, or " tiger-like." 

In this genus there are some very extraordinary insects. 
Such, for example, is Ascalaphus imperatrix, of Western Africa, 
which is shown in the accompanying illustration. 

Fig. 179. — Ascalaphus imperatrix. 
(Wings iridescent.) 

The greater part of the bulk of this insect consists of the 
wings. The male, which is here portrayed, is scarcely larger 
in body than our common Daddy Longlegs, and not much unlike 
that insect in shape. The upper wings are very beautiful. They 
are translucent, but iridescent in the highest degree, glittering 
with every colour of the rainbow as the light plays over them. 

B B 2 


This iridescence is specially brilliant along the outer edge of 
the wing, where a golden hue mixed with crimson seems to 
predominate over the other colours. 

The chief peculiarity of the insect, however, lies in the lower 
wings, which are elongated like two spears with slender shafts 
and broad heads. If examined with a magnifying-glass, the 
general character of the wing is seen to exist even in the very 
narrowest portion of the shaft, the nervures and cells being 
plainly apparent. The widened tips of the wings are rather 
boldly coloured. The extreme tip is opaque greyish white, 
looking as if white paint had been laid on it, this colour ex- 
tending along the inner edge for some little distance. Then 
comes a patch of colourless membranes, and the rest of the wing 
is brown, becoming pale on the shaft. 

One of the most striking of the Ant Lions in point of appear- 
ance is Ascalaphus Kolyranensis, which is shown in Plate VIT., 
Figs. 3 and 4. It is found spread over the warmer parts of 

This is the insect to which reference has already been made, 
as having long and straight antennae, knobbed at the end like 
those of a butterfly. Indeed, so close is the resemblance, that 
at the first glance the insect really looks as if some expert forger 
of insects had taken the antennae of a butterfly and stuck them 
on the head of an Ant Lion. A closer inspection, however, shows 
that in several points the antennae are constructed differently 
from those of the butterfly, the chief distinction being that the 
knobbed ends of the antennae are black and flat. 

This is really a beautiful insect, and, like many others, 
requires a good light in order to make its splendours visible. 
The head is ornamented above with a radiating circlet of dense 
black hairs, and below with a dense tuft of hairs similar in 
length and quality, but bright golden yellow, and having a 
silken lustre. The thorax and abdomen are of a very deep 
purple, so deep as to look black unless viewed by a strong light. 

The upper wings are mostly translucent, but are adorned with 
varied colours. At the base there is a black spot, and then 
comes a large patch of bright yellow. Beyond this is a square 
mark of very dark brown',* and on the upper edge of the wing is 
another, but smaller, patch of pale brown. The lower wings are 


more beautiful than the upper pair, as is often the case with 
insects. The base of the wing is deep shining purple, followed 
by a broad wavy band of yellow. The rest of the wing is pale 
brown, except a nearly circular spot of yellow near the tip. If 
the wings be viewed on the under surface, they will be seen to 
be very glossy and iridescent, with a decided purple gloss 
extending over the whole wing. There is some variation in 
the size and shape of the spots, but the general appearance is 
the same in all specimens. 

•There are many species of this very remarkable genus, 
extending over a considerable portion of the world ; being 
found in Europe, Asia, the West Indies, and Africa. One of 
them, called appropriately Ascalaphus filipennis, a native of 
India, has the lower wings even more narrowed than those of 
the preceding species. The wings, in fact, are reduced to a pair 
of delicate thread-like appendages, which have not the least 
appearance of being wings. Were they removed from the insect 
they might readily be taken for a pair of long and slender 
antennse, and, as they trail behind the body, they look very 
much like legs. Indeed, as the insect is a very small one, it 
bears a most curious resemblance to a gnat, the thread-like 
wings imitating the hinder legs. 

Why the name of Ascalaphus was given to this genus of insects 
I cannot imagine. It is a name which was given by Aristotle 
in his " History of Animals " to some bird which is thought to 
be an owl, and is therefore singularly inappropriate as a name 
for an insect. 

We now come to another family of Neuroptera ; namely, the 
Sialidse. We have several species of Sialidae inhabiting England. 
They always frequent the neighbourhood of water, and may be 
seen in numbers clinging to the trees or foliage near the water- 
side. They are brown in colour, and are generally mistaken for 
moths by non-entomologists. Anglers always welcome them, as 
the fat-bodied female SiaHs forms an excellent bait for various 
fish, the trout being specially fond of them. 

If placed in the water, these insects swim wonderfully well, 
closing their wings and scuttling along at a great pace, leaving 
quite a long wake behind them. In my boyish dajs, moth- 



races, as we called them, used to be a recognised amusement 
during the short time that the Sialis was visible. It is true that 
the race was often spoiled by the intervention of a fish, who 
would quietly rise to the surface of the water and absorb one 
of the competitors ; but this was looked upon as a recognised 
part of the amusement. 

None of the English Sialidee are of any great size, and we 
have nothing that even approaches the gigantic insect which is 

Fig. 180. — Corydalis armata. 
(Pale brown.) 

called Corydalis armata, the largest species at present known to 
entomologists. It is a native of Columbia. The specimen 
which is here shown is a male, and in this sex the principal 
feature is the structure of the jaws. The mandibles of the male 
Corydalis are so long, sharp, powerful, and sickle-shaped, that 
they look as if the creature were an Ant Lion, and had retained 
its larval jaws. As may be seen by reference to the illustration^ 



when the jaws are expanded they look very much like a second 
pair of antennae, and when they are closed they cross each other 
at about one-third of their length from the tips. In the speci- 
mens which I have examined, the left jaw is uppermost when 
they are closed and crossed. In the female the jaws are short 
and stout, and there is as much difference in this respect between 
the sexes as there is between the male and female Stag Beetle. 

All the Sialidse pass their earlier stages of existence in the 
water. The female lays her eggs upon aquatic plants, and the 
larva is a brown, flattish, long-bodied, strong-jawed grub, with a 
number of filamentary gills along the sides, and swimming with 
an undulatory motion. It is very plentiful, and it is easy to 
take some thirty or forty specimens in a single sweep of the net 
among the weeds. 

Of the curious family of Mantispidse no British species are as 
yet known. We have the well-known Snake Flies, or Eaphi- 

PlG. 181. 

-Mantispa grandis. 

diidse, which bear some resemblance to the Mantispidse, espe- 
cially in the prehensile form of the first pair of legs. As may be 
inferred from the name, the Mantispidse bear a close resemblance 


to the Mantidaa, and indeed there are several of the smaller 
Mantidae which so exactly resemble the Mantispidae, that none 
but a practical entomologist would detect the difference between ^ 

That they are predacious is clearly shown by the structure of 
the mouth and the fore-legs. They are found mostly on trees, 
the oak being a special favourite. Although none of this 
family inhabit England, the Mantispidse have a very wide 
range, being found in almost every portion of the world, and 
certainly in all the continents. They are all dull-coloured, and 
rather small insects, that which is above given being a giant 
among its fellows. It is pale brown in colour, and the wings are 
translucent, with the exception of a broad band along the upper 
edge, which is dark brownish yeUow. The raptorial legs are 
very boldly developed, and the others are long and slender. It 
is a native of South Africa, and is taken in the Natal district. 

Now comes that most important family of Neuroptera the 
Termitidae; popularly, though wrongly, called White Ants. 
There are many species of Termes, but all are very much alike 
in their habits. I have therefore selected one species, Te7"mes 
dims, or the Common White Ant, to serve as an example of 
them all. 

These insects are spread over most of the warmer parts of the 
world, and are useful or the reverse according to the amount of 
population. In uninhabited districts the White Ants are valu- 
able beyond price, as, together with the wood-boring beetles, 
they aid greatly in developing the forest-growths. Though they 
can feed upon many substances, they are essentially eaters of 
dead wood, and their powers in this respect are almost incredible. 
Hating light, they always begin their work by boring a hole 
into the object which they are about to attack, and then devour 
the whole of the interior. They never break through the ex- 
terior, but leave a shell scarcely thicker than ordinary paper, so 
that nothing on the exterior indicates the vacuum within. 

When they get into a house, and attack the woodwork, this 
habit of theirs is more than unpleasant, as no one knows 
whether the wood be sound and solid, or hollow and rotten, 
from one day's end to another. It may look sound enough, but 
if struck or pressed the thin shell gives way, and the havoc 



within is disclosed. In the British Museum is an example of 

the ravages of the Termites, which is so 

remarkable that it is here given to the 

reader. The piece of timber in question 

formed the lintel of a door in the 

Government offices at Jamestown. 

It was originally a large square beam, 
but the Termites made their way into it, 
and reduced it to the singular condition 
which is here shown. The manner in 
which the insects have set to work is 
very curious. After boring a hole into 
the beam, they began to eat the softer 
portions of the wood, avoiding for the 
present all the knots, so as to leave them 
projecting exactly as they grew in the 
tree. Having done this, they had begun 
to destroy the knots themselves, by boring 
tunnels into them, so that there is scarcely 
a knot without one or two holes in it. 
When they had proceeded thus far, the 
mischief was discovered and the damaged 
lintel removed and sent to England, as 
an example of the havoc which Termites 
can work. 

Even furniture is not safe, especially if 
it be left undisturbed for a few days. 
Suppose, for example, that these insects 
have found their way into a house, and a 
table has been negligently left without 
having its feet placed in saucers of water. 
The Termites will begin by boring a hole 
through the planking of the floor, and 
into the leg of the table. They will then 
hollow out that table so completely, that 
if a weight be placed upon it there is a 
crash and a smash, and nothing remains 
of the table but a heap of splinters and a 
cloud of dust. 

Several species of Termites exist in 


Fig. Is J— Lintel of Door, 
eaten by Termites. 


the warmer parts of Europe, and at La EocheUe they have 
quite got the upper hand of the inhabitants. IsTot even a 
plank can be left for two days without being riddled by 
these insects, which attack the wooden fences, the stakes to 
which young trees are tied, and even the trees themselves. 
They have quite taken possession of the houses. In the Pre- 
fecture, for example, they have done terrible mischief They 
have burrowed into the woodwork to such an extent that on 
one occasion when a clerk stumbled as he was going down 
stairs, and caught at one of the oak posts of the balustrades, 
his hand went completely into it and was buried up to the 
wrist, the Termites having eaten out all the interior, and left 
nothing but a mere shell scarcely thicker than the paper on 
which this account is printed. There is every reason for be- 
lieving that the Prefecture was the original head-quarters of the 
Termites which were brought from St. Domingo by some rich 
shipowners in the year 1780. Some men were engaged in build- 
ing a house, which was afterwards converted into the Prefecture, 
and the Termites gained admission by having got into some bales 
of goods brought from St. Domingo. But, great as is the incon- 
venience thus caused by these insects, it is as nothing when 
compared with the irreparable damage which they have done to 
the very history of the place. They contrived to reach in their 
silent, darkling ways, the ofl&ce in which were kept the archives 
of the department, and every single paper was destroyed with- 
out anyone knowing it. They did with the bundles of paper 
exactly what they do with timber. They first bored into the 
interior, and then set to work to eat all the paper. But they 
took care not to bore through the upper sheets, nor to cut 
through the edges, so no indication of the mischief was given 
until one day it was discovered tha,t nothing was left of the 
archives except the upper sheets and the edges of the leaves. 

It is no matter of surprise that the Termites are popularly 
called by the name of ants, for they really do possess many 
analogies with the ants, and have many habits in common with 
them. In both insects only the perfect males and females pos- 
sess wings ; the neuters, or undeveloped insects, never having 
even a semblance of wings. Then, even those which are winged 
preserve their wings on a very frail tenure, only use them for a 
short time, and of their own accord pull them oiS" after they have 



achieved the one brief flight of their lives. They live in large 
communities, of which a single female is the centre, and are 
accustomed to act in concert, according to certain signs which 
they all understand. 

Our limited space will not permit more than a mere outline 
of Termite history, but the following are the most salient points 
to be observed in their economy : — 

When the perfect insects have matured their wings, they 
issue into the open air for the first time in their lives, and take 
to flight in such multitudes that the numbers of their milky- 
white wings have been compared to flakes of snow during a 
heavy storm. Myriads upon myriads perish, so numerous are 
the enemies that are in wait for them and the dangers through 
which they have to pass. The insect-eating birds hold high 
revel on them, and man 
himself is one of the most 
inveterate destroyers of 
the Termite, not because 
they do him mischief, but 
because they are so good 
to eat. Not only do the 
aborigines eat the Ter- 
mites, but travellers or 
colonists who have once 
persuaded themselves to 
try them as an article of 
diet are sure to reckon 
these insects among the 
best luxuries of the table. 

Putting aside those which perish, we will follow the career of 
a couple who have managed to evade their enemies and become 
the founders of a new colony. 

When they issue into the air, they are ant-like, pale brown 
insects, with two pairs of very large wings, which, when closed, 
cross each other over the abdomen. The above illustration 
represents the male of the common Termite, Tcrmes dims, 
and the female is almost exactly like him, except that she is 
rather larger and plumper in the body. Supposing a pair of 
these insects to have met while they are on the wing, which is 
the object of these aerial excursions, they descend to the ground. 

Fig. 188.— Termes dirus. 
(Pale brown.) 




when they both lling off their wings, jerking them forward with 
a javelin-sort of twitching movement. Then they move off to 
some sheltered locality ; and if they can lind a spot where there 
is some moist earth, they immediately begin to burrow in it. 

Thus is begun the new colony, and in a short time the foun- 
dress attains the most enormous dimensions. Her head, thorax, 
and legs remain unchanged, but the abdomen swells to such a 
size that the creature looks very much as if the head and limbs 
of a Termite had been attached to the end of a hen's egg. So 
large an insect requires a dwelling of corresponding size, and 
accordingly she is enclosed in a cell made of clay, the interior of 

Fig. 184.— Termes dirus. Female. 
(Pale brown, with grey-white abdomen.) 

which is widened by degrees in order to accommodate her in- 
creasing dimensions. It may seem somewhat of a hardship that 
she should be thus left a prisoner, but in fact there is no hard- 
ship at all, for her body is so enormous that her legs could not 
move it even if she were at perfect liberty. 

She, like the queen-bee, has but one business in life ; namely, 
to lay eggs, which she does perpetually, their numbers being 
counted not only by tens of thousands, but by millions. It is 
evident that, as she cannot move, she is unable to do what the 
queen-bee does ; namely, deposit the eggs in the spots where they 
are wanted. It is also evident that she cannot go in search of 
food, and must therefore be dependent on others. N'ow, the 
Termite colony consists of various ranks, if one may so term 


them, wliich may be roughly divided into three distinct sets. 
First come the queen and her consort, and all those which are 
destined to become perfect males and females. Then comes a 
body of Termites with enormous heads, armed with strong and 
sickle-like jaws. Lastly come the workers ; very much smaller 
and slighter insects, without any weapons of offence. I need 
hardly say that, as the Termites belong to the T^europterous 
insects, none of them have a sting. 

As is implied by the name, the chief labour of the colony is 
carried on by the workers, who outnumber the others many 
times over. It is the workers who feed the queen, find also 
carry off the eggs as fast as they are laid, so as to deposit them 
in spots fit for hatching them. In order to enable them to gain 
access to the queen, the royal cell is pierced all round with a 
number of holes, which look exactly as if they had been bored 
with a bradawl ; and, if a section of the nest be carefully made, 
each of these holes will be seen to communicate directly with 
the central hollow. 

Thus the queen is not only tended, but guarded with the care 
which her office demands : for the whole of the nest, of what- 
ever form it may be, is made of carefully-tempered clay, which 
when dry is nearly as hard as stone, and in the very depths of 
that nest, the royal cell, in itself a strong fort, is situated. So 
important indeed is the queen, that if a Termite colony should 
prove so noxious that it must be destroyed, an experienced 
Termite- killer does not in the least trouble himself to destroy 
in detail the vast army of workers and soldiers. It would, 
indeed, be of little use to do so, for the queen lays such vast 
numbers of eggs that even if some twenty or thirty thousand 
Termites were killed, the loss would soon be made good. Know- 
ing the habits of the insects, the Termite-hunter breaks into the 
nest, searches for the royal cell, and carries it off. From that 
moment the life of the community begins to flag, and in a short 
time the nest, with its multitudinous ramifications, becomes 
deserted, just as does a hive from which the actual and possible 
queens are taken. 

Now for the third kind of Termite; namely, the Soldier. One 
of these soldiers is represented in the illustration on page 382. 
The soldiers take on themselves the defence of the nest and the 
direction of the workers. If a breach be made in the nest, out 


rushes a body of soldiers, with widely-opened jaws, all eager to 
attack the foe, and absolutely incapable of fear. Then other 
soldiers muster long lines of labourers, each carrying a piece 
of clay, and in a wonderfully short time the breach is repaired. 
It is very strange that both the workers and soldiers should be 
absolutely without eyes, and yet able to construct the compli- 
cated edifices for which they are so celebrated. Still, such is 
the case— blind soldiers directing the blind workers by some 
system of signalling which we cannot understand. In propor- 
tion to the labourers the soldiers are very few in number, 
scarcely more than 1 per cent. 

In my collection are some of the specimens from which the 
illustrations were drawn. The enormous head is brown-black, 

hard, horny, and not with the 
strongest light and the best glass 
can the least indication of eyes 
be seen upon any part of the 
head. The large and powerful 
jaws are shining black, and, in 
•l^^^^"!^^'^^^^**^'--' order to allow of free movement, 

Fig. 185.— Temes diius Soldiw. ^^^ gg^ jj^ ^ ygj.y ^^^jy traUSVCrSC 

(Pale brown.) . , >• ,1 i j 

groove m front oi the head. 
The power of these jaws is manifest, even in a dead and dry 
specimen, by viewing it on the under- side. Along the centre 
there is a narrow horny ridge, which contains the muscles for 
moving the secondary pair of jaws, or maxillas. But, on either 
side of the ridge, the head swells out into two pear-shaped 
lobes, each of them nearly as large as the thorax and abdomen 
together. These lobes contain and give support to the muscles 
which move the mandibles, or first pair of jaws, whose size and 
power can be far better seen on the under than on the upper 
surface, where a considerable portion of the base is hidden by 
the projecting front of the head. Compared with the enormous 
head, the legs are quite slender and feeble, and the abdomen, 
even in a fresh state, is comparatively insignificant. 





This order of insects is easily known by the structure of the 
wings. These organs are four in number, membranous, and 
without either scales or hairs. The second pair are always 
smaller than the first, and have not nearly so many veins. 
During flight these two pairs of wings are connected together 
by a series of little hooks, so that they practically form one 
single pair. The mouth is furnished with horny jaws, and the 
females possess an ovipositor, which either takes the form of a 
saw-like instrument, as in the Saw Flies, or a sting, as in the 
bees, wasps, and ichneumon flies. In some cases, as in the 
ants, the wings are not present in all the individuals, and the 
reader will remember that the same is the case with the 
Termites, which have just been described. 

Their number is absolutely enormous, and even in our own 
country from three to four thousand species of Hymenoptera are 
known. In this land they do not attain any great size, our 
largest Hymenopterous insect being the well-known Humble 
Bee, but in various parts of the world some species grow to a 
considerable size, as we shall presently see. 

We begin our account of the Hymenoptera with the Saw Flies, 
so called from the curious structure of the ovipositor. This organ 
is intended for the deposition of eggs in slits which are cut in the 
bark or the leaf-stems of various trees and plants, and is made in 
a very beautiful manner. There are scarcely any two genera of 
Saw Flies in which the ovipositor is made in exactly the same 
manner, so we must content ourselves with a general description. 

c c 


At the end of the abdomen, and on the under side, is a pair 
of horny plates, each edged with teeth like those of a saw. The 
plates curve slightly upwards, and each slides backwards and 
forwards in a groove sunk in another horny plate, which thus 
serves both as a support and a guide. As the saw has to be 
employed in cutting green wood, it cannot be made simply by a 
flat plate edged with teeth, like the saws with which dry timber 
is cut. Each saw is rather thick, and the teeth are arranged 
very much like those on the back of a sapper's sword. On a 
closer examination with the microscope the teeth are seen to be 
further elaborated, each separate tooth being a conical cutting 
instrument with some eight or ten sharp edges. And in order to 
secure a wide groove, or "kerf" as carpenters call it, the edges 
of the saws are furnished with a sharp zigzag projection, some- 
thing resembling a knife-blade that has been folded in this form, 
/\/\/\/\/\/, and fixed with its back against the side of 

the saw. 

When used the saws are worked alternately, so that a wide 
groove is cut in a very short time. Having thus performed the 
office of the saw, they then assume that of the ovipositor, the 
blades diverging so as to permit the passage of an egg, which is 
then placed in the groove. A small drop of some irritant fluid 
follows the egg, and causes the edges of the groove to swell, and 
so enclose the egg firmly between them. Here it is kept until 
the time for hatching, when the young grub crawls out, and 
betakes itself to the leaves for its subsistence. In our own 
country these insects are often very injurious, the worst of them 
all being the dreaded Turnip Fly (Athalia centifolice), whose 
grey-black grubs are so well known under the name of Niggers. 

We will take a few specimens of these curious insects, and 
mention a few of their peculiarities as we proceed. The species 
which is shown on the next page is found in the neighbourhood 
of Hudson's Bay, and derives its specific name from the shape 
of the clypeus, which is triangular in the male sex. The head 
is black and shining, and the thorax and base of the abdomen 
are also black, but covered with short grey hairs. The rest of 
the abdomen is dark chestnut with a yellowish tinge. The 
thighs are black, and the rest of the legs yellow, and the wings 
ar^ aU yellow and glossy. 

This is a very large genus, and in the British Museum are a 


vast number of species, one of the most remarkable of which is 
Cimhex variabilis, also found near Hudson's Bay. This insect 
is so exceedingly variable that its definition as a species must 
have been most difficult. Some specimens are black, with the 
abdomen white, except a black stripe along the centre. Others 
are coloured after the same fashion, excepting that mahogany 
brown takes the place of the black. Others are almost wholly 
white, while some are black, with white or yellow stripes along 
the sides. 

The larvae belonging to this genus have twenty-two feet ; 
namely, six on the thorax, fourteen on the abdomen, and two 
on the last segment. When touched they have the power of 

Fig. 186.— Cimbex triangulum. 
(Black, last portion of the abdomen chestnut.) 

spurting from little holes along their sides a greenish iiuid, pro- 
bably acting as a defence against enemies. Some allied species 
have this secretion so abundant and so viscid that it perpetually 
exudes, and when the creature is at rest makes it look just like 
a lump of slime. 

These larvae are found on the upper surface of the leaves. 
When they have finished feeding, they spin an oval cocoon of 
very tough and parchment-like material, in which they pass 
through the pupal stage. This stage is a very brief one, but 
that of the larva is very long, the creature retaining its larval 
form for a considerable period after it has completed the cocoon. 

As is the case with many insects, there is a considerable 
distinction in the antennae of the two sexes in the genus of 
which an example is given on the next page. It is a native of 

c c 2 


Australia, and is a very beaiitiful insect. The head, thorax, and 
upper part of the abdomen are shining blue, like the surface of a 
watch-spring ; and the middle of the body, the scutellum, and a 
small patch on either side in front of the wings, are bright, 
shining yellow. In the male insect the antennae take the beau- 
tiful form which is here 
shown. There are about 
twenty joints, and each 
joint is furnished with 
an appendage, longest in 
the middle of the an- 
tennae, and shortening 
gradually towards the tip. 
As the light shifts about, 
the shadows play back- 
wards and forwards along 
the antennas in a very 
beautiful manner. A very 
similar structure of the antennae is seen in the Ehipidocera, 
which has been described on page 168. This beautiful struc- 
ture exists only in the male, the antennae of the female being 
quite simple and thread-like. 

One species, Pterygophoms cyaneus, is all blue, just like a 
blue-bottle fly. 

The insect which is here drawn is new to science, and is one 

Fig. 187.— Pterygophorus interruptus. 
(Shiniug blue and yellow.) 

Fig. 18S. — Tenthredo coocinocerus. (New species.) 
(Green and blue.) 

of a great number of unnamed species of Tenthredo now in the 
British Museum. It is a native of Darjeeling, in India. 



This is a really splendid insect. The head and thorax are 
metallic green, just like green foil, and the abdomen is bur- 
nished blue, glossed with green. The legs are of the same 
colour as the abdomen, and the antennae are purple, for which 
reason I have given it the specific name of coccinocerus, or 
"purple-horn." The wings are brownish, but glossed with 

Our last example of the Saw Flies is the Derecyrta pictipennis. 
The example which is here drawn is in the British Museum, 
and was brought from Ega, in the Amazons, by Mr. Bates. 

It is a pretty though not a splendid insect, and derives its 
beauty quite as much from the wings as from the body. The 
head is shining and black, looking very much like a little black 

Fig. 189. — Derecyrta pictipennis. 
(Yellow and brown.) 

glass bead. The thorax is yellow, and so is the abdomen, with 
the exception of a black tip. The wings are mostly brown, but 
there is a broad yellow patch across the centre, and another, of 
a similar colour, near the base. The lower wings are coloured 
in a very similar manner, except that they are more translucent 
than the upper pair. 

Another group now comes before us, namely, the Uroceridse. 
This word literally signifies " horn-tailed," and is given to the 
insects because the ovipositor projects from the end of the 
abdomen like a short stout horn. At first sight no organs 
appear to be more unlike each other than the ovipositor of the 
Uroceridse and that of the Saw Flies. A careful examination, 


however, shows that not only are they identical in their parts, 
though the structure of those parts is modified, but that the 
double saw of the Saw Flies, the horn-like projection of the 
Uroceridse, the long hair-like ovipositor of the ichneumon flies, 
and the envenomed sting of the bees and wasps, are but 
slightly modified variations of the same organ. 

It is impossible to give a full description of so complex 
and beautifully-made a structure as the ovipositor of the 
Hymenoptera without the aid of many illustrations, and I must 
therefore only mention the salient points. 

As the insects are not required to cut notches into soft wood, 
as is the case with the Saw Flies, the powerful saws are not 
needed, and are modified into two small spiculse, in which the 
notches or teeth are still preserved, though they are too small 
for actual use. The two horny plates which strengthen the 
saws are soldered together, so as to support the central boring 
instrument. This is a really wonderful piece of mechanism, 
and I may as well here repeat the description given in my 
" Insects at Home," and taken from the ovipositor of our fine 
English species, Urocerus (or Sirex) gigas. It is scarcely needful 
to observe that this organ is only possessed by the female 
, insect. 

"I very strongly recommend any of my readers who may 
obtain a female insect to disengage the actual borer from its 
two-bladed sheath, and examine it with the aid of a microscope. 
A half-inch object-glass will give quite sufficient power. It is 
straight and stiff, but elastic, as if made of steel, and, if bent, will 
spring back to its proper form with the elasticity of a Toledo 
rapier. In form it somewhat resembles the instrument known 
technically as a ' rymer,' except that the edges are rounded, and 
not square. But the borer possesses an auxiliary cutting appa- 
ratus which places it far above the rymer in point of efficacy. 

" Even with an ordinary magnifying lens, it is easy to see that 
the end of the borer is developed into a sharp head very much 
resembling that of a boarding-pike, and that the outline of the 
shaft is broken into a series of notches. The half-inch glass, 
however, discloses a marvellous example of mechanical excel- 
lence. The head of the borer is then seen to be armed with 
long sharp teeth, slightly curved inwards, and acting just as 
does the carpenter's ordinary centre-bit. 


" So much for the head of the borer : we will now turn to the 
shaft. It appears that in order to make a clean-cut hole for 
the reception of the egg, the shaft of the borer has to finish the 
task which the head begins. Accordingly, it is armed on each 
of its sides with a series of hard sharp-edged ridges, running 
diagonally across it, and acting exactly as do the sharp ridges of 
a coffee-mill. A more effective implement could not have been 
invented, and the various boring instruments of modern days, 
however novel they may appear to be, are in reality formed on 
exactly the same principle as the borer of the Sirex, though 
perhaps they may not carry out their object with such 

The TJroceridse all deposit their eggs in trees, the ovipositor 
first boring a tolerably deep hole, and then placing an egg at its 
further extremity. As soon as the egg is hatched, the young 
larva makes its way into the trunk of the tree, where it resides 
for a considerable time, and causes much damage to the timber 
by its perforations. Even in this country, where the Uroceridse 
are comparatively scarce, whole plantations of fir-trees have 
been very seriously injured, and in some cases the timber was 
so filled with perforations that it was useless except for 

There is much doubt among entomologists whether any of 
the Uroceridse are genuine inhabitants of this country. A vast 
amount of fir timber is annually imported, and in that timber 
great numbers of the larvae have been known to exist. Con- 
sequently, when they emerge in the perfect state and fly into 
the open air, they instinctively search for growing fir-trees, and 
proceed to deposit their eggs upon them. Another doubt exists, 
or rather has existed, respecting these insects, some ento- 
mologists thinking that the larvae do not feed upon the wood, 
but upon the larvae of wood-eating beetles that had taken pos- 
session of the tree. This conjecture is now considered to be 
groundless, and it is certain that the structure of the head and 
jaws is exactly such as would be required by a wood-boring 
insect. Indeed, the larva of this insect looks almost exactly like 
that of a wood-eating beetle. 

There is a curious point in the structure of the larval jaws. 
Both are strong, horny, rather square in form, and armed with 
several teeth and a large horny lobe. But one is compressed 



and the other depressed, i.e. one is flattened as if pinched side- 
ways, and the other as if pressed downwards, so that their mode 
of action must be very remarlcable. 

The fine insect which is given as an example of this group of 
Hymenoptera is a native of North America. It is not only con- 
spicuous on account of its size, but for the beauty of its colour- 
ing. The wings are brown glossed with blue, and the abdomen 
is bright golden yellow, over which are drawn five bands of 
purple, so deep that it looks black unless a strong light is 
brought to bear upon it. The head and thorax are yellowish 
brown, very much granulated, the colour being darker in the 
middle of the thorax than on the sides. The under surface is 
black, and the legs are yellow. 

Fio. 190.— Tremex Colomba. 
(Purple and yellow.) 

As is the case with the British species, this is a most variable 
insect in point of size, some specimens being not much more 
than half the length of the others, the difference in size being 
exactly that of a stout man of six feet high and a weazened 
dwarf of three feet. In the collection of the British Museum 
are great numbers of allied species, not differing materially from 
those of our own country. 



