Common British Insects
PREFACE. IF A BOOK entitled Insects at Home I have described and figured the most conspicuous examples of every order of British Insects. That book is necessarily a work of some dimensions, and occupies nearly seven hundred pages. It has been suggested that as more interest is generally taken in the Beetles, the Butterflies, and Moths, than in the other orders, it would be as well to publish an abridged account of those orders. This has been done, and the reader will find embodied in the present work some of the more important discoveries which havc been made since Insects at Home was originally published. THERE is scarcely a branch of science, however interesting it may be, which does not at first repel the intending student by the array of strange words with which the treasures of knowledge are surrounded. This is especially the case in Botany and Zoology, which contain, in addition to the usual technical language, vast numbers of names belonging to various plants or animals, each name consisting of two words, one denoting the gcnus and the other the species. In thc follorving pages I intend to describe, as far as possible within so limited a space, thc butterflies moths, and beetles of Great Britain, and, though giving the needful scientific information, to use few technical terms, and alrvays to explain those which of necessity must be employed. OUR first business is evidently, when treating of these insects, to define precisely what an insect is, This seems to be a simple matter enough but it really is not so, the question being one which has occupied systematic zoologists for many years, and which is even now rathcr a dubious one in several cases. The word insect is, as a rule, employed very loosely by those who have not studied the subjcct. Spiders, for example, are generally called insects, and so are woodlice, centipedes, and a variety of other creatures which have really no right -whatever to the title...
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