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Pheidole in the New World: A Dominant, Hyperdiverse Ant Genus

By: Edward O Wilson

794 pages, 650 line illus, CD-ROM

Harvard University Press

Hardback | Mar 2003 | #127945 | ISBN: 0674002938
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NHBS Price: £133.95 $171/€160 approx

About this book

Species of the genus Pheidole are the most abundant and diverse ants of the New World and range from the northern United States to Argentina. In this well-illustrated volume Wilson untangles its classification for the first time, characterizing all 625 known species, 341 of which are new to science, and ordering them into 19 species groups. Wilson also summarizes our knowledge of the natural history of each species, much of it previously unpublished. In addition, he provides a general account of hyperdiversity, confirming that it is not a statistical artifact but a genuine biological phenomenon that can best be understood by detailed analyses of groups of organisms such as the Pheidole ants.
An important innovation in this book is the inclusion of a CD-ROM containing high-resolution digital images of the type specimens. The CD-ROM is designed to allow quick retrieval of information such as known range, group membership, measurements, and colour.

Edward O. Wilson, one of the great naturalists of our time, hatches big ideas from the study of very small creatures. His newest book, Pheidole in the New World, surveys a genus of ants whose complexity and evolutionary success are so extraordinary they have never before been fully described. Boston Globe 20030225 For the most part [it is] very hard to visualize and explain the entirely different scale of species diversity that is encountered in the invertebrate world. Faced with an illustration and explanation such as Edward O. Wilson's Pheidole in the New World, we can only be stunned...Wilson's monograph is the product of a master craftsman. It reeks of authority. Opening sections explain anatomy, terminology and abbreviations. There are 100 pages of keys. Each one-page species treatment includes line drawings of the major and minor workers in lateral view, frontal views of the heads, and details of the thorax and petiole; the location of the type-specimens; the derivation of the name; diagnosis, measurements, colour, geographical range and biology. Here are 624 treatments--a gigantic undertaking. And there is more. The CD is a searchable database that can be used as an identification tool supplementary to the keys. Possible inputs are measurements, colour and country of origin. Or the user can scroll between closely related species and compare high-resolution colour images of the lateral views of major and minor workers and frontal views of heads. -- Gaden S. Robinson Times Literary Supplement 20040730


Contents

Introduction The Origins of Hyperdiversity Glossary and Anatomy Keys The Workerless Social Parasites of the New World Pheidole, Based on the Queen The Species Groups of the Nonparasitic New World Pheidole, Based on the Worker Castes The aberrans Group The biconstricta Group The crassicornis Group The diligens Group The distorta Group The fallax Group The flavens Group The gertrudae Group The granulata Group The lamia Group The megacephala Group The perpusilla Group The pilifera Group The punctatissima Group The scrobifera Group The tachigaliae Group The teneriffana Group The transversostriata Group The tristis Group The New World Species Indeterminate Names References Acknowledgments Index


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Biography

Edward O. Wilson is Pellegrino University Research Professor, Harvard University. In addition to two Pulitzer Prizes (one of which he shares with Bert Holldobler), Wilson has won many scientific awards, including the National Medal of Science and the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He is the author of many books, including The Diversity of Life. The Ants, and Biophilia and co-author of Journey to the Ants (all from Harvard).

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