Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/40

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

bad reputation among the peoples whose country they inhabit. In spite of these conclusions, the accuracy of which has been tested with great care, there occur in the newspapers every year stories of spider bites of great seriousness, often resulting in death or the amputation of a limb. The details of negative evidence and of lack of positive evidence need not be entered upon here, except in so far as to state that in the great majority of these cases the spider supposed to have inflicted the bite is not even seen, while in almost no case is the spider seen to inflict the bite; and it is a well-known fact that there are practically no spiders in our more northern States which are able to pierce the human skin, except

PSM V56 D0040 Different stages of conorhinus sanguisugus.png
Different Stages of Conorhinus sanguisugus. Twice natural size. (After Marlatt.)

upon a portion of the body where the skin is especially delicate and which is seldom exposed. There arises, then, the probability that there are other insects capable of piercing tough skin, the results of whose bites may be more or less painful, the wounds being attributed to spiders on account of the universally bad reputation which these arthropods seem to have.

These sentences formed the introduction to a paper read by the writer at a meeting of the Entomological Society of Washington, held June 1st last. I went on to state that some of these insects are rather well known, as, for example, the blood-sucking cone-nose (Conorhinus sanguisugus) and the two-spotted corsairs