Part 4 out of 4
shrink into a ring as did the last, which was younger and only half as
large. It struggles awkwardly, lying on its side, half-open. For all
defence it twists about; it opens, closes and reopens the great hooks of
its mandibles. The Scolia grabs it at random, clasps it in her shaggy legs
and for nearly a quarter of an hour battles with the luscious tit-bit. At
last, after a not very tumultuous struggle, when the favourable position is
attained and the propitious moment has come, the sting is implanted in the
creature's thorax, in a central point, below the throat, level with the
fore-legs. The effect is instantaneous: total inertia, except of the
appendages of the head, the antennae and mouth-parts. I achieved the same
results, the same prick at a definite, invariable point, with my several
operators, renewed from time to time by some lucky cast of the net.
Let us mention, in conclusion, that the attack of the Interrupted Scolia is
far less fierce than that of the Two-banded Scolia. The Wasp, a rough sand-
digger, has a clumsy gait; her movements are stiff and almost automatic.
She does not find it easy to repeat her dagger-thrust. Most of the
specimens with which I experimented refused a second victim on the first
two days after their exploits. As though somnolent, they did not stir
unless excited by my teasing them with a bit of straw. Although more active
and more ardent in the chase, the Two-banded Scolia likewise does not draw
her weapon every time that I invite her. For all these huntresses there are
moments of inaction which the presence of a fresh prey is powerless to
The Scoliae have taught me nothing further, in the absence of subjects
belonging to other species. No matter: the results obtained represent no
small triumph for my ideas. Before seeing the Scoliae operate, I said,
guided solely by the anatomy of the victims, that the Cetonia-, Anoxia- and
Oryctes-larvae must be paralysed by a single thrust of the lancet; I even
named the point where the sting must strike, a central point, in the
immediate vicinity of the fore-legs. Of the three genera of paralysers, two
have allowed me to witness their surgical methods, which the third, I feel
certain, will confirm. In both cases, a single thrust of the lancet; in
both cases, injection of the venom at a predetermined point. A calculator
in an observatory could not compute the position of his planet with greater
accuracy. An idea may be taken as proved when it attains to this
mathematical forecast of the future, this certain knowledge of the unknown.
When will the acclaimers of chance achieve a like success? Order appeals to
order; and chance knows no laws.
CHAPTER 13. THE METHOD OF THE CALICURGI.
The non-armoured victims, vulnerable by the sting over almost their whole
body, ordinary caterpillars and Looper caterpillars, Cetonia- and Anoxia-
larvae, whose only means of defence, apart from their mandibles, consists
of rollings and contortions, called for the testimony of another victim,
the Spider, almost as ill-protected, but armed with formidable poison-
fangs. How, in particular, will the Ringed Calicurgus set to work in
operating on the Black-bellied Tarantula, the terrible Lycosa, who with a
single bite kills the Mole or the Sparrow and endangers the life of man?
How does the bold Pompilus overcome an adversary more powerful than
herself, better-equipped with virulent poison and capable of making a meal
of her assailant? Of all the Hunting Wasps, none risks such unequal
conflicts, in which appearances would proclaim the aggressor to be the
victim and the victim the aggressor.
The problem was one deserving patient study. True, I foresaw, from the
Spider's organization, a single sting in the centre of the thorax; but that
did not explain the victory of the Wasp, emerging safe and sound from her
tussle with such a quarry. I had to see what occurred. The chief difficulty
was the scarcity of the Calicurgus. It is easy for me to obtain the
Tarantula at the desired moment: the part of the plateau in my
neighbourhood left untilled by the vine-growers provides me with as many as
are necessary. To capture the Pompilus is another matter. I have so little
hope of finding her that special quests are regarded as useless. To search
for her would perhaps be just the way not to find her. Let us rely on the
uncertainties of chance. Shall I get her or shall I not?
I've got her. I catch her unexpectedly on the flowers. Next day I supply
myself with half a dozen Tarantulae. Perhaps I shall be able to employ them
one after the other in repeated duels. As I return from my Lycosa-hunt,
luck smiles upon me again and crowns my desires. A second Calicurgus offers
herself to my net; she is dragging her heavy, paralysed Spider by one leg,
in the dust of the highway. I attach great value to my find: the laying of
the egg has become a pressing matter; and the mother, I believe, will
accept a substitute for her victim without much hesitation. Here then are
my two captives, each under her bell-glass with her Tarantula.
I am all eyes. What a tragedy there will be in a moment! I wait,
anxiously...But...but...what is this? Which of the two is the assailed?
Which is the assailant? The characters seem to be inverted. The Calicurgus,
unable to climb up the smooth glass wall, strides round the ring of the
circus. With a proud and rapid gait, her wings and antennae vibrating, she
goes and returns. The Lycosa is soon seen. The Calicurgus approaches her
without the least sign of fear, walks round her and appears to have the
intention of seizing one of her legs. But at that moment the Tarantula
rises almost vertically on her four hinder legs, with her four front legs
lifted and outspread, ready for the counterstroke. The poison-fangs gape
widely; a drop of venom moistens their tips. The very sight of them makes
my flesh creep. In this terrible attitude, presenting her powerful thorax
and the black velvet of her belly to the enemy, the Spider overawes the
Pompilus, who suddenly turns tail and moves away. The Lycosa then closes
her bundle of poisoned daggers and resumes her natural pose, standing on
her eight legs; but, at the slightest attempt at aggression on the Wasp's
part, she resumes her threatening position.
She does more: suddenly she leaps and flings herself upon the Calicurgus;
swiftly she clasps her and nibbles at her with her fangs. Without wielding
her sting in self-defence, the other disengages herself and merges
unscathed from the angry encounter. Several times in succession I witness
the attack; and nothing serious ever befalls the Wasp, who swiftly
withdraws from the fray and appears to have received no hurt. She resumes
her marching and countermarching no less boldly and swiftly than before.
Is this Wasp invulnerable, that she thus escapes from the terrible fangs?
Evidently not. A real bite would be fatal to her. Big, sturdily built
Acridians succumb (Locusts and Grasshoppers.--Translator's Note.); how is
it that she, with her delicate organism, does not! The Spider's daggers,
therefore, make no more than an idle feint; their points do not enter the
flesh of the tight-clasped Wasp. If the strokes were real, I should see
bleeding wounds, I should see the fangs close for a moment on the part
seized; and with all my attention I cannot detect anything of the kind.
