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But a few attempts will soon convince us that the only second which would allow the Sitaris to establish itself in the home of the Bee is the very second when the egg is laid on the surface of the honey. Let us take an Anthophora-cell full of honey and furnished with an egg and, after removing the lid, place it in a glass tube with a few Sitaris-grubs.

After having discovered one of the galleries of which I have spoken, the female Sitaris comes about the beginning of September to lay her eggs, which are numerous, being not generally fewer than two thousand. In the following month the larvæ appear; they are black, and swarm in a little heap mixed up with the remains of egg-shells.

Here is a strange thing: this apparatus, in which the hoard of honey amassed by the Anthophora is to be engulfed, is similar in every respect to that of the adult Sitaris, who possibly never takes food.

While my enthusiasm had not had time to cool at the sight, momentarily repeated, of a young Sitaris perched upon an Anthophora's egg floating in the centre of the little pool of honey, it might well have burst all restraints on beholding the contents of one of these cells. On the black, liquid honey a wrinkled pellicle is floating; and on this pellicle, motionless, is a yellow louse.

This is the larva of the Sitaris in its new form. With the aid of a lens we can distinguish the fluctuations of the digestive canal, which is gorging itself with honey; and along the circumference of the flat, elliptical back we perceive a double row of breathing-pores which, thanks to their position, cannot be choked by the viscous liquid.

Here also swarm their exterminators: the Sitaris beetle, the parasite of the Anthophora; the Anthrax fly, the murderer of the Osmia. Ill informed as to the proper period, I have come rather late, on the 10th of September. I should have been here a month ago, or even by the end of July, to watch the fly's operations.

But there are cases when one might almost imagine that nature had not had time enough to disentangle her combinations; cases where reward is impossible, and the fate of the victor no less disastrous than that of the vanquished. And of such, selecting an instance that will not take us too far from our bees, I know of no instance more striking than that of the triongulins of the Sitaris colletes.

This freestone-factory causes me no astonishment: when the manufacturer undergoes his change, it serves for various chemical works. Certain Oil-beetles, such as the Sitaris, locate in it the urate of ammonia, the refuse of the transformed organism; the Sphex, the Pelopæi, the Scoliæ, use it to manufacture the shellac wherewith the silk of the cocoon is varnished.

The larva of Sitaris is then in conditions exceptionally favourable for growth; but, in spite of appearances, there is no reason for admiring the marvellous foresight and extraordinary sureness of instinct; nearly everything depends on a fortuitous circumstance, a chance.

The young Meloe leaves the down of the Bee at the moment when the egg is laid; and, since contact with the honey would be fatal to the grub, it must, in order to save itself, adopt the tactics followed by the Sitaris, that is to say, it must allow itself to drop on the surface of the honey with the egg which is in the act of being laid.