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THIS BOOK IS PRESENTED BY
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JULIA McNAIR WRIGHT.
ILLUSTRATED BY C. S. KING.
"So he wandered away and away
With Nature, that dear old nurse,
Who sang to him, night and day,
The songs of the universe."
LONGFELLOW, Birthday Poem for Agassiz
D. C. HEATH & CO., PUBLISHERS.
BY JULIA McNAIR WRIGHT.
TYPOGRAPHY BY J. S. CUSHING & Co., BOSTON, U.S.A.
PRESSWORK BY ROCKWELL & CHURCHILL, BOSTON, U.S.A.
To THE Boys AND 'GIRLS:-
IN this book we shall together wander a little farther,
by the sea-side and by the way-side. Sometimes we shall walk
on the breezy hills; sometimes in the low, marshy places, where
ferns and rushes grow.
Sometimes we shall stroll along the way-side path, where the
wild-flowers and grasses are woven into a wreath.
Sometimes we shall go to the hard white sand, where the
ocean waves roll to our feet, and bring us shells and curious
treasure from the sea. Again, we shall go down to the still
ponds, where lilies float on the water, and dragon-flies swim in
Wherever we go, let us keep our eyes open, and our minds
awake, to the lessons of Nature. Then we shall be able to
learn what beauty and wisdom lie hid, even in such humble
things as flies and worms. We shall find much to delight us
in beetles; and be as happy as kings, while we search out the
secrets of airy hunters and marvellous little fishers.
J. M. N. W.
A LOOK AT AN ANT
THE LIFE OF AN ANT
THE ANT'S HOME .
THE ANTS AT HOME
THE ANTS ON A TRI .
THE FARMER ANTS
ANTS AND THEIR TRADES
THE SLAVE ANTS .
THE WAYS OF ANTS
MR. WORM AND HIS FAMILY
MR. EARTH-WORM AT HOME
MR. WORM AT WORK
MR. WORM'S COTTAGE BY THE SEA
MR. WORM AT HOME
A LOOK AT A HOUSE-FLY
How TO LOOK AT A FLY
MRS. FLY AND HER FOES
OF WHAT USE ARE FLIES
A SWARM OF FLIES
SOME QUEER FLIES
IN ARMOR CLAD .
WHEN MR. BEETLE WAS YOUNG
HOW TO LEARN ABOUT BEETLES
THE ROSE BEETLE .
PRINCES AND GIANTS .
THE LITTLE SEXTON .
THE STORY OF THE STAG BEETLE .
MR. BEETLE SEEKS FOR A HOME .
THE LITTLE WATER-MEN
WHIRLIGIG BEETLES .
WHAT A FISHERMAN TOLD
MR. BARNACLE AND HIS SON
A FISHING PARTY .
A LAST LOOK AT MR. BARNACLE
FLOWERS OF THE SEA .
THE LIFE OF A JELLY-FISH
A SEA-CHANGE .
THE STAR-FISH WITH AN OVERCOAT
THE FLYING FLOWERS .
UNDER THE WATER .
A HAPPY CHANGE .
THE DRAGON-FLY AND HIS COUSINS
THE WINGS OF THE DRAGON-FLY .
EEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
A LOOK AT AN ANT,
You have been told1 that an insect is a living creature
with a body made in rings, and divided into three
parts. Most insects have six legs, four wings, and
There is a great Order of insects which we shall call
the hook-wing family.
The wasp, the bee, the saw-fly, and ant belong to this
family. They are the chief of all the insects.
They can do many strange and curious things.
You will know insects of this great family by their
wings. The front wings are larger than the back
ones. They fold back over them when at rest.
In flight the upper wings hook fast to the lower.9
If you look carefully at some kinds of insects, you will
soon say I have told you what is not quite true.
1 First Book, Nature Readers.
2 See First Book, p. 28.
2 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
Why will you think that? You will say to me,
"The fly has two wings, and not four." "The
ant has no wings at all."
Ah, but wait until you study about ants and flies, and
see if you will then think the same way.
The mouth of all the hook-wing insects has two jaws
These insects have two big eyes, one on each side of
the head. Between the two big eyes they have
some little ones, on the top of the head.
You see insects are as well supplied with eyes as crabs
are with legs.
The back part of an insect's body is made fast to the
middle part by a small joint, or thread. That is
because the insect needs to bend, or even double
itself up, in some of its work.
The Hook-wing Order is divided into two great kinds.
The insects of one kind carry a little saw. The others
carry a sword. The sword is a sting. The saw
is to cut up leaves and wood to make nice soft
nests or houses for the eggs. The sword is to fight
with, or to kill things for food. Among the saw-
carriers is the fine, long fly, called a saw-fly. Bees,
ants, wasps, and others carry the sting.
Get one of these insects, and you will see all the parts
of which I have told you.
A LOOK AT AN ANT. 3
Let us first take an ant to look at.
The head of an ant seems very large for its body, and
the eyes seem very large for the head. The third
or back part of the body is made in six rings.
On the tip or pointed end of the hind part of the body
is the sting. On the part of the body, next the
head, are set the six legs. These legs, and also the
feet, have joints.
The wings are set on the upper side of the middle part
of the body. The legs are set on its under side.
There are four wings,--two large and two small
ones. The upper wings are larger than the lower
Now I hear you cry out, "Oh, my ant has no wings!"
Well, let me tell you a secret. The wings of your
ant have been cut off, or unhooked, as you shall
hear by and iby.
There are many families of ants. Each has its own
name and its own ways. All ants are very
wise in their actions. I shall tell you many
strange things about them. Ants have always
been called "the wise insects." Would you not
like to learn something about them?
Before you study the ants in any book, I wish you
would go out into your garden or into the fields.
Find an ant-hill, and sit or lie by it for an hour
SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
A HOUSE IN A HILL
or so. Take some sugar or
bits of cake to feed the ants.
Find out for yourselves all that
you can about them. Facts
that you learn in this way will
be worth very much to you.
-- ~- c--..--
THE LIFE OF AN ANT.
IN ant-hills we find drone ants,
queen ants, and worker ants.
The drone ants have no sting
and do no work. Their bodies
are longer and more slim than
those of queens. The drone
ants have wings.
The queen ants also have wings.
They have stings, and their
bodies are round and dark.
The workers are smaller than queens
and drones. They are also
darker, and have no wings and
no stings. Workers are of two
sizes, large and small. They
THE LIFE OF AN ANT. 5
are the builders, nurses, soldiers, and servants
of the others.
In an ant-hill there may be many queens at one time.
Often the ant-queens work. They are both
mothers and queens. They will also act as sol-
diers. The queen ant is not like the queen
bee, who will allow no other queen to live near
The word "queen" may make you think that this ant
rules the rest. That is not so. Ants have no
leader and no ruler. Each ant seems to act as
The chief work of the queen ant is to lay eggs. In a
short time, out of each egg comes a lively, hungry,
little baby ant. It is called a larva. A larva is
like a small white worm.
This little being needs to be washed, fed, kept warm
and dry, and taken into the air and sun. It must
be cared for, very much as the baby in your home
is cared for.
The workers, who act as nurses, are very kind to the
young larvae. How do they wash these little
things ? They lick them all over, as the cat licks
the kitten. They use such care that they keep
them nearly as white as snow.
The nurses feed the baby ants four or five times each
6 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
day. The nurses prepare the food in their crops,
to make it soft and fit for the little ants.
The nurses stroke and smooth the larva baby. It seems
as if they patted and petted it. When the weather
is cold, they keep the larva 1 in-doors. When it
is warm and dry, they hurry to carry them up to
the top of the hill. They place them there to
bask in the sun.
If any rain comes, or the hill is broken, the nurses run
to carry the babies to a safe place.
When the larva is full grown, it spins around itself a
little fine net, which wraps it all up. When
people see these white bundles in the ant-hills,
they call them "ant-eggs." They are not eggs.
They are pupa-cases. In them the baby ants are
getting ready to come out, with legs and wings,
as full-grown ants.
The pupa-cases are of several sizes. The largest ones
are for queens and drones. The next size holds
large workers; the smallest cases hold the smallest
There are often in the hills very wee ants called dwarf
ants. When you study more about ants in other
books, you can learn about the dwarfs.
After the ants have been in the little cases some time,
1 When we mean only one we say larva; when we mean more than one we
THE LIFE OF AN ANT. 7
they are ready to come out. The nurse ants help
them to get free.
Many hundreds come out of the cases. They crowd
the old home so full that they can scarcely find
room to move about.
Then they see the light shine in at the little gates on
the top of the hill. They feel the warmth of the
sun. They crawl out.
They push upon each other. The hill is not wide and
high enough for so many uncles and cousins and
sisters and brothers.
Young ants, like young people, wish to set up for them-
selves in a new home. They spread their fine
wings. Off they fly !
They swarm as the bees do. As they rise high from
the earth, they drift off on the wind.
Very many of them tire out and die, or are blown into
the water, and are drowned.
A few live and settle on places fit for a new ant-hill.
It is the mother or queen ant, who chooses the
When she has found the right place, what do you think
she does? She takes off her wings, as she does
not care to fly any more.
The ant does not tear off her wings. She unhooks
them, and lets them fall away, and does not seem
to miss them.
8 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
THE ANT'S HOME.
ANTS live in nests, made in the earth. We call them
ant-hills, from the shape of the part that is above
ground. It is the queen ant who begins to build
Like the mother wasp, the ant works on her nest until
enough ants grow up to do all the work. After
that, like the queen bee, she does no work. The
work ants will not allow her to go from home.1
When the ant finds a place for her home, she takes off
her wings. They would be in her way while she
worked. Then she begins to dig. She acts at
1 For Lessons on Bees and Wasps, see First Book.
THE ANT'S HOME. 9
first much as your dog does when he digs after a
chipmunk or a rabbit.
The ant lays her big head close to the ground. With
her fore-feet she digs up the soil, and tosses it
back between her hind legs. She digs as her
cousin, Mrs. Wasp, digs.
She keeps waving her little feelers, as if to find out the
kind of soil. Soon she has a hole deep enough to
cover her body. It is too deep for her to throw
out the dirt with her feet. Now she uses her feet,
and her jaws, also, to dig with.
She rolls and moulds the earth into little balls. She
carries each ball out. Where the soil is sandy, she
takes it out, grain by grain. At first, she must
back out of her hole. Soon her hall-way is so
wide that she can turn about after she has backed
a few steps.
Ants are very kind to each other in their work. If
they push or tread on each other in their haste,
they never fight about it.
The ants know how to work and how to rest. After
a little hard work they stop, clean their bodies,
take some food, and sleep.
