ADVERTISEMENT
2 /3 FREE ARTICLES LEFT THIS MONTH Remaining
Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.

If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.

ENJOY UNLIMITED ACCES TO C&EN

Synthesis

Illustrative Ant Poetry

June 2, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 22

“An Ant’s Acid Antidote” reported on some interesting chemical aspects of ants’ body fluids as self-protection (C&EN, March 3, page 44). As a fan of the humorous poetry of Ogden Nash (1902–71), I looked for his fairly well-known poem:

“The Ant”
The ant has made himself illustrious
Through constant industry industrious.
So What?
Would you be calm, would you be placid
If you were full of formic acid?

That this ditty was penned more than 40 years ago suggests that the formic acid content of ants’ body fluids has been known for several decades. I expect that other chemists will express their thoughts that the C&EN article should have cited Nash.

James E. Sturm
Hellertown, Pa.

X

Article:

This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Comments
Cynthia Bennett (June 21, 2014 10:30 AM)
"That this ditty was penned more than 40 years ago suggests that the formic acid content of ants’ body fluids has been known for several decades."

More than "several decades". Mr. Nash certainly knew why formic acid is called formic acid, which the letter writer apparently does not. Formic acid was named after the ant, "formica" in Latin. And in German its "Ameisensäure", quite plainly "ant acid".

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment