- Baited Trap (ePUB) | BelleAire Press, LLC Baited Trap, the Ambush of Mission
- Connors, Tracy Daniel
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His doctoral studies focused on human services management, with a specialization in Management of Nonprofit Agencies. In , Norwich University launched the nonprofit management concentration in the MPA program to which was driven by Dr. Connors Self-Renewing Management Model he introduced in Browning, a book about the new strategic leadership published by National Defense University in Navy service Airman Recruit to Captain , included 32 years of duty on ships Surface Warfare Officer qualifications , units, flag staffs, and senior officer responsibilities in public affairs and project management on the staff of the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations.
Tracy D. Jacksonville University conferred on him its Ph. Honorary in Leadership Excellence, December, Beyond the Crisis. Beyond the Internet of Things. Beyond the Legacy of Genghis Khan. Beyond the Limits of Thought. Shepperson Series in History and Humanities. Beyond the Medieval Village.
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Baited Trap (ePUB) | BelleAire Press, LLC Baited Trap, the Ambush of Mission
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Bitemporal Data. Bits and Atoms. Black and Blue. Black and White Manhattan. Black Art in Brazil: Expressions of Identity. Black Citymakers. Black Cuban, Black American. Black Elk Speaks: the Complete Edition. Black Ethnics. Black Experience and the Empire. Always and everywhere there has been a prejudiced insistence on his defects; we perceive them so easily because they are an exaggeration of our own; but he also possesses qualities of the first order.
As an example of flight arranged with intelligence, we have already seen how the Formica fusca profits by the difficulty experienced by the Polyergus in climbing. The ruses adopted in flight are as varied as those of attack. Every animal tries to profit as much as possible by all his resources. Larks, a feeble race of birds, rise higher in the air than any rapacious bird, and this is often a cause of safety.
Their greatest enemy is the Hobby Hypotriorchis sublutes. They fear him greatly, so that as soon as one appears singing ceases, and each suddenly closes his wings, falls to the earth and hides against the soil. But some have mounted so high to pour out their clear song that they cannot hope to reach the earth before being seized. Then, knowing that the bird of prey is to be feared when he occupies a more elevated position from which he can throw himself on them, they endeavour to remain always above him.
They mount higher and higher. The enemy seeks to pass them, but they mount still, until at last the Hobby, heavier, and little accustomed to this rarefied air, grows tired and gives up the pursuit. The Gold-winged Woodpecker of the United States Colaptes auratus often escapes Falcons either by throwing himself into the first hole that he finds, or if he cannot find one, through seizing the trunk of a tree with his claws.
As he is a very good climber, he describes rapid spirals around it, and the falcon cannot in flying trace such small circles. By this method the Colaptes usually escapes. The Fox, who is so ingenious in hunting, is not less so when his own safety is concerned. He knows when it is best to flee or to remain; he is suspicious in a surprising degree, not only of man but also of the engines which man prepares against him.
He recognises them or smells them. Certain facts almost lead us to suspect that he understands their mechanism. When one of them has been surprised in his hole, and the trap has been placed before every opening, he will not emerge from the burrow. If hunger becomes too imperious, he recognises that patience will only change the manner of his death, and then he decides to dare fate; but previously he had done everything to flee without passing over the snare. As long as he had claws and strength he hollowed out the earth to form a new issue, but hunger rapidly exhausted his vigour and he was not able to complete the work.
Foxes thus trapped have recognised immediately when one of these engines went off, either owing to another animal being caught or from some other reason. In this case the captive understands very well that the mechanism has produced its effect, that it is no longer to be dreaded, and he boldly emerges. It has happened that foxes have been caught in a trap by a paw or else by the tail, when delicately endeavouring to extract the bait. Recognising the manner in which they are retained prisoners, certain of them have had the intelligence and the courage to cut off with their teeth the part engaged in the trap, and to escape thus mutilated.
John knew a fox who thus escaped by amputating a paw, and who was able to earn his living for three or four years subsequently, when he was finally caught. In Australia great kangaroo hunts are organised. Generally the capture is sufficiently easy, and the dogs are able to seize the kangaroo, but sometimes he makes a long and rather original defence. If possible, he directs his flight towards a river. If he reaches it he enters, and, thanks to his great height, he is able to go on foot to a depth where the dogs are obliged to swim.
Arrived there, he plants himself on his two posterior legs and his tail, and, up to his shoulders in the water, awaits the arrival of the pack. Unless a second dog speedily comes to the rescue the first is inevitably drowned. If a companion arrives to free him, he is so disturbed by this unexpected bath that he regains the bank as quickly as possible, and has no further desire to attack this suffocating prey. A strong and courageous old male can thus hold his own against twenty or thirty dogs, drowning some and frightening others, and the hunter is obliged to intervene and put an end to this energetic defence by a bullet.
The device of feigning death is especially widespread. Many coleopterous insects and Spiders simulate death to perfection, although it has been ascertained that they do not always adopt the attitude which members of their species fall into when really dead. But they remain perfectly motionless; neither leg nor antenna stirs.
McCook, who has devoted such loving study to Spiders, remarks in his magnificent work, that the Orbweavers, especially, possess this habit. Unless he understands the nature of the creature he will be utterly at a loss to know what has become of it. In truth it has simply dropped upon the ground by a long thread which had been instantaneously emitted, and had maintained the Aranead in its remarkable exit, so that its fall was not only harmless, but its return to the web assured. The legs are drawn up around the body, and to the inexperienced eye it has the external semblance of death.
In this condition it may be handled, it may be turned over, it may be picked up, and, for a little while at least, will retain its death-like appearance. The evidence is of such indefinite nature that one can hardly venture to give it visible expression, but my conviction is none the less decided. I may say, however, that my observations indicate that the Spiders remained in this condition as long as there seemed to be any threatened danger; now and again the legs would be relaxed slightly, as though the creature were about getting ready to resume its normal condition, but at the slightest alarm withheld its purpose and relapsed into rigidity.
The slight unclasping of the legs, the faint quivering indications of a purpose to come to life, and then the instant suppression of the purpose, were so many evidences that the power of volition was retained, and that the Aranead might have at once recovered if it had been disposed to do so. Again, I think that I have never noticed anything like that gradual emergence from the kataplectic condition which one would naturally expect if the act were not a voluntary one. On the contrary, the spider invariably recovered, immediately sprang upon its legs, and hoisted itself to its snare, or ran vigorously away among the grasses.
Among mammals, the best-known example is probably the Opossum. When he is discovered he runs away, but is soon caught, and blows from sticks rain upon him. Seeing that he cannot escape correction he seeks at least to save his life. Letting his head fall and straightening his inert legs he receives the blows without flinching. Often he is considered dead, and abandoned. The cunning little beast, who desires nothing better, arises, shakes himself, and rather bruised, but at all events alive, takes his way back to the wood.
It is exceedingly difficult to discover any evidence of life in the opossum, but when one withdraws a little way from the feigning fox, and watches him very attentively, a slight opening of the eye may be detected; and, finally, when left to himself, he does not recover and start up like an animal that has been stunned, but slowly and cautiously raises his head first, and only gets up when his foes are at a safe distance. Yet I have seen guachos , who are very cruel to animals, practise the most barbarous experiments on a captive fox without being able to rouse it into exhibiting any sign of life.
I can only believe that the fox, though not insensible, as its behaviour on being left to itself appears to prove, yet has its body thrown by extreme terror into that benumbed condition which simulates death, and during which it is unable to feel the tortures practised on it. The swoon sometimes actually takes place before the animal has been touched, and even when the exciting cause is at a considerable distance. It is probably a measure of prudence which impels certain birds to imitate successively the cries of neighbouring animals, in order to persuade their enemies that all the beasts in creation are brought together in this spot except themselves.
It is perhaps going a little too far to suppose so reflective and diplomatic a motive, but it is not doubtful that in certain cases this custom can be very useful to them by putting their enemies on the wrong scent. In North America nearly all the species of the Cassique family have this custom.
