She laid the grass thickly over the sides of the little tepee, leaning chunks of wood against it to keep the grass in place. She left a door, or opening, in front; and she even bound a stick over the door, like the pole over the door of a hunting lodge. Last, she put grass inside, as if for a bed.
Longitudinal Section Showing Pupa in Two Positions.
In localities where the soil is low and swampy, a remarkable chamber is built up by the larva, where the pupa may be found awaiting the time of its change to the winged state. These chambers were first noticed by S. S. Rathvon, at Lancaster, Pa., and are from four to six inches above the ground, and have a diameter of one inch and a quarter. When ready to emerge the insect backs down to an opening which is left in the side of the structure on a level with the surface of the ground, issues forth and undergoes its transformation in the usual manner. This peculiar habit of nest-building, which is so unlike what is customary with the Cicadidæ, or with Hemiptera in general, points to a high degree of intelligence among these insects, showing a remarkable ability to adapt themselves to environing circumstances.
Larvæ in Burrows. Two Other Species in Background.
They are true children of the earth. The eggs are laid in the earth, and in the earth the grubs are hatched, and in the earth they spend their days, and in the earth they prepare their shrouds, and, wrapped therein, sleep their pupa-sleep through the long, dreary winter, and with the returning warmth of spring crawl out of their earthy chambers to run and sport on earth, seldom using their new-formed wings to fly away from their beloved mother.
Young in House, Winged Male, Young Suspended and Bag-like Female in Longitudinally-Split Cocoon.
During the winter the curious weather-beaten bags of these worms may be observed hanging from the tree-branches, apparently without a trace of the odd-looking creatures that hung them there the autumn before. If a number of these bags are gathered and cut open at this time, many of them will be discovered to be empty, but the greater portion will be found partly full of yellow eggs. Those which do not contain eggs are male bags, and the empty chrysalis of the male will be found protruding from the lower extremity. Upon close examination these eggs will be observed to be obovate in form, soft and opaque, about one-twentieth of an inch in length, and surrounded by more or less fawn-colored silky down. If left to themselves, they hatch sometime in May, or early in June.
Larva Feeding on Bud of Black Snakeroot, and Guarded by Ants.
But now comes the most remarkable part of the larval history of Pseudargiolus. The whole upper part of the larva is covered with small, glassy, star-shaped processes, scarcely raised above the surrounding surface, from the centre of which spring short, filamentous bodies, bristling with feathery-looking tentacles, which the caterpillar has the power of protruding at will. It throws them out like the tentacles of Papilio or the horns of snails. More singular still is an opening upon the eleventh segment, placed transversely and surrounded by a raised cushion, about which the granulations that cover the body of the caterpillar are particularly dense. From the middle of this opening, which is shaped like a button-hole, issues, at the caterpillar’s will, a sort of transparent, hemispherical vesicle, from which is emitted a good-sized drop of fluid, which the animal is capable of reproducing when absorbed.
Two Tunnels Being Filled With Leaf-Cells.
You should see the little creature in her never-tiring work of preparing material for her nest. In and out among the roses she goes, examining each leaf with the most critical care, and only desisting from her labor when a suitable one has been chosen. She scans it over and over, and at last from a position on its upper or nether surface proceeds to cut a piece just fitted for her work, which, heavy as it seems, is seized between the legs and jaws and carried on swiftly-agitated wings to her burrow.
Ten pieces or more, each differing in shape, are cut and borne away, which the ingenious insect tailor twists and folds, the one within the other, until is formed a funnel-like cone, whose end is narrower than its mouth. So perfectly joined are the parts, that even when dry they have been found to retain their form and integrity. A cake of honey and pollen, for the use of some yet unborn Leaf-cutter, is deposited within, and on this, in due time, is laid a single small egg. Nought now remains but to wall up the cell. A circle of leaf, of the size of the opening, is cut, and this is closely adjusted within the wall of rolled-up leaves. Sometimes as many as four pieces are thus utilized. A second cell, similarly built, is fitted to the first, and this is succeeded by eight or ten others. When all is completed, the eggs being laid and the cells all victualled, the hole of the shaft is closed with the earth that was thrown out, and so carefully, too, that not a trace of her doings remains to tell us the story.
Birds waiting for feeding time
Female Stickleback Laying Eggs in Nest
Male Stickleback Watching Eggs in Nest
Female Stickleback about to Enter Nest
The social weaver is found in the south of Africa. Hundreds of these birds, in one community, join to form a structure of interwoven grass containing various apartments, all covered by a sloping roof impenetrable to the heaviest rain, and increased year after year as the population of the little community may require.
