Book V

Aristotle: Περὶ τὰ ζῷα ἱστορίαι – History of Animals, Bk V
Book V
[538b] As to the parts internal and external that all animals are furnished withal, and further as to the senses, to voice, and sleep, 


and the duality sex, all these topics have now been touched upon. It now remains for us to discuss, duly and in order, their several modes of propagation.

These modes are many and diverse, and in some respects are like, and in other respects are unlike to one another. As we carried on our previous discussion genus by genus, so we must attempt to follow the same divisions in our present argument; only that whereas in the former case we started with a consideration of the parts of man, in the present case it behoves us to treat of man last of all because he involves most discussion. We shall commence, then, with testaceans, and then proceed to crustaceans, and then to the other genera in due order; and these other genera are, severally, molluscs, and insects, then fishes viviparous and fishes oviparous, and next birds; and afterwards we shall treat of animals provided with feet, both such as are oviparous and such as are viviparous, and we may observe that some quadrupeds are viviparous, but that the only viviparous biped is man.

Now there is one property that animals are found to have in common with plants. For some plants are generated from the seed of plants, whilst other plants are self-generated through the formation of some elemental principle similar to a seed; and of these latter plants some derive their nutriment from the ground, whilst others grow inside other plants, as is mentioned, by the way, in my treatise on Botany. So with animals, some spring from parent animals according to their kind, whilst others grow spontaneously and not from kindred stock; and of these instances of spontaneous generation some come from putrefying earth or vegetable matter, as is the case with a number of insects, while others are spontaneously generated in the inside of animals out of the secretions of their several organs.

In animals where generation goes by heredity, wherever there is duality of sex generation is due to copulation. In the group of fishes, however, there are some that are neither male nor female, and these, while they are identical generically with other fish, differ from them specifically; but there are others that stand altogether isolated and apart by themselves. Other fishes there are that are always female and never male, and from them are conceived what correspond to the wind-eggs in birds. Such eggs, by the way, in birds are all unfruitful; but it is their nature to be independently capable of generation up to the egg-stage, 


unless indeed there be some other mode than the one familiar to us of intercourse with the male; but concerning these topics we shall treat more precisely later on. 

In the case of certain fishes, however, after they have spontaneously generated eggs, these eggs develop into living animals; only that in certain of these cases development is spontaneous, and in others is not independent of the male; and the method of proceeding in regard to these matters will set forth by and by, for the method is somewhat like to the method followed in the case of birds. But whensoever creatures are spontaneously generated, either in other animals, in the soil, or on plants, or in the parts of these, and when such are generated male and female, then from the copulation of such spontaneously generated males and females there is generated a something-a something never identical in shape with the parents, but a something imperfect. For instance, the issue of copulation in lice is nits; in flies, grubs; in fleas, grubs egg-like in shape; and from these issues the parent-species is never reproduced, nor is any animal produced at all, but the like nondescripts only.

First, then, we must proceed to treat of ‘covering’ in regard to such animals as cover and are covered; and then after this to treat in due order of other matters, both the exceptional and those of general occurrence.

Those animals, then, cover and are covered in which there is a duality of sex, and the modes of covering in such animals are not in all cases similar nor analogous. For the red-blooded animals that are viviparous and furnished with feet have in all cases organs adapted for procreation, but the sexes do not in all cases come together in like manner. Thus, opisthuretic animals copulate with a rearward presentment, as is the case with the lion, the hare, and the lynx; though, by the way, in the case of the hare, the female is often observed to cover the male.

The case is similar in most other such animals; that is to say, the majority of quadrupeds copulate as best they can, the male mounting the female; and this is the only method of copulating adopted by birds, though there are certain diversities of method observed even in birds. For in some cases the female squats on the ground and the male mounts on top of her, as is the case with the cock and hen bustard, and the barn-door cock and hen; in other cases, the male mounts without the female squatting, as with the male and female crane; for, with these birds, the male mounts on to the back of the female and covers her, and like the cock-sparrow consumes but very little time in the operation. 


Of quadrupeds, bears perform the operation lying prone on one another, in the same way as other quadrupeds do while standing up; that is to say, with the belly of the male pressed to the back of the female. Hedgehogs copulate erect, belly to belly.

With regard to large-sized vivipara, the hind only very rarely sustains the mounting of the stag to the full conclusion of the operation, and the same is the case with the cow as regards the bull, owing to the rigidity of the penis of the bull. In point of fact, the females of these animals elicit the sperm of the male in the act of withdrawing from underneath him; and, by the way, this phenomenon has been observed in the case of the stag and hind, domesticated, of course. Covering with the wolf is the same as with the dog. Cats do not copulate with a rearward presentment on the part of the female, but the male stands erect and the female puts herself underneath him; and, by the way, the female cat is peculiarly lecherous, and wheedles the male on to sexual commerce, and caterwauls during the operation. 

Camels copulate with the female in a sitting posture, and the male straddles over and covers her, not with the hinder presentment on the female’s part but like the other quadrupeds mentioned above, and they pass the whole day long in the operation; when thus engaged they retire to lonely spots, and none but their keeper dare approach them. And, be it observed, the penis of the camel is so sinewy that bow-strings are manufactured out of it. Elephants, also, copulate in lonely places, and especially by river-sides in their usual haunts; the female squats down, and straddles with her legs, and the male mounts and covers her. The seal covers like all opisthuretic animals, and in this species the copulation extends over a lengthened time, as is the case with the dog and bitch; and the penis in the male seal is exceptionally large.

Oviparous quadrupeds cover one another in the same way. That is to say, in some cases the male mounts the female precisely as in the viviparous animals, as is observed in both the land and the sea tortoise....And these creatures have an organ in which the ducts converge, and with which they perform the act of copulation, as is also observed in the toad, the frog, and all other animals of the same group.

Long animals devoid of feet, like serpents and muraenae, 


intertwine in coition, belly to belly. And, in fact, serpents coil round one another so tightly as to present the appearance of a single serpent with a pair of heads. The same mode is followed by the saurians; that is to say, they coil round one another in the act of coition.

All fishes, with the exception of the flat selachians, lie down side by side, and copulate belly to belly. Fishes, however, that are flat and furnished with tails-as the ray, the trygon, and the like-copulate not only in this way, but also, where the tail from its thinness is no impediment, by mounting of the male upon the female, belly to back. But the rhina or angel-fish, and other like fishes where the tail is large, copulate only by rubbing against one another sideways, belly to belly. Some men assure us that they have seen some of the selachia copulating hindways, dog and bitch. In the cartilaginous species the female is larger than the male; and the same is the case with other fishes for the most part. And among cartilaginous fishes are included, besides those already named, the bos, the lamia, the aetos, the narce or torpedo, the fishing-frog, and all the galeodes or sharks and dogfish. Cartilaginous fishes, then, of all kinds, have in many instances been observed copulating in the way above mentioned; for, by the way, in viviparous animals the process of copulation is of longer duration than in the ovipara.

It is the same with the dolphin and with all cetaceans; that is to say, they come side by side, male and female, and copulate, and the act extends over a time which is neither short nor very long.
Again, in cartilaginous fishes the male, in some species, differs from the female in the fact that he is furnished with two appendages hanging down from about the exit of the residuum, and that the female is not so furnished; and this distinction between the sexes is observed in all the species of the sharks and dog-fish.

Now neither fishes nor any animals devoid of feet are furnished with testicles, but male serpents and male fishes have a pair of ducts which fill with milt or sperm at the rutting season, and discharge, in all cases, a milk-like juice. These ducts unite, as in birds; for birds, by the way, have their testicles in their interior, 


and so have all ovipara that are furnished with feet. And this union of the ducts is so far continued and of such extension as to enter the receptive organ in the female.

In viviparous animals furnished with feet there is outwardly one and the same duct for the sperm and the liquid residuum; but there are separate ducts internally, as has been observed in the differentiation of the organs. And with such animals as are not viviparous the same passage serves for the discharge also of the solid residuum; although, internally, there are two passages, separate but near to one another. And these remarks apply to both male and female; for these animals are unprovided with a bladder except in the case of the tortoise; and the she-tortoise, though furnished with a bladder, has only one passage; and tortoises, by the way, belong to the ovipara.

In the case of oviparous fishes the process of coition is less open to observation. In point of fact, some are led by the want of actual observation to surmise that the female becomes impregnated by swallowing the seminal fluid of the male. And there can be no doubt that this proceeding on the part of the female is often witnessed; for at the rutting season the females follow the males and perform this operation, and strike the males with their mouths under the belly, and the males are thereby induced to part with the sperm sooner and more plentifully. And, further, at the spawning season the males go in pursuit of the females, and, as the female spawns, the males swallow the eggs; and the species is continued in existence by the spawn that survives this process. On the coast of Phoenicia they take advantage of these instinctive propensities of the two sexes to catch both one and the other: that is to say, by using the male of the grey mullet as a decoy they collect and net the female, and by using the female, the male.

The repeated observation of this phenomenon has led to the notion that the process was equivalent to coition, but the fact is that a similar phenomenon is observable in quadrupeds. For at the rutting seasons both the males and the females take to running at their genitals, and the two sexes take to smelling each other at those parts. (With partridges, by the way, if the female gets to leeward of the male, she becomes thereby impregnated. And often when they happen to be in heat she is affected in this wise by the voice of the male, or by his breathing down on her as he flies overhead; and, by the way, both the male and the female partridge keep the mouth wide open and protrude the tongue in the process of coition.)
The actual process of copulation on the part of oviparous fishes is seldom accurately observed, owing to the fact that they very soon fall aside and slip asunder. But, for all that, the process has been observed to take place in the manner above described.


Molluscs, such as the octopus, the sepia, and the alamari, have sexual intercourse all in the same way; that is to say, they unite at the mouth, by an interlacing of their tentacles. When, then, the octopus rests its so-called head against the ground and spreads abroad its tentacles, the other sex fits into the outspreading of these tentacles, and the two sexes then bring their suckers into mutual connexion.
Some assert that the male has a kind of penis in one of his tentacles, the one in which are the largest suckers; and they further assert that the organ is tendinous in character, growing attached right up to the middle of the tentacle, and that the latter enables it to enter the nostril or funnel of the female.
Now cuttle-fish and calamaries swim about closely intertwined, with mouths and tentacles facing one another and fitting closely together, and swim thus in opposite directions; and they fit their so-called nostrils into one another, and the one sex swims backwards and the other frontwards during the operation. And the female lays its spawn by the so-called ‘blow-hole’; and, by the way, some declare that it is at this organ that the coition really takes place.

Crustaceans copulate, as the crawfish, the lobster, the carid and the like, just like the opisthuretic quadrupeds, when the one animal turns up its tail and the other puts his tail on the other’s tail. Copulation takes place in the early spring, near to the shore; and, in fact, the process has often been observed in the case of all these animals. Sometimes it takes place about the time when the figs begin to ripen. Lobsters and carids copulate in like manner.

Crabs copulate at the front parts of one another, belly to belly, throwing their overlapping opercula to meet one another: first the smaller crab mounts the larger at the rear; after he has mounted, the larger one turns on one side. Now, the female differs in no respect from the male except in the circumstance that its operculum is larger, more elevated, and more hairy, and into this operculum it spawns its eggs and in the same neighbourhood is the outlet of the residuum. In the copulative process of these animals there is no protrusion of a member from one animal into the other.


Insects copulate at the hinder end, and the smaller individuals mount the larger; and the smaller individual is I I is the male. The female pushes from underneath her sexual organ into the body of the male above, this being the reverse of the operation observed in other creatures; and this organ in the case of some insects appears to be disproportionately large when compared to the size of the body, and that too in very minute creatures; in some insects the disproportion is not so striking. This phenomenon may be witnessed if any one will pull asunder flies that are copulating; and, by the way, these creatures are, under the circumstances, averse to separation; for the intercourse of the sexes in their case is of long duration, as may be observed with common everyday insects, such as the fly and the cantharis. They all copulate in the manner above described, the fly, the cantharis, the sphondyle, (the phalangium spider) any others of the kind that copulate at all. The phalangia-that is to say, such of the species as spin webs-perform the operation in the following way: the female takes hold of the suspended web at the middle and gives a pull, and the male gives a counter pull; this operation they repeat until they are drawn in together and interlaced at the hinder ends; for, by the way, this mode of copulation suits them in consequence of the rotundity of their stomachs.

So much for the modes of sexual intercourse in all animals; but, with regard to the same phenomenon, there are definite laws followed as regards the season of the year and the age of the animal.
Animals in general seem naturally disposed to this intercourse at about the same period of the year, and that is when winter is changing into summer. And this is the season of spring, in which almost all things that fly or walk or swim take to pairing. Some animals pair and breed in autumn also and in winter, as is the case with certain aquatic animals and certain birds. Man pairs and breeds at all seasons, as is the case also with domesticated animals, owing to the shelter and good feeding they enjoy: that is to say, with those whose period of gestation is also comparatively brief, as the sow and the bitch, and with those birds that breed frequently. Many animals time the season of intercourse with a view to the right nurture subsequently of their young. In the human species, 


the male is more under sexual excitement in winter, and the female in summer.

With birds the far greater part, as has been said, pair and breed during the spring and early summer, with the exception of the halcyon.

The halcyon breeds at the season of the winter solstice. Accordingly, when this season is marked with calm weather, the name of ‘halcyon days’ is given to the seven days preceding, and to as many following, the solstice; as Simonides the poet says:
God lulls for fourteen days the winds to sleep
In winter; and this temperate interlude
Men call the Holy Season, when the deep
Cradles the mother Halcyon and her brood.
And these days are calm, when southerly winds prevail at the solstice, northerly ones having been the accompaniment of the Pleiads. The halcyon is said to take seven days for building her nest, and the other seven for laying and hatching her eggs. In our country there are not always halcyon days about the time of the winter solstice, but in the Sicilian seas this season of calm is almost periodical. The bird lays about five eggs.

(The aithyia, or diver, and the larus, or gull, lay their eggs on rocks bordering on the sea, two or three at a time; but the gull lays in the summer, and the diver at the beginning of spring, just after the winter solstice, and it broods over its eggs as birds do in general. And neither of these birds resorts to a hiding-place.)
The halcyon is the most rarely seen of all birds. It is seen only about the time of the setting of the Pleiads and the winter solstice. When ships are lying at anchor in the roads, it will hover about a vessel and then disappear in a moment, and Stesichorus in one of his poems alludes to this peculiarity. The nightingale also breeds at the beginning of summer, and lays five or six eggs; from autumn until spring it retires to a hiding-place.

Insects copulate and breed in winter also, that is when the weather is fine and south winds prevail; such, I mean, as do not hibernate, as the fly and the ant. The greater part of wild animals bring forth once and once only in the year, except in the case of animals like the hare, where the female can become superfoetally impregnated.

In like manner the great majority of fishes breed only once a year, like the shoal-fishes 


(or, in other words, such as are caught in nets), the tunny, the pelamys, the grey mullet, the chalcis, the mackerel, the sciaena, the psetta and the like, with the exception of the labrax or basse; for this fish (alone amongst those mentioned) breeds twice a year, and the second brood is the weaker of the two. The trichias and the rock-fishes breed twice a year; the red mullet breeds thrice a year, and is exceptional in this respect. This conclusion in regard to the red mullet is inferred from the spawn; for the spawn of the fish may be seen in certain places at three different times of the year. The scorpaena breeds twice a year. The sargue breeds twice, in the spring and in the autumn. The saupe breeds once a year only, in the autumn. The female tunny breeds only once a year, but owing to the fact that the fish in some cases spawn early and in others late, it looks as though the fish bred twice over. The first spawning takes place in December before the solstice, and the latter spawning in the spring. The male tunny differs from the female in being unprovided with the fin beneath the belly which is called aphareus.

Of cartilaginous fishes, the rhina or angelfish is the only one that breeds twice; for it breeds at the beginning of autumn, and at the setting of the Pleiads: and, of the two seasons, it is in better condition in the autumn. It engenders at a birth seven or eight young. Certain of the dog-fishes, for example the spotted dog, seem to breed twice a month, and this results from the circumstance that the eggs do not all reach maturity at the same time.

Some fishes breed at all seasons, as the muraena. This animal lays a great number of eggs at a time; and the young when hatched are very small but grow with great rapidity, like the young of the hippurus, for these fishes from being diminutive at the outset grow with exceptional rapidity to an exceptional size. (Be it observed that the muraena breeds at all seasons, but the hippurus only in the spring. The smyrus differs from the smyraena; for the muraena is mottled and weakly, whereas the smyrus is strong and of one uniform colour, and the colour resembles that of the pine-tree, and the animal has teeth inside and out. They say that in this case, as in other similar ones, the one is the male, and the other the female, of a single species. They come out on to the land, and are frequently caught.) 

Fishes, then, as a general rule, attain their full growth with great rapidity, but this is especially the case, among small fishes, with the coracine or crow-fish: 


it spawns, by the way, near the shore, in weedy and tangled spots. The orphus also, or sea-perch, is small at first, and rapidly attains a great size. The pelamys and the tunny breed in the Euxine, and nowhere else. The cestreus or mullet, the chrysophrys or gilt-head, and the labrax or basse, breed best where rivers run into the sea. The orcys or large-sized tunny, the scorpis, and many other species spawn in the open sea.

Fish for the most part breed some time or other during the three months between the middle of March and the middle of June. Some few breed in autumn: as, for instance, the saupe and the sargus, and such others of this sort as breed shortly before the autumn equinox; likewise the electric ray and the angel-fish. Other fishes breed both in winter and in summer, as was previously observed: as, for instance, in winter-time the basse, the grey mullet, and the belone or pipe-fish; and in summer-time, from the middle of June to the middle of July, the female tunny, about the time of the summer solstice; and the tunny lays a sac-like enclosure in which are contained a number of small eggs. The ryades or shoal-fishes breed in summer.

Of the grey mullets, the chelon begins to be in roe between the middle of November and the middle of December; as also the sargue, and the smyxon or myxon, and the cephalus; and their period of gestation is thirty days. And, by the way, some of the grey mullet species are not produced from copulation, but grow spontaneously from mud and sand.

As a general rule, then, fishes are in roe in the spring-time; while some, as has been said, are so in summer, in autumn, or in winter. But whereas the impregnation in the spring-time follows a general law, impregnation in the other seasons does not follow the same rule either throughout or within the limits of one genus; and, further, conception in these variant seasons is not so prolific. And, indeed, we must bear this in mind, that just as with plants and quadrupeds diversity of locality has much to do not only with general physical health but also with the comparative frequency of sexual intercourse and generation, so also with regard to fishes locality of itself has much to do not only in regard to the size and vigour of the creature, but also in regard to its parturition and its copulations, causing the same species to breed oftener in one place and seldomer in another.


The molluscs also breed in spring. Of the marine molluscs one of the first to breed is the sepia. It spawns at all times of the day and its period of gestation is fifteen days. After the female has laid her eggs, the male comes and discharges the milt over the eggs, and the eggs thereupon harden. And the two sexes of this animal go about in pairs, side by side; and the male is more mottled and more black on the back than the female.

The octopus pairs in winter and breeds in spring, lying hidden for about two months. Its spawn is shaped like a vine-tendril, and resembles the fruit of the white poplar; the creature is extraordinarily prolific, for the number of individuals that come from the spawn is something incalculable. The male differs from the female in the fact that its head is longer, and that the organ called by the fishermen its penis, in the tentacle, is white. The female, after laying her eggs, broods over them, and in consequence gets out of condition, by reason of not going in quest of food during the hatching period.

The purple murex breeds about springtime, and the ceryx at the close of the winter. And, as a general rule, the testaceans are found to be furnished with their so-called eggs in spring-time and in autumn, with the exception of the edible urchin; for this animal has the so-called eggs in most abundance in these seasons, but at no season is unfurnished with them; and it is furnished with them in especial abundance in warm weather or when a full moon is in the sky. Only, by the way, these remarks do not apply to the sea-urchin found in the Pyrrhaean Straits, for this urchin is at its best for table purposes in the winter; and these urchins are small but full of eggs.

Snails are found by observations to become in all cases impregnated about the same season.

(Of birds the wild species, as has been stated, as a general rule pair and breed only once a year. The swallow, however, and the blackbird breed twice. With regard to the blackbird, however, its first brood is killed by inclemency of weather (for it is the earliest of all birds to breed), but the second brood it usually succeeds in rearing.

Birds that are domesticated or that are capable of domestication breed frequently, just as the common pigeon breeds all through the summer, and as is seen in the barn-door hen; for the barn-door cock and hen have intercourse, and the hen breeds, at all seasons alike: excepting by the way, during the days about the winter solstice.


Of the pigeon family there are many diversities; for the peristera or common pigeon is not identical with the peleias or rock-pigeon. In other words, the rock-pigeon is smaller than the common pigeon, and is less easily domesticated; it is also black, and small, red-footed and rough-footed; and in consequence of these peculiarities it is neglected by the pigeon-fancier. The largest of all the pigeon species is the phatta or ring-dove; and the next in size is the oenas or stock-dove; and the stock-dove is a little larger than the common pigeon. The smallest of all the species is the turtle-dove. Pigeons breed and hatch at all seasons, if they are furnished with a sunny place and all requisites; unless they are so furnished, they breed only in the summer. The spring brood is the best, or the autumn brood. At all events, without doubt, the produce of the hot season, the summer brood, is the poorest of the three.)

Further, animals differ from one another in regard to the time of life that is best adapted for sexual intercourse.

To begin with, in most animals the secretion of the seminal fluid and its generative capacity are not phenomena simultaneously manifested, but manifested successively. Thus, in all animals, the earliest secretion of sperm is unfruitful, or if it be fruitful the issue is comparatively poor and small. And this phenomenon is especially observable in man, in viviparous quadrupeds, and in birds; for in the case of man and the quadruped the offspring is smaller, and in the case of the bird, the egg.

For animals that copulate, of one and the same species, the age for maturity is in most species tolerably uniform, unless it occurs prematurely by reason of abnormality, or is postponed by physical injury.
In man, then, maturity is indicated by a change of the tone of voice, by an increase in size and an alteration in appearance of the sexual organs, as also in an increase of size and alteration in appearance of the breasts; and above all, in the hair-growth at the pubes. Man begins to possess seminal fluid about the age of fourteen, and becomes generatively capable at about the age of twenty-one years.

In other animals there is no hair-growth at the pubes (for some animals have no hair at all, and others have none on the belly, or less on the belly than on the back), but still, in some animals the change of voice is quite obvious; and in some animals other organs give indication of the commencing secretion of the sperm and the onset of generative capacity. As a general rule the female is sharper-toned in voice than the male, and the young animal than the elder; 


for, by the way, the stag has a much deeper-toned bay than the hind. Moreover, the male cries chiefly at rutting time, and the female under terror and alarm; and the cry of the female is short, and that of the male prolonged. With dogs also, as they grow old, the tone of the bark gets deeper.

There is a difference observable also in the neighings of horses. That is to say, the female foal has a thin small neigh, and the male foal a small neigh, yet bigger and deeper-toned than that of the female, and a louder one as time goes on. And when the young male and female are two years old and take to breeding, the neighing of the stallion becomes loud and deep, and that of the mare louder and shriller than heretofore; and this change goes on until they reach the age of about twenty years; and after this time the neighing in both sexes becomes weaker and weaker.

As a rule, then, as was stated, the voice of the male differs from the voice of the female, in animals where the voice admits of a continuous and prolonged sound, in the fact that the note in the male voice is more deep and bass; not, however, in all animals, for the contrary holds good in the case of some, as for instance in kine: for here the cow has a deeper note than the bull, and the calves a deeper note than the cattle. And we can thus understand the change of voice in animals that undergo gelding; for male animals that undergo this process assume the characters of the female.

The following are the ages at which various animals become capacitated for sexual commerce. The ewe and the she-goat are sexually mature when one year old, and this statement is made more confidently in respect to the she-goat than to the ewe; the ram and the he-goat are sexually mature at the same age. The progeny of very young individuals among these animals differs from that of other males: for the males improve in the course of the second year, when they become fully mature. 

The boar and the sow are capable of intercourse when eight months old, and the female brings forth when one year old, the difference corresponding to her period of gestation. The boar is capable of generation when eight months old, but, with a sire under a year in age, the litter is apt to be a poor one. The ages, however, are not invariable; 


now and then the boar and the sow are capable of intercourse when four months old, and are capable of producing a litter which can be reared when six months old; but at times the boar begins to be capable of intercourse when ten months. He continues sexually mature until he is three years old. 

The dog and the bitch are, as a rule, sexually capable and sexually receptive when a year old, and sometimes when eight months old; but the priority in date is more common with the dog than with the bitch. The period of gestation with the bitch is sixty days, or sixty-one, or sixty-two, or sixty-three at the utmost; the period is never under sixty days, or, if it is, the litter comes to no good. The bitch, after delivering a litter, submits to the male in six months, but not before. 

The horse and the mare are, at the earliest, sexually capable and sexually mature when two years old; the issue, however, of parents of this age is small and poor. As a general rule these animals are sexually capable when three years old, and they grow better for breeding purposes until they reach twenty years. The stallion is sexually capable up to the age of thirty-three years, and the mare up to forty, so that, in point of fact, the animals are sexually capable all their lives long; for the stallion, as a rule, lives for about thirty-five years, and the mare for a little over forty; although, by the way, a horse has known to live to the age of seventy-five. 

The ass and the she-ass are sexually capable when thirty months old; but, as a rule, they are not generatively mature until they are three years old, or three years and a half. An instance has been known of a she-ass bearing and bringing forth a foal when only a year old. A cow has been known to calve when only a year old, and the calf grew as big as might be expected, but no more. So much for the dates in time at which these animals attain to generative capacity.

In the human species, the male is generative, at the longest, up to seventy years, and the female up to fifty; but such extended periods are rare. As a rule, the male is generative up to the age of sixty-five, and to the age of forty-five the female is capable of conception.

The ewe bears up to eight years, and, if she be carefully tended, up to eleven years; 


in fact, the ram and the ewe are sexually capable pretty well all their lives long. He-goats, if they be fat, are more or less unserviceable for breeding; and this, by the way, is the reason why country folk say of a vine when it stops bearing that it is ‘running the goat’. However, if an over-fat he-goat be thinned down, he becomes sexually capable and generative.

Rams single out the oldest ewes for copulation, and show no regard for the young ones. And, as has been stated, the issue of the younger ewes is poorer than that of the older ones.

The boar is good for breeding purposes until he is three years of age; but after that age his issue deteriorates, for after that age his vigour is on the decline. The boar is most capable after a good feed, and with the first sow it mounts; if poorly fed or put to many females, the copulation is abbreviated, and the litter is comparatively poor. The first litter of the sow is the fewest in number; at the second litter she is at her prime. The animal, as it grows old, continues to breed, but the sexual desire abates. When they reach fifteen years, they become unproductive, and are getting old. If a sow be highly fed, it is all the more eager for sexual commerce, whether old or young; but, if it be over-fattened in pregnancy, it gives the less milk after parturition. 

With regard to the age of the parents, the litter is the best when they are in their prime; but with regard to the seasons of the year, the litter is the best that comes at the beginning of winter; and the summer litter the poorest, consisting as it usually does of animals small and thin and flaccid. The boar, if it be well fed, is sexually capable at all hours, night and day; but otherwise is peculiarly salacious early in the morning. As it grows old the sexual passion dies away, as we have already remarked. Very often a boar, when more or less impotent from age or debility, finding itself unable to accomplish the sexual commerce with due speed, and growing fatigued with the standing posture, will roll the sow over on the ground, and the pair will conclude the operation side by side of one another. The sow is sure of conception if it drops its lugs in rutting time; if the ears do not thus drop, it may have to rut a second time before impregnation takes place.