Then are the fangs powerless to pierce the Wasp's integuments? Not so. I
have seen them penetrate, with a crackling of broken armour, the corselet
of the Acridians, which offers a far greater resistance. Once again, whence
comes this strange immunity of the Calicurgus held between the legs and
assailed by the daggers of the Tarantula? I do not know. Though in mortal
peril from the enemy confronting her, the Lycosa threatens her with her
fangs and cannot decide to bite, owing to a repugnance which I do not
undertake to explain.
Obtaining nothing more than alarums and excursions of no great seriousness,
I think of modifying the gladiatorial arena and approximating it to natural
conditions. The soil is very imperfectly represented by my work-table; and
the Spider has not her fortress, her burrow, which plays a part of some
importance both in attack and in defence. A short length of reed is planted
perpendicularly in a large earthenware pan filled with sand. This will be
the Lycosa's burrow. In the middle I stick some heads of globe-thistle
garnished with honey as a refectory for the Pompilus; a couple of Locusts,
renewed as and when consumed, will sustain the Tarantula. These comfortable
quarters, exposed to the sun, receive the two captives under a wire-gauze
dome, which provides adequate ventilation for a prolonged residence.
My artifices come to nothing; the session closes without result. A day
passes, two days, three; still nothing happens. The Pompilus is assiduous
in her visits to the honeyed flower-clusters; when she has eaten her fill,
she clambers up the dome and makes interminable circuits of the netting;
the Tarantula quietly munches her Locust. If the other passes within reach,
she swiftly raises herself and waves her off. The artificial burrow, the
reed-stump, fulfills its purpose excellently. The Lycosa and the Pompilus
resort to it in turns, but without quarrelling. And that is all. The drama
whose prologue was so full of promise appears to be indefinitely postponed.
I have a last resource, on which I base great hopes: it is to remove my two
Calicurgi to the very site of their investigations and to install them at
the door of the Spider's lodging, at the top of the natural burrow. I take
the field with an equipment which I am carrying across the country for the
first time: a glass bell-jar, a wire-gauze cover and the various implements
needed for handling and transferring my irascible and dangerous subjects.
My search for burrows among the pebbles and the tufts of thyme and lavender
is soon successful.
Here is a splendid one. I learn by inserting a straw that it is inhabited
by a Tarantula of a size suited to my plans. The soil around the aperture
is cleared and flattened to receive the wire-gauze, under which I place a
Pompilus. This is the time to light a pipe and wait, lying on the
pebbles...Yet another disappointment. Half an hour goes by; and the Wasp
confines herself to travelling round and round the netting as she did in my
study. She gives no sign of greed when confronted with the burrow, though I
can see the Tarantula's diamond eyes glittering at the bottom.
The trellised wall is replaced by the glass wall, which, since it does not
allow her to scale its heights, will oblige the Wasp to remain on the
ground and at last to take cognizance of the shaft, which she seems to
ignore. This time we have done the trick!
After a few circuits of her cage, the Calicurgus notices the pit yawning at
her feet. She goes down it. This daring confounds me. I should never have
ventured to anticipate as much. That she should suddenly fling herself upon
the Tarantula when the latter is outside her stronghold, well and good; but
to rush into the lair, when the terrible monster is waiting for you below
with those two poisoned daggers of hers! What will come of such temerity? A
buzzing of wings ascends from the depths. Run to earth in her private
apartments, the Lycosa is no doubt at grips with the intruder. That hum of
wings is the Calicurgus' paean of triumph, until it be her death-song. The
slayer may well be the slain. Which of the two will come up alive?
It is the Lycosa, who hurriedly scampers out and posts herself just over
the orifice of the burrow, in her posture of defence, her fangs open, her
four front legs uplifted. Can the other have been stabbed? Not at all, for
she emerges in her turn, not without receiving on the way a cuff from the
Spider, who immediately regains her lair. Dislodged from her basement a
second and yet a third time, the Tarantula always comes up unwounded; she
always awaits her adversary on her threshold, administers punishment and
reenters her dwelling. In vain do I try my two Pompili alternately and
change the burrow; I do not succeed in observing anything else. Certain
conditions not realized by my stratagems are lacking to complete the
Discouraged by the repetition of my futile attempts, I throw up the game,
the richer however by one fact of some value: the Calicurgus, without the
least fear, descends into the Tarantula's den and dislodges her. I imagine
that things happen in the same fashion outside my cages. When expelled from
her dwelling, the Spider is more timid and more vulnerable to attack.
Moreover, while hampered by a narrow shaft, the operator would not wield
her lancet with the precision called for by her designs. The bold irruption
shows us once again, more plainly than the tussles on my table, the
Lycosa's reluctance to sink her fangs into her enemy's body. When the two
are face to face at the bottom of the lair, then or never is the moment to
have it out with the foe. The Tarantula is in her own house, with all its
conveniences; every nook and corner of the bastion is familiar to her. The
intruder's movements are hampered by her ignorance of the premises. Quick,
my poor Lycosa, quick, a bite; and it's all up with your persecutor! But
you refrain, I know not why, and your reluctance is the saving of the rash
invader. The silly Sheep does not reply to the butcher's knife by charging
with lowered horns. Can it be that you are the Pompilus' Sheep?
My two subjects are reinstalled in my study under their wire-gauze covers,
with bed of sand, reed-stump burrow and fresh honey, complete. Here they
find again their first Lycosae, fed upon Locusts. Cohabitation continues
for three weeks without other incidents than scuffles and threats which
become less frequent day by day. No serious hostility is displayed on
either side. At last the Calicurgi die: their day is over. A pitiful end
after such an enthusiastic beginning.
Shall I abandon the problem? Why, not a bit of it! I have encountered
greater difficulties, but they have never deterred me from a warmly-
cherished project. Fortune favours the persevering. She proves as much by
offering me, in September, a fortnight after the death of my Tarantula-
huntresses, another Calicurgus, captured for the first time. This is the
Harlequin Calicurgus (C. scurra, LEP.), who sports the same gaudy costume
as the first and is almost of the same size.
Now what does this newcomer, of whom I know nothing, want? A Spider, that
is certain; but which? A huntress like this will need a corpulent quarry:
perhaps the Silky Epeira (E. serica), perhaps the Banded Epeira (E.
fasciata), the largest Spiders in the district, next to the Tarantula. The
first of these spreads her large upright net, in which Locusts are caught,
from one clump of brushwood to another. I find her in the copses on the
neighbouring hills. The second stretches hers across the ditches and the
little streams frequented by the Dragon-flies. I find her near the Aygues,
beside the irrigation-canals fed by the torrent. A couple of trips procures
me the two Epeirae, whom I offer to my captive next day, both at the same
time. It is for her to choose according to her taste.