The woodpeckers are carpenters; they not only bore holes in trees in search of food, but they also chisel out deep holes in which to deposit their eggs and rear their young. They generally build their nest in May, selecting an old apple tree in the orchard; the boring is first done by the male, who pecks out a circular hole; as the work progresses, he is occasionally relieved by the female. They both work with great diligence, and as the hole deepens they carry out the chips, sometimes taking them some distance to prevent discovery or suspicion. The nest usually requires a week to build, and when the female is quite satisfied she deposits her eggs, generally six in number and of a pure white color.
Nests of the Bottle bird
A rabbit hutch or coop is easily built from old packing boxes. One third of the coop should be darkened and made into a nest, with an entrance door outside and the rest simply covered with a wire front, also with a door for cleaning and feeding. The hutch should stand on legs above ground as rabbits do not thrive well in dampness. They will, however, live out all winter in a dry place. A box four feet long and two feet wide will hold a pair of rabbits nicely. Rabbits will become very tame and may often be allowed full liberty about the place if there are no dogs to molest them.
The drawing shows a standard type of rabbit hutch. A boy who is handy with tools can easily build one. We can always dispose of the increase in our rabbit family to friends or to dealers.
A chicken coop for grown fowls can be of almost any shape, size, or material, providing that we do not crowd it to more than its proper capacity. The important thing is to have a coop that is dry, easily cleaned and with good ventilation, but without cracks to admit draughts. A roost made of two by four timbers set on edge with the sharp corners rounded off is better than a round perch. No matter how many roosts we provide, our chickens will always fight and quarrel to occupy the top one. Under the roost build a movable board or shelf which may easily be taken out and cleaned. Place the nest boxes under this board, close to the ground. One nest for four hens is a fair allowance. Hens prefer to nest in a dark place if possible. A modern, up-to-date coop should have a warm, windproof sleeping room and an outside scratching shed. A sleeping room should be provided with a window on the south side and reaching nearly to the floor.
Of the order of toothless animals, the aardvark (Orycteropus aethiopicus), which occurs from the lowlands to the Woina-Deka, should be mentioned. The shy animal, with its smell and hearing, dwells in self-dug caves, characterized by lively leaps and a kangaroo-like position, supported by the powerful tail. It often goes only on the hind feet and nd sniffs the earth with the long, constantly moving nose, which resembles a pig's trunk, in order to look for ants. When it has discovered such a place, it begins to dig very skillfully and vigorously with the forefeet and push back the agitated Earth with the hind feet.
For urine and dung, the aardvark digs a small pit, which is then carefully covered up again. In the building itself, it sleeps curled up lying on its side. Pursued, it hurries away in rapid bursts and burrows quickly, closing the tube behind it.
The burrows are of considerable dimensions, and evidently run to no small depth, as one of them has been known to absorb five barrels of water without being filled.
They are dug in a sloping direction, forming and angle of about forty-five degrees with the horizon, and after descending for five or six feet, they take a sudden turn and rise gradually upward.
The prairie dog has not the privilege of possessing a home exclusively devoted to its own use, for the Burrowing Owl, and the terrible rattlesnake, take forcible possession of the burrows, and devour the inmates, thus procuring board and lodging at very easy rates.
Mother fox bringing food to its young.
The fox is a well-known burrower, its "earth" being familiar to many by by sight, and to all by name.
Few persons, who do not know the history of the fox, would believe it to be capable of forming excavations of such extent. The fore feet of the mole are clearly formed for digging, their sharp claws penetrating the earth, their broad palms acting as shovels, and their powerful muscles giving the needful force. These limbs are essentially used for digging, and are but little employed as means of locomotion.
But the fox is an admirable runner, as any hunter can avouch, and its fore limbs are formed for speed and endurance, their length enduing them with the one quality, and their muscular lightness with the other. Yet, just as the digging limbs of the mole are used fr locomotion, and enable the animal to proceed at no contemptible speed, so the running limbs of the fox are used for digging, and e nable the creature to excavate burrows of no contemptible dimensions.
Of all the mammalia, the Mole is entitled to take first place in our list of burrowers.
This extraordinary animal does not merely dig tunnels in the ground and sit at the end of them, but forms a complicated subterranean dwelling-place, with chambers, passages, and other arrangements of wonderful completeness. It has regular roads leading to its feeding grounds; establishes a system of communication as elaborate as that of a modern railway, or to be more correct, as that of the subterranean network of metropolitan sewers; and is an animal of varied accomplishments.
Osprey landing in its nest with food for its young