Bitches do not submit to the male throughout their lives, but only until they reach a certain maturity of years. As a general rule, they are sexually receptive and conceptive until they are twelve years old; although, by the way, cases have been known where dogs and bitches have been respectively procreative and conceptive to the ages of eighteen and even of twenty years. But, as a rule, age diminishes the capability of generation and of conception with these animals as with all others.


The female of the camel is opisthuretic, and submits to the male in the way above described; and the season for copulation in Arabia is about the month of October. Its period of gestation is twelve months; and it is never delivered of more than one foal at a time. The female becomes sexually receptive and the male sexually capable at the age of three years. After parturition, an interval of a year elapses before the female is again receptive to the male.

The female elephant becomes sexually receptive when ten years old at the youngest, and when fifteen at the oldest; and the male is sexually capable when five years old, or six. The season for intercourse is spring. The male allows an interval of three years to elapse after commerce with a female: and, after it has once impregnated a female, it has no intercourse with her again. The period of gestation with the female is two years; and only one young animal is produced at a time, in other words it is uniparous. And the embryo is the size of a calf two or three months old.

So much for the copulations of such animals as copulate.

We now proceed to treat of generation both with respect to copulating and non-copulating animals, and we shall commence with discussing the subject of generation in the case of the testaceans.

The testacean is almost the only genus that throughout all its species is non-copulative.

The porphyrae, or purple murices, gather together to some one place in the spring-time, and deposit the so-called ‘honeycomb’. This substance resembles the comb, only that it is not so neat and delicate; and looks as though a number of husks of white chick-peas were all stuck together. But none of these structures has any open passage, and the porphyra does not grow out of them, but these and all other testaceans grow out of mud and decaying matter. The substance, is, in fact, an excretion of the porphyra and the ceryx; for it is deposited by the ceryx as well. Such, then, of the testaceans as deposit the honeycomb are generated spontaneously like all other testaceans, but they certainly come in greater abundance in places where their congeners have been living previously. 

At the commencement of the process of depositing the honeycomb, they throw off a slippery mucus, and of this the husklike formations are composed. These formations, then, all melt and deposit their contents on the ground, and at this spot there are found on the ground a number of minute porphyrae, and porphyrae are caught at times with these animalculae upon them, 


some of which are too small to be differentiated in form. If the porphyrae are caught before producing this honey-comb, they sometimes go through the process in fishing-creels, not here and there in the baskets, but gathering to some one spot all together, just as they do in the sea; and owing to the narrowness of their new quarters they cluster together like a bunch of grapes.

There are many species of the purple murex; and some are large, as those found off Sigeum and Lectum; others are small, as those found in the Euripus, and on the coast of Caria. And those that are found in bays are large and rough; in most of them the peculiar bloom from which their name is derived is dark to blackness, in others it is reddish and small in size; some of the large ones weigh upwards of a mina apiece. But the specimens that are found along the coast and on the rocks are small-sized, and the bloom in their case is of a reddish hue. Further, as a general rule, in northern waters the bloom is blackish, and in southern waters of a reddish hue. 

The murex is caught in the spring-time when engaged in the construction of the honeycomb; but it is not caught at any time about the rising of the dog-star, for at that period it does not feed, but conceals itself and burrows. The bloom of the animal is situated between the mecon (or quasi-liver) and the neck, and the co-attachment of these is an intimate one. In colour it looks like a white membrane, and this is what people extract; and if it be removed and squeezed it stains your hand with the colour of the bloom. There is a kind of vein that runs through it, and this quasi-vein would appear to be in itself the bloom. And the qualities, by the way, of this organ are astringent. 

It is after the murex has constructed the honeycomb that the bloom is at its worst. Small specimens they break in pieces, shells and all, for it is no easy matter to extract the organ; but in dealing with the larger ones they first strip off the shell and then abstract the bloom. For this purpose the neck and mecon are separated, for the bloom lies in between them, above the so-called stomach; hence the necessity of separating them in abstracting the bloom. 

Fishermen are anxious always to break the animal in pieces while it is yet alive, for, if it die before the process is completed, it vomits out the bloom; and for this reason the fishermen keep the animals in creels, until they have collected a sufficient number and can attend to them at their leisure. Fishermen in past times used not to lower creels or attach them to the bait, so that very often the animal got dropped off in the pulling up; at present, however, they always attach a basket, so that if the animal fall off it is not lost. The animal is more inclined to slip off the bait if it be full inside; if it be empty it is difficult to shake it off. 


Such are the phenomena connected with the porphyra or murex.

The same phenomena are manifested by the ceryx or trumpet-shell; and the seasons are the same in which the phenomena are observable. Both animals, also, the murex and the ceryx, have their opercula similarly situated-and, in fact, all the stromboids, and this is congenital with them all; and they feed by protruding the so-called tongue underneath the operculum. The tongue of the murex is bigger than one’s finger, and by means of it, it feeds, and perforates conchylia and the shells of its own kind. Both the murex and the ceryx are long lived. The murex lives for about six years; and the yearly increase is indicated by a distinct interval in the spiral convolution of the shell.

The mussel also constructs a honeycomb.

With regard to the limnostreae, or lagoon oysters, wherever you have slimy mud there you are sure to find them beginning to grow. Cockles and clams and razor-fishes and scallops row spontaneously in sandy places. The pinna grows straight up from its tuft of anchoring fibres in sandy and slimy places; these creatures have inside them a parasite nicknamed the pinna-guard, in some cases a small carid and in other cases a little crab; if the pinna be deprived of this pinna-guard it soon dies.

As a general rule, then, all testaceans grow by spontaneous generation in mud, differing from one another according to the differences of the material; oysters growing in slime, and cockles and the other testaceans above mentioned on sandy bottoms; and in the hollows of the rocks the ascidian and the barnacle, and common sorts, such as the limpet and the nerites. All these animals grow with great rapidity, especially the murex and the scallop; for the murex and the scallop attain their full growth in a year. In some of the testaceans white crabs are found, very diminutive in size; they are most numerous in the trough shaped mussel. In the pinna also is found the so-called pinna-guard. They are found also in the scallop and in the oyster; these parasites never appear to grow in size. Fishermen declare that the parasite is congenital with the larger animal. (Scallops burrow for a time in the sand, like the murex.)

(Shell-fish, then, grow in the way above mentioned; 


and some of them grow in shallow water, some on the sea-shore, some in rocky places, some on hard and stony ground, and some in sandy places.) Some shift about from place to place, others remain permanent on one spot. Of those that keep to one spot the pinnae are rooted to the ground; the razor-fish and the clam keep to the same locality, but are not so rooted; but still, if forcibly removed they die.

(The star-fish is naturally so warm that whatever it lays hold of is found, when suddenly taken away from the animal, to have undergone a process like boiling. Fishermen say that the star-fish is a great pest in the Strait of Pyrrha. In shape it resembles a star as seen in an ordinary drawing. The so-called ‘lungs’ are generated spontaneously. The shells that painters use are a good deal thicker, and the bloom is outside the shell on the surface. These creatures are mostly found on the coast of Caria.)

The hermit-crab grows spontaneously out of soil and slime, and finds its way into untenanted shells. As it grows it shifts to a larger shell, as for instance into the shell of the nerites, or of the strombus or the like, and very often into the shell of the small ceryx. After entering new shell, it carries it about, and begins again to feed, and, by and by, as it grows, it shifts again into another larger one.

Moreover, the animals that are unfurnished with shells grow spontaneously, like the testaceans, as, for instance, the sea-nettles and the sponges in rocky caves.

Of the sea-nettle, or sea-anemone, there are two species; and of these one species lives in hollows and never loosens its hold upon the rocks, and the other lives on smooth flat reefs, free and detached, and shifts its position from time to time. (Limpets also detach themselves, and shift from place to place.)
In the chambered cavities of sponges pinna-guards or parasites are found. And over the chambers there is a kind of spider’s web, by the opening and closing of which they catch mute fishes; that is to say, they open the web to let the fish get in, and close it again to entrap them.

Of sponges there are three species; the first is of loose porous texture, 


the second is close textured, the third, which is nicknamed ‘the sponge of Achilles’, is exceptionally fine and close-textured and strong. This sponge is used as a lining to helmets and greaves, for the purpose of deadening the sound of the blow; and this is a very scarce species. Of the close textured sponges such as are particularly hard and rough are nicknamed ‘goats’.

Sponges grow spontaneously either attached to a rock or on sea-beaches, and they get their nutriment in slime: a proof of this statement is the fact that when they are first secured they are found to be full of slime. This is characteristic of all living creatures that get their nutriment by close local attachment. And, by the way, the close-textured sponges are weaker than the more openly porous ones because their attachment extends over a smaller area.

It is said that the sponge is sensitive; and as a proof of this statement they say that if the sponge is made aware of an attempt being made to pluck it from its place of attachment it draws itself together, and it becomes a difficult task to detach it. It makes a similar contractile movement in windy and boisterous weather, obviously with the object of tightening its hold. Some persons express doubts as to the truth of this assertion; as, for instance, the people of Torone.

