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regrets that Huber has not given in detail the evidence on which those statements rest, and that he nowhere gives experiments he had himself conducted.
As regards the affection of ants and their behaviour to wounded comrades, instances of which are detailed by Huber, Latreille, M. de Saint Fargeau and others; as that an ant never meets with a wounded comrade without taking her up and placing her in the nest; or that, the antennæ of an ant having been cut off, a companion, “pitying its sufferings, anoint
ed the wounded part with a drop of transparent fluid from • its mouth, Sir John's experiences have been of the opposite character, and he states that he has often been surprised that
in certain cases, ants render one another so little assistance.' Ants may not unfrequently be seen with the heads of others hanging on to their legs for a considerable time, and as this 'must certainly be very inconvenient, it seems remarkable * that their friends should not relieve them of such an awkward • encumbrance. Having tried various experiments by immersing ants in water, in order to test the tenderness attributed to those insects, Sir John records in nearly all cases, 'none 'took any notice;' still he admits that individual differences may exist—for in two cases an immersed ant was picked up and rescued and taken to the nest—and humorously remarks that there may be • Priests and Levites and good Samaritans among • them as among men.'
Our own experiments on this point-though they have been limited compared with those Sir John Lubbock has conducted -have convinced us that this compassion for either wounded or drowning companions has been considerably overestimated ; we have often immersed ants in water, and never observed that their companions take the slightest notice of them.
On the question as to ants being able to recognise friends after a separation of some months, Sir John's experiments bear. out Huber's observations so far as this, that the friends are not killed while strangers are. After separating some ants for a period of four months, Huber brought them together again, when they immediately recognised one another and fell * to mutual caresses with their antennæ.' In Sir John's observations, a friend when restored to her old companions was generally left unattacked, but there were no signs of welcome,
no greeting around a returned friend ;' a stranger, on the contrary, was, as a rule, at once seized upon and sometimes killed, though occasionally, after due punishment, forgiven and received as a friend into the community.
As to those delicate, and doubtless important organs, the antennæ of insects, while all entomologists regard them as organs of touch, there is considerable difference of opinion as to what other special function they may have. Some regard them as olfactory, others as auditory organs.
Sir John suggests that in those insects in which the sense of hearing is highly developed, the antennæ may serve as ears, while in those which have a very delicate sense of smell, they may act as olfactory organs. The same instrument may serve for different purposes; the different senses according to some physiologists being only a modification of a similar organic instrument adapted to different purposes.
From their position on the head and the constant use made of them, the antenna are, no doubt, important organs of sense, and Sir John Lubbock considers—and we think he has proved his case—that they are organs of smell
. To ell sounds, whether loud inharmonious noises or sounds produced by a complete set of tuning-forks, ants would seem to be almost as deaf as posts ; ' they never ' took the slightest notice of any of these sounds : ' but Sir John cautiously and justly adds that the insects possibly if not probably may be deaf to sounds which we hear, and yet hear others to which we are deaf. The question as to the faculty of hearing possessed by insects is one of the most curious and puzzling subjects connected with their history. Sir John has secured the promise of the valuable assistance of Mr. Spottiswoode, with whom he hopes to make further experiments on this subject
To experiments with various agents, as essence of cloves, lavender-water, peppermint-water, and other strong scents, to which the ants were subjected, the insects were acutely responsive; one of the antenna was touched with a feather dipped in essence of musk; it was slowly retracted and drawn quite back; the other antenna was touched the ant started
away, apparently smarting ;' but when the antenne were, softly touched with an unperfumed feather they did not move at all. No one,' he adds, who watched the behaviour of ants
under these circumstances could have the slightest doubt as to " their power of smell. We have not space to follow Sir John further in his interesting experiments, which certainly must, to some extent, modify our conception of certain high qualities which have been attributed to ants in general. At the same time it is necessary to bear in mind the existence amongst ants of individual variations of habits and character, even in the case of the same species; and to take care, in making experiments, to generalise with hesitation and great caution. Nor can we follow M. Forel further in his admirable monograph of
VOL. CXLV. NO, CCXCVII.
the ants of his own native country; we must pass over altogether his chapters on their anatomy and physiology, on the geographical distribution of the ants of Switzerland, and many curious habits of particular species. There is one point, however, which has a general interest, namely the stinging and biting properties of ants. We will give M. Forel's remarks on the subject :
• All the world,' he says, ' fears the sting of ants, and yet of the sixtysix kinds occurring in Switzerland there are not more than four or five which are really capable of piercing our skin with their sting, and of causing us a little local inflammation, which betrays itself by an itching or by a pain more or less acute, as well as by a slight redness, with or without swelling. These kinds are as follows :-(1) Myrmica rubida; the sting of this ant is truly very painful; the pain which it produces is, in my opinion, at least very great, and much more acute than that of the sting of the common wasp (Vespa vulgaris, or V. germanica). But M. rubida is not very common, and its nests are in open places, where they are seen at once, so that one is not often molested. (2) M. lævinodis and ruginodis. These kinds, known by the name of the red ant (Fourmi rouge, rousset, rousselet, &c.), are the only one from which the public often suffer. When one has taken one's seat in woods, upon moss, or upon the trunk of a tree, by the side of brooks and rivers, it is rare that one does not come in contact with them ; they quickly invade the clothes, and one feels presently in various parts, as it were, so many pricks of sharp pins. The pain is much less severe than that produced by M. rubida, and it generally disappears at the end of a few minutes. (3) The species M. scabrinodis and lobicornis seldom sting, for their disposition is not so aggressive as that of the preceding ones, and their sting is weaker. (4) The Tetramorium cæspitum bites with fury, but its bite is too short to pierce the skin, unless it be very thin (as that of infants and of the face). In this latter case it gives rise to a slight pain, or else, and this is generally so, to a simple itching. The other Myrmicide and the Ponerida of Switzerland are incapable of stinging us, their sting being too weak or too short. Amongst the ants of the genus Leptothorax want of courage is the principal cause.'