If a sheep bleats, the bird immediately replies to the bleating; the clucking of a turkey, the cackling of a goose, the cry of the toucan are noted and faithfully reproduced. Then the Cassique returns to his own special refrain, to abandon it anew on the first opportunity. This trick is adopted especially by birds. This is an invariable device of the Partridge, and I have no doubt that it is quite successful with the natural foes of the bird; indeed it is often so with Man.
A dog, as I have often seen, is certain to be misled and duped, and there is little doubt that a mink, skunk, racoon, fox, coyote, or wolf would fare no better. The suddenness and noise with which the bird appears cause the fox to be totally carried away; he forgets all his former experience, he never thinks of the eggs, his mind is filled with the thought of the wounded bird almost within his reach; a few more bounds and his meal will be secured.
So he springs and springs, and very nearly catches her, and in his excitement he is led on, and away, till finally the bird flies off, leaving him a quarter of a mile or more from the nest. When surprised she utters a well-known danger-signal, a peculiar whine, whereupon the young ones hide under logs and among grass. Many persons say they will each seize a leaf in their beaks and then turn over on their backs. I have never found any support for this idea, although I have often seen one of the little creatures crawl under a dead leaf.
Resistance in common by social animals. Certain species, especially those which live in society, are able nevertheless, by uniting their efforts, to resist enemies who would easily triumph over them if they were isolated. Among tribes of Apes mutual assistance, as described by Brehm, is common. When by chance a bird of prey, such as an eagle, has thrown himself on a young ape who is amusing himself far from the maternal eye, the little one does not let himself be taken without resistance; he clings to the branches and utters shrill and despairing cries. His appeals are heard, and in an instant a dozen agile males arrive to save him; they throw themselves on the imprudent ravisher and seize him, one by the claw, another by the neck, another by a wing, pulling him about and harassing him.
But he is often strangled, and when his temerity does not receive this extreme punishment, the feathers which fall from him when he flies away bear witness that he has not emerged unscathed from the scuffle. Animals like Buffaloes resist by a common defence the most terrible Carnivora. Even the Tiger is their victim, although if one of them met that wild beast alone he would surely become its prey.
Being very agile, the tiger can reach by one leap the back of the ruminant, whose brutal and massive force cannot thus be exercised; but the feline who falls into the midst of a troop fares very badly. One buffalo falls on him with lowered horns, and with a robust blow of the head throws him into the air. The tiger cannot regain his senses, for as soon as he reaches the ground, and often even before, he is again seized and thrown towards other horns. Thus thrown from one to another like a ball, he is promptly put to death.
The less terrible Carnivora give Buffaloes no trouble.
Wolves do not dare to attack them when they are united; they await in ambush the passage of some strayed calf, and rapidly gain possession of it before the rest of the flock are aware, or they would dearly pay for their attack. The Bisons of North America, near relatives of the Buffaloes, also repulse Wolves in common; and if Man succeeds better against them it is owing to the skill which he shows in hiding himself and not attracting their attention. The victims fall one by one beneath silent blows, and their companions, who can see nothing suspicious in the neighbourhood, are not disturbed, supposing them, no doubt, to be peacefully resting.
It is not only against other animals that these great mammals have to defend themselves; they are much afraid of heat, and they are accustomed, especially in the south of Persia, to ruminate while lying in the water during the hot hours of the day. They only allow the end of the snout, or at most the head, to appear. It is a curious spectacle when fording a river to see emerge from the reeds the great heads and calm eyes of the Buffaloes, who follow with astonishment all the movements of the horsemen, although nothing will disturb their sweet and fresh siesta.
But let us return to defences arranged in common. Horses are extremely sociable, and in the immense pampas of South America those who become wild again live in large troops. In difficult circumstances they help one another. If a great danger threatens them all the colts and mares assemble together, and the stallions form a circle round the group, ready to drive back the assailant.
