Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/785

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

Distribution of the Seventeen-Year Locust.—Mr. L. G. Olmstead, of Fort Edward, sends us an account of a recent interview with Dr. Asa Fitch, the distinguished entomologist of Salem, New York, from which we extract the following particulars concerning the habits and geographical distribution of the seventeen-year locust, which has but lately planted the seeds for the crop of 1894:

"The seventeen-year locust, the Cicada septendecim—thus named by Linnæus, the prince of natural historians—has just made its regular visit to the woods north of Clark's mills, below Fort Miller Bridge, on the Hudson River. Fort Miller Bridge is their extreme northern limit. From time immemorial they have appeared on the same spots. If the woods are cleared up, they resort to the nearest orchards. They are found from this locality south along the Hudson, on through New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. They come out in immense numbers, the woods resounding with the din of their notes.

There is an annual Cicada which appears in dog-days, whose shrill note is quite different from the seventeen-year locust. The notes of this last are not unlike those of the tree-toad, and they were heard at Clark's mills above the noise of the machinery.

"They sing when the sun shines. When growing old their note is much more feeble. The males alone sing; the females are silent, and this has given rise to the distich:

'Happy are the Cicadas' lives,

Because they all have voiceless wives.'

"This is their fourth visit that the doctor has observed. He has gathered and confined scores of them, under netting on an apple-bush to keep them from being devoured by birds, which collect to feed on them in immense numbers, as do the swine, and such wild animals as skunks, weasels, etc.

"The locusts puncture the bark of trees and live on the juice. They do not disturb herbaceous plants. They pierce the twigs and deposit two eggs in each puncture, which are probably male and female. The grub hatches and drops to the ground, into which it is said to go to great depths, and is seventeen years in getting its growth. They sometimes come up in the bottom of newly dug cellars, and where roads are made across districts they have occupied, and they work themselves up through the hardest beaten highway. On coming out of the ground they immediately pair, and the female commences boring the twigs and depositing her eggs, which occupies her about three weeks, when they die and disappear. They never do any appreciable injury to the trees. This seventeen-year locust is not found in any other part of the world.

"They left Fort Miller about the 25th of June, leaving an appointment to hold another great concert on the same ground in 1894. The twigs of witch-hazel, poplar, maple, hickory, oak, etc., are beautifully punctured and as regularly as the stitches on a horse's harness, thus—

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Sometimes there will be two rows on the under side of the same twig, thus—

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Many twigs of the oak have died from the puncturings.

"There is also a third species of locust in this county, of which only a very few appear. The species of Cicada are numerous in warm climates. The doctor has in his collection ninety-two species. He has the three found in this county; others from Pennsylvania, Illinois, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama; the Bahama Islands, Jamaica, Venezuela, Brazil; Colombia, Chili; a number from France, Spain, Italy, Egypt, Algiers, Cape of Good Hope, Senegal, Madagascar; the Crimea, Sylhet (a part of British India), Borneo, Java, Ceylon, Assam, Malacca, and New Holland."

Cremation of Dr. Charles F. Winslow.—The following, from a gentleman who took an active part in the cremation of the body of the late Dr. Winslow, at Salt Lake City, on July 31st, contains many interesting details concerning this event not before published:

"Dr. Winslow always had a dread of being buried in the ground; perhaps not a dread, but he had seen many bodies that had suffered the slow decomposition and ravages of the worms, and the thought was disgusting to him. His heart was taken out and embalmed, placed in a jar,