Micrographia, by Robert Hooke

Observ. xlv. Of the great Belly'd Gnat or female Gnat.

The second Gnat, delineated in the twenty ninth Scheme, is of a very differing shape from the former; Schem. 29. but yet of this sort also, I found several of the Gnats, that were generated out of the Water Insect: the wings of this, were much larger then those of the other, and the belly much bigger, shorter and of an other shape; and, from several particulars, I ghest it to be the Female Gnat, and the former to be the Male.

scheme29

The thorax of this, was much like that of the other, having a very strong and ridged back-piece, which went also on either side of its leggs; about the wings there were several joynted pieces of Armor, which seem'd curiously and conveniently contriv'd, for the promoting and strengthning the motion of the wings: its head was much differing from the other, being much bigger and neater shap'd, and the horns that grew out between his eyes on two little balls, were of a very differing shape from the tufts of the other Gnat, these having but a few knots or joynts, and each of those but a few, and those short and strong, brisles. The formost horns or feelers, were like those of the former Gnat.

One of these Gnats I have suffer'd to pierce the skin of my hand, with its proboscis, and thence to draw out as much blood as to fill its belly as full as it could hold, making it appear very red and transparent; and this without any further pain, then whilst it was sinking in its proboscis, as it is also in the stinging of Fleas: a good argument, that these creatures do not wound the skin, and suck the blood out of enmity and revenge, but for meer necessity, and to satisfy their hunger. By what means this creature is able to suck, we shall shew in another place.

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Last updated Monday, March 17, 2014 at 16:42