A. S. (Alpheus Spring) Packard.

Guide to the study of insects, and a treatise on those injurious and beneficial to crops: for the use of colleges, farm-schools, and agriculturists online

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Online LibraryA. S. (Alpheus Spring) PackardGuide to the study of insects, and a treatise on those injurious and beneficial to crops: for the use of colleges, farm-schools, and agriculturists → online text (page 17 of 29)
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son (Fig. 98, wing) is a little spe-
A. congruus Cresson (Fig. 99, wing)


Fig. 96.

cies found in Georgia.
v.-:is captured in West Virginia ; and A. acceptus Cresson (Fig.
100, wing) in Georgia. The genus Notocyplius (Fig. 101,
?, wing) is found in Brazil and Mexico. Planiceps (Fig. 102,



Fig. 97.

wing) contains a few species, of which P. niger Cresson, an
entirely black species, is found in Connecticut. Aporus (Fig.
103, wing) contains a single American
species, A. fasciatus Smith, taken in
North Carolina.

From Mr. F. G. Sanborn we have re-
ceived the larva and cocoon of Pompilus
funereus St. Farg., a small black spe-
cies, which builds its nest in fields. The larva is short and
broad, with the lateral region rather prominent, and the tip of
the abdomen rather acute. It differs
from Pelopseus in its stouter, rather flat-
tened body, and thickened segments,
though as our specimen is preserved in
alcohol these characters may have be-
come exaggerated. It more nearly re-
sembles Pelopaeus in its transverse
clypeus, thin bilobate labrum, and the
stout mandibles, which are, however,
much stouter than in Pelopseus, while
the whole head is shorter, broader, and
rounder. It is probable that this pecu-
liar form of the head (which as in Sphex
is bent beneath the breast), together Fig. 103.

with the broad transverse clypeus, and broad, short, bilobate,
thin, transparent labrum, and especially the unidentate short,
broad mandibles are family characters, sep-
arating the larvae of this group from those of
the /Sphegidce . The cocoon is ovate, long,
and slender, much smaller at one end than
the other, not being so regularly fusiform
as in Sphex.

Ceropales differs from the foregoing gen-
Fig. 100. era } n ft s broad head, its much shorter ab-
domen ; and also in the eyes being a little excavated, in the
depressed labium, the narrow front, which dilates above and
below the middle, and in the greatly elongated hind legs, gen-
erally banded with red or whitish. Ceropales bipunctata Say
is generally distributed throughout the United States. It



is easily recognized by the black body and legs, and red pos-
terior femora, and is six lines long. C. Robinsonii Cresson
(Fig. 104, <?) is an elegant
species found in West
Virginia. An allied genus
is M>i<jn!i)ti(i (Fig. 105,
wing) containing M. . Mex-
irand Cresson and M. us-
tt'I'ita Dahlb., two Mexican

In the genus Pepsis
(Fig. 10G, wing) the max-
illary and labial palpi are
of equal length. The spe-
cies are large, some of
them being among the lar-

of Ilymenoptera, and ri =- 104>

are generally indigo-blue in color. Pepsis heros Dahlbom is
found in Cuba ; it is two inches long. P. cyanea Linn.,

which is blackish-blue, with
blue abdomen and wings,
the latter reddish at the
apex, has been described by
Beauvois from the United
States, while P. elegans St.
Farg. also occurs in the
Southern States.

P. formosa Say affords
another example of a species
loo. common to both sides of the

Rocky Mountains, as it has been found both in Texas and Cal-
ifornia. It is black, with bluish or greenish reflections, with
bright fiery red wings, and is thirteen to eighteen lines long.

SCOLIAD^E Leach. This family forms a group very easily
distinguished from the Bembecidce or Chrysididce , as well
as the Pompilidce, by the broad front, the small indented eyes,
and the great sexual differences in the antennae, those of the
male being long and slowly thickened towards the tip, while in


the female they are short, thick, and elbowed on the second
joint. The clypeus is large, irregularly quadrilateral, becom-
ing shorter in the lower genera, and the labrum is small,
scarcely exserted, while the mandibles are, in the female es-
pecially, large and broad. The prothorax is very square in
front. In the fore- wings are three subcostal spaces. The
abdomen in the typical genus (Scolia) is broad and flat, longer
than the rest of the body. The abdomen of Mutilla approaches
that of the Chrysididce in having the second ring much en-
larged over the others. The males usually have the anal
stylets very prominent, while the sting of the female is very
powerful. The body and legs are generally very hirsute, and
the first tarsal joint is as long as the tibiae.