As the making of the hall goes on, the ants bite off
with their jaws bits of dirt, and roll them up
with their feet. They soon use the hind part
10 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
of the body to press and push the earth into a
When the hall is two or three inches long, they make
a room. The rooms are for eggs, for larvae, for
pupe,1 and for food.
People who have studied much about ants have had
them build nests in glass jars. Thus they have
been able to see how they work.
SAPPERS AND MINERS.
To make a room, the ants often have to stand on their
hind legs, and bite the earth off, as they reach up
their heads. Sometimes the ant lies on its side, to
clean off or smooth the side wall. They have
been seen at work, lying on their backs, as men
do in mines.
The jaws of the ant have tiny teeth. In old work ants
the teeth are often quite worn off.
1Pupa is used when we speak of one, and pupce when we mean more than
THE ANTS AT HOME. 11
The feet and jaws of the ant are well made for digging.
The feet have small hairs. By the aid of these the
ants can run up a piece of glass, or hang on a wall,
as you would say, "upside down."
An ant-hill is made of very many little halls and rooms.
Some open into each other; some do not. The
rooms are bed-rooms, nurseries, pantries, and din-
Many of the rooms are shaped like a horseshoe. Some
The ants press and knead the floors and walls to make
them hard and smooth. Sometimes they line them
with a sticky soil, like paste, to keep the earth from
/Some ants seem to make a kind of glue, or varnish,
with which they line their walls.
--- oac---- = o---
THE ANTS AT HOME.
WE have taken a look at the ants and have seen how
the hill is made. Let us now see how the ants live
in their hill-home.
When we go to visit them, we shall find ants running
all about the hill and in the halls. These are the
12 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
work ants. Some seem to stand on the hill to
watch lest any danger may come near.
When the drone ants and the queens are young, the
work ants let them go out and fly. When they go
out, the drones do not often come back. They get
lost or die.
The young queens come back, except those who go off to
make new hills. But when the young queen set-
tles down in life, to her work of laying eggs, the
workers do not let her leave the hill any more.
How do they keep her in ? If she has not taken off
her pretty wings, they take them off and throw
them away! If she tries to walk off, a worker
picks her up in its jaws and carries her back.
The ants are kind to their queen. They feed her and
pet her, and she becomes very lazy. She does not
even care to lay her eggs in a nice clean place.
The idle queen drops her eggs anywhere. The kind
worker ants pick them up, and take them to a soft
When there are too many young queens in one hill,
they do not have a war, as the bees do. The
workers settle the trouble, by taking off the wings
of some of the young queens, and turning them
into work ants. This is done before the queens
begin to lay eggs.
THE ANTS AT HOME. 13
New-born ants and queens, who do not go out into the
sunshine are of a light color. The other ants are
In cold, wet weather the ants stay at home. If a rain
comes up when they are out, they hurry home.
Early in the day, and late in the afternoon, they
all seem very busy. In the hot hours of the day
they stay in the hill and rest.
In very hot lands the ants stir about all winter. Such
ants lay up stores of food. You shall hear of them
by and by. In cooler lands, during winter, the
ants are asleep, or, as we say, are torpid.
The young swarms usually go out in autumn. I have
seen very large swarms in the spring.
Ants like sugar and honey best of all food. They get
honey from flowers, and in other ways of which
I will soon tell you. Some like seeds which have
a sweet taste. For this reason they eat some
kinds of grass-seeds, oats, apple-seeds, and such
Ants take their food by licking it. Their little rough
tongues wear away bits of the seed; they also suck
up the oil and juice. They seem to press the food
with their jaws.
It has been found out that they know how to moisten
their food and make it soft. If you give them
14 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
dry sugar or cake, they turn it into a kind of paste
If you put a nest of ants into a large glass jar, and put
some food near by for the ants to eat, they may set-
tle down in the jar, to make a home. If you cover
the outside of the jar with thick, dark paper, the
ants may build close to the glass. Then, when
you take off the paper, you will be able to see the
halls and storerooms.
You might put such a jar in a safe place out of doors.
Then you would be able to study the ants, as they
roam around near by, or do their work inside the
THE ANTS ON A TRIP.
THE round hole in the ant-hill is called the gate. The
ants can close it, if they like, with a bit of stone.
Often there are two, three, or even more, gates
for one ant-hill. Once I saw a hill with six large
Now I will tell you of a very queer ant-hill. It was
made by big, black ants, in a little valley be-
tween two hills of sand.
THE ANTS ON A TRIP. 16
Into this valley had blown a very large sheet of thick
paper. It had been around a ham and was very
greasy. It had lain on the ground, crumpled up,
in sun, and snow, and rain, for a year.
By that time it was hard .and stiff, and weeds had
grown up about it. One day, as I was going
by, I saw ants running in and out of the folds
of the paper. I took a stick and turned the top
fold open like a lid.
t___.___ --'- .- -..-.
ON THE MARCH
It was full of ants and of white pupa-cases. The
ants, I think, liked the folds of the paper for
halls, and the larger wrinkles for rooms. They
had found out how to have a house without much
work in making it.
But when I opened the hill, they ran in swarms to
pick up the white bundles. Poor things! They
did not know where to go for safety. So I laid
16 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
the lid of their house back in its place, and soon
they were quiet again.
Now I will tell you how ants move from one house
to another. One day, I saw by my garden path
a line of ants moving all one way. They were
They went two by two, or one and two, close to each
other. Every one had in its jaws a white bundle.
I found that they all came from an ant-hill.
They came up out of the gate very fast, one by
one, each with its bundle.
About two or three inches from this line of ants I
saw another line. This line went to the hill,
not from it. They went in good order.
They had no bundles when they went into the hill;
when they came out, each had a bundle, and
joined the other line of ants.
I went along with the stream of ants that had the
white bundles. I found that they went to a
new hill, about thirty feet from the old hill.
There they laid down their bundles, and went back
to the old hill to bring more. The bundles lay
heaped in a ring all about the gate of the new
Out of this gate ran up other ants in haste. They
caught up the bundles, one by one, and carried
THE ANTS ON A TRIP. 17
them in. In about half an hour they were nearly
all taken in, and the ants brought no more. The
moving was over.
With a long blade of grass, I gently took up a little
bundle. I hid it behind a stone, some six inches
off. I took three bundles and hid them, lifting
them with the tip of the grass-blade.
When all the bundles left at the hill were carried in,
the ants went down the gates. But in a min-
ute out came three or four ants. They ran
about wildly and searched the ground.
They went in circles and looked over the ground with
much care. The circles grew wider. At last one
came up behind the stone and found the bundles.
The ant picked up one bundle and ran. Then this
ant met the other ants, and, I think, told them
the news. For at once the other ants ran up to
the stone, and each took up a bundle.
Then they all ran into the hill. Can ants count?
That looked as if they knew how many bundles
they had. It also looked as if they knew that
two ants must go for two bundles.
A man who took bundles from a march in this way
thinks that the ants smell the hidden bundles.
He says they will not search for them if you
hide them in the earth.
SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
THE FARMER ANTS.
You have heard of the spider which
makes a den in the ground.
You know that it puts a trap-
door on its den, and plants
ferns on the door to hide it.1
The spider turns gardener in this
way, and all his plants grow
well. There is an ant that has
a farm, or garden.
This ant lives in warm lands. In
this country they are found in
Texas, Florida, and in one or
two other warm States.
These farmer ants raise grain to
eat. The grain is a kind of
grass with a large seed. It is
called by some ant-rice."
There is also a large ant which is
fond of the seeds of the sun-
1 See First Book, p. 63.
THE LITTLE FARMER.
THE FARMER ANTS. 19
flower. It is said that the ants plant the sun-
flowers in a ring around their hill.
The ants have not been seen to carry the seed and
plant it. So we may not be quite sure that
they do so.
But it is very possible that the ant does plant seeds.
You see there are yet in the world many things
left for you to find out. It will be well for you
to keep your eyes open.
The farmer ants do not live in a small hill that you
could cover with your hand. Their hill, or disk,
is sometimes flat, and sometimes high. It is
often as large as a large room. It is in the shape
of a circle.
In this circle all weeds and all kinds of grasses are
cut down, except the one kind which the ants
like. The earth of the disk is kept clean and
smooth. Only the seeds of the ant-rice are left
When the ant-rice is ripe, the ants pick up the seeds
as they fall, and take them into the hill to their
It is most likely that as the ants let this ant-rice, and
nothing else, grow on their hills, it sows itself
by its fallen seed.
Still the ants are real farmers, as they keep their
20 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
land clean. They tend and gather the crop,
store it up, and eat it.
When the ant-rice is ripe, and the seeds have fallen,
the ants cut down the old stems, and take them
away. The disk is then clean for the next crop.
The ants will go a long way from their hill to find
seeds to bring home. They like to go where
horses have fed, for there they find scattered
oats. In some lands they carry off much grain
from the fields.
An ant in Florida climbs the stalk of the millet and
cuts off the seeds. When ants take seeds to their
hill, they husk and clean them. They throw bad
The ants watch the seeds, and after rains carry them
out to dry in the sun. This is because if left
wet, they would sprout and grow.
Some ants also cut the seed, so that it will not sprout.
The ants eat the seeds that they gather. They also
feed their young with them.
One ant in Florida rolls up into little balls the dust,
or pollen,1 of pine cones, and stores that up to eat.
An ant in New Jersey cuts in pieces the little new
pine-trees, just as they get above the ground,
and carries them to its nest.
1 See Third Book.
ANTS AND THEIR TRADES. 21
Did you ever see the ant which likes sunflower seeds
to eat ? It is a large ant, and when it has climbed
to the disk of the sunflower, it pulls out one of
the ripe seeds and carries it away.
When people keep a nest of ants in order to watch
their ways, they feed them with sugar, oats, apple-
seeds, and wheat.
How does the ant eat the hard grain? Its tongue is
like a file, or something like that of the little
shell-fish of which I told you.' The ant can rasp,
file, and press the grain, so it can get at and lick
up the oil and juice.
ANTS AND THEIR TRADES.
SINCE you know that bees, ants,2 and wasps all belong
to the same great family of living creatures,
you will not wonder that many of their ways are
You know there are wasps and bees that live alone.
You have read how, in the spring, Mrs. Social Wasp
builds her home and raises a brood of babies.
1 See First Book, p. 86.
2 For lessons on Wasps, Bees, and Spiders, see First Book.
22 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
These, as soon as full-grown, begin to build more
rooms and nurse the next babies. Mrs. Ant does
as Mrs. Wasp does.
