Let us study this curious phenomenon more closely and let us first follow the experiments carried on at Serignan by J. H. Fabre.
There is a predatory beetle, nocturnal in its habits (Scarites gigas), which greatly interested the illustrious entomologist. A shock, a pressure from the fingers, and behold the insect upon its back, lying inert "as if it had expired. The legs are folded against the belly, the antennae crossed, the jaws open." It is not "to dupe an enemy" that ' ' the war-like pirate, so well armored, ' ' takes this attitude, so that any insect can grasp it by the head. Left absolutely alone, even under a bell-glass, it remains rigid. This condition of torpor lasts on an average twenty minutes, but it lasts longer if one submits the beetle to subsequent shocks. It can reach fifty minutes, after which ' 1 the scarites refuses to play dead. ' ' A trembling of the feet, the palpi, and the antenna? announce the return to activity. One can provoke these movements and this return by shocks, by tickling it, and especially by sunlight. Cold, on the contrary, does not seem to act upon the animal.