The Hunting Wasps

Overview

Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
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The hunting wasps

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Overview

Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781446062098
  • Publisher: Sumner Press
  • Publication date: 5/5/2011
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 0.96 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Read an Excerpt


CHAPTER II THE GREAT CERCERIS my memory full of the prowess of the Buprestis-huntress, I watched for an opportunity to observe in my turn the labours of the Cerceres; and I watched to such good purpose that I ended by being successful. True, the Wasp was not the one celebrated by Leon Dufour, with her sumptuous victuals whose remains, when unearthed, suggest the dust of some nugget broken by the gold-miner's pick: it was a kindred species, a gigantic brigand who contents herself with humbler prey; in short, it was Cerceris tuber- culata or C. major, the largest and most powerful of the genus. The last fortnight in September is the time when our Burrowing Wasp digs her lairs and buries in their depths the victim destined for her grubs. The site of the home, always selected with discrimination, is subject to those mysterious laws which differ in different species but are invariable throughout any one species. Leon Dufour's Cerceris requires a level, well-trodden, compact soil, such as that of a path, to prevent the possibility of land.r slips and other damage which would ruin her gallery at the first shower of rain. Ours, on the contrary, is not very particular about the nature of her soil, but must have that soil vertical. With this slight architectural modification, she avoids most of the dangers that might threaten her gallery; and consequently she digs her burrows indifferently in a loose and slightly clayey soil and in the soft sand of the Molasse formation, which makes the work of excavation much easier. The only indispensable condition appears to be that the earth should be dry and exposed to the sun's rays for the best part of the day. It is therefore in the steeproad-side banks, in the sides of the ravines hollowed by the rains in the sandstone that our Wasp elect...
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