Mrs. Ant begins a new hill, and as her children grow
they help her. But Mrs. Ant does not often begin
her hill in the spring. She chooses the early fall
to begin work.
As the eggs change into working ants, Mrs. Ant gets
plenty of help in her work.
You have seen bees swarm, and hang in a bunch, or
curtain. Ants also cling together and form balls.
But this is for warmth or safety. It is called
snugging." In some lands, in times of flood, ants
form balls as large as your play ball. Thus" they
can float on the water, and do not drown.
As Mrs. Wasp makes paper, so Mrs. Ant can make a
thin paper, for her nest. But it is poor paper,
not so good as Mrs. Wasp makes. Mrs. Wasp is
the chief of the paper-makers.
I told you how one Mrs. Bee cuts leaves to line her
nest. So one Mrs. Ant does. With cut leaves
she lines a neat little nest. As the spider makes
a fine spun ball to put her babies in, there is an
ant that makes a woolly nest.
You have read of the Tower Spider, that builds a neat
tower of sticks, -straw, and grass over her nest.
ANTS AND THEIR TRADES. 23
There is an ant that thatches its hill in much th6
There is a brown ant that is a mason. She makes her
nest of little balls of mnud, laid up like bricks in
Then there is a carpenter ant, as there is a carpenter
bee. These carpenters cut their way into trees
and logs. In this manner they do much harm.
These ants hollow out the inside of a tree, or beam,
until it is ready to fall to pieces.
Besides their other trades, the ants know the trade of
war. There are soldier ants. Ants are mild and
kind to each other while at work. But they are
brave, and have armies for war.
It is odd to. see how much ant ways and ant soldiers
are like human ways and human soldiers.
The ants make war to get slaves, or servants. I will
tell you more of that in the next lesson. They
also make war to get cows, as you will hear by and
by. They seem to have some other reasons for war.
When the ant army marches, it keeps in line and order.
It seems to have captains to rule and lead it.
Scouts go before to seek out the way.
The ant-hill has some soldiers for sentries, to see that
no danger comes near. When a work ant gets
into trouble, it will run to a soldier for help.
SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
The soldier ants do not appear to be cross. They have
very large heads, as if they wore big hats. Some
of them have smooth heads and some, hairy heads.
They eat much and love to sleep.
The soldier ants do not do much work. They rouse up
only for a battle. In an ant-hill, the soldiers are
larger, and often more in number, than the other
The workers are the smallest ants in a hill. There are
fewer queens than any other kind, except after the
drone ants go off and die. At that time there are
very few drones.
In a battle, two ants will often cling to each other by
their jaws, until both die. The usual way in which
an ant soldier kills a foe is by cutting off the head.
Sometimes the battle ends without any killing. At
other times the ants are very fierce, and large
numbers are cut to pieces.
When strange ants get into a hill, sometimes they are
driven out; sometimes they are killed sometimes
they are treated kindly.
I put a black ant into the gate of a city of brown
ants. You should have seen how they drove him
out! He ran as if he were wild with fear.
Three or four brown ants came after him to the
edge of their hill.
THE SLAVE ANTS. 25
But though some strange ants are cast out so fiercely,
there are two or three kinds of beetles which go
into ant-hills and live with the ants. The ants do
not harm them in any way. You shall hear about
that when we have some lessons about beetles.
THE SLAVE ANTS.
THE PARASOL ANTS.
Now I must tell you about the slave ants and their
owners. The chief family of the slave-making
ants is called "The Shining," for its body shines
with a gloss like varnish.
The slave-making ants and their slaves are founding
many parts of the world. The masters are of a
light or red color, with a bright gloss. The slave
ants are dark or black.
26 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
In nests where slaves are held the masters never do any
work. They make war and steal slaves, or slave
The slave ants do all the work. If a war rises, they also
fight for the hill and their owners.
The army of the slave makers will march to the hill of
a tribe of ants which they wish to seize for slaves.
They carry off the pupa cases, where the little new
ants are getting legs and wings.
These baby ants are taken to the hill of the owners and
brought up with their own young. No slave-ant
eggs are laid in a hill, for the queens lay all the
eggs, and the queens are not slaves. The slaves
are stolen when they are eggs, or larvEe.
The owners seem to be very kind to their little slaves,
and as the slaves grow up and fill the hill they
seem to do very much as they please.
The slaves build new hills and take their owners to live
in the new home. If a mistress ant wishes to
wander off her hill, her slaves drag her back. If
she does not wish to move to a new home, her
slaves carry her off, all the same.
The slave-owning ants walk about their hill in an idle
way. If war comes, then they fight bravely.
The owners do not build the house, nor nurse their
babies, nor feed themselves. Often they do not even
THE SLAVE ANTS.
clean their own bodies. They leave all these
duties to the slaves. The slaves feed their owners,
and brush and clean them, as a servant cleans his
master's coat. When the ants are to make a
move, the slaves pick up their masters, and carry
How can they do that? The ants carry all burdens in
their jaws. The slave and the master lock their
jaws, the owner curls up the back of her body,
and the slave carries her off.
The grip of an ant's jaws is very strong. She can
carry things much larger than her own body.
There is an ant which uses the pine needles for food.
She carries the bits of pine laid over her back,
much as a man carries a gun. There is a little
groove in this ant's head, where the bits of pine
There is an ant called the "parasol ant," because it
cuts off tiny bits of leaf, and carries them along.
Each ant holds a piece of leaf over its head, like a
An army of this kind on the march looks very funny.
These ants line their nests with the bits of leaf, to
keep the dirt from falling in.
These parasol ants are very large. Their nests cover a
large space. The bits of leaf are cut about the
28 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
size of a dime. The ants carry them in their jaws,
each piece by a little end left for a stem.
We have some parasol ants in this country, in
Florida and Texas, and there are many of them
in South America.
You may perhaps read of what are called "Termites,"
or White Ants. You must not think that these
are true ants, for they are not. They belong to
another Order of insects. They have four wings
all of the same size. But true ants have one
pair of wings smaller than the other. The white
ants live in the ground and also in trees. They
do much harm by gnawing wood and trees. They
swarm into houses, and eat the tables and chairs"
and such things. They eat all kinds of food.
They are much like real ants in their ways.
There are many of them in our country.
Now you must hear about the ants that keep cows. I
have told you that ants like honey. They take
all their food by lapping and sucking it. They
suck honey from flowers.
WONDER ANTS. 29
If you look at the plants in the garden or house, you
may see on the leaves some very small green
things, that seem to eat the leaves. Your mother
will tell you these are "plant lice," and that they
spoil her plants.
The name of this little insect is Aphis. That is a
very pretty name. The aphis is very small, and
is often of the color of the leaf it feeds on.
This wee thing can make honey in its body much as bees
do. But the aphis does not store up the honey;
it drops it on the leaf as it feeds. This is called
The ants eat the honey dew from the leaves, and they
know that it comes from the aphis. They stroke
and tap the aphis with their feelers, so that more
dew will be let fall.
Have you seen the milkmaid go from cow to cow, and
fill her pail with milk? So the ants go from one
aphis to another, until they get all the honey they
The ants can carry home this honey, and give it to
others. The nurse ants will carry it to the baby
ants. The workers take it to the queens, owners,
The aphis is called the ant's cow." A hill of ants will
seem to own a herd of these wee green cows.
30 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
They go to them on their leaf, and get the honey.
They know and claim their own cows. It is just
like having a drove of cows in pasture, as the
But you know that people often keep cows in stables
and feed them there. The ant has this way also.
There is a kind of aphis that loves the dark and feeds
on roots. Some ants keep a herd of these, hidden
in the ground. They pet, stroke, and clean them
to get their honey dew.
Ants have been seen to fight for days over a herd of
aphis-cows. One hill of ants had no cows, and
they tried to steal the cows that belonged to
After four days the lady that watched them got twenty
cows, and gave them to the hill that had none.
Then the war ended.
The ants which got the new cows seemed very glad.
They licked and petted the cows, and put them in
a safe place. They took honey from' them and fed
This seems just like a fairy tale. But it is quite true.
All these things can be seen if you look out for
them. But you must be patient and anxious to
In warm summer days, when your mother tells you that
THE WAYS OF ANTS.
it is too hot to run about much,
what will you do ? Why not
make a tent of an umbrella,
placed near an ant-hill, and
watch these pretty and curi-
ous little creatures?
THE WAYS OF ANTS.
I HAVE told you that ants like
honey and sweets. They will
also suck the juices and soft
parts of many other kinds of
food. Some ants eat nearly
everything that can be eaten.
Almost all ants will eat other in-
sects, and suck the eggs or pupae
of other insects. This habit
makes ants very useful. Cer-
tain worms and bugs that de-
stroy orange trees and cotton
plants are killed by ants.
Ants also eat other insects that in-
jure men. If a coat that has
83 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
these on it is laid near an ant-hill, in an hour or
two the ants will have made it quite clean.
You have seen a fly sit and clean her body and wings.
She does this by drawing her feet over her head
and body. So you have seen the cat clean her fur
coat with her paws and tongue. The ant washes
or brushes herself in just such a way.
The ant is very neat and clean in her habits. She
takes many naps in a day, and after each nap she
brushes herself. She brushes herself tidy after
work and after taking food
The action of the ant in cleansing herself is much like
that of the cat. The ant has on her fore-leg a
little comb, shaped like your thumb. With this
she strokes and combs all dust and dirt from her
If you watch an ant as she dresses herself, you will cee
that she draws her fore-foot through her mouth.
This is to clean the comb and to make it moist, so
that it will do its work well.
The ant has also little brushes on her other feet; so
you see there is no reason why she should not keep
herself very trim and tidy.
Ants are very neat about their nests. They carry out
all husks of grain and'seeds and all dead bodies.
They carry these quite off their hill.
THE WAYS OF ANTS. 33
I knew of an ant's nest that had been set on a post in
water. It was kept clean by the ants. They soon
learned to drop all refuse over into the water.
That is as the sailor does, when he cleans his ship.
Ants bury their dead. When an ant dies, some of the
other ants pick up the body to carry it off and
bury it. They do not like to put dead bodies near
their hill. The ants will carry the dead ones round
and round, till they find a good place for them.
A lady who spent much time in the study of ants said
that the slave-owning ants do not bury the slaves
with the masters. They put the dead slaves in
one place and the owners in another.
Ants will now and then change their home. They
leave an old hill and make a new one. When
they do this, if some of the ants do not seem ready
to leave the old hill, the others drag them off by
Most ants have very good eyes, and can see above
ground and under ground. But there is one kind
of ant that is blind.
Ants can bite with their sharp jaws. They also have
a sting. They seldom use it if they are let alone.
