National Geographic : 1968 Apr
Lifting the lid on a city, the Zahls uncover an ant metropolis beneath a rock. In summertime, citizen ants labor furiously, caring for unhatched young and occasionally waging war with rival colonies. With autumn's onset they gather in tight huddles for a sleep that lasts all winter. "The brain of an ant is one of the most marvelous atoms of matter in the world, perhaps more so than the brain of a man," wrote naturalist Charles Darwin. Scrambling into action when their roof disap pears, worker ants rescue cocoons beneath the sun-warmed stone. Obeying instincts developed over millions of years, they haul the young to the safety of a subterranean gallery. Mistakenly called "eggs," the cocoons actually shelter the final, or pupal, stage in ant metamorphosis. KODACHROMES © NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY her eggs to the leaves of fresh milkweed.* Next summer's damselflies and dragonflies were spending the winter in a pre-adult stage in the bottom muck of our ice-clogged stream. Fireflies, which in June and July had set our fields aglow, survived in the guise of tiny grubs snuggled in the forest duff, like the larvae of many other beetles. Wild honeybees meet winter in their own peculiar way.t With the coming of cold weather, the members of a hive cling together in a sort of living ball. Those near the center shimmy and shake like dancers at a disco theque, wings fluttering, legs churning, an tennae quivering. As dancers tire, they make way for substitutes moving in from the out er layers. Metabolic heat released by those *See "Mystery of the Monarch Butterfly," by Paul A. Zahl, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, April, 1963. t"Inside the World of the Honeybee," by Treat David son, appeared in the August, 1959, GEOGRAPHIC.