image EL_L2_46_Fig
Image number: RS.15777
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Observations of the metamorphosis of crane-flies and details of lice and mites


20 December 1693


Unknown, Artist

Object type

Archive reference number

Manuscript page number




height (page): 160mm
width (page): 204mm



10 figures attached to a printed letter from Antoni van Leeuwenhoek to Royal Society.

Fig. 1: a worm, called leather worm, that did not grow between May and August
Fig. 2: the pupa of the same leather worm
Fig. 3: the shed skin of the leather worm after transformation
Fig. 4: a fly called crane fly, or daddy-long-legs, that Van Leeuwenhoek suspects came out of the pupa
Fig. 5: a female crane-fly with a sharp abdomen to deposit its eggs
Fig. 6: head of a louse
Fig. 7: part of a louse's head, the 'Nipple-like protuberance appears at the front of the head, when the Stings have been thrust out'
Fig. 8: the egg of a mite
Fig. 9: 'the Mite as the engraver saw it when it had been stuck with its back on the point of a needle'
Fig. 10: copulation of mites.

Object history

Leeuwenhoek did not send an autograph letter with drawings to the Royal Society, but a printed copy and an engraving (see Alle de brieven van Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, ed. by a committee of Dutch scientists, 17 vols [ongoing] (Amsterdam: Swets & Zeitlinger, 1939- ), IX (1976), 271n1).

The letter and illustrations also appeared in:
A. van Leeuwenhoek, Vierde Vervolg der Brieven (Delft: H. van Kroonevelt, 1693), pp. 573-606.
A. van Leeuwenhoek, Arcana Naturae Detecta (Delft: H. a Krooneveld, 1695), pp. 376-98.

Related Fellows

Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723, Dutch), Naturalist

Associated place

<The World>
   > Europe
      > Netherlands