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“Readily distinguished from the other groups of beetles by having the elytra much shorter then the abdomen, although they still suffice to cover the long membranous wings, which when not in use are completely folded beneah. The abdomen is long and exceedingly mobile, and is employed in folding and unfolding the wings. It is furnished at its extremity with two vesicles which can be protruded or withdrawn at pleasure, and from which, when irritated, many species emit a most disagreeable odor, although in a few the scent is more pleasing. They are voracious both in the larval and perfect states, feeding chiefly upon decaying animal and vegetable matters, although a few species devour living prey. Many of the smaller forms reside in and feed on mushrooms, some are found abundantly under putrescent plants, others in manure heaps, where they feed upon the maggots of flies, while there are a few forms which make their homes in the nests of the hornet and the ant.” — Encyclopedia Britanica, 1893


The Encyclopedia Britannica, New Warner Edition (New York, NY: The Werner Company, 1893)


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