1902 Encyclopedia > Ant > Ant Nests

(Part 8)


(B) Familiar Ants (Formica) (cont.)

Ant Nests

The ant-nest forms a very interesting subject for consideration, and the various groups of ants differ widely in the outward from and internal plan according to which the nests are constructed, as well as in the materials of which the habitations are built. Clay, earth, and vegetable matters form the chief sources of supply, and excavations in the ground, or erections above ground, in trees, walls, and house roofs, may be mentioned as the most common situations for the nests.

The internal arrangement also varies even to a greater extent than the external appearance or materials. The general plan of the nest shows an arrangement of flats or stories, connected throughout by passages, and supported by definite pillars or partitions.

The chief ends and objects in the construction of the nest appear to be directed to the preservation of the larvae, and to their protection from changes of temperature. During the night the larvae are placed in the furthest chambers of the nest, the entrance to the nest being carefully secured for warmth and for ensuring protection from the raids of enemies. In the morning the larvae are transferred by the diligent neuters to the outer chambers to which the sun's heat has access; or they may even be exposed directly to the sun. A change of temperature or weather is sufficient to set the watchful neuters on the alert, and to cause them to hurry the larvae to the inner recesses of the abode, where they may be safely protected from the variable effects of the climate.

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