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Cuckoo Flies

host and eggs

CUCKOO FLIES, a species of the hymen opterous family Chrystdida% which, cuckoo-like, live at the expense of various solitary bees and wasps, but, unlike the usual custom of the cuckoo bees (q.v.), actually devour the young of their hosts. They may be seen in hot days briskly flying about and on posts and trees, darting their ovipositor into holes in search of the cells or nests of other Hymenop tera, in which to lay their eggs. They feed on the pollen stored up by the host when hatching as maggots. More often they are known to fasten on the back of the larva of their host, suck its blood and thus destroy it; they also ap pear to destroy the eggs of their host. Although the chrysis lays from 6 to 10 eggs, all but one shrivel up. Chapman has noticed the young larva seize with its mouth-parts a fold of the skin of the helpless larva of the wasp (Odynerus) and suck it, without inflicting any visible wound. It spins its cocoon inside that of

its host, remaining there until the following spring. Cieptes is supposed to prey on saw flies, probably laying its eggs in the cocoons of the latter.

or LADY'S SMOCK (Cardamine pratensis), a common and pretty meadow-plant, order Crucifers, with pale lilac or white flowers. C. pratensis is found in swamps and wet meadows from Lab rador to northern New Jersey, in Minnesota and west to the Pacific coast of British Asner ica. It is common in England, and throughout northern Europe and Asia. It blossoms in April or May, presenting a very pleasing appearance. It possesses antiscorbutic properties. The name is also given to the ragged-robin (Lychnis fibs cuculi) of the pink family.