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THE TARANTULA--THE COMMON SCORPION.
This spider is somewhat more than an inch in length. The breast
and belly are of an ash-color. The legs are likewise ash-colored, with blackish rings on the under part. The fungs are red within.
The Tarantula Spider is a native of Italy, Cyprus, Barbary, and the East Indies. This animal lives in fields, and its dwelling is in the ground, about four inches deep, half an inch wide, and
closed at the mouth with a net. These spiders do not live quite a year. They lay about seven hundred and thirty eggs, which are hatched in the spring. The parents dever survive the winter. Inflammation, difficulty of breathing, and siekness, are said to be the invariable consequences of the bite of this insect.
OF THE SCORPION TRIBE.
SCORPIONS may be considered as the most malignant and poisonous of all known insects. Their poison is emitted through three very small holes in the sting, one on each side of the tip, and the other on the upper part. In California there is a species, the Scorpio Americanus, which is eaten by the inhabitants.
These animals prey on worms and insects, and frequently even on one another. Their offspring are produced from eggs, of which one female lays a considerable number, After their appearance, they seem to undergo no further change than perhaps casting their skin from time to time, in the same manner as spiders.
THE COMMON SCORPION.
This like other Scorpions, has a distant resemblance in shape to
the Lobster, but it is infinitely more ugly. The head appears, as it were, jointed to the breast; and the mouth is furnished with
two jaws; the under one of which is divided PRO
MT into two, and the parts, notched into each
IT other, answer the purpose of teeth in break
ring the food. On each side of the head 0 RO10
there is a four-jointed arm, terminated 'by a claw, somewhat like that of a Lobster.
The belly is divided into seven segments, from the lowest of which the tail commences: this, in the preseni
OF THE CRAB TRIBE:
species, is armed with a hard, pointed, and crooked sting, the poison of which is very powerful.
In some parts of Italy and France these animals are among the greatest pests that can plague mankind; but in those countries of the East, where they grow to a foot in length, there is no removing a piece of furniture, without danger of being stung by them. There, we are told, they are nearly as large as small Lobsters.
Many experiments have been made to ascertain the strength of their poison; and, in warm climates, it has uniformly been found fatal to small animals. To man the wound is extremely painful. The place becomes inflamed, and the surrounding parts often turn livid, and require to be carefully dressed in order to prevent mortification.
OF THE CRAB TRIBE.
ALL the animals of this tribe have their bodies covered with a hard and strong shell. The head is united to the thorax or breast without any joint.
These animals live chiefly in the sea; some, however, inhabit the fresh waters, and a few live on land. They feed variously, on aquatic or marine plants, small fish, molluscæ, or dead bodies. The females " carry their ova under their tail, which, for that purpose, is in general, much broader than that of the males.
The animals emphatically denominated Crabs, have a short, flat tail, bent close to the body in a hollow between the legs. The Hermit crabs have a soft tail, without any crustaceous covering: this they fit into empty shells, or hollow stones. In the Lobsters the tail is the princi. pal part of the body, being a very strong member, and employed with great advantage both in swimming and leaping. This is formed of six convex segments, which lie over each other, somewhat like the tiles of a house, and are terminated by five laminæ, or thin plates. The former are united by loose membranes, which admit of much motion. At the angle where the upper and lower parts join, these segments are furnished with a kind of crustaceous fins, bordered with hair, and consisting of several articulations, called by naturalists pedes natatorii. The fins are moved, backward and forward, and a little outward and inward, by small muscles, contained within each articulation. By means of these it is that the animals have their progressive motion at different depths in the water.
Most of the Crabs have eight legs, (a few, however, have six, or ten,)besides two large claws, which serve the purposes of hands. They have two eyes, situated on tubercles projecting from the head, and movable in any direction. When the extremities of these are viewed with a glass, they are found to be composed of a multitude of lenses, like the eyes of insects. For a sense of touch, these animals are fur. nished with antennæ, and palpi, or feelers. They have likewise a heart, with arterial and venous vessels, and branchiæ or gills for re. spiration. Their jaws are transverse, strong, and numerous; and the stomach is furnished with internal teeth.