The large group of Hymenoptera which comes next in order is 
almost wholly parasitic in its character — most of the species 
feeding, while in the larval state, on the bodies of other insects. 
There are, however, many which obtain their subsistence from 
plants, which are wounded by the mother insect and are deve- 
loped into the curious growths which are popularly called galls. 
The arrangement of these insects is singularly intricate, and in 
many points still affords objects of controversy to systematic 
entomologists. We will therefore content ourselves with a 
general rather than a detailed view of those remarkable insects, 
and place them under the comprehensive name of Ichneumonidae. 

Many of these insects deposit their eggs within the bodies of 
larvae that are buried either in wood or in the earth. Anyone 
would think that the grub of a wood-boring beetle, or the cater- 
pillar of a wood-boring moth, would be quite safe from any 
external enemies, so long as it remained concealed within the 
timber. The Ichneumon Flies, however, are able, by some mys- 
terious instinct, not only to discover the exact locality of the 
hidden larva, but in spite of all obstacles to deposit their eggs 
within it. Slight and delicate as is the ovipositor in many 
species, the actual borer being scarcely thicker than a hair, it 
can make its way even through thick wood, and thus act as 
a channel through which the e^g is conveyed to its destination. 
The movement by which this operation is conducted is exactly 
that which is employed by a carpenter when using a brad-awl. 

Without going further into details, we will proceed to the 
examination of the insects which have been selected as typical 
examples of this vast group. 



Australia possesses many remarkable species of Ichneumon 
Flies, one of which is the Megalyra Shuckardi, which is here 
shown of the natural size. 

The general colour of this insect is black. The head and 
thorax are deeply pitted or granulated, very much like the end 
of a lady's thimble, and are variegated here and there by little 
patches of short white hairs, the most conspicuous of which are 
on the two lower angles of the thorax. The abdomen is smooth, 
shining black, with the exception of the tufts of white hairs 
which project from beneath the segments on each side, and are 

Fio. 191.— Megalyra Shuckardi. 
(Black, with patches of white hair.) 

exceedingly conspicuous. The wings are dark brown in the 
middle, and become rather paler towards the edges. 

The ovipositor of the female insect is exceedingly long, and 
is composed of three distinct parts ; namely, the actual borer, 
which occupies the centre, and a pair of sheatlis which serve to 
protect it when not in use. The colour of the borer is pale 
brown, and that of the sheaths nearly black. Long as they are, 
they are so slender that the three together are scarcely so thick 
as a single horsehair. When the insect has been dead for some 
little time, the parts of the ovipositor are apt to separate and 
to fall into a lyre-like form ; and it is in consequence of this 


propensity that Mr. Westwood gave to the genus the name of 
Megalyra, or " large lyre." , 

Formidable as this instrument looks, it is really quite harm- 
less, and, though it can pierce through living timber, cannot 
produce any injurious effect upon the human skin. Unlike the 
sting of the bee or wasp, it is not connected with any reservoir 
of poison, its only use being to introduce the egg into the body 
of the hidden larva. Many of these insects will, when seized, 
bend the abdomen and bring the end of the ovipositor against 
the hand. The movement is, however, nothing more than a 
menace, and the worst that the insect can do is that a slight 
prick may be felt. Acting on a similar principle, our common 
ringed snake will strike at an assailant as fiercely as if it were 
armed with venomous fangs, and wear so threatening an aspect 
that even those who know its harmless character cannot avoid a 
momentary shock. 

The male of this species is a very curious creature. Of course 
he does not possess the ovipositor, but the strangest thing is 
that he hardly possesses any wings. This is quite a reversal of 
the usual system. All who have even a slight acquaintance 
with entomology are aware that in many insects the male 
possesses wings while the female is wingless. 

The reason for this variation of structure is clearly shown by 
Mr. "Westwood : — " An exceedingly interesting species has been 
communicated to me by M. Audouin, which he discovered to be 
parasitic in the provisioned nests of Odynerus, Anthophora, and 
Osmia. The male has most singular antennae, and minute rudi- 
ments of wings, so that it does not quit the cell; but the female is 
enabled, by means of her full-sized wings, to seek other cells for 
her progeny. Mr. F. Smith pointed out to me that the nervures 
of the wings are arranged somewhat differently in the two sexes, 
the rudimental wings of the male possessing a petiolated cell 
which does not exist in the fully developed wing of the female." 

Another species, Megalyra fascipennis, also an Australian 
insect, is much of the same size and colour, except that there 
are no patches of white hairs, and that the wings are pale, with 
a broad dark bar across the middle. 

In the insects belonging to the genus Pelecinus, a very 
singidar structure will be observed. Instead of having a short 



abdomen and a long ovipositor, the abdomen is exceedingly long, 
and the ovipositor short. The abdomen, indeed, is lengthened 
so greatly, that at a hasty glance the insect looks exactly like a 
Dragon Fly. In this respect it bears a singular contrast to the 
Evanias, which seem to be all thorax and hind-legs, the abdomen 
being a mere insignificant little appendage to the large thorax. 
The insects inhabit North America, and in some districts are 
exceedingly common. The specimen which is here figured was 
brought from Trenter Falls, New York, by Mr. Doubleday. 

Fig. 192.— Polecinus polylnrator. 
(Shining black.) 

On looking at any of these insects, it is evident that the long 
abdomen answers the same purpose as the long ovipositor, and 
that it enables the insect to deposit its eggs in the body of some 
larva which it could not otherwise reach. A visitor to the 
British Museum lately said that in the pine forests of Canada 
the Pelecini absolutely swarmed, and that hundreds of them 
might be found on the trunks of the trees dead and stiff, with 
their abdomen thrust deeply into the burrow made by some 
wood-boring insect. In some places they were so numerous 
that a dozen or so could be swept off by a single stroke of the 
hand down the tree-trunk. This characteristic anecdote at once 



establishes the exceeding value of the Pelecini in saving the 
pine forests from insect destroyers, and shows how wonderfully 
the balance of Nature is preserved as long as man does not 

The colour of the insect is shining black, and the wings are 
generally translucent, though in some specimens a few dark 
blotches are seen, varying exceedingly in depth of colour, size, 
and position. The very remarkable hind-legs must not pass 
unnoticed, the tibia swelling into a pear-like form, and the 
whole limb being exceedingly long if contrasted with the head 
and thorax, though short when compared with the abdomen. The 
name Felecinus literally means " a pelican," and why it should 
be applied to the insect is more than I can understand. 

One more point must be mentioned. Everything in Nature 
has its uses. The female Megalyra has a long ovipositor 
because she is needed to lay 
eggs in deeply hidden larvse. 
The male performs no such 
task, and consequently has no 
ovipositor. In the present in- 
stance, the greatly elongated 
abdomen only belongs to the 
female, that of the male being 
short and club-shaped. 

As to the typical genus Ich- 
neumon, it is so vast, and con- 
tains such multitudes of species, 
that the mere sight of the crea- 
tures is enough to make anyone 
recoil in despair from them. 
Take, for example, the collec- 
tion at the British Museum. A 
positive army of Ichneumons 
is already arranged, while there 
are multitudes awaiting their 
turn for being named and 
classified. None are large, while some are exceedingly minute 
— being so small that they are fixed on cardboard, the finest pin 
being too coarse for their tiny bodies. 

Fig. 193. — Iflineuiuon arrogator. 
(Black and yellow.) 



The species selected for illustration is on account of its being 
one of the largest of the group, and so gives a good idea of the 
general form and structure of these insects. Its colour is almost 
entirely black, but the basal part of the abdomen is yellow, this 
colour extending to some two-thirds of its length. The wings 
are dark brown and rather shining. It is remarkable that, 
although this genus is so enormous, there is scarcely any range 
of colour, the hues being nothing but black, grey, and yellow ; 
and even the last mentioned hue being of a dull nature. 

The present species is a native of Albania. 

The fine insect from which the accompanying illustration 
was drawn is in the British Museum, and, as far as is known, 
is an unique specimen. It was brought from Natal. 

Fig. 194.— Scolobates (?). 
(Black ; wings glossed with purple.) 

Independent of its size, which is quite gigantic for one of the 
Ichneumons, it is a singularly handsome insect. The head and 


"body are black, and so is the abdomen, the latter being clothed 
with a coat of short, soft, dense pile, which makes it look exactly 
as if it had been cut out of the finest black silk velvet. The 
legs are black, with the exception of the tibia, which are pale 

The chief beauty of the insect, however, lies in the wings, 
which are ample, very shining, and, when viewed from above, 
seem to be simply brown. When, however, a strong side-light 
is thrown upon them, they flash out into the most brilliant 
purple, as if they had been made of purple mother-of-pearl. The 
ovipositor is exceedingly long, and much stouter than is gene- 
rally the case, the two portions which form the sheath being 
each of them as thick as the entire ovipositor of the Megalyra. 

The reader will perceive that a note of interrogation is placed 
after the generic name Scolobates. This is done because the 
insect has not as yet been examined and its place in nature 
settled. All that is known is, that it is at all events allied to 
the genus Scolobates, even if it does not belong to it, and it has 
therefore been provisionally attached to that genus. 

The well-known genus Pimpla has many foreign representa- 
tives, of which the species here figured is a conspicuous example. 

Fig. 195. — Pinipla intricatoria. 
(Black, with yellow spots.) 

It is very simple in colouring, the body and abdomen being 
shining black, with a few short streaks of bright yellow upon 


the sides of the abdomen, and some spots of the same colour 
on the thorax. The wings are quite translucent, except that 
on the top of the upper wings there are two black spots, as 
shown in the illustration. It inhabits Australia. 

All the Ichneumonidse are liable to great variation in point 
of size, and in none of them is this variation so extreme as 
in the genus Pimpla. Even in the present species, the variation 
is so great that none but an entomologist would think that 
insects so apparently distinct could possibly belong to the same 

The reason for this difference is simple enough. In its larval 
stage the young Ichneumon feeds upon the larva of some other 
insect, the victim not being visible to the mother Ichneumon, 
and therefore permitting no choice. It may be that she happens 
to hit upon a large and well-fed larva, in which the young one 
finds ample nourishment, and is enabled to reach the fullest 
development of which the species admits. But she may happen 
to hit upon the larva of some small insect, and in that case it is 
•evident that the amount of nourishment must be circumscribed. 

Now, it always happens with insects, that even though they 
are stinted of food while larvae, they are not debarred from 
attaining the perfect form, although in such cases they are not 
half as large as those which have been more fortunate. In fact, 
I believe that with insects, whether British or foreign, all varia- 
tions in size are occasioned by the amount of food which they 
obtain in the larval state. 

On the next page we have another example of the Ichneumons 
with long ovipositors. 

Even in the present species the length of that organ is very 
remarkable, but there are some species in which it is very much 
longer in proportion to the size of its owner. The most astonish- 
ing of these insects is one that has not yet been described, and 
which is in the collection of the British Museum. In this 
species the basal half of the abdomen is yellow, and the rest 
black. Mr. F. Smith kindly measured it, and found that while 
the length of the insect from the head to the end of the tail 
is barely one inch, that of the ovipositor is six inches and a 
half. I wish that I could have introduced a portrait of this 
.^aost remarkable insect, but, inasmuch as the illustration must 



have been at least eight inches in length, of which six and a 
half are occupied by three liair-like lines, such an illustration 
would have been nothing but a waste of the space which we can 
so ill afford. 

This insect was brought from Bogota, and has not yet been 

The present species has only recently found a place among the 
arrangements of the British Museum. It was brought from the 

Fio. 196 — Rhyssa nobilitator. 
(Black and yellow.) 

Celebes by Mr. Wallace, who has done so much toward enrich- 
ing our collections. Its colour is light yellow and shining black, 
arranged in the peculiar pattern shown in the illus'tratiou' 
There are some species of Rhyssa inhabiting China. They much 
resemble the Celebes insect, except that chestnut has taken 
the place of black. Another species, Bhyssa lunator, is well 
known in Canada. It is about as large as Rhyssa nobilitator, 
but IS paler in colour and has the ovipositor half as lon<^ 
again. "^ 

D D 


The genus Thyreodon extends over a considerable portion of 
the globe. 

The fine insect which is here shown is a native of Brazil, and 
is one of the largest as well as the most beautiful of the genus. 
The head is black, and the thorax appears at first to be of the 
same colour, but is in reality of the richest and deepest purple, 
with a velvet-like surface. The abdomen is black. It is much 
compressed, and is attached to the thorax by a curiously long 

Fig. 197.— Thyreodon cyaneus. 
(Black ; wings glossed with purple.) 

and curved footstalk. The wings are singularly beautiful, being 
dark brown glossed with purple, and shining like mother-of- 

There are many species of Thyreodon in the British Museum. 
Another Brazilian species has the wings brown, with a large 
pale yellow spot in the middle of each ; and one which inhabits 
China has the wings glossed with a beautiful golden yellow. 

Among all the larger Ichneumon Flies there are none that 
surpass in beauty the species which is figured on the next page, 
and very few that even approach it. 

There is nothing very remarkable about the body, which is 
black, as are the head and thorax. The legs are also black, 
except the basal half of the tibia, which is yellow. The chief 
beauty of the insect lies in its wings, which are coloured in a 
most gorgeous fashion. As is the case with so many of these 
insects, the wings appear to be plain brown when viewed with 


a direct and not very strong light ; but when the light is allowed 
to fall upon them sideways, they flash out into all sorts of 
colours. So great, indeed, is the variety of colour, that it is 
almost impossible to fix on any one here as predominating. 
Perhaps a ruddy copper may be considered as the ground 
colour, and upon it are patches of crimson, azure, purple, and 
gold, each patch shifting its colour together with the direction 
of the light. 

These colours are rendered more intense by the structure of 
the wings, which are not flat and smooth like those of most 
Ichneumons, but covered with little crumples. In fact, when 
viewed with a magnifying-glass, the surface of the wings pre- 
sents just the same appearance as does a sheet of paper when it 
has been rolled into a ball and then flattened out again. 

Fio. 19S.— Ospryuchotus objurgator. 
(Black ; wings many-colouied. ) 

This species comes from the Congo, and fortunately some of 
its habits are known. It is parasitic upon the solitary bee 
called Eumenes tindor, one of the burrowing bees. In the 
British Museum there is a fine group of these nests, the burrows 
being sunk into a piece of clay. And from that group of nests 
was hatched the specimen whose portrait is given above. 

The remarkable insect which is shown on page 404 has not 
been described, although the authorities of the British Museum 
have placed it in its proper genus. 

The body is shining black, with a few white marks on the 
edges of the abdomen near the base. The wings are brown, 

D D 2 



diversified with some white spots, arranged as shown in the 
illustration. The large spot, however, on the upper edge of 
the wing is not white, but rich golden yellow, for which reason 

Fig 199 — Bracou auieomaculatum (New species.) 
(Black ; wings brown with yellow spots.) 

I have given to the insect the specific name of aureomaculatum, 
i.e. " spotted mth gold." The ovipositor is of enormous length. 

All who have lived iu the country and used their eyes must 
be familiar with the curious excrescences called galls, which 
appear upon the leaves, branches, and even roots of trees. These 
galls are produced by a group of insects called, scientifically, 
Cynipidss, and popularly known as Gall Flies. 

The process is almost exactly like that by which the Ichneu- 
mon Flies deposit their eggs in the bodies of other insects. The 
mother Gall Fly pierces with her ovipositor the leaf, twig, or 
bark, inserts the egg, and injects at the same time a small drop 
of a fluid which produces very extraordinary efi'ects. That 
portion of the plant which comes in contact with the liquid is 


forced into an abnormal growth, and rapidly encloses the egg. 
Sometimes, especially on leaves, the galls are quite spherical, 
and of about the same consistence as a green gooseberry. Other 
leaf-galls are quite flat, like so many small coins stuck on the 
leaf; while others hang by strings like bunches of currants. 
Some are covered with leaf-like appendages, and look like 
miniature artichokes ; while others, like the well-knovt^n bede- 
guar of the rose, are clothed with a dense mass of long, soft 

In the midst of the gall lies the young larva, which feeds 
upon the soft centre of the gall, and by continually eating 
makes for itself a little cell, which increases in proportion to the 
size of its body. It is evident that all locomotion is denied to 
the larva, and that all it can do is to turn round and round in 
its cell. Consequently it has no legs, and is only able to move 
itself about by the edges of the rings or segments of its body. 

As a general rule, the larva remains in the gall until it 
assumes the perfect form, and then gnaws its way into the open 
air. There are some species, however, which wriggle their way 
out of the gall before they become pupse, fall to the ground, 
burrow in it, and there undergo their changes. Generally there 
is only one larva in each gall, but there are several species in 
which a great number are found in the same gall, each larva 
occupying its separate cell. The bedeguar of the rose and the 
oak-root gall are familiar British examples of these compound 

Even in England there are many species of Gall Flies, while 
the foreign species seem to be without number. In the collec- 
tion of the British Museum, besides a vast number of species 
that have been named, described, and arranged, there are whole 
drawers full of species that have as yet received no name. They 
are all little insects, the species which is drawn on page 405 
being one of the largest. The figure is magnified two and a half 
diameters. It is one of the American insects, the specimen 
which is figured having been taken in Massachusetts. As is 
the case with most of the genus, the colour is dark, being 
simply shining black. The wings are translucent, with the 
exception of the spot, which is black, fading into brown. 

These insects are examples of the uses that lie hidden in 
Nature. Many thousands of years had the Gall Flies been making 


their wonderful cells before anyone discovered that the galls 
which disfigured the oak could be of any service to man. Yet, 
within the gall lay the princij)al element of the ink which has 
had as important a part to play in civilization as has the press 
itself, the latter depending almost wholly on the former. Scarcely 
larger than average-sized hazel-nuts, the galls absolutely crowd 
the branches of an oak which grows plentifully in the Levant, 
and so it is to these insignificant insects that we owe one of the 
most absolute necessities of modern existence. The galls are to 
be procured at most chemists' shops ; and anyone who wishes 
to procure the insect can do so by selecting those galls which 
have no holes in them. On cutting them open, the insect will 
generally be found inside. Such specimens are technically 

Fig. 200. — Cynijis contluens. 

called " green " galls, " blue " galls, or " black " galls, and are 
thought to make better ink than the " white " galls, from which 
the insects have escaped. 

As a general rule, the species which made any particular gall 
can be identified by keeping the specimen until the insects are 
hatched out. All rules, however, have exceptions, and such 
is the case with the galls. Sometimes, although the specimen 
has been kept in a box by itself, two distinct species of insects 
will be hatched from it, or a single species which is clearly not 
a Gall Fly at all. The fact is that there are certain Ichneumon 
Flies, called Evanias, which are parasitic upon the larvae of the 
Gall Flies ; and the consequence is, that in a compound gall both 
the true Gall Flies and Evanias are hatched, while in single galls 
the Evania takes the place of the Gall Fly. 

The next illustration represents an insect called Scleroderma 
dux. This genus has, until lately, been placed among the 



Scoliadae, a group of insects which will presently be described, 
but has now been shifted to its present position. 

The whole of the species belonging to this genus, of which 
there are great numbers, are parasitic upon the larvae and pupa? 
of moths. They are _ ^^ V. \|:;\ 
little creatures, and 
the present species, 
which is among the 
largest, has been mao- 
nified two diameters, 
so as to enable its real 
form to be seen. It 
is a native of Para, 
and its colour is pale 
yellow. The reader 
will doubtless have noticed the curiously swollen thigh of the 
hind leg. It is armed on the lower edge with a row of short 
teeth, and when the curved tibia are closed upon it, the insect 
looks as if it were one of the jumpers. 

Fio. 201. — Scleroderma dux. 
(Pale yellow.) 

Members of the genus Scleroderma are spread over a great 
portion of the world. The curious little insect which is here 
shown is a native of Albania. It is very small, as may be seen 



Male. Fig. 202.— Scleroderma cylindrica. 

(Keddish brown.) 


by the line on the right of the illustration, which represents 
the real length of the female. The male is very much smaller 
than his mate — so small, indeed, that it cannot be examined 



without the aid of a tolerably powerful magnifying-glass. The 
body of an ordinary specimen is very much the same size as the 
letter i ; and if an o be placed at either side of the i, they will 
be about as large as the wings. The generic name of Sclero- 
derma is formed from two Greek words signifying "hard- 
ness of the integuments 

and is given to these insects on account of the hard- 

The species which is here represented is one of a large and 
very interesting group of insects. There are many of them, 
and this particular species has been selected because it is one 
of the largest of the group. As a rule they are very small. 

'^'t'T--^--^S3 . 

Pig. 203. — Leiicospis Aruera. 
(Black, with yellow marks.) 

and the insects of this genus are absolute giants among pigmies 
when compared with their relatives. 

Their habits are rather remarkable. They are parasitic upon 
various Hymenoptera, especially upon the Mason Bees. The mode 
in which the female deposits her eggs is very curious. The ovi- 
positor is very long, and when at rest is turned over the back, its 
point passing over the thorax of the insect. On account of this 
structure it was thought by some entomologists that the Leu- 
cospis was obliged to attack its victim from behind. According, 
however, to an account given to Mr. Westwood by an eye- 
witness, this is not the case, and the insect proceeds as follows : — 

Mason Bees always choose for their building-place a hole in 
an old wall. In this hole they deposit an egg, together with 
a supply of food for the young larva, and then close it up. 


The Leucospis hunts over the walls until she has discovered 
a Mason Bee's nest, and then settles by it. Eaising herself as 
high as possible on her tarsi, she slowly brings the ovipositor 
from the upper to the under side of the body, the point pro- 
jecting beyond the head. She then carefully works the ovi- 
positor into the nest until she has fairly buried it, and then, 
passing an egg between the blades of the instrument, leaves it 
in the nest. In course of time the egg is hatched, and the 
larva eats not only the food which was intended for the Mason 
Bee larva, but the larva itself Here, then, we have another 
example of the difficulty which is often found in determining 
a species by hatching the insect out of the nest — a parasite 
taking the place of the rightful inhabitant. 

The specimen which is given in the illustration is a male, this 
being known by the absence of the ovipositor and the form of 
the abdomen, which has only three joints, or segments, that of 
the female having five. Its colour is black, varied with golden 
patches and spots. The wings are yellowish brown. The genus 
has a very wide range, and in the British Museum there are 
specimens from Europe, Asia, and nearly the whole of America. 
This species inhabits Arii, whence its specific name of Aruera. 

By referring to the illustration, the reader will see that the 
two preceding insects are remarkable for the thickening of the 
thigh of the hind legs. This thickening is carried out to a 
much greater extent in the remarkable insect which is here 
shown, and which is called 
Phasganopliora, or " blade- C 

bearer," because the thigh 
is modified into a broad, 
iiat, blade-like shape. 

In the female insect 
the ovipositor is very con- ^ ^'^^^^^^^-S^^^J^y^^^^^-^- 
spicuous, the instrument ^•'" "* '-'--.^-^■^^ -^^ 

. - „ - . - - - . , Fig. 204. — Phasganopliora signator. 

itselt benig black, and the (Black.) 

sheaths broad, triangular, 

and of a bright yellow colour. This apparatus is shown just 

above the flattened portion of the hind leg. The wings are 

transparent, and the whole of the body of the insect is black, 

the abdomen being polished and shining, and the thorax and 


head dull and grarmlated. This species is a native of Java- 
In order to show the peculiar structure of the hind leg and the- 
ovipositor, the figure has been drawn rather larger than the 

In the very unpretending form of Lycisca Bomandi we have 
one of the most splendid insects that the earth produces. As 
is the case with many insects which have already been described, 
the colours are so exceedingly rich that they can hardly be seen 
except in a brilliant light. When placed in a drawer with other 
insects, the Lycisca might easily be passed over as one of no 
greater beauty than those which surround it ; but when a gleam 
of light darts across it, the sudden flash of emerald-green and 
crimson at once catches the eye. 

Fig. 205. — Lycisca Komandi. 
(Green, crimson, and blacl;.) 

The abdomen of this species is divided boldly into two- 
colours, the basal half being vivid crimson and the rest shining 
green. The whole of the abdomen has a metallic polish. The 
thorax is deep black, covered with bars and dots of emerald- 
green, and the wings are transparent, the upper pair having 
two patches of deep velvety black. It is a Brazilian insect. 
There are four species of Lycisca in the collection of the British 
Museum, and this species is much the largest of the four. 

The curiously shaped insect which is shown in the next 
illustration is a very small one — barely one-third of an incii 
in length, and the figure, therefore, has been magnified three- 
diameters larger than the insect itself. 


It has a singularly ant-like appearance, and to an ordinary- 
observer is so exactly like a yellow ant with long legs, that he 
would probably set it down as belonging to those insects. Its 
colour is pale yellow. 

The insect belongs to the family of the Proctotrupidse, a group 
of Hymenoptera which has a very large range. The present 
species is a native of the Celebes Islands, but others are found 
spread over the greater part of the world. Even our own 
country produces Gonatopus pedestris. This little insect frequents 
hot, sandy places, and, where the sand is white and fine, can be 
captured on account of its habit of falling into deep footprints 
and other hollows in the sand, into which it rolls much after 
the same manner that the victims of the Ant Lion are caught. 
Mr. E. A. Smith tells me 
that he has often taken it 
at Lowestoft and Bourne- 
mouth; and Mr. Westwood 
mentions Yarmouth as a 
favourite locality for this 

The resemblance to an 

., . . Fig. 206.— Gonatopus Celebicus. 

ant IS m this species so (Pale yellow.) 

singularly close, that none 

but a practised entomologist would take it for anything but 
a little ant running about with great speed. They are all very 
active insects, as indeed might be inferred from the length and 
structure of the legs. Some can even leap, but the generality 
content themselves with running and flying. Mr. Westwood 
remarks that some of the Proctotrupidae have a habit of 
alternately raising and depressing the abdomen while resting 
on hot sunny banks. 

The reader will have noticed that the insect which is shown 
in the figure has no wings. In the genus Gonatopus this pecu- 
liarity belongs to the females. It was once thought that in the 
wingless specimens of Proctotrupidae the wings had been inten- 
tionally broken off, as is done by the ants. This, however, is not 
the case ; for even where the rudiments of the wings are seen,^ 
the edges are quite smooth, and not jagged as they are when 
they have been broken away. In the present genus, the hind 
pair of wings of the male are lobed. 


In all the Proctotrupidse the wings have either very few 
nervures, or none at all. There is a very singular little insect 
belonging to this group, Mymar pulclielhcs, in which the hind 
pair of wings are reduced to two delicate hair-like projections, 
and the fore-wings are shaped just like battledores — the ex- 
panded portion being edged with hairs. The antennae of this 
insect are of enormous length when compared with the body, 
but all things are measured by comparison; and wdien it is 
remembered that the insect, with its wings expanded, is scarcely 
larger than the dot over the letter i, the word enormous seems 
rather absurd. One species has been called by the specific name 
■of punctum, and another by that of atomos, in allusion to their 
minute dimensions. 

All the ProctotrupidEe are very small insects, some being so 
tiny as to be scarcely visible, while the present species, which 
is not the third of an inch in length, appears quite a giant 
among them. There are many species in England, and when- 
ever the entomologist employs the " sweep-net " he is sure to 
find plenty of these tiny insects within it. 

Probably on account of their very minute size, little is known 
of the habits of the Proctotrupidee. As, however, those who 
have been successfully watched are known to be parasitic, it 
is inferred that all are of a similar nature. Several species are 
known to deposit their eggs in those of other insects, especially 
Lepidoptera: others live within the bodies of Aphides, and 
others upon those mischievous little gnat-like insects which do 
so much damage to the wheat, and are known by the scientific 
name of Cecidomyia. 

Others capture small larvae and bury them as provision for 
the future young ; and this brings us to a j)eculiarity in the 
structure of the female Gonatopus. Not only are all the legs 
long and powerful, but the tarsi of the first pair of legs are 
armed with large double claws, aptly compared by Mr. "West- 
wood to the claws of a lobster. This structure is supposed to 
be for the purpose of enabling the mother insect to capture 
her prey and drag it to the cell where it is to lie. The word 
Gonatopus is Greek, and literally signifies "jointed foot." The 
ovipositor has a very close resemblance to a sting. 


Now we come to a very remarkable group of Hymenoptera 
called ClirysidiclcT. This is a CJreek word signifying "gilded," 
and is given to the insects on account of the brilliant colours 
witli which they are adorned. Several species of Chrysididss 
are inhabitants of our own country, and are popularly known 
by the name of Euby-tailed Flies. 

If a female Euby-tail be carefully examined, the abdomen 
uill be seen to consist of only three segments, each being of 
considerable size. Should the specimen be dry, it will not be 
eas}^ to find out what has become of the missing segments; 
but if it be fresh, there w^ill be no great difficulty in finding 
them. If the abdomen be carefully pressed, there will issue 
from it a long telescopic tube, which will be found to be formed 
from the other segments. At the end of this tube is the ovi- 
positor, which is very short and looks much like a sting. It 
can even be used for defence, and can give a tolerably sharp- 
})rick ; but as there is no poison-gland connected with it, no 
real harm is done. 

The object of this structure is evident. The insect is parasitic, 
the eggs being deposited in the nests of other insects, generally 
solitary bees. The egg of the Ohrysis is hatched before that of the 
real owner, and in consequence the larva eats up all the food 
which was prepared for its unintentional host. It will be seen, 
therefore, that the telescopic ovipositor is needed in order to 
enable the Chrysis to deposit its egg at the bottom of the nest, 
and yet to do so M'ithout disturbing the work of the insect' 
whose offspring is to be supplanted. 

In the early spring, specimens of the Chrysis may often be 
found in holes which were originally intended for other insects. 
Near my house is a park fence which has recently been mended 
with a number of pine slabs, the bark being still on them. 
The bark has been pierced by holes, apparently those of the 
Sirex, and advantage has been taken of them by sundry small 
solitary bees. One day, while examining the fence, on which 
the sun was shining brightly, I caught a sudden flash of crimson 
in one of the holes, and, on carefully cutting away the wood, 
found a fine Chrysis quite perfect and ready to emerge when 
the year should be sufficiently advanced. 

On following up the investigation I found great numbers of 
liuby-tails similarly situated. They were all curled up after 


their peculiar fashion, so that they were as roviiid as balls. 
They are enabled to assume this attitude by means of the struc- 
ture of the body. In the iirst place, the abdomen is attached 
to the thorax by a short foot-stalk ; and in the next, its under 
surface is hollowed. The insect, therefore, can bring the abdomen 
completely forward, when the thorax and closed legs tit into the 
hollow of the abdomen, and, the head being bent downwards, 
the Euby-tail is rolled up as completely as a hedgehog. 