The sponge breeds parasites, worms, and other creatures, on which, if they be detached, the rock-fishes prey, as they prey also on the remaining stumps of the sponge; but, if the sponge be broken off, it grows again from the remaining stump and the place is soon as well covered as before.

The largest of all sponges are the loose-textured ones, and these are peculiarly abundant on the coast of Lycia. The softest are the close-textured sponges; for, by the way, the so-called sponges of Achilles are harder than these. As a general rule, sponges that are found in deep calm waters are the softest; for usually windy and stormy weather has a tendency to harden them (as it has to harden all similar growing things), and to arrest their growth. And this accounts for the fact that the sponges found in the Hellespont are rough and close-textured; and, as a general rule, sponges found beyond or inside Cape Malea are, respectively, comparatively soft or comparatively hard. But, by the way, the habitat of the sponge should not be too sheltered and warm, for it has a tendency to decay, like all similar vegetable-like growths. And this accounts for the fact that the sponge is at its best when found in deep water close to shore; for owing to the depth of the water they enjoy shelter alike from stormy winds and from excessive heat.

Whilst they are still alive and before they are washed and cleaned, they are blackish in colour. Their attachment is not made at one particular spot, nor is it made all over their bodies; for vacant pore-spaces intervene. There is a kind of membrane stretched over the under parts; and in the under parts the points of attachment are the more numerous. 


On the top most of the pores are closed, but four or five are open and visible; and we are told by some that it is through these pores that the animal takes its food.

There is a particular species that is named the ‘aplysia’ or the ‘unwashable’, from the circumstance that it cannot be cleaned. This species has the large open and visible pores, but all the rest of the body is close-textured; and, if it be dissected, it is found to be closer and more glutinous than the ordinary sponge, and, in a word, something lung like in consistency. And, on all hands, it is allowed that this species is sensitive and long-lived. They are distinguished in the sea from ordinary sponges from the circumstance that the ordinary sponges are white while the slime is in them, but that these sponges are under any circumstances black.

And so much with regard to sponges and to generation in the testaceans.

Of crustaceans, the female crawfish after copulation conceives and retains its eggs for about three months, from about the middle of May to about the middle of August; they then lay the eggs into the folds underneath the belly, and their eggs grow like grubs. This same phenomenon is observable in molluscs also, and in such fishes as are oviparous; for in all these cases the egg continues to grow.

The spawn of the crawfish is of a loose or granular consistency, and is divided into eight parts; for corresponding to each of the flaps on the side there is a gristly formation to which the spawn is attached, and the entire structure resembles a cluster of grapes; for each gristly formation is split into several parts. This is obvious enough if you draw the parts asunder; but at first sight the whole appears to be one and indivisible. And the largest are not those nearest to the outlet but those in the middle, and the farthest off are the smallest. 

The size of the small eggs is that of a small seed in a fig; and they are not quite close to the outlet, but placed middleways; for at both ends, tailwards and trunkwards, there are two intervals devoid of eggs; for it is thus that the flaps also grow. The side flaps, then, cannot close, but by placing the end flap on them the animal can close up all, and this end-flap serves them for a lid. 


And in the act of laying its eggs it seems to bring them towards the gristly formations by curving the flap of its tail, and then, squeezing the eggs towards the said gristly formations and maintaining a bent posture, it performs the act of laying. The gristly formations at these seasons increase in size and become receptive of the eggs; for the animal lays its eggs into these formations, just as the sepia lays its eggs among twigs and driftwood.

It lays its eggs, then, in this manner, and after hatching them for about twenty days it rids itself of them all in one solid lump, as is quite plain from outside. And out of these eggs crawfish form in about fifteen days, and these crawfish are caught at times less then a finger’s breadth, or seven-tenths of an inch, in length. The animal, then, lays its eggs before the middle of September, and after the middle of that month throws off its eggs in a lump. With the humped carids or prawns the time for gestation is four months or thereabouts.

Crawfish are found in rough and rocky places, lobsters in smooth places, and neither crawfish nor lobsters are found in muddy ones; and this accounts for the fact that lobsters are found in the Hellespont and on the coast of Thasos, and crawfish in the neighbourhood of Sigeum and Mount Athos. Fishermen, accordingly, when they want to catch these various creatures out at sea, take bearings on the beach and elsewhere that tell them where the ground at the bottom is stony and where soft with slime. In winter and spring these animals keep in near to land, in summer they keep in deep water; thus at various times seeking respectively for warmth or coolness.

The so-called arctus or bear-crab lays its eggs at about the same time as the crawfish; and consequently in winter and in the spring-time, before laying their eggs, they are at their best, and after laying at their worst.
They cast their shell in the spring-time (just as serpents shed their so-called ‘old-age’ or slough), both directly after birth and in later life; this is true both of crabs and crawfish. And, by the way, all crawfish are long lived.

Molluscs, after pairing and copulation, lay a white spawn; and this spawn, as in the case of the testacean, gets granular in time. The octopus discharges into its hole, or into a potsherd or into any similar cavity, a structure resembling the tendrils of a young vine or the fruit of the white poplar, as has been previously observed. The eggs, when the female has laid them, are clustered round the sides of the hole. 


They are so numerous that, if they be removed they suffice to fill a vessel much larger than the animal’s body in which they were contained. Some fifty days later, the eggs burst and the little polypuses creep out, like little spiders, in great numbers; the characteristic form of their limbs is not yet to be discerned in detail, but their general outline is clear enough. And, by the way, they are so small and helpless that the greater number perish; it is a fact that they have been seen so extremely minute as to be absolutely without organization, but nevertheless when touched they moved. The eggs of the sepia look like big black myrtle-berries, and they are linked all together like a bunch of grapes, clustered round a centre, and are not easily sundered from one another: for the male exudes over them some moist glairy stuff, which constitutes the sticky gum. These eggs increase in size; and they are white at the outset, but black and larger after the sprinkling of the male seminal fluid.

When it has come into being the young sepia is first distinctly formed inside out of the white substance, and when the egg bursts it comes out. The inner part is formed as soon as the female lays the egg, something like a hail-stone; and out of this substance the young sepia grows by a head-attachment, just as young birds grow by a belly-attachment. What is the exact nature of the navel-attachment has not yet been observed, except that as the young sepia grows the white substance grows less and less in size, and at length, as happens with the yolk in the case of birds, the white substance in the case of the young sepia disappears. In the case of the young sepia, as in the case of the young of most animals, the eyes at first seem very large. To illustrate this by way of a figure, let A represent the ovum, B and C the eyes, and D the sepidium, or body of the little sepia. (See diagram.)

The female sepia goes pregnant in the spring-time, and lays its eggs after fifteen days of gestation; after the eggs are laid there comes in another fifteen days something like a bunch of grapes, and at the bursting of these the young sepiae issue forth. But if, when the young ones are fully formed, you sever the outer covering a moment too soon, the young creatures eject excrement, and their colour changes from white to red in their alarm.


Crustaceans, then, hatch their eggs by brooding over them as they carry them about beneath their bodies; but the octopus, the sepia, and the like hatch their eggs without stirring from the spot where they may have laid them, and this statement is particularly applicable to the sepia; in fact, the nest of the female sepia is often seen exposed to view close in to shore. The female octopus at times sits brooding over her eggs, and at other times squats in front of her hole, stretching out her tentacles on guard.

The sepia lays her spawn near to land in the neighbourhood of sea-weed or reeds or any off-sweepings such as brushwood, twigs, or stones; and fishermen place heaps of faggots here and there on purpose, and on to such heaps the female deposits a long continuous roe in shape like a vine tendril. It lays or spirts out the spawn with an effort, as though there were difficulty in the process. The female calamary spawns at sea; and it emits the spawn, as does the sepia, in the mass.

The calamary and the cuttle-fish are short-lived, as, with few exceptions, they never see the year out; and the same statement is applicable to the octopus.

From one single egg comes one single sepia; and this is likewise true of the young calamary.
The male calamary differs from the female; for if its gill-region be dilated and examined there are found two red formations resembling breasts, with which the male is unprovided. In the sepia, apart from this distinction in the sexes, the male, as has been stated, is more mottled than the female.

With regard to insects, that the male is less than the female and that he mounts upon her back, and how he performs the act of copulation and the circumstance that he gives over reluctantly, all this has already been set forth, most cases of insect copulation this process is speedily followed up by parturition.

All insects engender grubs, with the exception of a species of butterfly; and the female of this species lays a hard egg, resembling the seed of the cnecus, with a juice inside it. But from the grub, the young animal does not grow out of a mere portion of it, as a young animal grows from a portion only of an egg, but the grub entire grows and the animal becomes differentiated out of it.

And of insects some are derived from insect congeners, as the venom-spider and the common-spider from the venom-spider and the common-spider, and so with the attelabus or locust, the acris or grasshopper, and the tettix or cicada. 


Other insects are not derived from living parentage, but are generated spontaneously: some out of dew falling on leaves, ordinarily in spring-time, but not seldom in winter when there has been a stretch of fair weather and southerly winds; others grow in decaying mud or dung; others in timber, green or dry; some in the hair of animals; some in the flesh of animals; some in excrements: and some from excrement after it has been voided, and some from excrement yet within the living animal, like the helminthes or intestinal worms. And of these intestinal worms there are three species: one named the flat-worm, another the round worm, and the third the ascarid. These intestinal worms do not in any case propagate their kind. The flat-worm, however, in an exceptional way, clings fast to the gut, and lays a thing like a melon-seed, by observing which indication the physician concludes that his patient is troubled with the worm.

