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Enumeration of Oriental Hymenoptera, Xylocopa violacea. Vespa crabro and Vespa orientalis,

Among Hymenoptera may be mentioned a well-known Continental species, Xylocopa violacea, being a bee of large size, body and wings alike almost black, with a tinge of violet, from the Pass of Daphne, in May, 1882, and two kinds of hornet—the one our own Vespa crabro, from the tombs of the Maccabees, Latroon, in March, and also occurring at Ephesus, Philadelphia, and the River Meles, in the month of May, 1882 ; the other is Vespa orientalis, resembling our English one in colour and markings, but more elegant in shape. This last one was swarming in December, 1883, in and about Cairo and Heliopolis, being more particularly abundant at the confectioners' and bakers' booths, on the high, mud-built walls in the vicinity of the Boulak Museum and the Ostrich Farm, and likewise found at Helwàn, Lycopolis, and on the roof of the Temple of Isis at Denderah. In this last-named place several of them were clustered on patches of clay containing cells, and which are the work of a small rust-coloured bee, Chalicodoma Sicula. Some of these hornets, being disturbed at our approach, began to fly about wildly, thereby rendering one's walk along the roof, at a height of, say, thirty feet from the ground without, and possibly twenty from the space within, the Temple, with no breastwork or parapet on either side, not over comfortable. Vespa crabro and Vespa orientalis might readily be taken for one another when not seen side by side.

With regard to the above-named bee, Chalicodoma Sicula, of which there are specimens from Sicily and Algiers in the National collection, the amount and extent of its labour is truly wonderful. On reference to my Nine Hundred Miles Up the Nile, p. 137, I find the following paragraph about the same species at the Temple of Denderah :-“Hymenoptera are as busy here with their clay cells as elsewhere. They have plastered not only the hieroglyphics, but one whole side of the exterior of the temple, as well as the outer wall of the little chapel of Isis, on the roof.” Again, with regard to the celebrated obelisk of Heliopolis, pp. 83 and 84 of the same work :-“The hieroglyphics, which are similar, or nearly so, on all four sides of the monument, include the hawk, the goose, the serpent, the ibis, and the head of the greyhound, and have been interpreted to mean as follows:

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The life for those who are born
The son of the sun-god, Ra

The friend of the spirits of An

Ever living

The golden Hor
The life for those who are born


Has executed this work
In the beginning of the 30 years' cycle
He, the dispenser of life, for evermore.

The figures of these animals on the east and west sides of the monument stand out in sharp and clear relief from the granite in which they are incised, being filled up with a coating of clay cells. The north and south sides of the obelisk are completely covered by it, so that the insect architect has rendered nearly all of the ancient carving, as well as the granite itself, invisible.” Once more, in reference to Lycopolis, p. 130 of the same work: “Nor must the wonderful labours of hymenopterous insects be left unnoticed that have selected the western side of the cliff, as doubtless the most sheltered, for their abode, and completely covered it in one particular spot with masses of clay

cells. s


Chrysis nobilis is a small bee, with blue metallic body, very Chrysis much like a bluebottle in size and general appearance, frequenting the flowering shrubs in the public gardens of Cairo, in those of the Palace of Gezeedeh, and the mimosas bordering the fields in the neighbourhood of Minieh. On referring to my cabinet, I find that one specimen is named Stilbum amethystinum, and it is possible that, on closer examination, I may discover that I have both kinds, as this last-named and Chrysis nobilis are nearly-allied species, and of simila appearance. Among the wasps may be noticed two blackbodied species-Eumenes Hottentotta, from Cairo; and the Genus larger E. tinctor, from a field to the south of Minieh, both caught in the month of December, 1883. I have a third species (probably a Eumenes also) from the banks of the Pharpar, in April, 1882. Lastly, I have a small portion of a tree-wasp's nest that I found on a shrub alongside the high road between Mersina and Tarsus, on the 29th of April. Judging from the size of the cells, it can only have been constructed by a small species.

The following table will serve to some extent to show


Geographi. the geographical distribution of the Hymenoptera above cal distribu

mentioned :
tion of
tera above
mentioned. Eumenes

Eumenes Hottentotta, Cairo > Eastern species
Eumenes Tinctor Minieh

Tomb of Maccabees, Latroon

Vespa crabro ...,

English species

Vespa orientalis ...

Eastern species

Mediterranean littoral, found in Sicily
Chalicodoma sicula Denderah

and Algiers

Chrysis nobilis

Eastern species, probably
Pass of Continental species, generally distri-

Daphne buted

nobilis ... { 1

{ Cairo


Xylocopa violacea {Pass of


Eastern ants.

Mention of Eastern Hymenoptera is, of course, not complete without a reference to ants, and I have been specially asked to say something about the corn-storing ants of Palestine, that have generally been supposed to lay up provisions against the winter. Though, if this be a fact, it does not necessarily follow from Proverbs vi. 8,"Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest." Nor yet from Proverbs xxx. 25 : “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." All that I know or saw about ants in the East may be very briefly stated. There is a large black kind, about the size of our black and red wood ant, that I noticed both in Egypt and Syria,---namely, in the public gardens at Cairo, in the desert of Jebel Ahmah behind the citadel at Cairo, and in the plain of Judeidah, and not far from the village of that name, during my drive from Damascus to the scene of St. Paul's conversion. It carries its head and tail alike cocked up aloft, and runs backwards and forwards, bearing a fanciful resemblance to an open carriage which is hooded at the back, and with shafts turned up, when pushed hither and thither in the process of being washed. There is also a much smaller species, likewise black, of which I captured a couple of specimens, on my second visit to Cairo in December, 1883, near the tomb of the Khedive's family on the edge of the desert. These two ants, when confined in a bottle, used to meet and push one another with their jaws


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interlaced; but I could not observe that any injury was inflicted, although the contest ended in the larger one trotting round the bottom of the bottle with the other in its mouth. The only other fact that it occurs to me to mention with regard to the ant tribe is, that I obtained a species of Mutilla, Genug or winged ant (thorax rust-coloured, body black, with pale yellow spots), from the banks of the Pharpar, on April, 1882, where it had settled, if I remember rightly, on a flower.

