Page images
PDF
[graphic]

CHAP. II.

Of the Shape ^Structure of I N S E C T S.

LET us begin with the Shape and Fabrick of their Bodies. Which although it be somewhat different from that of Birds, being particularly, for the most part, not so {harp before, to cut and make way through the Air, yet is better adapted to their manner of Life. For considering that there is little Necessity of long Flights, and that the Strength and Activity of their Wings doth much surpass the Resistance their Bodies meet with from the Air, there was no great Occasion their Bodies should be so sharpened before. But the Condition of their Food, and the Manner of gathering it, together with the great Necessity of accurate Vision by that admirable Provision made for them by the reticulated Cornea of their Eyes; these Things, I fay, as they required a larger Room, so were a good Occasion for the Largeness of the Head, and its Amplitude before. But for the rest of their Body, all is well made, and nicely poised for their Flight, and every other of r.heir Occasions.

A a 4, And

[graphic]

And as their Shape ■, so the Fabrick and Make of their Bodies is no less accurate, admirable,' and singular j not built throughout with Bones, and cover'd with Flesh and Skin, as in most other Animals; but cover'd with a curious Mail of a middle Nature (a\ serving both as Skin and Bone too, for the Shape, as well as Strength and Guard of the Body, and as it were on Purpose to shew that the great Contriver of Nature is not bound up to one Way only.

-

(a) Infeela non videntur Nervos babtrt, nee Offa, nee Spinat, nee Cartilaginem, nee Pinguia, nee Cartes, ne crustam quidem fragilem, ut qutdam marina, nee qut jure dieatur Cut'ii; fed. media cujufdam inter omnia hte natura corpus, &c Plin. N. H.L. 11.C.-4. '.fl**TM"

33) 3V/ Jldl

. . , . . .„. i • ■; ■■'■ /•"'*> \ii;sf ■-••

CHAP. III.",, rSJÆ:.

Of the Eyes and Antennae of Insects? -■

■- "./ ''. .': ...'....'.^.- ,..- -».-.» i>

TO this last-mention'd Guard, we may add, that farther Guard provided in the Eyes and Antenna. The Structure of the Eye, is, in all Creatures, an admirable Piece of Mechanism > but that observable in the Eyes of Insects so peculiar, that it must needs excite our Admiration: Fenced with its own Hardness, yea, even its own accurate Vision, is a good Guard against external Injuries $ and its Cornea^ or outward Coat, all over-beset'' with curious, transparent, lenticular (a) Inlets, eri

[ocr errors]

ols Hi ft

(a) The Cornea of Flies, Wasps, &c. are so cofrin\pr|;.a^ Entertainment with the Microscope, that every body knows it is a curious Piece of Lattice-work. In which this i§.remarkable,

[graphic]

markable, that every Foramen is of a lenticular Nature; so that we fee Objects through them topsey-turvey, as through so many convex Glasses: Yea, they become a small Telescope, when there is a due focal Distance between them and the Lens of the Microscope.

This lenticular Power of the Cornea, supplies, (as I imagine,) the Place of the Crystalline, if not of the vitreous Humour too, there being neither of those Humours that I could ever find, (although for Truth Sake, I confess I have not been so diligent as I might in this Enquiry;) but instead of Humours and Tunicks, I imagine that every Lens of the Cornea, hath a distinct Rranch of the opthk Nerve ministring Jo it, and rendring it as so many distinct Eyes. So that as most Animals are binocular, Spiders for the most Part octonocular, and some, (as Mr. Willughby thought, Rail Hist, infect, p. ri.) ienocular; so Flies, we are multocular, having as many Eyes as there are Perforations in their Cornet. By which Means, as other Creatures are oblig'd to turn their Eyes to Objects, these have some or other of their Eyes ready plac'd towards Objects, nearly all round them: Thus particularly it is in the Dragon-Fly, (Libdla,) the greatest Part of whose Head is possess'd by its Eyes: Which is of excellent Use to that predatious Insect, for the ready seeing and darting at small Flies all round it, on which it preys.

(b) It is manifest, that Insects clean their Eyes with their Fore-legs, as well as Antennt. And considering, that as they walk along, they are perpetually feeling, and searching before them, with their Feelers, or Antennt; therefore I am apt to think, that besides wiping and cleaning the Eyes, the Uses here nam'd may be admitted. For as their Eyes are

•-move

[graphic]

sides which, they are n curious Piece of Workmanship, and in many, a very beautiful Piece of sV) Garniture to the Body.

immoveable, so that no Time is requir'd for the turning their Eyes to Objects; so there is noNecedity of the Retina, or op tick Nervi being brought nigher unto, or set farther off from the Cornea, (which would require Time,) as it is in other Animals: But their Cornea and of tick Nerve, being always at one and the fame Distance, are fitted only to fee distantial Objects, but not such.as are very nigh: Which Inconvenience the Feelers obviate, lest it should be prejudicial, in occasioning the Insect to run its Head against any Thing.

And that this, rather than the wiping the Eyes, is the chref Use of the feelers, is farther manifestfrom the Antenna of the Flejli-Fly, and many other Insects, which are short, and strait, and incapable of being bent unto, ot extended over the Eyes: As also from ethers enormously long, such as those of the Capricorni, or Goat-chafers, the Cadew-Fly, and divers others, both Beetles and Flies.

(c) The lamellated Antenna of some, the clavellated of cithers, the neatly articulated of others, the feather'd and divers other Forms of others, of the Scarab, Papilionaceous Gnat, and other Kinds; are surprizingly beautiful, when view'd through a Microscope. And in some, those Antenna distinguish the Sexes: As in the Gnat-kind, all those with Tufts, Feathers, and Brush-horns, are Males; those with {hort, single shafted Antenna, are Females.

CHAP. IV.

Of the Parts and Motion of Insects.

FROM the Head, pass we to the Members, concern'd in their Motion. And here we have a copious Subject, if I was minded to expatiate. 1 might take Notice of the admirable Mechanism in those that creeps the curious Oars in

those

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »