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Proceedings of the Leeds Philosophical and ..., Volume 7, Issues 3-4 online

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corroborate his opinion) thinks that the army worm origi-
nally belonged to the swamps and has emigrated from them
to the fields. He says before each swarm of them we have
had a dry Summer, which would allow them to develop
large quantities of moths, the caterpillars being better able
to arrive at maturity. And the spring following has been
wet, driving the moths up to the high land to lay their eggs,
which would produce the immense numbers we see. This
theory will do very well if they are found to lay their eggs
in the spring, but Mr. Walsh thinks that they lay their eggs
the same summer, and he brings forward very strong reas-
ons for thinking as he does. I am sorry that I cannot add
any information of my own, but I was unable to keep my
moths till they laid their eggs.

In a letter to Mr. F. W. Putnam, May 15, which has been
kindly lent to me by that gentleman, Mr. S. P. Fowler says,
that " There appeared to have been some eggs deposited
around the sides of the flowerpot (in wliich the moths
were j and had the appearance of being interwoven with a
cotton substance. Some writers I notice say that this insect
deposits eggs near the roots of grass in sacks resembling cot-
ton. Those I noticed were not enclosed in a sack." I do not
feel at all satisfied with these eggs, for I do not know of any
Nectuid depositing its eggs in this manner in a cottony sub*

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stance ; they are always laid close together and. perfectly
uncovered, in irregular patches. May these not have been
the cocoons of minute ichneumons enveloped in their loose

I saw the worms at work in an oat field belonging to Mr.
Everett at the Rock, Middleboro', Mass. ; it was the only
field in that vicinity which was troubled by them, as far as
I could learn irom the neighbors. I am not certain but I
think that this sloped down to a meadow from which they
may have come. I put some of them in a box and carried
them home with me ; they went into the ground July 31, to
transform into pupae ; it took them two or three days to
<5ast their larva skins and become pupae, and on the 16th of
August they came out perfect moths.

The time of appearance varies in different localities; accord-
ing to Mr. Kirkpatrick, in Ohio below the latitude of about
40° N., they were two or four weeks earlier than north of
that line. In Sydney they changed into pupae June 16th,
into moths July 7th, while only eighty miles fiarther north,
in Cuyahoga Co., the caterpillars were observed, Aug. 1,
<5hanged to pupae Aug. 6th, and allowing at least a fortnight
to transform, they probably turned to moths Aug. 20th. It
seems very strange that so little difference in space, should
make so much in time, over six weeks to eighty miles, and
jet they could not have been different broods. The worms
I found at Middleboro' came out Aug. 16th, about the same
latitude as the brood at Cuyahoga Co., which came out
about the same time. In Dan vers Mass., Mr. S. P. Fowler,
uoticed them first, Aug. 1, a little later than I found them
at Middleboro'. Probably this difference would be much
increased if we should take greater distances, and we should
.find in the Southern States, there were two broods, while
there was only one farther North.

I have never seen any description of the eggs of the army
worm nor of the young larvae. Mr. Walsh thinks that there
are not two broods in a year at the North, and consequently
that the eggs must be laid in the summer. Mr. Fowler's
observation would go to prove this. I have room for
only an abstract of his reasons : First, — tliey are never
.found in meadows the year after seeding, while if the eggs

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were laid in the Spring, there is no reason, why they
should not be fftund. Second, — they are scarcely ever
found in wheat or rye, except when they have travelled
from grass meadows. Third, — ^No one ever saw the second
brood, and the grasses are too hard for them to eat when
they would be hatched. Fourth, — they would form an ex-
ception to the rule among Nociuids which are single brooded.
I have not sufficient data to decide between the two opin-
ions, but it seems more probable that Mr. Walsh is right.

He thinks that the eggs are laid soon after the moths
leave the pupse, and remain on the stems of grass near the
root, until the following summer or spring ; the caterpillaor
gets its growth in four or five weeks, doing the principal
damage in the last week of its larval life. Those that I
saw working at Middleboro' mounted the oat stalks and eat
the blade of the leaf, as far as the part that sheathes the
stem, thus stripping the whole field of leaves, and making
it look like a plantation of canes ; they also tried the heads
but found them unpalatable, so they eat but few, though
they cut off very many and allowed them to drop, to such
an extent that the ground was strewed with them. They
fed morning, evening and night, protecting themselves from
the hot sun at mid-day, coiled up under leaves or loose
earth at the bottom of the stalks. I have not heard of their
eating any plants except those which belong to the family
of grasses and the delicate shoots of the turnips. When
they have stripped one field, they march to another. In the
Prairie Parmer, July 4th, 1861, we find the following de-
scription of their march.

" An army of them was observed to travel sixty yards in
two hours, in an eflFort to get around a ditch. They began
to travel from the infected districts between two and three
o'clock, P.M. Toward sundown the tide of travel was
retrograde. They did not travel at night. They fed chiefly
by night, and in the forenoon. As to their number, they
have been seen moving from one field to another three tiers
deep. A ditch has }^en filled with them to the depth of
three inches in half an hour/^

When full grown they measure about 1.6 inches in
length ; the head is hght brown, as large as the next seg-

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nient, it is marked with dark brown, as if covered witk
a lace veil, a longitudinal stripe of the same color in front,
on each side a smaller one. Body dull greenish, lighter on
the belly, an almost continuous white line on the back,
with a wide dark one on each side, fading off from it,
till it reaches another black stripe, then another white one
tinged with reddish brown, bordered with black, a fine
white one, another black one, in the lower border of
which are the very black stigmatae, next a fine white one,
another reddish brown, lighter than the others, another fine
white one, and last the belly, greenish brown, variegated
with fine brown spots ; ten prop legs, naked, some, much
lighter than others.

When they have arrived at this state, they leave off feed-
ing, and go into the ground, where they cement together
the earth around their skins, and turn into pupas of a ma-
hogany color. The chrysalis or pupa remains quiet until it
bursts its shell and comes forth a moth ; in about half an
hour it has its wings expanded and ready for flight ; it then
flies around, pairs, and deposits its eggs, not living proba-
bly over three weeks in this its final state.

The fore wings and front part of the body of the moth,
are reddish brown ; on each lore-wing, a little beyond tho
middle, there is a bright white spot, from this, nearly to the
body, a black line runs along the median nervure, half
way between this spot and the outer margin of the wing,
is a row of -black dots, one to each nervure, from the front
branch of the median nervure a black line runs obliquely
to the apex ; there is another row of black dots beginning
at this line and extending to the inner angle, a dot alterna*
ti»g with each nervure. The hind wings are pearly grey,
lighter towards the body, particularly underneath. The
hmd body is blueish grey. The legs, underside of the body,
and collar-like band above the head, are lighter ; the antaii«
1MB are also lighter at the base ; the tongue is well devel-
oped. Expands l.T inches. A very accurate and scientific
description of the insect will be found in the sixth annual
report ^f the Secretary of the Maine Board of Agriculture,
1861, on the 130th page, by A. S. Packard Jr.

Among the higher animals parasites are iuconspic -

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uous ; not so in insects, here they occupy an equal footing
with those which they destroy. The parasites of the army
worm are quite numerous. There is at least one of the
Diptera, the Senometopia militarise Walsh. And among
the Hymenoptera, we find Ophion purgatus, Mesochorus vi-
treuSj Walsh ; Pezomachus minimus^ Walsh ; Microgaster
militarise Walsh ; Ichneumon LeucanicBe Fitch ; and one or
two others figured in the last edition of Harris under the
article on the army worm. The Chalcis albifronsy Walsh,
is parasitic on Pezomachus minimus ; and Glyphe viridas-
cens, Walsh, on another ichneumon ; thus are counter-
checks brought to bear upon the checks themselves. The
Calosoma Calidum, though not a parasite, destroys a great
many of the caterpillars.

But not only are insects our friends, but also the birds
greatly benefit us, far more than enough to pay for the-
harm they do. The army worms are eaten greedily by all
our black birds, crows, robins, &c. So let our interest cry
mercy witli our pity, and protect our beautilul feathered

In spite of all these natural checks, we see that some-
times the insects are permitted to increase beyond their
place, and it becomes necessary for us to protect ourselves
against them. I will now therefore proceed to consider the
methods which liave been found the most effectual for keep-
ing them in check, and protecting our crops from them.

If it is true that they lay their eggs in Summer near the
roots of the grass, we have all the knowledge of their econ-
omy we need to enable us to fight against them in the sur-
est way ; we know every stage ol their life, and have only
to find the best means of attacking them in the different
circumstances under which they present themselves.

