29 MAY 1841, Page 20


Tots volume is based upon the author's Grammar of Entomology, a little work which was published several years since, and, though the edition was soon exhausted, never reprinted. Like its proto- type, the arrangement of the Introduction is fourfold : the first part containing an account of the more striking species of insects, in their habits, architecture, &c.; the second section is devoted to a practical exposition of the outfit of an entomologist, with in- structions for the best mode of using his instruments, and killing and preserving the spoil they may enable him to take, Mr. NEwaten having satisfied himself that "insects have not the acute sense of pain possessed by man and other warm-blooded ani- mals"; the third part embraces a very clear and masterly account of the physiology of insects; the fourth treats of the dry but ne- cessary topic of their classification. An elaborate index not only contains a reference to the subjects, but by including an explana- tion of technical terms, as well as a reference to their position in the text, it answers the double purpose of an entomological dictionary and an index. The volume contains numerous and spirited wood- cuts, some of them of the nature of diagrams to the text, but nearly all having the character of illustrations. Intended for beginners, "for those who know nothing of the subject on which they read," Mr. NEWMAN makes no claim to complete originality of matter, nor in the first part to originality of any kind, the natural history being avowedly taken from different authors, whose names are affixed to the chapters. But the work throughout displays an independent mind, which is one of the best kinds of originality. The book is not the production of a compiler, with a slender knowledge of his subject, confined to a few of the readiest works, and taking from them what seems to suit his imme- diate purpose, without consideration as to how far his aggregation' of borrowings will form a whole. The Introduction is the work of a man of knowledge, who formed a definite notion of an elementary work in his mind, and in the process of completing it took matter indifferently from his own discoveries or his own acquisitions in the general field of the science, or from the peculiar domains of other writers ; expressing his obligations and referring to the individual to whom he was indebted. To a person caring nothing for ento- mology, of course the book would be useless; but those who desire a general knowledge of the subject will find the first and third sections valuable forethe interesting or instructive knowledge they convey ; whilst the second part has that attractive curiousness which pertains to the real details of an active pursuit. The fourth is of necessity dry in its particular descriptions, and the general arguments in favour of the septenary system not altogether satis- .factory, though as much so as any in favour of the rival numbers. The work throughout is clearly written, in many parts with anima- tion and spirit, the result of an active mind distinctly perceiving what it intends to convey.

Our space will not admit of more than one extract.


The moat remarkable fact connected with the history of ants is the pro- pensity possessed by certain species to kidnap the workers of other species, and compel them to labour for the benefit of the community, thus using them com- pletely as slaves ; and, as far as we yet know, the kidnappers are red or pale- coloured ants, and the slaves, like the ill, treated natives of Africa, are of a jet black.

The time for capturing slaves extends over a period of about ten weeks, and never commences until the male and female ants are about emerging from the pupa state ; and thus the ruthless marauders never interfere with the continua- tion of the species. This instinct seems specially provided ; for were the slave- ants created for no other end than to fill the station of slavery to which they appear to be doomed, still even that office must fail were the attacks to be made on their nests before the winged myriads have departedor are departing, charged with the duty of continuing their kind. When the red ants are about to sally forth on a marauding expedition, they send scouts to ascertain the exact position in which a colony of negroes may be found ; these scouts haring discovered the object of their search, return to the nest and report their success. Shortly afterwards the army of red ants marches forth, headed by a vanguard, which is perpetually changing ; the indi- viduals which constitute it, when they have advanced a little before the main body, halting, falling into the rear, and being replaced by others : this van- guard consists of eight or ten ants only. When they have arrived near the negro colony, they disperse, wandering through the herbage and hunting about, as aware of the propinquity of the object of their search, yet ignorant of it exact position. At last they discover the settlement ; and the foremost of the invaders, rushing impetuously to the attack, are met, grappled with, and fre-

quently killed, by the negroes on guard : the alarm is quickly communicated to the interior of the nest ; the negroes sally forth by thousands ; and the red ants rushing to the rescue, a desperate conflict ensues; which, however, always

terminates in the defeat of the negroes, who retire to the innermost recesses of their habitation. Now follows the scene of pillage: the red ants with their powerful mandibles tear open the sides of the negro ant-hill, and rush into the heart of the citadel; in a few minutes each of the invaders emerges, carrying in its mouth the pupa of a worker negro, which it has obtained in spite of the vigilance and valour of its natural guardians. The red ants return in perfect order to their nest, bearing with them their living burdens. On reaching the nest, the pupie appears to be treated precisely as their own, and the workers when they emerge perform the various duties of the community with the greatest energy and apparent good-will; they repair the nest, excavate pas- sages, collect food, feed the lame, take the pupa into the sunshine, and per- form every office which the welfare of the colony seems to require ; in fact, they conduct themselves entirely as if fulfilling their original destination.