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Of The Beauty Of Most Insects.

Nature furnishes everything which can contribute the gratification of our fenses. There are creatures which it gives us pleasure to touch; we are delighted with the voices of others; there are some which exhale the most agreeable perfumes, the taste of some pleases our palate, and the beauty of many charms the eye. Insects, otherwise so despised, are well fitted to minister to our gratification in this last respect. I have had occasion, in some of the former Chapters, to treat of that , particular beauty which consists in the just proportion and judicious adaptation of their several members. Not to fall into useless repetitions, I shall confine myself here to the beauty of their colours, to the skill with which they are arranged, to the delicacy of each particular tint, and in general, to the admirable disposition of the whole;

The brilliancy of those colours is particularly remarkable on their bodies and wings. It is true that We often find but one colour on the bodies of infects* but in some it is so beautiful and shining that it1 surpasses the finest varnish. Each part of the body has its particular colour, but all equally beautiful. I mean, for example, a certain fly, whole back is like"

polished polished steel inclining a little to green, and its abdomen is red like poliihed copper.

The body of most caterpillars presents a compound of different colours often mingled with so much art that the most skilful workman could not imitate them in his most gaudy stuffs of silk, and convinces ui that Solomon in ail his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Some have the body marked wiih clots or points of different colours, or with spots larger than the points, of unequal bigness, and of irregular shape; or lastly, with points and spots at the fame time, variously but beautifully disposed. The bodies of other caterpillars are adorned with lines, and bands of different colours, and of different figures: some are longitudinal, others transverse; sometimes continuous, at other times interrupted, as if they had been cut in different places. There are likewise some that have lines longitudinal and transverse at the same time. In some caterpillars the spots take the figure of lozenges and rhomboids; in others that of bands, a little broader than the lines, which are either longitudinal or transverse. There is often an agreeable intermixture of all these marks at the fame time. Some are adorned with lines and points, others with points and bands, and a third with points, lines, and bands, all at once.

The little tubercles of the size of a grain of millet, or of poppy feed, which are seen on the body of many caterpillars, are no small ornament to them. These small elevations are so smooth and so poliihed, that when we look at the animal possessed of them, we would think it studded with jewels. The resemblance is the more striking, as these tubercles are of different colours. Some have the whiteness of "the diamond, others the redness of the ruby; some are

A a , yellow yellow like a chrysolite, others blue like an amethyst, and so forth."

Not less magnificence is displayed in the different colours which ailorn the wings of infects. In the firit place, we find these points and spots of every different colours, bome of these last are round like the pupil of the eye, and like it, surrounded with a circle. For this reason, naturalists have given them the name of eye>; but, two reasons determine me to prefer the name given them by Frisch, to wit, mirror, points. First, that they may not be confounded with the real eyes: and secondly, because these spots, are not always iurround^d with a circular margin like eyes, but this margin is often of a different figure, and yaries as much as the shape of a mirror may be arbitrarily varied. Sometimes there is only one of these on the wings of infects, sometimes there are many. Some have lines on their wings, either straight or waved; others have broad bands j some have triangular marks at the extremities of the wings, or other ornaments of that kind. It would be impossible to describe the whole of them, considering their vast variety; but in general, they are disposed with as much regularity, as if they were the work of a careful painter. The upper and under surfaces of the wings ate hot always adorned with the fame colours. It would appear, that some butterflies were sensible of this, by the manner in which, they hold their wings while, at rest. They keep them standing erect, as if to inviie spectators to admire their beauty.' It must be remarked, likewise ■with regard to those iniects which have four wings, that the colours of the upper differ from thole ot the under wings. Nor must I omit to mention, that these colours are most yiyid in the wings of living infects, and that they sometimes fade when the anipial dies. It is also to be observed, that infrcts

which have farinaceous wings, if they are to be kept, \ must not, when caught, be handled too roughly; for^ as they owe their colours to that powder, or rather to those feathers, which, froni their smallness, escape our senses; they lose all their brilliance, when these are either destroyed or deranged.

The membranous wings of insects have also theif particular beauties. Some present to the view, an assemblage of colours like those of the rain bow, or like those formed by the rays of the fun, in pasting through a prism. They vary according to the differ-: ent refraction of the rays, so that, what at first appeared red, becomes afterwards blue or green, nearly like the colours on a pigeon's neck, which change according to their different position with regard to the Sun. There are often between the nerves of the wings of some insects, small spots which appear like so many ornaments wrought on fine gauze.

We have said that there are insects whose wings are covered with a kind of cafe to protect them froni accidents. These -cases have likewise their particular beauties. In some insects they are of a uniform colour, as yellow, red of various stiades, green, blue, violet, brown and black. In some these colours are dully in others bright and shining like a transparent varnisti. Of this last kind are thole insects of the Buprestis and Curculio kind, whose elvtra seem adorned with emeralds and gold. The elytra of other insects are variegated with different colours. Those of the Silpha Vespillo are painted alternately with, transverse and waved bands of black and reddish yellow. The ground colour of thole of ihe Coccinella conglobata is yellow, but it is adorned with square black spots like those on a chess-board. The Silpha 4-punctata has two square spots on each e-" lytron. The Leptura arcuata is of a deep black co

Aa i lour lour with yellow spots on the upper, and hook-shaped bands of the fame colour on the under part. The Leptura scalar is has on its elytra indented ornaments which at the place where the elytra meet pretty much resemble Spanish point, I once found a beetle, on a woodbine growing out of a rock, whose elytra were marked with small bars, some green, some deep red, like polished copper, and others of a deep blue, like burnished steel.

The beauty of different flowers, the diversity remarkable in the colours of shells, the splendor of those in the tail of a peacock, no doubt, excite our admiration; but that they are not the only coloured bodies capable of producing that effect on our minds, we have only to cast our eyes on some insects to be convinced. Though these small animals were of no use in the world we would still be indebted to the Creator, for having given them existence. The mere sight of them gives us pleasure; the mind feels a sensible gratification, in contemplating so many beauties in so small a space. This is not all. If we are wife, we shall rife from thole beautiful objects to their Maker. What must be the riches of a Being, who hath lavished so many treasures on the vilest of insects! The beauty of these creatures, which- calls forth our admiration and delight, being so much inferior to that of the Creator, would it not be blindness, not to acknowledge, to admire, and to love him, who is the source of whatever is amiable and and worthy of admiration in the works of his hands? If we would proportion the degree of our affections to the excellence of their object, we ought to love God, with our whole heart. What folly is it, not to pride ourselves on the beauty of the stuffs with which we are clothed! Velvet and silk, which are the most precious of these,.whence come they? They are the excrement of a vile infect. And our richest garb,

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