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We have another species with very short or abortive wings; it is entirely of a black color, and measures six tenths of an inch in length from the head to the end of the body. It may be called Acheta nigra, the black cricket.
A third species, differing from these two in being entirely destitute of wings, and in having the wing-covers proportionally much shorter, and the last joint of the feelers (palpi) almost twice the length of the preceding joint, is furthermore distinguished from them by its greatly inferior size, and its different coloring. It measures from three to above four tenths of an inch in length, and varies in color from dusky brown to rusty black, the wing-covers and hindmost thighs being always somewhat lighter. In the brownish colored varieties three longitudinal black lines are distinctly visible on the top of the head, and a black line on each side of the thorax, which is continued along the sides of the wing-covers to their tips. This black line on the wing-covers is never wanting, even in the darkest varieties. The hindmost thighs have, on the outside, three rows of short oblique black lines, presenting somewhat of a twilled appearance. This is one of the social species, which, associated together in great swarms, and feeding in common, frequent our meadows and road sides, and, so far from avoiding the light of day, seem to be quite as fond of it as others are of darkness. It may be called Acheta vittata," the striped cricket.
These kinds of crickets live upon the ground, and among the grass and low herbage; but there is another kind which inhabits the stems and branches of shrubs and trees, concealing itself during the daytime among the leaves, or in the flowers of these plants. Some Isabella grape-vines, which were trained against one side of my house, were much resorted to by these delicate and noisy little crickets. The males begin to be heard about the middle of August, and do not leave us until after the middle of September. Their shrilling is excessively loud, and is produced, like that of other crickets, by the rubbing of one wing-cover against the other; but they generally raise their wing-covers much higher than other crickets do while they are playing. These wing-covers, in the males, are also very large, and as long as the wings; they are exceedingly thin, and perfectly transparent, and have the horizontal portion divided into four unequal parts by three oblique raised lines, two of which are parallel and form an angle with the anterior line. The antennæ and legs are both very long and slender, the hinder thighs being much smaller in proportion than those of other crickets, and the hindmost feet have four instead of three joints. The two bristle-formed appendages at the end of the body are as long as the piercer, and the latter is only about half the length of the body, while, in the ground-crickets, the piercer is usually as long as the body or longer. These insects have, therefore, been separated from the other crickets under the generical name of Ecanthus, a word which means inhabiting flowers. They may be called climbing crickets, from their habit of mounting upon plants and dwelling among the leaves and flowers. According to M. Salvi* the female makes several perforations in the tender stems of plants, and in each perforation thrusts two eggs quite to the pith. The eggs are hatched about midsummer, and the young immediately issue from their nests and conceal themselves among the thickest foliage of the plant. When arrived at maturity the males begin their nocturnal serenade at the approach of twilight, and continue it, with little or no intermission till the dawn of day. Should one of these little musicians get admission to the chamber, his incessant and loud shrilling will effectually banish sleep. Of three species which inhabit the United States, one only is found in Massachusetts. It is the Ecanthus niveus, or white climbing cricket. The male is ivory-white, with the upper side of the first joint of the antennæ, and the head between the eyes, of an ochre-yellow color; there is a minute black dot on the under sides of the first and second joints of the antennæ; and, in some individuals, the extremities of the feet, and the under sides of the hindmost thighs, are ochre-yellow. The body is about half an inch long, exclusive of the wing-covers. The female is usually rather longer, but the wing-covers are much narrower than those of the male, and there is a great diversity of coloring in this sex; the body being sometimes almost white, or pale greenish yellow, or dusky, and blackish beneath. There are three dusky stripes on the head and thorax, and the legs, antennæ, and piercer are more or less dusky or blackish. The wing-covers and wings are yellowish white, sometimes with a tinge of green, and the wings are rather longer than the covers. Some of these insects have been sent to me by a gentleman who found them piercing and laying eggs in the branches of a peach-tree. Another correspondent, who is interested in the tobacco culture in Connecticut, informed me that they injured the plant by eating holes in the leaves.
* It belongs to M. Serville's new genus Nemobius.
2. GRASSHOPPERS. (Gryllida.) Grasshoppers, properly so called, as before stated, are those jumping orthopterous insects which have four joints to all their feet, long bristle-formed antennæ, and in which the females are provided with a piercer, flattened at the sides, and somewhat resembling a sword or cimeter in shape. The wing-covers slope downwards at the sides of the body, and overlap only a little on the top of the back near the thorax. This overlapping portion, which forms a long triangle, is traversed, in the males, by strong projecting veins, between which, in many of them, are membranous spaces as transparent as glass. The sounds emitted by the males, and varying according to the species, are produced by the friction of these overlapping portions together.
