Page:Insects - Their Ways and Means of Living.djvu/41
unless it represents an effort to portray some truth.
Insects hatched from eggs laid in the open may begin life under conditions a little easier than those imposed upon the young grasshopper. Here, for example (Fig. 7), are some eggs of insects belonging to the katydid family. They look like flat oval seeds stuck in overlapping rows, some on a twig, others along the edge of a leaf. When about to hatch, each egg splits halfway down one edge and crosswise on the exposed flat surface, allowing a flap to open on this side, which gives an easy exit to the young insect about to emerge. The latter is inclosed in a delicate transparent sheath, within which its long legs and antennae are closely doubled up beneath the body; but when the egg breaks open, the sheath splits also, and as the young insect emerges it sheds the skin and leaves it within the shell. The new creature has nothing to do now but to stretch its long legs, upon which it walks away, and, if given suitable food, it will soon be contentedly feeding.
Let us now take closer notice of the little grasshoppers (Fig. 8) that have just come into the great world from the dark subterranean chambers of their egg-pods. Such an inordinately large head surely, you would say, must overbalance the short tapering body, though supported on three pairs of legs. But, whatever the proportions, nature's works never have the appearance of being out of drawing; because of some law of recompense, they never give you the uneasy feeling of an error in construction. In spite of its enormous head, the grasshopper infant is an agile creature. Its six legs are all attached to the part of the body immediately behind the head, which is known as the thorax (Fig. 63, Th), and the rest of the body, called the abdomen (Ab), projects free without support. An insect, according to its name, is a creature divided into parts, for “insect” means “in-cut.” A fly or a wasp, therefore, comes closer to being the ideal insect; but, while not literally insected between the thorax and abdomen, the grasshopper, like the fly and the wasp and all other insects, consists of a