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Of a Flea

Of a Flea.png ThumbnailsOf the Water-Insect or GnatThumbnailsOf the Water-Insect or GnatThumbnailsOf the Water-Insect or Gnat

The strength and beauty of this small creature, had it no other relation at all to man, would deserve a description.

For its strength, the Microscope is able to make no greater discoveries of it then the naked eye, but onely the curious contrivance of its leggs and joints, for the exerting that strength, is very plainly manifested, such as no other creature, I have yet observ'd, has any thing like it; for the joints of it are so adapted, that he can, as 'twere, fold them short one within another, and suddenly stretch, or spring them out to their whole length, that is, of the fore-leggs, the part A, of the 34. Scheme, lies within B, and B within C, parallel to, or side by side each other; but the parts of the two next, lie quite contrary, that is, D without E, and E without F, but parallel also; but the parts of the hinder leggs, G, H and I, bend one within another, like the parts of a double jointed Ruler, or like the foot, legg and thigh of a man; these six leggs he clitches up altogether, and when he leaps, springs them all out, and thereby exerts his whole strength at once.

by Robert Hooke
Published 1665
Available from gutenberg.org