CHAPTER I: THE BLACK-BELLIED TARANTULA The Spider has a bad name: to most of us, she represents an odious, noxious animal, which every one hastens to crush under foot.  Against this summary verdict the observer sets the beast’s industry, its talent as a weaver, its wiliness in the chase, its tragic nuptials and other characteristics of great interest.  Yes, the Spider is well worth studying, apart from any scientific reasons; but... more...

CHAPTER 1. THE HARMAS. This is what I wished for, hoc erat in votis: a bit of land, oh, not so very large, but fenced in, to avoid the drawbacks of a public way; an abandoned, barren, sun-scorched bit of land, favoured by thistles and by Wasps and Bees. Here, without fear of being troubled by the passers-by, I could consult the Ammophila and the Sphex (two species of Digger-or Hunting-wasps.—Translator's Note.) and engage in that difficult... more...

CHAPTER 1. THE MASON-BEES. Reaumur (Rene Antoine Ferchault de Reaumur (1683-1757), inventor of the Reaumur thermometer and author of "Memoires pour servir a l'histoire naturelle des insectes."—Translator's Note.) devoted one of his papers to the story of the Chalicodoma of the Walls, whom he calls the Mason-bee. I propose to go on with the story, to complete it and especially to consider it from a point of view wholly neglected by that... more...

CHAPTER I. THE HARMAS This is what I wished for, hoc erat in votis: a bit of land, oh, not so very large, but fenced in, to avoid the drawbacks of a public way; an abandoned, barren, sun scorched bit of land, favored by thistles and by wasps and bees. Here, without fear of being troubled by the passersby, I could consult the Ammophila and the Sphex [two digger or hunting wasps] and engage in that difficult conversation whose questions and... more...

CHAPTER I THE GLOW-WORM Few insects in our climes vie in popular fame with the Glow-worm, that curious little animal which, to celebrate the little joys of life, kindles a beacon at its tail-end. Who does not know it, at least by name? Who has not seen it roam amid the grass, like a spark fallen from the moon at its full? The Greeks of old called it [Greek: lampouris], meaning, the bright-tailed. Science employs the same term: it calls the... more...


CHAPTER I THE FABLE OF THE CIGALE AND THE ANT Fame is the daughter of Legend. In the world of creatures, as in the world of men, the story precedes and outlives history. There are many instances of the fact that if an insect attract our attention for this reason or that, it is given a place in those legends of the people whose last care is truth. For example, who is there that does not, at least by hearsay, know the Cigale? Where in the... more...

CHAPTER 1. THE POMPILI. (This essay should be read in conjunction with that on the Black-bellied Tarantula. Cf. "The Life of the Spider," by J. Henri Fabre, translated by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos: chapter 1.—Translator's Note.) The Ammophila's caterpillar (Cf. "The Hunting Wasps," by J. Henri Fabre, translated by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos: chapters 13 and 18 to 20; and Chapter 11 of the present volume.—Translator's Note.),... more...

CHAPTER 1. BRAMBLE-DWELLERS. The peasant, as he trims his hedge, whose riotous tangle threatens to encroach upon the road, cuts the trailing stems of the bramble a foot or two from the ground and leaves the root-stock, which soon dries up. These bramble-stumps, sheltered and protected by the thorny brushwood, are in great demand among a host of Hymenoptera who have families to settle. The stump, when dry, offers to any one that knows how to use... more...