Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/546

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

of paddles. There is nothing more in this group of insects that is very striking.

We will now take up the Hemiptera, of which the well-known bedbug is an example. One species from tropical America

PSM V43 D546 Ranatra Fusca.jpg
Fig. 5. — Ranatra Fusca.

(the Diactor bilineatus) has very slender legs, except the tibiæ of the hind pair, these being broadly expanded. What use these expansions are to this insect is not known.

Another singular species, one that is found throughout most parts of the United States, namely, Ranatra fusca, inhabits ponds and other streams. It is known to destroy the eggs of fishes and to attack young fish. It is when they attack fish that their stout fore legs come into play, being used for grasping and holding any unfortunate fish that should fall within their reach. It will be seen how well adapted these legs are for the purpose.

Among the beetles, or Coleoptera, there are many curious forms, of which I will only mention a few of the most prominent. Acrocinus longimanus, the "long-armed" beetle, as it is called, has the fore legs greatly elongated, being twice as long as the body and about three times as long as either of the other legs. It inhabits tropical America, where it is said to be quite abundant.

The giants among insects belong to the genus Dynastes, and to several allied genera. Of Dynastes, one (D. hercules) found in

PSM V43 D546 Dynastes hercules.jpg

Fig. 6. — Dynastes hercules.

Africa attains a length of six inches, and is remarkable, not only for its great size, but for the long, curved horn which projects out from the thorax; beneath this horn there is another much