The choice is soon made: the Banded Epeira is the one preferred. But she
does not yield without protest. On the approach of the Wasp, she rises and
assumes a defensive attitude, just like that of the Lycosa. The Calicurgus
pays no attention to threats: under her harlequin's coat, she is violent in
attack and quick on her legs. There is a rapid exchange of fisticuffs; and
the Epeira lies overturned on her back. The Pompilus is on top of her,
belly to belly, head to head; with her legs she masters the Spider's legs;
with her mandibles she grips the cephalothorax. She curves her abdomen,
bringing the tip of it beneath her; she draws her sting and...
One moment, reader, if you please. Where is the sting about to strike? From
what we have learnt from the other paralysers, it will be driven into the
breast, to suppress the movement of the legs. That is your opinion; it was
also mine. Well, without blushing too deeply at our common and very
excusable error, let us confess that the insect knows better than we do. It
knows how to assure success by a preparatory manoeuvre of which you and I
had never dreamt. Ah, what a school is that of the animals! Is it not true
that, before striking the adversary, you should take care not to get
wounded yourself? The Harlequin Pompilus does not disregard this counsel of
prudence. The Epeira carries beneath her throat two sharp daggers, with a
drop of poison at their points; the Calicurgus is lost if the Spider bites
her. Nevertheless, her anaesthetizing demands perfect steadiness of the
lancet. What is to be done in the face of this danger which might
disconcert the most practised surgeon? The patient must first be disarmed
and then operated on.
And in fact the Calicurgus' sting, aimed from back to front, is driven into
the Epeira's mouth, with minute precautions and marked persistency. On the
instant, the poison-fangs close lifelessly and the formidable quarry is
powerless to harm. The Wasp's abdomen then extends its arc and drives the
needle behind the fourth pair of legs, on the median line, almost at the
junction of the belly and the cephalothorax. At this point the skin is
finer and more easily penetrable than elsewhere. The remainder of the
thoracic surface is covered with a tough breast-plate which the sting would
perhaps fail to perforate. The nerve-centres, the source of the leg-
movements, are situated a little above the wounded point, but the back-to-
front direction of the sting makes it possible to reach them. This last
wound results in the paralysis of all the eight legs at once.
To enlarge upon it further would detract from the eloquence of this
performance. First of all, to safeguard the operator, a stab in the mouth,
that point so terribly armed, the most formidable of all; then, to
safeguard the larva, a second stab in the nerve-centres of the thorax, to
suppress the power of movement. I certainly suspected that the slayers of
robust Spiders were endowed with special talents; but I was far from
expecting their bold logic, which disarms before it paralyses. So the
Tarantula-huntress must behave, who, under my bell-glasses, refused to
surrender her secret. I now know what her method is; it has been divulged
by a colleague. She throws the terrible Lycosa upon her back, pricks her
prickers by stinging her in the mouth and then, in comfort, with a single
thrust of the lancet, obtains paralysis of the legs.
I examine the Epeira immediately after the operation and the Tarantula when
the Calicurgus is dragging her by one leg to her burrow, at the foot of
some wall. For a little while longer, a minute at most, the Epeira
convulsively moves her legs. So long as these throes continue, the Pompilus
does not release her prey. She seems to watch the progress of the
paralysis. With the tips of her mandibles she explores the Spider's mouth
several times over, as though to ascertain if the poison-fangs are really
innocuous. When all movement subsides, the Pompilus makes ready to drag her
prey elsewhere. It is then I take charge of it.
What strikes me more than anything else is the absolute inertia of the
fangs, which I tickle with a straw without succeeding in rousing them from
their torpor. The palpi, on the other hand, their immediate neighbours,
wave at the least touch. The Epeira is placed in safety, in a flask, and
undergoes a fresh examination a week later. Irritability has in part
returned. Under the stimulus of a straw, I see her legs move a little,
especially the lower joints, the tibiae and tarsi. The palpi are even more
irritable and mobile. These different movements, however, are lacking in
vigour and coordination; and the Spider cannot employ them to turn over,
much less to escape. As for the poison-fangs, I stimulate them in vain: I
cannot get them to open or even to stir. They are therefore profoundly
paralysed and in a special manner. The peculiar insistence of the sting
when the mouth was stabbed told me as much in the beginning.
At the end of September, almost a month after the operation, the Epeira is
in the same condition, neither dead nor alive: the palpi still quiver when
touched with a straw, but nothing else moves. At length, after six or seven
weeks' lethargy, real death supervenes, together with its comrade,
The Tarantula of the Ringed Calicurgus, as I take her from the owner at the
moment of transportation, presents the same peculiarities. The poison-fangs
are no longer irritable when tickled with my straw: a fresh proof, added to
those of analogy, to show that the Lycosa, like the Epeira, has been stung
in the mouth. The palpi, on the other hand, are and will be for weeks
highly irritable and mobile. I wish to emphasise this point, the importance
of which will be recognized presently.
I found it impossible to provoke a second attack from my Harlequin
Calicurgus: the tedium of captivity did not favour the exercise of her
talents. Moreover, the Epeira sometimes had something to do with her
refusals; a certain ruse de guerre which was twice employed before my eyes
may well have baffled the aggressor. Let me describe the incident, if only
to increase our respect a little for these foolish Spiders, who are
provided with perfected weapons and do not dare to make use of them against
the weaker but bolder assailant.
The Epeira occupies the wall of the wire-gauze cage, with her eight legs
wide-spread upon the trelliswork; the Calicurgus is wheeling round the top
of the dome. Seized with panic at the sight of the approaching enemy, the
Spider drops to the ground, with her belly upwards and her legs gathered
together. The other dashes forward, clasps her round the body, explores her
and prepares to sting her in the mouth. But she does not bare her weapon. I
see her bending attentively over the poisoned fangs, as though to
investigate their terrible mechanism; she then goes away. The Spider is
still motionless, so much so that I really believe her dead, paralysed
unknown to me, at a moment when I was not looking. I take her from the cage
to examine her comfortably. No sooner is she placed on the table than
behold, she comes to life again and promptly scampers off! The cunning
creature was shamming death beneath the Wasp's stiletto, so artfully that I
was taken in. She deceived an enemy more cunning than myself, the Pompilus,
who inspected her very closely and took her for a corpse unworthy of her
dagger. Perhaps the simple creature, like the Bear in the fable of old,
already noticed the smell of high meat.