There are numbers of species belonging to this splendid group, 
and, on account of their insect-destroying habits, many of them 
are extremely useful to agriculturists, as they feed not on the 
food laid up for the larvse, but on the larvae themselves. For 
example, we have already seen that the larvte of certain Saw 
Flies pass the chief part of their larval state upon the plant on 
which the eggs have been laid, and then, when they are full-fed, 
leave the plant and burrow into the ground, where they pass 
through their changes into pupa and perfect insect. Such is 
the case with the well-known Saw Fly which infests the goose- 
berry; and the services rendered by the Chrysis in thinning 
the numbers of these troublesome insects, are thus described 
by M. St. Fargeau. 

He remarks that after the larvae of the Saw Fly had burrowed 
into the ground, he saw a female Chrysis make its way to the 
burrows, bend her abdomen forward, and thrust the tubular 
ovipositor into the holes and deposit an egg in each, the whole 
operation occupying barely a second of time. In the following 
year he witnessed a wonderful sight at the same spot. At least 
a hundred males as well as many females had been hatched, and 
were traversing in all directions the ground in which the Saw 
Fly larvae had burrowed. As they ran backwards and forwards 
in the sunbeams, their glittering bodies flashed like jewels, and 
this beautiful^scene was repeated for many days. 

The insects always made their appearance from ten to twelve 
in the morning, after which time they dispersed ; and M. St. 
Fargeau thinks that when they had once left the spot they did 
not return, but that those which apf)eared on each successive 
morning were merely hatched out of the cells of the Saw Flies 
which they had supplanted. 

As is often the case with insects, the two sexes differ much in 
their colouring, so that the males and females of the same species 



have been described and catalogued as belonging to two different 
species. It is curious to see how analogies hold good in zoology. 
The Ruby-tails have been aptly compared to the Humming 
Birds, and the rule holds good with the insects as with the birds, 
namely, that the two sexes are so differently coloured that they 
may readily be taken for distinct species. 

As our British Chrysidida3 are tolerably numerous and are so 
brilliant in colour, it is but natural to conclude that the foreign 
Chrysididse — especially those within the tropical belt — would be 
many in number and exceed our own species in point of beauty. 
This however is not the case, for there are but few exotic 
Chrysididse, and scarcely any of them exceed our own lovely 
Ruby-tails in size or brilliancy of colour. Even in tropical 
America, whence come so many of the most dazzling insects 
in the world, scarcely any Chrysididae have been discovered. 
I have, therefore, only selected two species as types of foreign 

Of course there may be yet undiscovered species, for, as we 
have seen from M. St. Fargeau's interesting account, hundreds 
of Ruby-tails may be assembled within a few square feet at 
10 A.M., and at noon not one wiU be seen on the very spot 
which was but a short time before a blaze of living jewels. 

The insect which is here represented belongs to the genus 
Stilbum. This word is formed from the Greek, and signifies 
" polished," or " glittering," 

Just a hundred years ago Fabricius described the splendid 
insect which is here figured, 
mentioning it under the title 
of Chrysis splendida. It is 
an Australian insect, and is 
remarkable not only for its 
size but its beauty, which 
fully deserves the name of 
splendid. The head is eme- 
rald-green, as is the thorax, 
and both are washed with a 
tinge of azure. The abdomen 
is of the richest blue, glossed with green and purple ; and the 
whole of the head, thorax, and body is covered with bold and 

Fig. 207. — Stilbum splendiduni. 
(Azure, glossed with green.) 



deep punctures which increase the rich depth of colour. One- 
specimen in the British Museum has the abdomen green. The 
abdomen is tipped witlji a horny plate cut deeply into four 
bold teeth. 

Besides the Australian specimens there ai-e many others from 
different parts of the world, such as Ceylon, China, the Eastern 
Archipelago, Madagascar, Brazil, Southern Africa, &c. These 
are smaller than the Australian specimens, and, as a rule, the 
abdomen is green instead of blue. The Australian specimens 
are much larger than any other of the Chrysididse, and it is just 
possible that they may prove to be a distinct species. As to- 
the prey of this insect, little if anything seems to be known 
about it. But it is always difficult to identify the particular 
species of insect on which any particular Chrysis is parasitic — 
the latter seldom restricting itself to any one species, and being, 
at one time parasitic on a bee, and at another on a wasp. Mr. 
F. Smith suggests that the reason for this indifference is that 
the larva of the Chrysis always feeds upon some other larva, 
and that there is little distinction between the larva of a bee 
and that of a wasp. 

The insect called Chrysis oculata is also described by Fabricius. 

It is an Asiatic species, and is subject to great variation of 

, 1 coloiu' — some specimens being 

wholly green, while others 
are entirely blue ; and in 
either case the surface has 
a gloss of the second colour,, 
green being glossed with blue, 
and blue with green. On 
either side of the abdomen 
is a single eye-like spot of 
glowing, ruddy gold, redder 
in the middle, and with an 

outer ring of yellow. This eye-like spot has gained for the 

insect the specific title of oadata. The abdomen is tipped with 

six teeth. 


Fig. 208.— Chrysis oculata. 
(Emerald green.) 



Iw the preceding insects the ovipositor is so formed as to serve 
only its primary purpose ; namely, the deposition of the eggs. In 
those creatures, however, which will now be described, the ovi- 
positor is used as a weapon, and is connected with a poison- 
gland by means of which a venomous fluid is injected into any 
wound which is made by the sting, as this modified ovipositor 
is called. In the social Hymenoptera, such as certain ants, bees, 
wasps, &c., there is always a great proportion of undeveloped 
females, called neuters, or workers. These insects do not lay eggs, 
but they notwithstanding possess the sting, which is employed 
solely as a weapon of offence. This group of insects is techni- 
cally called Aculeata, from a Latin word signifying " a sting." 

The first group of Aculeata is called Mutillidse, and the 
insects which compose it are popularly known by the name of 
Solitary Ants. As the latter name implies, they do not live 
in communities as do most of the true ants, and therefore no 
neuters or workers are required. There is, indeed, one genus, 
Dorylus, in which males and neuters have been discovered, but 
no females. Probably because of the existence of the neuter insect, 
several practical entomologists are disposed to consider that 
Dorylus ought by rights to be placed among the true ants, and 
not among the Mutillas. A species of Dorylus will be described 
presently. The females are wingless, and are armed with stings. 
No insect seems to be so venomous in proportion to its size as 
the female Mutilla ; and in the case of one of our own species, 
Mutilla Europoea, the sting is scarcely less to be dreaded than 
that of the hornet itself. 

One foreign species, Mutilla coccinea, of North America, is 

E E 


said to possess so venomous a sting that a person who was stung 
by one of these insects became insensible in a few minutes, and 
very nearly lost his life. 

So unlike are the males and females of these insects, that the 
two sexes have more than once been catalogued not only as 
different species, but as belonging to different genera. 

The accompanying illustration represents a species from Bahia, 
bearing the specific name of cerhera, in allusion to the legendary 
dog which guarded the portals of Hades. As may be seen by 
the figure, it bears a curious resemblance to our well-known 

Fig. 209. — MutUla cerbera. 
(Black and white.) 

hunting spider. Its colours are very simple, being only black 
and white — the latter being of a peculiar dull, dead character 
that is very difficult to express. The insect looks indeed as if 
it had been originally black, and that a pattern had been drawn 
on it with white paint. It is thickly covered with hair, as is 
the case with most of the Mutillas, though in this species the 
hair is not so long as in many others. 

The really fine insect called Mutilla occidentalis belongs to 
North America. 

This is a very hairy species, and is most splendidly coloured 



with black and scarlet. In the male the head and a large patch 
upon the thorax are scarlet. The abdomen is black, but is 
adorned with a number of scarlet rings, of exactly the same hue 
as that upon the thorax. The wings are brown. The wingless 
female is also bla'ck and scarlet, though the colours are dif- 
ferently arranged. In this sex the whole of the insect is scarlet 
except a single chevron-shaped bar of black across the middle of 
the abdomen. Seeing that the difference in colour is so great, 
it is really no wonder that the two sexes may have been thought 
to belong to separate species. 

Fio. 210. — Mutilla occidentalis. 
(Scarlet and black.) 

There are several hundred species of Mutilla in the British 
Museum, many of which have not as yet been described, 
x\mong those that have received names I will briefly mention 
three. First is Mutilla Klugii, of Mexico, a very strange look- 
ing insect. Its head and thorax are black and covered with 
short hairs, while its abdomen is thickly covered with very long 
yellow hairs, so long and so thick that they make the insect 
look like a yellow brush with a black handle. 

Mutilla cephalotes, i.e. the Big-headed Mutilla, is very rightly 
named. It has a head of enormous size in proportion to the 
body, and looking exactly as if it had been covered with black 

E E 2 


silk velvet. The thorax and abdomen are also black, but upon 
the middle of the latter is a large patch of orange, and beneath 
it the abdomen is crossed by several bright yellow bars. This 
insect is a native of Brazil. Another of the large-headed 
Mutillas is one named Mutilla capitata, of Mexico. This insect 
is coloured almost exactly like our common wasp, and might be 
taken for a wasp were it not for its very large head. 

An idea of tlie general appearance presented by the large- 
headed Mutilla may be obtained by inspecting the acqompany- 
ing ilhistration, which represents Mutilla armafa, a Brazilian 

Pio. 211.— Mutilla annata. 
(Black and yellow. ) 

insect. The ground colour of this species is black, and the 
light-coloured marks are white, taking a greyish hue on the 
head and thorax. 

Now comes the remarkable genus Dorylus, to which a 
reference has already been made. The species which is here 
represented comes from Java. In this genus the abdomen is 
long and almost cylindrical, not in the least resembling that of 

Members of the genus Dorylus are found in various parts of 
the world ; and in the British Museum are ^'ery many species, 
some from Africa, some from New Guinea, some from Ceylon, 
and some from Palestine. Several specimens were taken at 
Eamoth-giiead. None of them have any brilliancy of colour- 
ing, the usual hues being brown, black, and dull yellow. 

Although one of the largest of all the genus, the present 
species is in no way conspicuous, and presents no attractions 



except to the entomologist. Its colour is brown-yellow, and the 
wings are transparent, but clouded with brown. The first of the 
two figures represents the winged male. Both in Africa and 
Java the male Doryli are known to be nocturnal in their 
habits, and, like many of our English insects, fly into houses 
at night, immediately making their way towards the lamp or 
candle which attracted them. The worker is very small in pro- 
portion to the male, as may be seen by reference to the line 
on the right of the illustration, which represents the average 
length of the worker. Its colour is nothing Init brown, and 

Male. Fig. 'Jl'J. — Dorylus longicornis. Worker. 

(Browuisli yellow.) 

only the peculiarly shaped head indicates its relationship to 
the Mutillas. 

It is a very strange thing that the male should be quite a 
familiar insect, the worker tolerably plentiful, and not a i'emale 
to be found anywhere. This difficulty probably arises from the 
great dissimilarity between the sexes, a phenomenon which is 
very common in the Mutillas. It is conjectured that the real 
female of this species may be an odd-looking creature which has 
been called Dichthctdia glaberrima. This is a flattish, grub-like 
creature, about half as long again as the male insect, and having 
its tail curiously forked, something like the tail of a fish. Indeed, 
the whole creature looks very much like one of those mother- 
of-pearl fishes made in China and used as card-markers or 
counters. The name Dichthadia, which signifies something 
which is cleft or split in two, refers to this form of the tail ; and 



the word gldberrima, which signifies " very smooth," is given to 
it on account of the glossy and polished surface of the body. 

Many systematic entomologists have formed the insects of 
which the Thynnus Australis is an example into a separate 
family under the name of Thynnidse. 

Why this name should he given to the insect, or indeed to 
any insect at all, is more than I can understand, inasmuch as 
the word Thynnus signifies the tunny fish, and ought never to 
have been foisted upon an insect. In this genus the male and 
female are so distinct that thev have been described as two 

Fig. 213. — Thynnus Australis. Male. 
(Black and yellow.) 

distinct species — the one as Thynnus, and the other as Myrme- 
coda. Indeed, had it not been for an opportune discovery by 
Mr. Lewis, the identity of the two insects would not even have 
been suspected. It is rather curious that another so-called 
Myrmecoda has turned out to be nothing but the female of a 

The genus Thynnus appears to be exclusively Australian, and 
aU of them have a very wasp-like look about them. The present 
species almost exactly resembles our common hornet, except 
that the dark portions are black instead of deep chestnut. They 
are all parasitic insects, feeding on the subterranean larvae and 



pupae of certain moths. One species, Thynnus Wallisii, is 
most curiously coloured. The male is plain yellow-brown, but 
the female is covered with a tracery of fine black lines exactly 
resembling that heraldic bearing termed " vairy." 

To judge from analogy, the sting of the female Thynnus must 
be really terrible. There is a little British species allied to 
Thynnus, and known as MetJwca ichneumonoides. Mr. F. Smith 
has described and figured this insect in his " British Fossorial 
Hymenoptera," in which a minute and detailed description may 
be seen. He tells me that he has taken both sexes on the sands 
in several parts of our southern shores. It prefers the hottest 
part of the day for action, and the female runs about rapidly 
over the sands in a very ant-like fashion. If incautiously 
handled she uses her sting, and the effect has been likened to a 
red-hot needle piercing the 
hand. So, if so tiny an in- 
sect can inflict real pain, the 
sting of the comparatively 
gigantic must be even danger- 
ous to life. 

Mr. Westwood says that 
when touched or alarmed, the 
Methoca acts after the fashion 
of the Chrysis, and rolls itself 
into a ball, the abdomen being 
bent upon the thorax, and the 
head drooping downwards. 
Here, again, the two sexes are 
so different that they have been described as separate insects, 
the female retaining the name of Methoca, and the male being 
placed in the genus Tengyra, one of the Scolia group. It is 
no wonder that such a mistake should have been made, for 
no two insects can seem more dissimilar than the wingless 
and ant-like female which runs about on the sand, and the 
male which flies above her in the air. The female has short 
antennae, a pear-shaped abdomen, and the thorax formed into 
three knots, just as if strings had been tied round it when 
soft. The male, on the contrary, is slender, long-bodied, has 
very long antennae, and his thorax is continuous and not 
broken up into knots. 

Fig. 214. — Thynnus Australis. Female. 
(Black and yeUow.) 


Next comes a small group of Hymeaoptera called Scoliidse. 
These insects are chiefly found in the hottest parts of the world, 
and the warmer the temperature the more plentiful are the 
Scoliidse. In some of the genera which belong to this group, 
the females are without wings, like those of the Mutillas which 
have just been described. Two examples of the typical genus 
will be briefly described. 

The first of these insects is called Scolia fiavifrons, and in- 
habits the warmer parts of Europe. Its colour is black, diversified 
with four bold yellow patches on the abdomen. The front of 
the head is also yellow — a fact which has gained for the insect 
the specific name oi fiavifrons, i.e. having a yellow forehead. 

As the habits of this species are very well known, they vvill 
be described as an example of the entire genus. 

FiQ. 215.— Scolia flavifrons. 
(Black and yellow.) 

When the female is about to prepare for a future brood, she 
begins by seeking some dry, sandy spot, and there digging a hole 
which is of considerable depth. There is one species, Scolia 
bicinda, which makes a hole at least eighteen inches deep. The 
hole being dug, the Scolia goes off in search of prey, and soon 
returns with a large larva, mostly that of a lamellicorn beetle. 
This she places at the bottom of the hole, and then lays an egg 
close to it. 

The egg is soon hatched, and the young larva at once begins 
to devour the beetle-grub which has been placed there as food. 
The grub is always large enough to last the Scolia larva through- 
out its first stage of existence. When the larva has eaten the 
whole of its food, it prepares for its next change by spinning an 



oval cocoon, in which it passes to the pupal and afterwards to 
the perfect state. This cocoon is a long oval in shape, tolerably- 
alike at each end, but having at the upper end a sort of lid, 
which is pushed open by the newly-developed insect when it 
makes its way into the open air. Any of my readers, who 
would wish to see these curious objects, can do so by visiting 
the Nest Eoom in the British Museum, where is a fine series of 
oocoons brought from Florence, most of them being cut open so 
as to show the method in which the inhabitant is packed up 
within them. 

I believe that each species of Scolia chooses some particular 
insect as the food for its young, or at all events that it selects 
insects that are closely allied. The Scolia hicincta, for example, 
places a single large locust at tlie bottom of its cell ; and some 
entomologists think that several species of this group do not dig 
burrows, but place their eggs in the nest of some Solitary Bee. 


Fig. 216.— Scolia procera. 
(Black and yellow.) 

Many of the Scoliidse are large insects, and the 
is shown in the above illustration is one of the 


of the 


Hymenoptera. Indeed, its specific name, 'proccra, which signifies 
something whicli is very much elongated, refers to its great 
size. It is drawn of its proper dimensions. 

Even independent of its size, this is a really handsome insect. 
The body is black, with some patches of yellow arranged as 
shown in the illustration, and the bold and ample wings are 
rich shining black, glossed with dark and almost metallic green. 
The body is thickly clothed with dense furry hair. 



The wonderful insects which are known by the popular name 
of Ants are essentially creatures of the sun, even though, as in 
many cases, they are unable not only to endure his direct beams, 
but even to bear the ordinary light of day. Wherever on the 
face of the earth the sun shines strongest, there are the Ants in 
greatest force. In fact, they form a broad belt round the earth, 
thickest towards the equator, and thinning gradually towards 
the poles. 

Take, for example, the northern parts of the world, and 
scarcely an Ant is to be seen. Take our own country, and 
there we have a few species — ^none large, most small, and some 
of the very minutest dimensions. But in the tropical parts of 
the earth the Ants are masters of the soil, and no living crea- 
ture can stand in their path. Not only do they absolutely 
swarm in point of numbers, but they attain no small size — many 
species being as large as the common English wasp, and in- 
finitely more formidable. 

As even a slight sketch of the Ant tribes would occupy 
several volumes, it is necessary to select those species which 
afford the most salient examples of this vast group. The first 
example is the largest of all the Ant tribe, and is appropriately 
called Componotvs (or Formica) gigas. 

This is an insect which has a very large range of country, the 
specimens in the British Museum having been brought from 
India, Singapore, and Borneo. As the figures which are here 
given are drawn from measurement, the reader will easily see 
that the insect is a most formidable creature. It is distributed 
over a considerable part of the world, the specimens in the 



British Museum having been brought from India, Singapore, 

and Borneo. 

The three illustrations represent three of the forms of the 

perfect insect. The first is the winged male. The thorax is 

black and the abdomen brown, 
and in this, as in the female, 
the legs are slender and very 
long in proportion to the body. 
The second figure represents 
the winged female, which is 
very much larger than her 
mate, and has a much stoutei 
and more rounded body. As is 
the case with our English Ants, 
the winged specimens only re- 
tain their wings for a very short 
time, breaking them off close to 
the body when they are about 
to settle down in life. 
The third figure represents the Soldier. This is nearly as 

Fig. 217.^ — Ooniponotus gigas. 

Fig. 21S — Componotus gigas. Female. 
( B lackish-bro wn . ) 

large as the female. The abdomen, it is true, is smaller, but 
this is compensated by the head, which is squared, and of 



enormous relative size. This development of the head is neces- 
sary in order to afford attachment to the muscles which work 
the formidable jaws. A good idea of these weapons can be 
formed by inspecting the illustration, but their real power cannot 

Fig. 219.— Componotus gigas. Soldier. 

be appreciated without the aid of • a magnifying glass. They 
are flattened, and on their inner edge are covered wdth teeth, 
one long and sharp tooth projecting from the middle. The 
edges are yellow in all the sexes, and in the Soldier are ex- 
ceedingly conspicuous. 

There are many species of this genus, and all seem to possess 
similar habits. There is, for example, Componotus compressus, so 
called on account of the shape of the body, which is rather 
flattened. Respecting this insect, Mr. F. Smith gives me the 
following information : — 

It is much smaller than the preceding species, and lives 
underground. It is one of the commonest of insects, and indeed 
is more plentiful than welcome in inhabited places. The workers 
act very much like those of our common Wood Ant, and are 
perpetually ascending and descending trees. 

The soldiers are wonderfully combative in their nature, and 
fight so constantly and so fiercely, that an entomologist finds 
great difficulty in capturing a specimen which has not been 
more or less mutilated in battle. Indeed, it seems that two 
soldiers can hardly meet without having a single combat, when 



a certain code of rules is as strictly observed as in the prize- 
ring of our own country. It often happens that one of the 
combatants kills the other, and in that case the body is at 
once seized by a number of little Ants belonging to the genus 
Myrmica, which run in and drag the dead body to their nests. 
This species begins to swarm somewhere towards the end of 
May, and the females fly with a loud whirring sound. 

Another species of Componotus has been selected because it 
has some claims to beauty. Its body is black, but across the 
middle of the abdomen runs a broad band of greyish white hairs 


Fig. 220. — Componotus sericeiveatris. 
(Black, with white band on abdomen.) 

having a peculiar silken sheen, which has earned for the insect 
the specific name of sericeiventris, or " silver-belly." 

In the various accounts of Ant life which have been narrated 
by observers, there is often an absolutely startling resemblance 
to the conduct of human beings. We have heard of Ants which 
make regular slave-hunting expeditions into the territory of less 
powerful Ants, carry off their captives, and make them their 
servants. We know of Ants which build walls and domed roofs, 
as if they had been taught by an architect. We know of Ants 
which have their milch kine, and which tend and guard them as 
carefully as any dairyman tends his cows. We know of Ants 
which cultivate the ground, keep it clear of weeds, sow the 


future crop, and, when the harvest has come to maturity, get it 
in, just like human beings. In the history which now follows, 
a new and unexpected phase of human life is found to exist 
among Ants ; namely, funeral honours paid to tlie dead, and 
burial in the earth. 

In the " Journal of the Linnaean Society," vol. v. p. 217, is 
a singularly interesting communication by Mrs. Lewis Hutton, 
of Sydney, New South Wales : — 

" One very hot and cloudless day, when not a breath of air 
stirred the leaves, my eldest boy (four years old), coming up 
from the beach fatigued and hot, threw himself on a grassy 
mound near where I was sitting, and remained quietly enjoying 
the rest and the pleasure he would have in showing to liis sister 
tlie pretty shells and corals he had found. I was startled by a 
sudden scream, such as one only gives when in terrible pain. 
A snake was my first thought, and in horror I went to the child, 
but was at once reassured by seeing him covered with ' Soldier 
Ants,' on whose nest he had unwittingly laid down. Some of 
the insects still clung on with their forceps and stung my poor 
boy, who roared with pain at every fresh attack, while I killed 
them as fast as I could, assisted by the nurse. At length all 
were removed, about twenty being left dead on the ground. 

" Going to see the little fellow bathed with something to ease 
the pain, I was absent about half- an -hour, and then returned to 
the same place, when I saw a number of the Ants surrounding 
the dead ones. Being fond of natural history, and having read 
much concerning the instinct of Ants, I determined to watch 
them closely. At last, four ran off very quickly, and I followed 
them until I saw them enter a hillock containing an ants' nest, 
wdiich we had in vain tried to get rid of on account of the 
annoyance caused by their close vicinity to our sitting tent. 

" They remained here about five minutes, when a number 
more came out two by two and proceeded slowly to the place 
where their dead companions lay. Here they seemed to wait 
for something, and presently we saw coming from the other side 
near the creek, a number surpassing those I had followed, and 
halting at the same place. Then two Ants took up one of the 
dead ones and marched off, followed by two others as mourners ; 
then two others entered the procession with a second dead Ant, 
succeeded in the same way by another pair, and so on untH 


all the dead were taken up ; a Dumber of, I should think, two 
hundred bringing up the rear. 

"Following the train, I found that the two empty-handed 
followers relieved their fellows in advance, the latter following 
behind in the place of those who relieved them, and thus con- 
tinuing to alternate from time to time. They had now gone a 
considerable distance towards the seaside, when they stopped at 
a sandy hillock, where those who marched in the rear of the 
procession commenced operations by making holes ; but I soon 
observed that only about half the number took part in this 

" When a sufficient number of graves had been dug, the dead 
bodies were laid in them, and I found that those Ants Avhich 
had hitherto stood idle were deputed to cover them in. About 
six would not stir from their places, and on these the others fell 
and killed them, whereupon they made a single large pit at a 
distance from the other graves, into which all the six were put 
and duly covered up. The Ants then all paired off, and marched 
back to the scene of slaughter, where they remained together for 
a few minutes, when each company left for their own habitation. 

•'The observation of this curious proceeding gave me great 
pleasure, and I had frequent opportunities afterwards of seeing 
the insects act much in the same way. If one of the workers, 
however (who are much smaller than the rest), were killed, it 
was buried where it fell, and no friends attended the funeral." 

The almost human aspects of Ant life are well known to 
entomologists. We have seen the rules of single combat strictly 
observed, and the still more remarkable fact that Ants bury - 
the bodies of their comrades and attend the funeral. Another 
phase of humanity is to be found among those most remarkable 
insects, — namely, the power of utilizing other Ants to do their 
work for them ; in fact, keeping domestic servants. And, as 
is the case with primitive civilization, these servants are slaves, 
yet are happy and devoted to the masters who stole them 
from their own homes. Not that they ever saw the home which 
was theirs by rights, for they are captured while still in the 
pupal state, and therefore know no other home than that of 
their masters. 

The latter insects depend entirely on the slaves, and are 



absolutely helpless without tbeni. Those who have observed 
the manners and customs of these Ants say that the relative 
behaviour of the two species is most curious. The masters can 
scarcely even feed themselves, much less go in search of food. 
The experiment has been made of putting into a glass case a 
number of the master Ants, together with a portion of the nest, 
with food and all needful requisites. The Ants were ludicrously 
helpless, running about in a purposeless sort of manner, and not 
having the least idea what to do. After their incapacity had 
been proved, a single slave was admitted, when the whole state 
of things was chanoed. The slave — a mere dwarf amons; oiants 
— treated the master Ants as a nurse would treat a number of 
children, fed them, and then began to rebuild the damaged nest. 
The accompaupng illustration depicts one of these slave- 
making species, Polyergus rufesccns, one of the Ants being shown 
as carrying in its jaws the 
pupa of a slave. The rela- 
tive size of master and ser- 
vant is thus shown, the slave 
being scarcely larger than 

our common Eed Ant. It is 

a European species, and is 

common in France. The 

jaws of this species are very 

slight and feeble, so that the 

insect is physically incapable 

of doing the work which 

generally falls to the lot of 

Ants who have to make 
their own nest, find their 
own food, and nurse their own young. Mr. Darwin makes 
much use of this phenomenon in his well-known work on the 
" Origin of Species." 

The following account of a slave- making Ant is contributed 
by Mr. W. H. Dale to the " American ISTaturalist," and is valu- 
able both as showing that division of labour is employed among 
Ants, and that the slaves can be sent from one place to another 
by the order of their masters : — 

" It was growing rather dark in the dense thicket, and I 
ratraced rny steps towards the beach. On my way I added 

F F 

Fig. 221. — Polyergus rufescens. 


several other interesting birds (Monaoti) to my collection, and 
one — a dark-coloured, sad-looking bird, which proved the greatest 
prize of all — being a new species, afterwards described by Mr. 
Lawrence as Spermopliila hadiiventris. Eeaching the edge of 
the wood, I found a small brook between me and the sand. 
The banks, being low, were covered for several rods on the 
farther side with a succulent plant of the order Portulacacffi, 
with round leaves about half an inch in diameter. I noticed little 
well-beaten paths, about one inch wide, running all through this 
bed of green, and stopped to discover if possible what made them. 
" Some were wider than others, and on one of these I soon 
discovered a foraging party of Ants, They were of two species, 
one being a rather small black Ant with weak jaws or nippers, 
and the other nearly twice the size, each bearing a formidable 
pair of prolonged mandibles of jaws ; and as near as I could see 
there were no two with jaws exactly the same size or shape. 
The small ones were evidently slaves. They were marched 
between two rows of scouts, and. if a slave attempted to pass the 
line, he was speedily seized and put back, not very gently, into 
his place. I watched their motions with a great deal of interest. 
The ' soldiers,' after searching till satisfied for a rich succulent 
leaf, bit it off and gave it to a slave, who immediately marched 
off with it in a contrary direction to the main body. Following 
the train for a rod or two, I came to the brook just where it had 
made an abrupt bend, with an eddy in it. Here the banks 
were rather high; a moderately brisk sea-breeze was coming 
from the shore, and just here a small tree about two inches in 
diameter had fallen across the brook. On this pole were mp-iads 
of Ants going in different directions. 

" Those above, each with a leaf in his mouth, were crossing 
to the wooded side ; those on the under-side were empty-handed 
(or mouthed) aud were coming from the woods. Here I noticed 
a curious thing — the leaf, being larger by far than its bearer, 
acted as a sort of sail to catch the wind ; and I saw many an 
unfortunate slave-ant, after struggling with all its ndght to save 
its precious load, finally let it go in self-defence, and immediately 
join the excursionists on the lower side of the pole, going back 
for another leaf. In the eddy before mentioned there was at least 
a bushel of leaves which had been blown from their bearers." 

It is worthy of notice that in their slave-hunting raids the 



master Ants always select the pupae of the worker slaves. The 
slaves are not always of the same species, for the master Ant, 
which has been taken as an example, takes indifferently the 
pupa of Formica fusca and Formica cunicularia. 

The very curious nest which is shown below is drawn of its 
natural size, and is the work of an insect called PolyracMs 
textor, a native of Malacca. 

The nest looks exactly as if it were made of coarse hair, and 
is of so open a texture that the inmates may be seen through 
the walls. Although the workers are tolerably common, the 
males are hardly ever to be seen, and the females are compara- 
tively rare. The colour of the insect is black. 

Fig. 222. — Polyrachis textor. 

There are many species of this genus in different parts of the 
world. The generic name Polyrachis signifies " many-ridged," 
and is given to the insects on account of the projections which 
appear on various parts of their bodies. Perhaps the most 
remarkable species in this respect is Polyracliis hihamata, an 
insect which is found both in India and Borneo. The name 
bihamata signifies "double-backed," and is very appropriate. 
Upon the upper surface of the thorax are set two hooks, sharply 
pointed, curved backwards, and sloped almost exactly like the 
horns of the chamois. These are long and conspicuous, but are 
far surpassed by two other hooks which rise from the centre 
of the footstalk which connects the abdomen with the thorax. 

F F 2 



Tliese hooks are of enormous comparative size, each of them, if 
straightened, being about half as long as the entire body. 

There are many species of Polyrachis, nearly all of which are 
black. There is, however, an exception in one of the species 
from Sarawak, which has the thorax and abdomen banded 
with yellow. 

-Myrmecocystus Mexicanus. 
(Reddisli brown.) 

