Anonyme, « The Doctor’s Correspondence », American Agriculturist for Farm, Garden and Household,vol. 36, n°6, New York, juin 1877, p. 227
An insect that build a stone house
A box came with some specimens, and a letter asking what they were. I wrote and told him about them, but I give you, what I could not send him, an engraving of one of them. The box was full of little tubes of the size and shape of that figure 23. Each tube was made up of little bits of stone, small pebbles, which were put together, and as nicely ditted, as the stones in a well built wall ; they were fastened together by a cement that water would not dissolve. Each of these tubes was built by an insect, to serve as its house ; or, as it, is carried about by thecreature, it is more like a great coat. As soon as they came, I put the tubes into water, but the insects were all dead, so I have toborrow the picture of the builder of this pretty mason work, fig. 3, from Mr Packard’s book. I have told you so many times, that I hope you remember it, the different states of an insect are 1st, the egg- 2nd, the larva, which comes from the egg ; we know some kinds of larva as caterpillars, and others as grubs and maggots ; it is in the larva state that the insect feeds most, and makes its growth ; after a while it goes to rest, and become 3rd, thepupaor chrysalis, one kind of which is a cocoon, and sooner or later there comes from this, 4th, the perfect insect usually the winged form, such as we seen in the butterfly, the beetles, and all other winged insects, including the house-fly and mosquito. Now I hope you will recollect the-is about insects, as I shall not repeat this again- at least not this year. Well the fellow who builds this mason, work, is
The larva of a Caddis-fly
And is shown in figure 3. You must know that the larva of many winged insects pass their lives in the water ; the well know mosquito does this, and the « wrigglers » you seein water that stands a while, such as that in a rain-water cask, are the larval form of our musical friend the mosquito. The larva of the Caddis-fly passes its life in the water. It has a pretty hard head and front, but the rest of its body is very soft, and as it can not move very quickly, it would fare poorly, did it not build a case to protect its long and soft body. There are several Caddis-flies, and their larvae (plural of larva), do not all build stone houses. Some pefer straws, small chips, and twigs, for a covering. Some use dead leaves, others guild their cass of little bits of mose, and one would never suspect that there was an insect inside the little tuft, did he not see it travel off ; then there is one fellow that hunts around for the empty shells of little fresh water animals, and builds its case of them. All of these are more frequent than the stone-building one, which is put down in the books as belonging in Labrador and elsewhere far north, and I was surprised at seeing it from so far south as Maryland. The insect, when first hatched, is very small, but young as it is, it starts its case, and as it is no built, as boy’s clothes are cut, ‘ to allow for growing, » it has, as it incease, to keep on adding to the case. After it has reached its full size, it finds a safe place, closes up each end of its case by spinning some bars, and remains a while as a pupa ; at last it comes out as the winged insect or Caddis-fly.
As the perfect insect of this stone-mason Caddis is not known, I cannot give you its portrait ; but the Caddis-flies generally, are much like the Dragon-flies, or Darning-needles, though their bodies are not so long. You may not find theseou may not find these stone-builders, but in most slow streams, if you watch carefully, you can find those that build cases of other materials. But before leaving the Caddis-fly I must tell you how a lady in England
Made an insect do ornamental work
She caught a lot of Caddis-worms, and gently he caught a lot of Caddis-worms, and gently pushed them out of their cases into a dish of water. Of course the insect set about hunting for material to make a new case. The lady supplied it with— what do you suppose ?—small glass beads of differents colors ! Being the only things they could find, the poor Caddies went to work, and in time had very gay cases of variously colored beads, all nicely cemented together.
Very pretty they must have been, and I was very sorry not to find a single one, of several dozen sent me, that was alive, as I much wished to try the experiment with the beads. It is not at all likely that the Caddis-worm would use beads, no matter how plenty they where, if offered to it in the brook, for it would know that they would make it all the mord showy and readily seen by fishes and other animals.