Sivut kuvina

any peak of this height on the main chain hereabouts. Before passing the watershed he found valleys dark with forest,' and flowerbeds of luxurious rankness,' a contrast to the stern treeless grandeur of the country round Gunib. In the Eastern Caucasus the traveller who will take his own path outside the Russian highways, already described by Lieut.-General Sir A. Cunynghame and others, will be well repaid. There live many of the most interesting tribes; there, also, the great snowy groups of Schebulos and Basardjusi rival the giants of the Alps.

The paper we see is to form part of a book on • The Russian Power.' Before it is reprinted Mr. Dilke will doubtless correct one or two palpable inaccuracies which mar the effect of his introductory sketch of the country.

The last publication on our list is not the least important. Herr Radde's · Vier Vorträge über den Kaukasus' (forming an extra number of the 'Geographische Mittheilungen ') contains the substance of some lectures on the Caucasus delivered in Germany three years ago. The most interesting lectures are the second and the fourth—those on the Organic World and Tribes of the Caucasus. Herr Radde's heart is in botany, and he grows really eloquent over the marvellous but shortlived fora of the steppes, and the gigantic growth of weeds which bursts forth in spring from under the snowbeds of the Tzchenis Tzchali. With regard to the tribes his sketch is full of interest, though necessarily, from the limits of space, incomplete. The details of the religion and laws of the Chefsurs, à race of doubtful origin, living east of the Dariel, on the borders of Georgia and Daghestan, are most curious. Calling themselves Christians they are yet polytheists, the greatest of their pantheon being, naturally, the God of War. They still preserve the habit of wearing suits of fine chain armour, and consider themselves, on what ground is not very apparent, to be descended from some crusaders, who, taking an unusual route homewards, found in Kakhety their earthly paradise. The chapter on the “Inorganic World' is the least satisfactory. The lecturer's object evidently was to put before his countrymen the commercial importance and undeveloped mineral resources of the Caucasus, and he consequently sacrifices much matter of general interest. All the four lectures suffer from compression. Herr Radde tells us in his preface that he only claims to have laid down the lines of a comprehensive work on the Caucasus. We hope he will feel it his duty to go on with a task for which he has many advantages, and that in its execution he will not forget the claim of the mountains to a fair share of notice. Herr Abich has collected some materials not as yet reproduced outside Russia, with regard to traces of ancient glacier action and geological structure, and there is much to be said on these and kindred topics. The book on the Caucasus has yet to be written, and Herr Radde has some of the qualifications necessary for the writer. But for the sake of English readers it is impossible not to regret that we had not some years ago a consulate at Tiflis, and that Mr. Gifford Palgrave, who, from Soukhoum Kaleh and Trebizonde, has shown us how he can describe the country and its people, was not our consul there.

ART. III.-1. Les Fourmis de la Suisse. Systématique,

Notices Anatomiques et Physiologiques, Architecture, Distribution Géographique, Nouvelles Expériences et Observations

de Maurs. By AUGUSTE FOREL. Genêve : 1874. 2. Harvesting Ants. By J. TRAHERNE MOGGRIDGE, F.L.S.

London: 1873. 3. Observations on Ants. By Sir John LUBBOCK, Bart.,

F.R.S. Linnean Society's Journal, Vol. XII. OF. all subjects relating to the natural history of animals

there is, perhaps, none more curious, attractive, and varied than that of Insects, and of this class the order known to entomologists by the name of Hymenoptera stands prominently out, and has just claims to hold the first place amongst the other orders of the insect world.

The various members of this order are characterised by some remarkable peculiarities of structure, and by a highly developed instinct and intelligence; they are often excellent architects, and build for themselves and their young dwellings of elaborate form; they show an unbounded love of their offspring, which they guard with the greatest care and selfsacrifice; form governments, send forth colonies, and even in some instances capture slaves, whose labours they appropriate to themselves. Bees, wasps, ants, ichneumons, gall-flies, and saw-flies are examples of the order Hymenoptera more or less familiar to everyone.

The insects of this order have the following characteristics : all possess four wings ; the female has an ovipositor in the shape of an auger or a saw, or a poisonous sting; all undergo a complete metamorphosis ; the larvæ are generally helpless and footless grubs, and require to be supplied with food. Bees, wasps, and ants have engaged the attention of observers from the earliest times; it is the last

named alone to which we shall confine our remarks in this article.

Ants belong to that section of the Hymenoptera known as the Aculeatu, because in some cases the insects possess a poisonous sting; the species are either social or solitary; the latter (Mutillide Leach) consist only of two sexes, male and female; the males are always winged, the females wingless. The social ants (Formicide and Myrmicide Leach) form communities, and consist of males, females, and workers or neuters; these last—though certainly not least in importance--are really immature females with aborted ovaries, and as a rule, to which, however, rare exceptions may occur, incapable of producing fertile eggs. It is of the social ants alone that we have to speak.