The genus Sapyga is easily recognized by its smooth slender
body, being ornamented with yellow, with transverse bands on
the abdomen. The head is long, very convex in front, and
the antennae are clavate ; the prothorax is very broad, giving
an oblong appearance to the thorax. The legs are slender and
smooth. It is said to be parasitic, laying its eggs in the cells
of Osmia. Sapyga Martinii of Smith is found northward.

The species of Scolia are often of great size, being black
and very hirsute, with the labium composed of three linear di-
visions ; the abdomen alone being banded or spotted with
yellow on the sides. They are found in the hottest places
about strongly scented flowers. In Europe, Scolia bicincta
"makes its burrows in sand-banks, to the depth of sixteen
inches, with a very wide mouth ; " and it is probable that the
nest is stored with grasshoppers.

Scolia quadrimaculata Fabr. is found in the Middle and
Southern States. The larva of Scolia flavifrons was found by
Passerini to live in the body of the lamellicorn beetle, Oryctes
nasicornis. In Madagascar, Scolia oryctopliaga lives on
Oryctes simia, according to Coquerel.

Professor Sumichrast states that at Tehuacan (Department
of Puebla) the Scolia Azteca Sauss. is very common ; and is
particularly abundant in the leather tanneries, which leads him
to think that the females of this species also deposit their eggs
under the epidermis of the larva which abounds in the tan.

Tipliia is black throughout and rather hirsute. The antennas


are shorter than in Scolia or Myzine ; the clypeus is also shorter,
while the prothorax is longer. In the fore-wings the outer cos-
tal cell is short, broad, angulated, oval; and of the two sub-
costal cells, the outer one is broad and triangular, twice as long
as broad, while -the first median cell is regularly short rhom-
boidal, much more so than in the other genera.

The females, according to Westwood, "make perpendicular
burrows in sandy situations, for the reception of their eggs ;
but the precise food stored up for the larvae has not been ob-
served." Tipliia inornata Say is a common species with us,
and flies low over sandy places early in the season.

The short oval head, the large eyes, short meso-scutum,
large meso-scutellum, and the flattened, rather smooth body,
characterize the genus Myzine. The females are very different
from the males, the two sexes being for a long time considered
as separate genera. The female, especially, differs in the great
length of the square prothorax, which is very broad and convex
in front. In the male the eyes are lunate, while in the female
they are small, entire, and remote. In its general form the fe-
males much resemble Scolia, while the males are long and nar-
row, with broad yellow bands, especially on the abdomen, and a
large exserted sting-like organ. Myzine sexcincta Fabr. is seen
from New England southwards, flying low over hot sandy places.
The genus Elis is closely allied. Sumichrast (American Nat-
uralist, vol. 2), surmises that Elis costalis St. Farg. lives on
certain Scarabseides, which undergo their metamorphosis in the
formicary of CEcodoma in Mexico.

MUTILLARI^E Latreille. This interesting family is character-
ized by the females alone being wingless, though Morawitz says
that wingless males occur in two species ; and by the absence,
generally, of the three ocelli. In Mutilla and Myrmosa the
thorax is still high, compressed, and oblong cuboidal, and ex-
cept in the closely united tergal pieces the females do not greatly
recede from the type of the winged males. The species are
very equal in size, are black, or black and red, and either
smooth or hirsute.

The anteimffi are inserted low down on the front, the clypeus
being very short and broadly ovate (especially in Myrmosa),


or it is indented, as in Mutilla. The tongue is shorter than usual.
The sides of the thorax contract in width, both before and be-
hind. The meso-scutum is squarer than usual, while the meso-
scutellum is much narrower and longer, and the propodeum is
squarely truncated behind, thus presenting a full convex surface.
The abdomen is not much longer than the rest of the body, be-
ing shorter than usual. In all these characters this family shows
its affinities to the Ants. The wings are very dissimilar in the
different genera. In Myrmosa the neuration closely approaches
that of Sapyga, while in the larger, more acute primaries of
Mutilla, and especially in the short outer costal cell, and short
open pterostigma, the latter genus differs from the others.

The male of Sderoderma closely mimics the Procto-
trypidce, the veins of the wings being absent, while the
form of the head and abdomen also reminds us of some genera
in that family. The wingless female is very different, having
more of the form of Mutilla, with a large oblong head and long
acutely conical abdomen. The species are minute and rarely
met with. 8. contracta Westwood is found in "Carolina."