This ruse, if ruse it be, appears to me more often than not to turn to the
disadvantage of the Spider, whether Tarantula, Epeira or another. The
Calicurgus who has just put the Spider on her back after a brisk fight
knows quite well that her prostrate foe is not dead. The latter, thinking
to protect itself, simulates the inertia of a corpse; the assailant profits
by this to deliver her most perilous blow, the stab in the mouth. Were the
fangs, each tipped with its drop of poison, to open then; were they to
snap, to give a desperate bite, the Pompilus would not dare to expose the
tip of her abdomen to their deadly scratch. The shamming of death is
exactly what enables the huntress to succeed in her dangerous operation.
They say, O guileless Epeirae, that the struggle for life has taught you to
adopt this inert attitude for purposes of defence. Well, the struggle for
life was a very bad counsellor. Trust rather to common sense and learn, by
degrees, at your own cost, that to hit back, above all if you can do so
promptly, is still the best way to intimidate the enemy. (Fabre does not
believe in the actual shamming of death by animals. Cf. "The Glow-worm and
Other Beetles," by J. Henri Fabre, translated by Alexander Teixeira de
Mattos: chapters 8 to 15.--Translator's Note.)
The remainder of my observations on these insects under glass is little
more than a long series of failures. Of two operators on Weevils, one, the
Sandy Cerceris (C. arenaria), persistently scorned the victims offered; the
other, Ferrero's Cerceris (C. Ferreri), allowed herself to be empted after
two days' captivity. Her tactical method, as I expected, is precisely that
of the Cleonus-huntress, the Great Cerceris, with whom my investigations
commenced. When confronted with the Acorn-weevil, she seizes the insect by
the snout, which is immensely long and shaped like a pipe-stem, and plants
her sting in its body to the rear of the prothorax, between the first and
second pair of legs. It is needless to insist: the spoiler of the Cleoni
has taught us enough about this mode of operation and its results.
None of the Bembex-wasps, whether chosen among the huntresses of the Gadfly
or among the lovers of the House-fly rabble, satisfied my aspirations.
Their method is as unknown to me now as at the distant period when I used
to watch it in the Bois des Issards. (Cf. "The Hunting Wasps": chapters 14
to 18.--Translator's Note.) Their impetuous flight, their love of long
journeys are incompatible with captivity. Stunned by colliding with the
walls of their glass or wire-gauze prison, they all perish within twenty-
four hours. Swifter in their movements and apparently satisfied with their
honeyed thistle-heads, the Spheges, huntresses of Crickets or Ephippigers,
die as quickly of nostalgia. All I offer them leaves them indifferent.
Nor can I get anything out of the Eumenes, notably the biggest of them, the
builder of gravel cupolas, Amedeus' Eumenes. All the Pompili, except the
Harlequin Calicurgus, refuse my Spiders. The Palarus, who preys upon an
indefinite number of the Hymenopteron clan, refuses to tell me if she
drinks the honey of the Bees, as does the Philanthus, or if she lets the
others go without manipulating them to make them disgorge. The Tachytes do
not vouchsafe their Locusts a glance; Stizus ruficornis promptly gives up
the ghost, disdaining the Praying Mantis which I provide for her.
What is the use of continuing this list of checks? The rule may be gathered
from these few examples: occasional successes and many failures. What can
be the reason? With the exception of the Philanthus, tempted from time to
time by a bumper of honey, the predatory Wasps do not hunt on their own
account; they have their victualling-time, when the egg-laying is imminent,
when the family calls for food. Outside these periods, the finest heads of
game might well leave these nectar-bibbers indifferent. I am careful
therefore, as far as possible, to capture my subjects at the proper season;
I give preference to mothers caught upon the threshold of the burrow with
their prey between their legs. This diligence of mine by no means always
succeeds. There are demoralized insects which, once under glass, even after
a brief delay, no longer care about the equivalent of their prize.
All the species do not perhaps pursue their game with the same ardour; mood
and temperament are more variable even than conformation. To these factors,
which are of the nicest order, we may add that of the hour, which is often
unfavourable when the subject is caught at haphazard on the flowers, and we
shall have more than enough to explain the frequency of the failures. After
all, I must beware of representing my failures as the rule: what does not
succeed one day may very well succeed another day, under different
conditions. With perseverance and a little skill, any one who cares to
continue these interesting studies will, I am sure, fill up many gaps. The
problem is difficult but not impossible.
I will not quit my bell-jars without saying a word on the entomological
tact of the captives when they decide to attack. One of the pluckiest of my
subjects, the Hairy Ammophila, was not always provided with the hereditary
dish of her family, the Grey Worm. I offered her indiscriminately any bare-
skinned caterpillars that I chanced to find. Some were yellow, some green,
some brown with white edges. All were accepted without hesitation, provided
that they were of suitable size. Tasty game was recognized wonderfully
under very dissimilar liveries. But a young Zeuzera-caterpillar, dug out of
the branches of a lilac-tree, and a silkworm of small dimensions were
definitely refused. The over-fed products of our silkworm-nurseries and the
mystery-loving caterpillar which gnaws the inner wood of the lilac inspired
her with suspicion and disgust, despite their bare skin, which favoured the
sting, and their shape, which was similar to that of the victims accepted.
Another ardent huntress, the Interrupted Scolia, refused the Cetonia-grub,
which is of like habits with the Anoxia-larva; the Two-banded Scolia also
refused the Anoxia. The Philanthus, the headlong murderess of Bees, saw
through my trickery when I confronted her with the Virgilian Bee, the
Eristalis (E. tenax). She, a Philanthus, take this Fly for a Bee! What
next! The popular idea is mistaken; antiquity too is mistaken, as witness
the "Georgics," which make the putrid remains of a sacrificed Bull give
birth to a swarm; but the Wasp makes no mistake. In her eyes, which see
farther than ours, the Eristalis is an odious Dipteron, a lover of
corruption, and nothing more.
CHAPTER 14. OBJECTIONS AND REJOINDERS.
No idea of any scope can begin its soaring flight but straightway the
curmudgeons are after it, eager to break its wings and to stamp the wounded
thing under foot. My discovery of the surgical methods that give the
Hunting Wasps their preserved foodstuffs has undergone the common rule. Let
theories be discussed, by all means: the realm of the imagination is an
untilled domain, in which every one is free to plant his own conceptions.
But realities are not open to discussion. It is a bad policy to deny facts
with no more authority than one's wish to find them untrue. No one that I
know of has impugned by contrary observations what I have so long been
saying about the anatomical instinct of the Wasps that hunt their prey;
instead, I am met with arguments. Mercy on us! First use your eyes and then
you shall have leave to argue! And, to persuade people to use their eyes, I
mean to reply, since we have time to spare, to the objections which have
been or may be raised. Of course, I pass over in silence those in which
childish disparagement shows its nose too plainly.
