Texas Nature Observations and Reminiscenses Page: 17
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TEXAS NATURE OBSERVATIONS AND REMINISCENCES. 17
This photomicrograph shows
a flea's stinging apparatus, magni-
fied considerably, with sharp out-
lines of the slightly curved daggers
-which the insect inserts into the
tissues and capillary layers of
its victims' skin to draw blood;
the stinging and blood-sucking
act being accomplished through
rythmical muscular action of its
head and stinging apparatus and
suction tube. Some of the tropical
and local sand-fleas have very
powerfully developed stinging im-
plements and cause intense irrita-
tion with inflammation and ulcera-
tion of the parts injured.
The second photograph shows
a small part of one of the hairy
front feet of the flea, adjoining
the long daggers.
New Texas Antkiller
A peculiar and rare insect in
our climate had been sent to me
some time ago by the Daily Ex-
press for identification, which
had been, previously sent to the
Express office by V. S. Kowalk of
Pana Maria, Texas, in a small
square box, including remnants
of earth and sand from an anthole
and large numbers of butchered-
up ants. When. sent to me the
ant-destroyer was still alive, and
I subjected same and all the ants
and earth remnants to a close ex-
amination and photoreproduction.
It is seen on the photograph here-
in, about natural size, and readily
illustrates how this ant-killer had
disposed of its victims-our large
and poisonous red earth-ant, and
shows the powerful, large claws,
or fangs, its front head possesses
-unlike any other insect of its
size that I am aware of.
As stated, when received, this
ant-killer still showed signs of life
-as it moved about in a warm
room and the first impression it
made was the resemblance to some
tarantula spider for a young vin-
aigron, an animal which has some
characteristics of the scorpion and
of some spider species alike. On
account of its divided body be-
tween head and thorax (mneso-tho-
rax). the position of the eyes and
being supplied with haired and
clawed legs, both of these animals
belong under the class of arachni-
dans or the spider family. As the
letter sent along by V. S. Kowalk,
of Pana Maria is of much interest
and importance in connection with
the ant-killing qualities of this
insect, it is herewith reproduced
in full as follows:
"I am sending you under separ-
ate cover one bug that will eat
red ants and I want you to find
out what kind of a bug it is. I
found it in the ants' nest just kill-
ing them and eating them about
a week ago, and I kept him in that
box ever since. I turn him loose
once a day in the ants' nest to
have his meal."
In viewing the photo herein, it
is seen how this animal had
cleared up with the anthole and
dissected the ants, fragments of
which-heads, bodies and single
feet- being scattered all over the
photo-view. This it accomplished
by a regular "saw mechanism"
the insect is supplied with at its
head mouth parts similar to an
ant itself. In examining the in-
sect it was seen that two large
projecting and mandible-like or-
gans supply its front head, and
that each of these organs had two
extra scissors-like movable fangs,
which it uses in grabbing and cut-
ting up the ants.
The head is small as compared
to these protuding powerful fangs
and the head is supplied at its
frontal margin with two glittering
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Menger, R. Texas Nature Observations and Reminiscenses, book, 1913; San Antonio, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143558/m1/21/?q=menger: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.