National Geographic : 1929 Jul
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photograph by Paul Griswold Howes A COMMON HORNET STANDS GUARD AT THE ENTRANCE TO ITS NEST The photographer obtained this picture by building a special scaffold for his camera and using sunlight reflected from a mirror. The hornets and other wasps were the world's first manufacturers of paper. The manner in which they enlarge a little nest smaller than a hen egg into one as large as a half-bushel measure, without disturbing its symmetry or opening up its interior, is a masterpiece i page 50). full-fledged queens, ready to start the colony on its normal course once more. The sense of smell in some of the in sects is almost unbelievably acute. The smelling organs are minute pits or projec tions on the antennae and possibly in some of the mouth parts, so arranged as to leave the nerve ends exposed to every odor and at the same time protected from harm. For instance, on a single antenna of an ordinary June beetle there are as many as n building (see text, there came such a forty thousand of these olfactory pits. Some species, with their antennae removed or covered with shel lac, are unable to find either food or each other. If their eyes are blindfolded with pitch and their antenna left in normal condition, they seem to suffer no inconvenience. Fabre's classic ex periments with the great peacock and banded-monk moths* and with the truffle beetle show to what inconceivable lengths the sense of smell sometimes is devel oped. The great peacock moth, the largest in Europe, is clad in chestnut velvet, with a necktie of white fur. Its wings, sprinkled with gray and brown, are crossed by a faint zigzag, edged with smoky white, and studded by a great eye with a black pupil and a variegated iris con taining successive arcs of black, white, chest nut, and purple. A female moth of this species emerged from her cocoon in Fabre's laboratory one May day. That night swarm of male moths that everybody was astounded. In the laboratory, in the kitchen, in the dining room they gathered. At least forty lovers had come to pay their respects to the mar riageable bride born that morning. In * See "Strange Habits of Familiar Moths and Butterflies," with sixteen pages of illustrations in full color, by William Joseph Showalter, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE for July, 1927.