[Three Hundred Animals Contents]
THERE are two kinds of this water insect. The fresh-water Polypus is found hanging at the roots or branches of plants that grow at the bottom of ditches and pools. The marine Polypus is found in similar situations, but is much bigger than the fresh water one. They resemble the finger of a glove cut off at the bottom, and are surrounded with long hairs that serve them like arms or feelers, to catch their prey, which consists of small aquatic insects of all descriptions. It is sometimes the case, that when a larger Polypus disputes his prey against a smaller one, he swallows both the catching Polypus and the insect caught; and after having sucked what he can of the insect, throws off the Polypus uninjured. But the most extraordinary property of this curious animal is, that if you cut it into several pieces, each part, in a few days or weeks (according to its size, the larger the piece, the less time it requires), becomes a perfect individual. It matters not whether the animal is cut into ten, or ten hundred parts, each part is endued with the faculty of becoming a perfect Polypus. In the chain of nature this insect seems to form the link, and unite the animal with the vegetable kingdom; and this has been our motive for placing it here.