Plentiful and familiar, ants make up an estimated one-third of the world's insect biomass and can be found in virtually every part of the globe, from rainforest canopies to city sidewalks. But their importance is about more than numbers: ants are fundamental species in a range of habitats, their interactions with plants, fungi, and other animals ensuring the survival of many fragile and complex ecosystems. This beautifully illustrated book explores the extraordinary diversity of ants and offers insights into their elaborate social systems, investigating the key collective and competitive behaviors that operate within their varied colony structures.
Featuring exceptional close-up photographs and clearly organized thematic chapters, the book covers anatomy, evolution, life cycle, ecology, and other important topics. Each chapter also features profiles of stand-out genera, chosen for their fascinating characteristics, including Leafcutter Ants who build nests containing up to 7,000 chambers, Pugnacious Ants whose colonies can destroy populations of crabs within hours, and Honeypot Ants whose worker caste store food in their stomachs for other colony members to consume. Drawing on current research, Ants offers an inviting and accessible introduction to these remarkable insects.
Heather Campbell holds a PhD in ecological entomology from the University of Reading and is a lecturer in entomology at Harper Adams University in Shropshire, UK. She is associate editor for the Journal of Ecology and has written for many leading scientific journals, including the American Naturalist and Myrmecological News. She is a National Geographic Explorer with research expertise in insect ecology, and she specializes in African ant diversity.
Benjamin Blanchard holds a PhD in evolutionary biology from the University of Chicago and is a postdoctoral researcher at the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Yunnan, China. His writing has appeared in magazines and peer-reviewed scientific journals, and he is the editor in chief of the science blog The Daily Ant. His research expertise is in ant evolution with an emphasis on trait-based diversification.