Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V06, Page 671 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MALACODERMATA.—In this tribe may be included a number of families distinguished by the softness of the cuticle, the presence of seven or eight abdominal sterna and of four malpighian tubes, and the firm, well-arm- oured larva (fig. 15, c) which is often predaceous in habit. The mesothoracic epimera bound the coxal cavities of the inter-mediate legs. The Lymexylonidae, a small family of this group, characterized by its slender, undifferentiated feelers and feet, is believed by Lameere to comprise the most primitive of all living beetles, and Sharp lays stress on the undeveloped structure of the tribe generally. The Lampyridae are a large family, of which the glow-worm (Lampyris) and the " soldier beetles " (Telephorus) are familiar examples. The female " glow-worm " (fig. 15, b), emitting the well-known light (see above), is wingless and like a larva; the luminosity seems to be an attraction to the male, whose eyes are often exceptionally well developed. Some male members of the family have remarkably complex feelers. In many genera of Lampyridae the female can fly as well as the male; among these are the South European " fireflies."
ST MALACHY (c. 1094-1148)

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