Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 71.djvu/565

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

nest. What is more natural, therefore, than that the queens, when ready to establish their colonies, should seek out the nests of these same species? The sanguinea workers, too, are reared by auxiliaries of the same species, so that we are not surprised to find that it is against colonies of these that the dulotic expeditions are directed. The absence of any tendency on the part of the sanguinea to rear or adopt the males and females of the host species may be due merely to a lack of familiarity of the slave-makers with these sexual forms, which in all probability are characterized by a peculiar odor unlike that of the cospecific workers.

Thus is dissipated much of the mystery with which the subject of slavery has been invested, and the phenomenon becomes intelligible as a form of parasitism in which the slaves are really the host. The dulotic ants differ from the temporary and permanent parasites not only in the peculiarity of the worker instincts, but also as representing parasites with a synthetic host. In other words, the workers, when they snatch the larvæ and pupæ from different nests of one or more varieties of F. fusca or schaufussi, are actually constructing a unitary colony out of fragments of several colonies of the host species. This peculiarity, as I have shown, arises from the inheritance of female instincts by the workers and a fusion of these with the foraging instincts which the worker slave-makers share with this caste in many other Formicidæ. Santschi expresses a similar opinion when he says:

"In fine, slavery reduces itself to a form of pupillary parasitism that perpetuates and extends itself beyond the confines of the nest." His distinction of tutelary and pupillary parasitism is useful, as it calls attention to a more active and a more passive form of this phenomenon, but the distinction should not be overworked. Although the tutelary form would seem to lead more readily to permanent social parasitism with all its attendant degenerative characters, we must remember that Polyergus, though very passive in the hands of its slaves, is extremely aggressive when plundering the nests of the host species, whereas species like F. consocians and truncicola, though very passive in the earliest stages of colony formation, are very aggressive as soon as their colonies have emancipated themselves from the host species. The pupillary and tutelary types are, moreover, already foreshadowed as consecutive ontogenetic stages in the behavior of most ant-queens, for the independent stage in colony formation is pupillary, whereas the closing years of the queen's life are passed in a condition of tutelary parasitism on her own offspring and species.