I note that the Rev. J. G. Wood makes the following statement in Bible Animals : “In Palestine ants abound, and the species are tolerably numerous. Among them are found some species which do convey seeds into their subterranean home; and if their stores should be wetted by the heavy rains which sometimes prevail in that country, bring them to the outer air, as soon as the weather clears up, and dry them in the

Any one who wishes to test the truth of his words, can easily do so by watching the first ant's nest which he finds, the species of the ant not being of much consequence.

The same writer, however, proceeds to devote two pages and a half to the most wonderful ant in the world, Atta Atta malefaciens, of Texas, and other parts of America, and adds : - The economical habits of this wonderful insect far surpass anything that Solomon has written of the ant."

One of the ants of Palestine, of which a representation is given on page 621 of Bible Animals, belongs to the same genus as this marvellous agricultural ant, and is named Atta Atta barbara.

From its appearance in the engraving, I judge it to be the same as the species I mentioned as having observed at Cairo and on the plain of Judeidah; but have never seen it in Palestine myself. Of Diptera, I secured five species-two Diptera. from the neighbourhood of Athens (one, Dasypogon punctatus, on the hill of Colonos, on June 9; and the other, another kind of Dasypogon, from the Stadium, at the end of May); the third and fourth are, respectively, a species of Tabanus, or horse-fly, from the plain of the Litany, in April, and Laphria atra, Ephesus, in May; the fifth, likewise from Ephesus, is as yet unnamed.

Of Hemiptera I collected eight species, of which the five that Hemiptera. I succeeded in naming, and two of the unnamed also, are all red, or reddish, with black patterns on their wing-cases:-1. Lygæus militaris, widely distributed, as collected at Aceldama and the Valley of Jehoshaphat, Mount Pagus, the Pnyx, the Acropolis, and Deceleia. 2. Strachia picta, from the Stadium, and Throne of Xerxes. 3. Pyrrhocoris Ægyptius, from flowers close to Sardis railway station, and also from Mount Pagus. 4. Odontoscelis fuliginosis, also from Sardis. 5. A


species of Rhaphigaster from Ephesus. 6 and 7 were col

lected on the summit of Boulgourloo ; and 8 is one of the Homoptera. Hydrometridæ from Beyrout. Homoptera are solely repre

sented by one kind-Triecphora sanguinolenta, from Aceldama,
in April ; Ephesus, in May.
The CHAIRMAN (T. Chaplin, Esq., M.D.).-I am sure we are all very

much indebted to Dr. Walker for his most interesting paper, and after the Honorary Secretary has read the communications that have been received, we shall be glad if any of those present are disposed to add to the information so ably given in this paper.

Captain FRANCIS PETRIE, F.G.S. (Honorary Secretary), then read the following communications :From Mr. Sydney T. Klein, F.L.S., F.R.A.S., F.E.S. :

“ Clarence Lodge, Willesden, N.W., March 6, 1887. Many thanks for your kindness in sending a proof of Dr. Walker's paper, and an invitation to attend the Meeting to-morrow. I had fully intended being present, but regret to say that illness prevents me. I consider the paper of interest to all British entomologists, and of considerable value to the science generally, through the numerous records of captures of the same species in localities so widely differing both in respect to climate and geographical position.

“On page 119, Dr. Walker mentions that he found very few moths. This must be put down, I think, entirely to his not hunting them at night, the only time possible for catching nine-tenths of the Lepidoptera Heterocera ; a light at an open window of his hotel, or a few strips of calico steeped in sugar and rum hung out of the window, would have brought them in hundreds if they were there at all. It is, however, a curious fact that there is very little information respecting moths to be found in the diaries of travellers in the East, whereas everybody has noted the existence of butterflies. I once passed a night among the ruins of Ephesus, and was surprised, as everybody must be who has been out at night in the East, at the superabundance of insect life, manifested by the continued roar caused by millions of chirps, scrapings, rattles, hummings, and cries from the country round. I have only heard such a din in the woods of Central America.”

From Mr. Hastings C. Dent, F.L.S.

“80, St. Stephen's Green, Dublin, March 5. “ The paper by the Rev. F. A. Walker on Oriental Entomology is of considerable value. Such synthetical observation is very important. I regret that I know nothing personally of those littoral regions of the Eastern Mediterranean, and am away from all my collections, books, and papers, so fear I can give no remarks that will be useful in the discussion.

Page 113. The protective colouring of the Grayling (Satyrus Semele) is one among thousands of such instances which, though not visible in cabinets, is seen in the field. In my book, A Year in Brazil, you will find under this heading how the colouring is varied with the position of the insect at rest, i.e., when resting with closed wings, the protective colouring is on the under side, when with expanded wings, on the upper side.

“P. 114. The Danaidæ are indeed very conspicuous, generally distributed, and often abundant. In the Hawaiian Islands I noticed one of these among

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