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and not liable to be mistaken or misapplied. There is no art, profession, trade, or occupation, which can be taught or learned without the use of technical words or phrases belonging to each, and which, to the inexperienced and untaught, are as unintelligible as the terms of science. It is not at all more difficult to learn and remember the latter than the former, when the attention has been properly given to the subject. The seaman, the farmer, and the mechanic soon become familiar with the names and phrases peculiar to their several callings, uncouth, and without apparent signification, as many of them are. So, too, the terms of science lose their forbidding and mysterious appearance and sound by the frequency of their recurrence, and finally become as harmonious to the car, as they are clear and definite in their application.
Beetles. — SCARABÆIANS. GROUND-BEETLES. TREE-BEETLES. COCKCHAFERS
OR MAY-BEETLES. FLOWER-BEETLES. Star-BEETLES. — BUPRESTIANS, OR Saw-HORNED BORERS. - SPRING-BEETLES. — TIMBER-BEETLES. - WEEVILS. – CYLINDRICAL BARK-BEETLES. - CAPRICORN-BEETLES, OR LONG-HORNED BOR
LEAF-BEETLES. CRIOCERIANS. LEAF-MINING BEETLES. — TORTOISEBEETLES. CHRYSOMELIANS. CANTHARIDES.
The wings of beetles are covered and concealed by a pair of horny cases or shells, meeting in a straight line on the top of the back, and usually having a little triangular or semicircular piece, called the scutel, wedged between their bases. Hence the order to which these insects belong is called COLEOPTERA, a word signifying wings in a sheath. Beetles* are biting-insects, and are provided with two pairs of jaws moving sidewise. Their young are grubs, and undergo a complete transformation in coming to maturity.
At the head of this order Linnæus placed a group of insects, to which he gave the name of SCARABÆUS. It includes the largest and most robust animals of the beetle kind, many of them remarkable for the singularity of their shape, and the formidable horn-like prominences with which they are furnished, -together with others, which, though they do not present the same imposing appearance, require to be noticed, on account of the injury sustained by vegetation from their attacks. An immense number of Scarabæians (SCARABÆIDÆ), as they may be called, are now known, differing greatly from each other, not only in structure, but in their habits in the larva and adult states. They are all easily distinguished by their short movable horns or antennæ, ending with a knob, composed of three or more leaf-like pieces, which open like the petals of a flower-bud. Another feature that they possess in common, is the projecting ridge (clypeus) of the forehead, which extends more or less over the face, like the visor or brim of a cap, and beneath the sides of this visor the antennæ are implanted. Moreover, the legs of these beetles, particularly the first pair, are fitted for digging, being deeply notched, or furnished with several strong teeth on the outer edges; and the feet are fivejointed. This very extensive family of insects is subdivided into several smaller groups, each composed of beetles distinguished by various peculiarities of structure and habits. Some live mostly upon or beneath the surface of the earth, and were, therefore, called ground-beetles by De Geer; some, in their winged state, are found on trees, the leaves of which they devour; they are the tree-beetles of the same author; and others, during the same period of their lives, frequent flowers, and are called flower-beetles. The ground-beetles, including the earth-borers (Geotrupidæ), and dung-beetles (Copridida and Aphodiade), which, in all their states, are found in excrement, the skin-beetles (Trogida), which inhabit dried animal substances, and the gigantic Hercules-beetles (Dynastidæ), which live in rotten wood or beneath old dung-heaps, must be passed over without further comment. The other groups contain insects that are very injurious to vegetation, and therefore require to be more particularly noticed.
* Beetle, in old English, betl, bytl, or litel, means a biter, or insect that bites.
