National Geographic : 1957 Jun
tions. Back in London a special pool was being built in the aquarium for a manatee; we had promised to bring one back. A train took us along the coast to the town of New Amsterdam at the mouth of the Berbice and Canje Rivers. The manatee, or sea cow, spends its life in brackish creeks inoffensively browsing on weeds. It breathes air like a walrus, its snout snorting and blowing above water. Being a mammal, it suckles its young, sometimes rising out of the water with an offspring cradled in its flippers. Descriptions of the creature brought back by the first seamen to sail round the coasts of South America gave new life to the legend of the mermaid. "De water mamma is de mos' passionate creature," a New Amsterdam fisherman told me gloomily. "When she get in det net, she fly into de mos' turbul passion and t'row 871 Parasol Ants, Scourge of the Forest, + Can Strip a Tree Overnight Powerful jaws of the parasol ants spell ruin for jungle foliage and cultivated crops. Indians abandon villages and fields rather than oppose a horde of these leaf cutters on the march. Here ants snip smooth-edged sections on which to raise the fungus they enjoy as food. + Parasol ants in the Tropics forage chiefly between dusk and dawn. These workers, caught by flash exposure, hold leafy burdens overhead in the manner suggested by their name. They will transport the harvest to nests a quarter of a mile away.