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gan to move about, apparently without any agency; and his surprise was not much lessened, when, on taking one of them up, he discovered that it was only a Chafer that moved it.
Professor Thunberg and Mr. Brown both mention the operations of a species of Chafer in the different parts of Africa that they visited, which agree in every respect with those of the present species. We have also one in our own country, Scarabæus lunaris, whose manners are nearly similar.
Aristophanes, in his Epnn, has introduced one of the Dung-chafers, on which a character in the play mounts up to Jupiter, to petition for peace.
OF THE LUCANUS OR STAG-BEETLE TRIBE.
The antennæ of the Stag-beetles have a club-shaped extremity, divided into short, comb-like leaves. The jaws are toothed, and extend so far beyond the head, as to resemble horns. Under the lip there are two palpi or feelers, so thickly covered with hair, as to appear like tufts.
Stag-beetles are chiefly found in rotten and halfdecayed wood, and under the bark of trees.
THE GREAT STAG-BEETLE*.
In some parts of the south of England, these insects are very common in oak and willow trees. In the
*See Plate xviii. Fig. 1.
DESCRIPTION. This is the largest kind of insect that is found in Great Britain. It sometimes measures nearly three inches, from the points of its jaws to the extremity of the abdomen. Its colour is dark brown, except the jaws, which are sometimes as red as coral, and give to it a very beautiful appearance by these, which resemble in form the horns of a stag, it is readily distinguished from all other insects.
SYNONYMS. Lucanus cervus. Linnæus.-Lucane Cerfvolant. Latreille.-Le grand Cerf-volant, in France.
stumps or about the branches of these they remain concealed during the day; flying abroad and feeding on the leaves only in the evening. The month of July is the time during which they are principally seen. The males, in particular, have great strength in their mandibles or jaws. With these they are able to pinch very severely. Linnæus informs us, that they feed on the liquor that oozes from the trunks or branches of trees; and it has been conjectured that the jaws are used either in obtaining their food, or in fixing themselves firmly to the spot while they eat. It is said that Stagbeetles may be kept alive for a considerable time, if supplied with the fresh leaves of oak or willow, or with sweetened water.
In Germany there is a popular notion, that these insects are sometimes known, by means of their jaws, to carry burning coals into the houses; and that, in consequence of this, dreadful fires have been occasioned.
It is a singular circumstance respecting these insects, that I have frequently found several of their heads near together, and alive, while the trunks and abdomens were nowhere to be seen: sometimes only the abdomens were gone, and the heads and trunks were left. How this takes place, I never could discover. An intimate and intelligent friend of mine supposes, however, that it must have been in consequence of severe battles which at times take place among these, the fiercest of the insect tribes: but their mouths not seeming formed for animal food, he is at a loss to conjecture what becomes of the abdomens. They do not fly until most of the birds have retired to rest; and indeed, if we were to suppose that any of these devoured them, it would be difficult to say why the heads or trunks should alone be rejected.
The females deposit their eggs in decayed or wormeaten trees. The larvæ, which are round and whitish, with rust-coloured head and legs, are nourished under the bark. In this state they pass six years. When about to undergo their change into a chrysalis, each
insect forms a hard and solid ball, of the form of an egg, and sometimes as large as the hand. When the perfect insect issues forth, it is at first quite soft. Its parts, however, soon harden, and in a little while it is able to fly away.
OF THE DERMESTES TRIBE*.
In their perfect state, these insects are generally extremely timid. The moment they are threatened with danger, they stop in their course, draw up their antennæ and feet, and continue in a feigned state of death, until the object of their fear is removed.
The larvæ or maggots, subsist chiefly on the bodies of dead animals, dried skins, the bark of trees, and old wood. Some of them are very destructive to books and furniture.
THE BACON DERMESTEST.
These insects are produced from maggots which are bred and nourished in bacon, or in other animal substances. To collections of dried and preserved animals, they are sometimes particularly injurious. They change their skins several times. These skins continue stretched out, as if blown up, and are in appearance like the little animals which cast them.
The antennæ are club-shaped; the club is perfoliate. The thorax is convex, and slightly margined. The head is inflected under the thorax.
The skin is hard
+ DESCRIPTION. The perfect insect is black, having the elytra or shells cinereous on the upper part. The larvæ are elongated, the body diminishing insensibly before and behind, and terminating in a truncated cone. and leathery, of a brown colour above, and covered with long hair. The pupa or chrysalis is white, with the eyes and some transverse rays on the back yellowish.
SYNONYMS. Dermestes lardarius. Linn. Le Dermeste du Lard. Latreille.
In order to undergo their transformations, the larvæ search out some convenient retreat; and generally find one among the wreck of the substances which they have gnawed. They do not continue in their chrysalid form more than about three weeks or a month.
OF THE PTINUS OR BORER TRIBE*.
In a larva state, these insects are chiefly found in the trunks of decayed trees, and in old wood, where they make holes as round as though they had been formed with a gimlet. They are nearly allied to the Dermestes, but differ from those insects in the form of their antennæ, mandibles, and legs.
In the spring of the year, says Olivier, we see these insects issuing from wood where the pupa have been enclosed; and, attracted by the rays of the sun, run along upon the window-frames, beams, or wainscot. Like the Dermestes, they feign themselves to be dead when touched: burying their head under the thorax, drawing in the legs, and concealing entirely their antennæ between the head and upper borders of the thorax, they present only the appearance of an inanimate substance.
The devastations which their larvæ commit are very great. Old moveables of wood, worm-eaten, and full of cylindrical holes, indicate, at the same time, the work and the habitations of these insects. By means of two strong and powerful jaws, they gnaw the wood on which they feed; and this, after passing through their bodies, is deposited in small grains of very fine powder, which fills up the holes behind them, as the little creatures pass onward. They increase their dwellings as
These insects have antennæ that are nearly of an equal thickness throughout; the last joints, however, in most of the species, are somewhat larger than the rest. The thorax is nearly round, unmargined, and contains the head.
they themselves increase in size; and when they have attained their full dimensions, they weave a nidus, of a kind of silk issuing from their body, in the bottom of their hole. In this they change to a pupa state, and afterwards to perfect insects.
There are numerous species, several of which are found in England. It will not be necessary for me to speak of more than one.
THE DEATH-WATCH PTINUS*.
Notwithstanding its smallness, this creature is often the cause of serious alarm among the superstitious, from the noise which it makes, at a certain season of the year, resembling the ticking of a watch. From this it has its name; for, whenever this faculty is exerted, it is esteemed portentive of death to some one of the family in the house where it is heard. The philosopher and the naturalist may smile at a notion thus absurd; yet Sir Thomas Brown has remarked, with great earnestness, that the man," who could eradicate this error from the minds of the people, would save from many a cold sweat the meticulous heads of nurses and grandmothers."
The wether's bell
Before the drooping flock toll'd forth her knell,
It is generally in the advanced state of spring, that these insects commence their noise. This is nothing more than a call or signal, by which they are mutually attracted to each other; and it may be considered as
* DESCRIPTION. The Death-watch is a dusky and somewhat hairy insect, with irregular brownish spots, about a quarter of an inch in length.
SYNONYMS. Ptinus tesselatus. Linn.-Anobium tesselatum. Fabricius.-Ptinus fatidicus. Shaw's Nat. Mis.