When a wolf appears on the plain all the males run after him, seeking to strike him with their feet and kill him, unless prompt flight delivers him from their blows. They run up and surround the enslaved horse, saluting him with their cries and gambols, having the air of inviting him to throw his harness to the winds and follow them on the plain, where grass grows for all without work. Naturally the driver endeavours to preserve his noble conquest, and distributes blows with the whip to those who wish to debauch it. The enterprise satisfactorily concluded, they gallop away neighing in triumph.
It is owing to their union in large bands that Crows have so little to fear from diurnal birds of prey; if one approaches, they do not hesitate to throw themselves on him altogether. The Great Horn Owl, however, causes many ravages among them; for when asleep at night the Crow is without defence against the ravisher, for whom, on the contrary, obscurity is propitious. Thus they recognise him as a hereditary enemy, and never allow an opportunity of revenge to pass without profiting by it. In all the preceding examples the social species unite for the common security the forces and effects which they can derive from their own organs.
I have spoken of the Apes and described how they defend themselves with their hands and teeth; but in certain cases they use weapons, employing foreign objects like a club or like projectiles. Acts of this nature are considered to indicate a high degree of development, and it has often been repeated that they are the appanage of man alone; we have, however, seen the Toxotes , who, like all fishes, is not particularly intelligent, squirt water on to his victims.
It is not easy to understand how a greater intellectual effort is required to throw a stone with the hand than to project water with the mouth. This is what the apes do, throwing on their assailants from the heights of trees everything which comes to hand: cocoa-nuts, hard fruits, fragments of wood, etc.
Baboons Cynocephali who usually live in the midst of rocks protect their retreat by rolling very heavy blocks on to their aggressors, or by forcibly throwing stones about the size of the fist. As these bands may contain from a hundred to one hundred and fifty individuals, it is a veritable hail of stones of all sizes which they roll down from the heights of the mountains where they find shelter. A troop of Apes, according to Brehm, generally places the leadership in the hands of a robust and experienced male.
He gives himself a great deal of trouble for the security of his subjects, and does not abuse the authority which he possesses. Always at the head, he leaps from branch to branch, and the band follows him. From time to time he scales a tall tree, and from its heights scrutinises the neighbourhood. If he discovers nothing suspicious a particular guttural grunt gives information to his companions.
If, on the contrary, he perceives some danger he warns them by another cry, and all draw in ready to follow him in his retreat, which he directs in the same way as he guided the forward march. Apes are not alone in relying on the experience of one of their members. Many other animals act in the same way: antelopes, gazelles, elephants, who advance in troops always conducted by an old male or female who knows all the forest paths, all the places favourable to pasture, and all the regions which must be avoided. Others, more democratic, instead of giving up the care of their safety to one individual, which cannot be done without abdicating some degree of individual independence, dispose around the place which they occupy a certain number of sentinels charged to watch over the common safety.
This custom exists among prairie dogs, moufflons, crows, paroquets, and a great many other animals. The sentinels of the crows are not only always on the watch, but they are extremely discriminating; they do not give a warning at the wrong time. Paroquets of all species live in joyous and noisy bands. After having passed the night on the same tree they disperse in the neighbourhood, not without having first posted watchers here and there, and they are very attentive to their cries and indications. The great Aras or Macaws, the large and handsome parrots of the Andes, act with much prudence when circumstances make it advisable, and they know when they ought to be on their guard.
When they are in the depths of the forest, their own domain, they gather fruits in the midst of a deafening noise; each one squalls and cries according to his own humour. But if they have resolved to pillage a field of maize, as experience has taught them that these joyous manifestations would then be unseasonable and would not fail to attract the furious proprietor, they consummate the robbery in perfect silence.
Sentinels are placed on the neighbouring trees. To the first warning a low cry responds; on the second, announcing a nearer danger, all the band fly away with vociferations which need no longer be restrained. The common Crane Grus cinerea , still more far-seeing to avoid a possible future danger, despatches scouts who are thus distinct from sentinels who inform their fellows of present danger. When these birds have been disturbed in any spot, they never return without great precautions.