Until lately it was thought that the only honey-makers 
were the bees, and no one would have been bold enough to 

say that honey could be ob- 
tained from any other in- 
sects. Yet we now know 
that there are honey-mak- 
ing wasps, building cells 
which are as capable of 
holding the liquid sweets as 
those of the bee ; and here 
we have an example of an 
Ant, which not only makes 
honey, but stores it in a 
way which I believe to be 
unique. The bee and the 
wasp store the honey in 
cells composed of materials 
which will resist its action, but the Ants actually store the 
honey in their own bodies. This is done in a very remarkable 

Certain of the workers are set aside for this purpose, and are 
bitten at the end of the abdomen. The bite causes an inflam- 
mation, the result of which is that the passages of the body are 
entirely closed. These insects are then perpetually fed with 
honey, none of which can escape, and the result is that their 
bodies swell to an enormous extent, assuming the shape which 
is shown in the illustration. This form is caused by the 
distension of the membrane between the segments. How great 
is the distension may be seen by reference to the illustration, 
the dark portions representing the segments, and the remainder 
the membrane. 

These Ants are natives of Mexico, where they are very 
common, being popularly known either as " hormigas mieleras,"^ 



i.e. honey-ants, or " hormigas mochileras," i.e. pouch-ants. 
They are in great request, aud are sold by measure. One of 
the principal uses to which they are put is the manufacture ot 
a sort of mead, the Ants being first pressed so as to squeeze 
the honey out of them. There is a bottle full of these strange 
insects in the British IMuseum. 

The colour is like that of the common burrowing Ant, being 
reddish brown on the thorax, and darker on the abdomen. The 
honey-pot insects have a most curious look, the membrane of the 
abdomen being so thin and transparent that the honey can be 
plainly seen within the body. The generic name Myrmecocystus 
is formed from two Greek words, the one signifying an ant, 
and the other a bag or pouch. 

The insect which is here shown, although not quite the largest 
of the Ant tribe, is among the giants of the group. It is an in- 
habitant of tropical America, 
and is tolerably common. 

It is by no means a pre- 
possessing insect in appear- 
ance, being of a dull, dead 
black in colour, and slow 
and sluggish in its move- 
ments. It lives in very 
small colonies, consisting of 
some six or seven indi^dduals 
only, and the inhabitants of 
each colony do not seem to 
have any idea of working 
in concert. Their nest is 
generally under a stone. 

Both the females and u enters possess stings, and the venom 
with which their weapons are armed causes such excruciating 
pain that the name Dinoponera is very appropriate. This 
name is formed from two Greek words, the former signifying 
"terrible" and the latter "wdcked." In consequence of the 
virulent character of the poison, the Macoushie Indians employ 
the Ant in the manufacture of their celebrated Wourali poison. 
I do not believe that it has the least effect on the poison, the 
active part of which is purely vegetable. The body of this Ant 

Fig. 224. — Dinoponera grandis. 



is nearly bare, only a few short hairs being scattered over it. 
The description is taken from a fine specimen in my collection,, 
presented to me by the Eev. J. H. Bernau. 

An allied species, Ponera contracta, has been discovered in 
England. It is widely spread, though not very plentiful. It 
is a very tiny insect, but yet has many of the habits of its 
gigantic relative, living under stones in small communities and 
not working in concert. The nest, like that of the Dinoponera, 
is found under stones or at the roots of plants. 

The insect which is here shown belongs to a group of insect:? 
which are popularly called Foraging Ants, on account of their 
singular habits. 

Fig. 225. — Eciton hamatii 
(Reddish brown.) 

They live in vast communities, and sally out in large armies 
in search of food. They are marshalled as regularly as if they 
were soldiers, and, as is the case with human soldiers, are com- 
manded by officers. These officers are the large-headed neuters, 
one of which is shown in the illustration. Their legs are long 
and active, their bodies are slender, but their heads are of enor- 
mous comparative size, each side of the head being swollen into 
a semi-globular form. The jaws with which the head is armed 
are exceedingly formidable. Each jaw is nearly half as long as 
the body, is very sharply pointed, and is curved into a hook- 
like shape both inwards and downwards. Mr. F. Smith was 
kind enough to present me with a good series of these insects., 


varying in size from the largest soldier to tlie smallest worker, 
Mhich is no larger than our Red Ant. 

Mr. Bates gives a very graphic account of this insect and its 
predatory excursions. He states that a column of Foraging 
Ants is of very great length. One column that he saw must 
have been at least a hundred yards in length, because the 
portion that was visible was from sixty to seventy yards in 
length, and neither end of the column could be seen. 

" The large-headed individuals were in proportion of about 
five in one hundred to the small individuals, but not one of 
them carried anything in its mandibles ; they were all trotting 
along outside the column, and distributed in regular proportions 
throughout the whole line of army, their globular white heads 
rendering them very conspicuous among the rest, bobbing up 
and down as they traversed the inequalities of the road. 

" The progress of these Ants is not in one simple line when 
on a foraging expedition, but a line with many branches ; a 
column is occasionally pushed out in the direction of some 
promising locality. I once observed one of these terminating 
at a decayed fallen tree. The Ants were busy about it, a few 
having seized some large Formicidse, and also some soft-bodied 
M'asps. These they tore in pieces and divided the load; the 
whole party then retired, and re-entered the main line. A 
branch column is not a party separated from the rest — there 
is no break in the lines of the Ants — but there is always 
a number passing and re-passing, keeping up the line of 

Mr. Bates gives also an account of another species, Eciton 
yrcedator : — ■ 

" This species of Eciton differs from all the others in its 
habits : instead of foraging in narrow columns, it hunts iji 
dense masses of myriads of individuals. Nothing in ento- 
mology is more curious than to watch the vast compact body 
moving rapidly along ; when they pass, all the rest of the insect 
world is in agitation and alarm. They stream along the ground, 
and climb to the summit of all the lower trees, searching evei'y 
leaf to its apex. When they come to a mass of decaying vege- 
table matter, they cover it with a living crowd, penetrating 
every chink and cranny ; then leave it, and rapidly move on. 

"All apterous insects, especially fat spiders and larvse of 


Blattse, which latter are excessively numerous about the fallen 
foliage, scamper off before the rapidly moving mass in quite a 
ridiculous manner. The smaller larvae of Lepidoptera and 
Diptera fall an easy prey to them, as well as some of the large 
obese species of the genus Formica. 

" The phalanx altogether, when passing over a tract of open 
ground, occupies a space of from six to ten square yards. On 
examining them closely, they are seen to move not altogether 
in one uniform direction, but in variously spreading dense 
columns, now separating a little from the general mass, now 
re-uniting with it. The margins of the phalanx spread out at 
times, like a cloud of skirmishers from the vast army." 

The Ecitons do not restrict themselves to the open air, but 
penetrate into houses, where they exterminate every living 
thing. My brother has had much experience of these visi- 
tations, and the following passage is an extract from one of 
his letters : — 

" You mention what I told you in relation to the Ants and 
cockroaches. The time when I wrote to you on the subject 
was my first experience of the Ant, but since then I have seen 
the same game every year since I have lived in this country. 
The performance always takes place just before the commence- 
ment of the rainy season, at which time the Travelling Ants 
commence their marches. Wherever they make their appear- 
ance, every living thing bolts (not that they are frightened, but 
that their business engagements carry them elsewhere in a 
hurry) as fast as the number of legs given them will permit. 

"The first sign of the approach of the Ants is a peculiar 
rustling, which sounds like a few dead leaves in an eddy of 
wind. Then a big cockroach, in size and colour like a large 
date, scuttles across the floor, and about a yard behind him 
comes one little Ant about a sixth of an inch in length. One's 
first impression is that the cockroach is a great coward, but 
his conduct is soon explained, for from every hole and crevice 
on all sides of the house pour continuous streams of Ants, until 
the whole floor is black with them. 

" Then our friend's fate is sealed. It is no avail to him that 
he is many hundred times bigger than his enemies ; they fasten 
on him in a body, and in a few minutes no sign of a cockroach 
is visible. As a rule, these Ants go through every part of a 



house; and when they leave it, which is in one or two hours 
after theii' first appearance, no vermin of any description remain 
in the house. Eats, snakes, cockroaches, spiders, scorpions, and 
even fleas, all are gone, and for a month or two there is peace 
in the house." 

These Ants not only devour the insects that go by the popular 
name of vermin, but attack every insect that may come in their 
way. They have been seen to capture the nests of the large and 
formidable wasp which hangs its nest from the Brazilian trees ; 
and once Mr. Bates saw a column of Ecitons deliberately attack 
a nest of a great burrowing Ant, sink a shaft into it, and then 
pour into it by thousands. They tore out the inhabitants from 
their home, and were so fierce and bold that when Mr. Bates 
tried to catch some of the burrowing Ants for his collection, the 
Ecitons tried to pull them out of his fingers. This species was 
Eciton legionis, which always forms in a broad column when on 
the march, and not in a long narrow column. 

Although the insect which is scientifically termed Atta cepJm- 
lotes looks even more formidable than the Ecitons, it is not to be 

Fig. 22C.— Atta cephaiotes. 
(Reddish brown.) 

•dreaded as a foe. As we shall presently see, it is a most annoy- 
ing insect, and often does great damage to the property of man, 
if not to his person. The native name of this insect is Saliba, 
.and it is pojiularly known by the name of Umbrella or Parasol 
Ant, on acc'uunt of a curious habit which it has of carrying 


pieces of leaves in its mouth. Whole columns of the Saliba. 
Ant march deliberately along, each with its leaf held over its 
head like Malcolm's soldiers at the wood of Dunsinane. These- 
leaves are employed in house-building, and are used after a 
very curious manner. 

The nest of the Saliba is partly above ground, though the 
greatest portion of it, including all the tunnels, is below the 
surface of the earth. The visible part of the nest consists of a 
dome, seldom more than two feet in height, but often reaching 
forty feet in diameter. This dome is really formed of the leaves, 
the superincumbent earth being of slight thickness. It is a 
curious fact that the workers who fetch the leaves do not build 
with them, but merely lay them down and go off" for more. In 
fact they are to the real nest-builders exactly what labourers 
are to bricklayers. Two figures of the Umbrella Ant are given 
in the illustration, one showing the front of the head, and the 
other the entire insect. The latter figure is a. portrait of a 
specimen in the British Museum, which has preferred to die 
rather than loosen its hold of the leaf. 

Large as the nest is, the dome forms but an inconsiderable 
portion of it. Vast tunnels radiate from it in all directions, and 
are carried to distances that seem almost incredible. The Ants- 
work away underground, leaving no signs of their passage, and 
have a way of suddeiily coming to the surface when least 
expected. My brother has sent me an account of a serious 
damage that was done to a gold-mine by the Travelling Ant, as 
he calls it. In mines where the gold is extracted from quartz- 
rock, the ore is obtained by driving galleries which are nearly 
horizontal. These galleries are supported by timber both at 
the sides and on the roof, and a tram^vay runs along the floor 
for the purpose of conveying the ore to tlie stamps. Last year 
(1872), during the wet season, the mine was suddenly flooded 
in spite of all the precautions that had been taken, a torrent of 
water pouring through the galleries with such force that the 
supporting timbers gave way, and the sides closed in so much 
tliat the cars could not pass over the tram. 

On examination it was found that this misfortune was caused 
by the Saiiba Ant, which had driven one of its tunnels com- 
pletely into the gallery, and so diverted a large amount of 
surface drainage into the mine. A professional ant-killer was 


sent for from a considerable distance, and the extirpation of the 
uest decreed. It may seem strange that there should be such a 
profession, but the local circumstances make it needful. 

The process of extermination is a very curious one. In the 
first place, the ant-killer has to find the nest itself — a task 
which requires the greatest knowledge of the subject. Having 
found the dome which has been already mentioned, he builds 
round it a sort of large vaulted edifice, something like the snow 
hut of an Esquimaux. This oven is then filled with charcoal, 
sulphur, capsicum, and wood, both dry and green, through an 
opening at the top of the dome. The oven is then finally closed, 
with the exception of several small apertures which are made 
around it. 

Fire is then introduced, and a number of negroes are set to 
work, each with a large pair of bellows, the nozzles of which 
are thrust into the apertures already mentioned. They never 
cease from blowing night or day, and on an average the opera- 
tion is not complete until they have laboured for four days and 
as many nights. Meanwhile, the ant-killer is on the watch for 
smoke escaping from the ground, and wherever he sees this he 
knows that he has come upon one of the galleries. The place 
is at once marked and the aperture stopped with clay. In the 
present instance the nest was found upwards of eighty yards 
from the mine. 

After the four days' work the negroes cease tlieir labour, the 
oven is taken down, and the nest opened. Guided by the 
marks which he has made, the ant-killer lays open the whole 
of the tuimels, and, after taking care that not a living creature 
remains in them, he fills them as well as the nest with clay, 
which is well stamped down and left to harden in the sun. 
Then, and not until then, is the place considered safe. 

It will now be seen how detrimental a neighbour the Umbrella 
Ant may be, even though it does not attack man personally. 
Here is a case where a mine was thrown out of work for many 
days, the whole of the timbering had to be replaced at no small 
expense, and the ant-killer paid very highly for his trouble. I 
have heard of another instance where the Saiiba Ant drove its 
tunnel through the bank of a reservoii" and let out all the water. 

The sizes of the insects belonging to the same nest vary 
greatly, some being nearly as large as our common wasp. 


while others are scarcely as large as the common Eed Ant of 
our garden. There are two distinct kinds of the large-headed 
neuters, one with smooth and the other with hairy heads. These 
latter insects seldom make their appearance in the open air, 
and the only way to evoke them is to break a hole in the dome 
and push a stick down the hole as far as possible. In a few 
minutes a few of these creatures will come slowly up, looking, 
as Mr. Bates says, like Cyciops, ^Yith their big head and the 
eye in the middle of the forehead. Why they should make 
their appearance is not very evident, for they seem to have 
no connection with or control over the workers. Neither do 
they fight, for Mr. Bates found no difficulty in securing several 
of them with his fingers. 

The general colour of the Saliba is reddish brown, the colour 
being brightest on the head and dullest on the abdomen, where 
it is obscured by a coat of dull brown hairs. The wings of the 
perfect male and female are very much like those of the hornet, 
being firm, transparent, shining, and of a reddish brown, fading 
to yellow towards the tips. There are very few nervures. 

We are all familiar with the passage — 

" Go to the ant, thou sluggard ; consider her ways, and be wise : which 
having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and 
gathereth her food in the harvest." — Prov. vi. 6 — 8. 

Many a time have we heard it said that Solomon was entirely 
wrong, and that the Ants, being essentially carnivorous, lay up 
no store for the winter, but become torpid until the same weather 
comes round again. Now this is all very true as regards the 
Ants of our own climate, but it is not true of Ants belonging 
to other countries. At the date of this book, at least nineteen 
species of Harvesting Ants have been discovered, some of which 
inhabit Palestine. I believe that no English Ant has been 
known to lay up seeds. The Black Ant was once seen to carry 
some fresh violet seeds into the nest, but they were all ejected 
on the following day. 

The history of the present species has been admirably given 
by Mr. J. T. Moggridge, and for nearly all of the information 
here . given I am indebted to his most interesting work on Ants 
^nd Trapdoor Spiders. 



This species is spread largely over the world, and is well 
known at Mentone. It gathers seeds of various kinds and takes 
them to its subterranean treasure-houses. The burrows run to 
a considerable depth, sometimes passing even through sandstone 
rock, and at intervals are placed the granaries, which are about 
as large as a gentleman's watch. They vary in point of dejith 
from the surface, some being fully thirteen inches deep, and 
others barely two inches. Among the seeds which the Mentone 
Ants take into their granaries 
are those of the oat, nettle, 
speedwell, goosefoot,calaminth, 
chickweed, amaranth, and shep- 
herd's purse. They even take 
the green seed-vessels of the 
last-mentioned plant, twisting 
them off neatly with their jaws. 

They are very fastidious as to 
the quality of the seeds which ^ 
are brought. A worker, which 
was evidently but a young one, 
was seen to bring in some rub- 
bish instead of the proper seed, 
and was at once sent back. 
Mr. Moggridge played a trick 
upon them by placing little 
beads in their way ; at first 

they took them for seeds and carried them into their nests, 
but they soon found out their error, and never touched them 

With regard to the condition of the seeds, Mr. Moggridge has 
the following remarks : — 

" It is extremely rare to find other than sound and intact 
seeds in the granaries, and we must conclude that the Ants 
exercise some mysterious power over them which checks the 
tendency to germinate. 

" Apparently, it is not that moisture or warmth or the in- 
fluence of atmospheric air is denied to the seeds, for we find 
them in damp soil, in genial weather, and often but a trifling 
distance below the surface of the ground, and I have proved 
that the vitality of the seeds is not affected, by having raisedi 

Fio. 227. — Aphenogaster barbata. 


crops of young plants, such as fumitory, pellitory, Polygonum 
aviculare, and grasses, from seeds taken out of granaries. 

" I have frequently remarked that it is the seeds last collected 
before a fall of rain which are brought out in a sprouting con- 
dition from the nest ; for I have observed that it is these which 
are carried out from the nest and placed to dry after a wet 
night. And so, in the ca'se of a nest which I kept in captivity, 
when a variety of different seeds had been successively supplied 
to the Ants, it was the cabbage, lettuce, and chicory seeds given 
the day before the nest was watered, that reappeared after being 
carried below, and not the hemp, canary, and mixed seeds of 
wild plants previously strewed on the nest. 

" It seems possible that the process, whatever it may be, to 
which the Ants submit the seeds which are to remain dormant, 
may require some time, and the construction of the granary 
chambers is doubtless a long affair; so that when unusually 
large supplies of grain, &c., are brought in bj^ the workers, some 
part of them may not find the necessary accommodation and 

"When the seeds do germinate in the nests — and it is my 
belief that they are usually softened and made to sprout before 
they are consumed by the Ants — it is very curious to see how 
the growth is checked in its earliest stage, and how, after the 
rudicle or fibril — the first growing root of dicotyledonous and 
monocotyledonous seeds — has been gnawed off, they are brought 
out from the nest and placed in the sun to dry, and then, after 
a sufficient exposure, carried below into the nest. 

"The seeds are thus in effect malted, the starch being 
changed into sugar ; and I have myself witnessed the avidity 
with which the contents of seeds thus treated are devoured by 
the Ants." 

It seems almost a pity that creatures possessing such excel- 
lent qualities should be thieves, but thieves they are — robbing 
not only the nests of other insects, but those of their own species. 
In the course of these raids there are always severe combats, 
often terminating with loss of life. The antenuee being the most 
sensitive portion of the Ant, each combatant uses its utmost 
endeavours to seize one of the antennse of the opponent, and 
when that is done the enemy always succumbs. Should, how- 
ever, both parties succeea in evading tlie fatal grasp, they fight 


Tintil one or the other is killed. They are not at all particular 
as to their food, eating grasshoppers, flies, bees, wasps, and even 
lizards when they can assemble in sufficient numbers. Mr. 
Moggridge gives an interesting account of a struggle between 
the Harvesting Ants and a caterpillar : — 

" I was once a witness of a singular contest between a soft- 
bodied, smooth, greyish caterpillar, about an inch in length, 
•and two medium-sized harhara Ants. The Ants were mere 
pigmies in comparison with their prey, for as such I believe 
they regarded the caterpillar, but they gripped its body with 
set mandibles, showing the most savage determination not to 
lose their hold. 

" "When I first discovered the group, the war was being waged 
in a tuft of grass over one of the entrances to the Ants' nest, 
and the caterpillar was striding along the leaves, and thrusting 
itself between the culms in the hope to shake off or brush away 
its little persecutors. From time to time the caterpillar would 
turn viciously round and endeavour to pluck away its assailants ; 
but though it actually succeeded in stripping, by means of fore- 
legs and mouth, five of the six legs of one of the Ants, which 
was within its reach, they never loosened their hold. 

" At length, a chance movement of mine shook the grass-leaf 
on which they were, and Ants and caterpillars rolled together 
down a steep and rocky slope to about four feet distant. They 
tumbled over and over several times, but still the Ants gripped 
their prey as firmly as ever. 

" The last endeavour of the giant victim was to rub off the 
Ants by burrowing into the soil ; but on uncovering its retreat I 
saw that their position was still the same. After watching this 
struggle for twenty minutes, time failed me, and I returned home, 
carrying with me, however, the combatants. When on my 
return I opened the box in which they were imprisoned, these 
bull-dog Ants were clinging with mandibles locked as firmly as 
ever ; and now as I write, in death they are clinging still, 
drowned in a sea of spirits of wine." 

From the observations of Mr. C. Home, it appears that an 
Indian species of Ant, Podomyrma rufonigra, has a similar habit 
of storing up grain, carefully removing the husks. The grain is 
called by the natives ya?voo?i, or sweepings; and it is stored in 
such quantities that in time of famine the granaries of the Ants 



are ransacked, and both the grain and the husks ground together 
into a coarse meal. 

The fine Ant which is here shown was first described by Mr. 
F. Smith, of the British Museum, in 1858. As may be seen, it 
is almost equal in size to Componotus gigas, the wings being 
ample and the body thick and rounded. The head is small in 
proportion to the rest of the body. The colour is shining black,. 

Fig. 228. — Carebara dux. 

the polish being especially conspicuous in a broad belt round the 
abdomen. It is a native of Southern Africa. 

We have already seen that the Ants partake of many human 
characteristics, —how they make war with duly officered armies, 
take captives, employ slaves, fight single combats by rule, gather 
grain and harvest it. We have now to deal with an Ant that 
possesses another characteristic of humanity, and that is, the 
power of agriculture. Scientifically the insect is known as 
Myrmica harhata, and popularly as the Agricultural Ant of 
Texas. The habits of this wonderful insect have been carefully 
watched by Dr. Lincecum, who has recorded them in a paper 
read before the Linnsean Society in 1861. 

The insect begins by digging a hole in the ground, by way of a 
wicket-gate or entrance, and around this hole it raises a mound, 
generally about five or six inches in height, and from six to 
eight feet in diameter. Sometimes, if the nest be made on low 
ground, where there is a probability of inundation, the Ant 



Fig. 229. — MjTmica barbata. 
(Yellowish brown.) 

raises the mound to a height of fifteen or twenty inches, and in 

any case gives the surface a slight slope from the centre to the 

circumference. Around this 

mound the Ant clears the 

earth from stones and weeds, 

so as to make a perfectly 

smooth belt of a foot or two 

in breadth. 

Within this space the 

Ants plant the seeds of a 

peculiar grass, and tend 

them as carefully as any 

human agriculturist could 

do, cutting down every weed 

that may make its appear- 
ance, and watching it until 

the seed is matured. When 

ripe, the grain is small, 

white, and very hard. The Ants then cut it down, and carry 

it into the subterranean galleries, where it is separated from 

the husks, which are thrown outside till cultivated anew. 

Sometimes when the rainy season has been more than usually 

long, the grain becomes 
damp, and in that case the 
Ants take advantage of the 
first fine day, carry the seed 
into the open air, and spread 
it to dry in the sunbeams. 
When dry it is taken back 
to the granaries ; but those 
seeds which have sprouted 
are rejected, and thrown 
away among the husks. 

Dr. Lincecum watched 
these Ants for more than 
twelve years, and never saw 
them plant any seed except 
that which has been men- 
curious instance of instinct, 
At first the nests were made freely 
G G 

230. — Myrmica barbata> 
(Yellowish brown.) 

tioned. He also records another 
or, perhaps, of reason 



within an orcliard. But after a while the orchard was opened 
to cattle, who naturally ate the succulent grass-grain which 
the Ants had planted. Finding this to be the case, the Ants 
abandoned the orchard, and took to making their plantation in 
the garden and other spots where the cattle could not disturb 
them. The crops generally spring up about the beginning ol 

There are many specimens of these Ants in the British Mu- 
seum. Their colour is yellowish brown. The first of the illus- 

Fitt. 231. — Myrmica barbata. Workers. 
(Yellowish brown.) 

trations represents a fully developed male on the wing. The 
second shows one of the fully developed females taking a flight 
at their swarming-time, while another is leaving the burrow. 
The third illustration represents the workers carrying seeds to 
the granary. 

chaptf:r v. 


The insects which are placed under the titles which are at the 
head of this chapter are popularly known under the general title 
of Sand Wasps. They are so called because the females dig 
holes in any earth, generally of a sandy nature, and place therein 
the insects on which their future young are to be fed. We have 
plenty of them in this country; and any observer of Nature 
must have seen and admired their industrious energy as they 
pursue the task which is the one object of their lives. 

The Pompilidse are among the very fiercest of insects, and 
have among them some of the largest of the Hymenoptera. I 
have not the least idea why this name should be given to insects, 
as it rightly belongs to a fish which follows ships, probably the 
" rudder-fish" of the sailors. The word literally signifies "an es- 
cort," whence our word "pomp," 
on account of the number of 
attendants required by a person 
of high rank when on a journey 
of state. All the Pompilidae 
have tlie legs very long and the 
abdomen oval and attached to 
the thorax by a short footstalk. 

The fine insect which is 
called Pompilus atrox has long 
been known to be a native of 
North America, but specimens 
have lately been discovered in 

Japan. The colour of the head, thorax, and abdomen is shinino- 
black, but towards the base of the abdomen there is a bold 

G G 1^ 

Fig. 232.— Pompilus atio.x. 
(Black, with orange iiatclj on abdomen. 



patcli of orange. The wings are brown, firm, and with a higlily 
polished surface. Forinerly, this insect was called by the 
specific name of tropicus, but it is now known that this name 
beloncTs rightly to a smaller species also from North America. 

In all insects there is a very great difference between good 
and bad specimens, and sometimes the difference is so great 
that they hardly seem to belong to the same species. This is 
peculiarly the case with the insect which is called Pompilus 
Gravesii. A specimen in bad condition betrays no beauty of 
colour, but looks simply of a dull yellow brown, with a few 
spots of a golden hue when the light shines upon the more pro- 
jecting portions. But a speci- 
men in really good condition 
is a splendid insect, looking 
just as if it had been cut out 
of pure gold. Mr. F. Smith 
tells me that the late IMr. 
Cuming had some thirty 
specimens, and their appear- 
ance as they were massed to- 
gether in the box was simply 

This golden lustre is given 
by the hairs with which the 
whole body, including the head, is thickly covered. The hairs lie 
very flat to the body and are nearly parallel, all the points being 
directed backwards. Even in the imperfect specimens a good 
magnifying glass will, with the assistance of a strong light, bring 
out the golden lustre which the unaided eye cannot detect. The 
wings are yellow, and each of the upper pair is marked with 
two squared black spots. This insect is exceedingly variable 
in form. It is never larger than the figure, but is often much 
smaller — some specimens scarcely exceeding the common house- 
fly in size. 

In the British Museum the insect appears under the generic 
name of Parapompilus, Mr. F. Smith having comprised under 
that title all the short-winged Pompili. The name Gravesii is 
rather an unfortunate one, because it expresses nothing of the 
characteristics of the insect. The name speciosus had been 

Fig. 233.— Pompilus Gravesii. 
(Shining gold.) 


45 u 

suggested, but in the meanwhile the insect had been described 
under the name of Gravesii in honour of the name of the cap- 
tain of the ship in which the insects were brought to England. 

Before the discovery of the last-mentioned insect, Pompilus 
nobilis was by far the most beautiful of the family, and, just as 
tliat insect glitters with gold, so does this one shine with silver. 
A good specimen looks, indeed, just as if silver leaf liad been 
laid upon it and rubbed smooth with a burnishing tool. This 
silvery gloss is produced by a coating of very fine silvery hairs, 
set like the pile of velvet, and therefore called " pile " to distin- 
guish it from ordinary hair. 

There is scarcely any insect which shows so plainly the dis- 
tinction between a specimen in good condition and one that is 
damaged or has suffered by 
careless handling. There are 
several specimens in the British 
Museum, and of them all only 
one shows the silvery surface 
perfectly, the rest looking 
almost black, with a faint 
silvery patch here and there. 
It is astonishing how easily 
the beauty of a specimen may 
be marred. One very fertile 
source of damage is re-setting. 
When an insect has been 
badly set or not set at all, 
it is necessary to relax the 

stiffened joints by damp, and then to place the wings and limbs 
in their proper position. Sometimes too much moisture is used, 
and then the surface of an insect is often damaged. Hairy 
insects suffer most in this respect, as the hairs become matted 
together and so lose their lustre. In such an insect as this, 
therefore, where the whole of the silvery sheen depends upon 
the way in which the light is reflected by each individual hair, 
it is evident that the least undue amount of moisture must do 
very great injury, and in all probability destroy the lustre for 
ever. Perhaps the sheen might be restored by soaking the 
insect completely in spirits of vvine, and then drying it by 

Fig. 234.— Pompilus nobilis. 
(Black, silver-glossed.) 


means of a strong current of air directed against the set of the 
hairs. In this way I have succeeded in restoring the beauti- 
ful downy softness of our Goat Moth, and the furry richness of 
the humble-bees and similarly adorned insects. In the British 
Museum insects are relaxed by placing them in a closed earthen- 
Mare vessel containing about half an inch in depth of damp 
sand ; and the late Mr. Doubleday used to attain the same 
object by placing the insects in a large flower-pot sunk into 
the ground. 

The wings of this species are very much like those of the 
Ant Lion in colour, being firm, shining, and transparent, with 
two patches of dark brown on the upper pair and two similar 
patches of very pale brown on the lower pair. 

This genus is spread over a very large portion of the world, 
and there are specimens in the British Museum from Europe, 
Australia, New Zealand, and America. One species which in- 
habits Para is remarkable for the beauty of its wings, which are 
exceedingly glossy, and are gorgeous with the most brilliant 
crimson, azure, and gold. 

As is often the case with insects, the sexes of this genus are so 
unlike each other in appearance that they might easily be taken 

for two distinct species. The chief 
difference lies in the antennae, 
which in the female are simple, 
long, and boldly curved at the 
ends. Those of the male, how- 
ever, one of which is drawn in the 
illustration, are nearly straight 
and most elaborately formed, each 
joint looking very much like the 
head of a trident. Indeed, if 

Fig. 235. — Ctenocerus ramosus. . 

(Black ; wings yellow, edged with browu.) we take the Conventional Nep- 
tune's trident with its spear- 
headed point, and cut away three-fourths of the central prongs 
we shall have a very good idea of a single joint of Ctenocerus. 

Each prong, so to speak, is slightly bent downwards, and they 
are so arranged that when the antenna is seen sideways it looks 
like a flattened strip of yellow horn, covered with an embossed 
pattern and pierced with a double row of holes, the holes being 



in fact the spaces left between the successive joints, the prongs 
being so long that the point of one would be nearly three- 
fourths of the length of the one immediately above it. Both 
names of this insect are very appropriate. Ctenocerus is formed 
from two Greek words, and signifies " comb-horned ; " while 
ramosus is Latin, and signifies "branched." 

