Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/45

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37
SPIDER BITES AND "KISSING BUGS."

termed a household insect. The collections of the United States National Museum and of Messrs. Heidemann and Chittenden, of Washington, D. C, indicate the following localities for this species: Locust Hill, Va.; Washington, D. C; Baltimore, Md.; Ithaca, N. Y.; Cleveland, Ohio; Keokuk, Iowa.

PSM V56 D0045 Coriscus subcoleoptratus.png
Coriscus subcoleoptratus: a, wingless form: b, winged form; c, proboscis. All twice natural size. (Original.)

The bite of this species is said to be very painful, more so than that of a bee, and to be followed by numbness (Lintner). One of the cases brought to the writer's attention this summer was that of a Swedish servant girl, in which the insect was caught, where the sting was upon the neck, and was followed by considerable swelling, Le Conte, in describing it under the synonymical name Reduvius pungens, gives Georgia as the locality, and makes the following statement: "This species is remarkable for the intense pain caused by its bite. I do not know whether it ever willingly plunges its rostrum into any person, but when caught or unskillfully handled it always stings. In this case the pain is almost equal to that of the bite of a snake, and the swelling and irritation which result from it will sometimes last for a week. In very weak and irritable constitutions it may even prove fatal."[1]

The second Eastern species is Melanotestis picipes. This and the closely allied and possibly identical M. abdominalis are not rare in the United States, and have been found all along the Atlantic States, in the West and South, and also in Mexico. They live underneath stones and logs, and run swiftly. Both sexes of M. picipes in the adult are fully winged, but the female of M. abdominalis is usually found in the short-winged condition. Prof. P. R. Uhler writes (in litt.): "Melanotestis abdominalis is not rare in this section (Baltimore), but the winged female is a great rarity. At the present time I have not a specimen of the winged female in my collection. I have seen specimens from the South, in North Carolina and Florida, but I do not remember one from Maryland. I am satisfied that M. picipes is distinct from M. abdominalis. I have not known the two species to unite sexually, but I have seen them both united to their proper consorts. Both species are sometimes found under the same flat stone or log, and they both hiber-

  1. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, vol. vii, p. 404, 1854-'55.