By Gilbert J. Arrow (auth.), W. D. Hincks (eds.)
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Extra info for Horned Beetles: A Study of the Fantastic in Nature
W. M. WHEELER, in his book, "Social life among the Insects" (1923, p. 27), states that his own observations, made in Central and South America, Trinidad and South Australia, confirm those of OHAUS. Unfortunately he records no details. In a somewhat lengthy review of the subject (Ueber die Biologie der Passalus-Käfer), R. HEYMONS, who found the insects in the same regions as OHAUS, has contended that there is no sufficient reason for the belief that parental care is really exercised. By an investigation of the contents of the alimentary canal he decided that the larvae were able to digest and assimilate woody tissue in a raw state, and not, as OHAUS believed, dependent on predigested food.
In some of the species the wings serve no other purpose than this and have become reduced to short strips of hardened membrane, each with its scraper at the end. The grubs have still more peculiar vocal organs. They are strange looking creatures because, instead of six legs, they appear to have only four, upon which, however, they can walk much better than the ordinary Lamellicorn larva. Carefully examined through the microscope, each leg of the hinder pair is seen to have at its base a Hat surface covered with exceedingly fine, sharp and hard parallel ridges.
AIthough a knowledge of the living insect is indispensable as a basis, the comparative study of forms from all parts of the world and only to be brought together in the dead state is also important. It has been mentioned that most of the insects with which we are here concerned are burrowers. The implements with which their digging operations are performed are chiefly the fore-legs, wh ich bear teeth at intervals along the outer edge. The teeth, at first sharp, become worn by the scraping process and may become entirely worn away.