The wings of this species are shining yellow, edged with a 
dark brown band, which is wide at the tips, and narrows rapidly 
towards the base. The body and wings are quite black, and on 
the thorax there is a dense covering of thick black hairs. There 
are three species in the British Museum, and this, which comes 
from Southern Africa, is by far the handsomest and largest. The 
anteunte of the male are much yellower than those of the 

The fine insect which goes by the scientific name of Mygnimia 
avicula comes from Java, and is closely allied to Mygnimia 

Fio. 236. — Mygnimia avicula. 
(Black ; wings with a silvery white spot.) 

ducalis, <i native of Penang and India. It is shown of the 
natural size, and probably derives its name of avicula, or "little 



bird," from its great size, Tiie colour of the head, thorax, 
abdomen, and legs is dead black, with a slight scattering of 
white like hoar-frost. The wings are also black, and in the 
upper pair there is a large white spot with a silvery lustre when 
viewed by a side light. The lower wings are not of so deep a 
black as the upper pair, and they have no spot. 

The reader will notice the structure of the claws, each of 
which has a bold tooth-like projection in the midst of the 
inner side. It has been suggested that this tooth is intended 
to aid the Mygnimia in catching its prey ; I can, however, 
scarcely accept this theory, because the Pompilidse do not 
seize their prey by the claws, but by clasping it in their 
legs, and so holding it while the sting is brought to bear. The 
wounded insects are also carried off in the clasped legs, and are 
never grasped by the claw itself, which is comparatively feeble. 

Another species of the same genus, Mygnimia aspcLsia, has 
derived its specific title from its beauty, the name of Aspasia 

Fig. 237.— Mygnimia aspasia. 
(Black, glossed with blue.) 

being that of the very beautiful but not at all moral lady who 
taught eloquence at Athens and numbered Socrates among her 
pupils. This species has been found in Dory, Amboyna, Aru, 
and one or two other localities- 



Though not so large as the preceding insect, it is a 
handsome species, for whereas the former species is entirely 
black with a single spot of white on each wing, the present 
species is strongly glossed with blue. This effect is obtained 
by means of a soft, velvet-like pile, which even extends to the 
head. The wings are transparent and yellow, while the nervures 
are rust-red, becoming black at the base. There is a slight pale 
brown border to the wings. The legs, especially the hind pair, 
are armed with a number of bold tooth-like spines, thereby 
contrasting with those of the previous species, which are 

The magnificent insect which is here shown is one of the 
largest of the Hymenoptera, and is very handsome, not only 

'Fio. 238.— Pepsis elevata. 

on account of its size, but by reason of its splendid colouring. 
Like many insects, the colouring is so deep that a very strong 
light is required in order to bring out its beauties, and, if the 


light be insufficient, the whole of the tissues appear to be dull 
velvety black. In point of fact, the real colour of the head, 
thorax, abdomen, and legs is Prussian green, so deep and 
rich that at tirst sight the insect will probably be set down 
as a black one. The wings are shining brown, and the 
antennee are black for half their length, and yellow for the 

The reason for giving the name of Pepsis to these insects 
is to me one of the many insoluble mysteries in connection 
with insect nomenclature. The word Pepsis is Greek, and 
primarily signifies " digestion " or " concoction," and when used 
in reference to wine it signifies " fermentation." The term is 
familiar to most persons in forming part of the word " dys- 
peptic," i.e. difficult digestion. I very much wish that all 
persons who give a name to any new species, whether it be 
animal or vegetable, should be bound at the same time to 
explain that name and state their reasons for giving it ; and I 
should like to abolish, once and for all, the custom of givins 
to a new species the name of any human being. Every name 
ought to designate some characteristic, and that can never be 
done under the system that is so largely followed. 

On Plate IX. Fig. 1 is shown a Brazilian species, called, on 
account of its size and strength, Pepsis hcros. 

Like the preceding insect, it looks at tirst sight as if it were 
black, the colour being in fact the deepest blue, with a sort of 
velvet-like lustre. The wings are brown and glossy, and the 
legs black. 

The insect which is here given is, I believe, a new species and 
hitherto undescribed. On account of the general richness of 
its colour, Mr. Smith has given it the specific title of nigreseens, 
i.e. " blackish." It is a native of Demerara. The colour of the 
insect is black, with a thick velvet-like fur on the head and 
thorax. The legs are long, and without spines. The reader 
will notice that the tibiae of the hind legs are much flattened, 
this being a peculiarity common to the male sex throughout 
the whole genus. The wings are very beautiful. Their gene- 
ral colour is black, but they are adorned with many bold 

FTLi^a^TE IX:. 



streaks of steely blue, each streak having a narrow edge of 

Fig. 239. — Pepsi8 nigrescens. (New species. ) 
(Black ; ^vings streaked with blue and purple.) 

With this insect we end the Pompilidse, and now proceed to 
the next gxoup. 

The Sphegidse are at once known by the shape of the abdomen. 
This is attached to the thorax by a long footstalk, composed 
of the first segment of the abdomen greatly elongated, just 

Fig. 240.— Aiumophila melanaria 

as a thin wire is drawn from a thick bar. Sometimes a portion 
of the second segment is included in the footstalk. 

Some species have this footstalk wonderfully elongated 


especially in the genus Ammophila. This word is formed 
from the Greek, and literally signifies " sand-lover," because 
the insects always select sandy spots for the purpose of forming 
their burrows. All the Ammophiles have similar habits, and 
our own familiar species, Ammophila sahulosa, affords a very ex- 
cellent example of the manner in which insects of this genus 
prepare the homes for their future young. The mother insect 
selects a suitable spot, and then digs a tolerably deep burrow, 
rather narrow in diameter, except at the bottom, where it is 
widened into a chamber. She never drops the excavated soil 
near the mouth of the burrow, but carries it out between the 
jav/s, flies to a little distance, and then, with a peculiar jerk, 
scatters the sand in a shower. Mr. Westwood has given a 
detailed account of this process in the " Transactions of the 
Entomological Society," vol. i. 

The burrow being made, the Sand Wasp, as the creature is 
popularly termed, goes off in search of a spider, or caterpillar, 
or an insect of some kind, which is destined to serve as food for 
the future young. The prey is seized firmly in the grasp of the 
long legs, and is at once disabled by the sting, which, however, 
does not kill it at once, but paralyses it and prevents its escape. 
She then drags the disabled prey towards the burrow, her wings 
buzzing loudly and her whole movements full of fiery energy. 
Having reached the burrow, she transfers the insect to her 
jaws, and begins to descend the burrow backwards, dragging 
the insect after her. 

Now comes the use of the enlarged chamber. Were the 
burrow to be of the same size throughout, the Sand Wasp 
would not be able to get out again, but the chamber allows 
space for her to walk round the insect, when she deposits an egg. 
Sometimes she goes off and fetches more insects, but this 
depends entirely upon the size of the prey which she at first 
brought in. I very much doubt whether the Ammophila 
restricts herself to one kind of victim, and think that she will 
take either spider or caterpillar, as may be most convenient at 
the time. Thus she proceeds until she has deposited her whole 
stock of eggs, when she dies, the labour of her life being over. 

The larva is a white, footless grub, with small head, armed 
with strong teeth, and generally bent in a double curve, like the 
letter S. When it is full fed it spins a double cocoon, the outer 



one being white, and looking something like paper, while the 
second or inner cocoon is made of similar material, but has a 
dark, smooth lining. 

Our first example of these insects, Ammopliila melanaria, is a 
native of Brazil, The head is rather small and rounded, and 
the jaws are long, sharply pointed, curved in a sickle-like form, 
and are armed with a boldly projecting tooth in the middle of 
the inner margin. This structure enables the insect to grasp its 
prey firmly, as it drags it into the narrow tunnel. The wings 
are transparent, and the colour of the head, thorax, and abdomen 
is black, as is shown by the specific name, melanaria, which is 
formed from the Greek, and signifies " blackish." The footstalk 
of the abdomen is very long 
and slender, being, indeed, 
scarcely thicker than a fine 

OuE second species of Am- 
niophila is a native of Pard. 
Like the preceding species, 
it is black, but its tarsi are 
armed with long spikes, which 
is not the case with its Bra- 
zilian relative. The jaws are 
very powerful, toothed, and 
remarkable for a narrow line 
of long curved hairs along 

their outer edge. There are great numbers of insects belonging 
to this genus in the British Museum, and it is remarkable that 
among that large and varied collection there is not one single 
specimen which is not dull-coloured. 

Fig. 241. — Ammophila opulenta. 

ScAKCELY any of the genus Pelopaeus are known to exist 
except in the warmest portions of the earth. Their generic 
name is taken from a Greek word signifying " mud," and is given 
to them because they make their nests of sand ; it is very finely 
worked and kneaded, and then left to dry in the heated air. 
The nest is generally composed of a series of cells, each being 
closed as it is completed, and the entrance being always from 
beneath. The Pelopaei store their nests with various insects 



mostly caterpillars, but they often employ caterpillars, just like 
the Sand Wasps of our own land. 

It has been said that the Pelopseus not only places a disabled 
insect in the cell occupied by its offspring, but continually adds 
fresh insects as those which are already within are devoured. 
Mr. Westwood, however, totally dissents from this opinion, on 

the ground that none but the 
social Hymenoptera feed the young 

The accompanying illustration 

depicts a South African species, Pc- 

lopcBus clialyheus. The specific name, 

which signifies " blue," is given to 

it because its whole body is of a 

deep rich blue, very much like that 

of the blue-bottle fly. The whole 

of the head, thorax, and abdomen 

are thickly and deeply punctured, 

which gives additional richness to 

the colouring. The wings are dark, 

with a slight but decided blue gloss. The insect is shov/n as 

standing upon its mud-built nest, the aperture which serves as 

entrance into the last cell beins; seen towards the bottom. 

Fig. 242.— PelopiBus ebalybeus. 
(Shining blue.) 

On Plate IX. Fig. 2 is seen the figure of an Australian 
species, called Pelopceus Icetus, flying towards the nest, which is 
placed on the trunk of a tree. 

Although not so brilliant a species as the last, it is boldly 
and prettily coloured. The general hue of the body is black, as 
far as the end of the thorax, in the middle of which is a bold 
oblong patch of yellow. From the end of the thorax to the 
middle of the abdomen the colour is yellow. Then comes a 
broad band of black, and the rest of the abdomen is yellow. 
The antennae are also yellow, and there is a collar of the same 
colour on the neck. 

It has been discovered that some species of the Pelopseus are 
parasitic creatures, affecting the nests of a solitary bee called 
Eumenes. That this is the fact has been proved by finding in 
the nests of the Eumenes the cocoons of the Pelopaeus, which 
are almost exactly like those of the Ammophila which have 
been alreadv described. 



We now come to the typical genus of the Sphegidre, an 
example of which is the beautiful Sphcx argentata, so called 
from the broad silvery band which encircles the middle of the 
abdomen. There is a peculiarity about this silvery band. It 
is very conspicuous, and yet, when examined closely, it disap- 
pears. This effect is produced by the very short and fine 
silvery pile which exists upon that ]vut of the abdomen, and 


Fig. 243. — Sphex argentata. 
(Black, with silver belt on abdomen.) 

sometimes extends to the metathorax. The rest of the insect is 
black, and the wings are transparent. 

Few insects have so great a range as this, specimens having 
been brought from India, Sumatra, Java, Celebes, Ceram, and 
many parts of Africa and Europe. 

A VEEY graphic account of the proceedings of a Jamaican 
species of Sphex is given by Mr. Gosse in his " Naturalist's 
Sojourn in Jamaica " : — 

" On the earthen floor of the building, formerly used as the 
boiling-house on Bluefields Estate, but now dilapidated and par- 
tially unroofed, where twine-like roots depend from the rafters, 
and elegant ferns spring out of the crevices of the crumbling 
walls, a good many large wasp-like flies may be observed in the 


hottest part of the day, briskly flying to and fro. It is a species 
of Sphex, closely allied to S. ichneumonea, but with the abdomen 
wholly rufous. On closer examination we discover numerous 
holes entering diagonally into the dry and dusty ground, into 
which some of these bright-coloured flies are crawling, and from 
which others are emerging. 

" From some of the holes proceeds a shrill, but intermitted, 
buzzing ; and if we watch one of these, we perceive the Sphex at 
work therein. At first we cannot see what she is doing, for she 
crawls in head foremost, and in a second or two comes out tail 
foremost, recedes a few inches, and then advances again, again 
emerges in the same manner, and again enters; and continues thus 
to crawl backward and forward with bustling activity, and with 
much flirting of the purple wings. She is almost white with dust, 
and is evidently very busy, if we can but comprehend her motions. 

" On stooping down and bringing our face very near the scene 
of labour, we discover, by narrow watching, that she is digging 
the hole ; and hence the negro children have given her the ap- 
propriate title of gravedigger. Every time that she comes forth, 
she brings a load of the powdery earth, much larger than her 
head, tightly held between the shanks of her two fore-feet, her 
breast, and her chin, and this she drops an inch or two from the 
cave's mouth. Sometimes she brings a stone still larger, and 
this is grasped in the jaws, and dragged to the distance of four 
or five inches, for fear it should roll in again. I have seen her 
bring two stones together, one grasped beneath the chin, the 
other in the jaws. Each time she has dropped the load, she 
never fails, as she advances, to keep the road clear by scraping ' 
with the fore shanks, throwing the dust behind her. But for - 
this, the earth brought out would soon accumulate in a heap, and 
roll back. If a dry leaf or small stick happen to drop against 
the mouth of the hole, she seizes it with her curved jaws and 
carries it to a safe distance. 

"I observed one filling up a hole. JSTo doubt she had de- 
posited her egg at the bottom, and stored sufficient provision 
(caterpillars or spiders, disabled but not killed, according to the 
custom of these interesting insects) to last the young grub, when 
hatched, until its maturity, ' baud ignara ac non incauta futuri.^ 
With her tail towards the hole, she scraped back a little heap of 
dust; then turned, and with her head moved it about, that it 



might fall to the bottom. Then she turned again and did the 
like, repeating this procedure several times in succession. At 
length no more earth would go down, for the hole was full ; she 
then rammed it two or three times with her head, and flew 
away, leaving still, however, the situation of tlie orifice obvious 

" These insects work very fast in the soft dusty earth, for they 
are indefatigable in their exertions. The bee is the recognised 
symbol of industry, but the labour of the bee is play compared 
with the efforts of the grave-digging Spliex." 

The rare and very remarkable insect which is here shown is 
a native of South America, and was captured by Mr. T. P. G 
Smith at Pernambuco. Two specimens, male and female, are in 

Fie. 244. — Stethorectus ingens. 
(Shining blacli.) 

the British Museum, and I believe that they are unique. T\u- 
illustration represents the male. There is a full and detailed 
description of the insect by Mr. F. Smith, in the " Annals and 
Magazine of Natural History," vol. xx. p. 394. 

The chief characteristic of this species is the enormous length 
of the thorax, which is rounded in front and cut off abrupt!} 

ii n 



behind. It is covered with a moderately thick coating of long 
hairs. The abdomen is quite small, and is joined to the thorax 
by a rather short and very slender footstalk. The head is large, 
and carries a pair of very powerful jaws, jetty black and 
shining. The legs are long and spiny, and in the male the end 
of the thigh is thickened into a knob, which is curiously bent 
inwards, and armed with several strong but blunt teeth. The 
name Stethorectus, which signifies " lengthened breast," is given 
to the insect in consequence of the great length of the thorax. 
The wings are shining brown, glossed with blue, and are singu- 
larly beautiful. 

The female Stethorectus feeds her young upon spiders of 
various kinds, and so fierce and powerful is she that she will even 
attack the enormous Mygale, or Bird Spider, and carry it off to 
her nest. This is a most remarkable feat, for the Mygale, when 
its legs are spread, covers as much space as a man's extended 
hand, and it is powerful enough to attack and destroy the 
humming-birds. It is not, however, a match for the Stetho- 
rectus, which darts upon it and paralyzes it with its sting, so 
that it can offer no resistance. The Mygale does not die at once 
from the sting, but lingers for five or six days, thus giving time 
for the egg of its captor to be hatched. If it cannot obtain a 

suitable spider, the Stetho- 
rectus makes use of cater- 
pillars or grasshoppers. 

The genus Chlorion de- 
rives its name from the pre- 
vailing colour of the insects 
belonging to it. Chlorion 
is a Greek word, signifying 
" green," and shining green is 
the colour of nearly all the 
species. There are several 
blue species, but even in 
them there is a decided gloss 
of green. 
The species which is here represented is an Asiatic insect, and 
is spread throughout India and China. It is a very pretty 
insect, the body being always polished and shining, and mostly 



Fig. 245.— Chlorion lobatum. Male. 
(Shining green.) 



of a brilliant emerald green. Some specimens, however, are en- 
tirely blue, sometimes the thorax is half blue and half green, and 
in a few specimens the colour is so vngue that it is impossible to 
decide whether the real colour be blue or green. The wings are 
yellow and shining, and in most instances those of the female 

Fig. 246.- 

-Ch'.ovion lobatum. 
(SUining green.) 


are clouded with brown at the tips. It is one of the spider- 
eating species, and displays great powers of perseverance in cap- 
turing and dragging its prey to the burrow. 

The two sexes are very dissimilar in appearance, and both are 
therefore represented, the small specimen being the male, and 
the larger the female. 

The genus Ampulex is a very large one, and is spread over 
the warmer portions of the world. There are in the British 
Museum specimens from India, Chine, the Celebes, Africa, and 
tropical America. The present species comes from Borneo, and 
there is only a single specimen in the British Museum. 

The commonest species is Ampulex compressa, a native of 
China. This is a very brightly coloured insect. The head, 
thorax, and abdomen are rich shining purple, and the wings are 
pale brown. The legs are bright blue, except the thighs, which 
are red. All the species belonging to this genus stock their 

H H 2 



burrows with large insects, preferring for this purpose the field 

cockroaches, one of which is shown in the illustration. In all 

the species the abdomen is 
much compressed, but in the 
Chinese species which has 
just been mentioned the ab- 
domen looks exactly as if it 
had been squeezed between 
the finger and thumb. The 
reader will probably recol- 
lect that in entomological 
language, " compressed " sig- 
nifies flattened sideways, and 
" depressed " flattened down- 
wards as if by a weight. As 
the insects on which the 
Ampulex preys are large and 

strong, it is necessary that the jaws should be ver}'' powerful, 

and this is the case in every species. 

Fig. 247.— Ampulex hospes 

The Larridae, although rather a small family, are spread 
widely over the world, and in the British Museum there are 
examples of the genus Larrada, taken not only from Europe, 


Fig. 248.— Larrada ducalis. 
(Black, with blue wings. ) 

Asia, Africa, and Australia, but both from North and South 
America. The present species is found in Java and the Celebes. 
Only two specimens are in the Museum. 

This species was called ducalis by Mr. F. Smith, on account 



of its size, which is very much greater than that of auy 
other species. At first sight it is not a very handsome insect, 
but a careful inspection shows beauties, which do not appear at 
first. The whole of the body is black, but each segment of the 
abdomen is marked by a slight edging of very short silvery pile^ 
looking as if a fine line of silver had been drawn round it. The 
eyes are large, and round them is drawn a line of short hairs of 
a rich golden lustre. There is also a patch of similar hair in the 
front of the face, between the eyes. The wings are brown, with a 
very strong blue gloss. 

Of all the species, I think that Larrada hcemorrhoidalis of 
Australia is by far the handsomest. The golden pile, which in 
the preceding species is confined to the head, is spread over the 
entire body, and the efiect is singularly beautiful, the play 
of light and shade being just like that of the richest velvet. The 
thorax has apparently two brown stripes, but when the light is 
changed the stripes become golden, and the rest of the thorax 
brown. The wings are shining yellow, tipped with brown. 

The name Tachytes is taken from a Greek word signifyinf^ 
" rapidity," and is given to the insects of the genus on account of 
their exceeding swiftness both on the ground and in the air, and 
their constant restlessness. 
There is a British species, 
Tacliytcs unicolor, which is 
so swift that it can hardly 
1)0 captured. 

As its name imports, the 
}»resent species inhabits 
China. It is the largest of 
all the known species, and 
is coloured very much like 
our hive bee, except that a 
fine line of silvery pile grows 
on the edges of the segments 
of the abdomen. The wings 
are pale yellow. It is a very large genus, and, like Larrada, 
extends over all parts of the world. All the species of whose 
life-history anything is known have very similar habits. 
They make burrows in the ground, lay their eggs in them, and 

Fio. 249.— Tacbytes Sineusis. 
(Dark brown.) 


stock them with insects as food for the future young. They 
seem to prefer grasshoppers, or at all events Orthoptera, to any 
other insects, though they sometimes take caterpillars, if they 
can get nothing better. The British species, Tachytes pompili- 
forrnis, almost invariably stocks its nest with grasshoppers, 
having previously deprived them of life, or at all events of 
motion, by the sting. Yet, Mr. Shuckard has seen the insect 
engaged in the capture of green caterpillars, possibly because it 
could find no grasshoppers. 

On Plate VIIT., Fig. 2 is shown an insect that is rather 
insignificant in appearance, though it is very interesting in its 
habits. Its name is Farapison rufipes, and it is one of a number 
of insects that were brought from India by Mr. C. Home, and 
described by Mr. F. Smith. Its colour is very simple, being 
nearly brown, with a sprinkling of silvery down. Attached to 
the flower-stem in the lower corner of the plate is seen a group 
of its curious cells, the construction of which is thus described 
by Mr. Home : — 

" It constructs a wall of loosely-arranged cells of earth 
attached to some hanging object, such as a creeper, tendril, or 
pendent straw, or even a curled dry leaf The interior of the 
cell is strengthened by a very fine glutinous silky-looking sub- 
stance, and this is the more necessary as the least damp would 
otherwise destroy the whole fabric. 

" I believe the insect to apply some kind of gluten, while the 
pupa secures its safety by spinning a very slight silken web 
within its abode. The cells are very globular, and are filled 
with the smallest spiders, of which I counted eighteen in two 
chambers. These are generally of a pale green colour, and their 
plumpness is curious. Sometimes, however, it builds a wall 
with more or less regularity. The pellets used in construction 
are, comparatively with the size of the insect, very large, and 
loosely attached to one another : very little smoothing is effected 
exteriorly, and were it not for the interior binding together of 
the particles, the wall would apparently fall to pieces of itself. 

" The earth brought is prepared by water, as is the case with 
all clay-building insects which I have observed ; and the insect 
affects the vicinity of water, and hence, probably, is seldom 
found far from wells. It builds in September and October, and 



tlie perfect insect sometimes emerges early, though it often 
delays its appearance until the spring (viz. March or April) of 
the following year, when the heat sets in. 

" A small Pemphredon, or another even smaller species, often 
takes possession of the cells of this insect, rendering the identi- 
fication of the pupa very difficult. The chrysalis is more ovate 
in form than that of Pemphredon. I have no drawing of the 
grub." In another part of his paper Mr. Home mentions that 
a hymenopterous insect belonging to another family, namely 
Trypoxylon intrudens, was hatched from cells made by the 
Parapison, the former insect having taken possession of the 
cells made by the latter. 

The next family is that of the Bembecidae, in which the 
tongue is often so long that it resembles the same organ in the 
hive bee. The name is Greek, signifying " a humming-top," and 

Fig. 250. — Bembex rostrata. 
(Black, with greenish yellow bars.) 

is given to the insects on account of their quick, fussy move- 
ments, and the buzzing sound which they produce when on 
the wing. 

As far as is yet known, no species of the genus Bembex is an 
inhabitant of England, though this species extends throughout 
the greater part of Europe, and is even found in Northern Africa. 
It is nearly, though not quite, the largest species belonging to 
the genus, and is rather prettily coloured, the greenish yellow 
bands contrasting well with the black which forms the ground 

The habits of this insect are much like those which have 
already been mentioned. The female digs deep burrows in the 
sand, using her fore-feet just as a terrier scratches at a rat-hole. 


and working with wonderful speed and activity. She then 
catches flies of various kinds, and places them in the burrow for 
the use of the future young. She is so active that she can even 
catch the swift-winged Hoverer Flies {Syrpliidoe), pouncing on 
them during flight, just as a falcon swoops on a partridge. 
Having stocked the nest with a sufficient quantity of flies, she 
closes the entrance with earth, and leaves the eggs to be hatched 
in their own time. 

It is rather remarkable that so fierce and active an insect 
should itself be the victim of another insect, but such is the 
case. The gorgeous Euby-tail Fly, called Stilbum splendidum, 
and described on page 415, haunts the burrows of the Bembex, 
crawls into them during the absence of the real owner, and 
surreptitiously deposits its eggs there. As the egg of the 
Stilbum is hatched before that of the Bembex, it naturally 
happens that the former not only eats the flies, but the Bembex 
larva itself. 

In the generic name of the present insect there is another 
of those curious, not to say inexcusable, confusions in nomen- 
clature which have been more than once mentioned. The word 
is Latin, and is used by Ovid to signify " a jackdaw," so that it 
clearly ought not to be used as a name for a genus of insects, 

especially as it is anti- 
cipated in the scientific 
name of the jackdaw, 
Corvus monedula. 

This is altogether a 
South American genus, 
and a good description 
of the manner in which 

Fig. 251.— Monedula heio.s. tllC inSCCtS dig their 

(Black aud yellow.) , i < i ii 

burrows and stock them 
with flies may be found in Mr. Bates' well-known book on the 
Amazons Eiver. 

This is one of the largest of the genus, and is a really fine 
insect. The colour of the head, thorax, and abdomen is velvety 
black, while on each side are five patches of brilliant yellow. 
There are also some yellow marks on the thorax, as shown in 
the illustration. The legs are black, covered with a greyisli down. 


The two colours of black and yellow run through the genus, 
and it is on account of their pied appearance that the name of 
Monedula has been given to the insects. The colour is, how- 
ever, very differently arranged in the various species. One of 
them, Monedula magnijica, of Brazil, has the ground colour 
velvet-black, while at each side of the base of the abdomen 
there is a large patch of deep orange, and an interrupted band 
about the middle. Perhaps the most curiously marked species 
is one in w^hich the body is shining black, and has on the 
abdomen four rows of circular greenish yellow spots arranged 
with curious regularity. 

The family of the Nyssonidee, which comes next in order, 
derives its name from a Greek word signifying " something that 
pricks or goads," and is given to the insects on account of the 
power of their stings. In none of those insects is the abdomen 
attached to the thorax by a foot-stalk. 

Fig. 252. — Stizus speciosus. Male. 
(Black aud yellow.) 

The name Stizus is taken from the Greek, and signifies " a 
point," in allusion to the sharp points which arm the end of 
the abdomen in the male. The colour of Stizus speciosus is 
nearly the same as that of the Monedula. The abdomen is 
shining black, diversified with patches of bright yellow, 
arranged as shown in the illustration. The shape and size of 


these marks are somewhat variable. The thorax is round, with 
a beautifully rich pile like dark brown velvet. 

Mr. Walsh gives a curious account of this insect, which is a 
North American species. It usually stocks its burrows with 
grasshoppers, and is called by the name of the Digger Wasp. 
A correspondent, however, who sent him specimens of the 
Digger Wasp, states that the insect is known in Texas as the 
Horse Guard, because it is always flying about the horses, 

Fig. 253. — Stizus speciosus. Female. 
(Black and yellow.) 

seizing upon the flies that annoy them, and carrying them off 
to the burrow. Mr. Walsh thinks that there may be some error 
in this account, and that the insect which really does catch and 
store up the horse-flies is a species of Bembex which much 
resembles the Stizus. 

Six species of Stizus are found in America, one of which, 
Stizus grandis, stocks its burrows with Cicadas instead of 

Our last example of the Nyssonidse is Exeirus lateritus, a fine 
insect from Australia, This was first described by Mr. Shuckard 
in 1836, and the whole account maybe found in the Transactions 
of the Entomological Society for that year. The general colour 
of the insect is black, but the head is yellowish red, sprinkled 



with silvery down. The thorax is black and very hairy, and 
the middle of the abdomen is red. The legs are black, except 
the tibige, which ure light red. They are of great proportionate 
length, and have given rise to the generic name Exeiriis, which 
is formed from a Greek word signifying to "stretch out," or 
" elongate." 

There is considerable difference in the sexes. The male is 
smaller than the female, and the end of the abdomen, instead of 

Fig. 254. — Exeirus lateritus. 
(Black and red.) 

"being long and pointed, is short, blunt, and rounded. Moreover, 
the male has one more joint in the antennae than the female, lie 
having thirteen joints, and she only twelve. 

Of the Crabronidse we have many examples in our own 
country, there being some forty species of the one genus Crabro. 
They are all burrowers, most of our own species preferrins: 
decayed wood for that purpose. It has been remarked by Mr. 
Shuckard that there is a difference in the mode in which the 
various burrowing wasps carry their prey. Oxybelus conveys 
it by means of the hind legs, Pompilus and Ammophila seize it 
in their jaws and drag it backwards ; while all, if not nearly all 
the others grasp it in their jaws, hold it with their fore-legs, and 
so laden fly to their nests. 



Mr. Westwood has successfully watched the development of 
several species of Crabro, and has noticed that while burrowing 
in wood the insect bites off small splinters with its teeth, passes 
them under its body by the first and second pairs of legs, and then 
kicks them out of the burrow with the hind pair. The strong 

spines with which the tibia? 
of the hind legs are armed 
assist the insect in propelling 
the fragments well out of the 
burrow. The burrow is stocked 
with insects, varying accord- 
ing to the species of Crabro, 
and when the larva is full fed 
it spins for itself a silken 
cocoon of a reddish brown 
colour. As the silken threads 
of which the cocoon is formed 
are of a viscid nature when 
first spun, the wings and 
other debris of the flies on 
which the larva had fed are sure to adhere to the exterior and 
so give the cocoon a very singular aspect. 

The species which is given as our example of this genus is an 
inhabitant of Southern Europe, and is rather prettily coloured, 
the general hue being black, and the abdomen marked with 
interrupted bands of greenish yellow, arranged as shown in the 

Fig. 255.— Crabro subterraneus. 
(Blaok and yellow.) 

On Plate VIII. Fig. 1 is shown a pretty insect of Northern 
India, called Trypoxylon rejector. 

