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relations with these troublesome creatures, it is well to remember, that many of the evils of which we complain, are only our own carelessness, want of neatness, and other domestic iniquities, visited in this winged form upon ourselves. The young insects are fleshy grubs, advantageously known by the name of maggots, which go through their transformations within themselves, their skin hardening to supply the place of a cocoon, from which, in due time, they force their way, and proceed rejoicing to cultivate an acquaintance with men.
The common house fly is sufficiently troublesome; but we are told by Dr. Harris that they may be destroyed by a strong infusion of green tea, well sweetened, and that they may be excluded from apartments by a netting with threads half an inch or more apart, stretched over the windows on one side of the room. It appears that they will not attempt to fly between meshes or threads into a room, unless they see light shining through from other windows ; information which may be valuable to those, who live in the neighbourhood of fly nurseries, which they cannot escape or control. The common house-flies are simply annoying by their pertinacity and their numbers; but,, toward the close of summer, the stable-flies, which resemble then in every thing but their sharp proboscis, enter our dwellings at the approach of rain, and bite us through our stockings with a sting equal to that of the bee or hornet, save that it leaves no poison behind. If any one is curious to examine this pest, he may know it by its proboscis, long and slender, and projecting horizontally before its head. It is honored with the name of Stomoxys calcitrans, that is, sharp-mouthed kicking, — the one describing the cause,
the other the effect. Animals are so tormented by their incessant persecution, that they become almost frantic under the visitation.
The meat fly is found through the summer about places where meat is kept, a large buzzing insect, not particularly pleasing to the smell. It is of a blue-black color, with a blue, broad, and hairy body. Its eggs are known by the name of fly-blows. They hatch in two or three hours, and the maggots proceeding from them get their growth in two or three days, after which they creep into some crevice, or the ground if they can reach it, and pass through the transformation which raises them to the dignity of flies in two or three days more. There is another smaller blue-green meat-fly, with
black legs, which takes carrion in the fields under its charge. They both officiate in useful services, their whole care being to remove animal decay as fast as possible, before it can waste its sweetness on the air.
Flower flies differ from the house fly in the smaller size of their winglets, and the mesh in the middle of their wings. They are also smaller, and their wings spread less when at rest. It is not to be supposed from their name, that they are very refined ; at least in all stages of their existence. In the larva state, they generally live in manure or decayed vegetable matter. Some of the tribe seed on radishes, others on turnips, and others on onions. The fly has been very destructive to this savory crop in Europe, and Dr. Harris has found a fly so exactly answering to the description of the transatlantic nuisance, that he thinks it no breach of charity to consider them as one.
Our largest gad-fly or horse-fly is a creature of formidable dimensions, nearly an inch in length, with wings expanding nearly two inches, its color black, and covered with a whiteish down, like a plum. Its eyes are very large, almost meeting on the top of the head. The orange-belted, as it is called from the color of the girdle that surrounds its black body, is smaller than this. But there are several others which have not been described, though notorious enough from their power to annoy. Their proboscis is armed with half a dozen sharp needles, which will penetrate the toughest skin, and horses are beset with them till they are sometimes driven to despair. It is said that a decoction of walnut leaves, applied to the animal, will prevent their attacks, and, as it certainly can do no harm, it is worth the trial.
The bee-flies, which are so called from their way of life, are not troublesome like the last mentioned. They get their living from early flowers, sucking out the honey with their proboscis, which is sometimes longer than the body of the fly. They also resemble the bee in appearance, having a short, rounded body, covered with yellowish hairs. They fly very fast, suddenly stopping every little while and remaining suspended in the air on their long horizontal wings.
The soldier-flies are not so fierce as their names would lead us to suppose. Their proboscis is not fitted for offensive war on other insects, but only for sucking the sweet juice of flowers. There are, however, cannibals among the flies, the chief of which is the orange-banded Midas, which is sometimes found an inch and a quarter in length with a proportionate extent of wings. Its color is black, with the
orange band which gives it a name upon the hinder body. The name Midas comes from its long antennæ,
which are thought to resemble the decorations of the head of its namesake in ancient times. The early stages of its existence are spent in decayed logs and stumps in the woods.
