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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Ichneumon


ICHNEU'MON, noun [Latin from the Gr. to follow the steps, a footstep; a follower of the crocodile.]

An animal of the genus Viverra, or weasel kind. It has a tail tapering to a point, and its toes are distant from each other. It inhabits Egypt, Barbary and India. It destroys the most venomous serpents, and seeks the eggs of the crocodile, digging them out of the sand, eating them and destroying the young. In India and Egypt, this animal is domesticated and kept for destroying rats and mice.

Ichneumon-fly, a genus of flies, of the order of hymenopters, containing several hundred species. These animals have jaws, but no tongue; the antennae have more than thirty joints, and are kept in continual motion. The abdomen is generally petiolated, or joined to the body by a pedicle. These animals are great destroyers of caterpillars, plant-lice and other insects, as the ichneumon is of the eggs and young of the crocodile.