Some ants have quite a sharp sting. The sting is
on the hind part of the ant's body.
A sting is made in three parts. There is the sac for
34 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
poison, the needle which gives the prick, and the
case to keep the needle or prickle in. This needle,
of a light color, is like a little thorn.
The ant seizes with its jaws the part which it wishes
to sting. Then it lifts its body up on the hind
legs, and swings its sting part under, so that it
can drive the sting into the place held by the jaws.
The sting does not do much harm to people, but will
no doubt kill ants and other insects.
Ants make also a kind of juice called "ant acid."
They can throw this about when the hill is dis-
This acid must be pretty strong. It will make a dog
sneeze and rub his nose. The ant uses it to keep
dogs, mice, beetles, and such things, away from
I have told you that some ants harm trees and plants
by gnawing or cutting them. It is only fair now
to tell you that ants help plants to grow. As
they creep into flowers for honey, they carry
about from flower to flower the dust or pollen
which makes new seeds grow. This dust sticks to
the ant's body, and what is taken from one flower
is carried to another. Bees also carry pollen.
Thus, you see that the ants help the flowers, which in
their turn give food to the ants. But, of course,
MR. WORM AND HIS FAMILY. 35
the ants do not know what they are doing for the
flowers.1 Nor do the bees know that they help
the flowers. The bees and ants do not know that
pollen sticks to them, to be carried about.
These lessons about the ant contain only a fow of the
many things that can be said of this insect. I
hope you will like the ants well enough to get
other books about them, and study and watch the
ants for yourselves.
MR. WORM AND HIS FAMILY.
LIKE AND NOT LIKE.
ONE day I saw a boy making a hole in the ground,
and he dug out a worm.
1 See Third Book.
36 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
I said to the boy, What can you tell me about
The boy said, Worms are long, soft things, alike at
both ends. If you cut one in two, each end goes
off, and makes a whole new worm. They have
no heads and no feet and no feelings, and are no
good but for fish-bait."
That boy thought he knew all about worms. But
really he knew very little about them. All that
he had told me was wrong.
Worms belong to the great class of ringed, or jointed,
animals. These creatures have bodies made in
rings or joints.
Let us take a careful look at our humble friend, the
He is a long, round, soft, dark, slimy thing, and you
say "He is alike at both ends."
Is he? Let us see. His body is made of from one
hundred to two hundred rings. These rings are
smaller toward the two ends of the body, which
are the head and tail.
Each ring has on it tiny hooks, too small for you to
see. These hooks take the place of the jointed
feet that his cousins have. The feet on a cater-
pillar will show you about how these hooks would
look, if you could see them.
MR. WORM AND HIS FAMILY. 37
By these hooks the worm moves along, and digs his
way in the ground. Mr. Worm can hold so fast
to his den or hole, that you have hard work to
pull him out.
Have you seen Mr. Robin brace his feet and tug with
all his might, when he pulls out a worm? The
worm is holding fast by his hooks.
You see the hooks are Mr. Worm's feet. Let us now
look for his head. You have five senses. You can
hear, see, feel, smell, taste. The worm can feel
and taste. Some think he can smell some things.
He cannot see or hear.
Why do we say he has a head, if he has no eyes nor
ears nor nose? We say he has a head because
he has a mouth and a brain.
His mouth has two lips. The upper lip is larger than
the under. He has no teeth. In the back of his
head, not far from his mouth, is his brain, or
The worm is the only jointed animal that has red
blood. Mr. Worm is dark-colored because his
body is full of the earth which he swallows.
If you keep him out of the earth for a while, his skin
will get pale and clear. Then you can see his
red blood run in two long veins. He needs fresh
air to keep this red blood pure. He dies very
soon if he is shut up in a close box or case.
38 SEA-.SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
MR. EARTH-WORM AT HOME.
I TOLD you the earth-worm has two veins. One runs
down his back, the other runs along the under
side of his body.
There are tiny holes, like pin pricks, in his body.
These are for the air to reach his blood, to keep
it red and pure.
In his body poor Mr. Worm has something that no
other creature has. He has two bags or sacks for
lime. This is in some way to help him with his food.
Mr. Worm has no teeth with which to grind his food.
He has inside his body. small bits of stone. These
are as small as grains of sand. They are instead
of teeth to grind his food.
When you study birds you will find that, like Mr.
Worm, they have no teeth. They, too, carry little
millstones inside their bodies.
The little bags of lime help to grind or change the
worm's food in some way, not yet well known.
The soft body of the worm will stretch like India-rub-
ber. It will hold a great deal of food.
MR. EARTH-WORM AT HOME. 39
Now you see that Mr. Worm is not alike at both ends.
One end has the head. the stomach, the parts
that serve for a brain, and a heart.
The hooks begin at the fourth ring behind the head.
Look at the worm when he lifts his head, and you
will see his mouth.
The tail end has very strong hooks with which to hold
fast to his cell. This tail end is also his trowel,
or mould, a tool with which this poor, ugly worm
helps to build the world.
Ah! now I have told you a great thing, a strange
thing. Is it true that the feeble, useless worm
helps to build the world? Where is that boy who
knew so much about worms?
But before you hear how the worm helps to build the
world, let us go back to what the boy said. He
said, I If you cut the worm in two, each end will
go off and be a whole worm."
That is not true of the worm. When the worm is cut
in two, the parts do not die at once. As there
are hooks and rings on each part, they each can
It is thought that if the fore part is left safe, the cut
can close up, and the worm can still live. A new
tail may grow upon the front part, as Mr. Crab's
new claw or eye-peg grows.
40 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
But the hind part cannot live and grow. It cannot
get a new mouth or heart, so it can take no food,
and have no blood. So the hind part soon dries
up and dies.
The boy told me that the worm "had no feelings." A
worm can feel. The sense of touch is the best
sense it has. Put your finger on its body, and
see it move and shrink.
The worm cannot hear. It moves off as you come
near, because it feels the jar of the earth.
The worm cannot see. Creatures that live under
ground have but little use for eyes. Fishes that
live in dark cave-rivers have no eyes.
If the worm moves from the light and hides from it,
it is because it feels the action of light on its skin.
It does not see the light.
What does Mr. Worm eat? Some tell you that he eats
dirt. It is true that he fills his body full of earth.
That is to carry it to the top of the ground. Mr.
Crab has claws and legs to bend into the shape
of a basket. Poor Mr. Worm has no arms, legs,
or claws, so he must make a basket of himself.
Suppose you should be sent for fruit, and turn your-
self into a basket in that way! Your mamma
might find fault. She would not wish you to act
like a worm.
MR. EARTH-WORM AT HOME. 41
It is true that the worm may find a little food in the
earth which he swallows. But the chief food of
the worm is dead leaves and stems of plants. It
does not care for fresh, live leaves and stems and
The worm also likes meat, fat, raw, or cooked. Worms
will gnaw or suck the bodies of dead worms. We
say worms gnaw. As they have no teeth, they do
not really gnaw. They pinch off what they eat.
Worms like onions and cabbage best of all food. They
like water, and must live in damp places.
When the worm gets food into its mouth,, the rings of
its body begin to move out and in. They look as
if they were opening and shutting." By this mo-
tion they press the food down into the body.
When the worm wants to move, it stretches out its
body to its full length. Then it takes hold of the
earth with its hooks. Next it draws up its body,
and so moves on. This is a wave-like motion,
Watch it, and you will see that it travels with a mo-
tion like waves.
If you wish to find worms to study, you must seek for
them in early morning or late in the evening.
You will be likely to find them when all the earth
is moist with dew, or when it is raining.
42 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
Worms hurry to the surface of the soil to enjoy the
falling rain. When there is a long, dry time, the
worms go down deeper and deeper into the earth.,
You cannot find them when you dig for them.
MR. WORM AT WORK.
WoRMs are found in all parts of the world. I have
told you that they help to build the world, and
make it fit for the home of man.
Man cannot live without food. He gets his food from
the earth. The worms help to fit the earth to
bring forth the food of man.
Oh, this is very strange, that humble and dirty worms
can be a help to man! Man is the highest of all
animals. Worms are nearly the lowest. And
can worms help man?
Now let us see how this is done.
The worms live under ground. They make long, wind-
ing halls, like streets, some inches below the top
soil. These halls, or little tunnels, help to keep
the earth loose, so that the fine roots of the plants
can grow well in it.
These tunnels also serve to help the air move more
MR. WORM AT WORK. 43
easily through the soil. By their constant motion
below the surface the worms till the earth, as
rakes, spades, or ploughs till it above.
All this is of great use, and people say Many worms,
rich land." Now and then you will hear, on the
other hand, that the worms have eaten up the seed
sown. Or, people say the worms have bitten off
the roots of the plants. Some say that the worms
cut the vines below the soil.
You need not think the earth-worms did that. Not at
all The earth-worms never behave so ill. The
"worms" that people mean, when they speak of
this harm done, are the grubs or larve of some
insects, as of the daddy-long-legs and others.
These grubs and cut-worms will eat living plants, but
Mr. Worm likes dead leaves and stems best. He
wants his food made soft by decay.
Now we come to the chief work of the true earth
worms. When they make their halls and houses
they fill their long bodies with the earth. Some
say it is their food.
Mr. Darwin says, "Oh, no! they fill their bodies with
earth just to get it out of their way." If they
get any food from the dirt it is not much. They
turn themselves into baskets to carry the dirt out
from their houses.
44 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
The worms work, work, work all the time, taking out
earth, and carrying it to the top of the ground.
There they pile it in heaps, called worm-casts. Each
piece is the shape of a small worm.
The earth takes this shape as the worm presses it out
of its long, soft body. Early in the day you can
find these worm-casts over all the garden paths.
So you can after a rain.
There are so many worms busy all the time that each
year they bring up tons of earth. This shows
you the power that is in small, weak things. In
India there are worm-casts in heaps six inches
The worms make the earth fine and loose, by pinching
it off with their mouths. Then they bring this
rich soil from below, and lay it on top, and so
on and on.
It is only some twenty years since this work of worms
was known. At first people said, "Oh, no, no! It
cannot be that little, soft worms could cover a
great field, some inches deep, with new earth."
But it was shown to be quite true.
Fields once stony and hard have become rich and fine.
Things grow now where once scarcely anything
would grow. Ashes and gravel, once on top, go
two or three inches below.
MR. WORM'S COTTAGE BY THE SEA. 45
All this is done by the busy worms. That is why I
said that you could call the tail end of the worm
the tool with which he helps to build the world.
Worms at work under ground have caused great walls
and pavements to sink, as the earth sinks over
mines. Also, they have helped to bury ruins and
old cities, and to keep them safe hidden, until we
found them. We are glad when we learn of the
old world days, from ruins which the worms
helped to hide.