Among the two-winged insects are some which would be rather surprised to find themselves in such worshipful company, since, so far from having two wings, they are not even equipped with one. Among these is the snow-gnat, which, in its appearance, resembles a spider. There is a poiser on each side of the body, to supply the place, or, at least, to give the appearance of wings. Their home is on the ground, and the female, which is provided with a borer like that of a grasshopper, bores into it to lay its eggs.
Many gnats, however, are furnished with wings, as most of us, to our sorrow,
have reason to know. In some parts of New England and Canada, is a kind of midge, which peoples the air in swarms in the month of June, and which is sufficiently formidable to the feeling, though so minute to the eye that the Indians in Maine give it the name of No-see-'em. They would not be seen, were it not for their wings, which are of a light color, mottled with black. Toward evening they come out, and, creeping under the clothes, produce an intolerable irritation by their bite, though they draw no blood. On the mosquitoes it is needless to enlarge ; our readers are so generally acquainted with them and their operations, that not even Dr. Harris would be able to add much to their light and satisfaction on the subject, without pointing some way to destroy them. Surely, one would suppose, that, in this day of creature comforts, some such means would be found. Now this little insect keeps half mankind in bodily fear. Wherever he winds his tiny horn, they prepare to suffer without resistance. Such universal submission to such an insignificant enemy, as if the evil were beyond redress, is strange enough, and, we trust, will not always be.
We cannot, however, pursue this subject further. Nor is it necessary; for those who are interested in entomology, either as students or cultivators, will doubtless soon make themselves acquainted with the contents of this Report ; not by means of the present publication, if we may call it so ; for this is not published, in the usual sense of the term, but only furnished to a number which must be small in comparison with the number of those who would wish to read it. But we are happy to hear that the Reporter has made arrangements with the proper authorities, by which he is allowed to print a small edition at his own expense. In this way, he may be able to supply the public demand, and also, we hope, to secure himself some additional compensation for his labors. It is the labor of a life, in which he is engaged. If he pursues his way with the same zeal and energy as heretofore, every succeeding year must add greatly to his stock of information, and, at some future time, we shall look to him for an extended work on the insects of this country. The materials of the present Report would naturally make part of it. Such a publication would meet a want which is now universally felt ; and, even if he found no other adequate recompense, which we should not willingly believe, he will at least secure an enviable and permanent fame.
Of the execution of this work, after the opinion we have already expressed, it is hardly necessary to speak. The author writes in a manner which is always graceful in one familiar with his subject and warmly interested in it, not considering high literary finish so important as a direct, forcible, and clear expression of his meaning. This is the style appropriate to scientific descriptions. It is all the better for being unambitious ; if it is only scholarlike and manly, good taste can require nothing more. We enjoy, not only the material of this Report, but the manner in which it is presented ; and, if the author can find leisure to prepare an elementary work on his favorite science, we have no doubt that in style, as well as substance, it will be such as to make the study generally attractive, and thus to secure an increasing number of intelligent and active observers.
ART. IV. – 1. A Discourse of Natural Theology, showing
the Nature of the Evidence and the Advantages of the
Edition. London : Charles Knight. 1835. 12mo. 2. Paley's Natural Theology, with Illustrative Notes. By
HENRY LORD BROUGHAM, F. R. S. and Member of
Knight. 1836. 2 vols. 12mo.
Natural Theology; being the concluding Volumes of
This is a pleasant sight for those who continue to respect the name and writings of Paley. His work on Natural Theology, which, in itself, fills but one volume of moderate size, is here swelled into five goodly tomes, by the aid of notes and introductory and supplementary matter.
And the men who are content to fill this humble part, to glean in the footsteps of Paley, are two of England's most distinguished sons ; an eminent surgeon, and a statesman not more remarkable for great legal and political ability, than for various learning and an apt and versatile genius. Such are the persons, who are willing to act as commentators, to be mere hewers of wood and drawers of water, in their literary capacity, to one who occupied, during his whole life, a rather humble position in the English church, all hope of advancement being cut off by no lightly founded suspicions of heterodoxy. But such a testimonial was fairly due to the character and influence of the works of Paley. We do not derogate from the reputation of Sir Charles Bell and Lord Brougham, nor undervalue the importance of their present undertaking, when we assert, that the fruit of all their labors is but dust in the balance, when compared with the original ; and to their con