Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/372

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were sure to be overrun with them and severely punished, for the moment an ant touched the flesh he secured himself with his jaws, doubled in his tail, and stung with all his might. When we were seated on chairs in the evenings, in front of the house, to enjoy a chat with our neighbors, we had stools to support our feet, the legs of which, as well as those of the chairs, were well anointed with the balsam. The cords of hammocks were obliged to be smeared in the same way to prevent the ants from paying sleepers a visit." The ravages of the leaf-cutting ant (Oicodona), or Saubas of the Brazilians, have been already mentioned; but it also invades houses and carries off articles of food on a far wider scale than is ever done by rats or mice. It is capable of carrying off such a quantity as two bushels of mandioca-meal in the course of a single night! Unfortunately, the Sauba has few enemies. The number of these depredators who fall a prey to birds, spiders, wasps, tiger-beetles, etc., is too small to be of any importance. The Pseudomyrma bicolor easily repels them if they come to clip the leaves of the bull's-horn acacia on which it resides, but it is not sufficiently numerous to pursue and destroy them. The Ecitons have never been known to storm the nests of the Sauba. Thus, as we often find, for the greatest mischiefs Nature provides no remedy, and man must step into the breach, armed with carbolic acid and corrosive sublimate.—Quarterly Journal of Science.



THE subject of the present notice, now Professor of Geology and Natural History in the University of California, bears a family name that has long been distinguished in American science. He was descended from William Le Conte, a Huguenot, who left his native city, Rouen, on account of the political and religious troubles consequent upon the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, in 1685, and settled in the vicinity of New York. Here his ancestors continued to live until about 1810, when his father, Louis Le Conte, removed to Liberty County, Georgia, to take personal charge of a large inherited estate. There Joseph Le Conte was born, February 26, 1823.

His primary education was received in a neighborhood school of his native county; and, among the ten or twelve different teachers who successively directed his education with varying success, the only one whom he recognizes as having left any decided impression upon his mind was Alexander H. Stephens, afterward the distinguished politician.

The germs of much of his future character and career may be traced to these early boyhood days. His father was an ardent devotee