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Of the Water-Insect or Gnat

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Of the Water-Insect or Gnat.

This little creature, described in the first Figure of the 27. Scheme, was a small scaled or crusted Animal, which I have often observ'd to be generated in Rain-water; I have also observ'd it both in Pond and River-water. It is suppos'd by some, to deduce its first original from the putrifaction of Rain-water, in which, if it have stood any time open to the air, you shall seldom miss, all the Summer long, of store of them frisking too and fro.

'Tis a creature, wholly differing in shape from any I ever observ'd; nor is its motion less strange: It has a very large head, in proportion to its body, all covered with a shell, like other testaceous Animals, but it differs in this, that it has, up and down several parts of it, several tufts of hairs, or brisles, plac'd in the order express'd in the Figure; It has two horns, which seem'd almost like the horns of an Oxe, inverted, and, as neer as I could guess, were hollow, with tufts of brisles, likewise at the top; these horns they could move easily this or that way, and might, perchance, be their nostrils. It has a pretty large mouth, which seem'd contriv'd much like those of Crabs and Lobsters, by which, I have often observ'd them to feed on water, or some imperceptible nutritive substance in it.

by Robert Hooke
Published 1665
Available from gutenberg.org