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. Popular science monthly. e either of themor of their casts. Nevertheless, so wide is the distribution of this ani-mal that in the moister regions even of the equatorial belt one shouldcertainly expect to find it. But the general fact remains. Whetherwe consider the comparative poorness of their development, or thelimited period during which they can operate, the sustained perform-ance of the agricultural function by worms, over large areas in tropicalcountries, is impossible. Now, as this agricultural function can never be dispensed with, itis more than probable that Nature will have there c

. Popular science monthly. e either of themor of their casts. Nevertheless, so wide is the distribution of this ani-mal that in the moister regions even of the equatorial belt one shouldcertainly expect to find it. But the general fact remains. Whetherwe consider the comparative poorness of their development, or thelimited period during which they can operate, the sustained perform-ance of the agricultural function by worms, over large areas in tropicalcountries, is impossible. Now, as this agricultural function can never be dispensed with, itis more than probable that Nature will have there c Stock Photo
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Reading Room 2020 / Alamy Stock Photo

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1552 x 1611 px | 26.3 x 27.3 cm | 10.3 x 10.7 inches | 150dpi

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. Popular science monthly. e either of themor of their casts. Nevertheless, so wide is the distribution of this ani-mal that in the moister regions even of the equatorial belt one shouldcertainly expect to find it. But the general fact remains. Whetherwe consider the comparative poorness of their development, or thelimited period during which they can operate, the sustained perform-ance of the agricultural function by worms, over large areas in tropicalcountries, is impossible. Now, as this agricultural function can never be dispensed with, itis more than probable that Nature will have there commissioned someother animal to undertake the task. And there are several other ani-mals to whom this difiicult and laborious duty might be intrusted.There is the mole, for instance, with its wonderful spade-like feet, thatnatural navvy who shovels the soil about so vigorously at home ; butagainst the burned crust of the tropics even this most determined ofburrowers would surely turn the edge of his nails. The same renJark. 740 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY. applies to those curious little geologists, tLe marmots and chipmunks,which one sees throwing up their tiny heaps of sand and gravel onthe American prairies. And, though the torrid zone boasts of a strong-limbed and almost steel-shod creature, the ant-bear, his ravages arelimited to the destruction of the nests of ants ; and, however much thissomewhat scarce animal contributes to the result, we must look inanother direction for the true tropical analogue of the worm. The animal we are in search of, and which I venture to think equalto all the necessities of the case, is the ter-^^^SM^ mite or white ant. It is a small insect (Fig. ^ 1), with a bloated yellowish-white body and a somewhat large thorax, oblong-shaped,and colored a disagreeable oily brown.The flabby, tallow-like body makes thisinsect sufiiciently repulsive, but it is forquite another reason that the white ant isthe worst abused of all living vermin inwarm countrie

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