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nated females die, they lick their bodies for several days, and pay them all manner of attention, as if they thought they could restore them to life. But to balance these moral perfections, they wage war not only against other insects, but small quadrupeds; and, like bees, against communities of their own species. Some species of ants even carry on war for the sake of making slaves of their enemies. These ants, whom Huber calls Amazons, live in nests ; in which also reside an inferior species of ant, who do for them all the domestic services they require. At a certain season of the year these Amazons quit their nests in great numbers, in search of those nests, which contain that species of ant, which they have left behind. When they find, a battle
The Amazons almost always conquer; when they enter the nests of those they have subdued, rob them of all their eggs and larvæ, which they take to their own habitations, and breed up to maturity; when they become slaves, as it were, to the other ants, who never work; performing, as before observed, every species of domestic service ; viz. that of building, nourishing the young ones, and providing food. In one important particular these slaves are singularly fortunate. They perform all their duties with the greatest willingness and activity; and appear to love their masters, as if they were ants of their own species.
This description of the manners of ants, so curious in itself, and so opposed to the generally-received opinion, that, like bees, they hoard up for the winter, is founded on the patient researches of Mons. Huber, of Geneva. In respect to the aphis, it is curious to remark, that though females are produced every season, males are produced only once in ten years. Both of them are found on stems, leaves, and
& Parvula magni formica laboris
Quem struit, haud ignara ac non incauta futuri.—Hor. Sat. i. 1. 33. • Vide Recherches sur les Moeurs des Fourmis indigènes, par P. Huber. Paris, 1810.
roots of trees and plants; and the females are exceedingly prolific. When the males arrive at full maturity, they copulate with the females ; which copulation, as Trembley suggested, many years since, has been found by Bonnet a and Richardson b to last for ten seasons.
On the tenth season a few males are produced; and these males, copulating with the females, lay the foundation for a new series. Gnats propagate five seasons, without any communication with the male. At the sixth they require impregnation again.
Huber conceives that ants chiefly communicate with each other by signs and the sense of touch. Fallow ants emigrate in a curious manner: for they are led by a guide, who takes precedence, carrying an ant in its mouth. When it has fixed upon a spot it likes, both ants return to the nest, when each takes up an ant, and returns to the selected spot. Then all four revisit the parent nest; and return in a similar manner. So that in a short time the whole, or that part of the nest, which purposes emigration, remove into the spot, selected by the first guide.
A " M. Bonnet received a vine-fretter at the time of its birth, and reared it alone. It produced young without having had any opportunity of connexion with another of its species ; and one of the young, being sequestered in like manner, produced a new generation ; so that Bonnet obtained no less than five successive generations, without the aid of a male, in the short space of five weeks. He went on, and got a seventh, and even a ninth, generation in the course of the summer. He concluded that these successive generations were produced in the first mother by the male, which had impregnated in autumn the egg, from which she came forth in the following spring : 'for it is very remarkable, that the vine-fretter, which is viviparous in
becomes oviparous in autumn.”-St. Pierre, Harmonies, ii. 167.
b Vide Philo. Trans. vol. xi. art. 22. • The younger Huber gives ants a species of language; and he thinks that the Aphides and Gall insects, upon which the ants depend for a considerable portion of their food, understand the antennal language as well as themselves. How curiously does this agree with what Origen says in his discourse against Celsus! Lib. iv. 181.
“When they meet one another, they converse together ; hence it is they never lose their way. They are endowed with reason in all its degrees ; they have the use of speech, and the knowledge of accidental things."
Such are the manners of the common ant in Europe. In Sweden ants erect structures, which Dr. Clarke esteems far more wonderful than the pyramids of Egypt. Malouet describes black-ant hills in Guiana twenty feet high; and Smeathman and Vaillant white-ant hills in Africa of an equal size. Whether these ants bear much affinity, in respect to habits and manners, with those of Europe, a sufficient datum has not yet been furnished to prove.
