Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/548

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

start out again and then disappear in a similar place. At length I was fortunate enough to see the exact spot where the butterfly settled, and, though I lost sight of it for some time, I at length discovered that it was close before my eyes, but that in its PSM V43 D548 Umbrella ant.jpgFig. 9.—Umbrella Ant. position of repose it so resembled a dead leaf attached to a twig as almost certainly to deceive the eye when gazing full upon it." In tropical America there are a number of species that have wings so transparent that it is possible to read small print through them. Among the moths the "death's head" of Europe is remarkable for having on the top of the thorax the figure of a skull and crossbones. It is an object of great terror to the ignorant classes, and it is said "has more than once thrown a whole province into consternation, the people thinking it was some infranatural being sent upon the earth as q, messenger of pestilence and woe."

The Hymenoptera, which include the bees, wasps, and ants, contain a number of interesting forms, especially among the ants. The "umbrella ant" of Brazil has a tremendous head in proportion to its body, as will be seen by the figure. It has received the name of the umbrella-ant because of its habit of cutting out round pieces of the leaves of orange and coffee trees, which it PSM V43 D548 Driver ant.jpgFig. 10.—Driver Ant. carries by its jaws in an upright position, so that it looks as though it were utilizing its burden to keep off the heat of the sun.

The "driver ant" of Africa, the sting of which is compared to the thrust of a red-hot needle, is another interesting subject. These ants are totally blind, and, when an army of them gets on the march, all animal life in their path gets into activity, for woe to any living creature of small and even large size that should fall into their power! They also enter houses, driving the inhabitants from them, but on the return of the latter, after the ants have left, they find their place of abode cleared of all vermin; rats, mice, and all other pests of the house are destroyed by these scavengers. The largest serpents, if gorged, will fall a victim to these remorseless creatures. They have been known, when a stream interrupts their journey, to actually link themselves together and form a floating bridge, over which the