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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/88

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ceases. During the last twenty years I have frequently observed this larva, and have endeavored to follow it in its metamorphoses. I have succeeded only once, however, in carrying it through to its imago or perfect form. It is not described in any of my lists, and may be, therefore, a new species. There is another aphis-lion which in very many respects closely resembles the one just described. It is pictured by Professor Comstock, a modification of whose drawingis here produced. He writes of this creature as follows:

'"When the aphis-lion is full grown, it rolls itself up into a tiny ball and weaves around itself a glistening, white cocoon, which looks like a seed pearl." (This can be seen in the sketch near the base of the upper leaf.) "It may be supposed that while the aphis-lion is secluded in this pearly cell it repents its greedy, murderous ways, and changes in spirit; at least the body changes greatly, for, after a time, a circular lid is made in the cocoon, and out of it there emerges a beautiful, dainty creature, with delicate-veined, green wings, a palegreen body, slender brown antennæ, and a pair of large eyes that shine like melted gold. It is sometimes called golden-eyes, and sometimes a laced-wing fly, from its appearance."

This beautiful little insect evinces marvelous forethought in the matter of perpetuating her kind. She knows that her young are predaceous, devouring anything in the shape of an insect or an egg that they can secure; she is aware of the fact that, if she were to deposit her eggs, side by side, on a leaf, the first young aphis-lion hatched out would devour all of the remaining eggs. In order to guard against this, she spins a delicate but stiff stalk of hard silk, upon the tip of which she deposits an egg. By the side of this stalk she rears another, and another, and another, tipping each with an egg, until finally, when she has finished ovipositing, there appears a miniature grove of delicate silken stems, each one of which bears aloft on its summit a round and shining egg. When the first-born of this brood makes its appearance, it crawls down the stem to the surface of the leaf, and goes in search of food, utterly unconscious of the rich and toothsome feast just above its head on the tips of the other stalks!

Lubbock concludes, from certain experiments, that the yellow ant will not voluntarily drop from an elevation. Now, observations and experiments made by myself teach me that these ants (Lasius flavus) will drop from elevations when they wish to attain a certain object.

On one occasion one of the herds of aphides under observation was discovered by a wandering black ant (Lasius niger), which reported her discovery to her comrades. At once a marauding expedition was inaugurated by these cattle thieves, which fiercely attacked the yellow guardians of the herd. The black rievers swarmed