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growing near, the long narrow leaves of which ran close together. They chose the nearest, and weighted its distal end with damp earth, until its apex just bent down to the space to be covered. Unfortunately the bend was too close to the extremity, and it threatened to break. To prevent this misfortune the ants gnawed at the base of the leaf until it bent along its whole length and covered the space required. But as this did not seem to be quite enough, they heaped damp earth between the base of the plant and that of the leaf, until the latter was sufficiently bent. After they had attained their object, they heaped on the buttressing leaf the materials required for building the arched roof.
This observation naturally leads to two others by two different observers. Thus, Moggridge says: 'I was able to watch the operation of removing roots which had pierced through their galleries, belonging to seedling plants growing on the surface, and which was performed by two ants, one pulling at the free end of the root, and the other gnawing at its fibres where the strain was greatest, until at length it gave way.' Again, as previously quoted in another connection, he says that two ants sometimes combine their efforts, one stationing itself near the base of a footstalk and gnawing at the point of greatest tension, while the other hauls upon and twists it.
The other observer to whom I have referred is M‘Cook, who says of the harvesting ants of America that he has seen the workers, in several cases, leave the point at which they had begun a cutting, ascend the blade, and pass as far towards the point as possible. The blade was thus borne downward, and as the ant swayed up and down, it really seemed that she was taking advantage of the leverage thus gained, and was bringing the augmented force to bear upon the fracture. In two or three cases there appeared to be a division of labour; that is to say, while the cutter at the roots kept on with his work, another ant climbed the grass blade, and applied the power at the opposite end of the lever. This position may have been quite accidental, but it certainly had the appearance of voluntary co-operation.'
These observations serve to render less improbable the following quotation taken from Bingley's account of Captain Cook's expedition in New South Wales, and vouched for by Sir J. Banks. Green ants were seen forming their nests in trees by“ bending down several of the leaves, each of which is as broad as a man's hand, and glueing the points of them together so as to form a purse. thousands uniting all their strength to hold them in this position, while other busy multitudes within were employed in applying the gluten that was to prevent their returning back.'
Moggridge says that he has seen the harvesting ants of Europe clustering round the larva of a certain beetle, and directing it towards some small opening in the soil, which it would quickly enlarge and disappear down;' and he believes that 'these attentions were purely selfish,' the ants availing themselves of the tunnel thus made down into the soil.'
M-Cook says of the harvesters of America that they dislike shade, so that if a tree grows up in their vicinity and casts a shadow over their nest they forth with migrate. He gives in this connection a statement which I regard as bordering on the incredible, and therefore I desire it to be specially observed that it is not very evident from M-Cook's account whether he himself witnessed the facts. The facts, however, which he narrates are that a peach tree having grown up so as to overshadow a nest of harvesting ants, the latter climbed the tree to strip off the leaves. I am convinced,' says M'Cook,
that the reason for this onslaught was the desire to be rid of the obnoxious shade. If this statement had been met with in any ordinary book on animal intelligence, of course I should not have quoted it; but as M'Cook went to Texas for the express purpose of studying these ants in a scientific manner, and as the numerous other observations which he made, both on these and on the moundbuilding species, entitle him to respect, I have not felt justified in suppressing this statement.
The observation made by Colonel Sykes on certain ants in India has gained a wide notoriety from its having been published by Spence in his popular work on instinct. Colonel Sykes was a good observer, so that his account ought not to be questioned. He says that in order to guard his provisions from the ants he put them on a table, the four legs of which he placed in as many basins filled with water. Some ants still succeeded in scrambling across the water, and so the legs of the table were likewise painted with turpentine. The ants then ran up a wall near which the table stood, and when about a foot above its level, they sprang from the wall to the table.
Somewhat analogous to this is the observation of Professor Leuckhart, who placed round the trunk of a tree, which had been visited by ants as a pasture for aphides, a broad cloth soaked in tobacco-water. When the ants, returning home down the trunk of the tree, arrived at the soaked cloth, they turned round, went up the tree again to some of the overhanging branches, and allowed themselves to drop clear of the obnoxious barrier. On the other hand, the ants which desired to mount the tree first examined the nature of the obstruction, then turned back and procured some pellets of earth, which they carried in their jaws and deposited one after another
upon the cloth till a harmless road of earth was made across it.
This observation of Professor Leuckhart is in turn a corroboration of an almost identical one made more than a century ago by Cardinal Fleury, and communicated by him to Réaumur, who published it in his Natural History of Insects (1734). The Cardinal smeared the trunk of a tree with bird-lime, in order to prevent the ants from ascending it; but the insects overcame the obstacle by making a road of earth, small stones, &c., as in the case just mentioned. On another occasion the Cardinal saw a number of ants make a bridge across a vessel of water surrounding the bottom of an orange-tree tub. They did so by conveying a number of little pieces of wood, the choice of that material instead of earth or stones, as in the previous case, apparently betokening no small knowledge of practical gineering
-a knowledge which, as we shall presently see, is also shared by the Ecitons.
Büchner, in his recently published and translated work on Mind in Animals, gives a singular observation analogous to the above, which was communicated to him by Herr G. Theuerkauf. A maple tree standing in the grounds of Herr Vollbaum, of Elbing, swarmed with ants and aphides. In order to check the mischief, the proprietor smeared about a foot width of the ground around the tree with tar. The first ants that arrived stuck fast; but the next, seeing the predicament of their companions, turned back and fetched a number of aphides from the tree, which they stuck down on the tar one after another till they had made a bridge over which they could cross without danger.