But of their destructive powers we have many well-authenticated accounts; and of these powers we may have no very inadequate idea when we are assured, that “no anatomist can strip a skeleton so completely as they ; and that no animal, however strong, when they have once seized upon it, has power to resist them a
In Surat the Hindoosb frequently feed them with flour, out of charity; placing a handful, whenever they appear.
Upon the banks of the Amazon, SPIDERS, which are solitary in Europe and Asia, live in congregated societies of several thousands. Taking possession of a tree, they unite in forming a net entirely over it. When this net is completed, they take their separate stations : each secures its own prey without disturbance; each labours for itself; but in case of damage to their net, they labour to repair it for the general good. Don Felix d'Azara first described these remarkable insects ; and gives a lively description of their manners, properties, and instincts
You, my friend, surrounded by all the luxuries of po
* Buffon, vol. ii. 370. b Thevenot, Trav. in Indies, Part iii. p. 26.
c“ In his," says Pliny, “tam parvis tamque fere nullis quæ ratio ! quanta vis ! quam inexorabilis perfectio!"
lished life, in the midst of a circle, the chief praise of which, in my estimation, is the esteem it entertains for you, may, possibly, smile at the enthusiasm, I have always expressed for ants, and that royal and illustrious insect, which fed St. John the Baptist in the wilderness. And yet, let me remind you of the pleasure, you derived from the picture of Domenichino, which represented Samson offering the honey-comb; as well as of the three cars, you saw among the ruins of Herculaneum :- One drawn by a parrot, having a grasshopper for its charioteer ; the second by Sirens; and the third by two bees, guided by a butterfly.
When, too, I remind you of the fine system of morals they exhibit ; of the instances they afford of industry and perseverance; of fidelity and obedience; of sagacity and ingenuity; and when I remind you, that, like the beaver, they “ build like an architect, and rule like a citizen,” you will at least not hesitate in joining with me, in admiring the greatness and wisdom of that awful Power, whose strength is as conspicuously observed in the smallest, as in the most gigantic of his wondrous works. Those insects indicate the most astonishing proofs of mind a ; while the genus in zoology, known by the name of the CORALLINA, endowed, as some one has remarked, with sensation scarcely sufficient to distinguish them from plants, from the bottom of immeasurable seas, elevate to the surface of the water the coral rocks of the vast Pacific !
These insects exhibit one of the greatest miracles in Nature. It is one of the feeblest and most imperfect of animated beings. Yet Nature avails herself of them to construct some of the most durable of her edifices a. From the bottom of vast oceans they build rocks, extending even with the surface; where, by increasing their dominion, they increase their numbers beyond all power of calculation. Of these insects some resemble snails; others are like small lobsters : they are of various shapes, sizes, and lengths ; some as fine as thread, and several feet long. The most common are formed like stars, with arms from four to six inches, which they move about with great rapidity; in order, it is supposed, to catch food. Some are sluggish ; others exceedingly active. Some are of a dark colour ; some are blue; and others of bright yellow : those of the Mediterranean are more frequently red, white, or vermilion. On the coast of Austral Asia, where their numbers are prodigious, Captain Flinders saw them of all colours ; glowing with vivid tints of every shade; equalling in beauty the best flower-garden in Europe.
a Huber relates, that once, when all the worker-brood was removed from a hive, and only the male-brood left, the bees appeared in a state of extreme despondency. They assembled in clusters upon their combs, and lost all their activity. The queen dropt all her eggs at random; and instead of the usual active hum, a dead silence reigned in the hive.-Kirby, i. 390.
These insects Nature has employed to form islands, and to build marine continents. Nature has, therefore, been detected in one of her deeds of creation ; though the substance with which the corallina forms its cell has not been ascertained. Possibly, like the honey of the bee, and the nest of the edible swallow, with its own calcareous secretions.
Compared with this amazing edifice,
a Omnipotence wrought in them, with them, by them.
Hence what Omnipotence alone could do
I saw the living pile ascend,
Voy. to Terra Australis, ii. p. 88. Captain Kotzebue, the Russian navigator, who visited these regions during his voyage of discovery, (1815 and 1818,) indulges in the following reflections upon the works wbich he witnessed. “The spot on which I stood filled me