Before arriving, they stop; a few only go circumspectly forward, examining everything, and coming back to make their report. If this is not satisfactory the troop remains suspicious, sending new messengers. When they are at last assured that there is really nothing to fear, the rest follow. Thus by the most varied methods animals endeavour to save their threatened lives, and succeed to some extent in attaining safety. Destruction and the chase on one side, conservation and flight on the other: these are the two chief acts which occupy living beings.
Many, however, less threatened, succeed in perfecting their manner of life, and employ their industry in less pressing occupations than eating others or preventing others from eating them. It is unquestionable that an industry marks a higher degree of civilisation not only by its development, but still more by its reference to the less necessary things of life; in every species the importance of the place given to the superfluous is a mark of superiority.
Not all amass with the same sagacity, and we shall find different examples of foresight, from the most rudimentary to the highest, very near what we may observe in Man. The provisions harvested by animals have more than one destination: some are for the individual himself who has gathered them; others, on the contrary, are to serve as the food for his young at the age when they are not yet capable of seeking their own food. I will deal with these latter in another chapter, and propose at present only to speak of those animals who provision barns with the intention of themselves profiting by them.
The foresight of the animal is so much the greater the more remote the future for which he prepares. The Carnivora live from day to day and lay up no stores; it is the Rodents, certain frugivorous birds, and insects who exhibit the most complicated acts of economy. Provisions laid up for a short period. I have already spoken of this bird and of his custom in days of abundance of spitting on thorns all the captures he has made.
One may see side by side Coleoptera, crickets, grasshoppers, frogs, and small birds. It is evident that these reserves cannot be preserved for more than a day, or at most two days. The Fox, a very skilful hunter, has no trouble in finding game; of all the Carnivora he is, however, the only one who is truly foreseeing. The others in presence of abundant food gorge themselves, and abandon the rest at the risk of suffering to-morrow. The fox is not so careless.
If he has had the good fortune to discover a poultry yard, well supplied but ill watched, he carries away as many fowls as he can before dawn and hides them in the neighbourhood of his burrow. He places each by itself, one at the foot of a hedge, another beneath a bush, a third in a hole rapidly hollowed out and closed up again.
It is said that he thus scatters his treasures to avoid the risk of losing all at one stroke, although this prudence complicates his task when he needs to utilise his provisions. The fox, however, loses nothing, and knows very well where to find his stores. The very nature of the game prevents him from keeping it more than a few days.
Provisions laid up for a long period. The Squirrel, who may be seen all the summer leaping like a little madman from branch to branch, and who seems to have no cares except to exhibit his red fleece and show off his tail, is, contrary to appearance, a most sensible and methodical animal. Making use of the cavities he is acquainted with around his domain, hollow trees, holes that he makes in the earth beneath bushes, etc. Animals who construct barns. He cuts the blades and transports them to his home, where he stores them up in very considerable quantities; and during rigorous winters when famine appears also among men, gleaners of another species appear on the scene and seek for corn under the earth in the nests of the Psammomys.
A single rat can store up more than a bushel. Those who are skilful in finding their holes can thus in a day glean a good harvest, to the detriment of the rats who are thus in their turn reduced to beggary. The Hamster also makes provision of grain, but he introduces two improvements: the first at the harvest by only taking the edible part of the ear, and the second by constructing barns distinct from his home. Each possesses a burrow composed of a sleeping chamber, around which he has hollowed one or two others communicating with the first by passages, and intended to serve as barns.
The old and more experienced animals prepare even four or five of these storehouses. The end of summer is their season for work. They scatter themselves in the fields of barley or wheat, pull down the stalks of the cereals with their anterior paws, and then cut off the ear with their teeth. When the grains come out they pile them up in their cheeks, and thus transport them to one of the chambers already mentioned; they then return to exploit the field and continue these labours until they have completed the stores for winter.
A certain Vole Arvicola economus acts in much the same way as the Hamster, though he harvests a different class of objects. It is not wheat which he collects but roots. He has to find these roots, to dig them up, to cut them into fragments of suitable dimensions for transport, and finally to pile them up in rooms disposed to receive them. This species, which inhabits Siberia, measures about twelve centimetres in length, but during summer and autumn Voles accomplish an amount of work which is surprising having regard to their size. The moment having arrived to think about winter, the Voles spread themselves about the steppe.