It will be observed that all these cases, being so analogous although recorded independently by different observers, serve to corroborate one another. As such corroboration in matters of this kind is of value, I shall here add two or three cases which go to confirm the observation of Cardinal Fleury regarding the construction of a floating bridge. Dr. Ellendorf writes to Professor Büchner that he protected a cupboard of his provisions from the invasion of ants by standing the legs of the cupboard in saucers filled with water. He adds :
I myself did this, but I none the less found thousands of ants in the cupboard next morning. It was a puzzle to me how they crossed the water, but the puzzle was soon solved. For I found a straw in one of the saucers. This they had used as a bridge. . . . I pushed the straw about an inch from the cupboard leg, when a terrible confusion arose. In a moment the leg immediately over the water was covered with hundreds of ants feeling for the bridge in every direction with their antennæ, running back again and coming in ever larger swarms, as though they had communicated to their companions within the cupboard the fearful misfortune that had taken place. Meanwhile the new comers continued to run along the straw, and not finding the leg of the cupboard, the greatest perplexity arose. They hurried along the edge of the saucer, and soon found where the fault lay. With united forces they pulled and pushed at the straw, until it again came into contact with the wood, and the communication was again restored.
The military ants, both in America and Africa, exhibit still more extraordinary resources in the way of bridge-making. Thus Belt says of the Ecitons: 'I once saw a wide column trying to pass along a crumbling, nearly perpendicular, slope. They would have got very slowly over it, and many of them would have fallen ; but a number having secured their hold, and reaching to each other, remained stationary, and over them the main column passed. Another time they were crossing a watercourse along a small branch, not thicker than a goose quill. They widened this natural bridge to three times its VOL. X.-No. 54.
width by a number of ants clinging to it and to each other on each side, over which the column passed three or four deep; whereas, excepting for this expedient, they would have had to pass over in single file, and treble the time would have been consumed.' It is remarkable that the military or driving ants of Africa exhibit precisely similar devices for the bridging of streams as the Ecitons of America, namely, by forming a chain of individuals over which the others pass. By means of similar chains they also let themselves down from trees.
But of the Ecitons another and more recent observer gives an account of a yet more remarkable device, although no doubt a development of the one just described. This observer is Herr H. Kreplin, who lived for nearly twenty years in South America as an engineer, and often had the opportunity of watching the Ecitons. He writes to Büchner under date 1876 as follows
If the watercourse be narrow, the thick-heads (officers) soon find trees, the branches of which meet on the bank of either side, and after a short halt the columns set themselves in motion over these bridges, rearranging themselves in a narrow train with marvellous quickness on reaching the further side. But if no natural bridge be available for the passage, they travel along the bank of the river until they arrive at a flat sandy shore. Each ant now seizes a bit of dry wood, pulls it into the water and mounts thereon. The hinder rows push the front ones ever further out, holding on to the wood with their feet and to their comrades with their jaws. In a short time the water is covered with ants, and when the raft has grown too large to be held together by the small creatures' strength, a part breaks off and begins the journey across, while the ants left on the bank busily pull their bits of wood into the water and work at enlarging the ferry-boat until it again breaks. This is repeated as long as an ant remains on shore.
I shall now bring these numerous instances to a close with a quotation from Belt, which reveals in a most unequivocal manner astonishing powers of observation and reason in the leaf-cutting ants of South America, the general habits of which we have already considered.
A nest was made near one of our tramways, and to get to the trees the ants had to cross the rails, over which the wagons were continually passing and repassing. Every time they came along a number of ants were crushed to death. They persevered in crossing for some time, but at last set to work and tunnelled underneath each rail. One day, when the wagons were not running, I stopped up the tunnels with stones; but although great numbers carrying leaves were thus cut off from the nest, they would not cross the rails, but set to work making fresh tunnels beneath them.
Such, then, are some of the more well-established facts regarding the intelligence of ants, and taken altogether they certainly seem to justify the remark of the most illustrious of naturalists—The brain of an ant is one of the most marvellous atoms of matter in the world, perhaps more so than the brain of a man.'
GEORGE J. ROMANES.
MY RETURN TO ARCADY:
AND HOW I FIND THINGS LOOKING.
It is just a quarter of a century since .I resigned the curacy of a country parish in the east of England—where I had spent seven years of rural felicity and, let me hope, pastoral usefulness—and became a dweller in the streets. During the twenty-five years that have passed since then I have been emphatically a townsman; all my surroundings have been those of town life--my sympathies have been appealed to by town people, and, where I have been brought into relation with the so-called working classes, these have been artisans whose days were passed in the workshops of the city, not tillers of the soil and tenders of the herds.
In the autumn of 1879 I was presented to the benefice I now hold. My friends all prophesied that I should find myself buried and die of dulness, but they were wrong. I have found no difficulty in throwing myself into the new life-or must I call it the old life?of a country parson with real zest, and my return to my first love has brought with it such an abundant measure of fresh and pure delight as arouses in me more thankfulness than surprise.
But retaining, as I do, a vivid recollection of my seven years' apprenticeship in a country village; in that bygone age when the fourhorse coaches were not yet quite extinct—when the reaping machine was scarcely known-when the old men growled at the rapacity of the farmers who mowed their wheat instead of getting it hacked down with the sickle—when our parish was looked upon as extraordinarily favoured because it had a day school with a grown man, and a well-trained one, to teach the little ones- -when there were church rates and a breakfast table groaning under the burden of taxation-and when we country folks used to brew our own beer and gazed with awe upon the rich rector who offered us claret after dinner, wondering how any income could stand it; I am profoundly sensible of the change that has passed over village life since those early days, and, though some years off sixty still, I find myself in the position of Ryp van Wynkel or the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, the position of one who has been slumbering for half a lifetime in some old familiar haunts, and who has suddenly awoke to discover that the old order'