It appears from Mr. Walsh's investigations, that the best
time to destroy these insects is at the beginning of their ex-
istence, while they are still in the egg ; all that is necessary
to accomplish this result is to burn the fields in the dead of
the year ; by so doing all the eggs in the grass are burned,
and the fields are much improved, the old stubble is re-
moved, while the ashes contain all the chemical constituents
which would be left if the stubble was allowed to decay in

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the natural manner. It was found that the fields which
were burned Winter before last, last year were free from
the army worm ; so theory and facts agree as to the utility
of this process. It seems to me also that this is the easiest,
least expensive, as well as the surest means of prevention.

When the worm has appeared, (it not having been de-
stroyed in the egg,) we must provide the pound of cure, the
ounce of prevention not having been forthcoming ; tliere
are two ends to be aimed at, first, to prevent them from get-
ting into fresh fields, and, secondly, to destroy them in those
already infested. The most successful method for 'accom-
plishing the first object, is, according to Mr. Kilpatrick, to
plow two furrows three feet apart, and as deep as will be
made by going over each furrow three times, the side of the
furrow towards the field should be very steep, as otherwise
the caterpillars would be able to get a foothold and climb
up ; the sides should be reformed after every rain, since the
water washes them down and makes them hard enough to
enable the insects to climb up. In the second place, where
they are in a field, we must expect to lose the greater part
of the crop ; the best thing appears to be to cut the crop as
soon as they are discovered, and remove it at once, as they
continue to eat the fallen grain ; then turn in the hogs,
poultry, &c., and they will have a great feast and fatten on the
insects and the grain which they had dropped. In this way
the whole crop will not be lost and the chance for the next
year's crop will be much improved.

I do not think it would pay to try to destroy them while
in the ground ; the best way to do it that I can think of
would be to turn them up with a harrow, and turn in the
hogs and poultry as before. In . the moth state, the best
method of destroying them, is that suggested by Dr. Harris
for the tent caterpillar, namely to build bright fires at night
where they abound, into which they fly blinded by the light.

The ichneumons were so industrious last year, in one lot
killing fifty-four out of fifty-six, that we may hope their rav-
ages will be much smaller this year, but in some pla-
ces, I see no reason why they should not be even more
plenty, for instance among those I brought from Middle-
boro', not more than ten per cent, were destroyed in this

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way. If the eggs were deposited in large numbers, I see na
reason why they should not do well, because all our injurious
Spring insects seem to be plentier this year than common,
for instance, the Clisiocdrnpa decipiens (americana of
Harris) the common caterpillar, the canker worm Anis -
opteryx vernata^ Vanessa Antiopa, Chyllopoffa quercina the
dor bug, and otliers not so well known.

I have seen in the newspapers that ,the army worm has
appeared in the southern part of this state, and also in Ken-
tucky, but I do not know how large its numbers are. If the
proper care is taken, I do not think we need be troubled
about them ; it was the suddenness of their appearance and
our ignorance of their habits, which gave them the impor-
tance they had last year ; now we are prepared for them^
and need not have any care except to protect ourselves.

The chair remarked that the Army Worm was not the
only insect found with us that deserved our study. Tie had
brought specimens of one which seemed to be but little
known^ and which he considered worthy of investigation. It
infests the Gooseberry and Currant bushes, but he had never
noticed them so doing, till the present season.

S. C. Bancroft, of South Danvers, thought the creature
was, no new comer, but perhaps had taken to new fields of
depredation. He was sure he had been long familiar with
it, and had often seen it on the Woodwaxen.

F. W. Putnam, of Salem, made some further remarks on
the subject, when on motion of Rev, C. C. Beabcan, of
Salem, the matter was referred to the same committee wha
had just reported on the Army worm.

Alpheus Hyatt, of Cambridge, gave the result of his geo-
logical observations upon Ship Rock and other boulder^s in
the vicinity, and explained the researches and conclu-
sions of Agassiz, and others, on the great drift formation

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and its probable conuection with a stupendous system of
ancient glaciers.