The generic name is formed from two Greek words, and 
sio'nifies " a wood-borer." As may be inferred from that name- 
the generality of the insects belonging to this genus bore holes 
in wood. Several species of Trypoxylon inhabit England, and 
have been noticed to enter the burrows of other insects. Mr. 
Westwood, having seen this done several times, naturally thought 
that the insect was a parasitic one. Afterwards, however, he 
found that the only object was to save itself trouble, and that 
the Trypoxylon merely enlarged the biuTows and then lined them 
with sand. One species makes a number of successive cells 



iu each burrow, placing a single egg in every cell, and accom- 
panying it with spiders, more or less in number according to 
their size. 

One small species, Trypoxylon alternatum, may often be 
found in the dead and broken stems of roses and brambles, the 
insect boring away the soft pith and constructing a series of 
cells, each separated from its neighbour by a wall of sand. The 
cells are stocked with small spiders, and if the stem be carefully 
cut open, the cocoons may be seen all in a row, each cocoon 
hlling as exactly as possible the cell iu which the larva has 
been reared. 

Whatever may be the case with the British species, it is 
evident that some of the foreign Trypoxylons are parasitic upon 
other insects, or at all events that they take possession of their 
nests in order to avoid the trouble of making burrows for them- 
selves. The reader will remember that in the account of Para- 
pison rujipes Mr. Home mentioned that he had bred from it 
specimens of Trypoxylon intrudens. The same observer states 
that although Tryjpoxylon rejector builds cells of its own, it is 
in the habit of appropriating those of other insects. In Plate 
VIII. the elongated cells in the nests of the illustration are 
those of the Trypoxylon. This is Mr. Home's account of the 
insect as given in the Transactions of the Zoological Society, 
vol. vii. part 3 : — 

" This curious little insect, when first hatched from the deli- 
cate little Serpularia-like cells, was taken by me for some para- 
site allied to the Ichneumonidse, in consequence of my having 
often observed it hovering at the mouths of the cells of the 
smaller cell-building insects in my verandah. I found, how- 
ever, that it brought mud and worked for itself, as well as 
appropriated the cells of other insects which it found ready 
to its hand. 

" I have nowhere found recorded its habits ; but I think I 
have seen it carrying minute green spiders wherewith to fill its 
cells. It certainly does not feed its young, but stores food ; for 
it closes its cells directly they are ready, which none of the 
Vespidae do. 

"The construction of these is very curious ; and the pellets 
of earth used appear of a sandy character, which gives to the 
structure great delicacy and fragility. At the same time the 



interior of the cell is lined with some glutinous ejection which 
binds it together. 

" The specimens of cells figured (the originals of which are now 
all in England) show how strongly this cementing fluid acts. 

" The nests are extremely difficult to find, being small, and 
many straws hanging in the places where they are usually con- 
structed, such as under a thatch of coarse grass. 

"As might have been expected, they remain a very short 
time in the pupa state ; and the month of September is their 
favourite season of construction, although they continue to build 
in October. 

" I have often watched them as I sat in my thatched summer- 
house at Mainpuri ; and the rapidity with which they came and 
went was surprising. I know of no other special peculiarity 
which calls for remark, excepting that all the cells I have found 
have been under cover." 

The general colour of this insect is black, but the second and 
third segments of the abdomen are red. 

Some systematic entomologists have formed a family called 
Philanthidpe, but there seems to be no need for it, the Crabro- 
nidse being quite comprehensive enough. One species, Philan- 

thus triangidum^ is tolerably common 
on the Continent, but very rare in 
England. Mr. Sliuckard predicted, 
some years ago, that when its me- 
tropolis was discovered, it would 
prove to be plentiful though very 
local, and therefore rare except in 
its own peculiar home. Mr. F. Smith 
discovered the metropolis of this 
insect at Sandown, Isle of Wight, 
and so Mr. Shuckard's prophecy was 

The insects were in considerable 
numbers, burrowing into the sand, 
and flying about with great activity. 
Their strength and boldness may be 
inferred from the fact that they pro- 
vision their nests with the hive bee, an insect nearly twice as large 

V\Q. 256.— PhJlanthus eoronatus. 
(lilaok and yellow.) 


as the Philanthiis, and armed with a sting which even man fears 
to meet. Some preyed upon Andrena bees, and Mr. Smith tells 
me that the choice of prey seemed to depend very much on 
locality, the Andrena being preferred where it v/as plentiful, 
and the hive bee taken when Andrenas are scarce. On the 
<Jontinent this Philanthus is said to do great harm to apiarians, 
each female making on an average five cells, and depositing a 
bee in each. 

Although so bold, strong, and active, and possessing a sting 
which is venomous enough to disable even the hive bee, the 
Philanthus is curiously averse to using its sting except for the 
purpose of securing its prey. Mr. Smith found that he absolutely 
could not provoke the insects to use their stings, even though he 
held them in the bare hand. 

The species which is represented in the illustration is a native 
of Southern Europe. Its colour is black, with yellow marks on 
the abdomen and thorax, as shown in the illustration. Pound 
tlie head there is a radiating fringe of yellow hair, which has 
earned for the species the name of coronata, or " crowned." The 
name Philanthus is formed from two words signifying " a lover 
of flowers," and is given to the insects because they are fond of 
haunting the wild flowers when they are not forced by resistless 
instinct to dig their burrows and search for prey. In order 
to show the peculiar markings, the figure is enlarged about 

We now come to a great group of Hymenoptera in which the 
wings are folded longitudinally throughout their length when at 
I'est. Anyone can see this peculiar structure by looking at a 
common wasp. Both sexes have wings, and so have the neuters. 

The first family in this group is the Eumenidse, which com- 
prise the solitary species, and which may be known at once by 
their double claws. We have in England one species of the 
typical genus, Uumenes coardata, which is a local insect, but 
tolerably common in those districts which suit it. Sandy ground 
well covered with heather seems to be its favourite locality. It 
makes a curious vase-shaped nest, forming it of sand, fastening 
it to a heather spray, and then provisioning it with little cater- 
pillars after it has deposited an egg. I may here mention that 
the name Eumenidse has been appropriately, if somewhat fanci- 



fully, given to these insects on account of the havoc which they 
work among sundry larvae, spiders, &c. The Eumenides were 
the furies of the Greek classics, the ministers of vengeance 
appointed by the greater gods to inflict punishment on offend- 
ing mankind. 

The present species derives its name of xanthura, or " yellow 
tail," from its colour. The head and abdomen are black, except 

that a considerable portion 
^ of the end of the abdomen 
is ruddy chestnut. The tho- 
rax is also chestnut, but on 
its upper surface is a large 
patch of deep brown. The 
abdomen has a soft velvet 
look, on account of the deep 
punctures with which it is 
perfectly covered. The wings 
are shining, and yellowish 
in colour. It is an Indian 
insect. Closel}'' allied to it 
is another Indian species, 
Eumenes ^petiolata, which 
very much resembles it in form, but may be distinguished 
by a single broad bar of yellow across the middle of the 
abdomen. This insect makes a large nest of nmd, about the 
size of a pigeon's egg, and affixes it under some projection, 
probably for the sake of sheltering it from the rain. An 
egg is placed in each nest, which is then well stored with cater- 
pillars. Sometimes, in a favourable position, a whole row of 
these nests may be seen, set side by side. The insect builds 
them in all kinds of places ; and in a paper in the Transactions 
of the Entomological Society it is stated that in one case a key- 
hole was chosen as a locality for the nest, and in another, the 
interior of a disused flute. 

Fig. 25V. — Eutuenes xantliura. 
(Black and yellow.) 

On Plate VIII. Fig. 3 is drawn a beautiful species from 
Northern India, called Eumenes esuriens. In his paper on the 
Indian Hymenoptera, Mr. Home observes that the insect has a 
habit of choosing doors and posts as localities for its nest, 
which, like that of any Eumenes, is always made with an 


opening having a recurved lip. As a rule, the insect manages 
to preserve the spherical form of its nest, no matter what may 
he the exigencies of the locality. The nest is stocked with 
caterpillars, mostly belonging to the Geometridte, and almost 
invariably green in colour. 

As is often the case with solitary wasps and bees, the 
Eumenes is liable to the attacks of parasites, of which the 
ubiquitous Ruby- tail {Chrysis) is sure to be one. Mr. Home 
mentions one very remarkable instance of parasitic develop- 
ment. From a single cell of Eumenes esuricns the insect was 
hatched in due course of time. But there was also hatched a 
beetle belonging to the genus Emanadia. This insect is allied 
to our Sitaris muralis, which is so well known to entomologists 
as being parasitic on various solitary bees. Besides this, a fly, 
apparently belonging to the genus Anthrax, was hatched from 
the same nest. Now, the wonder is, how all these insects con- 
trived to obtain sufficient food when packed within so narrow a 
compass, especially as the fly is not a small one, and the beetle 
is fully three-quarters of an inch in length. Had the beetle or 
the fly appeared instead of the Eumenes, there Avould have been 
nothing strange ; but that all these should appear, and be fully 
developed, is an absolute mystery. 

The Anthrax, by the way, is a very troublesome insect to the 
Eumenes, as well as to other solitary Hymenoptera. Generally, 
after a cell is closed it is tolerably safe, but the Anthrax con- 
trives to pierce through the covering of the cell, and so to 
deposit an egg. The reader will therefore understand how 
difficult is the task of identifying the builder of a nest when, 
instead of an Eumenes or Pelopaeus, an Anthrax, a Chrysis, 
or an Emanadia may emerge, and sometimes two or three 
at once. 

Mr. Home further remarks that it is very rare to find a nest 
from which the • Eumenes has escaped, unless it be perfectly 
empty and affording ixo clue as to the habits of the occupant. 
This is due to the ants, who swarm in India and are ever rest- 
less in search of food. As long as the mud-nest of the Eumenes 
is closed, the ants cannot touch it, but no sooner does the newly 
developed Eumenes leave its nest, than the ants pour into it 
and carry off everything in it, not only the unconsumed cater- 
pillars if there should be any, but the skins of those that have 

I I 



beeu eaten by the Eumenes larva, and the cast larval and pupal 
skins of the Eumenes itself. Just below the figure of the insect 
on Plate VIII. is shown a small group of the nests. 

Another species, Eumenes conica, builds a very delicate cell, 
always using a wall or beam for one side of it, so that the most 
skilful workman can scarcely remove the nest without breaking 
it. Owing to the thinness of the cell-wall, the larva is very liable 
to be attacked by parasites, Mr. Home having found that out of 
five cells only two produced the rightful Eumenes. The colour 
of the insect is rather curious. The head and thorax are nearly 
black, but the footstalk and the basal portion of the abdomen are 

orange. Then comes an inter- 
rupted black bar, and beyond this 
bar the abdomen is pale yellow 
and highly polished. 

The preceding insects being 
Indian, we have here a species 
from Australia, called Eumenes 
arcuata. The latter name signi- 
fies something that is bent like a 
bow, and refers to the outline of 
the insect when seen in profile. 
The wings are pale yellow and 
polished, and the body is black, 
smooth, and shining, the black 

being relieved by sundry spots, streaks, and patches of vivid 

yellow, arranged as seen in the illustration. 

Fig. 258. — Eumenes arcuata. 
(Black and yellow.) 

Here is a strange being indeed ! A hymenopterous insect 
with jaws just like those of a stag beetle ! Had the insect been 
unknown, no entomologist would have dared to say that such a 
form could be possible. 

This is the most striking of a large genus of Hymenoptera, in 
all of which the males have exceptionally large jaws. In none, 
however, is the jaw so enormously developed as in the present 

As is the case with many insects (for example, our own stag 
beetle), the jaws of the female are comparatively small, and show 
no signs of the enormous development which is found in the 


male. The use of these jaws is at present problematical, for the 
male Synagris does not use them for labour, the whole of that 
business devolving on the female. Neither would they serve the 
purpose of weapons. Even the male stag beetles, who really do 
fight when urged by jealousy, do very little harm to each other, 
the result of a battle being very much like that of a duel be- 
tween two ironclads, neither of which can penetrate the armour 
of the other. Some entomologists think that they are used in 
detaining the female in case she should prove coy, but as the 
greater bulk of male insects have feeble jaws, and many have 
no jaws at all, this theory cannot be maintained. Perhaps, when 
we know the use of a man's beard, a lion's mane, or a turkey's 
wattles, we shall learn the object of these (Enormous jaws. 

As to the name Synagris, it is utterly absurd when applied to 
an insect. It is a name employed by Aristotle in his " History 

Fig. 269 — Sjiiagris corauta 
(Brownish yellow.) 

of Animals " to designate some marine fish, and why it should 
now be transferred to a terrestrial insect is more than I can 

This species is a native of Southern Africa, which is the great 
home of these curious insects. Its general colour is black, but 
the thorax is yellowish brown, with the exception of a large 
black patch in the centre ; and its wings are also brown, with a 
decided glossy surface. The enormous jaws of the male are 
yellow in colour, and not only are they very large, sickle-shaped, 
and sharply pointed, but they each throw out a large horn or 
tooth near the base, the horn being large enough to make half a 
dozen ordinary jaws. There is also a blunt tooth on the outer 

I I 2 



edge of each jaw, placed about midway between the base and the 
tip. When the jaws are closed, the points cross each other 
boldly, while the two lower teeth are pressed tightly together. 

There are many African species of this extraordinary genus. 
Synagris mirabilis is a native of Abyssinia, and is a really hand- 
some insect, its body being black, the end of the abdomen white, 
and the wings glossed with a shining blue. Synagris analis 
would look exactly like the preceding insect if drawn in plain 
black and white, but in this species the end of the abdomen is 
red, and not white. In all these insects the head is large and 
squared, this structure being needful in order to give support to 
the powerful muscles which move the enormous jaws. 

The next genus, Monobia, is so called on account of the soli- 
tary habit of the insects. The name is formed from two Greek 
words which signify " living alone." 

This genus is in reality little more than a division of the great 
and intricate genus Odynerus, the systematic entomologists 

having found that genus be- 
coming unwieldy and capable 
of subdivision. In all proba- 
bility, then, the Monobia act as 
does the Odynerus, i.e>., the 
female digs holes, lays her eggs 
in them, and stores them with 

The species is a North 
American one, and is rather 
striking to the eye. The liead 
and thorax are black and pro- 
fusely punctated, and the abdo- 
men is also black, but of a 
velvety texture, owing to the 
short and thick pile with which it is covered. On the base of 
the abdomen there is a broad band of bright yellow, and some 
streaks of the same colour are seen on the thorax. The wings 
are yellow and shining. 

On Plate VIII. Fig. 4 is shown the figure of an insect 
called lihynchium nitidulum. Like the last insect, this is 

Fig. 260.- Monobia quadridens. 
(Black and yellow.) 


one of the many that were formerly included in the genus 

Several species of these insects inhabit India, and Mr. Home 
has described the habits of three of them, showing that there are 
considerable differences in their modes of building. One of 
them, Rhynchiiim carnaticum, inliabits the interior of small hol- 
low bamboos. \ nest which Mr. Home found was constructed 
in a very singular manner, the insect having taken possession 
of a bamboo which had been previously occupied by one of 
the solitary bees, Megachile lanata, and in which two cells 
had already been formed. The Rhynchium did not try to eject 
the original occupant, but simply built it in. 

" It first built over the cells of the Megachile a floor, which was 
constructed of mud, very finely worked, stout at the edges and 
thinner in the middle. It then left a space empty and made an- 
other floor, after which it commenced its breeding cells. In these 
it stored caterpillars of many colours, and it finished off with an 
empty spare cell, which it covered with a heavy mass of pellets. 
The clay is kneaded very finely, and, although there are no sides 
to be made to the cell, the cap is most carefully constructed." 

There seems to be more than instinct in this proceeding. 
As the Ehynchium is much slower than the Megachile in under- 
going its changes, the latter would be developed first, and so 
break through all the cells of the former in trying to make 
its escape. So, first the Rhynchium begins by shutting off the 
Megachile with a strong clay wall, and then, in order to guard 
against the possilnlity of one of the insects breaking through 
this wall, it takes the precaution to leave a clear space, and 
then to build a second wall, before it proceeds to form its cells. 
I have noticed that all insects which have to break through 
obstacles before they reach the open air have sufficient strength 
to do so, and a little to spare besides. But the amount of strength 
is not much in excess of the work to be done with it, and there 
is no insect with which I am acquainted which would not perish 
before it could break through two obstacles of equal strength. 

I should much like to present the reader with an illus- 
tration of this remarkable nest, but as the nest, or rather the 
series of cells, is half as long again as the page, and would nol 
bear reduction, it cannot be done. The colour of the insect 
is ruddv brown. 


Then there is Rhynchium brunneum, which is capable of 
boring holes for itsel-f, though it prefers to take possession of 
those that are ready made. Mr. Home remarks of this species, 
that its body is so flexible that it is almost impossible to 
hold the insect without being stung by it. 

Lastly comes the species which is figured in the plate. In 
colour it is very simple, being merely greyish black. Mr. 
Home's account is as follows : — 

" This extremely interesting insect constructs cells of exceed- 
ing strength, mostly upon timber. The clay is very finely 
worked with water and some kind of gum — not only viscid 
ejection being employed, but also the juices of the ' Peepul ' 
(Ficus religiosa), birdlime in fact, and the gum of the acacia, 
catechu, and other trees. Hence there is no need of thickness, 
and we accordingly find the walls of the chambers very thin, 
whilst their tenacity is so great that the portion of the hard 
wood on which the series of cells was fixed I have cut out with 
a chisel and hammer without in any way injuring the structure. 
One pair of insects does not usually make more than three cells ; 
but it must be remembered that they take a much longer time 
in making them than does the rapid, rough-working IMegachile. 

" The food stored consists of caterpillars ; and I have not yet 
succeeded in hatching a parasite from one of their nests, 
which are strong enough to resist all ordinary attacks. Until 
completed, either one or the other of tlie insects appears to 
remain at home ; and hence parasites have no opportunity of 
effecting an entrance before the cell is closed over. The cover- 
ing, though thin, is very tough, so tough that I doubt the power 
of a parasite to pierce it. In the figure it will be observed that 
six cells have been built one on another, only one being affixed 
to the door. This one was attached to a smoothly plane 
surface of ' Sal wood ' (Shor'ea rdbusta), so that the cementing gum 
must have possessed great strength to allow me to cut it out 
with a hammer and chisel, as before alluded to. 

" These insects build on roof-beams, so that their nests gene- 
rally escape notice ; besides which they are far from common. 
They are externally of a rich brown colour, glistening with 

In the plate, the nests of this species are seen just above the 



The very fine insect which is here represented belongs to 
Australia. The colour of the species is principally black, and of 
a beautiful velvet-like richness. The rest of the insect is bright 
yellow, also soft and velvety, and the arrangement of the colours 

Fig. 261.— Abispa splendid*. 
(Velvety black and yellow.) 

can easily be seen by reference to the illustration, the dark 
portions being black, and the light portions yellow. The genus 
to which this insect belongs is an offshoot of the great genus 
Odynerus, and shares in the habits of its relatives. 

The Wasps which have hitherto been described are of the 
solitary kind, and there are, in consequence, no neuters. We 
now come to those Wasps which construct more than one cell, 
and, when the number is considerable, the greater part of the 
architecture is performed by neuters. Our common Wasp or 
Hornet affords a perfect example of the Social Wasps. In 
England we have but few examples of the Social Wasps, and 
their nests are of three kinds, i.e., pensile, such as that of the 
Tree Wasp ; subterranean, like that of the common Wasp ; or 
made under shelter of some kind, such as that of the Hornet 
Abroad, however, there is a vast variety of Social Wasps, and 
the modes in which they form their nests are wonderfully varied, 
the same species often constructing its nest in different ways 
according to surrounding conditions. 

The insect which is here given is a native of Africa, the 
specimens in the British Museum having been brought both 
from Congo and Abyssinia. Its general colour is brown, but 



the whole of the body is covered with a short ashen pile, which 
makes it look in some lights as if it were grey instead of brown. 
, . „ , ^ There is a sliglit reddish 


tinge upon the head. 

In the British Museum 

there are eight species, 

all of which are African 

with the exception of 

one which comes from 

India, and is accordingly 

called Belonogaster In- 

dicus. They are all 

dull coloured, the wings 

and body being equally 


The name Belonogaster 

is constructed from two Greek words signifying " a pointed belly," 

and is given to the insects because the abdomen terminates in 

a sharp point. 

Fig. 262. — Belonogaster junceus. 
(Brown, with ashen iiile.) 

In general form the Mischocyttarus labiatus bears a close 
resemblance to the preceding in- 
sect, and is coloured in almost 
exactly the same manner, being 
brown covered with grey down. 
It is a Brazilian insect. 

The reader will see that the 
structure of the nest is very 
different from that of any nest 
or cell which we have hitherto 
seen. It is constructed of vege- 
table fibre torn off and masti- 
cated by the wasp, so as to form 
a sort of coarse paper. In fact, 
the wasps are the earliest paper- 
makers in the world, and utilize 
for that purpose a great variety 
of material, so long as it be a 
vegetable fibre. 

This nest consists of three distinct portions. First there is 

lo. 263. — Mischocyttarus labiatus 
(Brown, with grey pile.) 



the cell-group, all the cells having their mouths downwards. 
Above the cells comes the pent-house, by which the rain or any 
falling substance is warded off the cells ; and, lastly, comes the 
footstalk, by which the entire nest is suspended. The footstalk 
itself is very hard and tough, but is notwithstanding composed 
of the same material as the cells, except that the fibres are 
closely pressed together, instead of being spread out in flakes. 
The reader may find examples of such footstalks in any English 
wasp's nest, the successive layers of cells being supported, or 
rather suspended, by a nvimber of short footstalks constructed 
in exactly the same manner. 

This long and slender footstalk gives the name to the genus. 
The name Mischocyttarus is formed from two Greek words, the 
first of which signifies a stem or stalk, and the latter a cell. 

The form of nest which is here given is that which is usually 
found, but there are cases where the insect has built two, or 
even three layers of cells, one above another, and all hanging 
by the same stalk. "Whenever this is the case, the central 
layer always seems to be the largest. 

It is not very easy to describe the insect which is here shown, 
so exceedingly variable is it. In fact, out of the six specinnMis 
in the British Museum, al- 
though the colours are the same, 
no two have them arranged in 
the same manner. The speci- 
men which has been selected for 
the illustration is black, with a 
rust-red belt round the centre of 
the abdomen; while another has 
this colouring exactly reversed, 
and the others have the black 
and red distributed in various 
modes. The specific name, fer- 
ruginea, i.e. " made of iron," re- 
fers to the rust-red of the body. 

As may be seen by the illustration, the cell-group, like that 
of the Mischocyttariis, hangs by a single footstalk, but the cells 
are very differently arranged. In the former case they are 
placed somewhat symmetrically around the first cell, but in 

FKt. i04 — loaria ferruginea. 
(Black and rust-red.) 


this case the second cell is fastened to one side of the first, and 
so in a series of pairs until the group is completed. 

Wherever the Icarias take a fancy to some spot, the nests 
are very numerous. There is a very curious example in the 
British Museum, where a number of nests have been fixed to 
the footstalk of a leaf, and a number more to the mid-rib of the 
same leaf. 

The genus extends through all the warmer parts of the globe ; 
and there are in the British Museum specimens from Africa 
and Madagascar, the Celebes, New Guinea and Australia, India, 
China, Burmah, Borneo, the Philippines, &c. 

The habits of the Icarias are well shown by Mr, Home in 
his essay upon the Hymenoptera of North-western India : — 

" This pretty little insect lives in small communities, and 
builds an elegant nest of paper prepared by itself, which is very 
tough, and attached to leaves, stalks, &c., by thin but strong 
pedicles. It frequents flowers, and appears to feed on pollen. 
The posterior segments of the body are very retractile, causing 
the abdomen to assume a curious truncated appearance. In 
the example figured on a stalk, the cell-mouths are all upwards, 
which is strange, as the young grubs, the mouths of whose cells 
are open to the weather, must need some protection. The same 
was in a great measure the case with the cells on the mango leaf. 

" The cells are beautifully regular, being perfect hexagons ; 
and the strength with which the footstalk is fastened is surprising. 
There appears to be used for this portion of the work some kind 
of gum, with which they cover their plaster; and this much 
resembles varnish in appearance. It is probably derived from 
the babool or mango tree, both of which abound near Benares, 
where these nests were found. 

" On one occasion I found a group of these little series of cells 
hanging in a covered tomb ; they were attached to a stone slab, 
and all, of course, face downwards. Unfortunately they were 
old nests and quite empty. They consisted of a series of combs, 
and the number of cells in each averaged sixteen only. In this 
case shelter had evidently been sought, and in the two cases 
formerly noted, the insects were in a measure shielded from the 
direct influence of the rain by the thickness of the foliage of 
the mango tree above them ; for the habit of this Icaria is, as 
a rule, to build under shelter. 


" In their disposition like the rest of the Vespidse, they fly 
with one accord to attack the intruder ; although their sting was 
not very sharp, and nearly resembled the prick of a fine pin, 
and was in a great measure deficient in the burning feeling 
experienced when stung by their brethren the Polistidae." 

The reader will doubtless notice the remark made in the 
second paragraph, namely, that the cells are beautifully regular, 
being perfect hexagons. This one fact entirely disposes of two 
theories which at one time were generally entertained respecting 
the hexagonal form of the bee-cell. One theory was, that the 
cells were originally cylindrical and became hexagonal by mutual 
pressure ; and the other, that they were made nearly solid at 
first, and were scooped out so as to assume the hexagonal form. 
In the case of the Icaria, however, neither mutual pressure nor 
scooping is possible, and yet we find the cells as perfect hexa- 
gons as those of the bee, or the common wasp, or the hornet. 

Eegarding the species which is represented in the illustration, 
Mr. Home writes as follows : — 

"This insect in its habits resembles Icaria variegata. It 
feeds its larvae with ejected juices ; hence one never finds any- 
thing but the egg slightly attached to the bottom of the cell, 
or the more matured grub, which spins itself a silken cocoon 
over its cell with which to change to a perfect insect. It asso- 
ciates in very large parties, and is extremely vicious when 
disturbed, and flies at the party interfering with it, hardly ever 
failing to sting him. The pain of the sting resembles burning , 
and in one case of my taking a nest, when I was severely stung, 
the pain lasted for four days. I mention this, as it is curious 
to observe the different degree of virulence of the poison of the 
various small insects of this class. 

" The cells extend in masses of great size, and are placed in 
the midst and amongst the twigs of thick garden bushes. I 
also believe, from what I have seen, that the comb of one season 
is not used in another ; perhaps it becomes weather-worn and 
incapable of proper repair. This insect also has, like the Icaria 
"variegata, a retractile body, and its cells are beautifully regular 
hexagons. It is much molested by a small class of moths 
(Tineidse), and also by an Anthrax. In fact, the nest lies very 
open to the attacks of parasites, who, as a rule, care nothing for 
the sharpest stings. 



" The grubs, wliicli I found in abundance and in all stages of 
growth in October, have rather a singular shape— being almost 
conical. The perfect insects are much plagued with a species 
of Stylops, the females of which lie under the scales of the 
abdomen. I found one piece of comb nearly one foot across 
each way ; but generally the combs are only one-half or two- 
thirds of this size." 

The great cjenus Polistes well deserves its name, which is 
Greek, and signifies " the builder of a city." Species belonging 

Fig. 265. — Polistes Tasmaniensis. 

to this genus are found in various parts of the world ; and in 
the British Museum there are specimens from Australia, North 
and South America, and Vancouver's Island. They are all dull 
coloured, Polistes Tasmaniensis being one of the brightest. The 
thorax is chestnut, the abdomen is rust-red, and the wings are 
pale brown. One species, Polistes gallica, affords some exception 
to the general rule, being banded with black and yellow, and 
looking like a very little wasp. 

The nests of the Polistes are exceedingly variable in shape. 
That of the present species is very much like the nest of the 
common tree wasp of England without its cover, though the 
material is stronger and of closer texture than that of the wasp. 
The nests of other species are, however, arranged very differently, 



as maybe seen by the accompanying illustration, which is taken 
from my " Homes without Hands." On the right hand is the 
pendent nest of Folistcs aterrima, the latter name being given to 
the insect on account of its black colour. On the left is a 
triple nest group, made by a Polistes whose species is not yet 
identified. It is suspended by a single footstalk like that of 
the Icaria, but the cells, instead of being arranged side by side, 
are placed in a tolerably straight line and set alternately, the 
mouth of each being rather lower than that of its predecessor. 
In order to suit the exigencies of space, the figure is very much 

i'lc. jbo.— (1/ Poli&tes (?) 

(2) Polistes aten-iiiiii (Black.) 

reduced, the cells being nearly as large as those of Polistes 
aterrima. Strength combined with lightness is obtained by the 
way in which the upper part of the nest is formed into folds 
very much like corrugated iron. 

Sometimes a totally different structure is employed, the insect 
seeking for shelter. In the British Museum there is a piece of 
wood, apparently a part of a tamarind tree, in which a large 
tunnel has been driven by one of the great wood-boring bees 
called Xylocopa. A species of Polistes, however, has taken 
possession of the tunnel, and has made its nest therein. 

Although the Polistes is essentially an exotic genus, specimens 
have been taken in England, and in every case they were close 


to shipping. One was taken in a house at Penzance, and traced 
to a ship which had just come from Brazil. The captain said 
that great numbers of the " flies " had appeared on board, and 
annoyed the sailors by their stings. Another specimen was 
taken in the docks at Liverpool, and all the specimens were 
sent to Mr. F. Smith, in whose collection they now are. This 
species is PoHstes higuttatus. 

The following account of an Indian species, Polistes HehrcBUs, 
is given by Mr. Home : — 

" This insect, which is generally known to residents in India 
as the ' Yellow Wasp,' is a great nuisance. It is very partial to 
verandahs, and builds its cells on a roof-beam. More often, 
however, it selects trees near houses, and, if not disturbed, builds 
enormous nests, continuing year after year in the same place, 
deserting great parts of its comb as they become useless from 
age, and building others near to the old ones. The food of this 
insect is of a very general character, and it dearly loves sugar 
in any form. 

" It has an unpleasant habit of either flying at you if irritated, 
stinging you as it touches, and then flying on without stopping, 
or falling from above upon you and performing the same trick. 
I am told by a friend that the English hornet does the same 
thing. In the case of the Indian Polistes, however, the sting is 
not very severe. 

"They sometimes select the oddest places for their combs. 
On one occasion I was moving some tin boxes, when about 
thirty flew out of one of them at me ; and I found their comb in 
a corner inside. They had obtained access through the open 
window of the store-room. I have often observed the commence- 
ment of a comb. 

