Social Life in the Insect World

Social Life in the Insect World

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Social Life in the Insect World by Jean-Henri Fabre

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1911

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Social Life in the Insect World

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Translated by Bernard Miall

Book Excerpt

In this crowd of brigands the most aggressive are the ants. I have seen them nibbling the ends of the Cigale's claws; I have caught them tugging the ends of her wings, climbing on her back, tickling her antennæ. One audacious individual so far forgot himself under my eyes as to seize her proboscis, endeavouring to extract it from the well!

Thus hustled by these dwarfs, and at the end of her patience, the giantess finally abandons the well. She flies away, throwing a jet of liquid excrement over her tormentors as she goes. But what cares the Ant for this expression of sovereign contempt? She is left in possession of the spring--only too soon exhausted when the pump is removed that made it flow. There is little left, but that little is sweet. So much to the good; she can wait for another drink, attained in the same manner, as soon as the occasion presents itself.

[Illustration: DURING THE DROUGHTS OF SUMMER THIRSTING INSECTS, AND NOTABLY THE ANT, FLOCK TO THE DRINKING-PLACES OF THE C

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