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this appeared to him to be done without paying to it any thing like divine honour.
None of the species have ever been found in this country.
THE ORATOR MANTIS*.
This is a very widely-dispersed species, being found both in Europe, Asia, and Africa. From its perpetually resting on its hind legs, and erecting the fore paws close together, with a quick motion, as if in the action of praying, the country people, in various parts of the continent, consider it almost as sacred, and would not on any account injure it. "It is so divine a creature, (says the translator of Mouffet,) that if a child has lost its way, and inquires of the Mantis, it will point out the right path with its paw." Dr. Smith, however, informs us, in his tour on the continent, that he received an account of this Mantis that seemed to savour little of divinity. A gentleman caught a male and female, and put them together in a glass vessel. The female, which in this, as in most other insects, is the largest, after a while devoured first the head and upper parts of her companion, and afterwards all the remainder of the body.
The offspring of this Mantis are preserved in the egg-state in a kind of oblong bag, of a thick, spungy substance: this bag is imbricated on the outside, and fastened lengthwise to the branch of some plant. As the eggs ripen, they are protruded through the thick substance of the bag, and the larvæ, which are about half an inch in length, burst from them.
Roesel, wishing to observe the gradual progress of these creatures to the winged state, placed the bag con
*See Plate xix. Fig. 4.
DESCRIPTION. The thorax is smooth. The wing-cases are of a bright green colour; and on each of the wings there is a black spot.
SYNONYMS. Mantis oratoria. Linn.-LePrie-Dieu, in some parts of France.
taining the eggs in a large glass, which he closed, in order to prevent their escape. From the time they were first hatched, they exhibited marks of a savage disposition. He put different sorts of plants into the glass, but they refused them for the purpose of preying on one another. This determined him to supply them with insect food. He put several ants into the glass to them; but they then betrayed as much cowardice as they had before done of barbarity; for the instant the Mantes saw the ants, they attempted to escape in every direction. This was evidently an instinctive fear of a natural enemy. He next gave them some of the common house-flies, which they seized with eagerness in their fore-claws, and tore in pieces. But, notwithstanding their apparent fondness of flies, they continued to destroy each other through savage wantonness. spairing at last, from their daily decrease, of rearing any to the winged state, he separated them into small parcels in different glasses; but here, as before, the strongest of each community destroyed the rest.
He afterwards received several pairs of Mantes in the winged state. Profiting by his former observations, he now separated them, placing a male and a female together in different glasses; but they still exhibited signs of a rooted enmity to each other, which neither age nor sex could soften. The instant they were in sight of each other, they threw up their heads, brandished their fore-legs, and each waited an attack. They did not long remain in this posture; for the boldest, throwing open his wings with the velocity of lightning, rushed at the other, and often tore it in pieces. Roesel compares the attack of these creatures to that of two hussars; for they dexterously guard and cut with the edge of the fore-claws, as those soldiers do with sabres, and sometimes at a stroke one of them cleaves the other through, or severs its head from the thorax. After this, the conqueror always devours his vanquished antagonist.
The patience of the Mantis in waiting for his prey,
is remarkable, and the posture to which superstition has attributed devotion, is no other than the means it uses to catch it. When it has fixed its eyes on an insect, it rarely loses sight of it, though it may cost some hours to take it. If it see an insect a little beyond its reach, over its head, it slowly erects its long thorax, by means of the moveable membranes that connect it to the body; then, resting on the posterior legs, it gradually raises the anterior part also. If this bring it near enough to the insect, it throws open the last joint of its fore paws, and snaps the insect between the spines that are set in rows on the second joint. If it be unsuccessful, it does not retract its paws, but holds them stretched out, and waits again till the insect is within its reach, when it springs up and seizes it. Should the insect go far from the spot, it flies or crawls after it slowly on the ground, like a cat; and, when the insect stops, it erects itself as before.