" In the month of November the females newly hatched sit 
out on sunny days on the tops of Venetian doors and similar 
situations, and buzz for males. Nor do they wait long ; for at 
this season the whole verandah swarms with these Polistes, and 
I have had thousands of them killed in a morning. Having 
met with a suitable partner, the ova appear to be impregnated ; 
and not long after, the queen, fuUy prepared, sets to and builds 
a single cell on a stout footstalk, lays an egg in it, and proceeds 
to build three or four more around it, in each of which she lays 
an egg. 


" The young grow very fast, especially at first, when so few 
have to be fed ; and thus in a short time there is a well-peopled 
colony, in which there will be a few males and workers of 
every size. 

" The tops of the cells of the queen wasps are much elongated 
with silk ; and these insects use some species of gluten where- 
with to temper the paper of which the cells are constructed, as 
well as to solidify the silken cell coverings. 

" They are in the habit of seizing insects and sucking out 
their juices, wherewith they again feed the voracious young 
grubs, who are always clamouring for food with open mouths. 

" They are extremely troubled with Sty lops — every fifth oi- 
sixth taken having a female of one under one of the segments 
of the abdomen ; and I have sometimes seen two or three oii 
one specimen. I have often tried to breed these Stylops, but 
invariably failed, the male Stylops being very scarce, and the 
female, Mr. Smith tells me, never leaving the body of the 

" This species is so well known that I do not think any 
further remarks are needed, excepting a short account of the 
method by which these troublesome insects are easily got 
rid of: — 

"There is a yellow ant {(Ecophylla smaragdina) which lives a 
social life chiefly upon trees, drawing leaves together in a curious 
manner with silk, and making in this manner large nests in the 
mango trees. These insects sting severely, and they seem to 
have a gi-eat antipathy to the Polistes, who are very fond of 
feeding on their poorly-protected juicy young grubs. If, there- 
fore, you cut off a bough with a nest of these ants upon it, tie 
it to a long bamboo, and put it very near to the nest of the 
Polistes, there will be a general attack by the former upon the 
latter. An ant will seize upon a wasp and bite and sting him, 
others also coming up to help. They will together fall to the 
ground, when the Polistes dies, and the ant {(Ecophylla smarag- 
dina), having taken a sip of his blood and juices, runs up again 
to his nest by a string always left hanging down from the 
bamboo near to the nest for this purpose. They will also attack 
hornets. Their native name is " Mata," and they are used by 
all classes for this purpose. 

" No heat is too great for the Polistes, and in the hottest 



Fig. 267.— Apoioa pallida. 
(Very pale yellow.) 

weather they may be found sitting in large parties by water, 
evidently enjoying the season." 

It has been already mentioned that the name Polistes signifies 
" a builder of a city," and has been given to a genus of insects 
in allusion to the character of their nests. For a similar reason 

the name Apoica, which signi- 
fies a " colony," has been given 
to another genus of nest- 
builders, one of which, to- 
gether with a cell-group, is 
here shown. The specific 
name of pallida has been 
given to it on account of the 
very pale yellow brown which 
constitutes its only colouring. 
The only attempt at variation 
of colour is in a narrow stripe 
of rather darker brown, which 
is drawn upon the outer edge 
of the upper wings. The usual shape of the nest is given in 
the illustration, and it is impossible to look at one of these nests 
without being reminded of the remarkable compound nests built 
by the sociable weaver-bird of Africa. 

In the British Museum there are a number of nests made by 
this species, which are not only curious, but really valuable in 
an entomological point of view. Not only are the cells them- 
selves hexagonal, but the nest masses themselves are hexagons, 
the six sides being as regular, and the angles as true, as if they 
had been drawn with rule and compass. How this result is 
attained is at present an absolute mystery, and it is evident that 
neither the sculpture nor the mutual pressure theory can be 
brought to bear on these nests. These nests are of various 
sizes, so that the insects have evidently started with the idea of 
making the structure hexagonal, and have adhered to the same 
principle throughout. The hexagonal form is not adhered to in 
all instances, for some nests are entirely circular, while in others 
the hexagonal idea is but slightly indicated. These nests some- 
times attain a diameter of eleven or twelve inches. A number 
of these nests are shown in my " Homes without Hands," p. 585. 



The insect which is here shown is called Trigonalys compressvs, 
and is a native of tropical America. The following account of 
its mode of development is given by Mr. F. Smith : — 

"John Macgillivray, Esq., Naturalist to her Majesty's ship 
Rattlesnake, lately presented to the British Museum the nest of 
a South American species of Polistes, which he says is very 
abundant at St. Salvador, where even in the street it attaches 
its nest under the eaves of houses ; this species is the Polistes 
lanio of Fabricius, and in all proliability the Vespa Canadensis 
of LinnjBus ; a specimen of the species is preserved in the 
Banksian Cabinet. 

" On examining the nest, I found it consisted as usual of a 
single comb of cells, having in tlie centre, at the back, a small 
footstalk, by which the nests are attached in their position ; the 

Fig. 26S.— Trigonalys conipressrus. 

comb contained sixty-five cells, tlie outer ones being in an un- 
finished state, whilst twenty-two ot" the central ones had remains 
of exuviae in them, and one or tivo closed ones contained perfect 
insects in them ready to emerge. About lialf a dozen of the 
wasps had the anterior portion of their bodies buried in the 
cells, in the manner in which these insects are said to repose. 

" In one ceU 1 observed the head of an insect evidently of a 
different species, it being black and shining. On extricating it 
I discovered it to be a species of Trigonalys; I subsequently 
carefully expanded the insect, and it proved to be the Trigonalys 

K K 



hipustulatus, described by myself in the "Ann. and Mag. of 
Natural History," vol. vii., Second Series, 1851, from a specimen 
captured at Para by Mr. Bates, now in the possession of William 
Wilson Saunders, Esq. The insect was not enveloped in any 
pellicle, nor had the cell been closed in any way ; the wings 
were crumpled at its side, as is usual in Hymenopterous insects 
which have not expanded them, proving satisfactorily that it 
had never quitted the cell, and that Trigonalys is the parasite 
of Polistes. 

" This discovery is one of much interest, proving the relation- 
ship of the insect to be amongst the pupivora — to which family 
it had been previously assigned by Mr. Westwood. (See vol. iii. 
Ent, Trans., p. 270.) The specimen is seven lines in length, 
entirely black, the head shining, the thorax and abdomen opaque, 
and having two white maculae touching the apical margin of the 
basal segment above; the wings are smoky, the antennae broken off. 
Of one of them I found subsequently seventeen joints— the perfect 
insect in the possession of Mr. Saunders having twenty joints." 

The specific name of hipustulatus, or " two-spotted," has been 
given to the insect on account of the two white spots on the 
base of the abdomen, but its original name of compressus, as 
given to it by De Geer, is now allowed to stand. 

The figure which is here given represents the neuter of the 
splendid Chinese Wasp, which is appropriately called Vespa 

Fig. 269. — Vespa mandarinia. 
(Orange and dark brown.) 

mandarinia. The female is shown on Plate IX,, Fig. 3. This 



fiiie insect is found throughout China and Japan, It is coloured 
very much like our common liornet, but is much richer in appear- 
ance, owing to the very broad and ample head, and the amount 
of bright yellow upon it. The colours are rich dark brown, 
banded, striped, and marked profusely with "king's" yellow. 
The jaws are enormously powerful. The wings are yellow, 
darker at the base, and becoming lighter towards the tips. 

The species which is represented in the accompanying illus- 
tration is a native of Asia, and is spread over a very large tract 

Fig. 270.— Vespa cincta. 
(Dark brown and yellow.) 

of country. There are several Asiatic species of Vespa which 
are almost exactly similar in their habits, and this may safely 
be taken as the t}^ical species. The head and thorax of Vespa 
cincta are dark brown, covered with a moderately thick grey 
down, and the abdomen is very dark brown, crossed with a bold 
band of bright yellow, whence is derived the specific name ot 
cincta^ or " banded." 

K K 2 



In the accompanying illustration, the upper and smaller 
figure represents the male, and the lower figure the perfect 
female. The single figure represents the neuter, or worker wasp. 

The habits of this wasp are admirably described by j\Ir. 
Home in the essay to which reference has so often been made. 
In this account Mr, Home seems to have some doubt as to the 
truth of the report that horses have been stung to death by 
these wasps. I think it very likely to be true. Some years 
ago I saw, only a few miles from my house, a wasp's nest, the 
inmates of whieh had actually killed a carriage-horse on the 
preceding day. 

Fig. 271. — Yespa ciucta. 
(Dark brown and yellow.) 

" They build their nests of prepared earth, strongly impreg- 
nated with some viscid substance, probably derived from the 
^ums of trees. 

" In confirmation of the above, I may remark that I Lave 
often seen them sitting, apparently eating the gum of the 
Acacia {Catechu), and also the flowing juice of the Peepul-tree 
(Ficus Indica), and as they are in general carnivorous, it must 
have been for some such purpose. At the same time there 
appears to be some woody, or at least vegetable fibre, mixed 
with the earth. 

" The cells are regular hexagons, and built from an hexagonal 
(f round-plan — a fact which confirms Mr. Smith's observations to 
the same effect — and the whole structure often assumes a large 
size. One found by me was 10" x 9" x 9", in the centre of a 
wall composed of sunburnt bricks, in a hollow which had been 


originally excavated by Termites, and afterwards enlarged by 
the ' hornets,' as they are popularly called. 

"I have often seen these insects pounce on a sitting fly, just 
as a hawk would do on a small bird ; and they are also very fond 
of ripe fruit, such as peaches, grapes, and apples. The Fespa 
vclutina also indidges in these luxuries, and is especially fond 
of the hill apricot. 

" The stings of four or five of these insects are said to be 
sufficiently powerful to kill a child, but, as in all such cases, 
much must depend on the circumstances. 

" The outside of the nests is, as is usual with wasps, covered 
with a coating of loose paper. 

" It is highly dangerous to disturb a colony of these insects ; 
and, as they work in gangs at night, it is somewhat hazardous 
even then to take their nests. As, however, they greatly affect 
outhouses, it is most necessary to destroy tliem, as liorses have 
been said to have been stung to death by them ; but for this I 
cannot vouch. 

" I will here quote in cxtcnso from my note-book, the notes 
■wliicli refer to Indian 'hornets,' by whicli term both Vesica 
cincta and Vespa Orientalis are designated. 

"'August 15, 1863. — These insects are very abundant at 
Benares, but not generally spiteful. One may see hundreds of 
tliem flying about the sweetmeat stalls, like wasps in the fruit- 
shops in England ; and the vendor drives them away with a 
whisk — a piece of palm-leaf in a cloth — and is ver}' rarely 
stung. If one, however, be incautiously touched, the sting is 
very suddenly given and very sharp ; its pain is intense, and it 
induces considerable inflammation. They make their nests in 
the mud walls, and the form of these is just like that of the 
English hornet. 

" ' Yesterday I was drying some sugar in the sun, and this 
attracted a large number of them. My man killed many, throw- 
ing down their bodies on the spot, when the ants appeared to 
carry off the carcases; but not only did the ants so employ 
themselves, for the hornets also alighted and carried off their 
dead brethren as food. The ants {CEcopliylla smaragdina) appear 
to be naturally very destructive to these insects. These ants 
live both in the ground and in nests made of leaves of trees 
diawn together. 


'"T have seen the hornets trying to carry off their tiny 
tormentors. Again and again have they darted at them ; but 
it invariably ended either in the hornet quietly sitting down 
among his enemies to be bitten or stung to death, and then 
carried off in triumph to be eaten by them, or in his falling to 
the ground with two or three ants hanging on, when his fate 
was equally certain. 

" ' One of these insects stung me on the thumb, but by sucking 
the place for about a quarter of an hour, I drew out the poison, 
and the pain and swelling were afterwards very slight,' 

" ' August 20, 1863. — This evening, having prepared two large 
squibs filled with damp gunpowder, T proceeded to take two 
nests, one of Vespa Orientalis and one of Vespa cincta, both in 
similar situations. Having lighted the touch-paper, the end 
was placed at the mouth of the hole, and wet clay was plastered 
around. The dense smoke and intensse heat thus killed every 
perfect insect in the nest, which I shortly dug out for the pur- 
pose of examination. One nest was buried forthwith in a hole 
previously prepared, and the one taken to be set up was that of 
Vespa Orientalis, to which all the succeeding remarks will refer. 

" ' Both nests were constructed of earth tempered with water, 
and I could trace no sign of gluten of any kind in them. In 
the nest prepared by me were seven ranges of cells, and at 
the time of taking it from 400 to 500 hornets were at home. 
Although I took out every perfect insect, there were from forty 
to fifty nearly hatched by 5 a.m. next morning, showing with 
what enormous rapidity they increase. The nest was placed 
under a large wire dish-cover, and a nest of the Yellow Ant 
before referred to was placed with them, so that every young 
hornet was destroyed as soon as born. 

"'July 1, 1864. Benares. — As a boy, when in England, I have 
watched a hornet carry off a fly sitting on a door-handle, and 
to-day I saw one pounce on a small honey-bee deep in the 
pollen of a flower, and, taking him ofi", sit down and eat him 
quietly, and, from the number hovering about flowers, this would 
seem to be a favomite food.' 

"'JwZ^/ 19, 1864. Benares. — Watched hornets catching and 
eating the workers of Termites, whose galleries I had just 
destroyed on the bark of a tree, when, in consequence, the blind 
insects were running wildly about.' 



"'August 19, 1864.— Watched them more narrowly and care- 
fully. Saw that one caught at least ten Termites, one after tlie 
other, and made them all up into a ball with its jaws, when the 
said ball was taken away, evidently to feed the younu" larvae 
with a rich and juicy morsel, which, however, would be strongly 
tinctured with acid.*" 

This very interesting history requires, in order to make it 
thoroughly intelligible, the account of the Yellow Ant {(Ecojjhi/lla 
smaragdina), to which several allusions have been made, and 
whose exploits will be remembered in connection with the 
fiercely- stinging Polistes. 

Like the generic name of Polistes and Apoica, that of Synceca 

is given on account of the mode of nest-building. The term is 

composed of two Greek words, 

and literally signifies an assem- 
blage of persons living under 

the same roof. 

There is rather a peculiarity 

about the nests of the Synceeas. 

They are not suspended by foot- ^^ 

stalks, but are aftixed through- V 

out their whole length to a ^ 

branch, a tree-trunk, or similar 

object, and have the entrance 

below. The mouth of one of 

these nests is shown in the 


The outer shell, or covering of 
the nests, is exceedingly thin 

— scarcely thicker indeed than the paper on which this account 
is printed, and yet is quite strong enough to resist the weather. 
Within the nest the combs are placed in regular layers, like 
those of the common wasp, and the shell is so thin that 
the edges of each successive layer is distinctly marked on the 
exterior. In consequence of this peculiar surface, added to the 
dark brown of the paper covering, the nest bears so close a 
resemblance to the bark of the tree or branch to which it i; 
fastened, that a very quick eye is needed in order to discover 
it. As is the case with most of the Social Wasps, tlie nest is 

Fig. 272.— S}'noeca coevulea. 



begun on a small scale, and gradually enlarged in order to 
accommodate the increasing population. There are many speci- 
mens of Synoeca nests in the British Museum, the largest of 
which is rather more than two feet in length. 

The colour of the present species is blue, even the head having 
a slight gloss of the same colour. The wings are brown. The 
handsomest of all the species is perhaps Synceca cyanea, in which 
the blue is exceedingly vivid. All the Synoecas are Brazilian 

The last of the Wasp tribe which will be described is that 
which is represented in the accompanying illustration. It is 

Pig. 273. — Polybia sencea. 
(Reddish brown.) 

called Polyhia scricca, both of which names are appropriate. The 
generic name, Polyhia, signifies " sociality," and the specific 
term, sericea, or " silken," is applied to the insect in consequence 
of the silken down which is spread profusely over the thorax. 
Most of the Polybias are South American insects, though there 
are some which come from the Celebes, and a few from Xew 
Guinea and Borneo. 

The mode in which these insects make their nests is very 
remarkable. Choosing a tolerably flat surface, mostly that of 
a leaf, the little wasp begins by laying the foundation of a 
number of hexagonal cells, sometimes as many as thirty or 
forty in number. She then deposits an egg in each cell, and 
proceeds to make some more. As the larvse are hatched and 


increase in size, the Wasp builds up the walls of the cells, so 
as to accommodate them, and then places over tlieui a covering 
of thin paper. Scarcely has she done this than she proceeds 
to place another layer of cells upon the cover, and, as the 
worker wasps are hatched, they build cells at such a rate that 
layer after layer may be seen in one nest, each being placed on 
the cover of the preceding layer. 

The Polybia does not seem to be very particular as to the 
material on which it supports its nest, though a large leaf is 
generally a favourite locality. There are numbers of these 
curious habitations in the " Nest Koom " of the British ^luseum, 
and very variable they are. One of them looks just like a huge 
brown sausage, round which a series of strings had been tied 
about an inch apart. These represent the layers of combs which 
are placed regularly inside the protecting cover. It is remark- 
able, by the way, that some of the large wasps called OliarUrguti, 
which hang their nests to the branches of trees, act in a very 
similar manner. 



The next great group of the Hymenoptera may be summed up in 
the words which head this chapter. Just as there are Solitary and 
Social Wasps, so there are Solitary and Social Bees. The habits 
of these creatures are curiously similar, the Solitary Bees placing 
their eggs in burrows which they stock with food for the future 
young, and the Social Bees forming a number of cells in which 
the young larvae are hatched, and tending them until they are 
full-fed. The chief distinction is that, whereas the Solitary 
"Wasps store their burrows with insects as food for the future 
young, the Solitary Bees empty the pollen of various plants. 
Most of them, as well as the Social Bees, procure the pollen for 
themselves, and for this purpose are furnished with a develop- 
ment of the hind-legs, technically called the " basket." Some 
species, liowever, do not possess the basket, and are therefore 
unable to carry the pollen. Consequently, they are forced to 
make use of the stores collected by other bees, and treat them 
exactly as do the parasitic wasps which have already been de- 
scribed. In the different genera of pollen-carrying bees there 
is great variety of form in the structure of the basket, but the 
general principle is the same in all. 

The Solitary Bees begin with the great family of Andreuidte, 
which are spread over all the insect-producing parts of the world. 
There are many species in England, so that their habits can be 
easily watched. Putting aside those that are parasitic, the habits 
of all the species are tolerably alike. They make burrows, mostly 
in the ground, and deposit therein a quantity of pollen mixed 
with honey, technically called " bee-bread." Upon this they 
place an egg, and thus protect it with a cover. Upon this iirst 
<;ell a second is made, and so the bee proceeds, until it has nearly 



filled the burro^v with its cells. Having thus completed its 
labours, the bee closes the burrow with a stout cover of earth. 

Of the genus to which Halidus quadristrigatns belongs, there 
are many English species, Mr. F. Smith having described twenty- 
six species, one of which is the smallest species of bee that is 
found in this country. As the habits of all the British species 
are alike, it may be inferred that the life history of the genu^^ 
is tolerably similar all over the 
M'orld. The present species 
inhabits the warmer parts of 
Europe, but has never been 
seen in England. 

Mr. Smith found that in the 
spring the females appeared, 
and abounded until midsum- 
mer, not a single male being 
seen. In the autumn the males 
began to appear, and a -week or 
two afterwards a second brood 
of females succeeded the males, 
immediately setting about their 
tunnels. Each burrow had 
several others running into it, 
all being reached by the one 
common entrance. In each of 
these burrows was placed a little ball of pollen and a single 
e'^g, and the larva was full-fed in some ten or twelve days. 

The colour of this species is black, and there are four narrow 
bands of yellow on the abdomen. The specific name quadristri- 
(jatus, or four-striped, refers to this colouring. 

The history of the genus Andrena is a very remarkable one, 
not so much on account of the labours of the bee, but of the 
persecution which it endures from other insects. In his Cata- 
logue of British Bees, Mr. F. Smith has worked out this branch 
of the subject exhaustively, though briefiy. After remarking' 
upon the various hymenopterous parasites which attack the 
Andrenas, he refers to the extraordinary parasitic beetle called 
-Stylops, which was first discovered by Mr. Kirby upon an 

Fig. 274. — Halictus quadristrigatus. 
(Blaek and yellow.) 


Andrena bee. Mr. Smith's description of these singular parasites 
is very interesting : — 

"These insects are diminutive in size, the largest known 
species not exceeding a quarter of an inch in length. We are 
now speaking of the winged males, the females being apterous, 
grub-like insects, which never leave the bodies of the bees. If 
the abdomens of a number of Andrenidse be examined, it is 
most probable that the female of Stylops will be found. Her 
presence is known by the protrusion of her head, and a portion 
of the thorax between the abdominal segments on their superior 
surface resembling the point of a small bvid of a brown colour^ 
or rather, a flattened scale. 


Fig. 27-5. — Andrena holonielana. 
(Shining black.) 

" I have several times bred the larvae of the Stylops in the- 
following manner: — On finding a bee infested as described, 
place her in a box live or six inches square, cover it with gauze, 
and supply the bee with fresh flowers such as the Andrenidye. 
frequent. Examine the bee every day, and it is most likely that 
in eight or ten days she will appear as if her abdomen were 
covered with dust. Examine it, and in all probability she will 
be found to be covered with an innumerable quantity of exceed- 
ingly minute animals ; these are the larvte of Stylops. 

" By the aid of a magnify in g-glass they may be seen to issue 
from the transverse aperture on the thorax. "When the bee re- 
enters the cell, or settles upon flowers, these diminutive creatures 
will of course be deposited, and by these means, when other 


bees visit the flowers, they attach themselves to thein, and are 
carried to their nests. 

"Judging from the multitude of larvne produced by each 
female Stylops, amounting to many hundreds in each case, and 
the rarity of the perfect insect, the majority must perish, pro- 
bably in their larval condition. Prom the fact of seldom more 
than two Stylops being found to infest the same bee, we may 
suppose that to be the largest number wiiich infests one larva of 
an Andrena. They undergo their changes in tlie body of the 
bee, the male on its final transformation becoming an active 
winged insect, the female remaining a mere apod, attached for 
life to the bee which nourished it." 

Besides the Stylops, there are several other parasites which 
infest this much-enduring bee, the curious little orange-coloured 
larva of the Meloe being perhaps the most remarkable. A full 
description of this larva and its development is given in my 
" Insects at Home," p. 154. 

The specific name Holomdana is formed from two Greek words 
signifying " wholly black," and is given to the species because its 
colour is entirely shining black. 

The strange-looking bee which is shown in the illustration 
has been selected on account of its beauty. It is an European 
species, but has never been 
found in England, wdiere only 
one representative of the 
genus is known, namely, 
Dasypoda hirtipes, which Mr. 
Smith describes as being 
perhaps the most beautiful 
bee found in this country. „ „,. t. , , . 

^ Fig. 2(6. — Dasypoda plumipes. 

In all the species belong- (Black, with golden hair.) 

ing to this genus the hind- 
legs are clothed with very long downy hair. Both names refer 
to this peculiarity, the generic name being taken from the Greek, 
and signifying " hairy-footed," while the specific name is Latin, 
and signifies "plumed-foot." 

This is a very beautiful bee. The original colour is black, but 
the thorax is covered with a thick coat of silken hair, shining as if 
spun from gold. The long hairs which fringe the legs are bright 



yellow, and the abdomen is black, and deeply fringed with goldeu' 
hair. As is the case with many of the bee-tribe, this beautiful 
adornment can only be seen in perfection when the insect has 
been newly developed, for the beautiful plumage cannot endure 
rough work, and suffers so much from contact with the world, 
that a bee of a day old and one which has lived for three or four 
M'eeks would hardly be recognized as the same species, even 
though they may have issued from the same nest. Seven species 
of this genus are in the British Museum. 

All entomologists are aware of the singular resemblances that 
occur between certain lepidoptera and hymenoptera, the " clear- 
wing" moths of our own country being excellent examples.. 
Curious as is the shape of this bee, it is exactly imitated by a 
beautiful Assamese moth, called Trochilium Ashtaroth. The 
colours are different, but the resemblance of form is so perfect, 
that if the outline of either were drawn, it would not be easy to- 
determine the insect which it was meant to represent; even 
the deeply-plumed hind-legs are represented in the moth. 

Of all the Solitary Bees, the genus Osmia is the most interest- 
ing, on account of the singular variety of its architecture. Some 
ten species are known to inhabit England. However the dif- 
ferent species of Osmia may vary in detail of architecture, 

they all agree in the habit 
of making cells and stock- 
ing them with food for the 
future young. Several species- 
make their cells in the dead 
steins of the blackberry, the 
rose, and similar shrubs, dig- 
ging out the pith, and so 
making a series of cells, end 
to end. They are, however, 
very much given to saving 
themselves needless labour, and are in the habit of taking 
advantage of any tubes that they may tiud. The straws of 
thatched roofs are favourite localities with some species, but 
they will sometimes make use of the most singular and un- 
expected objects as dwelling-places. 

Any hole or empty tube serves to be adapted to the purposes- 

Fig. iT".— Osmia bicolor. 
(Black, barred with orange.) 


of the Osmia, which will even enter into houses in search of a 
suitable locality. Some years ago I was at a sale at Lee, and 
purchased for a very small sum a band-box full of miscellaneous 
articles. Among them was a flute, Avhich was quite choked up, 
apparently as if some mischievous child had been stuffing it with 
paper. On unscrewing the flute, I found it to be occupied with 
the cells of the Osmia, the insect having evidently entered by 
the mouth-hole and gradually filled the instrument with its 
cells. The mother-bee must have found its way into the dis- 
used rooms in which the band-box had been lying, and so con- 
trived to discover the flute. The flute is now in the British 

Empty snail-shells are favourite localities with the Osmias, 
and in the British Museum is a very curious specimen. The 
shell happened to be a very large one, so that several cells could 
be made in it. The bee began as usual by making a single cell 
far within the shell. She then placed two more cells hori- 
zontally side by side, and then, the shell being very much wider, 
built two more cells, also side by side, but transversely ; thus 
showing that she possessed no small reasoning powers. 

The present species is an inhabitant of Southern Europe, and 
has been found in England, though it is very local. Kent seems 
to be its favourite county. It is a very pretty insect, the colour 
being black, banded with orange. Generally, it does not reach 
half an inch in length, but a few specimens have been taken 
which were three-quarters of an inch in length. 

One species of Osmia does not build in tubes, but makes its 
simple nest under the shelter of flat stones and in similar 
localities. This is a northern species, and its name is Osmia parie- 
tana. Instead of boring tunnels, or making cocoons in tubes, it 
merely selects the under surface of some flat stone, and to it 
attaches a number of balls of pollen, each ball accompanied by 
an egg. After the larva is full-fed, it spins a cocoon, which it 
affixes to the stone in the same place which the pollen-ball pre- 
viously occupied. The number of these cocoons is something 
great. On a piece of stone only ten inches by six, no less than 
two hundred and thirty cocoons were found. These were placed 
in the hands of Mr. F. Smith, who found that the insects were 
developed in three distinct batches, one in 1849, another in 
1850, and the third in 1851. 



The insect which is here represented is an European species, 
but at present is not known to be British. 

There is a considerable difference in appearance, as w^ell as 
size, between the sexes. The female, which is drawn in the 
illustration, is very black, and her wings are brown. The male 

is a much smaller, but' hand- 
somer insect, being covered 
with a dense coating of long 
silken hairs, either golden or 
pale yellow. The generic 
name, which is formed from 
a Greek word, signifying 
"brass," is given to it on 
account of this peculiarity. 
Hair of a similar character 
is to be found in the males 
of most species, but it is not seen unless the specimen is in 
the very best order. 

This insect is very liable to the attacks of a species of Clerus, 
a parasitic genus which infests not only the nests of the wild 
bees, but even the hives of the domestic bee. All the species 
are briglitly coloured, and, were they large, they would rank 
among the handsomest of their order. 

Fig. 27S. — Chalicodoma muraria. 

The generic name of Megachile is formed from two Greek 
words, which literally signify " large-muzzled," and is given to 
certain bees in consequence of their large jaws. The species 
which is taken as an example of the genus has been selected 
principally because it well shows the generic peculiarity. It is 
a native of Australia, and is beautifully coloured, the greater 
part of the body being of the richest purple very deeply punc- 
tured, and relieved by a quantity of snowy white down, arranged 
as shown in the illustration. The wings are brown, and have a 
purple gloss. 

This genus is spread all over the world, and has long been 
celebrated for the beautiful nests which are made by the different 
species. Nine British species are known, and are popularly called 
" Leaf-cutter Bees," because they cut up leaves for the purpose of 
forming their singular nests. The rose is the plant which is 
generally employed, though the leaves of several other plants 
are also brought into requisition. 



Even the same species is very variable in the position of its 
nest. jNIr. F. Smith remarks that our best known species, Mega- 
chile centuncidaris, sometimes burrows in decaying wood, some- 
times in the soft mortar of an old wall, and sometimes in the 
ground. Within these burrows it makes its cells, which are 
formed from the cut leaves, and look very much like a number 
of green thimbles stuck into each other. There is now before 
me a specimen which was not made in a tunnel at all, the bee 
having made its way into an outhouse, and placed its nest on a 
high shelf. It has generally been supposed that the cells were 
made by bending the leaves and allowing them to press by their 
own elasticity against the side of the burrow. But the existence 
of this nest shows that the bee can make its cells independently 

Fig. 279. — Megachile mouslrosus. 
(Deep purple and white.) 

of the burrow, and that it can bend and fasten together the leaves 
by its own unaided efforts. 

In Mr. Home's paper on the Indian hymenoptera, there is a 
very interesting account of the manner in which various species 
of this genus build their nests. One species, Megachile fasci- 
culata, consrtucted its leaf-cells in the hollow handle of a large 
garden vase, a number of the nests being built closely together. 
Another species, Megachile disjuncta, uses mud instead of leaves, 
and makes two earthen tubes, side by side, sometimes givino- 
each of them a curious twist in the middle. 3fegachile lanata 
is also a mud-builder, and works in a variety of ways. The 
following is Mr. Home's account of this insect : — 

" This insect is found in almost every house in the North- 

L L 


West Provinces, and, next to the black and yellow Pelopceus 
(madraspatanus) is the one which attracts most notice. 

" The season in which it builds its cells is from March to 
November ; but July and August {i.e. during the rainy season) 
are its favourite months. These cells are placed in every con- 
ceivable situation ; and it is curious, when sitting quietly writing, 
to watch the insect coming and going with his material. He or 
she is so deeply interested in the work that all fear is forgotten, 
and they will work within a foot of your writing-desk. The 
mud is carried, so to speak, under the head, and in part sup- 
ported by the fore-legs, and it is not so finely worked up as that 
of the Pelopceus ; hence we find the work much rougher ex- 
teriorly, although the inside of the cell is carefully smoothed. 
I have had a newspaper lying on the table and heard them 
working inside the folds ; in short, there is no position too 
strange for the nest. 

