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Hooke, Robert, 1635-1703 / Micrographia: or some physiological descriptions of minute bodies made by magnifying glasses : with observations and inquiries thereupon
(MDCLXVII [1667])

Observ. LIII. Of a flea,   pp. 210-211

Page 210

              M ICRO GRAP II I A.
through fo many fcourings, wafhingsdreflings and dryings, as the parts
ofold Paper muft neceflarily have tiufier'di the digeftive faculty,it Stems
of there little creatures being able yet further to work upon thofe fhtb-
born parts, and reduce them into anothtr ftl m.
   And indeed, when I confider what a heap of Saw-duft or chips this
little creature (which is one of the teeth of Time) conveys into its in-
trals. I cannot chufe but remember and admire the excellent contrivance
of Nature, in placing in Animals fuch a fire, as is continually nourifhed
fupply'd by the materials convey'd into the ftomach, andfortented by the
bellows of the lungs; and in fo contriving the mole admirable fabrick of
Animals, as to make the very fpcriding and wafting of that fire, to be
inftrumental to the procuring and colledting more materials to augment
and cherifh it felf, which indeed feenis to be the principal end of all the
contrivances observable in bruit Animals.
                     Obmrv. L I I I. Of a Flea.
 THe ffrength and beauty of this fmall creature, had it no other rela-
     tion at all to man, would defervc a defcription.
   For its ftrength, the Aficrofiope is able to make no greater discoveries
 of it then the naked eye, but onely the curious contrivance of its leggs
 and joints, for the exerting that ftrength,is very plainly manifefted, fuch
 as no other creature, I have yet obferv'd, has any thing like it; for the
 joints of it are fo adapted,that he canas 'twerc,fold them flort one with-
 in another and fuddenly ftretch,or fpring them out to their whole length,
 that is, of the fore-leggs, the part A, of the 34. scheme, lies within B,
 and B within C, parallel to, or fide by fide each other; but the parts
 of the two next, lie quite contrary, that is, D without E, and E with-
 out F, but parallel alfo; but the parts of the hinder leggs, G, H and I,
 bend one within another, like the parts of a double jointed Ruler, or
 like the foot, legg and thigh of a man; thefe fix leggs he ditches up al-
 together, and when he leaps, fprings them all out, and thereby exerts
 his whole ftrength at once.
    But, as for the beauty of it, the AMicrorcope mnanifefts it to be all
 adorn'd with a curioully polifh'd fuit of fible Armour, neatly jointed,
 and befet with multitudes of f{arp pinns, fhap'd almoft like Porcupine's
 Quills, or bright conical Steel-bodkins; the head is on either fide beau-
 tify'd with a quick and round black eye K, behind each of which ,lfo
 appears a fmall cavity, L, in which he feems to move to and fro a ccr-
 tain thin film befet'with many fmall transparent hairs,which probably may
 be his ears; in the forepart of his head, between the two forc-leggs, he
 hastwo [mall long jointed feelers, or rather fmellers, M M, which have
 four joints,and are hairy, like thofe of feveral other creatures; between
 there, it has a finall probofir, or probe, N N 0, that feems to confift
of a

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