Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Aristotle
Pages of History of Animals

Previous | Next

History of Animals   

respect it resembles a plant.
Of sea-nettles there are two species, the lesser and more
edible, and the large hard ones, such as are found in the
neighbourhood of Chalcis. In winter time their flesh is firm, and
accordingly they are sought after as articles of food, but in summer
weather they are worthless, for they become thin and watery, and if
you catch at them they break at once into bits, and cannot be taken
off the rocks entire; and being oppressed by the heat they tend to
slip back into the crevices of the rocks.
So much for the external and the internal organs of molluscs,
crustaceans, and testaceans.

We now proceed to treat of insects in like manner. This genus
comprises many species, and, though several kinds are clearly
related to one another, these are not classified under one common
designation, as in the case of the bee, the drone, the wasp, and all
such insects, and again as in the case of those that have their
wings in a sheath or shard, like the cockchafer, the carabus or
stag-beetle, the cantharis or blister-beetle, and the like.
Insects have three parts common to them all; the head, the trunk
containing the stomach, and a third part in betwixt these two,
corresponding to what in other creatures embraces chest and back. In
the majority of insects this intermediate part is single; but in the
long and multipedal insects it has practically the same number of
segments as of nicks.
All insects when cut in two continue to live, excepting such as
are naturally cold by nature, or such as from their minute size
chill rapidly; though, by the way, wasps notwithstanding their small
size continue living after severance. In conjunction with the middle
portion either the head or the stomach can live, but the head cannot
live by itself. Insects that are long in shape and many-footed can
live for a long while after being cut in twain, and the severed
portions can move in either direction, backwards or forwards; thus,
the hinder portion, if cut off, can crawl either in the direction of
the section or in the direction of the tail, as is observed in the
All insects have eyes, but no other organ of sense discernible,
except that some insects have a kind of a tongue corresponding to a
similar organ common to all testaceans; and by this organ such insects
taste and imbibe their food. In some insects this organ is soft; in
other insects it is firm; as it is, by the way, in the purple-fish,
among testaceans. In the horsefly and the gadfly this organ is hard,
and indeed it is hard in most insects. In point of fact, such
insects as have no sting in the rear use this organ as a weapon, (and,
by the way, such insects as are provided with this organ are
unprovided with teeth, with the exception of a few insects); the fly
by a touch can draw blood with this organ, and the gnat can prick or
sting with it.
Certain insects are furnished with prickers or stings. Some
insects have the sting inside, as the bee and the wasp, others
outside, as the scorpion; and, by the way, this is the only insect
furnished with a long tail. And, further, the scorpion is furnished
with claws, as is also the creature resembling a scorpion found within
the pages of books.
In addition to their other organs, flying insects are furnished
with wings. Some insects are dipterous or double-winged, as the fly;
others are tetrapterous or furnished with four wings, as the bee; and,
by the way, no insect with only two wings has a sting in the rear.
Again, some winged insects have a sheath or shard for their wings,
as the cockchafer; whereas in others the wings are unsheathed, as in
the bee. But in the case of all alike, flight is in no way modified by
tail-steerage, and the wing is devoid of quill-structure or division
of any kind.

Previous | Next
Site Search