We conclude by expressing a wish that the perusal of this article may induce some of its readers to take up the study of the history of ants, with a view to verify or to correct the wonderful things attributed to them.
ART. IV.-1. Les Villes mortes du Golfe de Lyon. Par C.
LENTHÉRIC, Ingénieur des Ponts et Chaussées. Paris :
1876. 2. On the Lagoons and Marshes of certain parts of the Shores
of the Mediterranean. By D. T. ANSTED, F.R.S. Excerpt
of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. 1869. 3. Address to the Royal Geographical Society of London. By
Major-General Sir H. C. RAWLINSON, K.C.B., President.
London: 1876. 4. An Inquiry into the Soundness of M. de Lesseps' Reasonings
and Arguments on the Practicability of the Suez Canal. By Capt. T. SPRATT, R.N., F.R.S. London: 1858. The effects of small, but long continued changes are more
easy to calculate than to imagine. It is hard to realise, from what takes place during an observation extending over days, or even years, the results of the lapse of centuries, or tens of centuries. It is indeed possible, from the narrowest base of exact observation, to calculate the proportions of secular distance, as the astronomer, from the restricted limits of the rotation or of the orbit of the earth, deduces the order of the planetary range. But as the eye is unable to take cognisance of those minute angular differences which are grasped by microscopic examination of the vernier, so is the fancy unable to picture, from the movement of the waterfall of to-day or of the flood of a year or two ago, the condition to which a constant fall of water or a long series of floods will reduce the valley familiar to our infancy after the lapse of thousands of years. Nothing is more trite than the constant reference to the effects of the unwearied tooth of Time. Nothing is more familiar to the mechanic than the introduction of Time as an element of computation, and yet nothing affects us with more surprise than the result of this imperceptible, unslumbering action, when we are suddenly brought face to face with it after the lapse of a sufficient period to allow of a visible change.
In the case of those physical changes which are constantly taking place on the face of the planet earth by the agency of rainfall and water-flow, we have the most striking instance of our inability, not so much to estimate as to realise in fancy, the effects that are certain to follow in a definite period of time. When deep and rapid rivers are observed to erode one bank of their channel, and to throw sand and shingle on the other, the sidelong movement of the stream, though it may amount to miles of distance in a comparatively short time, can only be ascertained by definite measurements, taken at fixed dates. The case in which the physical changes produced by the steady operation of natural causes are most obvious, is probably that of the inroads made on a cliff of soft or friable material by the tide. We observe that a fall of perceptible magnitude has been caused by a tempest. We may note that the outlook point of the fisher, or the hut of the shepherd, is now so near the verge of the cliff, that a few more such nights as the last would be enough to place the frail tenement in peril. A little later we may see even nearer cause for alarm. Yet again comes a tempest, and our landmark has disappeared. But with its disappearance has been lost our natural and apparent means of determining where sea and shore were accustomed to border. Again, we are driven back to the aid of the surveyor or of the mapmaker to measure the rate at which the ocean is advancing, and to estimate the time within which what is now green knoll will have become sandy sea bottom.
Physical science is only in its cradle; and yet the geological theory was comparatively old before it was allowed to totter forth from the imaginary regions of vast and terrible convulsions, regarded as the great agents of terrestrial change, and to enter on the more sober inquiry into the probable effects that would be produced, or that have been produced, by the operation of existing and appreciable causes, prolonged for a long period of time. It is to Sir C. Lyell that we are indebted for first directing due attention to this important aspect of the geologic record. It is true that no one who has been a witness to the formidable activity of earthquake and of volcano even in the comparatively tranquil regions of Southern Europe, can doubt the fact that convulsions of terrific energy have left their marks on the surface of the earth. The earthquake of January 1858, though it was said to have destroyed thirty thousand persons in Calabria, only threw down a few stones from the solidly-built palaces of Naples. And yet a shock which, though alarmingly sensible to the population, wrought no further mischief in the capital of the two Sicilies, raised the whole shore of the Bay of Naples, from Sorrento to Misenum, by a permanent elevation of from six to eight inches above the former level of the sea. This movement, however, is but trilling in comparison to the successive elevations and depressions, of as much as ten or twelve feet in level, which are shown, by the attacks made by boring marine molluscs on the columns of variegated marble which yet stand