Ephemeri vita, or, The natural history and anatomy of the Ephemeron, a fly that lives but five hours written originally in Low-Dutch by Jo. Swammerdam ...

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Ephemeri vita, or, The natural history and anatomy of the Ephemeron, a fly that lives but five hours written originally in Low-Dutch by Jo. Swammerdam ...
Swammerdam, Jan, 1637-1680.
London :: Printed for Henry Faithorne and John Kersey ...,

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Subject terms
Insects -- Anatomy.
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"Ephemeri vita, or, The natural history and anatomy of the Ephemeron, a fly that lives but five hours written originally in Low-Dutch by Jo. Swammerdam ..." In the digital collection Early English Books Online. https://name.umdl.umich.edu/A62018.0001.001. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 20, 2024.


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THE Explanation of the several TABLES.

The First Table.
Fig. 1.

IN the First Figure is repre∣sented the Worm one year old, being in length ¾ of an Holland inch; it appeareth wholly without Wings or any signs thereof; it hath on each side 6 continually moving Gills turn∣ed over on its back each against the other; whereby the 10 under placed Finns may be clearly seen.

Figure 2.

In the second Figure is repre∣sented the Worm Two year old, in length 1⅔ of an Holland inch; the signs of its Wings or their Cases, wherein the Wings are inclosed, appearing; the two uppermost of them, much bigger than the two lowermost; it hath its Gills in a different manner turned over its back, than in the first figure, which I therefore note, for that all these Worms are re∣presented to the life, and withal to signifie how wonderful the mo∣tion is, which they without ceasing make with these constantly trem∣bling Gills.

Figure 3.

In the third Figure is repre∣sented the Worm Three years old, in length about 2½ Holland inches, but among those of this age there is much difference be∣between the length and thickness of the one and the other. The Worm here represented is a Fe∣male, and one of the smallest size of that Sex, which difference of Sex is to be discerned in the eyes, which in the Females are much smaller than in the Males; the Wing-cases, in which the wings are inclosed, appear now very plain, notwithstanding the upper pair so much cover the under pair; that at first sight they are not vi∣sible, except the uppermost are lifted up; here is also represented very clearly—the 6 Gills, on each side of the body—turned over the back, whereby the undermost Ten Finns of each side are made visi∣ble; at this time these Gills are never without-motion, yea even

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out of the water, wherefore some have judged that the Worm swims by the help of them: But I judge that is performed only by the Finns, as I have named them, placed under them; while for ma∣ny reasons I believe that the up∣permost, which I name Gills, and which agree with the Gills in Fish, do cool the bloud in this Worm, as is done in Fish.

The Explanation of the Se∣cond Table.
Figure 1.

HEre is represented one of the biggest Male worms, in which all its parts are very neat∣ly and distinctly represented, as its

A. Eyes double in size to those of the Female.

BB. The horns with their dif∣fering Articulations or Ioynts.

C. The Sheeres, Beak, or toothy Cheek-bones, wherewith they root up the earth.

DD. The First, Second and Third pair of legs with their joints.

E. The Cases of its Wings in which the first pair are inclosed, like a tender flower in its bud.

FF. The always moving or trembling Gills which are shining and pure white, and beset with thousands of fine hairs like Fur, the same are here very neatly re∣presented. The Finns in this Fi∣gure are not visible (being co∣vered by the Gills) but are al∣ready represented in the first and third Figure of the first Table.

G. The three Tails, beset with Brushie hairs, with their Tag-like appendices.

Figure 2.

The long bellowed Cells in the Clay in which the Worm liveth, moveth, creepeth, & is fed, almost in the manner as the Worms of the Bees in the combs or wax-cells, are here represented.

AA. The Cells of the greatest sort of Worms in the Clay.

BB. The Cells of the smallest Worms.

The Explanation of the 3d and 4th Tables.

I have in both these Tables used the same letters, for that the Explanation required it; as also for that they represent the entire dissection of the Worm; so that what letters are wanting in the third Table may be found in the fourth: as also those which are wanting in the fourth may be found in the third.

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Explanation of the 3d Table.
Figure 1.

AA. THe Lung or Air-vessels of the Worm, which are two very remarkable & constantly open Air-vessels, composed as it were of some thousand of curled-like stiff-rings, by which the Air is conveyed to all the inward parts of the Worm; the same are placed on both sides, the length of the Worm, and waved Snake-like.

BB. The Air-vessels in the head of the Worm; the same are branched out of the two first men∣tioned great vessels, AA, and run to the Brain and Nerves.

CC. Branches of the Air-ves∣sels running to the Muscles of the Breast.

DDDD. Branches of the Air-vessels running to the Muscles of the Belly. The said Muscles are re∣presented on the other side of the body, wholly void of vessels, where the oblique ascending Muscles in some manner cover the straight Muscles; the use whereof is to move the rings of the belly; for driving forward the bloud and humours; and for discharging the Guts, in that they assist the Guts in their motion.

EEE. The Lung-vessels run∣ning to the Medulla Spinalis; where, about the globular parts thereof, they are very visible.

