Publisher Information: Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1882.
McCook, Henry C. (1837-1911). The honey ants of the Garden of the Gods, and the occident ants of the American plains: A monograph of the architecture and habits of the honey-bearing ant, Myrmecocystus melliger . . . 188, pp., including 13 full-page illustrations. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1882. 223 x 144 mm. Original cloth, gilt spine (a bit faded), light wear to extremities, small split in front inner hinge, evidence of bookplate removal. Very good. Inscribed to President Chester A. Arthur (1829-86) on the front flyleaf by McCook’s brother, Congressman Anson G. McCook (1835-1917): “His Excellency, Chester A. Arthur Compliments of A. G. McCook.”
First Edition. McCook, a Presbyterian minister and naturalist, was the first to document honey ants, publishing his observations in the present work. Honey ants, which are found in several ant genera including Myrmecocystus and Camponotus, have specialized workers called “repletes” that store large amounts of nectar in their swollen abdomens; other ants in the colony then extract this nectar by stroking the replete’s antennae. McCook noted the presence of these ants in the American plains and in Colorado’s “Garden of the Gods,” a natural landmark near Colorado Springs.
McCook belonged to an Ohio family known as the “Fighting McCooks,” which sent a total of fifteen men to serve as officers in the Union Army during the Civil War. One of his brothers, Anson G. McCook, became a politician after the war, serving three terms as a congressman and developing close relationships with several leading Republicans. Anson’s ties to the Republican Party no doubt prompted him to inscribe this copy of his brother’s book to President Chester A. Arthur.Book Id: 45537