These Mantes have a small black pupil or sight, which moves in all directions within the parts that we usually term the eyes, so that they can see their prey in any direction, without having occasion to disturb it by turning their head.
The males die in October, and the females do not long survive them.
THE DRY-LEAF MANTIS
This insect, in its shape and colour, is so exceedingly remarkable as to have uniformly suggested the idea of a dry or withered leaf; and, when its wings are closed, it bears so great a resemblance to a leaf, that, on a cursory view, it might easily be mistaken for one.
The specimens that are brought to Europe, are generally of a yellowish-brown colour. The wings, when
See Plate xix. Fig. 5.
SYNONYMS. Mantis siccifolia. Linn.-La Feuille sèche.
closed, form the oval body of the leaf, thorax and head resemble the stalk. India.
and the narrow It is a native of
OF THE GRYLLUS OR LOCUST TRIBE.
All these insects feed chiefly on vegetable substances. The larva and crysalids nearly resemble the perfect insects they have six legs, are voracious and active, and reside principally in the ground.
Their heads are inflected, and armed with jaws that are furnished with filiform palpi, or feelers. The antennæ in some species are taper, in others threadshaped. The wings are four, deflected and convolute; the lower ones plaited. The hind legs are formed for leaping; and on each side of the feet are two claws.
THE MOLE CRICKET*.
The female of this species forms a cell of clammy earth, about the size of a hen's egg, closed up on every side, and as large in the interior as two hazel nuts. The eggs, amounting to nearly a hundred and fifty, are white, and about the size of caraway comfits; they are carefully covered, as well to defend them from the injuries of weather as from the attacks of a species of black beetles, which often destroy them. The female
DESCRIPTION. This little creature, among the insect tribes, is a complete representative of the mole. Its fore feet are broad and strong, and in their formation and position bear a great resemblance to the fore feet of that animal. They are used for precisely the same purpose of burrowing under the surface of the ground, where the insect commonly resides; and so expertly does it use them, that it can penetrate the earth with even greater expedition than the mole.
SYNONYMS. Gryllus Gryllo-talpa. Linn.-Acheta gryllotalpa. Fabricius.-Fenn-Cricket, Chur-worm, Eve-churr, in different parts of the kingdom.-Courtillere, ou Gryllon-taupe, in France.
places herself near the entrance of the nest, and whenever the beetle attempts to seize its prey, the guardian insect catches it behind, and bites it asunder. Nothing can exceed the care of these animals in the preservation of their offspring. Wherever a nest is situated, fortifications, avenues, and entrenchments surround it: there are also numerous meanders which lead to it, and a ditch encompasses the whole, which few other insects are capable of passing.
About the middle of April, if the weather be fine, and just at the close of day, the Mole Crickets utter a low, dull, jarring note, not much unlike the chattering of the goat-sucker. In the beginning of May they lay their eggs. Mr. White says that a gardener, at a house where he was on a visit, happening to be mowing by the side of a canal, on the sixth of May, his scythe struck too deep, pared off a large piece of turf, and laid open to view a curious scene of domestic œconomy. There were many caverns and winding passages leading to a kind of chamber, neatly smoothed and rounded, and about the size of a moderate snuff-box. Within this secret nursery were deposited nearly a hundred eggs, of a dirty yellow colour, and enveloped in a tough skin, but too lately excluded to contain any rudiments of young-ones, being full of a viscous substance. The eggs lay but shallow, and within the influence of the sun, just under a little heap of fresh mould, like that which is raised by ants.
At the approach of winter, the Mole Crickets remove their nest to so great a depth in the earth, as to have it always lower than the frost can penetrate. When the mild season comes on, they raise it in proportion to the advances of that favourable time, and at last elevate it so nearly to the surface, as to render it susceptible both of air and sun-shine; and if the frost returns, they again sink it to its proper depth. A similar method is practised by the ants with their
Mole Crickets are troublesome insects in hot-beds,