Monday, 16 October 2006

White's worm wisdom

From Gilbert White's Natural History of Selbourne.

Letter XXXV, May 20 1777

Lands that are subject to frequent inundations are always poor; and probably the reason may be because the worms are drowned. The most insignificant insects and reptiles are of much more consequence, and have much more influence on the economy of Nature, than the incurious are aware of; and are mighty in their effect, from their minuteness, which renders them less an object of attention; and from their numbers and fecundity ...

... A good monograph of worms would afford much entertainment and information at the same time, and would open a large and new field in natural history. Worms work most in the spring; but by no means lie torpid in the dead months; are out every mild night in the winter, as any person may be convinced that will take the pains to examine his grass-plots with a candle; are hermaphrodites, and much addicted to venery, and consequently very prolific.

1 comment:

amegilla said...

and much addicted to venery, and consequently very prolific...
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I like that. I guess we are too, (as a species) we're pretty prolific and all.
Are we as useful? Debatable.