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Originally published in German, this book is now available in a significantly expanded English version, describing more species (121 in the original versus 190 in the current version).
Furthermore, this book contains:
- an introduction to morphology, development, ecology, life cycle, feeding strategies and enemies of ants,
- comprehensive information on all important aspects of the special biology of the 180 outdoor species of Central and North Europe given in a standardized handbook format,
- a short description of the multidimensional niche space of all German ants,
- an illustrated determination key to 190 species recorded for the area and directly adjacent regions,
- the author‘s position to some fundamental questions of taxonomy and biodiversity research,
- 581 photos and line drawings of living or mounted ants.
Bernhard Seifert, born 1955, became strongly engaged in myrmecology as an amateur in 1979 and was fortunate enough to continue this activity on a professional basis by employment as curator of entomology at the Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Görlitz since 1981. One of his main missions was to replace idiosyncratic approaches in alpha-taxonomy by testable investigation systems and defned concepts as they are long since standard in other felds of natural sciences. This led to an approximation of taxonomic knowledge to the real structure of ant biodiversity in large parts of Europe and allowed a much improved investigation of species-specifc biologies and interspecifc relations. A welcome by-product of this research was the realization that interspecifc hybridization is a signifcant factor in ant biology and evolution. Another main objective of Seifert’s research was synecology of ants which allowed him to show, with unprecedented clarity, that Gauze’s principle of competitive exclusion is acting on the level of multi-species communities in nature and not only in reduced laboratory settings with pairs of unicellular organisms. The book attempts to condense complex knowledge within a small enough printing space to be used by experts as a handbook but it also intends to build a bridge to the growing army of leisure-time ant enthusiasts.