The sting, I am told, is directed at one point rather than another because
that is the only vulnerable point. The insect cannot choose what wound it
will inflict; it stings where it must. Its wonderful operative method is
the necessary result of the victim's structure. Let us first, if we attach
any importance to lucidity, come to an understanding about the word
"vulnerable." Do you mean by this that the point or rather points wounded
by the sting are the only points at which a lesion will suddenly cause
either death or paralysis? If so, I share your opinion; not only do I share
it, but I was the first to proclaim it. My whole thesis is contained in
that. Yes, a hundred times yes, the points wounded are the only vulnerable
points; they are even very vulnerable; they are the only points which lend
themselves to the infliction of sudden death or else paralysis, according
to the operator's intention.
But this is not how you understand the matter: you mean accessible to the
sting, in a word, penetrable. Here we part company. I have against me, I
admit, the Weevils and the Buprestes of the Cerceres. These mailed ones
hardly give the sting a chance, save behind the prothorax, the point at
which the lancet is actually directed. If I were one to stand on trifles, I
might observe that in front of the prothorax, under the throat, is an
accessible spot and that the Cerceres will have nothing to do with it. But
let us proceed; I give up the horn-clad Beetle.
What are we to say of the Grey Worm and other caterpillars beloved of the
Ammophilae? Here are victims accessible to the sting underneath, on the
back, on the sides, fore and aft, everywhere with the same facility,
excepting the top of the head. And of this infinity of points, which are
equally penetrable, the Wasp selects ten, always the same, differing in no
way from the rest, unless it be by the close proximity of the nerve-
centres. What are we to say of the Cetonia- and Anoxia-larvae, which are
always attacked in the first thoracic segment, after long and painful
struggles, when the assailant can sting the grub freely at whatever point
she chooses, since it is quite naked and offers no greater resistance to
the lancet at one point than at another?
What are we to think of the Sphex' Crickets and Ephippigers, stabbed three
times on the side of the thorax, which is fairly well defended, whereas the
abdomen, soft and bulky, into which the sting would sink like a needle into
a pat of butter, is neglected? Do not let us forget the Philanthus, who
takes no account either of the fissures beneath the abdominal plates or of
the wide hiatus behind the corselet, but plunges her weapon, at the base of
the throat, through a gap of a fraction of a millimetre. Let us just
mention the Mantis-hunting Tachytes. Does she make for the most undefended
point when she stabs, first of all, at its base, the Mantis' dreadful
engine--the arm-pieces each fitted with a double saw--at the risk of being
seized, transfixed and crunched on the spot if she misses her blow? Why
does she not strike at the creature's long abdomen? That would be quite
easy and free from danger.
And the Calicurgi, if you please. Are they also unskilled duelists,
plunging the dirk into the only easily accessible point, when their very
first move is to paralyse the poison-fangs? If there is one point about the
Tarantula and the Epeira that is dangerous and difficult to attack, it is
certainly the mouth which bites with its two poisoned harpoons. And these
desperadoes dare to brave that deadly trap! Why do they not follow your
judicious advice? They should sting the plump belly, which is wholly
unprotected. They do not; and they have their reasons, as have the others.
All, from the first to the last, show us, clear as water from the rock,
that the outer structure of the victims operated on counts for nothing in
the method of operating. This is determined by the inner anatomy. The
points wounded are not stung because they are the only points penetrable by
the lancet; they are stung because they fulfil an important condition,
without which penetrability loses its value. This condition is none other
than the immediate proximity of the nerve-centres whose influence has to be
suppressed. When at close quarters with her prey, whether soft or armour-
clad, the huntress behaves as if she understood the nervous system better
than any of us. The thoughtless objection about the only penetrable points
is, I hope, swept aside forever.
I am also told:
"It is possible, if it comes to that, for the sting to be delivered in the
neighbourhood of the nerve-centres; in a victim at most three or four
centimetres long, distances are very small. But a casual there or
thereabouts is a very different thing from the precision of which you
Oh, they are "thereabouts," are they? We shall see! You want figures,
millimetres, fractions? You shall have them!
First I call to witness the Interrupted Scolia. If the reader no longer has
her method of operating in mind, I will beg him to refresh his memory. The
two adversaries, in the preliminary conflict, may be fairly well
represented by two rings interlocked not in the same plane but at right
angles. The Scolia grips a point of the Anoxia-grub's thorax; she curves
her body underneath it and, while encircling the grub, gropes with the tip
of her abdomen along the median line of the larva's neck. Owing to her
transversal position, the assailant is now free to aim her weapon in a
slightly slanting direction, whether towards the head or towards the
thorax, at the same point of entry in the larva's throat. Between the two
opposite slants of the sting, which is itself very short, what can the
distance be? Two millimetres (.078 inch.--Translator's Note.), perhaps
less. That is very little. No matter: let the operator make a mistake of
this length--negligible, you may tell me--let the sting slant towards the
head instead of slanting towards the thorax; and the result of the
operation will be entirely different. With a slant towards the head, the
cerebral ganglia are wounded and their lesion causes sudden death. This is
the stroke of the Philanthus, who kills her Bee by stinging her from below,
under the chin. The Scolia needed a motionless but not dead victim, one
that would supply fresh victuals; she will now have only a corpse, which
will soon go bad and poison the larva.
With a slant towards the thorax, the sting wounds the little mass of nerve-
cells in the thorax. This is the regulation stroke, the one which will
induce paralysis and leave the small amount of life needed to keep the
provisions fresh. A millimetre higher kills; a millimetre lower paralyses.
On this tiny deviation the salvation of the Scolia race depends. You need
not fear that the operator will make any mistake in this micrometrical
performance: her sting always slants towards the thorax, although the
opposite inclination is just as practicable and easy. What would be the
outcome of a there or thereabouts under these conditions? Very often a
corpse, a form of food fatal to the grub.
The Two-banded Scolia stings a little lower down, on the line of
demarcation between the first two thoracic segments. Her position is
likewise transversal in relation to the Cetonia-grub; but the distance of
the cervical ganglia from the point where the sting enters would possibly
not allow the weapon turned towards the head to inflict a lesion followed
by sudden death as in the above instance. I am calling this witness with
another object. It is extremely unusual for the operator, no matter what
her prey or her method, to make a slight mistake and sting merely somewhere
near the requisite point. I see them all groping with the tip of the
abdomen, sometimes seeking persistently, before unsheathing. They thrust
only when the point beneath the sting is precisely that at which the wound
will produce its full effect. The Two-banded Scolia in particular will
struggle with the Cetonia-grub for half an hour at a time to enable herself
to drive in the stiletto at the right spot.
