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There are scarcely any of the Chafe:s more beautiful than this. The upper parts of the female are of a shining green color, marked transversely on the wing-cases with a few short white or yellowish lines. The male is of a burnished copper-color, with a greenish cast. These insects are somewhat more than an inch in length. They are found on flowers, particularly on those of the rose and peony. The grubs that produce this beetle feed underground, generally at
the roots of trees, and never appear on the surface unless disturbed by digging, or some other accident. They are thought to be injurious to the gardener, by devouring the roots of his plants and trees. The female deposits her eggs in the middle of June. For this purpose she burrows into soft, light ground, hollowing out and forming for them a proper receptacle. When the operation is over, she returns to the surface and flies off, but seldom lives more than two months afterwards. The
grubs are produced in about fourteen days, and immediately seek out for food, which the parent always takes care to have near the place where she lays her eggs. As soon as they have attained sufficient strength, the young grubs separate, each burrowing in a different direction, in search of roots. They remain four years in this state, annually changing their skin till they become of full growth, when they are of a cream-color, with brown head and feet. During winter they eat but little, if at all, and they retire so deeply into the ground as to avoid the effects of the frost.
About the month of March, at the end of the fourth year, the grub forms a case of earth, about the size of a walnut, somewhere near the surface, within which it changes into a chrysalis. In this state it remains till the beginning of May, when it bursts out a perfect Chafer. This is at first of a light green color, and very tender; but soon acquires its proper hardness and strength.
When the insect is touched it emits a fetid moisture, which, no doubt, is a mode of defence against the attacks of its enemies.
In its habits of life the Pill Chafer is one of the most remarkable of the Beetle tribe. It comes forth in April, and is to be seen abroad until about September, when it disappears. Its almost constant employment, in which it is indefatigable, is in the different operations necessary to continue its species. It constructs a proper nidus for its eggs, by forming round pellets of dung, in the middle of each of which it deposits an egg. These, in September, the insēct conveys to the depth of about three feet into the ground. Here they remain till the approach of spring, when the grubs burst their shells, and find their way to the surface of the earth.
“I have attentively admired their industry, and their mutually assisting each other (says Catesby) in rolling these globular balls from the place where they made them, to that of their interment, which is nsually at the distance of some yards, more or less. This they perform breach foremost, by raising their hind parts, and forcing along the ball with their hind feet. Two or three of them are sometimes engaged in trundling one ball, which from mecting with impediments, on account of the unevenness of the ground, is sometimes deserted by them. It is, however, attempted by others with success, unless it happen to roll into some deep hollow or chink, where they are constrained to leave it; but they continue their work by rolling off the next ball that comes in their way. None of them seem to know their own balls, but an equal care for the whole appears to affect all the community. They form these pellets while the dung remains moist; and leave them to harden in the sun before they attempt to roll them. In their moving of them from place to place, both they and the balls may frequently be seen tumbling about over the little eminences that are in their way. They are not, however, easily discouraged; and, by repeating their attempts, usually surmount the difficulties."
Catesby says also that these insects find out their subsistence by the excellence of their noses, which direct them in their flight t) newly-fallen dung, on which they immediately go to work, temper. ing it with a proper mixture of earth. So intent are they always upon their employment, that, though handled or otherwise interrupted they are not to be deterred, but immediately on being freed persist in their work without any apprehension of danger.
They are so strong and active as to move about, with the greatest éase, things that are many times their own weight. Dr. Brickell was supping one evening in a planter's house of North Carolina, when two of these insects were conveyed, without his kpowledge, under the candlesticks. A few blows were struck on the table, and to bis great surprise the candlesticks began to move about apparently without any agency; and his surprise was not much lessened, when, on taking one of them up, he discovered that it was only a Chafer chat moved it.
OF THE LUCANUS, OR STAG-BEETLE TRIBE,
The antennæ of the Stag-beetles have a club-shaped extremity, divided into short, comb-like leaves. The jaws are toothed, and extend so far beyond the head, as to resemble horns. Under the lip, there are two palpi or feelers, so thickly covered with hair, as to appear like tufts.
Stag-beetles are chiefly found in rotten and half-decayed wood, and under the bark of trees.
