Welcome
   Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Authors
Works by Aristotle
Pages of On The Generation Of Animals



Previous | Next
                  

On The Generation Of Animals   


at last one and thereafter none. So the leaders at first produce a
number of workers, afterwards a few of their own kind; thus the
brood of the latter is smaller in number than that of the former,
but where Nature has taken away from them in number she has made it up
again in size.

Such appears to be the truth about the generation of bees, judging
from theory and from what are believed to be the facts about them; the
facts, however, have not yet been sufficiently grasped; if ever they
are, then credit must be given rather to observation than to theories,
and to theories only if what they affirm agrees with the observed
facts.

A further indication that bees are produced without copulation is
the fact that the brood appears small in the cells of the comb,
whereas, whenever insects are generated by copulation, the parents
remain united for a long time but produce quickly something of the
nature of a scolex and of a considerable size.

Concerning the generation of animals akin to them, as hornets and
wasps, the facts in all cases are similar to a certain extent, but are
devoid of the extraordinary features which characterize bees; this
we should expect, for they have nothing divine about them as the
bees have. For the so-called 'mothers' generate the young and mould
the first part of the combs, but they generate by copulation with
one another, for their union has often been observed. As for all the
differences of each of these kind from one another and from bees, they
must be investigated with the aid of the illustrations to the
Enquiries.

11

Having spoken of the generation of all insects, we must now speak of
the testacea. Here also the facts of generation are partly like and
partly unlike those in the other classes. And this is what might be
expected. For compared with animals they resemble plants, compared
with plants they resemble animals, so that in a sense they appear to
come into being from semen, but in another sense not so, and in one
way they are spontaneously generated but in another from their own
kind, or some of them in the latter way, others in the former. Because
their nature answers to that of plants, therefore few or no kinds of
testacea come into being on land, e.g. the snails and any others,
few as they are, that resemble them; but in the sea and similar waters
there are many of all kinds of forms. But the class of plants has
but few and one may say practically no representatives in the sea
and such places, all such growing on the land. For plants and testacea
are analogous; and in proportion as liquid has more quickening power
than solid, water than earth, so much does the nature of testacea
differ from that of plants, since the object of testacea is to be in
such a relation to water as plants are to earth, as if plants were, so
to say, land-oysters, oysters water-plants.

For such a reason also the testacea in the water vary more in form
than those on the land. For the nature of liquid is more plastic
than that of earth and yet not much less material, and this is
especially true of the inhabitants of the sea, for fresh water, though
sweet and nutritious, is cold and less material. Wherefore animals
having no blood and not of a hot nature are not produced in lakes
nor in the fresher among brackish waters, but only exceptionally,
but it is in estuaries and at the mouths of rivers that they come into
being, as testacea and cephalopoda and crustacea, all these being
bloodless and of a cold nature. For they seek at the same time the
warmth of the sun and food; now the sea is not only water but much
more material than fresh water and hot in its nature; it has a share

Previous | Next
Site Search