To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness.
I bought this book as a gift for my son. He's been taking it out of the library for years and always wanted a copy for himself. I'm personally not into ants the way he is but what a beautiful book. It's long been a favorite in our home and although it's a bit expensive, it's well worth the price.
This is a book that makes you want to drop everything and dedicate all your time to the study of ants. There are not too many books out there that are so well-written that they induce such emotions. It is a sizable book, and for those outside the field of myrmecology, it probably would not be read cover-to-cover. But every page of this book is fascinating, and considering the time and effort the authors put into it, it is no surprise that it has been the target of numerous awards. The authors dedicate the book to the "next generation of myrmecologists", and no doubt they have convinced many individuals to take up the field. The authors convey to the reader that the study of ants is a thriving field, and there are lots of research questions unanswered in their study. Space prohibits a detailed review, so I will list instead the parts of the book that I consider most interesting: 1. The variation in the mode of colony founding among the different species of ants. 2. The mating habits of ants, in particular the female-calling and aggregation syndromes. 3. The description of the experiment showing the role of male pheromones in carpenter ants. 4. The statistical analysis of the time of swarming. 5. The comparison between different hypotheses for polyandry. 6. The universal occurence across species of 'nanitics' or 'minims' in the first brood and their ergonomic advantages. 7. The parental manipulation and offspring consent hypotheses for the origin of worker castes. 8. Eusociality and chromosome number as a strategy for reducing genetic variance. 9. The role of learning in colony-level recognition. 10. The presence of conflict between queens and workers in the management of new queens and males. 11. The existence of modulatory communication in ants (this was definitely the most interesting discussion in the book ). 12. The steps in the evolution of physical castes. 13. The result that colony-level selection is the opposite of what one would expect from individual-level selection, the later tending to improving phenotypes. 14. The use of allometric space to model evolutionary optimization. 15. The capability of associative learning in ants. 16. Ant-termite warfare. 17. The entire chapter on army ants.
I have always had an interest in insects from an early age. As a child I was always capturing ants and trying to setup ant colonies. So when I saw this book at the store I had to buy it. Just looking at it in the bookstore I was drawn in by the many pages of detailed drawings and photographs. The book can be a bit technical at times. It used advanced (to me anyway) entomological terms that can sometimes make understanding some of the topics difficult. Though it is clearly targeted at an adult audience, I would not hesitate to give this book to a bright child who is particularly interested in ants. Just about anything you might want to know about the ant is covered. The book did a good job of explaining some questions that I had always had of ants. For example, how can the queen continue to lay fertilized eggs endlessly without a "partner". The only topic I might have liked seen described at greater length would have been keeping ants. How to excavate a colony. How to obtain a queen. And son on.
I received a copy of this book back in the early 1990s and have gone back to read it on several occasions. The book is massive consisting of over 730 pages in a large 12 x 10 format. It contains hundreds of illustrations including several color plates and some really amazing paintings of various types of ants and hive culture. The information is exhaustive ranging from the extremely technical to the conversational. Parts of the book will be mainly of interest to the hardcore entomologist but the majority of the book is easily understood by the layman, well maybe not always easily but it's not too difficult and it's worth the effort. I can't imagine a better or more complete text on the subject of ants. Anyone with any real interest in the subject should not be without this book.
As an adult, I bought an ant farm from good old Uncle Milton. I was so excited about my ant farm, I decided to make this into a personal science project, and purchased this book. If there's something you want to know about ants, this is THE book. It made ownership of my ant farm much a greater pleasure. I should also mention that it made great use for the occasional escaping ant. It certainly isn't for kids unless that kid is of high school age, and very interested in becoming a biologist.
This is a fascinating, indispensible book for anyone interested in ants. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. I have owned this book for three years and still haven't stopped reading it, probably never will. It is jam-packed with interesting and little known aspects of eusocialism in the ants, easily as diverse as its subject.
This is a semi-technical book, and entomological scientific jargon is used ubiquitously, so if you aren't interested in using the glossary frequently just to understand what you're reading, it may not be for you, but for the avid ant-watcher or scientist interested in social evolution, this is it. With the incredible drawings (including representative pictures from every known ant genera) and informative graphs and charts that shed light on even the most complex and difficult to understand socio-biological patterns, it is beautiful to behold and fun to browse and just pluck little tidbits at random. Even the expanded table of contents is thought-provoking and fun to read.
"The Ants" does more than simply summarize current knowledge about ants. It goes into details of the many different ways in which ants have evolved social structures and critically evaluates theories of ant colony dynamics and eusocial evolution.
I sat in a bookstore for three hours just reading pages from each section. Well laid out, well (duh!) researched. Astounding. It is verging on the edge of crazy to want to buy this tome seeing as how I am not in the field of cultural entomolgy, but I feel that I must own this book, just for the sheer volume of information it contains on those tiny ants. I never contemplated that this much dedication and care would be taken to understand them. Very cool.
This is an excellent book. If you love ants, or you are starting to study them, or simply like to read excellent science books, this one's for you. It is very well written, and, although it is technical in many aspects, it is a delight to read it. It is full of pictures, diagrams and graphs of almost any aspect you can imagine. Almost any subject that the book addresses is explained at length in a clear and understandable way. However, there are some parts of it where you need some background in biology and mathematics to understand the book. Both Holldobler and Wilson, who have a strong background in ant studies, have outdone themselves. In this book you can learn about virtually any aspects concerning ants, from their anatomy to their classification and more. And besides this, the book also teaches a lot of things not only related to ants but more general, like evolution and kin selection (applied not only to ants but also to eusocial insects). Learning so much about the ants makes you change your viewpoint about this little animal and makes you think about how incredible nature (or God) is to create such beautiful, incredible animals.
I was given this in 1992 for my birthday and spent a week reading it from cover to cover...and have returned to for pleasure ever since. Admittedly I was already fascinated by ants, but this is quite simply the best book I have ever seen about any group of animals. The authors write authoritatively and very readably about every aspect of ant evolution and behaviour, with humour and a clear passion for their subject; the illustrations are lavish and beautiful. Probably most readers will skip some of the more technical aspects, as this is also a work of reference with (beautifully illustrated) keys to all the major ant genera; but there are entire chapters on life-history, evolution, symbiosis and behaviour which are simply unrivalled in modern literature. From the awesome to the utterly bizarre, the ants are one of the pinnacles of animal evolution. This book is a labour of love, which does justice to the fantastic diversity of these insects, by authors who are the masters of their subject. A pleasure in every respect.
This breathtaking book... I am a literary scholar and dipped into the incredible coverage of the taxonomy, anatomy and esp. the behaviour of ants contained in this expansive book with relish. It's one of those books that is simply mesmerizing - nobody will blame you for that hanging jaw. My brother is a brilliant South African lepidopterist and ecologist- has co-published in "Taxon". He is now involved in a mermycology(?) study. He can not afford this book but to say that he needs it, an understatement. Is someone out there mad & beautiful enough to help him obtain a copy? Email me: email@example.com. I will put you in touch with him at his university.