Online Encyclopedia

ANTEATER

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V02, Page 89 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
ANTEATER, a term applied to several mammals, but (zoo-logically at any rate) specially indicating the tropical American anteaters of the family Myrmecophagidae (see EDENTATA). The typical and largest representative of the group is the great anteater or ant-bear (Myrmecophaga jubata) , an animal measuring 4 ft. in length without the tail, and 2 ft. in height at the shoulder. Its prevailing colour is grey, with a broad black band, bordered with white, commencing on the chest, and passing obliquely over the shoulder, diminishing gradually in breadth as it approaches the loins, where it ends in a point. It is extensively distributed in the tropical parts of South and Central America, frequenting low swampy savannas, along the banks of rivers, and the depths of the humid forests, but is nowhere abundant. Its food consists mainly of termites, to obtain which it opens their nests with its powerful sharp anterior claws, and as the insects swarm to the damaged part of their dwelling, it draws them into its mouth by means of its long, flexible, rapidly moving tongue covered with glutinous saliva. The great anteater is terrestrial in habits, not burrowing underground like armadillos. Though generally an inoffensive animal, when attacked it can defend itself vigorously and effectively with its sabre-like anterior claws. The female produces a single young at a birth. The tamandua anteaters, as typified by Tamandua (or Uroleptes) tetradactyla, are much smaller than the great anteater, and differ essentially from it in their habits, being mainly arboreal. They inhabit the dense primeval forests of South and Central America. The usual colour is yellowish-white, with a broad black lateral band, covering nearly the whole of the side of the body. The little or two-toed anteater (Cyclopes or Cycloturus didactylus) is a native of the hottest parts of South and Central America, and about the size of a rat, of a general yellowish colour, and exclusively arboreal in its habits. The name scaly anteater is applied to the pangolin (q.v.); the banded anteater (Myrmecobius fascialus) is a marsupial, and the spiny anteater (Echidna) is one of the monotremes (see MARSUPIALIA and MONOTREMATA). ANTE-CHAPEL, the term given to that portion of a chapel which lies on the western side of the choir screen. In some of the colleges at Oxford and Cambridge the ante-chapel is carried north and south across the west end of the chapel, constituting a western transept or narthex. This model, based on Merton College chapel (13th century), of which only chancel and transept were built though a nave was projected, was followed at Wadham, New and Magdalen Colleges, Oxford, in the new chapel of St John's College, Cambridge, and in Eton College. In Jesus College, Cambridge, the transept and a short nave constitute the ante-chapel; in Clare College an octagonal vestibule serves the same purpose; and in Christ's, Trinity and Ring's Colleges, Cambridge, the ante-chapel is a portion of the main chapel, divided off from the chancel by the choir screen.89 ANTE-CHOIR, the term given to the space enclosed in a church between the outer gate or railing of the rood screen and the door of the screen; sometimes there is only one rail, gate or door, but in Westminster Abbey it is equal in depth to one bay of the nave. The ante-choir is also called the " fore choir." ANTE-FI%AE (from Lat. antefigere, to fasten before), the vertical blocks which terminate the covering tiles of the roof of a Greek temple; as spaced they take the place of the cymatium and form a cresting along the sides of the temple. The face of the ante-fixae was richly carved with the anthemion (q.v.) ornament.
End of Article: ANTEATER
[back]
ANTARCTIC (Gr. &vri, opposite, and apKTos, the Bear...
[next]
ANTELOPE

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.