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The great resort of this species is in the northern seas, about the coast of Green-910) lo de boa so bili ng vigas land. Great numbers are de voured by Seals, who swallow all but the skins quantities of survei ol which, thus emp.WO
THE SUCKING FISH. tied, are seen floating about in the spring months.
The Horned Silurus are chiefly distinguished by the want of true scales, having merely a naked skin, or large osseous plates. The species included in this group are mostly river-fish, of considerable size, inhabiting warm climates.
THE SEA PORCUPINE-LUMP SUCKER-DEVIL FISH.
This fish derives it dame from the clumsiness of its form: its height being about half its length, and its thickness about half its height. These fish are very remarkable for the manner in which their ventral fins are arranged. They are united by a membrane so as to form a kind of oval and concave disc, by means of which they are enabled to adhere with great force to any substance to which they
THE LOYP SUCKR. apply themselves. It is found on the coast of Greenland.
The Sea Devil, or Fishing Frog, is an inhabitant of the British Seas. It grows to a large size, some being between four and five feet long. The fishermen on that coast have a great regard for this fish, from a supposition that it is a great enemy to the Dog-fish; and whenever they take it with their lines, set it at liberty. It is a fish of very great deformity; the head is much bigger than the whole body; is round at the circumference, and flat above, the mouth of a prodigious wideness.
THE insects of the Linnean order Coleoptera have crustaceous elytra or wing.cases, which shut together and form a longitudinal suture down the back.
OF THE SCARABEUS, OR BEETLE TRIBE.
THE larvæ or grubs of these insects have each six feet. In their general appearance they are not much unlike the Caterpillars of some of the Butterflies, having their bodies composed of rings, and being somewhat hairy. Most of them live entirely under the surface of the ground, and feed on the roots of plants, &c. Their pupa, or chrysalis, generally lies dormant in the earth till the perfect insect bursts out.
Beetles inhabit and feed in various situations. Some are found in the dung of animals, or in the earth immediately under the dung. Others live on the leaves of trees; and others on flowers.
THE BULL-COMBER, CLOCK-BEETLE, AND SPRING BEETLE.
These insects are all nourished, both in their larva and perfect state, in the dung of animals, which they are able to discover by their acute faculty of smell, or otherwise, at an immense distance. Under these substances they dig, in the earth, cylindrical holes, of considerable depth, in which they deposit
They usually fly in the evening, towards the end of twilight. The droning noise produced by their wings, at that time, is often heard, particu. larly during the summer season. When touched, these insects counterfeit death; but they do not contract their legs, in the manner of the Der. mestus, and some other Beetles: they stretch them out, so as to give the appearance of stiffness and rigidity, as though the animals had been some time dead.
All these insects are subject to be infested by a species of acarus, or tick, and sometimes in such numbers that they are scarcely able to walk in consequence of these crowding closely round the joints of the legs and thighs. A German writer states
, that the females of that country used formerly to employ the thighs of some of the most brilliant of these Beetles, in the ornamental parts of their head-dress.
The eggs of the Cock-chafer are deposited in the ground by the parent insect, whose fore-legs are very short, and are well calculated for burrowing. From each of these eggs proceeds, after a short time, a whitish worm with six legs, a red head, and strong claws, and about an inch and a half long, which is destined to live in the earth under that form for four years, and there to undergo various changes of its skin, until it assumes its chrysalid form. It subsists, during its subterraneous abode, on the roots of trees and plants, committing ravages often of the most deplorable nature.
The larvæ, continue four years in the ground; and when, at the end of this period, they are about to undergo their change, they dig deep into the earth, sometimes five or six feet, and there spin a smooth case, in which they change into a pupa or chrysalis. They remain under this form all the winter, until the month of February, when they become perfect Beetles, but with their bodies quite soft and white. In May the parts are hardened, and they then come forth out of the earth. This accounts for our often finding the perfect insects in the ground.
Cock-chafers fly in the evening towards sunset, and particularly about places where there are trees. They eat the leaves of the sycamore, the lime, the beech, the willow, and those of all kinds of fruit-trees. In its winged state this insect exhibits not less voracity on the leaves of trees, than it before did in its grub state in the earth; for, such is the avidity with which it devours its food, and so immense are sometimes the numbers, that, in particular districts, they have become an oppressive scourge, which has produced much calamity among the people.
In the year 1688, the Cock.chafers appeared on the hedges and trees of the south-west coast of the county of Galway, Ireland, in clusters of thousands, clinging to each other's backs, in the manner of becs when they swarm. During the day they continued quiet, but towards sunset the whole were in motion; and the humming noise of their wings sounded like distant drums. Their numbers were so great, that, for the space of two or three square miles, they entirely darkened the air. Persons travelling on the roads, or who were abroad in the fields, found it difficult to make their way home, as the insects were continually beating against their faces, and occasioned great pain. In a very short time, the leaves of all the trees, for several miles round, were destroyed, leaving the whule country, though it was near midsuinmer as naked and dis late as it would have been in the middle
of winter. The noise which these enormous swarms made in seizing and devouring the leaves, was so loud as to have been compared to the distant sawing of timber. Swine and poultry destroyed them in vast numbers. These waited under the trees for the clusters dropping, and devoured such swarms as to become fat upon them alone. Even the native Irish, from the insects having eaten up the whole produce of the ground, adopted a mode of cooking them, and used them as food. I'owards the end of summer they disappeared so suddenly, that, in a few days, there was not a single one left.
About sixty years ago a farm near Norwich, England, was so infested with Cock-chafers, that the farmer and his servants affirmed that they gathered eighty bushels of them; and the grubs had done so much injury, that the court of that city, in compassion to the poor man's misfortune, allowed him 251.
Rooks and Gulls devour immense numbers of the grubs of this de. structive insect, by which they render à most essential service to mankind, and great care ought to be taken to cherish and protect them. The chief employment of Rooks, during nearly three months in the spring of the year, is to search for insects of this sort as food; and the havoc that a numerous flock makes among them must be very great.
A gentleman, having found a nest of five young Jays, remarked that each of these birds, while yet very young, consumed at least fifteen full-sized grubs of the Chafer in a day; and averaging their sizes, it may be said that each consumed twenty : this for the five makes a hundred; and if we suppose the parents to devour between them the same number, it appears that the whole family consumed about two hundred every day. These in three months, would amount to twenty thousand. But as the grub continues in the same state for four years, this single pair, with their family alone, without reckoning their descendants after the first year, would destroy as many as eighty thousand grubs. Now, supposing that forty thousand of these may be females, and that each female lays, as is the case, about two hundred eggs, it will appear that no fewer than eight millions of grubs have been destroyed, or at least prevented from being hatched, by this single family of Jays.
It is true, that in these labors of the Rooks, Jays, and some other birds, they sometimes do mischief to man; and yet there can be little doubt, that the damage they thus commit is amply repaid by the benefits that result from these their unceasing exertions.
Some farmers plough the ground in order to expose the grubs to the birds; and others take the pains to dig veeper, wherever the Rooks point them out by their attempts to reach them. When the insects are in their winged state, to shake the trees at noon, during the time that they are all either asleep or in a state of inactive stupor, and to gather or sweep them up from the ground, seems the most eligible method. One person has been known to kill in a day, by this method, above a thousand: by which, though in so short a space of time, at a fair calculation, he prevented no fewer than a hundred thousand eggs from being laid.