The Naturalist on the River Amazons: A Record of Adventures, Habits of Animals, Sketches of Brazilian and Indian Life, and Aspects of Nature Under the Equator During Eleven Years of Travel

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Humboldt Publishing Company, 1880 - 774 pages

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Page 759 - ... liquid. They soon penetrate every part of the confused heap, and then, gathering together again in marching order, onward they move. All soft-bodied and inactive insects fall an easy prey to them, and, like other Ecitons, they tear their victims in pieces for facility of carriage. A phalanx of this species, when passing over a tract of smooth ground, occupies a space of from four to six square yards ; on examining the ants closely they are seen to move, not...
Page 629 - ... This frontal eye is totally wanting in the other workers, and is not known in any other kind of ant. The apparition of these strange creatures from the cavernous depths of the mine reminded me, when I first observed them, of the Cyclopes of Homeric fable. They were not very pugnacious, as I feared they would be, and I had no difficulty in securing a few with my fingers. I never saw them under any other circumstances than those here related, and what their special functions may be I cannot divine.
Page 627 - Each one places itself on the surface of a leaf, and cuts with its sharp scissors-like jaws a nearly semicircular incision on the upper side ; it then takes the edge between its jaws, and by a sharp jerk detaches the piece. Sometimes they let the leaf drop to the ground, where a little heap accumulates, until carried off by another relay of workers ; but generally each marches off with the piece it has operated...
Page 634 - With the day and night always of equal length, the atmospheric disturbances of each day neutralizing themselves before each succeeding morn ; with the sun in its course proceeding mid-way across the sky and the daily temperature the same within two or three degrees throughout the year — how grand in its perfect equilibrium and simplicity is the march of Nature under the equator ! Our evenings were generally fully employed preserving our collections, and making notes.
Page 673 - It was lively only for two or three, and then its loud note could be heard from one end of the village to the other. When it died he gave me the specimen, the only one I was able to procure. It is a member of the family Locustidas, a group intermediate between the Crickets (Achetidas) and the Grasshoppers (Acridiidae).
Page 655 - ... part of the web was broken. and two small birds, finches, were entangled in the pieces; they were about the size of the English siskin, and I judged the two to be male and female. One of them was quite dead; the other lay under the body of the spider not quite dead, and was smeared with the filthy liquor or saliva exuded by the monster. I drove away the spider and took the birds, but the second one soon died.
Page 758 - I ascertained only after longcontinued observation, is as follows. The main column, from four to six deep, moves forward in a given direction, clearing the ground of all animal matter dead or alive, and throwing off here and there, a thinner column to forage for a short time on the flanks of the main army, and re-enter it again after their task is accomplished. If some very rich place be encountered anywhere near the line of march, for example, a mass of rotten wood abounding in insect larvae, a...
Page 756 - ... silk, and is frequently seen in the narrow alleys of the forest, suspended from the extreme tip of an outstanding leaf by a strong silken thread, five or six inches in length. It forms a very conspicuous object, hanging thus in mid-air. The glossy threads with which it is knitted are stout, and the structure is therefore not liable to be torn by the beaks of insectivorous birds...
Page 655 - I was attracted by a movement of the monster on a treetrunk ; it was close beneath a deep crevice in the tree, across which was stretched a dense white web. The lower part of the web was broken, and two small birds, finches, were entangled in the...
Page 631 - The tree trunks were only seen partially here and there, nearly the whole frontage from ground to summit being covered with a diversified drapery of creeping plants, all of the most vivid shades of green ; scarcely a flower to be seen, except in some places a solitary scarlet passionflower set in the green mantle like a star. The low ground on the borders between the forest wall and the road, was encumbered...

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