Each hollows little pits around the roots he wishes to extract. After having bared them he cleans them while still in position, so as not to encumber his storehouses with useless earth. This preparatory labour having been completed, he divides the root into slices of a weight proportioned to his strength, and carries away the fragments one by one.
Seizing each with his teeth, he walks backwards drawing it after him, and thus traverses a long road, crossing paths, going round tufts of grass or other obstacles, not letting himself be rebuffed by the difficulty and length of the task. Arrived at his hole, he enters this also backwards, drawing his burden through all his galleries.
His dwelling, though the entrance is rather more complicated, resembles that of the Hamster. That is the sleeping-room, the walls of which are well formed, and which is carpeted with hay. From this various underground passages start which lead to the storerooms, which are three or four in number. It is to these that the Vole bears his harvest. Each compartment is large enough to contain four or five kilogrammes of roots, so that the little rodent finds himself at the end of the season the proprietor of about fifteen kilogrammes of food in reserve.
He would have enough to enable him to revel in abundance if he were able to reckon without his neighbours. This diligent animal has in fact one terrible parasite. This is Man, who will not allow him to enjoy in peace the fruits of his long labour and economy. In Siberia, a long and severe winter follows a very hot summer; in this season the inhabitants often lack provisions. A moment comes when they are glad to make up for want of bread by edible roots; but the search for these is long and troublesome, and should indeed have been thought of during summer.
Man, during the fine weather less foreseeing than the rodent, does not hesitate when famine has come to turn to him for help. As he is the weaker, the Vole is obliged to submit to this vexatious tax. According to Pallas, 48 the inhabitants seek these nests full of provisions and dig them up.
The conqueror takes all he pleases, and abandons the rest to the unfortunate little beast, who, whether he likes it or not, has to be content. A Vole resembling the Arvicola arvalis , but larger, paler, and more rat-like, with large shining eyes and very short tail, overran in the classic land of Thessaly, the land of Olympus, and the Vale of Tempe.
It has always inhabited this region, and the old Greeks had an Apollo Smintheus, or Myoktonos, the Mouse-destroying God. It was frequently observed that they followed regular paths during their inroads. Thus they advanced along the railway embankment. Their progress seemed to be rather slow. Perhaps they do not advance further till the inhabitants of one of their strongholds or so-called castles have become too numerous. The runs which they excavate are at a depth of about twenty to thirty centimetres below the surface of the ground.
The extent of their runs varies, and we found them extending in length from thirty to forty metres and more. These runs are connected with the surface by vertical holes of about five centimetres in diameter. In many places four, five, and more holes have led to the same run. In front of newly-opened holes the earth, which has been thrown far out, forms smooth hillocks. There were many well-defined and well-trodden paths on the ground, by which the Voles pass from one hole to another. They are never seen out of their holes by day, not even in places where the entire ground is riddled with holes like a sieve.
They do not come out in search of food till the evening; even then not many are to be seen, but the peculiar squeaking noise they make is to be heard everywhere. Next day all sorts of freshly-severed plants are to be found in the holes. Stalks of corn they manipulate by standing on their hind legs and gnawing through the stalk; when this is bitten off they drag it into their holes to devour it there, sometimes making it smaller. They do their work with amazing rapidity.
One evening a field was visited which was to be mowed next day, but when the labourers came in the morning they found nothing to cut. The Voles had destroyed the entire crop in a single night. A miller in the neighbourhood of Velestino reported that he went to his field early one morning, cut a measure of corn, loaded it on his ass, and brought it to his mill.
When he returned to his mill with a second load he found scarcely a vestige of the first remaining. Thinking it had been stolen he kept watch for the thief; but suddenly, to his great astonishment, hosts of Voles appeared and set to work to carry off the second load. Two birds of North America, belonging to the Woodpecker family, prepare their provisions for the bad season with consummate art; not only do they harvest them and place them in shelter, but they arrange them in such a manner that at the right moment they can utilise them in the most convenient manner.