In Massachusetts there is one kind of grasshopper, which forms a remarkable exception to the other native insects of this family; and, as it does not seem to have been named or described by any author, although by no means an uncommon insect, it may receive a passing notice here. It is found only under stones and rubbish in woods, has a short thick body, and remarkably stout hind thighs, like a cricket, but is entirely destitute of wing-covers and wings, even when arrived at maturity. It belongs to M. Serville's genus Phalangopsis, and I propose to call it Phalangopsis maculata,* the spotted wingless cricket. Its body is of a pale yellowish brown color, darker on the back, which is covered with little light colored spots, and the outside of the hindmost thighs is marked with numerous short oblique lines, disposed in parallel rows, like those on the thighs of Acheta vittata. It varies in length from one half to more than three quarters of an inch, exclusive of the piercer and legs. The body is smooth and shining, and the back is arched.
Most grasshoppers are of a green color, and are furnished with wings and wing-covers, the latter frequently resembling the leaves of trees and shrubs, upon which, indeed, many of these insects pass the greater part of their lives. Their leaflike form and green color evidently seem to have been designed for their better concealment. They are nocturnal insects, or at least more active by night than by day. When taken between the fingers, they emit from their mouths a considerable quantity of dark-colored fluid, as do also the locusts or diurnal grasshoppers. They devour the leaves of plants, and lead a solitary life, or at least do not associate and migrate from place to place in great swarms, like some of the crickets and the locusts. There is a remarkable difference in their habits, which does not appear to have been described hitherto. Some of these grasshoppers live upon grass and other herbaceous or low plants in fields and meadows. The piercer of the females is often straight, or only slightly curved. They commit their eggs to the earth, thrusting them into holes made therein with the piercer. They lay a large number of eggs at a time, and cover them with a kind of varnish, which, when dry, forms a thin film that completely encloses them. These eggs are elongated, and nearly of an elipsoidal form. Grylli live upon trees and shrubs. Their wing-covers and wings are broader, and their piercer is shorter and often more curved than in the foregoing kinds. They do not lay their eggs in the ground, but deposit them upon branches and twigs,
Gryllus maculatus, Harris. Catalogue of the Insects of Massachusetts.
in regular rows. My attention was first directed to the eggs of the tree-grylli by Mr. F. C. Hill, late of Philadelphia.
Some of these grasshoppers have the front of the head obtuse, and others have it conical, or prolonged to a point between the antennæ. Among the former is the insect, which, from its peculiar note, is called the katy-did. Its body is of a pale green color, the wing-covers and wings being somewhat darker. Its thorax is rough like shagreen, and has somewhat the form of a saddle, being curved downwards on each side, and rounded and slightly elevated behind, and is marked by two slightly transverse furrows. The wings are rather shorter than the wing-covers, and the latter are very large, oval, and concave, and enclose the body within their concavity, meeting at the edges above and below, somewhat like the two sides or valves of a pea-pod. The veins are large, very distinct, and netted like those of some leaves, and there is one vein of larger size running along the middle of each wing-cover, and simulating the midrib of a leaf. The musical organs of the male consist of a pair of taborets. They are formed by a thin and transparent membrane stretched in a strong half-oval frame in the triangular overlapping portion of each wing-cover. During the daytime these insects are silent, and conceal themselves among the leaves of trees; but at night, they quit their lurkingplaces, and the joyous males begin the tell-tale call with which they enliven their silent mates. This proceeds from the friction of the taboret frames against each other when the wing-covers are opened and shut, and consists of two or three distinct notes almost exactly resembling articulated sounds, and corresponding with the number of times that the wing-covers are opened and shut; and the notes are repeated, at intervals of a few minutes, for hours together. The mechanism of the taborets, and the concavity of the wing-covers, reverberate and increase the sound to such a degree, that it may be heard, in the stillness of the night, at the distance of a quarter of a mile. At the approach of twilight the katy-did mounts to the upper branches of the tree in which he lives, and, as soon as the shades of evening prevail, begins his noisy babble, while rival notes issue from the neighboring trees, and the groves resound