Page:Jardine Naturalist's library Bees.djvu/34

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
32
ON THE ANATOMY OF

Tearing open the anthers of the plant on which it has alighted, and rolling its little body in the bottom of the corolla, the insect rapidly brushes off the farina, moistens it with its mouthy and passes it from one pair of legs to another, till it is safely lodged in the form of a kidney-shaped pellet in a spoon-like receptacle in its thigh to be afterwards noticed. These hairs deserve to be particularly remarked on account of their peculiar formation, being feather-shaped, or rather consisting each of a stem with branches disposed around it, and, therefore, besides their more effectually retaining the animal heat, peculiarly adapted for their office of sweeping off the farina.

The Head, which is of a triangular shape and much flattened, is furnished with a pair of large eyes, (Woodcut, p. 3 1, Fig, 'i, aa,) of what is called by naturalists the composite construction, and consisting of a vast assemblage of small hexagonal surfaces, disposed with exquisite regularity, each constituting in itself a perfect eye; they are thickly studded with hairs, which preserve them from dust, &c. In addition to these means of vision, the bee is provided with three small stemmata, or coronetted eyes, situated in the very crown of the head, and arranged in the form of a triangle. These must add considerably to the capacity of vision in an insect whose most important operations are carried on in deep obscurity. As to the special or peculiar use these ocelli may serve, Reaumur and Blumenbach were of opinion, that, while the large compound organs are used for viewing distant objects, the simple ones are employed on