The so-called psyche or butterfly is generated from caterpillars which grow on green leaves, chiefly leaves of the raphanus, which some call crambe or cabbage. At first it is less than a grain of millet; it then grows into a small grub; and in three days it is a tiny caterpillar. After this it grows on and on, and becomes quiescent and changes its shape, and is now called a chrysalis. The outer shell is hard, and the chrysalis moves if you touch it. It attaches itself by cobweb-like filaments, and is unfurnished with mouth or any other apparent organ. After a little while the outer covering bursts asunder, and out flies the winged creature that we call the psyche or butterfly. At first, when it is a caterpillar, it feeds and ejects excrement; but when it turns into the chrysalis it neither feeds nor ejects excrement.

The same remarks are applicable to all such insects as are developed out of the grub, both such grubs as are derived from the copulation of living animals and such as are generated without copulation on the part of parents. For the grub of the bee, the anthrena, and the wasp, whilst it is young, 


takes food and voids excrement; but when it has passed from the grub shape to its defined form and become what is termed a ‘nympha’, it ceases to take food and to void excrement, and remains tightly wrapped up and motionless until it has reached its full size, when it breaks the formation with which the cell is closed, and issues forth. The insects named the hypera and the penia are derived from similar caterpillars, which move in an undulatory way, progressing with one part and then pulling up the hinder parts by a bend of the body. The developed insect in each case takes its peculiar colour from the parent caterpillar.

From one particular large grub, which has as it were horns, and in other respects differs from grubs in general, there comes, by a metamorphosis of the grub, first a caterpillar, then the cocoon, then the necydalus; and the creature passes through all these transformations within six months. A class of women unwind and reel off the cocoons of these creatures, and afterwards weave a fabric with the threads thus unwound; a Coan woman of the name of Pamphila, daughter of Plateus, being credited with the first invention of the fabric. After the same fashion the carabus or stag-beetle comes from grubs that live in dry wood: at first the grub is motionless, but after a while the shell bursts and the stag-beetle issues forth.

From the cabbage is engendered the cabbageworm, and from the leek the prasocuris or leekbane; this creature is also winged. From the flat animalcule that skims over the surface of rivers comes the oestrus or gadfly; and this accounts for the fact that gadflies most abound in the neighbourhood of waters on whose surface these animalcules are observed. From a certain small, black and hairy caterpillar comes first a wingless glow-worm; and this creature again suffers a metamorphosis, and transforms into a winged insect named the bostrychus (or hair-curl).

Gnats grow from ascarids; and ascarids are engendered in the slime of wells, or in places where there is a deposit left by the draining off of water. This slime decays, and first turns white, then black, and finally blood-red; 


and at this stage there originate in it, as it were, little tiny bits of red weed, which at first wriggle about all clinging together, and finally break loose and swim in the water, and are hereupon known as ascarids. After a few days they stand straight up on the water motionless and hard, and by and by the husk breaks off and the gnats are seen sitting upon it, until the sun’s heat or a puff of wind sets them in motion, when they fly away.

With all grubs and all animals that break out from the grub state, generation is due primarily to the heat of the sun or to wind.

Ascarids are more likely to be found, and grow with unusual rapidity, in places where there is a deposit of a mixed and heterogeneous kind, as in kitchens and in ploughed fields, for the contents of such places are disposed to rapid putrefaction. In autumn, also, owing to the drying up of moisture, they grow in unusual numbers.

The tick is generated from couch-grass. The cockchafer comes from a grub that is generated in the dung of the cow or the ass. The cantharus or scarabeus rolls a piece of dung into a ball, lies hidden within it during the winter, and gives birth therein to small grubs, from which grubs come new canthari. Certain winged insects also come from the grubs that are found in pulse, in the same fashion as in the cases described.

Flies grow from grubs in the dung that farmers have gathered up into heaps: for those who are engaged in this work assiduously gather up the compost, and this they technically term ‘working-up’ the manure. The grub is exceedingly minute to begin with; first even at this stage-it assumes a reddish colour, and then from a quiescent state it takes on the power of motion, as though born to it; it then becomes a small motionless grub; it then moves again, and again relapses into immobility; it then comes out a perfect fly, and moves away under the influence of the sun’s heat or of a puff of air. 

The myops or horse-fly is engendered in timber. The orsodacna or budbane is a transformed grub; and this grub is engendered in cabbage-stalks. 


The cantharis comes from the caterpillars that are found on fig-trees or pear-trees or fir-trees—for on all these grubs are engendered-and also from caterpillars found on the dog-rose; and the cantharis takes eagerly to ill-scented substances, from the fact of its having been engendered in ill-scented woods. The conops comes from a grub that is engendered in the slime of vinegar.

And, by the way, living animals are found in substances that are usually supposed to be incapable of putrefaction; for instance, worms are found in long-lying snow; and snow of this description gets reddish in colour, and the grub that is engendered in it is red, as might have been expected, and it is also hairy. The grubs found in the snows of Media are large and white; and all such grubs are little disposed to motion. In Cyprus, in places where copper-ore is smelted, with heaps of the ore piled on day after day, an animal is engendered in the fire, somewhat larger than a blue bottle fly, furnished with wings, which can hop or crawl through the fire. And the grubs and these latter animals perish when you keep the one away from the fire and the other from the snow. Now the salamander is a clear case in point, to show us that animals do actually exist that fire cannot destroy; for this creature, so the story goes, not only walks through the fire but puts it out in doing so.

On the river Hypanis in the Cimmerian Bosphorus, about the time of the summer solstice, there are brought down towards the sea by the stream what look like little sacks rather bigger than grapes, out of which at their bursting issues a winged quadruped. The insect lives and flies about until the evening, but as the sun goes down it pines away, and dies at sunset having lived just one day, from which circumstance it is called the ephemeron.

As a rule, insects that come from caterpillars and grubs are held at first by filaments resembling the threads of a spider’s web.

Such is the mode of generation of the insects above enumerated. but if the latter impregnation takes placeduring the change of the yellow

The wasps that are nicknamed ‘the ichneumons’ (or hunters), less in size, by the way, than the ordinary wasp, kill spiders and carry off the dead bodies to a wall or some such place with a hole in it; this hole they smear over with mud and lay their grubs inside it, and from the grubs come the hunter-wasps. Some of the coleoptera and of the small and nameless insects make small holes or cells of mud on a wall or on a grave-stone, 


and there deposit their grubs.

With insects, as a general rule, the time of generation from its commencement to its completion comprises three or four weeks. With grubs and grub-like creatures the time is usually three weeks, and in the oviparous insects as a rule four. But, in the case of oviparous insects, the egg-formation comes at the close of seven days from copulation, and during the remaining three weeks the parent broods over and hatches its young; i.e. where this is the result of copulation, as in the case of the spider and its congeners. As a rule, the transformations take place in intervals of three or four days, corresponding to the lengths of interval at which the crises recur in intermittent fevers.

So much for the generation of insects. Their death is due to the shrivelling of their organs, just as the larger animals die of old age.

Winged insects die in autumn from the shrinking of their wings. The myops dies from dropsy in the eyes.

With regard to the generation of bees different hypotheses are in vogue. Some affirm that bees neither copulate nor give birth to young, but that they fetch their young. And some say that they fetch their young from the flower of the callyntrum; others assert that they bring them from the flower of the reed, others, from the flower of the olive. And in respect to the olive theory, it is stated as a proof that, when the olive harvest is most abundant, the swarms are most numerous. Others declare that they fetch the brood of the drones from such things as above mentioned, but that the working bees are engendered by the rulers of the hive.

Now of these rulers there are two kinds: the better kind is red in colour, the inferior kind is black and variegated; the ruler is double the size of the working bee. These rulers have the abdomen or part below the waist half as large again, and they are called by some the ‘mothers’, from an idea that they bear or generate the bees; and, as a proof of this theory of their motherhood, they declare that the brood of the drones appears even when there is no ruler-bee in the hive, but that the bees do not appear in his absence. Others, again, assert that these insects copulate, 


and that the drones are male and the bees female.

The ordinary bee is generated in the cells of the comb, but the ruler-bees in cells down below attached to the comb, suspended from it, apart from the rest, six or seven in number, and growing in a way quite different from the mode of growth of the ordinary brood.

Bees are provided with a sting, but the drones are not so provided. The rulers are provided with stings, but they never use them; and this latter circumstance will account for the belief of some people that they have no stings at all.

Of bees there are various species. The best kind is a little round mottled insect; another is long, and resembles the anthrena; a third is a black and flat-bellied, and is nick-named the ‘robber’; a fourth kind is the drone, the largest of all, but stingless and inactive. And this proportionate size of the drone explains why some bee-masters place a net-work in front of the hives; for the network is put to keep the big drones out while it lets the little bees go in.

Of the king bees there are, as has been stated, two kinds. In every hive there are more kings than one; and a hive goes to ruin if there be too few kings, not because of anarchy thereby ensuing, but, as we are told, because these creatures contribute in some way to the generation of the common bees. A hive will go also to ruin if there be too large a number of kings in it; for the members of the hives are thereby subdivided into too many separate factions.