THE GREAT STAG-BEETLE.
These insects are very common in oak and willow trees. In the
stumps or about the branch. es of these they remain concealed during the day; flying abroad and feeding on the leaves only in the evening. The month of July is the time during which they are principally seen. The males, in par. ticular, have great strength in their mandibles or jaws: With these they are able to pinch very severely. Lin. næus informs us, that they
feed on the liquor that GREAT STAG-BEETLE.
oozes from the trunks or branches of trees; and it has been conjectured that the jaws are used either in obtaining their food, or in fixing themselves firmly to the spot while they eat. It is said that Stag. beetles may be kept alive for a considerable time, if supplied with the fresh leaves of oak or willow, or with sweetened water.
In Germany there is a popular notion, that
these insects are some GREAT STAG-BEETLE, WITH WINGS POLDED.
THE GREAT STAG-BEETLE.
times known, by means of their jaws, to carry burning coals into
the houses; and that, in consequence of this, dread, ful fires have been occasion. ed.
It is a sing ular circum. stance respecting these
insects, that I have frequently found several of their heads near together, and alive, while the trunks and abdomens were nowhere to be seen; sometimes only the abdomens were gone, and the heads and truuks were left. How this takes place, I never could discover. An intimate and intelligent friend of mine supposes, however, that it must have been in conse
qence of severe battles which at times take place among these, the fiercest of the insect tribes: but their mouths not seeming formed for animal food, he is at a loss to conjecture what becomes of the abdomens. They do not fly until most of the birds have retired to rest; and indeed, if we were to suppose that
any of these devoured them, it would be difficult to say why the heads or trunks should alone be rejected.
The females deposit their eggs in decayed or worm-eaten trees: The larvæ, which are round and whitish, with rust-colored head and legs, are nourished under the bark. In this state they pass six years. When about to undergo their change into a chrysalis, each insect forms a hard and solid ball, of the form of an egg, and sometimes as large as the hand. When the perfect insect issues forth, it is at first quite soli Its parts, however, soon harden, and in a little while it is able to fly away. The Hercules Beetle is a variety of the Stag Beetle. The Rhinoceros Beetle is so called from its horn resembling that of the Rhinoceros.
OF THE DERMESTES TRIBE.
In their perfect state, these insects are generally extremely timid. The moment they are threatened with danger, they stop in their course, draw up their antennæ and feet, and continue in a feignod state of death, until the object of their fear is removed.
The larvæ or maggots, subsist chiefly on the bodies of dead ani. mals, dried skins, the bark of trees, and old wood. Some of them are very destructive to books and furniture.
THE BACOY DERMESTES.
These insects are produced from maggots which are bred and nourished in bacon, or in other animal substance. To collections of dried and preserved animals, they are sometimes particulary iojurious. They change their skins several times. These skins continue stretched out, as if blown up, and are in appearance like the little animals which cast them.
OF THE PTINUS, OR BORER TRIBE.
In a larva state, these insects are chiefly found in the trunks of decayed trees, and in old wood, where they make holes as round as though they had been formed with a gimlet. They are nearly allied to the Dermestes, but differ from those insects in the form of their antennæ, mandibles, and legs.
In the spring of the year, we see these insects issuing from wood where the pupce have been enclosed; and, attracted by the rays of the sun, run along upon the window-frames, beams, or wainscot. Like the Dermestes, they feign themselves to be dead when touched; bury. ing their head under the thorax, drawing in the legs, and concealing entirely their antennæ between the head and upper borders of the thorax, they present only the appearance of an inanimate substance,
The devastations which their larvæ commit are very great. Old moveables of wood, worm-eaten, and full of cylindrical holes, indicate, at the same time, the work and the habitations of these insects. By means of two strong and powerful jaws, they gnaw the wood on which they feed; and this, after passing through their bodies, is deposited in small grains of very fine powder, which fills up the holes behind them, as the little creatures pass onward. They increase their dwellings as they themselves increase in size; and when they have attained their full dimensions, they weave a nidus, of a kind of silk issuing from their body, in the bottom of their hole. In this they change to a pupa state, and afterwards to perfect insects.
There are numerous species. It will not be necessary for me to speak of more than one.