In A Tropical Country Every One Knows That A Very Few Hours
Occasion The Putrefaction Of All Dead Animal Substances;
Nevertheless These Spiders Are To Be Kept Fresh And Good, Like
Our Tins Of Preserved Meats, To Be Eaten When Required.
One, two, or even three spiders, according to their size, the
mason-fly deposits in each cell, and then closes it hermetically
The spiders she has pounced upon while sunning
themselves in the centre of their delicate nets, and they are
hurried off in a panic to be converted into preserved provisions.
Each cell being closed, the whole nest is cemented over with a
thick covering of clay. In due time the young family hatch, eat
their allowance of spiders, undergo their torpid change, and
emerge from their clay mansion complete mason-flies.
Every variety of Ichneumon, however (in Ceylon), chooses the
spider as the food for its young. It is not at all uncommon to
find a gun well loaded with spiders, clay and grubs, some
mason-fly having chosen the barrel for his location. A bunch of
keys will invite a settlement of one of the smaller species, who
make its nest in the tube of a key, which it also fills with
In attacking the spider, the mason-fly his a choice of his
antagonist, and he takes good care to have a preponderance of
weight on his own side. His reason for choosing this in
preference to other insects for a preserved store may be that the
spider is naturally juicy, plump and compact, combining
advantages both for keeping and packing closely.
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