Then, too, the worms help make the soil rich, by the
dead leaves and stems which they drag into their
holes to decay. When the worms die, their bodies
also help to make the earth rich.
MR. WORM'S COTTAGE BY THE SEA.
ON the seashore you will find two or three kinds of
worms. These are called "Tube Worms," from the
shape of the houses which they build. Some of
them are called Swimming Worms."
The swimming worm is cousin to another family of
creatures which look like worms, but have many
feet. They have a name which means "many feet.'
46 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
You know that on most of the rings, in the body of
the worm, are hairs or hooks. You can see how
easy it would be for these to become feet. Now
each animal seems to have parts that are like
some other animals, and some new forms of its
Thus, next the worm, with his rings and hooks, comes
another animal with rings and feet. Of all the
ring animals, Mr. Worm is the pattern, and after
him comes his cousin, Mr. Many-Feet.
Then, while Mr. Many-Feet is like Mr. Worm, he is
also like Mrs. Fly, and seems to come between the
two, a little related to both.
Now let us look at the sea-side worms. Here we find
some worms that have eyes. We also find some
that have little hard teeth, set in a ring inside
their mouths. There are some that have fine
plumes, as gay as any bird. These poor worms
gleam like a rainbow.
New parts can grow on these worms as well as on the
earth-worm, or even better. Some say that they
can even get a new head if the old one is lost.
Some of these worms can bore into very hard things,
as wood or stone. Some of them shine like a fire.
Ask some one to tell you of this kind of light; it
is like what we call Jack o' Lantern.
MR. WORM'S COTTAGE BY THE SEA. 47
Dig in the sea sand anywhere, and you will find
worms, black, brown, green, red, orange. They
bore through sand and mud, and move very fast.
It is not yet known how these worms bore into stone
and wood. Perhaps it is by means of some acid
stuff in their mouths. Perhaps it is by a file,
such as Mr. Drill has.1
If you look along the sea sand of some shores, you will
find the tube-homes of these sea worms. In their
way of making a shell-home, and making it larger
as they grow, they are like the little shell-fish you
have read of.2
Most of these tube-homes are small, but. some are very
large. A gentleman told me he had one with the
bore or hole as large as his arm.
These worms by the sea serve as food for many fish
and other creatures. You know that nearly all
fish like to eat worms, and that they are used for
bait. The boy who knew nothing else about
worms knew they made good bait.
He would have been full of wonder if I had told him
that large worms are used for food by men in
some parts of the world. In this country we do
not make use of such food.
1 Book First, Lesson 39.
2 Book First, Lesson 36.
48 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
MR. WORM AT HOME.
BABY worms are just like the parent worms, only
smaller, and have not so many rings. As they
grow, they get more rings by the dividing of the
In some kinds of soil the wee worms are born in a
little hard skin bag. This keeps them from harm,
until they get strong enough to take care of them-
Mr. Worm's home is like a row of long halls. These
halls are lined with a kind of glue from the
worm's body. This glue makes the walls firm;
then they will not fall in.
The halls are not very deep under ground. If the
weather is very cold, or very dry, the worms dig
down deeper. Worms dislike cold or drought.
They enjoy warmth. They also like water and
When winter comes the worms plug up the doors of
their houses. This is done by dragging into it a
MR. WORM AT HOME. 49
plant stem that will fit and fill it. The worms
carry into their homes leaves and stalks to eat.
They bring out, and throw away, things which
they do not like.
Worms show much sense in the way in which they
carry things in and out of their holes. If a stem
will not go in, they turn it over, and try it in
some other way.
Worms usually come out of their holes at night or in
wet weather. If they go far from their house,
they cannot find their way back. Then they make
a new hole. Each worm lives alone.
Often in the evening br early morning, or during rain,
you will see worms near their houses. You may
find them with their heads just put out of their
doors. You will see the worm casts in early day
or after rain. It is then the worms dare to come
out. Sun and heat dry worms up very fast, and
so kill them.
The birds know all these ways of the worms. Watch
a robin or a bluebird. He searches for his food
at sunrise, or after sunset, or while it rains.
Now his keen eyes see the worm at his door! In goes
his sharp bill 1 He pulls like a good fellow! He
is hungry. He wants his breakfast. The worm
holds fast by his hooks. The bird braces his feet
50 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
and his tail, and tugs hard. Out comes the worm
to feed Mr. Bird.'
The bird shows great skill in the way he pulls the
worm out of the hole. He does not break off even
one little bit of his soft body. No boy could get
him out in that way.
MR. WORM AT HOME.
Some say that the worm lies by his door at sunrise for
warmth. I do not think that is so. I think what
he likes is the fresh dew. He loves dampness.
He fears cold, but he also dies of heat.
A worm will die in one day in dry air, but he will live
for weeks quite down under water. He needs an
even, moist warmth. His home must not be hot,
nor cold, nor dry.
Little young worms know how to dig houses, make
worm casts, carry out the soil, find food, and plug
1 See Third Book.
MR. WORM AT HOME. 01
up the door of their houses. They know at once
all that old worms do. But then worm houses do
not require as much skill as bee or wasp houses.
The sea-side worms make the prettiest worm houses.
On shells, stone, wood, or wound alone in a lump,
you will find their tubes. They are white and as
hard as shell.
These tubes curve and twist about, as the worm went
that built them. Some are very pretty. There is
a soft kind of tube made of sand and bits of shell,
stone, and weed. The sand and weed are held
together by a kind of glue. The worm makes
this glue in its mouth.
I have some tubes very clear and white. You can see
the lines where the worm went when he built
them, ring by ring. Some of these tubes are so
small, you can just run a fine needle into them.
Some are as large as a straw, and some as large
as a fine, fat, earth-worm.
Now you see how much is to be learned, even of such
a small, humble thing as a worm. Think how
much even such a weak creature can do!
There is much more to be found out about worms,
which I hope you will be glad to learn for your-
SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE
A LOOK AT A HOUSE-FLY.
LOOK at a worm crawling about on the earth. Then
look at a fly with blue or green body and thin
wings. See how it whirls in the air! You will
say, "These two are not at all alike."
Yet there is one time in a fly's life when it is very like
For this reason many wise people set flies and worms
next to each other when they study them.
You know, as soon as you look at a fly, that it is an
You have learned that an insect has wings, six legs,
a body in three parts, and a pair of feelers like
Insects breathe through all the body, and not by lungs
as you do. They have a row of holes in each
side to breathe through.
The life of an insect passes through three states.
These are the egg, the grub or worm, and the
pupa. When it is in the pupa it gets legs and
wings. The word "pupa" means baby or doll.
A LOOK AT A HOUSE-FLY. 53
There are some kinds of insects that vary in some of
these points. The fly is one that varies from
If you look at a fly, you will see that it has two wings,
not four. It is not one of the hook-wings.
Many insects can fold their wings. The fly cannot
fold its wings; it lays them back over its body.
Let us first look at a fly when it is most like an earth-
worm. The fly comes, in the first place, from a
tiny egg laid by the mother fly.
When the egg opens, the baby fly is not like a fly,
'but like a little earth-worm, both in its looks
and in the way in which it is made. It is a
small white worm with rings, and on the rings
If you wish to watch this change, lay a bit of meat
in the sun on a hot day. Soon flies will lay eggs
The next day these eggs will be turned to grubs, which
grow very fast. The fly's eggs are small and white,
and are put upon the meat as if they had been
planted on one end.
The worm of the fly has a pair of jaws like hooks.
It has two little dots which will become eyes
when it has grown to a fly. In the hooked jaws
and these eye-points it is not like an earth-worm.
51 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
The fly grub eats and grows. Then its skin gets
tough and hard, and forms a little case like a
barrel. This shuts the worm in it, as in a coffin.
Now the baby fly seems to be dead.
But it is not dead. It is turning into a creature that
has wings and legs, and can fly and walk.
As the fly lies in its case, first the legs and then the
wings grow. It gets a head with mouth, eyes,
and a trunk or tube, and from a poor worm it
turns to a wonder, as you will see.
But in its little coffin it is shut close, and its legs
and wings are all bent up. In a few days the
change is made. Now it is ready to come out.
It moves, and pulls, and gets free from the hard case.
Then it strikes the end of the case with its head
time after time. At last it breaks the case open,
and out comes the fly !
Then it stands in the air, and in the sun if it can,
and shakes itself. It is cold and weak; but the
air. dries its wings and blows out the wrinkles.
In a very few minutes the fly is strong and gay.
Then it spreads its wings and sails off to enjoy its
life, and to look for something good to eat.
HOW TO LOOK AT A FLY.
HOW TO LOOK AT A FLY.
Do you think a fly is a very small and common thing ?
Is it not worth looking at ? Let us see about that.
First, here is its head with two great eyes. We will
soon look at the eyes. Then you will see how
curious they are.
There are, besides the big eyes, three little eyes. These
are set on the top of the head. Then, too, on the
front of the head we find a trunk or tube. And
here is a pair of feelers. Inside the head is the
brain, very-much like a worm's brain. It is only
a tiny white dot.
Next behind the head is the chest. The head has the
shape of half of an egg laid sidewise. The chest
is nearly square. It is made of three rings.
On the first ring is a pair of legs. On the next ring is
a pair of legs and a pair of wings. The fly has
only one pair of wings.
On the last ring is a pair of legs. And near these legs
are two little clubs covered with fine hair. It is
by means of these clubs that the fly can halt or
56 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
balance on the wing. They help the fly as the
second pair of wings helps other insects.
The third part of a fly's body is the largest. It is egg-
shaped, and joins the chest by the thick end. This
also is made of rings.
Now let us look again at the head of a fly. The feelers
are like two long, fine plumes made in joints.
Most people think these feelers are made to touch
with. Their full, true use is not yet known.
You see, even in a fly, there is much left for some of
you to find out.
Some people think that flies smell and hear with these
"feelers." But then they are so fine that a breath
can jar them, and the fly might seem to hear
when it only feels.
In some schools for the deaf and dumb, the pupils are
called to class or table by rapping on the floor.
The deaf do not hear the noise, but they feel the
jar, and come as if they could hear.
Next comes the mouth of the fly. The lower lip of a
fly runs out into a long, slim tube or pipe. With
this it sucks up its food.
At the end of this tube is a little flat plate. Close by
it are two sharp hairs. These are to prick the
food, so that the tube can suck it more easily.
When the fly is not eating, it can shut up this tube like
HOW TO LOOK AT A FLY. 57
a telescope, to keep it safe. Did you ever see an
elephant Did you see his trunk ? The fly's tube
is his trunk.
