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More Hunting Wasps   By: (1823-1915)

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MORE HUNTING WASPS

By J. Henri Fabre

Translated By Alexander Teixeira De Mattos, F. Z. S.

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE.

The fourteen chapters contained in this volume complete the list of essays in the "Souvenirs entomologiques" devoted to Wasps. The remainder will be found in the two earlier volumes of this collected edition entitled "The Hunting Wasps" and the "Mason wasps" respectively.

Chapter 2 has appeared before in my version of "The Life and Love of the Insect," an illustrated volume of extracts translated by myself and published by Messrs. Adam and Charles Black (in America by the Macmillan Co.), and Chapter 10 in a similar miscellany translated by Mr. Bernard Miall published by Messrs. T. Fisher Unwin Ltd. (in America by the Century Co.) under the title of "Social Life in the Insect World." These two chapters are included in the present book by arrangement with the original firms.

I wish to place on record my thanks to Mr. Miall for the valuable assistance which he has given me in preparing this translation.

ALEXANDER TEIXEIRA DE MATTOS.

Ventnor, I. W., 6 December, 1920.

CONTENTS.

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE.

CHAPTER 1. THE POMPILI.

CHAPTER 2. THE SCOLIAE.

CHAPTER 3. A DANGEROUS DIET.

CHAPTER 4. THE CETONIA LARVA.

CHAPTER 5. THE PROBLEM OF THE SCOLIAE.

CHAPTER 6. THE TACHYTES.

CHAPTER 7. CHANGE OF DIET.

CHAPTER 8. A DIG AT THE EVOLUTIONISTS.

CHAPTER 9. RATIONING ACCORDING TO SEX.

CHAPTER 10. THE BEE EATING PHILANTHUS.

CHAPTER 11. THE METHOD OF THE AMMOPHILAE.

CHAPTER 12. THE METHOD OF THE SCOLIAE.

CHAPTER 13. THE METHOD OF THE CALICURGI.

CHAPTER 14. OBJECTIONS AND REJOINDERS.

INDEX.

CHAPTER 1. THE POMPILI.

(This essay should be read in conjunction with that on the Black bellied Tarantula. Cf. "The Life of the Spider," by J. Henri Fabre, translated by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos: chapter 1. Translator's Note.)

The Ammophila's caterpillar (Cf. "The Hunting Wasps," by J. Henri Fabre, translated by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos: chapters 13 and 18 to 20; and Chapter 11 of the present volume. Translator's Note.), the Bembex (Cf. idem: chapter 14. Translator's Note.), Gad fly, the Cerceris (Cf. idem: chapters 1 to 3. Translator's Note.), Buprestis (A Beetle usually remarkable for her brilliant colouring. Cf. idem: chapter 1. Translator's Note.) and Weevil, the Sphex (Cf. idem: chapter 4 to 10. Translator's Note.), Locust, Cricket and Ephippiger (Cf. "The Life of the Grasshopper," by J. Henri Fabre, translated by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos: chapters 13 and 14. Translator's Note.): all these inoffensive peaceable victims are like the silly Sheep of our slaughter houses; they allow themselves to be operated upon by the paralyser, submitting stupidly, without offering much resistance. The mandibles gape, the legs kick and protest, the body wriggles and twists; and that is all. They have no weapons capable of contending with the assassin's dagger. I should like to see the huntress grappling with an imposing adversary, one as crafty as herself, an expert layer of ambushes and, like her, bearing a poisoned dirk. I should like to see the bandit armed with her stiletto confronted by another bandit equally familiar with the use of that weapon. Is such a duel possible? Yes, it is quite possible and even quite common. On the one hand we have the Pompili, the protagonists who are always victorious; on the other hand we have the Spiders, the protagonists who are always overthrown.

Who that has diverted himself, however little, with the study of insects does not know the Pompili? Against old walls, at the foot of the banks beside unfrequented footpaths, in the stubble after the harvest, in the tangles of dry grass, wherever the Spider spreads her nets, who has not seen them busily at work, now running hither and thither, at random, their wings raised and quivering above their backs, now moving from place to place in flights long or short? They are hunting for a quarry which might easily turn the tables and itself prey upon the trapper lying in wait for it... Continue reading book >>




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