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and inflected, or bent inwards under the body. The legs are not formed for leaping.
THE GREAT LANTERN-FLY*.
This is the most vivid of all the luminous insects. It affords a light so great, that travellers, walking by night, are said to be enabled to pursue their journey with sufficient certainty, if they tie one or two of them to a stick, and carry this before them in the manner of a torch. This insect is common in many parts of South America, and is described by Madam Merian, in her superb work on the insects of Surinam. She gives an entertaining account of the alarm, into which she was thrown, by the flashing which proceeded from them in the dark, before she had been apprised of their shining
"The Indians once brought me, (says she,) before I knew that they shone by night, a number of these Lantern-flies, which I shut up in a large wooden box. In the night they made such a noise, that I awoke in a fright, and ordered a light to be brought, not being able to guess whence the noise proceeded. As soon as I found that it came from the box, I opened it, but was still more alarmed, and let it fall to the ground in my fright, at seeing a flame of fire issue from it; and as many animals as came out, so many different flames appeared. When I found this to be the case, I recovered from my alarm, and again collected the insects, much admiring their splendid appearance." The light,
taining sete or bristles, used in extracting the juices from plants, and for some other purposes.
DESCRIPTION. The head in this species is large, and somewhat oval. The wings are variegated; and the lower pair is marked each with a large ocellated or eye-like spot. Sometimes the insect is seen of three or four inches in length. SYNONYMS. Fulgora lanternaria. Linnæus.-La Fulgore porte-lanterne, by the French.
she adds, of one of these insects, is so bright, that a person may see to read a newspaper by it.
The light emitted by this fly, proceeds entirely from the hollow part, or lantern, of the head; no other part being luminous. Dr. Darwin conjectures, that the use of this light is merely to prevent the insects from flying against objects in the night, and to enable them to procure their sustenance in the dark. He seems, however, not to have considered, that very few of the numerous train of nocturnal insects possess this luminous property, and yet all the functions of these are performed with perfect regularity. Its most essential use is, no doubt, as in the other luminous tribes, to point out the sexes to each other, serving in them the same purpose, in this respect, as the voice in larger animals.
OF THE CICADE IN GENERAL*.
These insects are found in various parts both of the New and Old Continent, where they subsist almost wholly on the leaves of trees and on other vegetable substances. They are furnished with a hard and horny proboscis or tube, in which is contained a very slender sucking-pipe. The former is not much unlike a gimlet in form, and is used by them in boring through the bark of trees, for the purpose of extracting their juices. With this proboscis they also bore holes in the small and tender twigs of the exterior branches, in which they deposit their eggs, sometimes to the amount of six or seven hundred. Each cell does not contain more than from twelve to twenty, so that by this means they often do much damage to the trees which they frequent.
The Cicada have an inflected rostrum, and bristle-shaped antennæ. The wing-cases are membranaceous, and decline along the sides of the body. Their legs are in general formed for leaping.
The chrysalids of these insects are not torpid, like those of many others; but have six legs, and differ from the parent, in having only the rudiments of wings. They are exceedingly active, and in general run and leap about upon the trees with great sprightliness.
The males of the perfect insects make a chirping noise, of use in alluring the females. Some naturalists suppose, that this noise is caused by the flapping of the lamellæ against the abdomen; others, by the rustling of the segments of the body in the contractile motion of that part; and Beckman, that it is caused by the beating of the body and legs against the wings. The lamellæ, on examination, do not appear to have sufficient freedom of motion to produce any such sound.
The Cicade of the hottest climates make the loudest noise. From the papers of Mr. Smeathman, who resided a considerable time in Africa, it appears that some are so loud, as to be heard to the distance of half a mile; and that the singing of one of them in a room, will immediately silence a whole company. Professor Thunburg says, that one of the Javanese species makes a noise as shrill and piercing, as if it proceeded from a trumpet.
Several of the species were known to the ancients, who considered them as the embleins of eternal youth. They deemed them creatures beloved both by gods and men; and indulged many poetical fictions concerning them, but particularly that they subsisted only on dew. The Athenians wore golden Cicada in their hair, to denote their national antiquity; or that, like these creatures, they were the first-born of the earth. Anacreon, addressing one of them, depicts, in glowing colours, the felicity which they were universally supposed to enjoy.
Happy creature! What below
Can more happy live than thou?
(Summer weaves the verdant crown,)
Sipping o'er the pearly lawn
The fragrant nectar of the dawn;
What of man can boast the same?
THE WAX-FORMING CICADA*.
This is a singular insect, and deserves attention, both as an object of curiosity, and from its importance in domestic œconomy.
The larvæ are elegant and beautiful creatures, and to their labours the Chinese are indebted for the fine white wax, that is so much esteemed in the East Indies. They form a sort of white grease, which adheres to the branches of trees, hardens there, and becomes wax.
The wing-cases of the Wax-forming Cicada are green, margined with red, and deflexed; and the interior ones are spotted with black. In the variety figured and described by Sir George Staunton, these are whitish, margined with black, and have a row of black spots on the posterior edge.
SYNONYMS. Tettigonia limbata. Fabricius-Cicada lim
is scraped off in the autumn, melted on the fire, and strained; it is then poured into cold water, where it coagulates, and forms into cakes. In appearance, it is white and glossy; and, mixed with oil, is used to make candles, for which purpose it is considered much superior to bees-wax.
The insects are white when young, and it is then that they make their wax. When old, they are of a blackish chesnut colour, and form little pelotons on the branches of trees. These at first are each of the size of a grain of millet: towards the commencement of the spring they increase in bulk and spread; they are attached to the branches like grapes, and, at first sight, the trees that bear them appear loaded with fruit. About the beginning of May the inhabitants gather them; and, having enveloped them in the leaves of a species of broad-leaved grass, suspend them to the trees. At the end of June, and in July, the pelotons open, and the insects come forth, crawl about the leaves, and form their wax.
Sir George Staunton says of these insects, that he saw them busily employed upon the small branches of a shrub, that, in its general habit, had a considerable resemblance to privet. They did not much exceed the domestic fly in size, and were of a very singular structure. They were in every part covered with a kind of white powder: and the branches they most frequented, were entirely whitened by this substance strewed over them.
THE AMERICAN LOCUST
This species of Cicada is at all times common in Pennsylvania, but at certain periods (generally of four
• DESCRIPTION. The body of this insect is black; and the upper wings are white, with a yellowish rib.
SYNONYMS. Cicada septendecim. Linn.-Tettigonia septendecim. Fabricius.