The Life of the Spider eBook

Jean Henri Fabre
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 249 pages of information about The Life of the Spider.

And this universal geometry tells us of an Universal Geometrician, whose divine compass has measured all things.  I prefer that, as an explanation of the logarithmic curve of the Ammonite and the Epeira, to the Worm screwing up the tip of its tail.  It may not perhaps be in accordance with latter-day teaching, but it takes a loftier flight.


{1} A small or moderate-sized spider found among foliage.—­Translator’s Note.

{2} Leon Dufour (1780-1865) was an army surgeon who served with distinction in several campaigns and subsequently practised as a doctor in the Landes.  He attained great eminence as a naturalist.—­Translator’s Note.

{3} The Tarantula is a Lycosa, or Wolf-spider.  Fabre’s Tarantula, the Black-bellied Tarantula, is identical with the Narbonne Lycosa, under which name the description is continued in Chapters iii. to vi., all of which were written at a considerably later date than the present chapter.—­Translator’s Note.

{4} Giorgio Baglivi (1669-1707), professor of anatomy and medicine at Rome.—­Translator’s Note.

{5} ’When our husbandmen wish to catch them, they approach their hiding-places, and play on a thin grass pipe, making a sound not unlike the humming of bees.  Hearing which, the Tarantula rushes out fiercely that she may catch the flies or other insects of this kind, whose buzzing she thinks it to be; but she herself is caught by her rustic trapper.’

{6} Provencal for the bit of waste ground on which the author studies his insects in the natural state.—­Translator’s note.

{7} ‘Thanks to the Bumble-bee.’

{8} Like the Dung-beetles.—­Translator’s Note.

{9} Like the Solitary Wasps.—­Translator’s Note.

{10} Such as the Hairy Ammophila, the Cerceris and the Languedocian Sphex, Digger-wasps described in other of the author’s essays.—­Translator’s Note.

{11} The desnucador, the Argentine slaughterman whose methods of slaying cattle are detailed in the author’s essay entitled, The Theory of Instinct.—­Translator’s Note.

{12} A family of Grasshoppers.—­Translator’s Note.

{13} A genus of Beetles.—­Translator’s Note.

{14} A species of Digger-wasp.—­Translator’s Note.

{15} The Cicada is the Cigale, an insect akin to the Grasshopper and found more particularly in the South of France.—­Translator’s Note.

{16} The generic title of the work from which these essays are taken is Entomological Memories, or, Studies relating to the Instinct and Habits of Insects.—­Translator’s Note.

{17} A species of Grasshopper.—­Translator’s Note.

{18} An insect akin to the Locusts and Crickets, which, when at rest, adopts an attitude resembling that of prayer.  When attacking, it assumes what is known as ‘the spectral attitude.’  Its forelegs form a sort of saw-like or barbed harpoons.  Cf.  Social Life in the Insect World, by J. H. Fabre, translated by Bernard Miall:  chaps. v. to vii.—­ Translator’s Note.

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The Life of the Spider from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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