English Lesson 150

“As a writer of an autobiography about life in the woods, would you spend more pages describing an ant war or loons? Why?”

To answer this, you need to know what a loon is.  A loon is a bird like a duck, colored black as night and have white spots on it in rows and columns.  The have red eyes, a long black beak, and a black head.  They have lines down there neck, that are like the stripes of a zebra.  Below that there is a patch of bluish-greenish color.  The picture of the bird is the featured pic.

So would you rather watch a war fought by ants, or to watch a loon in the lake?  I would choose the ants, because it is very rare to see a battle to the death, fought by ants.

He described the battle along the lines of:  he went out side and to the woodpile.  The wood was used to heat up his house an for him to cook his food on and that was where the ants battled.  First he just saw two ants, one black the other red.  He watched them for awhile, and when he looked up, he saw a army of ants, black and red.  The red and black ants where in the ratio 2:1.  If you have done ratio in math, you would know that this means there were two red ants to every one black ant.

WARNING: ANTS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS VIDEO.

This video would be an accurate example of what Thoreau would have seen.  But in a open area, and with way more ants involved.  What is interesting about a bird?  Nothing is interesting about a bird.

Ants are unique insects.  All They have is a nerve knot instead of a brain.  An that is why they can’t think for themselves.  The queen ant has to do the thinking, and she also has a nerve knot.  In Thoreau’s book the black ants were larger than the red ants.  In this video you would see small black ants VS large red ants in a large battle.  The video is a little more than three minutes.  In the end the red ants won the fight, which took hours.

In the book, Thoreau did not tell us who won the fight, so I am going to assume that the red ants won the fight, not just the numbers would tell you, but how hard they bite.  My guess on the battle that Thoreau witnessed took at least a day, because colonies can be in the millions of strong workers.  But the ants he was talking about, on an estimate of 10,000-100,000 ants in the battle.

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