C. M. Tracy of Lynn, gave some description of the
plants gathered during the day. Among these were found
an Azalea, a Kalmia, several Silenes or Catch-flies, an VlrU
eulafia, or Bladderwort, and some of the Cornels, with
many species of other kinds. By request he gave some ex-
position of the character and habits of that pest of the pas*
tures, the Woodwaxen. Among the Pea family, to which
this plant belongs, it presents an anomaly in its simple
leaves, the general tendency of all leguminous plants being
toward compound ones. The Woodwaxen ripens abund-
ant seeds, and spreads itself with great rapidity ; yet it has
never found congenial soil far beyond Eastern Massachu*
jsetts or, in fact, beyond Essex County. It is said to afford
a fine yellow dye, but it is doubtful if any such use has been
made of it in this region. Like all troublesome plants, it
Is beset with methods for its extirpation ; plowing, mowing
^t flowering time, and feeding down with sheep, being all
recommended. It never comes into cultivated lands, or
xarely, and therefore the operation of these means against it
has probably never been fully tested.

Dr. George Osgood of Danvers, the veteran botanist of
the Institute, followed in a course of remarks on the plants
found by him, evincing the unabated enthusiasm that al-
ways marks his I^otanii:^al efforts.

F. W. Putnam took the opportunity to speak of the col-
lection of insects and other small animals, made by a class
of his pupils in Salem. Moths and beetles, with a rare
dragon-fly, appeared among the insects, and a variety of
snakes, toads and frogs, made up the set. Mr. P. expMned


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the transformations of the latter creatures very happily,
and also alluded to the large variety of spiders that had
been found, representing a highly interesting, but poorly
understood class of animals.

George D. Phippen of Salem, had found a specimen of
the common Red Clover ( Trifolium pratense) which, by
some obscure process of nature, had produced its flowers of
neai-ly a pure white. This was made the basis of remarks
on hybridization and the origin of varieties among plants.

Mr. Bancroft had often heard of an animal called the
" Hair Snjike" found in stagnant water, and said to origi-
nate from the hair ol animals. He would like to have in-
formation about this creature, which he had often seen.

Mr. Putnam said, in reply, that this was one of the idle
stories used by those who knew nothing of science, to ex-
plain facts without the trouble of observation. The truth
was, a real hair could never become a living animal under
any circumstances. The GordiuSy or Hair Snake, is a true
and legitimate creature, with a regular progressive devel-
opment and the condition in which it so resembles a hair, is
one of its stages. It bears considerable affinity to the tape-
worm and others belonging to that class.

T. M. Stimpson of South Danvers, made a few remarks
upon this meeting at the Bowlders ; expressing much inter-
est in the suggestions of Mr. Hyatt on the subject of glacial
action, &c., and concluded in oflFering a vote of thanks to
Mr. H. for his instructive and interesting remarks ; unani-
mously adopted.

On Motion of Rev. C. C. Beaman, voted that the thanks
ol the Institute be tendered to the proprietors of the Chapel,
and to Mr. Joel F. Needham and others for civilities and
attention. Adjourned.

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Thursday, Aug. 7, 1862.

Field Meeting at Rockport. The extension of railroad
<5ommunication from Gloucester to Rockport, recently opened,
contributed, probably, to attract the large party who went
in the early train to visit the extreme settlement of Cape
ijin. Not only nearly all of those whose pleasant counte-
nances usually enliven these meetings were there, but many
were noticed ; visitors from places further away, devotees of
science, seeking much anticipated pleasures under the pat-
ronage of the only society that holds '' field meetings," in
this region.

The dispersion of the explorers was, of course, in many
directions, as usual. A part set out for Long Beach, a part
to Pigeon Cove. Some examined the shore, and some the
interior, or mused and studied among the memorials in the
old burial ground. But much the largest division turned
toward the great institution of Rockport — the granite quar-
ries. Here they rambled and enjoyed themselves ; ham-
mering out the curious crystals, or watching the varying
movements of the derrick, the steam-pump, or the powder-

Reassembling at Johnson's Hall, the company disposed
of a plentiful repast, and at half past one o'clock, the formal
meeting was called to order by Vice President A. 0. Good-
ell of the Historical Department.

Records of preceding meeting were read.

Donations were announced from the following :

To the Cabinets — from Richard Phillips Jr. of Topsfield ;
James B. Curwcn ; David Thomson ; George F. Flint of
North Reading ; Mrs. I. Ward ; William H. Foster; W. G.
Webb ; Dudley Weeks ; Reuben W. Ropes of New York.

