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ANSTRUTHER—ANT

estates and left Cambridge; and two years later he married the daughter of Felix Calvert of Albury Hall, Herts. For some time Anstey published nothing of any note, though he cultivated letters as well as his estates. Some visits to Bath, however, where later, in 1770, he made his permanent home, resulted in 1766 in his famous rhymed letters, The New Bath Guide or Memoirs of the B ... r ... d [Blunderhead] Family ..., which had immediate success, and was enthusiastically praised for its original kind of humour by Walpole and Gray. The Election Ball, in Poetical Letters from Mr Inkle at Bath to his Wife at Gloucester (1776) sustained the reputation won by the Guide. Anstey’s other productions in verse and prose are now forgotten. He died on the 3rd of August 1805. His Poetical Works were collected in 1808 (2 vols.) by the author’s son John (d. 1819), himself author of The Pleader’s Guide (1796), in the same vein with the New Bath Guide.

ANSTRUTHER (locally pronounced Anster), a seaport of Fifeshire, Scotland. It comprises the royal and police burghs of Anstruther Easter (pop. 1190), Anstruther Wester (501) and Kilrenny (2542), and lies 9 m. S.S.E. of St Andrews, having a station on the North British railway company’s branch line from Thornton Junction to St Andrews. The chief industries include coast and deep-sea fisheries, shipbuilding, tanning, the making of cod-liver oil and fish-curing. The harbour was completed in 1877 at a cost of £80,000. The two Anstruthers are divided only by a small stream called Dreel Burn. James Melville (1556-1614), nephew of the more celebrated reformer, Andrew Melville, who was minister of Kilrenny, has given in his Diary a graphic account of the arrival at Anstruther of a weatherbound ship of the Armada, and the tradition of the intermixture of Spanish and Fifeshire blood still prevails in the district. Anstruther fair supplied William Tennant (1784-1848), who was born and buried in the town, with the subject of his poem of “Anster Fair.” Sir James Lumsden, a soldier of fortune under Gustavus Adolphus, who distinguished himself in the Thirty Years’ War, was born in the parish of Kilrenny about 1598. David Martin (1737-1798), the painter and engraver; Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847), the great divine; and John Goodsir (1814-1867), the anatomist, were natives of Anstruther. Little more than a mile to the west lies the royal and police burgh of Pittenweem (Gaelic, “the hollow of the cave”), a quaint old fishing town (pop. 1863), with the remains of a priory. About 2 m. still farther westwards is the fishing town of St Monans or Abercromby (pop. 1898), with a fine old Gothic church, picturesquely perched on the rocky shore. These fisher towns on the eastern and south-eastern coasts of Fifeshire furnish artists with endless subjects. Archibald Constable (1774-1827), Sir Walter Scott’s publisher, was born in the parish of Carnbee, about 3 m. to the north of Pittenweem. The two Anstruthers, Kilrenny and Pittenweem unite with St Andrews, Cupar and Crail, in sending one member to parliament.

ANSWER (derived from and, against, and the same root as swear), originally a solemn assertion in opposition to some one or something, and thus generally any counter-statement or defence, a reply to a question or objection, or a correct solution of a problem. In English law, the “answer” in pleadings was, previous to the Judicature Acts 1873-1875, the statement of defence, especially as regards the facts and not the law. Its place is now taken by a “statement of defence.” “Answer” is the term still applied in divorce proceedings to the reply of the respondent (see Pleading). The famous Latin Responsa Prudentum (“answers of the learned”) were the accumulated views of many successive generations of Roman lawyers, a body of legal opinion which gradually became authoritative. In music an “answer” is the technical name in counterpoint for the repetition by one part or instrument of a theme proposed by another.

ANT (O. Eng. aémete, from Teutonic a, privative, and maitan, cut or bite off, i.e. “the biter off”; aémete in Middle English became differentiated in dialect use to amete, then amte, and so ant, and also to emete, whence the synonym “emmet,” now only used provincially, “ant” being the general literary form). The fact that the name of the ant has come down in English from a thousand years ago shows that this class of insects impressed the old inhabitants of England as they impressed the Hebrews and Greeks. The social instincts and industrious habits of ants have always made them favourite objects of study, and a vast amount of literature has accumulated on the subject of their structure and their modes of life.

Characters.—An ant is easily recognized both by the casual observer and by the student of insects. Ants form a distinct and natural family (Formicidae) of the great order Hymenoptera, to which bees, wasps and sawflies also belong. The insects of this order have mandibles adapted for biting, and two pairs of membranous wings are usually present; the first abdominal segment (propodeum) becomes closely associated with the fore-body (thorax), of which it appears to form a part. In all ants the second (apparently the first) abdominal segment is very markedly constricted at its front and hind edges, so that it forms a “node” at the base of the hind-body (fig. 1), and in many ants the third abdominal segment is similarly “nodular” in form (fig. 3, b, c). It is this peculiar “waist” that catches the eye of the observer, and makes the insects so easy of recognition. Another conspicuous and well-known feature of ants is the wingless condition of the “workers,” as the specialized females, with undeveloped ovaries, which form the largest proportion of the population of ant-communities, are called. Such “workers” are essential to the formation of a social community of Hymenoptera, and their wingless condition among the ants shows that their specialization has been carried further in this family than among the wasps and bees. Further, while among wasps and bees we find some solitary and some social genera, the ants as a family are social, though some aberrant species are dependent on the workers of other ants. It is interesting and suggestive that in a few families of digging Hymenoptera (such as the Mutillidae), allied to the ants, the females are wingless. The perfect female or “queen” ants (figs. 1, 1, 3, a) often cast their wings (fig. 3, b) after the nuptial flight; in a few species the females, and in still fewer the males, never develop wings. (For the so-called “white ants,” which belong to an order far removed from the Hymenoptera, see Termite.)


1911 Britannica - Ant - Formica rufa.png

Fig. 1.—Wood Ant (Formica rufa). 1, Queen; 2, male; 3, worker.


Structure.—The head of an ant carries a pair of elbowed feelers, each consisting of a minute basal and an elongate second segment, forming the stalk or “scape,” while from eight to eleven short segments make up the terminal “flagellum.” These segments are abundantly supplied with elongate tooth-like projections connected with nerve-endings probably olfactory in function. The brain is well developed and its “mushroom-bodies” are exceptionally large. The mandibles, which are frequently used for carrying various objects, are situated well to the outside of the maxillae, so that they can be opened and shut without interfering with the latter. The peculiar form and arrangement of the anterior abdominal segments have already been described. The fourth abdominal segment is often very large, and forms the greater part of the hind-body; this segment is markedly constricted at its basal (forward) end, where it is embraced by the small third segment. In many of those ants whose third abdominal segment forms a second “node,” the basal dorsal region of the fourth segment is traversed by a large number of very fine transverse striations; over these the sharp hinder edge of the third segment can be scraped to and fro, and the result is a stridulating organ which gives rise to a note of very high pitch. For the appreciation of the sounds made by these stridulators, the ants are furnished with delicate organs of hearing (chordotonal organs) in the head, in the three thoracic and two of the abdominal segments and in the shins of the legs.