One of the most common, and the most beautiful of the tree-beetles of this country, is the Areoda lanigera, or woolly Areoda, sometimes also called the goldsmith-beetle. It is about nine tenths of an inch in length, broad oval in shape, of a lemon-yellow color above, glittering like burnished gold on the top of the head and thorax; the under-side of the body is copper-colored, and thickly covered with whitish wool; and the legs are brownish yellow, or brassy, shaded with green. These fine beetles begin to appear in Massachusetts about the middle of May, and continue generally till the twentieth of June. In the morning and evening twilight they come forth from their retreats, and fly about with a humming and rustling sound among the branches of trees, the tender leaves of which they devour. Pear-trees are particularly subject to their attacks, but the elm, hickory, poplar, oak, and probably also other kinds of trees, are frequented and injured by them. During the middle of the day they remain at rest upon the trees, clinging to the under-sides of the leaves; and endeavor to conceal themselves by drawing two or three leaves together, and holding them in this position with their long unequal claws. In some seasons they occur in profusion, and then may be obtained in great quantities by shaking the young trees on which they are lodged in the daytime, as they do not attempt to fly when thus disturbed, but fall at once to the ground. The larvæ of these insects are not known; probably they live in the ground upon the roots of plants. The group to which the goldsmithbeetle belongs may be called Rutilians (RUTILIDæ), from Rutela, or more correctly Rutila, signifying shining, the name of the principal genus included in it. The Rutilians connect the ground-beetles with the tree-beetles of the following group, having the short and robust legs of the former, with the leafeating habits of the latter.
The spotted Pelidnota, Pelidnota punctata, is also arranged among the Rutilians. This large beetle is found on the cultivated and wild grape-vine, sometimes in great abundance, during the months of July and August. It is of an oblong oval shape, and about an inch long. The wing-covers are tile-colored, or dull brownish yellow, with three distant black dots on each; the thorax is darker, and slightly bronzed, with a black dot on each side; the body beneath, and the legs, are of a deep bronzed green color. These beetles fly by day; but may also be seen at the same time on the leaves of the grape, which are their only food. They sometimes prove very injurious to the vine. The only method of destroying them, is to pick them off by hand, and crush them under foot. The larvæ live in rotten wood, such as the stumps and roots of dead trees; and do not differ essentially from those of other Scarabæians.
Among the tree-beetles, those commonly called dors, chafers, May-bugs, and rose-bugs, are the most interesting to the farmer and gardener, on account of their extensive ravages, both in the winged and larva states. They were included by Fabricius in the genus Melolontha, a word used by the ancient Greeks to distinguish the same kind of insects, which were supposed by them to be produced from or with the flowers of apple-trees, as
the name itself implies. These beetles, together with many others, for which no common names exist in our language, are now united in one family called MELOLONTHADE, or Melolonthians. The following are the general characters of these insects. The body is oblong oval, convex, and generally of a brownish color; the antennæ are nine or more commonly ten jointed, the knob is much longer in the males than in the females, and consists generally of three leaf-like pieces, sometimes of a greater number, which open and shut like the leaves of a book; the visor is short and wide; the upper jaws are furnished at base on the inner side with an oval space, crossed by ridges, like a millstone, for grinding; the thorax is transversely square, or nearly so; the wing-cases do not cover the whole of the body, the hinder extremity of which is exposed; the legs are rather long, the first pair armed externally with two or three teeth; and the claws are notched beneath, or are split at the end like the nib of a pen. The powerful and horny jaws are admirably fitted for cutting and grinding the leaves of plants, upon which these beetles subsist; their notched or double claws support them securely on the foliage; and their strong and jagged fore-legs, being formed for digging in the ground, point out the place of their transformations.
The habits and transformations of the common cockchafer of Europe have been carefully observed, and will serve to exemplify those of the other insects of this family, which, as far as they are known, seem to be nearly the same. This insect devours the leaves of trees and shrubs. Its duration in the perfect state is very short, each individual living only about a week, and the species entirely disappearing in the course of a month. After the sexes have paired, the males perish, and the females enter the earth to the depth of six inches or more, making their way by means of the strong teeth which arm the fore-legs; here they deposit their eggs, amounting, according to some writers, to nearly one hundred, or, as others assert, to two hundred from each female, which are abandoned by the parent, who generally ascends again to the surface, and perishes in a short time.