But the chief parts to notice in a fly's head are its eyes.
These are so large that they make up nearly all
These big bright eyes look as if they had varnish on
them. Now each of these eyes is made up of a
very great many small eyes. There are four thou-
sand of these small eyes. &
Between these two big eyes are three
little single eyes, set in this way
Wise men have studied the eyes of flies for many years,
and do not yet know all about them.
The wings of a fly have a fine, thin, clear covering.
This is held out on a tiny frame, like a network.
The fly moves these wings very quickly. The
motion of the wings helps to make the sound or
buzz of the fly.
Now we come to the legs and feet of our fly. The leg
is made in five joints. The foot also has five
joints. The last joint of the foot has two claws
and a little pad. These are covered with fine
The hairs catch on little points or rough edges. Thus
the fly can walk, as you would say, "upside
SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
down," and does not fall. Be-
sides, the pad and hairs act like
a sucker. They suck air from
under the foot. So they hold the
fly from falling as he runs up a
pane of glass.
MRS FLY AND HER FOES.
I SUPPOSE you have heard your mother
wish there were not so many flies.
The fact is, flies make us much
trouble. Their noise tires and
vexes people. They lay eggs in
and on the food, and so spoil it.
They cover our clean walls and
glass with small black spots.
Will you wonder that there are so
many flies when I tell you that
one fly can in one season be the
mother of two million others!
Many insects die soon after laying
eggs. Bees and wasps do not,
nor do flies. Bees and wasps take
MRS. FLY AND HER FOES. 59
care of their eggs and their young, but the fly
mother does not.
Mrs. Fly has more than a hundred eggs to lay at once.
It is quite plain that she could not take care of so
many babies. She must let them all look out for
Still Mrs. Fly shows much sense as to where she puts
her eggs. She finds a place where they will be
likely to live and get food and grow.
If the place is too wet, the baby flies would drown
when they leave the egg. If the place- is too dry,
they would wither up and die. Then, too, they
must have soft food.
The fly does not lay her eggs on a stone or a piece of
wood. She lays them in some kind of food.
The fly can live all summer if it has a fair chance.
Cold kills flies. A frosty day will kill them.
Some few flies, like a few of the wasps, hide, and
live over winter in a torpid state, and in the
Spring they come out to rear new swarms.
Birds, spiders, wasps, cats, dogs, and some other anib
mals eat flies. These creatures kill flies by mil-
lions. People kill flies with poison and fly-traps.
If so many were not killed, we should be overrun
In the South is a plant with a leaf like a jug. On the
60 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
seam of this leaf hang drops of honey. Its juice
can make the flies drunk.
Flies like this juice. But as soon as they get it they
turn dizzy and act just like drunken men. They
fall into the jug-like space of the leaf and soon die.
One of these plants will kill many flies in one day.
Many of our best birds live on flies, and if our birds
were all dead we should have much greater
trouble with the flies.
In the autumn you will see flies sitting about as if they
feel dull and ill. If you look carefully, you will
see that the back part of the body is white. It
seems to be covered with meal or mould.
Soon the fly dies. This white dust is a disease of the
fly. It does not curl up its legs when it dies from
this cause. They are stiff and spread out. The
fly looks like a live fly. If you touch it, it crum-
bles to dust.
All around such a dead fly you will see a ring of white
mould. This is perhaps a real mould, or tiny
plant, that seizes on the body of the fly. It uses
up all the soft parts, and so kills it, leaving only
the dry shell.
There is another strange thing about this. The body
of a fly that dies in this way is rent or burst open.
The fly looks as if this dust or mould had grown
large in the body and so torn it open.
OF WHAT USE ARE FLIES? B1
OF WHAT USE ARE FLIES?
How often people cry out, Oh, I wish there were no
flies What is the use of a fly ?"
But all things that God has made have their uses. And
all God's works are worthy of study.
You have learned that worms are of great use. Let us
see if Mrs. Fly does any good in the world.
Mrs. Fly is of great use to man. She helps keep him
in health. Do you think that very strange ?
People say," Oh, these dirty flies!" And yet these
dirty flies" help to keep the world clean!
Now you know that over all the world, great numbers
of animals die each minute, and many of their
bodies lie on the ground and decay.
The foul smell of such bodies in decay causes disease
and death to men. In winter, and in cold places,
such things do not decay so fast, and so do not
make these bad odors.
But'in hot days, if such dead things lie about, they
will poison the air. Soon we should all be ill.
62 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
The work of Mrs. Fly is to lay many eggs in these dead
bodies. In a few hours these eggs turn to grubs,
and these grubs to little live worms,, which begin
to eat as fast as they can.
Soon they leave only dry bones, which can do no harm.
They change the dead stuff into their own fat,
You know that the crabs are among the street-cleaners
of the sea. So the flies are among the street-
cleaners of the air and land.
Did you ever watch flies dart about, here and there,
with a flight like hawks? They are eating up
small, evil things, too small for us to see. But
these are yet big enough to hurt us if we should
get them into our lungs.
Ask your teacher to tell you a little about your lungs.
In and about our homes many bits of things drop, and
might decay and mould. This would make the air
foul. But the busy and greedy fly drinks up all
the soft part of these things.
So we see that what we call the dirty flies help to clean
away much dirt.
Then, too, the fly serves for food for many birds, and
fish, and frogs, and some insects. Some of these
things we use for our food. Others are full of
beauty, or are of use to us, each in its own way.
A SWARM OF FLIES. 63
Thus, though the fly is often a trouble to us, we find
it is not without its uses. Look at one of these
little creatures through a glass that will magnify
it. You will see that the poor insect has really
From what you have read in this lesson you must not
think that all foul smells kill, nor that things that
have no bad smell are always safe. There are
some gases that have no odor at all, which yet
are very deadly.
A SWARM OF FLIES.
HAVE you heard people speak of swarms of flies?
By a swarm of flies we mean a great number of
flies rather near together. By a swarm of bees
we mean a number of bees that live and work in
one place. A swarm of bees divides the work of
its hive. It has one queen bee. She is the mother
and ruler of the rest. But flies have no home
where they live in common. They have no work.
They have no one mother or queen, for whom the
rest work. Each mother fly drops her eggs where
64 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
it seems best to her. Then she goes off. She
leaves her children to-grow as best they can.
I have said that the fly likes best to place her eggs on
a piece of fresh meat.
These eggs soon turn to worms or grubs, and so spoil
the meat. To keep the meat from the flies the
cook puts a cover over it. The cover is often
made of wire net.
"Now," says the cook, "I can keep away that dirty
But Mrs. Fly says, "Oh, can you, Mrs. Cook? We
will see about that."
So Mrs. Fly sits on top of the wire cover. She puts
her little egg tube through one of the fine holes in
the net. She-drops egg after egg from the tube.
The eggs fall right on the meat, just where Mrs.
Fly wishes them to be.
Then the cook cries out, "How ever did that fly get to
Is it not strange that Mrs. Fly knows that her egg tube
is the right size to go through the mesh of the
wire net? How does she know that the eggs will
fall on the meat ?
Flies do another queer thing. If many flies are in a
room, and you begin to chase them to kill them,
they hide. They creep into holes and cracks.
A SWARM OF FLIES. 6C
They hide in curtains. They go behind pictures.
After the hunt is over, out they come, one by one!
Flies also know how to sham death,--"play dead," you
If you hit one and make it fall, it will lie very still, and
seems to be dead. Then, after a little, it softly
spreads out its legs and its wings. Then it shakes
itself. A moment more, off it goes.
This fashion of making believe to be dead does not
belong to flies only. Nearly all insects, and many
other animals sham death.
It is worth while to watch and see how well they do it.
When a fly is killed other flies come to eat up its body.
They put their trunks or mouth tubes on the dead
fly and begin to suck.
Soon the body is sucked dry of all its juice. It is only
a dry shell.
I will tell you something that you can do with a dead
fly. If it has not been dead so long that it has
grown too stiff you can make the wings move.
Hold it by the body. Gently tip up one wing.
As you lift up one wing the other will rise too.
They move together. It is as if they were set on
a little spring.
66 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
SOME QUEER FLIES.
ALTHOUGH flies are of use, they also do evil to men in
many ways. It is well to look at things on all
The fly you have been reading about is the common
house-fly. That fly, with its noise, dirt, and spoil-
ing of food by laying eggs in it, is bad enough.
But yet the house-fly makes the least trouble of
any of its kind.
There are many .kinds of flies. To the family of flies
belong gnats, midges, mosquitoes, and the big
daddy-long-legs with wings.
You know well, how some of these things sting, you
say "bite" you. Mr. Daddy-long-legs hurts the
grass lands with his grubs, which spoil grass roots
Sand the shoots of plants.
There is a fly called a "gall-fly" because it bites trees,
and lays eggs in twigs. Then upon the twigs
grow over the eggs round balls called "galls," and
these injure the trees.
SOME QUEER FLIES. 67
There is also the "bot-fly," which lays its eggs on the
hide of the horse. The egg causes the skin of the
horse to itch. He licks the place, and the egg
goes into his stomach.
The egg of the bot-fly is apt to make the horse sick.
The grub eats holes in the stomach of the horse.
That makes the horse sick. The farmer will say
that his horse is sick with bots."
In Africa flies kill horses and oxen by biting them.
The bite poisons the cattle and causes fever.
Farmers will tell you of a very bad fly that spoils
wheat and other grain. It is called the "Hes-
Flies, as they flit from place to place, sometimes carry
with them the poison of disease, as of sores and
ulcers. Thus they spread these troubles among
But while I tell you of that, I must not fail to say
that flies, as they go to flowers for honey, carry
the dust of the flowers from one to another. This
helps new flowers to grow.
There is a large and handsome bright green fly, very
fine to look at, which bites horses and worries
them. It is called the "horse-fly."
In some lands a small sand-fly causes sore eyes.
Flies have been on the earth about as long as men
6i SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
have, or a little longer, and there are some dead
flies worth a great deal of money.
How is that? There are flies in amber. Amber is
clear, hard, and bright yellow. It is used for
jewelry. Sometimes we see a perfect fly, held in
a clear, light mass of amber.
How did it come there? The amber was once a soft
gum and the fly lit on it. It stuck fast, and the
amber flowed over it and grew hard, and so buried
the fly in a clear, golden tomb.
A piece of amber with a fly in it will bring a high
The "Spanish fly" is a large blue-green beetle. It is
very handsome, and is most useful when it is dead.
It is used in medicine. It makes blisters on the
Do you say, "Oh, blisters are very bad!" Yes, they
cause pain. But even pain can be of use in this
world. The blister, though it pains us, is of use.
