Have you seen a gold-digging ant-lion lately in the Indian desert ?

An amusing account of ant-lions and gold-digging in the Indian desert:(Herodotus) via Algomantra

“The earlest surviving European account of khrusôn murmêkôn (gold ants)—or murmêkoleôntes (ant-lions) as they were called much later—is found in the Historiês Apódexis of Hêródotos (ca. 430 B.C.E.). Druce (1923) retells the story of these unusually large and viscious “ants”:

[The] scene is laid in a northern district of India, where there is a desert in which ants abound in size somewhat less than dogs but larger than foxes. They burrow under ground and heap up the sand which contains gold. The Indians go to the desert to collect this sand, each man provided with three camels harnessed together side by side, that is on either side a male, and in the middle a female on which he rides. The female must only just have been parted from her recently-born young. The Indians being thus equipped set out at such a time that they will arrive at the hottest hour of the day, for during the greatest heat the ants hide underground. They bring with them sacks which they fill with the sand and then retun as fast as they can. For the ants detect them by the smell and pursue them, so that if the Indians do not get a good start while the ants are assembling, not a man could be saved. The male camels in time slacken their pace, but the females mindful of their young hasten on; and in this way the Indians return safely with their gold (pp. 354-355).”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s