In the female Methoca the eyes are very long, and the seg-
ments of the abdomen are widely separated, much as in the
ants. Methoca Canadensis Smith is shin-
ing black, and slightly villose.

The species of Myrmosa may be known
by the very short clypeus, the broad ver-
tex, and the rings of the abdomen of the
male being unusually contracted. The
rig. 107. abdomen of the female is cylindrical,

about twice as long as broad, and thickest on the second ring.
The rings are densely hirsute on the hinder
edge. Myrmosa unicolor Say (Figs. 107,
male ; 108, female) is widely distributed. We
have taken this species in Maine, while sex-
ually united, early in June. The wingless
female is like an ant, and is pale reddish on
the thorax and basal ring of the abdomen,
and the antennae and feet are concolorous, while the head and
remaining abdominal rings are much darker. It is .20 inch
long. The male is .28 inch long and entirely black.


The genus Mutilla is a very extensive one, and enjoys a wide
geographical range. It is throughout stouter than Myrmosa,
the head is more cubical, and the thorax and abdomen is
short c>r. the tip of the latter being somewhat truncated.

The wingless female closely resembles, both in its form and
motions, a worker ant. The body is coarsely granulated and
either naked or densely hirsute, and of a scarlet, black, or pale
red, or brown-black color. The females are found running in
hot sand}' places, and hide themselves quickly when disturbed,
while the males frequent flowers. Mutilla
occidentalis is a large species. It is of a
beautiful scarlet color and is armed with a
very powerful sting. According to Profes-
sor A. E. Yerrill this species was found by
him, at New Haven, to construct deep
holes in a hard beaten path, storing its nest
with insects. This species is also said by Fig. 100.

Kirby to be very active, "taking flies by surprise." (West-
wood.) Mr. Verrill noticed that this insect makes a slight
creaking noise. The larvae of M. Europcea are said to live
parasitically in Humble-bees' nests. Mutilla ferrugata Fabr.
(Fig. 109) is found frequently in New England.

FORMICARIES Latreille. The family of ants would seem
naturally to belong with the truly fossorkl Hymenoptera, both
from their habits and structure.

Both males and females are winged, but the males are much
smaller than the females, while the wingless workers are smaller
than the males. In these wingless forms the segments of the
thorax become more or less separated, making the body much
longer and slenderer, and less compact than in the winged nor-
mal sexual forms, the prothorax being more developed than in
the males and females. The workers often consist of two
forms : one with a large cubical head, or worker major, some-
times called a soldier, and the usual small-headed form, or
worker minor.

The head is generally triangular. The eyes are large in the
males, smaller in the workers, and in those of some genera
(Ponera, Typhlopone, etc.) they are absent ; while in the


workers the ocelli are often wanting, though present in the
winged individuals of both sexes. The antennae are long,
slender and elbowed. The mandibles are stout, and toothed,
though in those species that do not themselves labor, but en-
slave the workers of other species, they are unarmed and
slender. The maxillary palpi are from one to six-jointed, and
the labial palpi two to four-jointed. The fore-wings usually
have but a single complete subcostal (cubital) cell. The sting
is often present, showing that in this respect as well as their
fossorial habits the ants are truly aculeate Hymenoptera. The
larva is short, cylindrical, with the end of the body obtuse.
The rings of the body are moderately convex. The head is
rather small and bent upon the breast. The larvae are fed by
the workers with food elaborated in their stomachs.

The larvae of the stingiess genera usually spin a delicate
silken cocoon, while those of the aculeate genera do not. Both
Latreille and "Westwood, however, state that sometimes, as in
Formica fusca, of Europe, the pupae are naked, and at other
times enclosed in a cocoon.

The colonies of the different species vary greatly in size. In
the nests of Formica sanguinea the number of individuals is very
great. The history of a formicarium, or ant's nest is as follows :
The workers only (but sometimes the winged ants) hibernate,
and are found early in spring, taking care of the eggs and
larvae produced by the autumnal brood of females. In the
course of the summer the adult forms are developed, swarming
on a hot sultry day. The little yellow ants, abundant in paths
and about houses in New England, generally swarm on the af-
ternoon of some hot day in the first week of September, when
the air is filled towards sunset with myriads of them. The
females, after their marriage flight in the air, may then be seen
entering the ground to lay their eggs for new colonies, or, as
Westwood states, they are often seized by the workers and
retained in the old colonies. Having no more use for their
wings they pluck them off, and may be seen running about
wingless. According to Gould, an early English observer,
the eggs destined to hatch the future females, males and
workers, are deposited at three different periods.