It cures what might be a worse pain.
This Spanish fly is not a fly at all. It is a beetle
which has been given a fly's name. It is put here
at the end of the lessons on flies, because in the
next lessons you are to read about beetles.
IN ARMOR CLAD.
IN ARMOR CLAD.
BEETLE AND CRAB. ARE WE COUSINS?
Go to the garden or to the home plants, and after a
little search you will find one of the wonders of
You will find a small, horny, shining, red thing, with
black spots on its back. "Why!" you say, "that
is only a lady-bug, or lady-bird. We say a little
rhyme to it." Yes, it is one of the beetles, and
every beetle is a wonder.
The winged insects are divided into two great classes,
Eaters and Drinkers. That is what their Latin
names mean. Butterflies, house-flies, bees, and
70 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
others, are drinkers. That is, they get their food
by sucking it through a pipe or tube.
This tube is on the fore part of the head; it is really
the upper lip grown long and round.
The other great class, the Eaters, eat their food with
their mouths. Some suck or lick it; some use
their jaws to crush and break their food.
Beetles belong to the class Eaters.
The beetles are covered with a hard, horny shell, like
a case. In this they are like the old-time soldiers,
who wore armor from head to foot.
Beetles belong to the great family of the ring-made
creatures. Take a large, round beetle, with big
jaws, feelers, and legs. Does he not look much
like Mr. Crab, who is also ring-made?
In the picture above this lesson you see Mr. Crab and
Mr. Beetle. This is a large beetle that likes to
live among the grasses and weeds near the sea-
shore. When he and Mr. Crab meet on the sand
they may think they are cousins.
Now let us get a beetle and look at him closely. You
will often find dead beetles on your path or in the
grass. You can take them to pieces and compare
them with what you read about them.
The first thing that you will notice in the beetle is
the hard case over the wing. The wing-cases look
IN ARMOR CLAD. 71
like little shells, and have a nice hinge to hold
them in their place.
These two wing-covers fit close to each other over the
beetle's back. When he flies he lifts them away
from the wings. When you take off these covers
you will see lying under the cases a pair of neatly
folded wings. These wings are made much as
Mrs. Wasp's are.
The cases are used for armor, not for flying. They
are really a pair of wings. The fine silken under-
wings are the pair with which beetles fly.
There are some beetles that do not have this second
pair, and so cannot fly. There are some that have
the upper pair so short tha- they do not half
cover the body. Beetles which do not have the
lower wings creep, and cannot fly.
Watch a beetle as he crawls on the ground. Now see
him! When his back flies open two bright-hued
shells rise up. This crawling thing sweeps into
the air on a pair of wide thin wings!
The part of the beetle's body that is under the wings
has rings like those of the wasp. The body is
made in the three parts insects have. The wings
and six legs are fastened on what you would call
the chest or middle part.
The wings fastened on the upper or back part of the
72 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
beetle's chest fold down over the hind part of the
body. On the end of the hind part is what is
called "the egg-placer." With that Mrs. Beetle
lays her eggs in safe places.
The legs and feet of the beetle are made in joints.
They have hairs on them. The legs are so made
and set that they cannot spread out as far as
those of spiders, wasps, flies.
Now here is Mr. Beetle's head. It has two jaws and
two feelers, the mouth, and the eyes. There is
a little horn shield over the mouth. In fact, the
whole beetle is in a snug horn coat. We may
call this coat a suit of armor.
The eyes of the beetle are like those of the fly. Very
many eyes are set in what seem to be two big
eyes. The beetle does not have three single eyes
on the top of his head. Sometimes he has two
small simple eyes at the back of his head.
The splendid colors of Mr. Beetle are on his horn
coat. I caught a beetle last night which had
the under part of his breast covered with close
hairs, so'that it looked like velvet. He seemed
to have on a rich brown velvet vest.
WHEN MR. BEETLE WAS YOUNG. 73
WHEN MR. BEETLE WAS YOUNG.
IN the lessons about the Ant, Fly,
Wasp, Bee, and others, you
have heard that the young
insect makes three changes.
First it is a small, white or light-
colored egg; then a fat, greedy
larva; then a pupa.
The insects you have thus far heard
of, pass through all these
changes in a short time. So
do some of the young beetles.
But there are beetles which
spend one, two, three, even
more years as eggs and grubs.
The long part of the lives of these
other insects comes after they
get their wings. The short
part of a beetle's life generally
comes after he is winged. EELEE HLARVS BFOR
74 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
You will not care to hear about the beetle while he
is only an egg. As an egg he lies quiet where
the mother beetle hid him. These eggs are placed
in earth or in water. Sometimes they are put
into the bodies of dead animals, or into holes in
trees, or into fruit. Some kinds of beetles choose
one place, some another, for their eggs.
Then, after a time, the larva comes out. Some day
you may find a long, soft, stupid, white worm,
with its body made in rings. It has two big
eyes, two jaws, no feet, or, perhaps, very small
ones, never any wings. Would you guess it was
Mrs. Beetle's child ? Some day it will have strong
wings, long, strong legs, a horny body, and very
often colors like a rainbow.
But this which you call a "white worm" is the beetle
larva after it is born from the egg. Sometimes
it has no eyes. It is always very greedy. Beetle
larve will eat almost everything but metals.
They harm wood, trees, fruit, flowers, meal, furs,
clothes, by gnawing and eating these things.
The larva of beetles looks like the larva of butterflies.
But it has no wings. No larva ever has wings.
The change of getting wings must come when the
larva has gone into the pupa cradle. Often in
this state it lies as if asleep or dead.
WHEN MR. BEETLE WAS YOUNG. 75
When it is a pupa it lies in a case or cradle shaped
much like a hen's egg. There the pupa lies, its
legs folded over the front of its body, its wings
packed by its side, its jaws and feelers laid on
its breast. It looks very much like a baby laid
asleep in a bed.
The larva could eat, walk, roll, or swim. The pupa
in this little case can do nothing but wait. The
full-grown beetle can fly, swim, eat, walk, and is
often a thing of great beauty.
If you dig about the roots of plants or under stones,
you will, no doubt, find larva and pupa to look
at. It is well to seek dut these things for your-
In some books you may read of a state of the insect
called the image state. This name is given to
the full-grown, perfect insect. It means that it
has reached the same form that its mother had,
which laid the egg. Larva means mask, and
pupa means baby.
76 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
HOW TO LEARN ABOUT BEETLES.
No class of insects has been more studied and written
about than beetles. Why is this ? They are not
as wise as the ants. They' do not build homes and
cities, as bees and wasps do. They make no
honey and no wax. They have not the many
trades of that busy Mrs. Wasp.
There are a few beetles which make little mud cells, or
balls of dirt for their eggs, or weave little nests
for the pupa. But their work is poor and rude,
and not as fine as Mrs. Wasp can do.
No doubt the reason why beetles have had so much
notice is, that there are very many of them, of
very many kinds. They live where we can often
see them. We can easily take them to pieces, to
study their parts, for their bodies are firm and
The parts of their bodies are very curious. Beetles can
be kept a long time after they are dead. They
will not spoil as soon as soft-bodied insects.
HOW TO LEARN ABOUT BEETLES. 77
After all, the chief reason of the notice. taken of
beetles is their great beauty. It is a beauty of
color and shape. Often the cases are lined and
dotted as if carved with great care.
Would you like to have some beetles to keep, to look
at and show to your friends ? Let me tell you
how to get them.
Have a sheet of thick pasteboard, to fasten them on.
When you walk out, carry with you a bottle with
a wide mouth and a good cork. If this bottle
has broken laurel leaves in it, the beetles will die
as soon as you put them in.
Or, you can kill the beetles with a little ether. Or, you
can take up the beetle with a little forked stick,
and plunge it into very hot or boiling water.
" O," you say, "that would be so cruel! But the
truth is, the beetle dies the instant he is plunged
into hot water. He has no time to feel pain.
Why do these things kill beetles so quickly ? Here,
now, is a great fact that you must know. The
insects do not breath through the mouth or nose,
as you do. They have no lungs. They breathe
through pipes or tubes, wound over all the body.
These tubes are very fine, and too small to be seen
with the naked eye. They
are held open by a little stiff,
spiral thread, like this :
78 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
These tubes spread even to the legs and feet of the
insect. They reach the open air by many open-
ings, or breath holes. Now, when you plunge the
beetle into hot water, ether, or laurel odor, all its
tubes are filled and it dies at once. When youi
beetle is dead, set it on the sheet of stiff paper.
Draw the legs, feelers, and jaws into place with a pin
or toothpick. Then fasten the-beetle to the paper
with a tiny drop of thick glue put under the body.
Or, you can put a fine needle or pin through the
body. Be very sure that your beetle is quite dead
before you put the pin into him.
If you take this way of saving beetles, you will soon
have very many, of all colors, sizes, and shapes.
They will be brown, black, red, green, golden. I
can hardly tell you how pretty the beetles are !
Put some on the paper, with the wing-cases raised, and
the flying-wings drawn out from beneath. The
under wings are larger than the upper. You will
wonder that the beetle can pack them in the cases.
The feelers of beetles take many forms. Some are like
plumes, some are like scales or leaves, some like
clubs. Some are nearly round like balls, some are
cone-shaped, some plain and straight; some are
bent like a new moon.
A farmer or gardener will like your beetles better dead
THE ROSE BEETLE.
than alive. As he will tell
you, the beetles and their larve
are very greedy things. They
often eat leaves and spoil crops
THE ROSE BEETLE.
THE chief family of the beetles is a
large one. It is found in all
parts of the world. The beetles
that belong to it are large, and
often of fine color and shape.
In old times the people of Egypt
called one of this family the
sacred beetle. They kept it as
an object of worship. They
often wore a stone or metal
image of it, to keep themselves
Let us now 'study one of this fam-
ily. It is called the Rose Bee-
tle. That is a very pretty
THE ROSE BEETLE.
80 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
name. The beetle itself is pretty. It chooses a
pretty home and dainty food.
Some call this the Golden Beetle, because of its color.
It is a fine large beetle, with a thick body, round
at the tail part. The feelers are short and club-
shaped. The body, head, legs, and wing-cases
are a fine golden green, with silver spots and
This beetle does not hold the wing-cases apart when it
flies. It tips them only a little. The wide, thin
wings come out from beneath them.
The rose beetle is seen most in May and June. You
will find it in the garden, about the flowers. Its
chief food is honey and flower petals. Its mouth
is not horny, but soft and skin-like.
