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nest of wasps be approached without alarming the inhabitants, and all communication be suddenly cut off between those out of the nest and those within it, no provocation will induce the former to defend it and themselves. But if one escapes from within, it comes with a very different temper, and appears commissioned to avenge public wrongs, and prepared to sacrifice its life in the execution of its orders. He discovered this when quite a boy.

In October, wasps seem to become less savage and sanguinary; for even flies, of which, earlier in the summer, they are the pitiless destroyers, may be seen to enter their nests with impunity. It is then, probably, that they begin to be first affected by the approach of the cold season, when nature teaches them it is useless longer to attend to their young. They themselves all perish, except a few of the females, upon the first attack of frost.

Reaumur, from whom most of these observations are taken, put the nests of wasps under glass hives, and succeeded so effectually in reconciling these little restless creatures to them, that they carried on their various works under his eye.

CHAP. XXV,

CURIOSITIES RESPECTING INSECTS.-(Continued.)

Ants—White Ants—Green Ants—Visiting Ants--The Ant-Lion

These emmets, how little they are in our eyes!

We tread them to dust, and a troop of them dies
Without our regard or concern:

Yet, as wise as we are, if we went to their school,
There's many a sluggard, and many a fool,

A lesson of wisdom might learn.

Watts

THE Societies of ANTS, as also of other Hymenoptera, differ from those of the Termites, in having inactive larvæ and pupæ, the neuter, or workers, combining in themselves both the military and civil functions. Besides the helpless larvæ and pupa, which have no locomotive powers, these societies consist of females and workers. The office of the females, at their first exclusion distinguished by a pair of ample wings, (which however, they soon cast,) is the foundation of new colonies, and the furnishing of a constant supply of eggs, for the maintenance of the population in the old nests, as well as in the new. These are usually the least numerous part of the community.

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Gould indeed says, that the males and females are nearly equal in number, p. 62; but from Huber's observations it sees to follow that the former are the most numerous, p. 96. Upon the workers devolves, except in nascent colonies, all the work, at well as the defence of the community, of which they are the most numerous portion

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In the warm days that occur from the end of July to the beginning of September, and sometimes later, the habitations of the various species of ants may be seen to swarm with winged insects, which are the males and females, preparing to quit for ever the scene of their nativity and education. Every thing is in motion: and the silver wings, contrasted with the jet bodies which compose the animated mass, adu degree of splendour to the interesting scene. The bustle in creases, till at length the males rise, as it were by a general impulse, into the air, and the females accompany them. The whole swarm alternately rises and falls with a slow movement to the height of about ten feet, the males flying obliquely with a rapid zigzag motion; and the females, though they fol low the general movement of the column, appearing suspended in the air, like balloons, seemingly with no individual motion, and having their heads turned towards the wind.

Sometimes the swarms of a whole district unite their infi nite myriads, and, seen at a distance, produce an effect resembling the flashing of an aurora borealis. Rising with incre dible velocity in distinct columns, they soar above the clouds. Each column looks like a kind of slender net-work, and has a tremulous undulating motion, which has been observed to be produced by the regular alternate rising and falling just alluded to. The noise emitted by myriads and myriads of these creatures, does not exceed the hum of a single wasp. The slightest zephyr disperses them; and if in their progress they chance to be over your head, if you walk slowly on, they will accompany you, and regulate their motions by yours.

Captain Haverfield, R. N. gives an account of an extraor dinary appearance of ants observed by him in the Medway, in the autumn of 1814, when he was first-lieutenant of the Clorinde; which is confirmed by the following letter, addressed by the surgeon of that ship, now Dr. Bromley, to Mr. Mac Leay.

"In September, 1814, being on the deck of the bulk to the Clorinde, my attention was drawn to the water by the firstlieutenant (Haverfield) observing there was something black floating down with the tide. On looking with a glass, I dis covered they were insects. The boat was sent, and brought a Ducket full of them on board; they proved to be a large species of ant, and extended from the upper part of Salt-pan Reach out towards the Great Nore, a distance of five or six

miles. The column appeared to be in breadth eight or ten feet. and in height about six inches, which I suppose must have been from their resting one upon another." Purchas seems to have witnessed a similar phenomenon on shore. "Other sorts (of ants)," says he, "there are many, of which some become winged, and fill the air with swarms, which sometimes happens in England. On Bartholomew-day, 1613, I was in the island of Foulness, on our Essex shore, where were such clouds of these flying pismires, that we could no where flee from them, but they filled our clothes; yea, the floors of some houses where they fell were in a manner covered with a black carpet of creeping ants; which, they say, drown themselves about that time of the year in the sea."-Pilgrimage, 1090. These ants were winged; but whence this immense column came, was not ascertained. From the numbers here accumulated, one would think that all the ant-hills of the counties of Kent and Surrey could scarcely have furnished a sufficient number of males and females to form it.

When Colonel Sir Augustus Frazer, of the Horse Artillery, was surveying, on the 6th of October, 1813, the scene of the battle of the Pyrenees, from the summit of the mountain called Pena de Aya, or Les Quatre Couronnes, he and his friends were enveloped with a swarm of ants, so numerous as entirely to intercept their view, so that they were glad to remove to another station, in order to get rid of these troublesome little

creatures.

*

The females that escape from the injury of the elements and their various enemies, become the founders of new colonies, doing all the work that is usually done by the neuters. M. P. Huber has found incipient colonies, in which were only a few workers engaged with their mother in the care of a small number of larvæ; and M. Perrot, his friend, once discovered a small nest, occupied by a solitary female, who was attending upon four pupa only. Such is the foundation and first establishment of those populous nations of ants with which we every where meet.

But though the majority of females produced in a nest probably thus desert it, all are not allowed this liberty. The pru dent workers are taught by their instinct, that the existence of their community depends upon the presence of a sufficient number of females. Some, therefore, that are fecundated in or near the spot, they forcibly detain, pulling off their wings, and keeping them prisoners till they are ready to lay their eggs, or are reconciled to their fate. De Geer, in a nest of F. rufa,

* M. Huber observes, that fecundated females, after they have lost their wings, make themselves a subterranean cell, some singly, others in common. From which it appears that some colonies have more than one female from their first establishment.

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