With the ants, as with all the communistic Hymenoptera, there is a fertile female or queen (sometimes several) upon which devolves the reproductive functions; the males die after coupling, leaving to the queen their sperma-tozoids, which it distributes according to the needs at the time of laying.
All the species of the immense group of ants form societies in which a variable number of female neuters fill the functions of workers. Those of the tribe of Ponerines approach the predatory Hymenoptera by their low stage of evolution. They establish, says Wheeler, feebly populated colonies where the females are slightly fertile and little different from the workers, which give them no care and frequently lay male eggs. Like the solitary predators, they feed on all terrestrial articulates, which they dissect after the manner of certain wasps and serve in small bits to their larva?. Finally, these low ants have preserved the habit of spinning a cocoon, which distinguishes them again from most of the higher ants and affiliates them with the solitary predators of the order Hymenoptera. We should then consider the Ponerines, and through them the other ants, as predatory Hymenoptera adapted to the social life ; as probably Scoliids and not as Mutillids, for the males and females of ants are winged, at least at the beginning of their existence.
For the rest, whatever may be the degree of evolution, many ants preserve the traits of a primitive social state, or return toward that state, by secondary adaptations. Fertile workers are frequent in the formicaries, and we know through Miss Hol-liday that Leptothorax emersoni presents not less than eleven forms between the queen and the workers. Certain ants' nests contain substitute queens,-that is to say, workers which perform the functions of queens. Finally, we know through Forel1 that fertile females are numerous in the formicaries of Tapinoma erratica, and I have it from Bondroit that one can find as many as fifty in the nests of Myrmica.