Wearied by an endless scuffle, one of my captives committed before my eyes
a slight blunder, an unprecedented thing. Her weapon entered a little to
one side, not quite a millimetre from the central point and still, of
course, on the line of demarcation between the first two thoracic segments.
I at once laid hold of the precious specimen, which was to teach me curious
matters about the effects of an ill-delivered stroke. If I myself had made
the insect sting at this or that point, there would have been no particular
interest in it: the Scolia, held between the finger-tips, would wound at
random, like a Bee defending herself; her undirected sting would inject the
poison at haphazard. But here everything happened by rule, except for the
little error of position.
Well, the victim of this clumsy operation has its legs paralysed only on
the left side, the side towards which the weapon was deflected; it is a
case of hemiplegia. The legs on the right side move. If the operation had
been performed in the normal fashion the result would have been sudden
inertia of all six legs. The hemiplegia, it is true does not last long. The
torpor of the left half rapidly gains the right half of the body and the
creature lies motionless, incapable of burying itself in the mould,
without, however, realizing the conditions indispensable to the safety of
the egg or the young grub. If I seize one of its legs or a point of the
skin with the tweezers, it suddenly shrivels and curls up and swells out
again, as it does when in complete possession of its energies. What would
become of an egg laid on such victuals? At the first closing of this
ruthless vice, at the first contraction, it would be crushed, or at least
detached from its place; and any egg removed from the point where the
mother has fastened it is bound to perish. It needs, on the Cetonia's
abdomen, a yielding support which the bites of the new-born larva will not
set aquiver. The slightly eccentric sting gives none of this soft mass of
fat, always outstretched and quiescent. Only on the following day, after
the torpor has made progress, does the larva become suitably inert and
limp. But it is too late; and in the meantime the egg would be in serious
danger on this half-paralysed victim. The sting, by straying less than a
millimetre, would leave the Scolia without progeny.
I promised fractions. Here they are. Let us consider the Tarantula and the
Epeira on whom the Calicurgi have just operated. The first thrust of the
sting is delivered in the mouth. In both victims the poison-fangs are
absolutely lifeless: tickling with a bit of straw never once succeeds in
making them open. On the other hand, the palpi, their very near neighbours,
their adjuncts as it were, possess their customary mobility. Without any
previous touches, they keep on moving for weeks. In entering the mouth the
sting did not reach the cervical ganglia, or sudden death would have ensued
and we should have before our eyes corpses which would go bad in a few
days, instead of fresh carcases in which traces of life remain manifest for
a long time. The cephalic nerve-centres have been spared.
What is wounded then, to procure this profound inertia of the poison-fangs?
I regret that my anatomical knowledge leaves me undecided on this point.
Are the fangs actuated by a special ganglion? Are they actuated by fibres
issuing from centres exercising further functions? I leave to anatomists
equipped with more delicate instruments than I the task of elucidating this
obscure question. The second conjecture appears to me the more probable,
because of the palpi, whose nerves, it seems to me, must have the same
origin as those of the fangs. Basing our argument on this latter
hypothesis, we see that the Calicurgus has only one means of suppressing
the movement of the poisoned pincers without affecting the mobility of the
palpi, above all without injuring the cephalic centres and thus producing
death, namely, to reach with her sting the two fibres actuating the fangs,
fibres as fine as a hair.
I insist upon this point. Despite their extreme delicacy, these two
filaments must be injured directly; for, if it were enough for the sting to
inject its poison "there or thereabouts," the nerves of the palpi, so close
to the first, would undergo the same intoxication as the adjacent region
and would leave those appendages motionless. The palpi move; they retain
their mobility for a considerable period; the action of the poison,
therefore, is evidently situated in the nerves of the fangs. There are two
of these nerve-filaments, very fine, very difficult to discover, even by
the professional anatomist. The Calicurgus has to reach them one after the
other, to moisten them with her poison, possibly to transfix them, in any
case to operate upon them in a very restricted manner; so that the
diffusion of the virus may not involve the adjoining parts. The extreme
delicacy of this surgery explains why the weapon remains in the mouth so
long; the point of the sting is seeking and eventually finds the tiny
fraction of a millimetre where the poison is to act. This is what we learn
from the movements of the palpi close to the motionless fangs; they tell us
that the Calicurgi are vivisectors of alarming accuracy.
If we accept the hypothesis of a special nerve-centre for the mandibles,
the difficulty would be a little less, without detracting from the
operator's talent. The sting would then have to reach a barely visible
speck, an atom in which we should hardly find room for the point of a
needle. This is the difficulty which the various paralysers solve in
ordinary practice. Do they actually wound with their dirks the ganglion
whose influence is to be done away with? It is possible, but I have tried
no test to make sure, the infinitely tiny wound appearing to be too
difficult to detect with the optical instruments at my disposal. Do they
confine themselves to lodging their drop of poison on the ganglion, or at
all events in its immediate neighbourhood? I do not say no.
I declare moreover, that, to provoke lightning paralysis, the poison, if it
is not deposited inside the mass of nervous substance, must act from
somewhere very near. This assertion is merely echoing what the Two-banded
Scolia has just shown us: her Cetonia-grub, stung less than a millimetre
from the regular spot, did not become motionless until next day. There is
no doubt, judging by this instance, that the effect of the virus spreads in
all directions within a radius of some extent; but this diffusion is not
enough for the operator, who requires for her egg, which is soon to be
laid, absolute safety from the very first.
On the other hand, the actions of the paralysers argue a precise search for
the ganglia, at all events for the first thoracic ganglion, the most
important of all. The Hairy Ammophila, among others, affords us an
excellent example of this method. Her three thrusts in the caterpillar's
thorax and especially the last, between the first and second pair of legs,
are more prolonged than the stabs distributed among the abdominal ganglia.
Everything justifies us in believing that, for these decisive inoculations,
the sting seeks out the corresponding ganglion and acts only when it finds
it under its point. On the abdomen this peculiar insistence ceases; the
sting passes swiftly from one segment to another. For these segments, which
are less dangerous, the Ammophila perhaps relies on the diffusion of her
venom; in any case, the injections, though hastily administered, do not
diverge from a close vicinity of the ganglia, for their field of action is
very limited, as is proved by the number of inoculations necessary to
induce complete torpor, or, more simply, by the following example.
