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and do not cover more than one third of the abdomen. These beetles eat the leaves of various kinds of buttercups.
Our common species is the Meloe angusticollis of Say, or narrow-necked oil-beetle. It is of a dark indigo-blue color; the thorax is very narrow, and the antennæ of the male are curiously twisted and knotted in the middle. It measures from eight tenths of an inch to one inch in length. It is very common on buttercups in the autumn, and I have also found it eating the leaves of potato-vines.
The foregoing insects are but a small number of those, belonging to the order Coleoptera, which are injurious to vegetation. Those only have been selected that are the most remarkable for their ravages, or would best serve to illustrate the families and genera to which they belong. The orders Orthoptera, Hemiptera, Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, and Diptera, remain to be treated in the same way, in carrying out the plan upon which this treatise has been begun, and to which it is limited.
EARWIGS. COCKROACHES. MANTES, OR SOOTHSAYERS. WALKING LEAVES.
WALKING STICKS, OR SPECTRES. — MOLE-CRICKET. FIELD CRICKETS. CLIMBING CRICKET. WINGLESS-CRICKET. GRASSHOPPERS. KATY-DID. LOCUSTS.
The destructive insects popularly known in this country by the name of grasshoppers, but which, in our version of the Bible, and in other works in the English language, are called locusts, have, from a period of very high antiquity, attracted the attention of mankind by their extensive and lamentable ravages. It should here be remarked, that in America the name of locust is very improperly given to the Cicada of the ancients, or the harvest-fly of English writers, some kinds of which will be the subject of future remark in this treatise. The name of locust will here be restricted to certain kinds of grasshoppers; while the popularly named locust, which, according to common belief, appears only once in seventeen years, must drop this name and take the more correct one of Cicada or harvest-fly. The very frequent misapplication of names, by persons unacquainted with natural history, is one of the greatest obstacles to the progress of science, and shows how necessary it is that things should be called by their right names, if the observations communicated respecting them are to be of any service. Every intelligent farmer is capable of becoming a good observer, and of making valuable discoveries in natural history; but if he be ignorant of the proper names of the objects examined, or if he give to them names, which previously have been applied by other persons to entirely different objects, he will fail to make the result of his observa. tions intelligible and useful to the community.
The insects which I here call locusts, together with other grasshoppers, earwigs, crickets, spectres or walking sticks, and walking leaves, soothsayers, cockroaches, &c., belong to an order called ORTHOPTERA, literally straight wings; for their wings, when not in use, are folded lengthwise in narrow plaits like a fan, and are laid straight along the top or sides of the back. They are also covered by a pair of thicker wing-like members, which, in the locusts and grasshoppers, are long and narrow, and lie lengthwise on the sides of the body, sloping outwards on each side like the roof of a house; in the cockroaches, these upper wings or wing-covers are broader, almost oval, and lie horizontally on the top of the back, overlapping on their inner edges; and in the crickets, the wing-covers, when closed, are placed like those of cockroaches, but have a narrow outer border, which is folded perpendicularly downwards so as to cover the sides of the body also.
All the Orthopterous insects are provided with transversely movable jaws, more or less like those of beetles, but they do not undergo a complete transformation in coming to maturity. The
young, in fact, often present a close resemblance to the adult insects in form, and differ from them chiefly in wanting wings. They move about and feed precisely like their parents, but change their skins repeatedly before they come to their full size. The second stage in the progress of the Orthopterous insects to maturity, is not, like that of beetles, a state of inactivity and rest, in which the insect loses the grub-like or larva form which it had when hatched from the egg, and becomes a pupa or chrysalis, more nearly resembling the form of a beetle, but soft, whitish, and with its undeveloped wings and limbs incased in a thin transparent skin which impedes all motion. On the contrary, the Orthoptera, in the pupa state, do not differ from the young and from the old insects, except in having the rudiments of wings and wing-covers projecting, like little scales, from the back near the thorax. These pupæ are active and voracious, and increase greatly in size, which is not the case with the insects that are subject to a complete transformation, for such never eat or grow in the pupa state. When fully grown, they cast off their skins for the sixth or last time, and then appear in the adult or perfect state, fully provided with all their members, with the exception of a few kinds which remain wingless throughout their whole lives. The slight changes to which the Orthoptera are subject, consist of yothing more than a successive series of moultings, during which their wings are gradually developed. These changes may receive the name of imperfect or incomplete transformation, in contradistinction to the far greater changes exhibited by those insects which pass through a complete transformation in their progress to maturity.
Cockroaches are general feeders, and nothing comes amiss to them, whether of vegetable or animal nature; the Mantes or soothsayers are predaceous and carnivorous, devouring weaker insects, and even those of their own kind occasionally; but by far the greater part of the Orthopterous insects subsist on vegetable food, grass, flowers, fruits, the leaves, and even the bark of trees: whence it follows, in connexion with their considerable size, their great voracity, and the immense troops or swarms in which they too often appear, that they are capable of doing great injury to vegetation.
The Orthoptera may be divided into four large groups :
1. RUNNERS (Orthoptera cursoria*), including earwigs and cockroaches, with all the legs fitted for rapid motion;
2. GRASPERS (Orthoptera raptoria), such as the Mantes, or soothsayers, with the shanks of the fore legs capable of being doubled
the under side of the thigh, which, moreover, is armed with teeth, and thus forms an instrument for seizing and holding their prey;
3. WALKERS (Orthoptera ambulatoria), like the spectres or walking sticks, having weak and slender legs, which do not admit of rapid motion; and
4. JUMPERS (Orthoptera saltatoria), such as crickets, grasshoppers, and locusts, in which the thighs of the hind legs are much larger than the others, and are filled and moved with powerful muscles, which enable these insects to leap with facility.
I. RUNNERS. (Orthoptera Cursoria.) In English works on gardening, earwigs are reckoned among obnoxious insects, various remedies are suggested to banish
These are the four divisions proposed by Mr. Westwood in his "Introduc. tion," who, however, applies to them their Latin names only.
them from the garden, and even traps and other devices are described for capturing and destroying them. They have a rather long and somewhat flattened body, which is armed at the hinder end with a pair of slender sharp-pointed blades, opening and shutting horizontally like scissors, or like a pair of nippers, which suggested the name of Forficula, literally little nippers, applied to them by scientific writers. Although no well authenticated instances are on record of their entering the human ear, yet, during the daytime, they creep into all kinds of crevices for the sake of concealment, and come out to feed chiefly by night. It is common with English gardeners to hang up, among the flowers and fruit-trees subject to their attacks, pieces of hollow reeds, lobster claws, and the like, which offer enticing places of retreat for these insects on the approach of daylight, and by means thereof great numbers of them are obtained in the morning. The little creeping animal, with numerous legs, commonly but erroneously called earwig in America, is not an insect; but of the true earwig we have several species, though they are by no means common, and certainly never appear in such numbers as to prove seriously injurious to vegetation. Nevertheless, it seemed well to give to this kind of insect a passing notice in its proper place among the Orthoptera, were it only for its notoriety in other countries.
Of cockroaches (Blatta) we have also several kinds; those which are indigenous I believe are found exclusively in woods, under stones and leaves, while the others, and particularly the Oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis), which is supposed to have originated in Asia, whence it has spread to Europe, and thence to America, and has multiplied and become established in most of our maritime commercial towns, are domestic species, and are found in houses, under kitchen hearths, about ovens, and in dark and warm closets, whence they issue at night, and prowl about in search of food. But, as these disgusting and ill-smelling insects confine themselves to our dwellings, and do not visit our gardens and fields, they will require no further remarks than the mention of a method which has sometimes been found useful in destroying them.