Because when flying with an apparent fearlessness of harm, if touched, or interrupted, though in no way injured, it will immediately fall to the ground, generally prostrate on its back, - its limbs extended, stiff, and seemingly devoid of life, and suffering itself to be handled without manifesting any signs of animation. In time, finding no harm ensues, it resumes its former state.
The small grey beetle, so well-known for making pin-holes in old furniture, is, however, one of the most common instances of this habit; and when it does so, it equals, if it does not exceed, the heroic firmness of the American savages, in bearing torture. You may maim these death-counterfeiting insects, pull them limb from limb, and even roast them over a slow fire, without making them move a joint, or exhibit the slightest symptom of suffering pain.
Because, while in this state, lasting four years, they feed on the roots of corn, etc. and have occasionally produced great scarcity. An instance of its ravages, as well as a specimen of notable folly on the part of the sufferers by its rapacity, occurred in 1479, when this insect was cited by a regular Monitorium before the Spiritual Court of Lausanne, who assigned it an advocate from Friburg; but, after an attentive hearing of both parties, and mature deliberation, concluded by placing it under a ban.
Because they feed on maggots and their pupae; and in penetrating the ground in search of the last of these, they loosen the soil so much, that the dead animal sinks under the surface, by its own weight, or, if light, is elevated on a hillock. - Fleming.
Because it is of the form of a tortoise, the wing cases projecting all around as a covering for the legs.
Because it is one of the most splendid insects: the gold and colours in the numerous pits marked in rows upon the wing coverings, giving it an expressibly fine appearance in a clear light, and particularly under a magnifying glass.
Because it has great muscular power, a thick and horny case over its body, eyes large enough to see all the creatures about it, and powerful mandibles to seize and reduce them to fragments. It riots the polyphe-mus of the pool; and having thinned its herd in one place, is supplied with wings to effect a removal to a fold better furnished. In the larva state, it is almost equally destructive: it swims admirably - its hinder legs are long and brawny - beside being aided by a fringe of hairs, so that they are powerful oars to propel the body with celerity and ease. - Knapp.
Because of the oily-looking fluid which oozes from it when seized or alarmed. Another beetle is popularly called bloody-nosed, from its ejecting a red fluid from its mouth when caught: it is a very slow walker, but has an admirable contrivance for taking hold of trailing plants, on which it feeds. This consists of cushions of slightly concave thick soft hair, which both adheres by its points, and also produces somewhat of a vacuum, which enables it to walk as easily with its head perpendicularly downwards as upwards.
Because the male has forceps on the head resembling the antlers of the stag.
Because it is not the external skin only that these grubs cast, like serpents; but the throat, and part of the stomach, and even the inward surface of the great gut change their skin at the same time. Yet this is not the whole of these wonders; for, at the same time, some hundreds of breathing pipes, within the body of the grub, cast also each its delicate and tender skin. - Swammerdam.