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Bramble-Bees and Others   By: (1823-1915)

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BRAMBLE BEES AND OTHERS

by J. HENRI FABRE

TRANSLATED BY ALEXANDER TEIXEIRA DE MATTOS, F.Z.S.

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE.

In this volume I have collected all the essays on Wild Bees scattered through the "Souvenirs entomologiques," with the exception of those on the Chalicodomae, or Mason bees proper, which form the contents of a separate volume entitled "The Mason bees."

The first two essays on the Halicti (Chapters 12 and 13) have already appeared in an abbreviated form in "The Life and Love of the Insect," translated by myself and published by Messrs. A. & C. Black (in America by the Macmillan Co.) in 1911. With the greatest courtesy and kindness, Messrs. Black have given me their permission to include these two chapters in the present volume; they did so without fee or consideration of any kind, merely on my representation that it would be a great pity if this uniform edition of Fabre's Works should be rendered incomplete because certain essays formed part of volumes of extracts previously published in this country. Their generosity is almost unparalleled in my experience; and I wish to thank them publicly for it in the name of the author, of the French publishers and of the English and American publishers, as well as in my own.

Of the remaining chapters, one or two have appeared in the "English Review" or other magazines; but most of them now see the light in English for the first time.

I have once more, as in the case of "The Mason bees," to thank Miss Frances Rodwell for the help which she has given me in the work of translation and research; and I am also grateful for much kind assistance received from the staff of the Natural History Museum and from Mr. Geoffrey Meade Waldo in particular.

ALEXANDER TEIXEIRA DE MATTOS.

Chelsea, 1915.

CONTENTS.

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE.

CHAPTER 1. BRAMBLE DWELLERS.

CHAPTER 2. THE OSMIAE.

CHAPTER 3. THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE SEXES.

CHAPTER 4. THE MOTHER DECIDES THE SEX OF THE EGG.

CHAPTER 5. PERMUTATIONS OF SEX.

CHAPTER 6. INSTINCT AND DISCERNMENT.

CHAPTER 7. ECONOMY OF ENERGY.

CHAPTER 8. THE LEAF CUTTERS.

CHAPTER 9. THE COTTON BEES.

CHAPTER 10. THE RESIN BEES.

CHAPTER 11. THE POISON OF THE BEE.

CHAPTER 12. THE HALICTI: A PARASITE.

CHAPTER 13. THE HALICTI: THE PORTRESS.

CHAPTER 14. THE HALICTI: PARTHENOGENESIS.

INDEX.

CHAPTER 1. BRAMBLE DWELLERS.

The peasant, as he trims his hedge, whose riotous tangle threatens to encroach upon the road, cuts the trailing stems of the bramble a foot or two from the ground and leaves the root stock, which soon dries up. These bramble stumps, sheltered and protected by the thorny brushwood, are in great demand among a host of Hymenoptera who have families to settle. The stump, when dry, offers to any one that knows how to use it a hygienic dwelling, where there is no fear of damp from the sap; its soft and abundant pith lends itself to easy work; and the top offers a weak spot which makes it possible for the insect to reach the vein of least resistance at once, without cutting away through the hard ligneous wall. To many, therefore, of the Bee and Wasp tribe, whether honey gatherers or hunters, one of these dry stalks is a valuable discovery when its diameter matches the size of its would be inhabitants; and it is also an interesting subject of study to the entomologist who, in the winter, pruning shears in hand, can gather in the hedgerows a faggot rich in small industrial wonders. Visiting the bramble bushes has long been one of my favourite pastimes during the enforced leisure of the wintertime; and it is seldom but some new discovery, some unexpected fact, makes up to me for my torn fingers.

My list, which is still far from being complete, already numbers nearly thirty species of bramble dwellers in the neighbourhood of my house; other observers, more assiduous than I, exploring another region and one covering a wider range, have counted as many as fifty... Continue reading book >>




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