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' To the Library — from Joseph Gloutman ; B. Barstow ;
W. G. Webb; F. Peabody; Charles L. Flint, Secretary of
Mass. State Board of Agriculture ; Department of the Inte-
rior, Washington, D.C.; Estate of the late D. A. White ;
Montreal Society of Natural History ; Philadelphia Acade
my of the Natural Sciences ; Canadian Institute at Toronto ;
C. B. Richardson of New York ; Charles A. Ropes.

Among the donations announced was a fine specimen of
Orthagoriscus mola^ or sun-fish, which was taken in the Bay
a few weeks since by ' Capt. David Thomson of this city.
This specimen was smaller than the one described by Storer
in his Report on the Pishes of Massachusetts being forty
inches in length, breadth two feet, and from the tip of the
anal to that of the dorsal fin about four feet six inches.

A specimen of Emys Meleagris of Agassiz, described by
others under the name of Oistuda Blandingii taken in North
Reading, was presented by Mr. George F. Flint. The
above facts are worthy of record, on account of the rarity
of these species in this vicinity.

Letters were read from F. G. Sanborn ; Department of
the Interior ; J. L. Russell ; Smithsonian Institution ; 0*
M. Tracy of Lynn ; S. Barden of Rockport ; Sidney Bar-
nett of Niagara Falls ; Carleton A. Shurtleflf of Brookline
B. R. Symonds.

Rev. Stillman Babden of Rockport, our entertainer for
the day, then introduced to the meeting Newell Giles Esq.,
President of the Rockport Branch Railroad, who said he
did not propose to make any speech, that would be done for
him by his friend who had introduced him. But he would
express the pleasure he felt in meeting the members of the
Institute to-day, and would assure them of the feeling of

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cordial welcome with which their friends of the town re-
ceived them.

Mr. Barden would act on his friend's suggestion so far
as to give a slight delineation of the geology of this region.
It was, in fact, a pleasure to speak thus to a company from
such various localities, most of whom, probably, never visit-
ed these quarries before. This is a region of hard, stern
granite ; unpoetical, perhaps, but full of interest to the
mineralogist. The rock seems like sienite, from the very
dark hue of the mica, but is yet a true granite with all the
value of that eldest of all the rocks. Within some thirty
years three veins have been found in it, where 4he compo-
nents have crystalized more separately, and in larger masses
than common ; and here a variety of rare minerabliad been
gradually detected. Among these the showiest and best
known was the Green Feldspar. Black Mica was found in
good specimens, and Quartz of very fanciful colors and fine

Mr. Francis Alger of Boston, pursued the subject with
some description of another mineral detected to-day, which
had occasioned some discussion. Some had thought it
lolite, but he rather supposed it to be Fluor Spar. He had
been especially interested in examining the trap dykes that
cut through the primary rock, and the alterations in that
rock, induced by the intrusion of these once molten masses.
The Green Feldspar of this place he thought quite equal
to that from Siberia.

James J. H. Gregory of Marblehead said that some cu-
rious facts as to the crystallization of this granite might be
detected in the structure of the rock as it is to-day. Masses
of other kinds than granite were inclosed in it, themselves

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crystallized like the matrix, and both homogeneous. They
were, when shut up here, solid enough to keep their mass
and yet fluid enough to crystallize most perfectly. Granite
was, indeed a most interesting subject of study. The two
projecting piers, of Rockport and Marblehead were granite
breakwaters, defending Boston Harbor from much of the
force of the terrible " northeasters." As a paving stone,
nothing was better than granite ; trap indeed was, from the
nature of its fracture, better for macadamizing, but did not
wear as well for pavement. As a soil-maker, granite, espe-
cially the sienitic sorts produce better fruit than any other
formation ; the feldspar, when decayed, was a good fertil-
izer, -ns well as essential to the porcelain-maker. But the
great use of the granite is as a water-bearer. Nothing else
compares with it in this, as we at once see by comparing the
water of such a region with that of a limestone countiy,
and the effect on the health of the people, observable in
either case.

Stephen I). Poole of Lynn was sorry not to have more
time to examine the mineral treasures which the quarries
would evidently furnish. He had made some study of the

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Online LibraryLeeds Philosophical and Literary SocietyProceedings of the Leeds Philosophical and ..., Volume 7, Issues 3-4 → online text (page 16 of 23)