Whenever the spring-time is late a-coming, and when there is drought and mildew, then the progeny of the hive is small in number. But when the weather is dry they attend to the honey, and in rainy weather their attention is concentrated on the brood; and this will account for the coincidence of rich olive-harvests and abundant swarms.

The bees first work at the honeycomb, and then put the pupae in it: by the mouth, say those who hold the theory of their bringing them from elsewhere. After putting in the pupae they put in the honey for subsistence, and this they do in the summer and autumn; and, by the way, the autumn honey is the better of the two.

The honeycomb is made from flowers, and the materials for the wax they gather from the resinous gum of trees, while honey is distilled from dew, and is deposited chiefly at the risings of the constellations or when a rainbow is in the sky: and as a general rule there is no honey before the rising of the Pleiads. (The bee, then, makes the wax from flowers. 


The honey, however, it does not make, but merely gathers what is deposited out of the atmosphere; and as a proof of this statement we have the known fact that occasionally bee-keepers find the hives filled with honey within the space of two or three days. Furthermore, in autumn flowers are found, but honey, if it be withdrawn, is not replaced; now, after the withdrawal of the original honey, when no food or very little is in the hives, there would be a fresh stock of honey, if the bees made it from flowers.) Honey, if allowed to ripen and mature, gathers consistency; for at first it is like water and remains liquid for several days. If it be drawn off during these days it has no consistency; but it attains consistency in about twenty days. The taste of thyme-honey is discernible at once, from its peculiar sweetness and consistency.

The bee gathers from every flower that is furnished with a calyx or cup, and from all other flowers that are sweet-tasted, without doing injury to any fruit; and the juices of the flowers it takes up with the organ that resembles a tongue and carries off to the hive.

Swarms are robbed of their honey on the appearance of the wild fig. They produce the best larvae at the time the honey is a-making. The bee carries wax and bees’ bread round its legs, but vomits the honey into the cell. After depositing its young, it broods over it like a bird. The grub when it is small lies slantwise in the comb, but by and by rises up straight by an effort of its own and takes food, and holds on so tightly to the honeycomb as actually to cling to it.

The young of bees and of drones is white, and from the young come the grubs; and the grubs grow into bees and drones. The egg of the king bee is reddish in colour, and its substance is about as consistent as thick honey; and from the first it is about as big as the bee that is produced from it. From the young of the king bee there is no intermediate stage, it is said, of the grub, but the bee comes at once.

Whenever the bee lays an egg in the comb there is always a drop of honey set against it. The larva of the bee gets feet and wings as soon as the cell has been stopped up with wax, and when it arrives at its completed form it breaks its membrane and flies away. 


It ejects excrement in the grub state, but not afterwards; that is, not until it has got out of the encasing membrane, as we have already described. If you remove the heads from off the larvae before the coming of the wings, the bees will eat them up; and if you nip off the wings from a drone and let it go, the bees will spontaneously bite off the wings from off all the remaining drones.

The bee lives for six years as a rule, as an exception for seven years. If a swarm lasts for nine years, or ten, great credit is considered due to its management.

In Pontus are found bees exceedingly white in colour, and these bees produce their honey twice a month. (The bees in Themiscyra, on the banks of the river Thermodon, build honeycombs in the ground and in hives, and these honeycombs are furnished with very little wax but with honey of great consistency; and the honeycomb, by the way, is smooth and level.) But this is not always the case with these bees, but only in the winter season; for in Pontus the ivy is abundant, and it flowers at this time of the year, and it is from the ivy-flower that they derive their honey. A white and very consistent honey is brought down from the upper country to Amisus, which is deposited by bees on trees without the employment of honeycombs: and this kind of honey is produced in other districts in Pontus.

There are bees also that construct triple honeycombs in the ground; and these honeycombs supply honey but never contain grubs. But the honeycombs in these places are not all of this sort, nor do all the bees construct them.

Anthrenae and wasps construct combs for their young. When they have no king, but are wandering about in search of one, the anthrene constructs its comb on some high place, and the wasp inside a hole. When the anthrene and the wasp have a king, they construct their combs underground. Their combs are in all cases hexagonal like the comb of the bee. They are composed, however, not of wax, but of a bark-like filamented fibre, and the comb of the anthrene is much neater than the comb of the wasp. 


Like the bee, they put their young just like a drop of liquid on to the side of the cell, and the egg clings to the wall of the cell. But the eggs are not deposited in the cells simultaneously; on the contrary, in some cells are creatures big enough to fly, in others are nymphae, and in others are mere grubs. As in the case of bees, excrement is observed only in the cells where the grubs are found. As long as the creatures are in the nymph condition they are motionless, and the cell is cemented over. In the comb of the anthrene there is found in the cell of the young a drop of honey in front of it. The larvae of the anthrene and the wasp make their appearance not in the spring but in the autumn; and their growth is especially discernible in times of full moon. And, by the way, the eggs and the grubs never rest at the bottom of the cells, but always cling on to the side wall.

There is a kind of humble-bee that builds a cone-shaped nest of clay against a stone or in some similar situation, besmearing the clay with something like spittle. And this nest or hive is exceedingly thick and hard; in point of fact, one can hardly break it open with a spike. Here the insects lay their eggs, and white grubs are produced wrapped in a black membrane. Apart from the membrane there is found some wax in the honeycomb; and this a wax is much sallower in hue than the wax in the honeycomb of the bee.

Ants copulate and engender grubs; and these grubs attach themselves to nothing in particular, but grow on and on from small and rounded shapes until they become elongated and defined in shape: and they are engendered in spring-time.

The land-scorpion also lays a number of egg shaped grubs, and broods over them. When the hatching is completed, the parent animal, as happens with the parent spider, is ejected and put to death by the young ones; for very often the young ones are about eleven in number.

Spiders in all cases copulate in the way above mentioned, and generate at first small grubs. And these grubs metamorphose in their entirety, and not partially, into spiders; for, by the way, the grubs are round-shaped at the outset. 


And the spider, when it lays its eggs, broods over them, and in three days the eggs or grubs take definite shape.

All spiders lay their eggs in a web; but some spiders lay in a small and fine web, and others in a thick one; and some, as a rule, lay in a round-shaped case or capsule, and some are only partially enveloped in the web. The young grubs are not all developed at one and the same time into young spiders; but the moment the development takes place, the young spider makes a leap and begins to spin his web. The juice of the grub, if you squeeze it, is the same as the juice found in the spider when young; that is to say, it is thick and white.

The meadow spider lays its eggs into a web, one half of which is attached to itself and the other half is free; and on this the parent broods until the eggs are hatched. The phalangia lay their eggs in a sort of strong basket which they have woven, and brood over it until the eggs are hatched. The smooth spider is much less prolific than the phalangium or hairy spider. These phalangia, when they grow to full size, very often envelop the mother phalangium and eject and kill her; and not seldom they kill the father-phalangium as well, if they catch him: for, by the way, he has the habit of co-operating with the mother in the hatching. The brood of a single phalangium is sometimes three hundred in number. The spider attains its full growth in about four weeks. 

Grasshoppers (or locusts) copulate in the same way as other insects; that is to say, with the lesser covering the larger, for the male is smaller than the female. The females first insert the hollow tube, which they have at their tails, in the ground, and then lay their eggs: and the male, by the way, is not furnished with this tube. The females lay their eggs all in a lump together, and in one spot, so that the entire lump of eggs resembles a honeycomb. After they have laid their eggs, the eggs assume the shape of oval grubs that are enveloped by a sort of thin clay, like a membrane; in this membrane-like formation they grow on to maturity. The larva is so soft that it collapses at a touch. The larva is not placed on the surface of the ground, but a little beneath the surface; and, when it reaches maturity, it comes out of its clayey investiture in the shape of a little black grasshopper; by and by, the skin integument strips off, and it grows larger and larger.


The grasshopper lays its eggs at the close of summer, and dies after laying them. The fact is that, at the time of laying the eggs, grubs are engendered in the region of the mother grasshopper’s neck; and the male grasshoppers die about the same time. In spring-time they come out of the ground; and, by the way, no grasshoppers are found in mountainous land or in poor land, but only in flat and loamy land, for the fact is they lay their eggs in cracks of the soil. During the winter their eggs remain in the ground; and with the coming of summer the last year’s larva develops into the perfect grasshopper.

The attelabi or locusts lay their eggs and die in like manner after laying them. Their eggs are subject to destruction by the autumn rains, when the rains are unusually heavy; but in seasons of drought the locusts are exceedingly numerous, from the absence of any destructive cause, since their destruction seems then to be a matter of accident and to depend on luck.

Of the cicada there are two kinds; one, small in size, the first to come and the last to disappear; the other, large, the singing one that comes last and first disappears. Both in the small and the large species some are divided at the waist, to wit, the singing ones, and some are undivided; and these latter have no song. The large and singing cicada is by some designated the ‘chirper’, and the small cicada the ‘tettigonium’ or cicadelle. And, by the way, such of the tettigonia as are divided at the waist can sing just a little.

The cicada is not found where there are no trees; and this accounts for the fact that in the district surrounding the city of Cyrene it is not found at all in the plain country, but is found in great numbers in the neighbourhood of the city, and especially where olive-trees are growing: for an olive grove is not thickly shaded. And the cicada is not found in cold places, and consequently is not found in any grove that keeps out the sunlight.

