Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/861

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combs within, being forced from the bodies of the workers and into the mouths of the honey-bearers, until, by the time the season is over, they present a remarkable distention.

This is about all that is known at present concerning the habits of these strange ants. They very likely have other sources of honey at other seasons; but the most interesting fact is the surprising mode of storage of this sweet food.

In New Mexico the inhabitants put these ants to a very peculiar use, supplementing their dinners with a plateful of honey-ants for dessert. The overladen insects wait in enforced patience while the preceding courses of the dinner are being eaten. The mode of partaking of this strange dessert is to pick up an ant, nip the honey-bag with the teeth, forcing its sweet contents into the mouth, while the remainder is thrown away. We are told that this is not so disagreeable a habit as it might at first sight seem, the skin surrounding the honey being reduced to a thin, transparent membrane, with nothing necessarily unpleasant in its character. Nevertheless, most of us will prefer to continue indebted to the bee for our supply of honey, leaving the ants to enjoy the fruits of their own labors.—Journal of Science.


By H. W. B.[1]

IT may be stated generally that the larger the animal the smaller is the proportionate size of the brain. As an example of this we may take the case of two of the largest animals now living, viz., the whale and the African elephant. The whale possesses one of the largest brains that is found in any animal, but, if we compare the size of its brain to that of any of our domestic animals, such as the dog, we find that it has a very small brain in proportion to the size of its body. The same is the case with the brain of the elephant, which is certainly the largest brain of any land animal, but which, compared to the size of the body, is very small. Another set of animals in which the brain is comparatively small is the reptiles. This group includes a number of animals which are not included in the popular sense of the word, such as the crocodiles, the turtles and lizards, as well as the snakes. In these the brain is small comparatively to the size of the body, as it is also in the amphibia. The small size of the brain in these two classes of vertebrates is peculiar, as it runs through all the various groups, although most marked in the larger members of each one. The birds also follow the rule that the largest of them have smaller brains compared to their bodies than the smaller ones have. A good example of this may be seen in the case of the ostrich, which has the largest

  1. Henry Ward Beecher (Wikisource contributor note)