The feelers have ten joints, and wave lightly as the
beetle flies. It likes the sunshine. When it flashes
about in the light, it looks like a piece of melted
gold with green tints on it.
The rose beetle chooses for its home and food the
brightest and largest flowers. It digs deep into
the hearts of the roses. It sucks the honey and
chews the petals.
When the mother rose beetle wishes to lay her eggs,
she finds a place at the foot of a tree. She goes
down among the roots, where the wood is old and
THE ROSE BEETLE. 81
soft. Then she puts her eggs between the bark
and the wood.
Sometimes she changes her whole plan, and puts her
eggs into an ant's nest! The ants do not seem
vexed at this.
The larva of the rose beetle is a fat, round, white thing,
like a thick worm. The head is round, and of a
pale brown color. The thin skin has hairs on it.
These larvae move very slowly, and always rest upon
one side. They have strong jaws, and their feelers
have five joints. A number of them live together.
They aredull and lazy, and always eating. They
eat leaves and soft wood.
While the weather is warm, the larve keep near the top
of the soil. When it is cold, they dig down, even
one or two feet, and lie asleep until spring, comes
They live in this way for three years. Then they make
a round or egg-shaped ball. They make the ball
of grains of earth, bits of dead leaves, and grass.
Or, they use the wood or sawdust they have cut
up with their jaws. They fasten all this stuff
together with glue from their mouths.
When the larvae are shut up in this ball, they change
very quickly. At first the ball, or case, seems full
of a milky fluid. Then the legs and wings grow.
82 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
After a few weeks the white worm has changed to
a fine beetle that looks like a jewel.
Some of these beetles are so fine that they are put into
hoops of gold for ear-rings and brooches. In the
island of Manilla ladies keep rose beetles in tiny
cages for pets!
There is a beetle much like the rose beetle. It is called
the May, or June bug. These June bugs come in
great numbers. They eat the leaves of trees, and
even kill trees in this way. They fly by night;
and they like to get into a room where a lamp is
They blunder about, making a great buzz with their
horny wings. They hit their heads on walls and
panes of glass. Some people are afraid of them.
That is foolish, for they can do no harm to them.
These June bugs hide all day in the shade. They do
not like the sun. It is no wonder there are so
many of them, as each mother lays forty eggs.
The larvae do much damage by eating plant roots.
Watch June beetles to see how they lift their wing-
covers when about to fly. Look well at the fold-
ing of the inner wings.
.PRINCES AND GIANTS.
PRINCES AND GIANTS.
PRINCES AND GIANTS.
BEETLES vary much in size. Some are so small that
you can hardly see them as they creep among the
Others are so large that a child might fear them. He
might think that with their thick legs and claw-
like feet and strong jaws they must surely be able
to hurt him. But beetles are quiet, mild things,
and seldom pinch or bite anybody.
Why do these beetles have these strong coats like mail?
To keep them from harm. They live under stones,
and among roots, and dig about in the earth.
Their horny bodies protect them.
84 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
Many animals might eat the beetles if they had not
the horny coats to shield them.
Fish, birds, and other animals eat them and their grubs.
Enough are killed and eaten to prevent the world
being too full of beetles.
Beetles have few weapons. I will tell you of one or
two of them. Stag beetles have very large, strong
S jaws, and can give a good pinch with them.
One family of beetles is called the "Oil family." They
have an oil in them. They drop this from their
legs when they are touched.
This oil has a bad smell. It can make a blister on the
skin.' Because of this oil people let them alone,
and perhaps small animals do the same.
There is a beetle that carries a gun! This is like a gun
with several barrels, for it can be fired three or
four times without being reloaded! Oh, how can
that be ?
Near the tail of the gun beetle is a little sack or bag
full of fluid. When an enemy comes near him,
Mr. Beetle, as he runs, throws off a drop of this
fluid. The fluid flies out of the bag with a little
bang. It sounds like the report of a tiny gun, and
makes a kind of mist or blue smoke.
Three or four of these shots follow each other. This
1 See p. 68.
PRINCES AND GIANTS. 85
beetle is a small fellow. Big beetles like to chase
him. When the wee gun goes off in the big
beetle's face, the big beetle backs away. Then he
folds down his feelers and stands still.
He acts very much as a dog does when he drops his tail
between his legs and runs off !
These little gun-owning beetles live in damp places.
Often a group of them will hide under a stone. If
you lift up the stone, the poor beetles are in a
great fright. They begin to fire off their guns
like a squad of soldiers.
Now after talking about these little beetles, let us talk
of great ones. I told you some beetles are very
small, and some are very large. One beetle is so
big that it is called the Giant. Another is
called Goliath, from the huge giant whom King
David slew. Others are called Atlas and Hercules,
from tales told in old times of giants.
The very large beetles live in hot lands and are scarce.
Some have the jaws large and curved like a crab's
claw. At first sight you might think them
crabs. Some of these odd ones are shown in
The colors of these great beetles are often very splendid.
Some of them have long horns on the front of
their heads. Some of them have the hind legs so
86 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
large, and of such a queer shape; that they do not
look like beetles.
Some of these giant beetles have large teeth or knobs
upon their jaws; they need them to crush and
break their food. These teeth are like the knobs
on Mr. Crab's claw, which he uses for playing a
tune. The beetle can use his knobs to make
Beetles are fond of their own tunes. Often they
make, for hours, a shrill hum, or buzz. They
make this by rubbing their wing-cases.
There is a great- beetle in Brazil called the Prince of
Beetles. He gets this name from his size and
beauty. Some of the princes have been sold for
two hundred dollars each.
When you walk in the field, you might carry a bottle
with a wide mouth. In this you can collect
beetles to study. It may be very pleasant to study
them when you go home. But have something in
the bottle to kill them, for, shut up,in a small
space, and frightened, they are likely to pull each
other to pieces.
THE LITTLE SEXTON.
THE LITTLE SEXTON.
THE LITTLE SEXTON,
ONCE, when I was a little girl, I saw a dark beetle
standing on its hind pair of legs. It was holding
its fore legs clasped over its head, as you can hold
up your hands.
An old man who was near said, "That is a holy bug,
and shows what man ought to do. It is saying
its prayers. People call it the 'praying beetle.' "
f think the old man meant what he said, but of course
the beetle was neither holy nor praying. The
queer way of standing was only one of the odd
ways of beetles. Now I will tell you of another.
SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE
Very often on the road you will see a beetle, or a pair
of beetles, rolling about a small ball like a marble.
The ball is of dirt, or some soft stuff, and is often
larger than the beetle. But she rolls it with ease,
for she is very strong.
The beetle is not playing marbles nor base-ball. She is
only doing her work. She has been flying about,
looking for a good place in which to lay her eggs,
and now she has gone to work with all her might.
She lays her egg in a morsel of the stuff of which she
will make her ball. When the larva comes from
the egg, this ball will be its food until it is strong
enough to crawl about and seek food for itself.
The beetle moulds the soft stuff over the egg, like a
pill. Then, as she rolls it about, it grows larger,
as your snowball grows when you roll it about in
When the ball is large enough, Mrs. Beetle does not
leave it in the road for wheels to run over or feet
to tread upon. She seeks a place where the larva
may be safe and feed well when it comes from
She shows much sense in the choice of a place. She
drags the ball along between her hind feet, or she
pushes it with her fore feet or her hind feet, or
rolls it along toward the safe place which she has
THE LITTLE SEXTON. 89
chosen. If the ground .is so rough that she can-
not drag her ball, she carries it on her head.
This Mrs. Beetle's head is flat, and has some wee knobs
upon it. These knobs hold her load firmly in
place as she carries it along.
Perhaps Mrs. Beetle finds that she cannot without help
take her ball to a good place. Then she flies off,
and soon comes back with other beetles of her
own kind. They all help her until her ball is
where she wishes it to be.
How does she tell them what she needs ? Who knows
that ? No one. I have seen four or five beetles
at work on one ball.
When the ball is in the right spot, Mrs. Beetle digs a
hole with her jaws and horny fore legs. Then she
rolls the ball in. She fills up the hole with earth
and presses it down flat.
This is not the only beetle that buries its eggs. There
is another one, called the Sexton Beetle. When it
finds a dead bird or mouse or frog or other small
animal, it sets to work to bury it. It digs a little
grave for it. This is why it is called a sexton.
This beetle begins to dig under the dead body. As it
takes out the earth, the dead thing sinks more and
more. At last it is deep enough to be covered, as
a coffin is covered in a grave.
90 SEA-SIDE AND WAY-SIDE.
In this way this beetle helps to keep the earth and air
clean. Is that why it buries things? Oh, no!
The reason the beetle does this is, it wants to get
a good place for its eggs.
These sexton beetles are black, with yellow bands.
They are rather large, and go in pairs. You might
think these beetles and the one who makes the ball
would be dirty from their work, but they are not.
These beetles have a kind of oil over their bodies.
This keeps any dirt from sticking to them. So,
though they work in dirty places, they are always
clean and bright.
These burying beetles have a keen scent. They can
smell a dead body even if it is a long way off.
Let us watch Mr. and Mrs. Sexton Beetle at work.
Here is a dead mouse. Through the air come fly-
ing these, two beetles. Their wings hum as they
When they alight, Mr. Beetle goes briskly to his work,
and Mrs. Beetle stands looking on. Her work in
this world is not to dig, but to lay eggs. Before
the work begins, they both make a good meal off
the dead mouse. All sexton beetles eat flesh.
Mr. Beetle works a while. Then he drops down as if
very tired, and sleeps. Then up he gets and
ploughs furrow after furrow about the mouse.
THE LITTLE SEXTON. 91
Mr. Beetle uses his head for a plough. Now the
dead body has sunk out of sight. Mr. Beetle has
put over it the earth he took out from the grave
which he made. He makes all the little grave
smooth and trim.
But what is this queer little fellow doing now? He
has made a little side door into the grave. He
and Mrs. Beetle walk in. They have gone to take
another meal from the mouse.
When their dinner is over, Mrs. Beetle lays some eggs
in the dead body. She knows that when the
larve come from the eggs, they will like to eat
the food which they find all around them. After
the eggs are laid, Mr. and Mrs. Beetle come out
into the air.
Mr. Beetle fills up the doorway. Then off the two fly
to find other things to bury.
The larva of the sexton beetle looks much like a beach
flea or sand-hopper.
Does the strength of beetles surprise you? Once I
found a fine grass-green beetle, with silver spots.
I wanted him for my card of beetles. I tied him
in the hem of my handkerchief to carry him home.
The hem was double, but he ate a hole through
it; then away he went.
Once I shut up ten beetles in a box. I forgot them
for two days. When I opened the boxs they were