Field And Hedgerow By Richard Jefferies

 -  There, too, hundreds of ants
were exploring right and left in every direction except straight forward,
in a perfect buzz - Page 140
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There, Too, Hundreds Of Ants Were Exploring Right And Left In Every Direction Except Straight Forward, In A Perfect Buzz Of Excitement.

Once or twice an ant from either party happened to mount on the parallel ridges at the same time, and if they had strained forward and stretched out their antennae they could have almost touched each other.

Yet they seemed quite unconscious of each other's presence. Unless in a well-worn groove a single ant appears incapable of running in a straight line. At first their motions searching about suggested the action of a pack of hounds making a cast; hounds, however, would have very soon gone forward and so picked up the trail.

If I may make a guess at the cause of this singular confusion, I think I should attribute it to some peculiarity in the brain of the ant, or else to some consideration of which we are ignorant, but which weighs with ants, and not to any absence of the physical senses. Because they do not do as we should do under similar circumstances is no proof that they do not possess the power to hear and see. Experiments, for instance, have been made with bees to find out if they have any sense of hearing, by shouting close to a bee, drawing discordant notes on the violin, striking pieces of metal together, and so on, to all of which the bee remained indifferent. What else could she do? Neither of these sounds hurt if she heard them, nor seemed to threaten danger; they simply conveyed no impression at all to her mind.

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