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Página 490 - For, to say nothing of half the birds, and some quadrupeds which are almost entirely supported by them, worms seem to be the great promoters of vegetation, which would proceed but lamely without them, by boring, perforating, and loosening the soil, and rendering it pervious to rains and the fibres of plants, by drawing straws and stalks of leaves and twigs into it ; and, most of all, by throwing up such infinite numbers of lumps of earth called worm-casts, which, being their excrement, is a fine...
Página 190 - Which strike ev'n eyes incurious ; but each moss, Each shell, each crawling insect, holds a rank Important in the plan of Him who framed This scale of beings ; holds a rank which lost Would break the chain, and leave behind a gap Which Nature's self would rue.
Página 259 - Indians once brought me (says she), before I knew that they shone by night, a number of these lantern flies, which I shut up in a large wooden box. In the night, they made such a noise, that I awoke in a fright, and ordered a light to be brought, not...
Página 491 - ... provide new soil for hills and slopes where the rain washes the earth away ; and they affect slopes, probably to avoid being flooded. Gardeners and farmers express their detestation of worms ; the former because they render their walks unsightly, and make them much work ; and the latter because, as they think, worms eat their green corn. But these men would find that the earth without worms would soon become cold, hard-bound, and void of fermentation, and consequently sterile...
Página 157 - Sometimes they sink for the space of ten or fifteen minutes, then rise again to the surface; and, in bright weather, reflect a variety of splendid colours, like a field bespangled with purple, gold, and azure.
Página 355 - Bees, therefore, in the formation of their cells have to solve a problem which would puzzle some geometers, namely, a quantity of wax being given, to form of it similar and equal cells of a determinate capacity, but of the largest size in proportion to the quantity of matter employed, and disposed in such a manner as to occupy in the hive the least possible space.
Página 490 - Earth-worms, though in appearance a small and despicable link in the chain of Nature, yet, if lost, would make a lamentable chasm.
Página 94 - The aggressor was of the black kind, six feet long; the fugitive was a water snake, nearly of equal dimensions. They soon met, and in the fury of their first encounter, they appeared in an instant firmly twisted together; and whilst their united tails beat the ground, they mutually tried with open jaws to lacerate each other.
Página 379 - To satisfy ourselves that the leaves were bent and held down by the effort of these diminutive artificers, we disturbed them in their work ; and as soon as they were driven from their station, the leaves on which they were employed, sprang up with a force much greater than we could have thought them able to conquer by any combination of their strength.
Página 347 - There is a sort of wild bee frequenting the garden-campion for the sake of its tomentum, which probably it turns to some purpose in the business of nidification. It is very pleasant to see with what address it strips off the pubes, running from the top to the bottom of a branch, and shaving it bare with all the dexterity of a hoop-shaver. When it has got a vast bundle, almost as large as itself, it flies away, holding it secure between its chin and its fore legs.