THE WONDERS OF INSTINCT
CHAPTERS IN THE PSYCHOLOGY OF INSECTS
J. H. FABRE
Note:—Chapters 5 and 6 have been translated by Mr. Bernard Miall; the remainder by Mr. Alexander Teixeira de Mattos.
1. The author and his two daughters in the lilac-walk.
2. J.H. Fabre's house at Sérignan.
INSECTS AT REST.
Bees and wasps asleep, extended in space by the strength of their mandibles.
THE LARVA OF THE GREAT CAPRICORN.
1. The grub.
2. The grub digging its galleries in the trunk of the oak.
THE GREAT CAPRICORN: THE MALE AND THE FEMALE.
EXPERIMENT 1. The mole is fixed fore and aft, with a lashing of raphia, to a light horizontal cross-bar resting on two forks. The Necrophori, after long tiring themselves in digging under the body, end by severing the bonds.
EXPERIMENT 2. A dead mouse is placed on the branches of a tuft of thyme. By dint of jerking, shaking and tugging at the body, the Burying-beetles succeed in extricating it from the twigs and bringing it down.
EXPERIMENT 3. With a ligament of raphia, the Mole is fixed by the hind feet to a twig planted vertically in the soil. The head and shoulders touch the ground. By digging under these, the Necrophori at the same time uproot the gibbet, which eventually falls, dragged over by the weight of its burden.
EXPERIMENT 4. The stake is slanting; the Mole touches the ground, but at a point two inches from the base of the gibbet. The Burying-beetles begin by digging to no purpose under the body. They make no attempt to overturn the stake. In this experiment they obtain the Mole at last by employing the usual method, that is by gnawing the bond.
THE BLUEBOTTLE LAYING HER EGGS IN THE SLIT OF A DEAD BIRD'S BEAK.
THE LYCOSA LIFTING HER WHITE BAG OF EGGS TOWARDS THE SUN, TO ASSIST THE HATCHING.
The Lycosa lying head downwards on the edge of her pit, holding in her hind-legs her white bag of eggs and lifting them towards the sun, to assist the hatching.
THE BANDED EPEIRA INSCRIBING HER FLOURISH, AFTER FINISHING HER WEB.
THE BANDED EPEIRA LETTING HERSELF DROP BY THE END OF HER THREAD.
THE BANDED EPEIRA SWATHING HER CAPTURE.
The web has given way in many places during the struggle.
OSMIA-NESTS IN A BRAMBLE TWIG.
OSMIA-NESTS INSIDE A REED.
ARTIFICIAL HIVE INVENTED BY THE AUTHOR TO STUDY THE OSMIA'S LAYING.
It consists of reed-stumps arranged Pan-pipe fashion.
OLD NESTS USED BY THE OSMIA IN LAYING HER EGGS.
1. Nest of the Mason-bee of the Shrubs.
2. Osmia-grubs in empty shells of the Garden Snail.
3. Nests of the Mason-bee of the Sheds.
THE GLOW-WORM: a, male; b, female.
THE CABBAGE CATERPILLAR: a, the caterpillars; b, the cocoons of their parasite, Microgaster glomeratus.
THE WONDERS OF INSTINCT.
CHAPTER 1. THE HARMAS.
This is what I wished for, hoc erat in votis: a bit of land, oh, not so very large, but fenced in, to avoid the drawbacks of a public way; an abandoned, barren, sun-scorched bit of land, favoured by thistles and by Wasps and Bees. Here, without fear of being troubled by the passers-by, I could consult the Ammophila and the Sphex (two species of Digger-or Hunting-wasps.—Translator's Note.) and engage in that difficult conversation whose questions and answers have experiment for their language; here, without distant expeditions that take up my time, without tiring rambles that strain my nerves, I could contrive my plans of attack, lay my ambushes and watch their effects at every hour of the day. Hoc erat in votis. Yes, this was my wish, my dream, always cherished, always vanishing into the mists of the future.
And it is no easy matter to acquire a laboratory in the open fields, when harassed by a terrible anxiety about one's daily bread. For forty years have I fought, with steadfast courage, against the paltry plagues of life; and the long-wished-for laboratory has come at last. What it has cost me in perseverance and relentless work I will not try to say. It has come; and, with it—a more serious condition—perhaps a little leisure. I say perhaps, for my leg is still hampered with a few links of the convict's chain.
The wish is realized. It is a little late, O! my pretty insects! I greatly fear that the peach is offered to me when I am beginning to