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The first reprint of a classic title first published in 1990. With a complex social organisation, ants are one of the dominant organisms in the world. They make up 10-15% of the entire animal biomass in most terrestrial environments, turn more soil than earthworms, and are a major predator and scavenger. They are also amongst the most highly social of all animals, with altruistic behaviour, highly developed chemical communication and division of labour. This is the first full look at this diverse group this century, serving both as an introduction and an encyclopaedic reference to the subject. A landmark work.
The importance of ants * Classification and origins * The colony life cycle * Altruism and the origin of the worker caste * Colony odor and kin recognition * Queen numbers and domination * Communication * Caste and division of labor * Social homeostasis and flexibility * Foraging and territorial strategies * The organization of species communities * Symbioses among ant species * Symbioses with other animals * Interaction with plants * The specialized predators * The army ants * The fungus growers * The harvesters * The weaver ants * Collecting and culturing ants * Glossary * Bibliography * Index.
"[...] a rare work, the myrmecological publishing event of the half-century [...]"
- Mark Ridley, The Times Literary Supplement
"The Ants should be in every University and High School library."
"The book is truly comprehensive; very little ant biology that I am aware of has been omitted [...] Many of the illustrations are art in their own right. Rarely has a group of organisms been represented so well."
- The Quarterly Review of Biology