honey, it obtains a supply of air. After a resting (pseudo-pupal) stage and another larval stage, the pupa is developed. In the American Epicauta vittata the larva is parasitic on the eggs and egg-cases of a locust. The triungulin searches for the eggs, and, after a moult, becomes changed into a soft-skinned tapering larva. This is followed by a resting (pseudo-pupal) stage, and this by two successive larval stages like the grub of a chafer. The Rhipidophoridae are beetles with, short elytra, the feelers pectinate in the males and serrate in the females. The life-history of Metoecus has been studied by T. A. Chapman, who finds that the eggs are laid in old wood, and that the triungulin seeks to attach itself to a social wasp, who carries it to her nest. There it feeds first as an internal parasite of the wasp-grub, then bores its way out, moults and devours the wasp larva from outside. The wasps are said to leave the larval or pupal Metoecus unmolested, but they are hostile to the developed beetles, which hasten to leave the nest as soon as possible.
Strepsiptera.—Much difference of opinion has prevailed with regard to the curious, tiny, parasitic insects included in this division, some authorities considering that they should be referred to a distinct order, while others would group them in the family Meloidae just described. While from the nature of their life-history there is no doubt that they have a rather close relationship to the Meloidae, their structure is so remarkable that it seems advisable to regard them as at least a distinct tribe of Coleoptera.
They may be comprised in a single family, the Stylopidae. The males are very small, free-flying insects with the prothorax, mesothorax and elytra greatly reduced, the latter appearing as little, twisted strips, while the metathorax is relatively large, with its wings broad and capable of longitudinal folding. The feelers are branched and the jaws vestigial. The female is a segmented, worm-like creature, spending her whole life within the body of the bee, wasp or bug on which she is parasitic. One end of her body protrudes from between two of the abdominal segments of the host; it has been a subject of dispute whether this protruded end is the head or the tail, but there can be little doubt that it is the latter. While thus carried about by the host-insect, the female is fertilized by the free-flying male, and gives birth to a number of tiny triungulin larvae. The chief points in the life-history of Stylops and Xenos, which are parasitic on certain bees (Andrena) and wasps (Polistes), have been investigated by K. T. E. von Siebold (1843) and N. Nassonov (1892). The little triungulins escape on to the body of the bee or wasp; then those that are to survive must leave their host for a non-parasitized insect. Clinging to her hairs they are carried to the nest, where they bore into the body of a bee or wasp larva, and after a moult become soft-skinned legless maggots. The growth of the parasitic larva does not stop the development of the host-larva, and when the latter pupates and assumes the winged form, the stylopid, which has completed its transformation, is carried to the outer world. The presence of a Stylops causes derangement in the body of its host, and can be recognized by various external signs. Other genera of the family are parasitic on Hemiptera—bugs and frog-hoppers—but nothing is known as to the details of their life-history.
Lamellicornia.—This is a very well-marked tribe of beetles, characterized by the peculiar elongation and flattening of three or more of the terminal antennal segments, so that the feeler seems to end in a number of leaf-like plates, or small comb-teeth (fig. 26, b, c). The wings are well developed for flight, and there is a tendency in the group, especially among the males, towards an excessive development of the mandibles or the presence of enormous, horn-like processes on the head or pronotum. There are four malpighian tubes. The larvae are furnished with large heads, powerful mandibles and well-developed legs, but the body-segments are feebly chitinized, and the tail-end is swollen. They feed in wood or spend an underground life devouring roots or animal excrement.
The Lucanidae or stag beetles (figs. 1 and 25) have the terminal antennal segments pectinate, and so arranged that the comb-like part of the feeler cannot be curled up, while the elytra completely cover the abdomen. There are about 600 species in the family, the males being usually larger than the females, and remarkable for the size of their mandibles. In the same species, however, great variation occurs in the development of the mandibles, and the breadth of the head varies correspondingly, the smallest type of male being but little different in appearance from the female. The larvae of Lucanidae live within the wood of trees, and may take three or four years to attain their full growth. The Passalidae are a tropical family of beetles generally considered to be intermediate between stag-beetles and chafers, the enlarged segments of the feeler being capable of close approximation.
|Fig. 25.—Cladognathus cinnamomeus.
|Fig. 26.—Melolontha fullo (Cockchafer).|
S. Europe, b, Antenna of male;
c, antenna of female.
The Scarabaeidae or chafers are an enormous family of about 15,000 species. The plate-like segments of the feeler (fig. 26, b, c) can be brought close together so as to form a club-like termination; usually the hinder abdominal segments are not covered by the elytra. In this family there is often a marked divergence between the sexes; the terminal antennal segments are larger in the male than in the female, and the males may carry large spinous processes on the head or prothorax, or both. These structures were believed by C. Darwin to be explicable by sexual selection. The larvae have the three pairs of legs well developed, and the hinder abdominal segments swollen. Most of the Scarabaeidae are vegetable-feeders, but one section of the family—represented in temperate countries by the dor-beetles (Geotrupes) (fig. 28) and Aphodius, and in warmer regions by the “sacred” beetles of the Egyptians (Scarabaeus) (fig. 27), and allied genera—feed both in the adult and larval stages, on dung or decaying animal matter. The heavy grubs of Geotrupes, their swollen tail-ends black with the contained food-material, are often dug up in numbers in well-manured fields. The habits of Scarabaeus have been described in detail by J. H. Fabre. The female beetle in spring-time collects dung, which she forms into a ball by continuous rolling, sometimes assisted by a companion. This ball is buried in a suitable place, and serves the insect as a store of food. During summer the insects rest in their underground retreats, then in autumn they reappear to bury another supply of dung, which serves as food for the larvae. Fabre states that the mother-insect carefully arranges the food-supply so that the most nutritious and easily digested portion is nearest the egg, to form the first meal of the young larva. In some species of Copris it is stated that the female lays only two or three eggs at a time, watching the offspring grow to maturity, and then rearing another brood.
|Fig. 28.—Geotrupes Blackburnei.|
|Fig. 29.—Phaneus Imperator.
|Fig. 30.—Cetonia Baxii.|
Among the vegetable-feeding chafers we usually find that while the perfect insect devours leaves, the larva lives underground and feeds on roots. Such are the habits of the cockchafer (Melolontha vulgaris) and other species that often cause great injury to farm and