One of them which is common in California, the Melanerpes formicivorus , nourishes himself, as his name indicates, by insects, and especially ants. All the summer he gives himself up to this hunt, but at the same time he collects acorns, which he does not touch, however, so long as he can find other food. He amasses them in the following ingenious manner: he chooses a tree and hollows out in its trunk a cavity just capable of receiving one acorn. He then carries a fruit and introduces it forcibly into the hole he has just made.
Thus buried, the acorn can neither fall nor become the prey of another animal. In the domain of these birds trees may be found which are riddled like a sieve with holes stopped up by an acorn as by a plug. When the hunting of insects ceases to be fruitful, the Melanerpes visits his barns. A relation of this bird, the Colaptes mexicanus , does not yield to him in economy and skill. He places his barn in the interior of a plant which is very abundant in the zone he inhabits.
Insectivorous during a part of the year, he is forced to renounce this diet during the dry season. In the regions of Mexico where this bird is found the dry period is so absolute that he would die of hunger for want of insects or fruits if he had not taken the precaution of laying up stores during spring. His store consists of acorns. He has not time to fix them one by one, like the Melanerpes , and only thinks at first of rapidly collecting a large quantity. But it is in deciding the question as to where they are to be laid up that the Colaptes shows his remarkable intelligence.
In the forests where he lives are to be found aloes, yuccas, and agaves. When the agaves have flowered, the flower-bearing stem, two or three metres in length, shrivels, but remains standing for some time. Its peripheral portion is hardened by the heat, while the sap in the interior almost entirely disappears. A hollow cylinder with a well-sheltered cavity is thus formed, and the Colaptes proposes to utilise it as a storehouse. His acorns will there be well protected against external influences and against the birds whose beaks are too weak to pierce the agave.
The animal first pierces the wall towards the base of the stalk; through this hole he introduces acorns until he has filled the lower part of the cavity. This done, he makes a new hole rather above the first, and fills the interval between the two, continuing this process until he has arrived at the top of the stalk and filled the whole interior. The bird seems at first to take unnecessary trouble by boring so many holes. He would reach his end as well, it would seem, by making a single hole at the top to fill his storehouse, and another at the bottom to empty it.
But we must not thus accuse him of lack of judgment. The interior of the tube is just large enough for the passage of an acorn; but at certain points the sap is not entirely absorbed, and there might easily be an impediment which would leave a large part of the cavity empty. Hence the necessity for a number of openings. When the sun has scorched up plants, and provisions are rare, he turns to his barns of abundance.
Now and every time that he has need he can utilise the method that has been employed by his cousin the Melanerpes. In order to feed on each acorn without too much trouble, or allowing it to slip from his beak, the bird places it in a vice. He hollows a hole in the trunk of a tree, introduces the fruit there forcibly, and eats it at his ease.
The provisions collected by these two birds reveal a remarkable fact. They possess indeed two distinct diets; they do not preserve for the period of famine the overplus of the foods which they consume in the period of abundance. Physiological reserves. Those who have not this foresight are either able to nourish themselves in all seasons by the chase, or else, after having feasted one half of the year, they fast during the other half.
In the latter case they consume during the fasting period a portion of their own substance, and use up materials placed in reserve in their organism, in the form of fat for example. This arrangement, which allows them to prolong life, though growing thin, until the next season of prosperity, is not under the control of the will. It is a complication of physiological phenomena resulting from the functioning of different parts of the organism. Stages between physiological reserves and provisions. These insects Myrmecocystus live in Texas, and form colonies in which certain individuals play a very special part They exaggerate to an extreme point the power of preserving provisions in their crops.
Among the Myrmecocystus there are workers of two sorts; the first kind resemble other ants with some differences of detail, and build and hollow the earth nest which shelters the community. The second kind is quite different; the abdomen in these workers is enormously distended so as to constitute a voluminous sphere, which may become four or five times larger than the thorax and head together. On this distended receptacle appear several darker plates; these are the remains of the chitinous parts of the primitive wings.