The industry of insects, especially that of the Bees and Wasps, abounds in tiny marvels. Newly manufactured with the cotton supplied by various fluff-covered plants, the nest of certain Anthidia forms an exquisitely graceful pouch. It is accurately fashioned, white as snow, pleasing to the eye and softer to the touch than Swan’s-down. The Humming-bird’s nest, a bowl hardly half the size of an apricot, is by comparison a piece of clumsy felt.
But this perfection is of brief duration. The artist is hampered by the exigencies of the space at her disposal. Her workshop is a chance shelter, a tunnel incapable of modification, which she has to use as she finds it. In this narrow retreat, therefore, the cotton purses are placed in a row, each compressing the others and distorting their form; they are welded at either end to their neighbours, till the whole becomes a lumpy pillar moulded to the volume of the container. For lack of space, the weaver has been unable to continue her textile fabric in accordance with the exquisite design dictated by her instinct. A length of rope, of indifferent merit, takes the place of the superb masterpiece of felt which the Anthidium would have created had she been working at isolated cells.