(B) Familiar Ants (Formica) (cont.)
Bibliography of Ants
The bibliography of ants is very extensive. Dr King, in the 23rd number of the Philosophical Transactions, described the form of the eggs and of the larvae, and also the habits of ants in reference to their care of their young.
Leeuwenhoeck, the Dutch naturalist, traced the successive stages of development in the ants, and demonstrated the egg, "larva," "pupa," and "imago," or perfect insect.
Swammerdam, with the application of the microscope, further advanced the knowledge of the development and structure of the ants; and Linnaeus (Memoirs of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Stockholm) ascertained many facts relative to the reproduction of these forms, and determined that the winged ants are those which alone exercise the generative functions.
A Mr Gould published An Account of English Ants, of which work a notice by the Rev. Dr Miles is given in the Philosophical Transactions for 1747. This account, excellent in many respects, is nevertheless erroneous in certain points, -- the result of following too closely the analogy presumed to exist between bees and ants.
Geoffroy (Histoire des Insectes qui se trouvent aux Environs de Paris), a good naturalist otherwise, is a bad authority on the subject of ants.
The most complete series of observations on ants, which appeared among the earlier accounts of these forms, are those of De Geer, a Swedish entomologist (Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire des Insectes), an observer on whose fidelity the utmost reliance may be placed.
Olivier, in the Encyclopédie Méthodique (article Fourmi), summarized the knowledge of his own and of preceding times, and described a few new species of ants; and Bonnet, in his Observations sur les Insectes (vol. ii.), has given us some interesting, though by no means extensive information regarding the habits of ants.
The "sugar-ant" (?) forms the subject of a memoir in the Philosophical Transactions for 1790, this latter species having caused much havoc among the sugar-plantations of Grenada over a period of ten years.
Latreille, a famous entomologist, in his special monograph (Histoire Naturelle des Fourmis), published at Paris in 1802, gave the most succinct and accurate account of the ant-tribe which had appeared up to that date. His description of the structure and classification of these insects is remarkably clear, and he fully describes one hundred species known to himself, and mentions twenty-four species which he was enabled to describe from the reports of others. He distributed these species among nine families, selecting as the bases of his classification the situation and structure of the "antennae" or "feelers," and the disposition of the abdominal scales.
The habits of ants receive the fullest attention at the hands of Pierre Huber of Geneva, who in a treatise (Traité des Moeurs des Fourmis Indigènes) published in 1810, gave a very interesting, lucid, and valuable account of his native ants, drawn from actual observation of the nests and communities. This result he achieved by means of an apparatus which enabled him to view the interior of the nest. Many facts have been added to the history of ants since 1810; the list of works and treatises upon this and allied entomological pursuits having been largely increased, especially of late years.
See also: Further Reading on Ants.
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