A Grey Worm which had just received its first sting on the third thoracic
segment repulses the Ammophila and with a jerk hurls her to a distance. I
profit by the occasion and take hold of the grub. The legs of this third
segment only are paralysed; the others retain their usual mobility. However
helpless in the two injured legs, the animal can walk very well; it buries
itself in the earth, returning to the surface at night to gnaw the stump of
lettuce with which I have served it. For a fortnight my paralytic retains
perfect liberty of action, except in the segment operated on; then it dies,
not of its wound but accidentally. All this time the effect of the poison
has not spread beyond the inoculated segment.
At any point where the sting enters, anatomy informs us of the presence of
a nervous nucleus. Is this centre directly smitten by the weapon? Or is it
poisoned with virus, from a very small distance, by the progressive
impregnation of the neighbouring tissues? This is the doubtful point,
though it does not in any way invalidate the precision of the abdominal
injections, which are comparatively neglected. As for those in the
caterpillar's thorax, their precision is beyond dispute. After the
Ammophilae, the Scoliae and, above all, the Calicurgi, is it really
necessary to bring into court yet other witnesses, who would all swear
that, with modifications of detail, the movement of their lancet is
strictly regulated by the nervous system of the prey? This ought to be
enough. The proof is established for those who have ears to hear with.
Others delight in objections whose oddity surprises me. They see in the
poison of the Hunting Wasps an antiseptic liquid and in victuals stored in
their burrows preserved meats which are kept fresh not by a remnant of life
but by the virus and its microbes. Come, my learned masters, let us just
talk the matter over, between ourselves. Have you ever seen the larder of a
skilled Hunting Wasp, a Sphex for instance, a Scolia, an Ammophila? You
haven't, have you? I thought as much. Yet it would be better to begin by
doing so, before bringing the preservative microbe on the scene. The
slightest examination would have shown you that the victuals cannot be
compared exactly with smoked hams. The thing moves, therefore it is not
dead. There you have the whole matter, in its artless simplicity. The palpi
move, the mandibles open and shut, the tarsi quiver, the antennae and the
abdominal filaments wave to and fro, the abdomen throbs, the intestine
rejects its contents, the animal reacts to the stimulus of a needle, all of
which signs are hardly compatible with the idea of pickled meat.
Have you had the curiosity to look through the pages in which I set forth
the detailed results of my observations? You haven't, have you? Again, I
thought as much. It is a pity. You would there find, in particular, the
history of certain Ephippigers who, after being stung by the Sphex
according to rule, were reared by myself by hand. You must agree that these
are queer preserves to be produced by the use of an antiseptic fluid. They
accept the mouthfuls which I offer them on the tip of a straw; they feed,
they sit up and take nourishment. I shall never live to see tinned sardines
doing as much.
I will avoid tedious repetition and content myself with adding to my old
sheaf of proofs a few facts which have not yet been related. The Nest-
building Odynerus showed us in her cells a few Chrysomela-larvae fixed by
the hinder part to the side of the reed. The grub fastens itself in this
way to the poplar-leaf to obtain a purchase when the moment has come for
leaving the larval slough. Do not these preparations for the nymphosis tell
us plainly that the creature is not dead?
The Hairy Ammophila affords us an even better example. A number of
caterpillars operated on before my eyes attained, some sooner, some later,
the chrysalis stage. My notes are explicit on the subject of some of them,
taken on Verbascum sinuatum. Sacrificed on the 14th of April, they were
still irritable when tickled with a straw a fortnight after. A little
later, the pale-green colouring of the early stages is replaced by a
reddish brown, except on two or three segments of the median ventral
surface. The skin wrinkles and splits, but does not come detached of its
own accord. I can easily remove it in shreds. Under this slough appears the
firm, chestnut-brown horn integument of the chrysalis. The development of
the nymphosis is so correct that for a moment the crazy hope occurs to me
that I may see a Turnip-moth come out of this mummy, the victim of a dozen
dagger-thrusts. For the rest, there is no attempt at spinning a cocoon, no
jet of silky threads flung out by the caterpillar before turning into a
chrysalis. Perhaps under normal conditions metamorphosis takes place
without this protection. However, the moth whom I expected to see was
beyond the limits of the possible. In the middle of May, a month after the
operation on the caterpillars, my three chrysalids, still incomplete
underneath, in the three or four middle segments, withered and at last went
mouldy. Is the evidence conclusive this time? Who can conceive such a silly
idea as that a prey really dead, a corpse preserved from putrefaction by an
antiseptic, could contain what is perhaps the most delicate work of life,
the development of the grub into the perfect insect?
The truth must be driven into recalcitrant brains with great blows of the
sledge-hammer. Let us once more employ this method. In September I unearth
from a heap of mould five Cetonia-grubs, paralysed by the Two-banded Scolia
and bearing on the abdomen the as yet unhatched egg of the Wasp. I remove
the eggs and install the helpless creatures on a bed of leaf-mould with a
glass cover. I propose to see how long I can keep them fresh, able to move
their mandibles and palpi. Already the victims of various Hunting Wasps had
instructed me on a similar matter; I knew that traces of life linger for
two, three, four weeks and longer. For instance, I had seen the Ephippigers
of the Languedocian Sphex continue the waving of their antennae and their
paralytic shudders for forty days of artificial feeding by hand; and I used
to wonder whether the more or less early death of the other victims was not
due to lack of nourishment quite as much as to the operation which they had
undergone. However, the insect in its adult form usually has a very brief
existence. It soon dies, killed by the mere fact of living, without any
other accident. A larva is preferable for these investigations. Its
constitution is livelier, better able to support protracted abstinence,
above all during the winter torpor. The Cetonia-grub, a regular lump of
bacon, nourished by its own fat during the winter season, fulfils the
needful conditions to perfection. What will become of it, lying belly
upwards on its bed of leaf-mould? Will it survive the winter?
At the end of a month, three of my grubs turn brown and lapse into
rottenness. The other two keep perfectly fresh and move their antennae and
palpi at the touch of a straw. The cold weather comes and tickling no
longer elicits these signs of life. The inertia is complete; nevertheless
their appearance remains excellent, without a trace of the brownish tinge,
the sign of deterioration. At the return of the warm weather, in the middle
of May, there is a sort of resurrection. I find my two larvae turned over,
belly downwards; much more: they are half-buried in the mould. When teased,
they coil up lazily; they move their legs as well as their mouth-parts, but
slowly and without vigour. Then their strength seems to revive. The
convalescent, resuscitated grubs dig with clumsy efforts into their bed of
mould; they dive into it and disappear to a depth of about two inches.
Recovery seems to be imminent.
