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of each of these holes, and waiting apparently for an oppor. tunity to come forth and make its escape. If we turn out the creature from its cell, we perceive it to be a small oval beetle, rather more than one tenth of an inch long, of a rusty black color, with a white spot on the hinder part of the thorax, four or five white dots behind the middle of each wing-cover, and a white spot, shaped like the letter T, on the exposed extremity of the body. This little insect is the Bruchus Pisi of Linnæus, the
pea- - Bruchus, or pea-weevil, but is better known in America by the incorrect name of pea-bug. The original meaning of the word Bruchus is a devourer, and the insects to which it is applied well deserve this name, for, in the larva state, they devour the interior of seeds, often leaving but little more than the hull untouched. They belong to a family of the great weevil tribe called Bruching, and are distinguished from other weevils by the following characters. The body is oval, and slightly convex; the head is bent downwards, so that the broad muzzle, when the insects are not eating, rests upon the breast; the antennæ are short, straight, and saw-toothed within, and are inserted close to a deep notch in each of the eyes; the feelers, though very small, are visible; the wing-cases do not cover the end of the abdomen; and the hindmost thighs are very thick, and often notched or toothed on the under side, as is the case in the pea-weevil. The habits of the Bruchians and their larvæ are similar to those of the pea-weevil, which remain to be described. It may be well, however, to state here that these beetles frequent the leguminous or pod-bearing plants, such as the pea, Gleditsia, Robinia, Mimosa, Cassia, &c., during and immediately after the flowering season; they wound the skin of the tender pods of these plants, and lay their eggs singly in the wounds. Each of the little maggotlike grubs, hatched therefrom, perforates the pod and enters a seed, the pulp of which suffices for its food till fully grown.
Few persons while indulging in the luxury of early green pease are aware how many insects they unconsciously swallow. When the pods are carefully examined, small, discolored spots may be seen within them, each one corresponding to a similar spot on the opposite pea. If this spot in the pea be opened, a minute whitish grub, destitute of feet, will be found therein. It is the weevil in its larva form, which lives upon the marrow of the pea, and arrives at its full size by the time that the pea becomes dry. This larva or grub then bores a round hole from the hollow in the centre of the pea quite to the hull, but leaves the latter and generally the germ of the future sprout untouched. Hence these buggy pease, as they are called by seedsmen and gardeners, will frequently sprout and grow when planted. The grub is changed to a pupa within its hole in the pea in the autumn, and before the spring casts its skin again, becomes a beetle, and gnaws a hole through the thin hull in order to make its escape into the air, which frequently does not happen before the pease are planted for an early crop. After the pea-vines have flowered, and while the pods are young and tender, and the pease within them are just beginning to swell, the beetles gather upon them, and deposit their tiny eggs singly in the punctures or wounds which they make upon the surface of the pods. This is done mostly during the night, or in cloudy weather. The grubs, as soon as they are hatched, penetrate the pod and bury themselves in the opposite pease; and the holes through which they pass into the seeds are so fine as hardly to be perceived, and are soon closed. Sometimes every pea in a pod will be found to contain a weevil-grub; and so great has been the injury to the crop, in some parts of the country, that the inhabitants have been obliged to give up the cultivation of this vegetable.* These insects diminish the weight of the pease in which they lodge nearly one half, and their leavings are fit only for the food of swine. This occasions a great loss, where pease are raised for feeding stock or for family use, as they are in many places. Those persons who eat whole pease in the winter after they are raised, run the risk of eating the weevils also; but if the pease are kept till they are a year old, the insects will entirely leave them.t
* See Kalm's Travels. 8vo. Warrington. 1770. Vol. I. p. 173.
+ See the Boston Cultivator for July 1, 1848, for an interesting account of the habits of these insects, by Mr. S. Deane.
