The Neuropter have two pairs of transparent wings, beautifully and minutely netted. Most are carnivorous ; they live in damp earth, in water, or on plants. Tue pupa is quiescent, or active, and terrestrial, as the white ant, or aquatic, as the dragon and day fly. Dragon Flies have a large round head, large eyes, a slender body of varied colors, and can fly in all directions, forwards, backwards, and sideways. They have been seen 500 miles at sea. In two of the genera, the wings are always expanded. Ephemeral (Day or May-Flies) in the larvs state exist two or three years burrowing in banks ; but when perfect, live but a few hours. In the latter condition, they take no food, their object being to propagate the race, after which they die. They are seen in great numbers along the margin of streams in the fine days of summer and au-tamn, distinguished by their spotted wings, and three long tails. They have a strong inclination for luminous objects, evident from their gyrations round a lighted flambeau; and yet thy never see the sun, as they appear appear after his sitting and die before his rising. Myrmidion flourish between the tropics of great size and brilliancy. Their larvoe, called ant-lions, are about half an inch long, triangular in shape, have twelve eyes, a mouth with forceps, and can walk no other way than backwards. They feed chiefly on_the formic acid of the ant, to catch which they excavate conical pitfalls in fine sand, two inches deep and three in width at the top, and hide them-selves at the bottom. Termites or White Ants, mostly found within the tropics, are carnivorous, or omnivorous. They commit great ravages; and in marching hiss like serpents. Arriving at their perfect state, they fly off in the night, but lose their wings before morning. Their societies consist of larvse who arfc the workers, most numerous, and one-quarter of an inch long—the pupae or nymphs—neuters, who are the sentinels, of large size, and blind—males and females, of which there is one of each in every society. The latter (represented above) is queen; in oviposition, her abdomen becomes more than three inches long, equal to that of 25,000 workers, and by its peristaltic motion, extrudes 86,400 eggs a day. These the larvae carry to the nurseries. The nests of these animals may be considered as a large city, numbering many houses, each having an infinity of cells. They are bnilt of clay and completed in three or four years, and are larger than a wigwam, being twelve feet in height, covered by a vast dome, and adorned by pinnacles, and turrets, so that a cluster resembles an Indian village. The upper part is used as a castle; the lower comprises the royal chamber for the king and queen—an arched vault of semi-oval shape, surrounded by a labyrinth of arched rooms ; nurseries for the young, made of wood, and half an inch wide ; store-houses for food, as wood, gums, & c, and numerous galleries and empty rooms. We find also spiral thoroughfares, bridges of one elliptic arch, and Gothic arches receding as in perspective, not excavated but projected. Subterranean roads, wider than the bore of a large cannon branch out on every side of the metropolis, to the distance of several hundred feet. These edifices are 500 times the height of the workmen, while the pyramids are only 120 times. Were the terms of human dimensions, its buiding would rise half a mile high, and its tunnels expand to more than 300 feet in diameter. Like the Homoptera, these insects are suctorial ; but have anterior wings coriaceous at the base and membranous at the tip. The majority are tropical, of beautiful colors and markings. Most of the Geocorisa or Land-Bugs, when alarmed or touched, emit a powerful odor, in some species pleasing, in others disgusting. Some inject a poisonous fluid; in others the wings are undeveloped. The bedbug was not known in England at the beginning of the 16th century. It was originally called chinche, punez, or wall-louse, and afterwards bug (Celtic for ghost or goblin) because they were " terrors by nighs," whence bug-bear. It is mentioned in Hamlet, Act V, scene 2, and Ps. XCL. 5. They sometimes attain the size of a cockchafer. Some of another family have the body shaped like a ferryboat, and propel themselves over the surface of waters by the oar-like action of the two rriddle feet, using the hind legs, brought together as rudder. The Hydrocorisa or Water-Bugs are of an obscure black color. One tribe, called boat-flies, from swimming on their backs, have all their organs arranged for this position, and for rapid progression. The fore feet are tlaws for catching aquatic insects for food ; the hind pairs are bristled for paddling. In warm weather they are found stationary on the surface of their element; but descend on the approach of danger, which they quickly l.jarn by their all-seeing eyes. They carry down air forrespiration beneath the wings. The nepidae are very predacious ; and breathe by two tubes at the end body.
This article was originally published with the title "Entomology" in Scientific American 8, 42, 336 (July 1853)