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Observations Upon the Windward Coast of Africa

And the head is disproportionably enlarged


This

compact construction is admirably adapted to guard against external violence, and to preserve a genial warmth and moisture to cherish the hatching of the eggs, and the young.

The queen is by far the largest, and has an unwieldy body, of enormous dimensions, when compared with her subjects; so also is the king, but inferior in size to the queen.

The royal residence is a full constructed hill, surrounded by an innumerable number of others, differing in shape and dimensions, arched in various forms, circular, and elliptical, which communicate by passages, occupied by guards and attendants, and surrounded by nurseries and magazines. But when the community is in an infant state, these are contiguous to the royal residence; and in proportion as the size of the queen increases, her chamber is enlarged, and her attendants and apartments multiplied.

The construction of the outward apartments which surround the central royal residence, that of the _common father_ and _mother_ of the community, form an intricate labyrinth of nurseries and magazines, separated by chambers and galleries, communicating with each other, and continuing towards the surface of the pyramid; and being arched, they support each other, and are uniformly larger towards the centre.

The second order of _termes_ are like the first, blind and active, but they undergo a change of form,

approaching to the perfect state; they are much larger, and increase from about a quarter of an inch in length to half an inch, and greater in bulk; and what is still more remarkable, the mouth is armed with sharp claws, and the head is disproportionably enlarged. They may properly be called the nurses and warriors of the kingdom; they urge their fellow subjects in the _first_ state to labour, they inspect the construction of the interior apartments, repel all attacks from enemies, and devour them with fury; and may be considered as the standing army of the state.

In the third and last stage, they are winged; their bodies then measure about 7/8ths of an inch in length, furnished with four brownish transparent wings, rather large; they have eyes also of a disproportionate size, visible to the observer. When they make their appearance in this state, it is indicative of the approach of the rainy season. At this period they procreate their species.

They seldom wait before they take wing for a second or third shower; and should the rain happen in the night, the quantities of them which are found the next morning upon the surface of the earth, and on the waters, more particularly upon the latter, are astonishing. The term of existence at this stage is extremely short, and frequently on the following morning after they have taken flight, they are surprisingly weakened and decreased; at the utmost I do not think they live more than two days; and these insects, so industrious, courageous, and destructive in the two first periods of their existence, become the prey of innumerable enemies. Indolent, and incapable of resisting the smallest insects, they are hunted by various species from place to place, and not one pair in millions get into a place of safety, to fulfil the laws of nature and propagation.


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