Image from page 45 of "On the instincts and habits of the solitary wasps" (1898)


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Identifier: oninstinctshabit00peck Title: On the instincts and habits of the solitary wasps Year: 1898 (1890s) Authors: Peckham, George Williams, 1845-1914 Peckham, Elizabeth (Gifford), 1854- Subjects: Wasps Publisher: Madison, Wis. : Pub. by the state Contributing Library: Smithsonian Libraries Digitizing Sponsor: Smithsonian Libraries View Book Page: Book Viewer About This Book: Catalog Entry View All Images: All Images From Book Click here to view book online to see this illustration in context in a browseable online version of this book. Text Appearing Before Image: unted for it for an hour and a half,leaving the caterpillar on the ground near by. We could nothelp feeling sorry that we had interrupted the contented rou-tine of her life. She finally gave up in despair and we tookpossession of the deserted caterpillar. Just here must be told the story of one little wasp whose in-dividuality stands out in our minds more distinctly than thatof any of the others. Wei remember her as the most fastidiousand perfect little worker of the whole season, so nice was shein her adaptation of means to ends, so busy and contented in herlabor of love, and so pretty in her pride over her completedwork. In filling up her neet she put her head down into it andbit away the loose earth from the sides, letting it fall to the bot-tom of the burrow, and then, after a quantity had accumulated,jammed it down with her head. Earth was then brought fromthe outside and pressed in, and then more was bitten from thesides. When, at last, the filling was level with the ground, she Text Appearing After Image: AMMOPHILA AND HER CATERPILLABS. 23 brought a quantity of fine grains of dirt to the spot and pick-ing up a small pebble in her mandibles, used it as a hammerin pounding th^em down with rapid strokes, thus making thisspot as hard and firm as the surrounding surface. (Plate Y.)Before we could recover from our astonishment at this perfor-mance she had dropped her stone and was bringing more earth.We then threw ourselves down on the ground that not a motionmight be lost, and in a moment we saw her pick up the pebbleand again pound the earth into place with it, hammering nowhere and now there until all was level. Once more the wholeprocess was repeated, and then the little creature, all unconsciousof the commotion that she had aroused in our minds, uncon-scious, indeed, of our very existence and intent only on doingher work and doing it well, gave one final, comprehensiveglance around and flew away. We are claiming a great deal for Ammophila when we saythat she improvised a tool and made i Note About Images Please note that these images are extracted from scanned page images that may have been digitally enhanced for readability - coloration and appearance of these illustrations may not perfectly resemble the original work.

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