Land-crabs are natives of the Bahamas, and of most of the other
islands between the tropics. They live in the clefts of rocks, the hollows of trees, or in holes which they dig for themselves in the mountains. About the months of April and May in every year they descend in a body of some millions at a time, to the sea-coast, to deposit their spawn, and at this season the whole ground seems alive with them. They march in a direct line to their place of des
tination, and are said seldom to turn out of their way on account of intervening obstacles. Even if they encounter a lofty wall
, or a house, they will attempt to scale it. If they arrive at a river, they wind along the course of the stream. They march very slowly, being sometimes three months or upward in gaining the shore.
When arrived at the coast, they prepare to cast their spawn; for this purpose they go to the edge of the water, and suffer the waves to wash twice or thrice over their bodies. They then withdraw, in order to seek a lodging upon land. In the mean time the spawn is extruded in a bunch from the body, and adheres to the under parts of the tail. This bunch becomes as large as a hen's egg, and exactly resembles the roe of a Herring. In this state they again, for the last time, seek the shore, and shaking off the spawn into the water, leave it to the heat of the sun, to be brought to maturity. About twothirds of the eggs are devoured by the fish which annually frequent the shores in expectation of this prey. Those that escape are hatched under the sand; and, not long after this, millions of the little Crabs may be seen quitting the shore, and slowly travelling towards the mountains.
The old ones, in their return, are feeble, lean, and so inactive, that they are scarcely able to crawl along; and their flesh at this time changes its color. Many of them are obliged to continue in the level parts of the country till they recover, making holes in the earth, which they block up with leaves and dirt. In these they cast their old shells, and continue nearly motionless for six or seven days, when they become so fat as to be delicious food. After this they march slowly back to the mountains.
THE COMMON, OR BLACK-CLAWED CRAB.
The most remarkable circumstance in the history of these animals, is the changing of their shells and broken claws. The former, is done once a year, and usually between Christmas and Easter. During the operation they retire among the cavities of the rocks and under great stones; and Dr. Darwin (from the authority of a friend who had beer
THE COMMON OR BLACK-CLAWED CRIB.
engaged in surveying the sea-coasts) says, that a hard-shelled Crab, always stands sentinel, to prevent the sea. insects from injuring the rest in their de. fenceless state; and that, from his appear. ance, the fishermen know where to find the soft ones, which they use for baits in catching fish; adding that, though the hardshelled Crab, when he is on duty, advances boldly to meet the foe, and will with difficulty quit the field, yet at other times he shows great timidity, and is very expeditious in effecting his escape: if, however, he be often interrupted, he will, like the
Spider, pretend to be dead, and will watch an opportunity to sink himself into the sand, keeping only bis eyes above. When the claw of a Crab is bruised, it bleeds, and the animal scems, by its motions, to experience much pain. For a while it moves it from side to side; then holding it perfectly steady in a direct position, the claw on a sudden gives a gentle crack, and the wounded part drops off; not at the joint, as might be imagined, but in the smoothest part of the limb.
Crabs are naturally quarrelsome, and frequently have serious con. tests, by means of those formidable weapons, their great claws. With these they lay hold of their adversary's legs; and wherever they seize, it is not easy to make them forego their hold. The animal seized has,
therefore, no alternative but to leave part of the leg behind in token of victory.
A fisherman, by irritation, made a Crab seize one of its own small claws with a large one. The animal did not distinguish that it was itself the aggressor, but exerted its strength, and soon cracked the shell of the small claw. Feeling itself wounded, it cast off the piece in the usual place, but continued with the great claw for a long time afterward.
Fishermen say that Crabs will live confined in a pot or basket for several months, without any other food than what is collected from the sea-water, and that even in this situation they will not decrease in weight.