Nature Notes

Vol. V August 1st, 1927 Summer Season No. 5


"The best laid plans of mice and men gang oft awry" wrote Bobby Burns and so the ants. A red ant that would be called big in most localities, but who is dwarfed here in the mountains by the mammoth black ants, was observed towing home a bug, apparently of the beetle family, about twice his own size. Sometimes he pushed his victim before him, sometimes he towed it behind him and sometimes he seized him in his strong jaws and literally lifted him in the air and carried him forward. We had just sprinkled our yard and he had to avoid each rivulet and tiny lake--veritable rivers and oceans to an ant a quarter of an inch long. Over hills as great to him, comparatively, as is Mount Rainier to us, through canyons and valleys his way took him. At times his path led into soft sand where traction was poor. In these places his foot flow rapidly but uselessly reminding one of the wheels of a great freight engine when they spin helplessly on a slippery rail. And I doubt if the giant moguls possess much more power for their size and weight than does the lowly ant. If the traction continued poor, wise ant stopped his vain threshing just as the engineer closes the throttles. Then he would let go his hold, walk about to some point where the foothold was good, take a new grip and proceed. But his plans "Gang awry" and his prize became hopelessly bogged in one of the mighty lakes. Pushing, pulling; efforts from all angles were unavailing and he was forced to give up but with his stout heart seemingly undaunted he hurried away to search in better fields.

<<< Previous
> Cover <