FFFFFF. The Lung or air-vessels running to the Milt, or Vesiculae seminales of the Male-worm, one of these Vesiculae or Bags are represented in the body, as it is there naturally placed; the other is placed out of the body, and delineated somewhat bigger than naturally it is, or than that which is represented in the body.

GGGGG. The air-vessels run∣ning to the Gills, which appear white like new-boil'd Silver; two of these Gills only are represented; for that the other ten are repre∣sented as cut off, to shew the ten Finns. See RRR.

H. The air-vessels running to the lower part of the Guts; as al∣so to the seed-vessels next to them dd.

III. The air-vessels running to the fat, the films, and the out∣ward skin, to cool and supply them.

KK. The air-vessels running to the Wing-cases, and appear outwardly like ribs or sinnes; their chiefest use I believe is, by the air conducted there to assist the ex∣pansion of the wings; to which purpose the wings themselves are supplyed with a great number of these air-vessels.

PPP. Three chief air-vessels running without the body to the Gills, the same are here represent∣ed

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as cut off, the better to shew the under placed Finns, beset with brushy hair, RRRRR.

QQ. The middlemost of the three forementioned air-vessels, of the perfect white Gills; which is of a black colour, and appearing through almost in the midst of the transparent white Gills, whereby it seemeth as if the black stroke or line of the Gills, were marked with white pricks.

RRRRR. The five Finns on each side of the body, beset most on one side with dark gold-yellow, and stiff brushy hairs.

SS. A feather-like hairy part, placed under the first pair of Gills; of which I have no remembrance, neither what it is, nor also whether it is found about the other Gills.

YYYY. The Medulla spinalis constituted of eleven Nodes or globular partitions, from whence are derived the Nerves running through the whole body; and im∣part unto it sense and motion; see further concerning this in the 6th figure of the 4th Table.

ZZ. The places where the Medulla Spinalis as with strong ligatures is kept in its place.

**. The Optick nerves arising out of the brain, or otherwise out of the beginning of the Medulla Spinalis, at the first globule thereof.

aa. The Muscles of the breast, moving the legs; whither also some Nerves run from the Me∣dulla spinalis which communicate to them life, motion and sense.

bb. Some other Muscles of the breast, but cut through, which move the wings; to which also the Me∣dulla spinalis sends its Nerves.

dd. Two members which I con∣ceive are pertaining to the seed-vessels of the male; of which yet I am not very certain.

e. The Rectum or straight Gut cut off; which is better and neater represented in the fourth plate, Figure 5.

hh. The very artificial fold∣ings of the wing, as it is folded in the wing case KK. and is not to be seen but about the time when the Worm is ready for Change, by this wonderful manner of fold∣ing, and pleating of the wings, they can be again readily unfold∣ed, and expanded as is in some manner represented in the 6th plate, in the 2d, 3d & 4th figures.

Figure 2.

Here are represented all the described parts in their natural bigness.

Figure 3.

The natural representation of the Cell or nest of a Caterpillar,

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which is wonderfully formed; it is somewhat more than a fingers length; at the close end, some∣what sharp, and Pyramidal; it is built or framed of a great number of small round sticks, bit∣ten much of a length, which are piled the one upon the other like the Beams of a Russia-house, the ends laid the one over, or resting on the other, and are fastned toge∣ther with a fine Web, instead of Lome or Clay. The true bottom or foundation sticks, have twice the length and thickness of the other, which are thereon piled tower-like. Besides this Nest is also surrounded or covered over with a Web, thick, tough, and of equal thickness, and lined within with a soft down to lye in.

The Explanation of the Fourth Table.
Figures 1, 4, & 7.

LL. SOme branches of the air-vessels, AA. represented in the former plate, running to the Egg-cluster, or Ovarium.

MM. The air-vessels as they are seen in, and upon the film which covers the Egg-cluster.

N. The same air-vessels toge∣ther with a part of the egg-cluster, taken out of the body; where ve∣ry neatly is represented how these air-vessels are joyned to the Eggs, like as the stalk of a bunch of grapes is joyned to each grape.

OOOO. The air-vessels run∣ning to the heart; where I have not delineated all the vessels, which are sent from the two great trunks of the air-vessels AA, to prevent confusion, by reason of the very great number that run thereto.

TT. Apart of the heart which here and there swelleth out; its natural place in the body is in the back, and runs along the whole back.

VVVV. Some air-vessels cut and broke off which run to the heart and other parts.

XXXX. The parts where the heart swelleth out and wideneth.

cc. The Muscles moving the Six Gills, and five Finns placed on each side of the body, to which do run considerable Nerves to communicate to the same, life and motion.

ff. The Stomach and the Guts, as they appear and swell through the Egg-cluster; the Stomach and Guts are very neatly represented in the 5th figure of this same Ta∣ble.

g. The form or shape of the Eggs, which are flattish and ob∣long round.

ii. The Muscles of the Rectum, or straight Gut, which serves for

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ejecting out of the body, the superfluities of the inward parts.

Figure 2.

Representeth the Eggs of the Ephemeron, as the same appear to the naked sight without help of a Microscope, whereas all the other parts have been viewed and delineated by help of the Microscope.

Figure 3.

