CHAP. 39.—INSECTS THAT ARE PARASITES OF MAN. WHICH IS
THE SMALLEST OF ANIMALS? ANIMALS FOUND IN WAX EVEN.
Then, too, in dead carrion there are certain animals produced, and in the hair, too, of living men. It was through
such vermin as this that the Dictator Sylla,1
one of the most famous of the Grecian poets, met their deaths.
These insects infest birds too, and are apt to kill the pheasant,
unless it takes care to bathe itself in the dust. Of the animals
that are covered with hair, it is supposed that the ass and the
sheep are the only ones that are exempt from these vermin.
They are produced, also, in certain kinds of cloth, and more
particularly those made of the wool of sheep which have been
killed by the wolf. I find it stated, also, by authors, that
some kinds of water2
which we use for bathing are more productive of these parasites than others. Even wax is found to
produce mites, which are supposed to be the very smallest of
all living creatures. Other insects, again, are engendered
from filth, acted upon by the rays of the sun-these fleas are
from the activity which they display
in their hind legs. Others, again, are produced with wings,
from the moist dust that is found lying in holes and corners.