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Über die von den Trichopterenlarven der Provinz Santa Catharina verfertigen Gehäuse

Nature volume 23, page 192 | Download Citation



DR. FRITZ MULLER has for some years been engaged upon an investigation of the habits of the Caddis-flies of Santa Catharina, and has shown extraordinary skill in breeding these insects, a matter always difficult, and especially in the case of those that inhabit running water. The results of his researches were foreshadowed in various notes published in the Zoologischer Anzeiger and in the Transactions of the Entomological Society of London for 1879. But it was well known that the extended information and figures would be given in the Rio de Janeiro Archivos. As this publication is somewhat difficult to obtain, and as most of us are not familiar with Portuguese, Dr. Hermann Müller has conferred a great boon by publishing a translation of the paper (accompanied by the two folded plates) in the Zeitschrift für ivissenschaftliche Zoologie for the present year (pp. 47–87, plates iv. and v.). It is needless to state that the details are of the greatest interest, and we have here the most important contribution to the natural history of Trichoptera that has appeared since the publication of Pictet's “Recherches ” on the species of Geneva, and worked out in a far superior manner. We cannot here even allude to most of the many marvels of insectarchitecture and habits that Dr. Fritz Müller has revealed. Some of the most interesting are the numerous forms of Helicopsyche, which build little sand-cases so like shells that they have been described as such; those Dentalium-like cases, originally noticed by Aug. St. Hilaire as Grumicha, which name our author retains; those instances of parasitism (or worse) in which a larva of one species dispossesses that of another of its house and converts it to its own purposes; those very numerous forms of Hydroptilidæ, the most minute of all Trichoptera, with cases of the most varied andjwonderful structure; above all, that most interesting fact that the rain-water which collects at the bases of the leaves of some Bromeliacæ has a special fauna of its own, including at least one Caddis-worm. The descriptions of these and many others will be read with delight by every biological student; and we hope Dr. Müller will follow up the paper by records of further discoveries, for here, as in all his works, the evidences of superior powers of observation strike one on every page.

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