History of Animals
The large and the small cicada copulate alike, belly to belly. The
male discharges sperm into the female, as is the case with insects
in general, and the female cicada has a cleft generative organ; and it
is the female into which the male discharges the sperm.
They lay their eggs in fallow lands, boring a hole with the
pointed organ they carry in the rear, as do the locusts likewise;
for the locust lays its eggs in untilled lands, and this fact may
account for their numbers in the territory adjacent to the city of
Cyrene. The cicadae also lay their eggs in the canes on which
husbandmen prop vines, perforating the canes; and also in the stalks
of the squill. This brood runs into the ground. And they are most
numerous in rainy weather. The grub, on attaining full size in the
ground, becomes a tettigometra (or nymph), and the creature is
sweetest to the taste at this stage before the husk is broken. When
the summer solstice comes, the creature issues from the husk at
night-time, and in a moment, as the husk breaks, the larva becomes the
perfect cicada. creature, also, at once turns black in colour and
harder and larger, and takes to singing. In both species, the larger
and the smaller, it is the male that sings, and the female that is
unvocal. At first, the males are the sweeter eating; but, after
copulation, the females, as they are full then of white eggs.
If you make a sudden noise as they are flying overhead they let
drop something like water. Country people, in regard to this, say that
they are voiding urine, ie. that they have an excrement, and that they
feed upon dew.
If you present your finger to a cicada and bend back the tip
of it and then extend it again, it will endure the presentation more
quietly than if you were to keep your finger outstretched
altogether; and it will set to climbing your finger: for the
creature is so weak-sighted that it will take to climbing your
finger as though that were a moving leaf.
Of insects that are not carnivorous but that live on the juices of
living flesh, such as lice and fleas and bugs, all, without exception,
generate what are called 'nits', and these nits generate nothing.
Of these insects the flea is generated out of the slightest amount
of putrefying matter; for wherever there is any dry excrement, a
flea is sure to be found. Bugs are generated from the moisture of
living animals, as it dries up outside their bodies. Lice are
generated out of the flesh of animals.
When lice are coming there is a kind of small eruption
visible, unaccompanied by any discharge of purulent matter; and, if
you prick an animal when in this condition at the spot of eruption,
the lice jump out. In some men the appearance of lice is a disease, in
cases where the body is surcharged with moisture; and, indeed, men
have been known to succumb to this louse-disease, as Alcman the poet
and the Syrian Pherecydes are said to have done. Moreover, in
certain diseases lice appear in great abundance.
There is also a species of louse called the 'wild louse', and
this is harder than the ordinary louse, and there is exceptional
difficulty in getting the skin rid of it. Boys' heads are apt to be
lousy, but men's in less degree; and women are more subject to lice
than men. But, whenever people are troubled with lousy heads, they are
less than ordinarily troubled with headache. And lice are generated in
other animals than man. For birds are infested with them; and
pheasants, unless they clean themselves in the dust, are actually
destroyed by them. All other winged animals that are furnished with
feathers are similarly infested, and all hair-coated creatures also,
with the single exception of the ass, which is infested neither with
lice nor with ticks.
Cattle suffer both from lice and from ticks. Sheep and goats breed
ticks, but do not breed lice. Pigs breed lice large and hard. In
dogs are found the flea peculiar to the animal, the Cynoroestes. In