" The following are a few of the positions in which I have 
found them : — 

" 1. Between folds of paper ; 2. in the back of a book which 
had been left lying open ; 3. on the handle of a tea-cup ; 4. in 
the key-hole of a door ; 5. in the barrel of a gun ; 6. under a 
fan on the table ; 7. in the hollow of a bolt of a window, where 
three times the whole structure was crushed by the use of the 
said bolt in the absence of the insect ; 8. on a signet-ring from 
which the stone had fallen out ; 9. on the frill of a large fan or 
punka, which was kept in motion ten or twelve hours out of the 

" I will now proceed with the method of working. Both sexes 
appear to labour ; for I have sometimes caught a worker, and 
found that the work was immediately continued, which was not 
Ihe case with the Pelojjceus. They come and go incessantly, 
with a loud buzzing; and whilst they are tempering the clay 
they keep up the motion, thereby advertising the locality where 
they are working, although often the exact spot is even then diffi- 
cult to find. The tenacity with which the clay adheres to sub- 
stances is very curious (although the cells of the insects of the 
genus Rhynchium afford a better instance) ; and I believe that 
when the clay, having been first prepared at the water, is 
brought into use, it is inspissated by some glutinous substance 
ejected by the insect. It is certainly very carefully kneaded 


again by many of the clay-cell-builders. The cells are built 
side by side with very little cohesion, and are stocked with bee- 
bread and closed by three or four pellets of mud, united in such 
a manner as to leave thin edges next to the lips or upper edges, 
and thus enable the insect easily to escape. The outside is in 
general rough, and adapted to the situation in which it is built. 
It is scarcely ever truly circular on the outside, even if built free 
from obstruction. 

" Amongst the figures will be observed a solitary cell built in a 
signet-ring. The power of instinct shown here is very great ; 
for to keep the cell secure the clay has been made larger at the 
base, where it projects interiorly in the ring. 

" This insect is very annoying from the manner it chokes up 
small openings, such as barrels of fire-arms and locks of drawers, 
in the latter case entering by the key-hole. 

"I watched the construction of four cells in June 1863; and 
the perfect insects were matured August 12, 14, 15, and 16 
respectively. This would show, what is really the case, that th< 
cells take about a day each to construct. In fact, in one case 
noted by me, a cell was commenced, finished, stored with food, 
and closed, certainly Mdthin ten hours, which is quite possible if 
both sexes work, as I believe to be the case. 

" Sometimes, however, a hollow bamboo is the situation 
selected by this insect. If it be tolerably thick there is room 
for several cells ; and they are built from the bottom of the 
hollow upwards, either in a straight line or spirally. In either 
case I believe the single series to be constructed, and the second 
series commenced from the very bottom on the completion of 
the first. In some cases there are as many as eight or ten cells 
in each hive ; and probably more than one pair of insects are 
concerned in this double series." 

The bees belonging to the genus Anthidium are remarkable 
for two peculiarities. In the first place, they exactly reverse the 
usual structure of bees, the male being very much larger and 
stronger than the female. 

Their matrimonial customs are very curious, and quite unlike 
those of insects in general. Both sexes are fond of hovering 
over flowers, a habit which has earned for them the generic 
name of Anthidium, i.e. " a creature tliat frequents flowers." 

I. L 2 



The females remain on or close to the flowers, while the more 

powerful male hovers above, like a hawk watching its prey. 

Mr. F. Smith tells me that he has seen the male of our only 

English species, Anthidium manicatum, suddenly swoop down,. 

just as a hawk stoops upon its quarry, pounce on one of the 

females and carry her off. 

The second peculiarity in these bees is the method in 

which they construct their nests. 
Although they build in holes, 
it is believed that they do not 
burrow, but that they usually 
make use of any convenient 
hole that can be found, mostly 
in a burrow made by some large 
wood - boring insect. Having 
selected a suitable burrow, the 
mother-bee goes off in search of 
some woolly plant, from which 
she strips the hair, running 
along the stem and shaving off 
the down as she goes. The 
well-known '^' White of Sel- 
borne " was the first to notice 
this habit in the English species, 
and he compares the action of 

the bee to that of a hoop-shaver. The garden campion was the 

plant frequented by the bees which he watched. There are 

some foreign species which do not build in burrows, but make 

their nests in the pure air, 

placing them on branches. 
The present species inhabits 

Southern Europe, and has a 

curiously waspish aspect. 

280. — Anthidium Plorentinuiu. 
(Black and yellow.) 

Fig. 2S1. — Nomada sexfasciata. 
(Black and yellow.) 

In the Nomada sexfasciata 
we have a good example of tlu' 
group of insects called Wasp 
Bees, because, though they are really bees, they bear a very 
strong external resemblance to wasps. 

They are all parasitic, preying upon the nests of other bees. 



This species is known to be parasitic upon JEvxera loiujicurnis, 
jNIr. F. Smith having had specimens from the nests of that 
insect. He believes that although this species is rare, it may 
be found wherever the Encera makes its nest. 

As its name imports, its black abdomen is marked with six 
bands of yellow, the three next the tip extending completely 
across the body, and those towards the base only about half 
way. This insect is spread over a very large portion of the 

The generic name of the insect which is here figured is 
formed from two Greek words, signifying " sharp-belly," and 
is given to the insects because the abdomen narrows rapidly 


Fig. 282.— CcElioxys Ducalis. 

towards the end, especially in the female. The abdomen of 
the male is toothed at the extremity. It is a parasitic genus, 
and in England has been bred from the nest of the active and 
beautiful Megachile and Saropoda. 

The present species is African, and is extremely rare. Mr. F. 
Smith was indebted for his specimen to Mr. W, W. L. Walcott, 
who brought it from Africa. The colour of the abdomen is 
black, and the thorax is thickly covered with warm dun-coloured 
hair. The wings have a decided purple gloss Avhen viewed by 
a side light. 

Mr. Smith remarks concerning the bees of this genus, that 
the species are exceedingly difficult of identification, owing to 



the variety of form whicli prevails. " We must not forget thab 
a species is not, as it were, cast in a mould, but admits a 
degree of variety, still, however, retaining intact the broad and 
distinguishing characteristics." If this maxim had been more 
generally appreciated by systematic zoologists, we should have 
been spared much of the confused nomenclature under which 
we at present suffer. 

Plate X. represents a group of Brazilian bees, the first of 
which is called Ghrysantheda frontalis. It is marked No. 1, and 
is the upper of the two insects which are shown as inserting 
their long tongues into the blossom. The singularly beautiful 
flower which is depicted is the Passiflm^a kermesiana. 

This is one of the parasitic bees, and is supposed to infest the 
dwellings of the great wood-boring bee, which is seen imme- 
diately above it. It is a very beautiful insect, its body being 
shining green, very thickly jDmictured, and its wings brown, 
with a decided blue gloss. The hind legs are furnished on the 
inside with a coating of thick brown hair, but on the outside are 
of the same shining green as the body. 

Another of these beautiful parasitic bees is shown in the 



Pig. 283.— Aglae CKrulea. 
(Shining blue.) 

accompanying illustration. Its colour is shining blue, with a 
Ij'Ioss of green in a side light. The mngs are brown. 

FX.J^rCE 2C. 



On Plate X., Fig. 3, is shown a very handsome Brazilian bee. 
named Centris denudans. 

The abdomen of this insect is velvet black, and the thorax is 
covered with dense orange hair. The wings are glossed with 
blue, and the hind legs are clothed with very long black hair. 
There is a British genus named Mclecta, which is closely allied 
to Centris. The Melecta is a parasite insect, and Mr. F. Smith 
has bred numbers of them from the nests of the well-known 

Another species of the same genus, Centris Jlavopicta, is 

Fig. 284.— Centris flavcpicta. 
(Brown and yellow.) 

Eiiglossa dimidiata. 
(Black and white.) 

shown in the accompanying illustration. The abdomen is yelloAv, 
crossed with bars of dark brown, and the thorax is dark brown, 
relieved by a greyish white pile. The brushes of the hind pair 
of legs are yellow. 

The name Xyloco'pa literally signifies a " wood-cutter," and is 



given to a genus of bees in consequence of their power of bur- 
rowing into wood. They are spread over all the warmer por- 
tions of the earth, but no species has as yet been found to 
inhabit England. The present example is a native of Southern 
Africa, and, as is often the case among insects, the colours of the 
two sexes are very different. The male is covered with yellowish 
orange hair, and has transparent wings, while the female is black, 
varied with whitish grey hair, aud her wings are black, with a 
blue gloss. In the illustration the upper figure represents the 
male, and the lower the female. 

Fig. 28a.— Xylooopa nigi'ita. 
(Male, orange ; Female, blai^k.) 

Between the two specimens is seen the entrance to the tunnel 
which these insects make. By means of their very powerful 
jaws, which look much like wire-nippers, a large hole is made in 
the side of a tree, and carried on horizontally for a few inches. 
It then turns almost at an angle, so as to follow the grain of the 
wood. A vast number of chips are of course made, and, instead 
of being thrown away, are stored up in a safe place until wanted. 


The burrow being completed, the insect places a quantity of 
pollen at the extremity of the tunnel, and deposits an egg upon 
it. She then goes off to her store of wooden chips, and with 
them constructs a flat ceiling over the pollen, so as to form a 
cell. The ceiling is quite flat, and is made in concentric rings, 
just like a slice cut through the middle of an onion. More pollen 
and another egg are then deposited on this ceiling, which becomes 
the floor of a second cell, and so the insect proceeds until it has 
filled the burrow with its cells. 

In the Nest Eoom of the British Museum there are many 
specimens of Xylocopa burrows, in which the whole process is 
easily to be seen. One of the largest is Xylocopa trepida, a 
singularly fine insect, with blue-glossed wings. The nest of this 
bee, is also in the Museum. One of the handsomest species 
is Xylocopa caffra, which is, as its name imports, an inhabitant 
■of Southern Africa. The male is entirely gi-eenish yellow, while 
the female is black, with a broad band of golden hair at the 
junction of the thorax and abdomen. Tlie front of the thorax 
is black and blue. 

Another fine species, Xylocopa morio, is seen — Plate X., 
Fig. 2. It is a Brazilian insect. It is shining black, with a 
fringe of black hair upon the abdomen. The wings are brown. 

On the same plate, Fig. 4, is shown another of the parasitic 
bee, named Eiiglossa romandi, which is shown as inserting its 
long tongue in the flower of the Passifiora. 

It is a very handsome insect, the abdomen being green, with 
the exception of the base, which is purple. The thorax is also 
purple, and the head green like the abdomen. The green has 
always a gloss of gold, and in some specimens it extends over 
the whole of the abdomen, the purple band being wanting. As 
may be seen by reference to the illustration, the tongue is of very 
great length, and in one specimen in the collection of the British 
Museum it is separated into its several parts. The name Ewjlo&sa. 
or " beautiful tongue," refers to the length of the proboscis. 

Another species of the same genus, called Euglossa dimi 
•diata, is drawn on the same block as the Centris flavopicta, 
page 519. It is a Brazilian insect. 

It is handsomely coloured. The ground colour of the abdo- 


men is black, and across it are drawn several bands of light- 
coloured hair, the two upper bands being either white or pale 
yellow, and the remainder deep orange, so that the whole insect 
has very much the appearance of a humble bee. The wings are 
nearly brown, but become transparent towards their tips. It is 
remarkable that there is a large dipterous insect belonging to the 
genus Asilus, which so closely resembles this Euglossa, that when 
the two are placed side by side, they look like two specimens of 
the same insect. 

The two insects which are shown in the next illustration belong 
to the same genus as our familiar Humble Bees. 

The general habits of all the species are very similar, though 
they may vary somewhat in detail. They are social insects,, 
living together in nests constructed either in or on the ground. 
Their cells are made of a very coarse brown wax, and are oval 
in shape, so that they cannot be arranged with the beautiful 
accuracy which distinguishes the cells of the hive bee, or even 
those of the common wasp. Indeed, except that they stand tole- 
rably upright, they seem to be tossed about very much at random, 
the bees having apparently made the cells wherever they could 
find room. 

Contrary to the custom of the hive bee, males, females, and 
neuters live socially together, the females taking part in cell- 
making and honey-collecting, and there being no single queen 
who will allow no rival to the throne. The males, however, 
when once they have left their nests, seldom return to them. 
They are all big-bodied, heavy-flying insects, and, when on the 
wing, they emit a deep humming sound, which has earned for 
them the popular title of Humble, i.e. Humming Bees. 

There are few insects in which such variation of colour exists, 
as among the Humble Bees. In the first place, every species is 
liable to very great variation ; and in the next place the colours 
of the long hairy clothing are so evanescent, that after a few 
days' exposure to light and air, they fade into the very shadows 
of their former beauty. With these insects, as with the Andre- 
nas, the only mode of preserving them in their full beauty is by 
taking them almost as soon as they have issued from their co- 
coons, and then keeping them in a perfectly dark drawer. 

As is the case with the wasp, the greater number of Humble 



Bees perish during the cold montlis, only a few females sur- 
viving. These insects hide themselves in some convenient spot 
until the following year ; and it is a remarkable fact, that instead 
of availing themselves of the nest in wliich they had lived, tliey 
invariably desert it and go to some sheltered crevice, wheie 
they spend the winter alone. 

As a rule, the Humble Bees favour the more northern parts 
of the world ; and, as Mr. F. Smith remarks. New Zealand and 

i f \ 9 If ^ 

Fig 2S6 — Bombus cajanensis 
(Black and yellow.) 

Bombus eximius. 
(Black, with ruddy belts.) 

Australia seem to be without them. The two insects which are 
represented in the accompanying illustration have been selected 
as examples of southern Humble Bees. The figure on the left 
represents Bombus cajanensis, which is, as its name implies, a 
native of Cayenne. Its colours are very simple, being merely 
black, banded with bright yellow. The other figure represents 
Bombus ecdmius, a native of Silhet. It is covered with long, 
dense, black, velvet-like hair, and the segments of the abdomen 
are edged with fringes of long, ruddy chestnut hair. 



Passing by the common Hive Bee, we take an insect which 
according to Mr. Bates, is in tropical America the represen- 
tative of our well-known Hive Bee. As Mr. Gorse and Mr. 
Bates have both given public descriptions of the Melipona 
and its habits, I cannot do better than allow them to speak 
for themselves. 

In his work on Jamaican Natural History, the former author 
writes as follows : — 

" I was exceedingly interested tliis afternoon by the sight of 
two hives of indigenous Bees, shown to me by Mr. Garriques. at 
Shelton Pen, on the banks of the Eio Cobre. The one hive, in 
the hollow of a calabash tree, had an entrance about half an inch 

Fig. 287. — Melipona fasciculata. 

wide at midway up the trunk, the cavity being supposed to 
descend some four feet down. The other was in a cordia cherry 
tree, and was laid bare by a considerable portion of the tree 
being cut away. The cutting just disclosed the uppermost of 
the broad cells, but nothing of the sacklets that contained the 
lioney. I take our Bees to be similar to, if not the same with, 
the Bee of Mexico, a Melipona or Trigona, called by the 
Spaniards Angelitos {i.e. little angels), from having no stings. 
They settled upon us, and we handled them ; but they did no 
injury to us, though it was percei^tible that they were excited, 
for they pursued the hand, and clustered on it, when portions of 
the brood cells were taken up. 


" The black ants that infest forest trees had tracked the hive 
in the calabash tree, and had congregated around the entrance- 
hole, making an effort to gain access. A sentinel Bee, which 
was every now and then relieved from his guard, stood in a state 
of restless watchfulness, assisted at his post by two Bees beliind. 
The Bees behind stood reversed, head downward ; and, clinging 
to the upper arch of the entrance, they gazed upward, and 
watched several ants clustered above, in some two or three little 
groups within the crevices of the bark, prepared to rush in if 
the sentinels remitted their vigilance for one moment. The 
active ants paced upward and downward in lines, Ijut found no 
opportunity of gaining a nearer access than a rapid recon- 
noitering of the doorway. 

" The entrance, when occupied by the three sentinel Bees, 
admitted of no access by comers and goers of the hive, except 
by the centre Bee, that guarded the hole in front, momentarily 
stepping aside. This movement he performed with surprising 
quickness, as often as a Bee came in or went out. The wax of 
these Bees is very unctuous and dark-coloured, but susceptible 
of being whitened somewhat by bleaching. The honey is stored 
in clusters of cups, about the size of pigeons' eggs, at the bottom 
of the hive, and away from the brood cells. The brood cells are 
hexagonal, they are not deep, and the young ones, when ready to 
burst their cerement, just fill the whole cavity. The Mother 
Bee is lighter in colour than the other Bees, and elongated at 
the abdomen to double their length." 

Mr. Bates's account of the habits of this and other Meliponse 
is exceedingly interesting. It is given in his well-known work 
on the Amazon Eiver : — 

" But the most numerous and interesting of the clay-artificers 
are the workers of a species of social Bee, the Melijjona fascicu- 
lata. The Meliponse in tropical America take the place of the 
true Apides, to which the European Hive Bee belongs, and which 
are here unknown; they are generally much smaller insects 
than the Hive Bee, and have no sting. The M. fasciculata is 
about a third shorter than the ^^is mellifica : its colonies are 
composed of an immense number of individuals ; the workers 
are generally seen collecting pollen in the same way as other 
bees, but great numbers are employed in gathering clay. 

•' The rapidity and precision of their movements while thus 


engaged are wonderful. They first scrape the clay with their 
mandibles ; the small portions gathered are then cleared by the 
anterior paws and passed to the second pair of feet, which in 
their turn convey them to the large foliated expansions of the 
hind shanks which are adapted normally in Bees, as everyone 
knows, for the collection of pollen. The middle feet put the 
^rowing pellets of mortar on the hind legs to keep them in a 
compact shape as the particles are successively added. The 
little hodsmen soon have as much as they can carry, and they 

then fly off. 

" I was for some time puzzled to know what the Bees did with 
the clay ; but I had afterwards plenty of opportunity for ascer- 
taining. They construct their combs in any suitable crevice in 
trunks of trees or perpendicular banks, and the clay is required 
to build up a wall so as to close the gap, with the exception of 
a small orifice for their own entrance and exit. Most kinds of 
Melipona are in this respect masons, as well as workers in wax 
and pollen-gatherers. One little species (undescribed) not more 
than two lines long, builds a neat tubular gallery of clay, 
kneaded with some viscid substance, outside the entrance to its 
hive, besides blocking up the crevice in which it is situated. 
The mouth of the tube is trumpet-shaped, and at the entrance 
a number of the pigmy Bees are always stationed, apparently 
acting as sentinels. 

"It is remarkable that none of the American Bees have at- 
tained that high degree of architectural skill in the construction 
of their cells which is shown by the European Hive Bee. The 
wax cells of the Meliponie are generally oblong, showing only 
an approximation to the hexagonal shape in places where several 
of them are built in contact. It would appear that the Old 
World has produced in Bees, as well as in other families of 
animals, far more advanced forms than the tropics of the New 
World. A hive of the Melipona fasciculata, which I saw 
opened, contained about two quarts of pleasantly-tasted liquid 
honey. The Bees, as already remarked, have no sting, but they 
bite furiously when their colonies are disturbed. The Indian 
who plundered the hive was completely covered by them ; they 
took a particular fancy to the hair of his head, and fastened on 
it by hundreds. 

" I found forty-five species of these Bees in different parts of 



the country ; the largest was half an inch in size, the smallest 
were extremely minute, some kinds being not more than one- 
twelfth of an inch in size. These tiny fellows are often very 
troublesome on account of their familiarity ; they settle on one's 
face and hands, and in crawling about get into the eyes and 
mouth, or up the nostrils." 

We see from this history that the title of " Angelitos " is not 
so very well deserved, for the insects do mischief to the extent 
of their ability. Being venomless, they cannot sting, but they 
can at all events bite, and, as we have seen, do so very fiercely. 

The last of the Bees which will be described in this work 
belong to the genus Trigona. The following account of an 

o 6^ 

Fig. 288.— Trigona ruficrus. 
(Shining black, with red thighs.) 

Indian species of Trigona is taken from Mr. Home's mono- 
graph :— 

" This is one of the smallest Honey-bees I have ever met 
with, and its habits are curious. I noticed it under the follow- 
ing circumstances, and I never again met with its nest, although 
the natives all know it. One evening at Benares (April 4th, 
1863) as I was standing at my door, I saw a swarm of from 400 
to 500 of what I took to be midges, rapidly flying about in a 
mazy kind of dance, occupying a space of five or six feet, and 
being about ten feet from the ground. I brought out my insect- 


net and caught about a hundred in one sweep, when, to my sur- 
prise, they proved to be Bees. On watching them, I observed 
that they went in and out of a little hole in the wall close by 
under a beam where there was a hollow, and that many of their 
thighs were laden with pollen. 

" The insects seemed quite harmless, walking about my hand 
and not attempting to sting. Digging out some bricks with care, 
I came on a portion of their nest. The space it occupied appeared 
to have been originally eaten out by Termites. It was coated 
on all sides with a layer of black wax, and in it was stored their 
honey. The waxen cells were of a dark brown colour, and very 
globular, pendent side by side from the roof, and not, as far as I 
could see, arranged hexagonally. 

" The honey was very dark in colour, but excellent in flavour ; 
and I was told by the natives that it possessed medicinal quali- 
ties. It had a slight astringency ; and, considering the size of 
the insect, the quantity stored was very large. I was also told 
that these insects commonly use hollow trees, in which they store 
astonishing quantities of honey, which is diligently sought for 
and prized. They caU them " Bhonga," which appears to me to 
be a generic name for all Bees in the North-west Provinces. 
Large bricks prevented my digging further, so that I cannot 
describe their breeding-cells. 

" The Bees continued to fly in the manner before described tiU 
dark, and did not desert their nest." 

The species which is figured in the illustration is a Brazilian 
insect. Its colour is shining black, with the exception of the 
thighs of the hind pair of legs, which are bright red. It is a 
very common insect, and is generally to be found in sandbanks 
in the virgin forest. 

I HAVE had some doubt as to the place in which I should 
treat of the insect which will presently be described ; and, after 
consideration, have determined to place them at the end of the 
Hymenoptera, and not among the Ichneumon Flies. 

If there be in the world insects which look like anything 
but insects, such are the extraordinary beings, one of which is 
shown in the accompanying illustration. So strange are they 
that although a practised entomologist would at once detect them 
to be insects, he would need careful investigation before he could 


even determine the order to •which they belonged. They are 
found in the middle of a wild fig, called Ficus terragena, the 
fruit of which is unfit for food. 

That certain insects frequented the fig, and perhaps exercised 
some influence on the fertility of the fruit, was well known to 
the old naturalists, who designated their office by the name of 
" caprification." This belief is mentioned by Mouffet in his work 
on insects : " It is called Gulex ficarins, i.e. Fig-gnat, not because 
it comes indeed of the fig-tree, but because it is fed and sus- 
tained by its fruit. For it is sprung of a certain worm that 
breeds in the Figs, which when Nature cannot make her perfect 
work upon, nor bring to the sweetness and perfection of other 
Figs, lest she should make something in vain, by a certain 
quickening vertue, out of the grains of them, being rotten and 
putrified, she produceth these Gnats. 

" Yet not so as that the Gnat is the ;parergon, as besides the 
intentions of Nature (so Scaliger hath learnedly observed) ; or if it 
be, the truth is, the work by the bye is of more dignity than the 
main. Nature did propose to itself the perfection of a wilde Fig, 
a thing not so much to be esteemed of : this she not being able to 
bring to passe, turns herself from so common a work to an enter- 
prise of greater weight and produceth a Gnat, which she effecteth. 

" Concerning these Gnats, Pliny hath these words : the wilde 
Fig-tree brings forth Gnats, these being defrauded of the nou- 
rishment they should have received from their mother, being 
turned to rottenness they go to the neighbouring Fig-tree, and with 
the often biting of the same Fig-tree and greedily feeding upon 
it, they let in the sun withall and set free a door for plenty of 
air to enter in at. Anon after they destroy the milky moisture 
and infancy of the fruit, which is done very easily, and as it 
were of its own accord : and for that cause the wild fig-tree is 
alwaies set before the fig-trees, that the wind, when the Gnats fly 
out of them may carry them among the fig-trees, who, as soon 
as they come into them, the figs swell and, ripening of a sudden, 
grow very big and full. 

" But what time these Gnats pass from the wilde fig to the 
fig-tree, they do it in such haste that many of them leave either 
a foot or a wing behind them. Now that they generated of the 
grains of the unripe fig may be evident in that the wilde fig is 
left void of grains." 

y M 


That the ancient entomologists had detected these remarkable 
beings in the interior of the wild fig is very clear, though the 
inferences which they drew are not correct. 

According to Mr. Walker, these insects are Hymenoptera, 
belonging to the family Agaonidse, in the great group of 
Chalcidicse, several species of which are the " gnats " which have 
been used for caprification. 

They were found in the Mauritius, and in company with them 
were great numbers of another species, which he termed Chalets 
or Idarnes explorator, from their habit of flitting constantly 
about the figs, and seeming to explore them. Whether or not 
they are parasites upon the insects within the fig is a matter 
of doubt. 

As for these latter insects, they always live in darkness, and, 
needing no eyes, have none. Not only are they devoid of eyes, 
but they have no ocelli {i.e. the little simple eyes possessed by 
Hymenoptera), no palpi, and no maxillae. Mandibles, or prin- 
cipal jaws, they do possess, and these of considerable size in pro- 
portion to the dimensions of the insect. Perhaps the fact that 
these darkling creatures are able to do without maxillae or 
palpi may throw some light on the real office of those organs. 
When removed from the interior of the fruit, or when merely 
disturbed by the laying open of the figs, the insects make no 
attempt at escape, but roll themselves up and lie motionless. 

Many other allied insects are now known to be dwellers in 
figs, but the complete history of these wonderful beings is yet to 
be written. 

In the notice of these Hymenoptera in the Entomologist, 
from which part of this description is condensed, the editor 
makes the following suggestive remarks : — " It seems almost 
impossible to overrate the interest which attaches to this sub- 
ject of fig- dwellers. The circumstance that these creatures are 
without the means of vision or locomotion does not, indeed, 
seem extraordinary, seeing they are condemned to perpetual 
darkness and perpetual imprisonment. Of what use would eyes 
or wings be to them ? Then, again, of what sex are they ? Is 
there any relationship — I mean consanguinity — between the 
prisoners and the winged atoms flying from fig to fig? And 
there are females, invariably females, with long ovipositors, that 
oould communicate with the imprisoned. We have winged 


males and apterous females in Lepidoptera. Can we have 
winged females and apterous males in Hymeuoptera ? " 

Tlie name ^/)oc/'_y^i^« s iguifies " hidden," and is given to the 
insects in allusion to tlieir custom of lying concealed within the 
fruit. Another genus of Fig-gnats is called Sycocrypta, which 
signifies " something that is hidden in figs." Several species are 
known, all differing greatly in shape, biit the present species is 
a good example of their general aspect. They are very tiny, the 
length of this insect being about equal to that of the letter " 1." 
There is a full description of them in the Entomologist for 
October 1871. 

Apocrypta paradoxa. 

M M 2 








The great order of insects which now comes before us is easily 
to be distinguished from any other. A beetle may be mistaken 
for a Heteropterous insect, or a Hymenopterous insect for one of 
the Diptera. But there is no such likelihood of mistake with 
regard to the Lepidoptera, or scale-wing insects, the feathery 
scales with which their wings are covered being a distinction 
that is at once recognized. 

These scales are arranged just like the slates on the roof of a 
house, and as there are many species in which the scales are 
squared at the ends, the resemblance is curiously exact. They 
vary very greatly in form and size, some being rounded at the 
finds, some deeply toothed in notches, some short and square, 
ftnd some long and almost hair-like. If placed under the micro- 
scope, their surface is seen to be adorned with exquisite sculp - 
turings and markings, so that each scale is quite as worthy of 
examination as the insect it adorns. Minute as are the scales, 
the microscope shows that they are composed of three distinct 
layers, and nothing is more common than to see the upper or 
under layer torn, and the ragged piece looking just like a " snuff- 
box " torn in a dress. 

The mouths of the Lepidoptera are made for suction, the man- 
dibles, or outer jaws, being very minute and practically needless, 


and the maxillse lengthened into the organ which is scientifically 
known as the proboscis, and popularly as the trunk. The females 
are generally larger than the males, but are duller in hue, and in 
many cases the two sexes are so different in appearance that they 
have been described as distinct species. Even Linnaeus fell into 
the error of confounding the sexes, and actually placed the male 
in one section and the female in another. 

Their transformations from the egg to the perfect insect are 
known better than those of any other of the insect race, and 
many practical entomologists are in the habit of rearing their 
best specimens from the egg. As to the eggs themselves, there 
is more diversity in them than in those of the birds. The latter 
eggs, however they may differ in colour, are tolerably alike in 
shape, whereas the variet}^ of form among Lepidopterous eggs is 
quite wonderful, and is so marked that a good entomologist on 
seeing an egg can be tolerably sure of naming the insect which 
laid it. Unfortunately their shape cannot well be preserved, as 
they are nearly sure to collapse after a time, even if they be not 
hatched^ and broken by the young larva. 

Many of these eggs, even of our own British species, are so 
exceedingly beautiful in their outlines, that they would serve as 
exquisitely beautiful models for jugs and vases. Indeed, some 
years ago I happened to deliver a lecture on the transformation 
of insects, and a porcelain manufacturer who was present was so 
struck with the drawing of an egg that he asked for a copy of it, 
and made a number of jars in exact imitation of it. 

The larvae of the Lepidoptera are as different as the perfect 
insects, both in appearance and habits. Most of them live 
on trees and plants, but there are many which pass almost, 
if not all, their larval existence beneath the surface of the 
earth. At present, no Lepidopterous larva is known to inhabit 
the water. 

Without going more into scientific details, we will proceed to 
the examination of the foreign Butterflies. 

The reader will remember that some English groups of insects 
are quite as numerous, as large, and as handsome as their foreign 
relatives. This is not the case with the Butterflies, which are 
comparatively few and insignificant in England. Eor example, 
of the first group, the Papilionidae, we have but one representa- 


tive, the well-known Swallow-tail, and this is quite a rarity 
except in one or two very limited spots. 

The genus Papilio (which is the Latin for Butterfly) has all 
the legs fit for walking, short palpi, the club of the antennae 
elongated and never hooked, and the " discoidal