Page:Jardine Naturalist's library Bees.djvu/41

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39
THE HONEY-BEE.

The Abdomen, (Plate III. figs. 3, 4, 5, & 6,) attached to the posterior part of the thorax by a slender ligament like that which unites the thorax and the head, consists of six scaly rings of unequal breadth. It contains two stomachs, the small intestines, the venom-bag, and the sting. An opening, placed at the root of the proboscis, is the mouth of the oesophagus or gullet, which traverses the trunk, and leads to the anterior stomach. This last named vessel is but a dilatation of the gullet, and in fact forms the honey-bag. When full, it exhibits the form of a small transparent globe, somewhat less in size than a pea. It is susceptible of contraction, and so organised as to enable the Bee to disgorge its contents. The second stomach, which is separated from the first, of which it appears to be merely a continuation, only by a very short tube, is cylindrical, and very muscular ; it is the receptacle for the food, which is there digested, and conveyed by the small intestines to all parts of the body for its nutriment. It receives also the honey from which wax is elaborated. Scales of this last mentioned substance are found ranged in pairs, and contained in minute receptacles under the lower segments of the abdomen. No direct channel of communication between the stomach and these receptacles or wax-pockets has yet been discovered ; but Huber conjectures that the secreting vessels are contained in the membrane which lines these receptacles, and which is covered with a reticulation of hexagonal meshes analogous to the inner coat of the second stomach of ruminating quadrupeds, Plate III. Fig. 1,