The nests of some species of Formica are six feet in diameter


and contain many thousand individuals. Ants also build
nests of clay or mud, and inhabit hollow trees. They enjoy
feeding upon the sweets of flowers and the hone}' of the Plant-
lice, which they domesticate in their nests. Several species of
beetles, including some of the Staphylinidce, take up their
abode in ants' nests. Ants are useful as scavengers, feeding
on decaying animal matter. A good method of obtaining the
skeletons of the smaller animals, is to place them on a densely
populated ant-hill. The habits of the ants, their economy and
slave-making habits, arc described in the works of Iluber, La-
treille, and Kirby and Spence.

Upwards of a thousand species of ants have already been
described ; those of this country have still to be monographed.

The first group of this extensive family consists of Dorylus
and its allies, and Formica and the neighboring genera, all of
which are distinguished by having only the first abdominal seg-
ment contracted, while in the second group (Myrmtcarice), the
two basal rings are contracted into knot-like segments.

The genus Dorylus was, by Latreille, Klug, and others, in-
cluded in the Mu tillarice. The head is very short, the
ocelli are large and globular. The thorax and abdomen are
elongated, the last is cylindrical, with a small, round, basal
joint. The legs are short, with broad compressed femora and
feather-like tarsi. In the wings the outer subcostal cells are
wanting. The females are not yet known. Mr. F. Smith says
that Dorylus was found by Hon. W. Elliot to live in the man-
ner of ants, under the stone foundation of a house in India.
The society was very numerous. The difference in size of the
male and worker is veiy remarkable. The males are of large
size and are found in tropical Asia and Africa.

Typlilopone is an allied genus. T. pallipes Haldeman is
found in Pennsylvania.

To the genus Anomma belong the Driver-ants of Western
Africa. They march in vast armies, driving everything before
them, so formidable are they from their numbers and bite,
though they are of small size. They cross streams, bridging
them by their interlocked bodies. Only the workers are known.
Two species only, A. Burmeisten Shuckard, and A. arceni
Westwood, are described from near Cape Palmas, West Africa.


The genus Ponera is found distributed throughout the
tropics. The females and workers are armed with spines ; the
abdomen is elongated, the segments more or less diminished
in size, the first comparatively large and often cubical. The
legs are slender. P. ferruginea Smith is a Mexican species.

The allied genus Odontomachus springs like some leaping
spiders. It uses for this purpose its unusually long mandibles,
which are bent at right angles. 0. clarus Roger lives in Texas.

Formica includes the typical species of ants. Over -two hun-
dred species of this genus have been already described. The
body is unarmed. The abdomen is short, oval or spherical,
the scale-like first segment being lenticular in form, with a
sharp upper edge. The subcostal cell of the fore-wings end in
a point. Formica sanguined, Latr. is one of our most abundant
species, making hillocks of sand or clay, according to the nature
of the ground. From the formicary walks, and underground
galleries, radiate in all directions. This species has been ob-
served making forays upon each others colonies. We have
found a variety of this species in Labrador, where it is com-
mon. It does not throw up hillocks, but tunnels the earth.

This species has been observed in Europe b}^ P. Huber, to
go on slave expeditions. They attack a "negro-colony" be-
longing to a smaller black species, pillaging the nest, and carry-
ing off merely the larvae and pupae. The victors educate them
in their own nests, and on arriving at maturity the negroes take
the entire care of the colony. Polyergus rufescens is also a slave-
making ant, and " Latreille very justly observes that it is physi-
cally impossible for the rufescent ants {Polyergus rvfcsccns),
on account of the form of their jaws, and the accessory parts of
their mouth, either to prepare habitations for their family,
to procure food, or to feed them." Formica sanguined sallies
forth in immensely long columns to attack the negro ant. Hu-
ber states that only five or six of these forays are made within
a period of a month, at other seasons they remain at peace.
Huber found that the slave-making Polyergus rvfescens when
left to themselves perish from pure laziness. They are waited
upon and fed by their slaves, and when they are taken away, their
masters perish miserably. Sometimes they are known to labor,
and were once observed to carry their slaves to a spot chosen


for a nest. The F. sanguined is not so helpless, "they assist
their negroes in the construction of their nests, they collect their
sweet fluid from the Aphides ; and
one of their most usual occupations
is to lie in wait for a small species
of ant on which they feed ; and when
their nest is menaced by an enemy
they show their value for these faith-
ful servants, by carrying them down
into the lowest apartments, as to a
place of the greatest security."
(Kirby.) Pupae of both of the slavc-
inaking species were placed in the
same formicary by Iluber, where they Fig. no.

were reared by the "negroes," and on arriving at maturity
"lived together under the same roof in the most perfect amity,"
as we quote from Kirbj r . Darwin states that in England, F.
sanguinea does not enslave other species.

