Books  Invertebrates  Arthropods  Insects  Bees, Ants & Wasps (Hymenoptera) 

The Lives of Ants

Out of Print

By: Laurent Keller(Author), Élisabeth Gordon(Author)

264 pages, colour plates, b/w photos

Oxford University Press

Paperback | Feb 2010 | #182876 | ISBN-13: 9780199541874
Out of Print Details
Hardback | Feb 2009 | #176512 | ISBN-13: 9780199541867
Out of Print Details

About this book

Humans have long been fascinated by ants. While not necessarily brightly coloured or beautiful, ants display some remarkable characteristics that are almost unique in the animal world. They live in intricately organized societies, made up of individuals that cooperate, communicate, and divide up daily tasks. They display amazing ingenuity when it comes to building nests and other structures, finding supplies, or even exploiting other members of the animal kingdom. They are capable too of aggression and violence, of disturbing the apparent peace of their colonies and of sudden fratricidal or matricidal strife. In short, the lives of ants are among the most fascinating in the natural world.

This is an account of those lives – looking at the many species of ants around the world, explaining the secret of their huge ecological success, examining the remarkable and varied behaviours that ants exhibit, and tying in molecular biology, genetics, and even cutting-edge developments in robotics, to shed light on what makes ants unique.

"An extraordinary book."
 The Herald



An ecological success story
1: Anywhere and everywhere
2: On tastes and colours
3: The secrets of success
4: A huge impact on the environment
5: A long long story

Social life
6: The birth of the colony
7: Division of labour
8: Let slip the ants of war
9: Flexible work arrangements
10: Communication systems
11: Family models
12: Parasites and slave-makers

Nowt so rum as ants!
13: Army ants
14: We work at the weaver's trade
15: Navigators who never lose their way
16: Honeypots

Advantageous liaisons
17: Colonies and their livestock
18: Ant trees
19: Attines and mushrooms getting on famously

Bloody pests!
20: Stand by for invaders!
21: Supercolonies

Kith and kin
22: Genetic altruism and sociality
23: Family feuds
24: Nepotism or not?
25: Caste struggles
26: Anything goes

27: Genes and family structure
28: The genomics of behaviour
29: So what's so special about the genome of fire ants?

High-tech ants
30: Computer modelling behaviour
31: Of ants and IT men
32: Swarm robotics

Further reading

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