Representeth the double Egg-cluster of the Worm, made up of an infinite number of very small Eggs, which at the time when the Worm is changed into the Ephemeron, and flyeth on the Surface of the water, are by the Female shot out on the water, and are besprinkled by the Male Seed. So that these Insects are Generated without Copulation.

Figure 4.

The Explanation of this Fi∣gure is comprehended in the ex∣planation of the first Figure of this plate.

Figure 5.

A. A part of the throat-gut, or Gula, (which conveyeth the food into the Stomach) cut off close to the same.

B. The lower Orifice of the Stomach or Pylorus, through which the food is sent into the Guts.

C. The Stomach it self where∣in are represented some of its air-vessels which run thereto from the great Trunk, as they are represented in the first Fi∣gure of the third Plate. AA.

DD. The thin gut, which is as a branch of the Stomach, im∣mediately annexed thereto, so that the Stomach as it were nar∣roweth into the same.

E. The thick or crumpled gut, wherein some long strokes or striae are observable, which from within appear through it.

F. The straight gut, which ap∣peareth very neatly rimpled.

G. Some transparent Valves, like half moons, which appear in the thin gut, and are seen through it.

4.5.6. &c. These Figures denote eleven of those annular divisions of the body of the Worm; and also shew where the Stomach and the Guts have their natural place.

Figure 6.

The Brain, the Medulla spi∣nalis, and the Nerves arising out of the same are here represent∣ed, according to the life; so that the Nerves of the Medulla spi∣nalis appear not so gaping, as is represented in the first Figure of the 3d plate YY. for there they are represented, as they appear in a Microscope, when with a fine Needle, they are separated, which can easily be done without cutting or tearing.

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1, 2, 3. &c. The Figures, 1, 2, 3, &c. represent the natural place and posture of the Medulla spinalis in the body; and in what manner it is distinguished by the Ring-like indentings, in relation to the head, breast and belly.

Figure 7.

The Explanation hereof is contained in the Explanation of the first Figure of this plate.

The Explanation of the Fifth Table.
Figure 1.

THis is the Figure of the Male Ephemeron, having shed its first Skin; or represen∣tation of the Ephemeron as it first cometh out of the water, where it hath lost its first Skin, and from a Worm is become a Flie, as a Worm it is represent∣ed. Tab. 2. Fig. 1.

Figure 2.

The Female Worm as it is im∣mediately before its Change, is here shewn; in which the Wings are now visible, appearing through their Cases.

AA. The cases of the Wings; which appear through the same very visible. How these Wings appear, when the Case is shed, see in the 3d Table, fig. 1. in the letters hhh, where they are at large represented.

The Explanation of the Sixth Table.
Figure 1.

REpresenteth the Figure of the Female Ephemeron, just as it rises out of the water, and hath quitted its Skin, and from a Worm swimming, is be∣come a Flie; and its Skin now shed, may be seen driving on the water; as is represented in the 5 Tab. fig. 2.

I have dryed some of these shed Skins, which represent the Worm so naturally and to the life, as if you saw the Worm alive before you.

Figure 2.

Representeth in some manner how the wings do expand, which to apprehend more clearly, it ought to be known that the wing represented in the first Figure of the third Plate, with the letters, hhh, is there represented with its natural foldings; and is here re∣presented in the manner how it by degrees doth expand, and loseth its neat pleats and folds.

Figure 3.

Representeth the same wing losing first its Snake-like foldings, and then its long folds, which are

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in the manner of a Brabants huik, or Vest, first pleated in the length, and then folded a∣gain cross-wayes.

Figure 4.

Representeth the same Wing almost fully expanded.

The Explanation of the Seventh Table.

THe several appearances of the Ephemeron, shedding or stripping off its Skin, like a ve∣ry thin shift or shirt, are here represented to the life.

Figure 1.

The Male endeavouring to shed its second Skin on land much more leisurely, than it shed its first Skin in rising out of the wa∣ter, which as is before said, hap∣neth in a moment. Here is re∣presented the body half-stript, the head, the breast and the legs, in the manner as we pull our feet out of our Shooes or Boots: but the Wings are in that manner stript, that the inside of the Skin turneth outwards, and the outside inwards; which is wonderfully effected: for the Flie is at that time, like a captiv'd and bound bird; for the Skin thus drawn off, shutteth close to its body, like a strong Swash wound about, which keepeth it as a prisoner, and causeth it to shiver and quake.

Figure 2.

Representeth the Male Ephe∣meron almost uncased, so that the two outermost Wings and the Tails, by a small stripping off the Skin will become wholly freed.

The Explanation of the Eighth Table.
Figure 1.

REpresenteth the thin Skin or film of the Ephemeron in this manner shed.

This film thus shed, remaineth not in the form as is here repre∣sented; for the parts that did in∣close the wings shrink commonly up together, and so come to appear in another form.

Figure 2.

The Male Ephemeron having now shed two Skins successively, and assumed the shape of a flying Insect; the Legs which in the Worm were short, are now ex∣tended to about twice the length; which chiefly is visible in the Tails, whose length by these two extensions, are now become three times longer than they were in the Worm.

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