In this country Mr. J. A. Allen has
described in the Proceedings of the
Essex Institute, vol. 5, 18GG, a foray
of a colony of F. sanguinea upon a
colony of a black species of Formica,
for the purpose of making slaves of

Formica Pensylvanica, our largest
species, is found in oaks and decay-
Fig, in. ing trees, while F. herculanea Latr.
burrows in the earth, its hole opening beneath stones and sticks.
Gould, who wrote in 1747, states that there are two sizes of
workers of the common European Formica rufa. nnd flava;
one set of individuals exceeding the other by about one-third.
Kirby states that in his specimens "the large workers of For-
mica rufa are nearly three times, and of F. flava, twice the
size of the small ones." Mr. E. Norton describes F. fulvacea
(Fig. 110, worker minor), and also Tapinoma tomentosa (Fig.
Ill, worker major ; antennae broken off), from Mexico.

The tropical uvims /'oli/rJiachis includes, according to Smith,
all those species thai closely resemble Formica, but which



have the thorax and node of the peduncle armed with spines

or hooks. They construct small semicircular nests, of a kind

of net-work, on the leaves of trees and

shrubs. Their communities are small, sel-

dom exceeding twenty individuals. Mr.

Norton describes P. arboricola (Fig. 112,

worker major) from Mexico. An allied

genus is Ectatomma (Fig. 113, worker major

of E. ferrugmea Norton, from Mexico) .

Mr. F. Smith has described a new genus,
CEcopliylla, which is allied to Formica.
They are green ants, found building in trees rig. 112.

in the tropics of the old world. The nest of (E. smaragdina
Smith is "formed by drawing together a number of green
leaves, which they unite with a fine web. Some nests are a
foot in diameter. They swarm, says Mr. Wallace, in hilly for-
ests in New Guinea. Their sting is not very severe. This
genus forms a link between Formica and Myrmica ; it

agrees with the former in hav-
ing a single node to the pe-
duncle, and with the latter in
having the ocelli obsolete in
the workers, and in being fur-
nished with a sting."

The curious Honey-ant of
Texas and Mexico, Myrmeco-
cystus Mexicanus West wood,
has two kinds of "workers of
very distinct forms, one of the
usual shape," according to
Smith, "and performing the
active duties of the formica-
rium ; the other and larger worker is inactive and does not quit
the nest, its sole purpose, apparently, being to elaborate a kind
of honey, which they are said to discharge into prepared recep-
tacles, which constitutes the food of the entire population of
the community. In the honey-secreting workers the abdomen
is distended into a large globose bladder-like form. From
this honey an agreeable drink is made by the Mexicans."

- 113 -


The second subfamily, Myrmicarice, includes those species
in which the two first abdominal segments are contracted :md
lenticular. In 3/ynnica the females and workers are armed
with spines, and the ocelli are absent in the workers. The
species are very small, and mostly bright colored. Myrmica
molesta Say is found in houses all over the world.

G. Lincecum describes the habits of the Agricultural Ant of
Tr\as, Jlt/nnica molefaciens. It lives in populous communi-
ties. "They build paved cities, construct roads, and sustain
a large military force." In. a year and a half from the time
the colony begins, the ants previously living concealed beneath
the surface, appear above and "clear away the grass, herbage,
and other litter, to the distance of three or four feet around the
entrance to their city, and construct a pavement, .... con-
sisting of a jfretty hard crust about half an inch thick," formed
of coarse sand and grit. These pavements would be inun-
dated in the rainy season, hence, " at least six months pre-
vious to the coming of the rain," they begin to build mounds
rising a foot or more from the centre of the pavement. Within
these mounds are neatly constructed cells into which the
"eggs, young ones, and their stores of grain, are carried in
time of rainy seasons." No green herb is allowed to grow on
the pavement except a grain-bearing grass, Aristida stricta.
This grain, when ripe, is harvested, and the chaff removed,
while the clean grain is carefully stored away in dry cells.

Online LibraryA. S. (Alpheus Spring) PackardGuide to the study of insects, and a treatise on those injurious and beneficial to crops: for the use of colleges, farm-schools, and agriculturists → online text (page 17 of 29)