I am mistaken. In June I unearth the invalids. This time, the larvae are
dead; their brown colour tells me as much. I expected better things. Never
mind: this is no trifling success. For nine months, nine long months, the
grubs stabbed by the Scolia kept fresh and alive. Towards the end, torpor
was dispelled, strength and movement returned, sufficiently to enable them
to leave the surface where I had placed them and to regain the depths by
boring a passage through the soil. I really think that after this
resurrection there will be no more talk of antiseptics, unless and until
tinned Herrings begin to frolic in their brine. (The subject of this and
the preceding chapters is continued in an essay entitled "The Poison of the
Bee" for which cf. "Bramble-bees and Others": chapter 11.--Translator's
Ameles decolor (see Grey Mantis).
Ammophila (see also the varieties below).
Ammophila hursuta (see Hairy Ammophila).
Ammophila holoserica (see Silky Ammophila).
Ammophila Julii (see Jules' Ammophila).
Ammophila sabulosa (see Sandy Ammophila).
Anoxia (see also the varieties below).
Anoxia matutinalis (see Morning Anoxia).
Anoxia villosa (see Shaggy Anoxia).
Anthidium (see also the varieties below).
Anthrax (see also Anthrax sinuata).
Aphis (see Plant-louse).
Balaninus (see also Balaninus glandum).
Balaninus glandum (see Acorn-weevil).
Bee (see also Bumble-bee, Hive-bee, Mason-bee).
Bembex (see also the varieties below).
Bembex bidentata (see Two-pronged Bembex).
Bembex rostrata (see Rostrate Bembex).
Black, Adam and Charles.
Black Spider (see Cellar Spider).
Blister-beetle (see Oil-beetle).
Brachyderes pubescens (see Pubescent Brachyderes).
Bull, the author's Dog.
Calicurgus (see Pompilus and the varieties below).
Calicurgus annulatus (see Ringed Calicurgus).
Calicurgus scurra (see Harlequin Calicurgus).
Cerceris (see also Buprestis-hunting Cerceris and the varieties below).
Cerceris arenaria (see Sand Cerceris).
Cerceris Ferreri (see Ferrero's Cerceris).
Cerceris ornata (see Ornate Cerceris).
Cerceris tuberculata (see Great Cerceris).
Cetonia (see also the varieties below).
Cetonia aurata (see Golden Cetonia).
Chalicodoma (see Mason-bee).
Chaoucho-grapaou (see Nightjar).
Chrysomela populi (see Poplar Leaf-beetle).
Cleonus (see also Cleonus ophthalmicus).
Colpa interrupta (see Interrupted Scolia).
Common Cockchafer (see Cockchafer).
Cotton-bee (see Anthidium scapulare).
Crabro (see Hornet).
Crabro chrysostomus (see Golden-mouthed Hornet).
Darwin, Charles Robert.
David the painter.
David, Felicien Cesar.
Devilkin (see Empusa).
Dioxys cincta (see Girdled Dioxys).
Dog (see also Bull).
Dufour, Jean Marie Leon.
Duges, Louis Antoine.
Epeira (see also the varieties below).
Epeira fasciata (see Banded Epeira).
Epeira serica (see Silky Epeira).
Eristalis E. tenax (see Drone-fly).
Eumenes (see also Amedeus Eumenes).
Fabricius, Johan Christian.
Favier, the author's factotum.
Fly (see also Gad-fly, House-fly).
Garden Spider (see Epeira).
Goatsucker (see Nightjar).
Great Cellar Spider (see Cellar Spider).
Hornet (see also Golden-mouthed Hornet).
Lalande, Joseph Jerome Le Francais de.
Latreille, Pierre Andre.
Leucopsis gigas, L. grandis.
Lycosa (see Black-bellied Tarantula).
Mantis (see also Grey Mantis, Praying Mantis).
Mantis-hunting Tachytes (see Mantis-killing Tachytes).
Mason-bee (see also the Anthophora and the varieties below).
Mason-bee of the Pebbles (see Mason-bee of the Walls).
Mason-bee of the Sheds.
Mason-bee of the Shrubs.
Mason-bee of the Walls.
Measuring-worm (see Looper).
Meloe (see Oil-beetle).
Monoceros (see Oryctes nasicornis).
Muscid (see House-fly).
Narbonne Lycosa (see Black-bellied Tarantula).
Odynerus (see also Nest-building Odynerus).
Osmia (see also the varieties below).
Osmia cyanea (see Blue Osmia).
Osmia Latreillii (see Latreille's Osmia).
Osmia parvula (see Tiny Osmia).
Osmia tricornis (see Three-horned Osmia).
Palarus (see also Palarus flavipes).
Philanthus (see also the varieties below).
Philanthus apivorus (see Bee-eating Philanthus).
Philanthus coronatus (see Crowned Philanthus).
Philanthus raptor (see Robber Philanthus).
Pieris (see Cabbage Pieris).
Pompilus (see also the varieties below).
Pompilus annulatus (see Ringed Calicurgus).
Pompilus octopunctatus (see Eight-spotted Pompilus).
Resin-bee (see Anthidium bellicosum, Anthidium septemdentatum).
Rhinoceros Beetle (see Oryctes nasicornis).
Ringed Pompilus (see Ringed Calicurgus).
Romanes, George John.
Rose-chafer (see Cetonia, Golden Cetonia).
Sapyga punctata (see Spotted Sapyga).
Scolia (see also the varieties below).
Scolia bifasciata (see Two-banded Scolia).
Scolia haemorrhoidalis (see Hemorrhoidal Scolia).
Scolia hortorum (see Garden Scolia).
Scolia interrupta (see Interrupted Scolia).
Segestria perfidia (see Cellar Spider).
Silky Leaf-cutter (see Megachile sericans).
Solenius fascipennis (see Brown-winged Solenius).
Solenius vagus (see Wandering Solenius).
Sphex (see also Languedocian Sphex, White-banded Sphex, Yellow-winged
Spider (see also Black-bellied Tarantula, Cellar Spider, Epeira.
Stizus (see also the varieties below).
Tachytes (see also Mantis-killing Tachytes and the varieties below).
Tachytes anathema (see Anathema Tachytes).
Tachytes nigra (see Black Tachytes).
Tachytes Panzeri (see Panzer's Tachytes).
Tachytes tarsina (see Tarsal Tachytes).
Tarantula (see Black-bellied Tarantula).
Teixeira de Mattos, Alexander.
Unwin, T. Fisher, Ltd.
Vespa crabro (see Hornet).
Virgilian Bee, Virgil's Bee (see Drone-fly).
Wasp (see Common Wasp).
Weevil (see also Acorn-weevil, Nut-weevil, Pea-weevil).
Whippoorwill (see Nightjar).
Zonitis praeusta (see Burnt Zonitis).