The large and the small cicada copulate alike, belly to belly. The male discharges sperm into the female, as is the case with insects in general, and the female cicada has a cleft generative organ; and it is the female into which the male discharges the sperm.

They lay their eggs in fallow lands, boring a hole with the pointed organ they carry in the rear, as do the locusts likewise; 


for the locust lays its eggs in untilled lands, and this fact may account for their numbers in the territory adjacent to the city of Cyrene. The cicadae also lay their eggs in the canes on which husbandmen prop vines, perforating the canes; and also in the stalks of the squill. This brood runs into the ground. And they are most numerous in rainy weather. The grub, on attaining full size in the ground, becomes a tettigometra (or nymph), and the creature is sweetest to the taste at this stage before the husk is broken. When the summer solstice comes, the creature issues from the husk at night-time, and in a moment, as the husk breaks, the larva becomes the perfect cicada. creature, also, at once turns black in colour and harder and larger, and takes to singing. In both species, the larger and the smaller, it is the male that sings, and the female that is unvocal. At first, the males are the sweeter eating; but, after copulation, the females, as they are full then of white eggs.

If you make a sudden noise as they are flying overhead they let drop something like water. Country people, in regard to this, say that they are voiding urine, ie. that they have an excrement, and that they feed upon dew.

If you present your finger to a cicada and bend back the tip of it and then extend it again, it will endure the presentation more quietly than if you were to keep your finger outstretched altogether; and it will set to climbing your finger: for the creature is so weak-sighted that it will take to climbing your finger as though that were a moving leaf.

Of insects that are not carnivorous but that live on the juices of living flesh, such as lice and fleas and bugs, all, without exception, generate what are called ‘nits’, and these nits generate nothing.

Of these insects the flea is generated out of the slightest amount of putrefying matter; for wherever there is any dry excrement, a flea is sure to be found. Bugs are generated from the moisture of living animals, as it dries up outside their bodies. Lice are generated out of the flesh of animals.

When lice are coming there is a kind of small eruption visible, unaccompanied by any discharge of purulent matter; and, if you prick an animal when in this condition at the spot of eruption, the lice jump out. In some men the appearance of lice is a disease, in cases where the body is surcharged with moisture; 


and, indeed, men have been known to succumb to this louse-disease, as Alcman the poet and the Syrian Pherecydes are said to have done. Moreover, in certain diseases lice appear in great abundance.

There is also a species of louse called the ‘wild louse’, and this is harder than the ordinary louse, and there is exceptional difficulty in getting the skin rid of it. Boys’ heads are apt to be lousy, but men’s in less degree; and women are more subject to lice than men. But, whenever people are troubled with lousy heads, they are less than ordinarily troubled with headache. And lice are generated in other animals than man. For birds are infested with them; and pheasants, unless they clean themselves in the dust, are actually destroyed by them. All other winged animals that are furnished with feathers are similarly infested, and all hair-coated creatures also, with the single exception of the ass, which is infested neither with lice nor with ticks.

Cattle suffer both from lice and from ticks. Sheep and goats breed ticks, but do not breed lice. Pigs breed lice large and hard. In dogs are found the flea peculiar to the animal, the Cynoroestes. In all animals that are subject to lice, the latter originate from the animals themselves. Moreover, in animals that bathe at all, lice are more than usually abundant when they change the water in which they bathe.

In the sea, lice are found on fishes, but they are generated not out of the fish but out of slime; and they resemble multipedal wood-lice, only that their tail is flat. Sea-lice are uniform in shape and universal in locality, and are particularly numerous on the body of the red mullet. And all these insects are multipedal and devoid of blood.

The parasite that feeds on the tunny is found in the region of the fins; it resembles a scorpion, and is about the size of a spider. In the seas between Cyrene and Egypt there is a fish that attends on the dolphin, which is called the ‘dolphin’s louse’. This fish gets exceedingly fat from enjoying an abundance of food while the dolphin is out in pursuit of its prey.


Other animalcules besides these are generated, as we have already remarked, some in wool or in articles made of wool, as the ses or clothes-moth. And these animalcules come in greater numbers if the woollen substances are dusty; and they come in especially large numbers if a spider be shut up in the cloth or wool, for the creature drinks up any moisture that may be there, and dries up the woollen substance. This grub is found also in men’s clothes.

A creature is also found in wax long laid by, just as in wood, and it is the smallest of animalcules and is white in colour, and is designated the acari or mite. In books also other animalcules are found, some resembling the grubs found in garments, and some resembling tailless scorpions, but very small. As a general rule we may state that such animalcules are found in practically anything, both in dry things that are becoming moist and in moist things that are drying, provided they contain the conditions of life.

There is a grub entitled the ‘faggot-bearer’, as strange a creature as is known. Its head projects outside its shell, mottled in colour, and its feet are near the end or apex, as is the case with grubs in general; but the rest of its body is cased in a tunic as it were of spider’s web, and there are little dry twigs about it, that look as though they had stuck by accident to the creature as it went walking about. But these twig-like formations are naturally connected with the tunic, for just as the shell is with the body of the snail so is the whole superstructure with our grub; and they do not drop off, but can only be torn off, as though they were all of a piece with him, and the removal of the tunic is as fatal to this grub as the removal of the shell would be to the snail. In course of time this grub becomes a chrysalis, as is the case with the silkworm, and lives in a motionless condition. But as yet it is not known into what winged condition it is transformed.

The fruit of the wild fig contains the psen, or fig-wasp. This creature is a grub at first; but in due time the husk peels off and the psen leaves the husk behind it and flies away, and enters into the fruit of the fig-tree through its orifice, and causes the fruit not to drop off; and with a view to this phenomenon, country folk are in the habit of tying wild figs on to fig-trees, and of planting wild fig-trees near domesticated ones.


In the case of animals that are quadrupeds and red-blooded and oviparous, generation takes place in the spring, but copulation does not take place in an uniform season. In some cases it takes place in the spring, in others in summer time, and in others in the autumn, according as the subsequent season may be favourable for the young.

The tortoise lays eggs with a hard shell and of two colours within, like birds’ eggs, and after laying them buries them in the ground and treads the ground hard over them; it then broods over the eggs on the surface of the ground, and hatches the eggs the next year. The hemys, or fresh-water tortoise, leaves the water and lays its eggs. It digs a hole of a casklike shape, and deposits therein the eggs; after rather less than thirty days it digs the eggs up again and hatches them with great rapidity, and leads its young at once off to the water. The sea-turtle lays on the ground eggs just like the eggs of domesticated birds, buries the eggs in the ground, and broods over them in the night-time. It lays a very great number of eggs, amounting at times to one hundred.

Lizards and crocodiles, terrestrial and fluvial, lay eggs on land. The eggs of lizards hatch spontaneously on land, for the lizard does not live on into the next year; in fact, the life of the animal is said not to exceed six months. The river-crocodile lays a number of eggs, sixty at the most, white in colour, and broods over them for sixty days: for, by the way, the creature is very long-lived. And the disproportion is more marked in this animal than in any other between the smallness of the original egg and the huge size of the full-grown animal. For the egg is not larger than that of the goose, and the young crocodile is small, answering to the egg in size, but the full-grown animal attains the length of twenty-six feet; in fact, it is actually stated that the animal goes on growing to the end of its days.

With regard to serpents or snakes, the viper is externally viviparous, having been previously oviparous internally. The egg, as with the egg of fishes, is uniform in colour and soft-skinned. The young serpent grows on the surface of the egg, and, like the young of fishes, has no shell-like envelopment. The young of the viper is born inside a membrane that bursts from off the young creature in three days; and at times the young viper eats its way out from the inside of the egg. The mother viper brings forth all its young in one day, twenty in number, and one at a time. 


The other serpents are externally oviparous, and their eggs are strung on to one another like a lady’s necklace; after the dam has laid her eggs in the ground she broods over them, and hatches the eggs in the following year.

Book VI
So much for the generative processes in snakes and insects, and also in oviparous quadrupeds.
Birds without exception lay eggs, but the pairing season and the times of parturition are not alike for all. Some birds couple and lay at almost any time in the year, as for instance the barn-door hen and the pigeon: the former of these coupling and laying during the entire year, with the exception of the month before and the month after the winter solstice. Some hens, even in the high breeds, lay a large quantity of eggs before brooding, amounting to as many as sixty; and, by the way, the higher breeds are less prolific than the inferior ones. The Adrian hens are small-sized, but they lay every day; they are cross-tempered, and often kill their chickens; they are of all colours. Some domesticated hens lay twice a day; indeed, instances have been known where hens, after exhibiting extreme fecundity, have died suddenly. 

Hens, then, lay eggs, as has been stated, at all times indiscriminately; the pigeon, the ring-dove, the turtle-dove, and the stock-dove lay twice a year, and the pigeon actually lays ten times a year. The great majority of birds lay during the spring-time. Some birds are prolific, and prolific in either of two ways-either by laying often, as the pigeon, or by laying many eggs at a sitting, as the barn-door hen. All birds of prey, or birds with crooked talons, are unprolific, except the kestrel: this bird is the most prolific of birds of prey; as many as four eggs have been observed in the nest, and occasionally it lays even more.