The pea-weevil is supposed to be a native of the United States. It seems to have been first noticed in Pennsylvania, many years ago; and has gradually spread from thence to New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. It is yet rare in New Hampshire, and I believe has not appeared in the eastern parts of Maine. It is unknown in the North of Europe, as we learn from the interestíng account given of it by Kalm, the Swedish traveller, who tells us of the fear with which he was filled, on finding some of these weevils in a parcel of pease which he had carried home from America, having in view the whole damage which his beloved country would have suffered, if only two or three of these noxious insects had escaped him. They are now common in the South of Europe and in England, whither they may have been carried from this country. As the cultivated pea was not originally a native of America, it would be interesting to ascertain what plants the pea-weevil formerly inhabited. That it should have preferred the prolific exotic pea to any of our indigenous and less productive pulse, is not a matter of surprise, analogous facts being of common occurrence; but that, for so many years, a rational method for checking its ravages should not have been practised, is somewhat remarkable. An exceedingly simple one is recommended by Deane, but to be successful it should be universally adopted. It consists merely in keeping seed-pease in tight vessels over one year before planting them. Latreille and others recommend putting them, just before they are to be planted, into hot water for a minute or two, by which means the weevils will be killed, and the sprouting of the pease will be quickened. The insect is limited to a certain period for depositing its eggs; late sown pease therefore escape its attacks. The late Colonel Pickering observed that those sown in Pennsylvania as late as the twentieth of May, were entirely free from weevils; and Colonel Worthington, of Rensselaer county, New York, who sowed his pease on the tenth of June, six years in succession, never found an insect in them during that period.
The crow black-bird is said to devour great numbers of the beetles in the spring; and the Baltimore oriole or hang-bird splits open the green pods for the sake of the grubs contained in the pease, thereby contributing greatly to prevent the increase of these noxious insects. The instinct that enables this beautiful bird to detect the lurking grub, concealed as the latter is, within the pod and the hull of the pea, is worthy our highest admiration; and the goodness of Providence, which has endowed it with this faculty, is still further shown in the economy of the insects also, which, through His prospective care, are not only limited in the season of their depredations, but are instinctively taught to spare the germs of the pease, thereby securing a succession of crops for our benefit and that of their own progeny.
The Attelabians (ATTELABIDE) are distinguished from the Bruchians by the form and greater length of the head, which is a little inclined, and ends with a snout, sometimes short and thick, and sometimes long, slender, and curved. The eyes also are round and entire; and the antennæ are usually implanted near the middle of the snout. The larvæ resemble those of most of the snout-beetles, being short, thick, whitish grubs, with horny heads, the rings of the body very much hunched, and deprived of legs, the place of which is supplied by fleshy warts along the under side of the body. Some of the European insects of this family are known to be very injurious to the leaves, fruits, and seeds of plants.
The different kinds of Attelabus are said to roll up the edges of leaves, thereby forming little nests, of the shape and size of thimbles, to contain their eggs, and to shelter their young, which afterwards devour the leaves. The larvæ and habits of our native species are unknown to me. The most common one here is the Attelabus analis of Weber, or the red-tailed Attelabus. It is one quarter of an inch long from the tip of the thick snout to the end of the body. The head, which is nearly cylindrical, the antennæ, legs, and middle of the breast are deep blue-black; the thorax, wing-covers, and abdomen are dull red; the wing-covers taken together, are nearly square, and are punctured in rows. This beetle is found on the leaves of oak-trees in June and July.
The two-spotted Attelabus, Attelabus bipustulatus of Fabricius, is also found on oak-leaves during the same season as
preceding. It is of a deep blue-black color, with a square dull red spot on the shoulders of each wing-cover. It measures rather more than one eighth of an inch in length.
Two or three beetles of this family are very hurtful to the vine, in Europe, by nibbling the midrib of the leaves, so that the latter may be rolled up to form a retreat for their young. They also puncture the buds and the tender fruit of this and of other plants. In consequence of the damage caused by them and by their larvæ, whole vineyards are sometimes stripped of their leaves, and fruit-trees are despoiled of their foliage and fruits. These insects belong to the genus Rynchites, a name given to them in allusion to their snouts. I have not seen any of them on vines or fruit-trees in this country. The largest one found here is the Rynchites bicolor of Fabricius, or twocolored Rynchites. This insect is met with in June, July, and August, on cultivated and wild rose-bushes, sometimes in considerable numbers. That they injure these plants is highly probable, but the nature and extent of the injury is not certainly known. The whole of the upper side of this beetle is red, except the rather long and slender snout, which, together with the antennæ, legs, and under side of the body, is black; it is thickly covered with small punctures, and is slightly downy, and there are rows of larger punctures on the wing-covers. It measures one fifth of an inch from the eyes to the tip of the abdomen.
The grubs of many kinds of Apion destroy the seeds of plants. In Europe they do much mischief to clover in this way. They receive the above name from the shape of the beetles, which resembles that of a pear. Say's Apion, Apion Sayi* of Schönherr, is a minute black species, not more than one tenth of an inch long, exclusive of the slender sharp-pointed snout. Its grubs live in the pods of the common wild indigo bush, Baptisia tinctoria, devouring the seeds. A smaller kind, some
* Apion rostrum, Say.