There is such a flood of curious matter surrounding the natural history of ants made known to us by patient modern observers, that we have not space at command for recording what the ancient classical writers have handed down, so we pass over the story of Herodotus about some Indian ants as large as foxes, which throw up hills of sand mixed with gold, and take no notice of the fables of Aristotle, Plutarch, and Pliny. Leuwenhoek, the patient Dutch philosopher and microscopist, and Swammerdam, the insect anatomist, are amongst the first to give us any real information on ants. The rmer studied their metamorphosis, and showed that the large white oval bodies which had hitherto been regarded as eggs were the larvæ or cocoons, the true eggs being very small bodies. Swammerdam confirmed the observations of his distinguished predecessor, manifesting deep and laborious research as well as giving very lucid descriptions ; he traces the changes from the footless larva to the developed nympha, correctly telling us that the males and females have wings, that the rest, often a numberless host, are the neuters or workers as amongst bees and wasps, and that some of the larvæ are naked, others enclosed in cocoons. We must not forget to mention the name of an Englishman, William Gould, who in 1747 publishedAn Account of English Ants,'in which he gives accurate information on the architecture of ants, their manners and customs, &c. ; he denies that ants store up grains of corn for winter-food, and correctly states that the ants of this country at least never eat corn nor, indeed, anything else in the winter time; he suggests, however, as has turned out to be the case, that perhaps foreign species do so. Mentioning only the names of Linneus, Geoffoy, Reaumur, Bonnet, de Geer, and Latreille, we come to the historian of ants, the sagacious, patient, and accurate M. Pierre Huber, the more illustrious son of an illustrious father; for it is to him that we are largely indebted for our knowledge of the habits and economy of these little insects. Huber's researches into the natural history of the ants of Switzerland embrace the subjects of their architecture, their development, the conduct of the workers to the fertilised females, their wars, their slave-making habits, migrations, affection for their comrades, their strange relations with the aphides and gall-insects, their internal language, &c. Of

so romantic a nature' did some of Huber's recorded facts appear to many, that he expresses himself happy that since the publication of his work he had frequently witnessed what he had described, and that he was not the only person who had noticed them, but that several good observers in Switzerland had themselves been eye-witnesses of the same facts, amongst whom he mentions especially and with pride the distinguished name of Latreille. I can truly declare,' says he, that I • have neither been led aside by fertile imagination, nor by a love of the marvellous.' But we owe still further, though indirect, obligations to Pierre Huber, because his published researches have been the means of bringing before the entomological student one of the most valuable monographs ever published on this or any other subject of a similar nature; we allude to the great work of M. Auguste Forel, · Les Fourmis . de la Suisse -a work which has been justly crowned by the Swiss Society of Natural Science, and one which for some time will probably remain the chief authority on all that pertains to the history of ants. M. Forel in his preface distinctly states that his perusal of the admirable work of Pierre Huber in 1859 so intensely interested him, that he set himself at once to the study, and it is most pleasant to find that M. Forel's own researches confirm the general accuracy and truthfulness of Huber's work.

In England we are chiefly, as well as considerably, indebted to Mr. Frederick Smith, of the British Museum, for information. On the Genera and Species of British Formicidæ,' and to Sir John Lubbock, who has for some time been studying the habits of ants, and who has published in the Journal of • the Linnean Society' some very curious and interesting experiments; the same accomplished naturalist is still continuing his patient investigations, the result of which, it is probable, may incline us to be somewhat sceptical as to the inferences drawn from certain recorded facts, more especially with regard to the far-seeing wisdom of ants, their powers of communication, and their affection for their companions.

The various species of social ants must be extremely

be con

numerous; Mr. F. Smith, several years ago, said we have 690 recorded species.

The metropolis of the group,' he adds, “ undoubtedly lies in the tropics; and when we reflect upon the observation of Mr. Bates, who has collected for some years in Brazil—“ I think,” says that observant naturalist," the number in the valley of the Amazons alone cannot be “ less than 400 species "—if this prove to be the case how limited must our present knowledge of the group be! The imagination is unable even to guess at the probable amount of species, when we remember that Mr. Bates is speaking of a single valley in Brazil; and were the vast expanse of South America, North America, Africa, Australia, and its adjacent islands, India, and other parts of Asia, searched by diligent naturalists, there can be little doubt that the Formicide would equal in number, if not exceed, that of any other tribe of insects.' (Catalogue of Formicidæ, p. 2.)

The ants of the British Isles are by no means numerous in species, twenty-eight only being enumerated in Mr. F. Smith's catalogue, while many of these are very rare; perhaps there are not more than some eight or nine species that may .sidered as common.

M. Forel divides the social ants into three families. (1) The Formicide,(2) Poneride,(3) Myrmicida. The Formicide have no sting; they possess a single scale or node at the base of the abdomen ; there is no contraction after the first segment of the abdomen; the nymphæ are sometimes naked, sometimes enclosed in cocoons. In the Poneride the females and workers have a sting; the males are destitute of one; the abdomen is contracted after the first segment, and the nymphæ are enclosed in cocoons. The Myrmicide have a sting as in the Poneride, there are two scales at the pedicle or abdominal base, and the nymphæ are always naked. The neuters or workers are in some species of two different sizes, and their functions are different ; for while the smaller neuters occupy themselves with architectural constructions and the various duties of a household, the larger ones have military duties only to perform.

The nests and architectural abodes of ants are of various forms and sizes, according to locality, accidental surroundings, and the seasons of the year; some nests, or parts of nests, are only provisional, others last for years; some parts of a nest are of different structure from others; in some the population is large, in others small, and this occurs amongst the individuals of the same species ; some nests are open on all sides, others are entirely covered in. They are never constructed after a geometrical plan like the hexagonal cells of the bee and wasp, which make nests of a certain definite pattern, varying accord

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