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is, perhaps, not yet quite understood. Mr. Bates found that the Amazon species used them to thatch the domes of earth covering the entrances to their subterranean galleries, the pieces of leaf being carefully covered and kept in position by a thin layer of grains of earth. In Nicaragua Mr. Belt found the underground cells full of a brown flocculent matter, which he considers to be the gnawed leaves connected by a delicate fungus which ramifies through the mass and which serves as food for the larvae; and he believes that the leaves are really gathered as manure-heaps to favour the growth of this fungus ! When they enter houses, which they often do at night, the Saúbas are very destructive. Once, when travelling on the Rio Negro, I had bought about a peck of rice, which was tied up in a large cotton handkerchief and placed on a bench in a native house where we were spending the night. The next morning we found about half the rice on the floor, the remainder having been carried away by the ants; and the empty handkerchief was still on the bench, but with hundreds of neat cuts in it reducing it to a kind of sieve." The foraging ants of the genus Eciton are another remarkable group, especially abundant in the equatorial forests of America. They are true hunters, and seem to be continually roaming about the forests in great bands in search of insect prey. They especially devour maggots, caterpillars, white ants, cockroaches, and other soft insects; and their bands are always accompanied by flocks of insectivorous birds who prey upon the winged insects that are continually trying to escape from the ants. They even attack wasps' nests, which they cut to pieces and then drag out the larvae. They bite and sting severely, and the traveller who accidentally steps into a horde of them will soon be overrun, and must make his escape as quickly as possible. They do not confine themselves to the ground, but swarm up bushes and low trees, hunting every branch, and clearing them of all insect life. Sometimes a band will enter a house, like the driver ants in Africa, and clear it of cockroaches, spiders, centipedes, and other insects. They seem to have no permanent abode and to be ever wandering about in search of prey, but they make temporary habitations in hollow trees or other suitable places. Perhaps the most extraordinary of all ants are the blind species of Eciton discovered by Mr. Bates, which construct a covered way or tunnel as they march along. On coming near a rotten log, or any other favourable hunting ground, they pour into all its crevices in search of booty, their covered way serving as a protection to retire to in case of danger. These creatures, of which two species are known, are absolutely without eyes; and it seems almost impossible to imagine that the loss of so important a sense-organ can be otherwise than injurious to them. Yet on the theory of natural selection the successive variations by which the eyes were reduced and ultimately lost must all have been useful. It is true they do manage to exist without eyes; but that is probably because, as sight became more and more imperfect, new instincts or new protective modifications were developed to supply its place, and this does not in any way account for so wide-spread and invaluable a sense having become permanently lost, in creatures which still roam about and hunt for prey very much as do their fellows who can see. Special Relations between Ants and Vegetation.— Attention has recently been called to the very remarkable relations existing between some trees and shrubs and the ants which dwell upon them. In the Malay Islands are several curious shrubs belonging to the Cinchonaceae, which grow parasitically on other trees, and whose swollen stems are veritable ants' nests. When very young the stems are like small, irregular prickly tubers, in the hollows of which ants establish themselves; and these in time grow into irregular masses the size of large gourds, completely honeycombed with the cells of ants. In America there are some analagous cases occurring in several families of plants, one of the most remarkable being that of certain Melastomas which have a kind of pouch formed by an enlargement of the petiole of the leaf, and which is inhabited by a colony of small ants. The hollow stems of the Cecropias (curious trees with pale bark and large palmate leaves which are white beneath) are always tenanted by ants, which make small entrance holes through the bark; but here there seems no special adaptation to the wants of the insect. In a species of Acacia observed by Mr. Belt, the thorns are immensely large and hollow, and are always tenanted by ants. When young these thorns are soft and full of a sweetish pulpy substance, so that when the ants first take possession they find a store of food in their house. Afterwards they find a special provision of honey-glands on the leaf-stalks, and also small yellow fruit-like bodies which are eaten by the ants; and this supply of food permanently attaches them to the plant. Mr. Belt believes, after much careful observation, that these ants protect the plant they live on from leaf-eating insects, especially from the destructive Saiba ants, that they are in fact a standing army kept for the protection of the plant This view is supported by the fact that other plants—Passion-flowers, for example—have honeysecreting glands on the young leaves and on the sepals of the flower-buds which constantly attract a small black ant. If this view is correct, we see that the need of escaping from the destructive attacks of the leafcutting ants has led to strange modifications in many plants. Those in which the foliage was especially attractive to these enemies were soon weeded out unless variations occurred which tended to preserve them. Hence the curious phenomenon of insects specially attracted to certain plants to protect them from other insects; and the existence of the destructive leaf-cutting ant in America will thus explain why these specially modified plants are so much more abundant there than in the Old World, where no ants with equally destructive habits appear to exist. Wasps and Bees.—These insects are excessively numerous in the tropics, and, from their large size, their brilliant colours, and their great activity, they are sure to attract attention. Handsomest of all, perhaps, are the Scoliadae, whose large and rather broad hairy bodies, often two inches long, are richly banded with yellow or orange. The Pompilidae comprise an immense number of large and handsome insects, with rich blue-black bodies and wings and exceedingly long legs. They may often
* For a full and most interesting description of the habits and instincts of this ant, see Bates' Naturalist on the Amazons, 2nd edit. pp. 11-18; and Belt's Naturalist in Nicaragua, pp. 71-84.
be seen in the forests dragging along large spiders, beetles, or other insects they have captured. Some of the smaller species enter houses and build earthen cells which they store with small green spiders rendered torpid by stinging, to feed the larvae. The Eumenidae are beautiful wasps with very long pedunculated bodies, which build papery cones covering a few cells in which the eggs are deposited. Among the bees the Xylocopas, or wood-boring bees, are remarkable. They resemble large humble-bees, but have broad, flat, shining bodies, either black or banded with blue; and they often bore large cylindrical holes in the posts of houses. True honey-bees are chiefly remarkable in the East for their large semi-circular combs suspended from the branches of the loftiest trees without any covering. From these exposed nests large quantities of wax and honey are obtained, while the larvae afford a rich feast to the natives of Borneo, Timor, and other islands where bees abound. They are very pugnacious, and, when disturbed will follow the intruders for miles, stinging severely. Orthoptera and other Insects.-Next to the butterflies and ants, the insects that are most likely to attract the attention of the stranger in the tropics are the various forms of Mantidae and Phasmidae, some of which are remarkable for their strange attitudes and bright colours; while others are among the most singular of known insects, owing to their resemblance to sticks and leaves. The Mantidae—usually called “praying insects,” from their habit of sitting with their long fore-feet held up as if in prayer—are really tigers among insects, lying in wait for their prey, which they seize with their powerful serrated fore-feet. They are usually so coloured as to