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The Ants Hardcover – 1 Sep 1998

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 732 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 1st ed. 1990. 2nd printing 1998 edition (1 Sept. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3540520929
  • ISBN-13: 978-3540520924
  • Product Dimensions: 30.7 x 25.9 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,360,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"The Ants should be in every University and High School library." (TREE) "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)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 May 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is without doubt THE bible of myrmecology. It covers absolutely every aspect of ants. There is not much more about ants that the authors could have put in. If you want the definitive reference guide to ants then buy this book. Yes it is expensive but it is well worth it!!!! It is however aimed at academics so if you are not academically minded you may wish to purchase something else.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Traffic TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 13 Sept. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a must for any long term serious myrmecologist, both amateur (like myself) or professional alike.

I have the hardback version and the kindle version. I will review both separately here.

Hardback: a spectacular book with 732 large sized pages full of fascinating, detailed text, awesome photographs, graphs, tables, charts and more. The book is of vary good quality both in binding and pages. Written in 1990, and although there have been some advances in information about ants since it's publication, it is, nevertheless, the most comprehensive, authoritative and reliable book of it's kind on this fascinating subject. Many people, I hazard a guess, would not read it from cover to cover but just look up the information they are looking for via the contents page and/or index. However if you are a serious enthusiast I would suggest that you have a go at reading it cover to cover. The information it contains will amaze you.

Kindle version: this really does convert to the kindle extremely well, the only let down is the kindles monochrome display; you'll not appreciate the beautiful colour photos as much. Some of the data in the charts might be small but you can always increase the size of the text. The conversion is vary professional; no spelling mistakes or awful formatting. Using the kindle app for iPad I was able to read this book on my iPad 2 even better than with the kindle. Due to the huge size and weight of the physical book, this e-version is ideal when travelling.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Sept. 2001
Format: Hardcover
There are so many interesting facts and observations packed into this very large book that it is an excellent source of information for any person that is serious about studying ants. Many facts will amaze, such as the size of a leaf cutting ant nest underground, this is the world we don't see, and the authors have presented so much information that it makes the mind boggle.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 39 reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
"The Ants" is THE ant book 2 Oct. 1997
By Mark Fitzsimmons - Published on
Format: Hardcover
by Mark Fitzsimmons

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.
47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Excellent 5 Jan. 2002
By Dr. Lee D. Carlson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
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.
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Not for the amateur 15 Nov. 2002
By "sminthian1" - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Of course this is a great book. But it's also very big...and very technical. I know more about insects than the normal person and I was lost after the first couple pages. If you want a neat ant book read Journey to the Ants. It's more down to earth and easier to read and written by the same people. I wouldn't try to tackle this until you got a few entomology courses under your belt....
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding achievement 12 Jan. 2006
By Clark B. Timmins - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is truly remarkable. Written in the cool, precise, and accessible language of a traditional biological monograph, the text presents a comprehensive understanding of myrmecology. It is difficult to imagine a relevant topic which is not touched upon in the work.

The large-format book runs to 732 pages, is divided into 20 chapters, and includes a glossary and an extensive annotated bibliography. The text is fully indexed, and includes about one thousand illustrations, photographs, graphs, and charts, and includes 24 full-color plates.

The book is the definitive source of introductory scientific knowledge on ants, and also functions as an authoritative encyclopedic reference for all myrmecologists. The book has been extensively cited in biological and entomological literature, and is often used as the text for graduate-level seminars in biology.

Aside from its use as a research tool the book holds general interest for anybody interested in ants, insects, animals, or biology. Although a fair amount of the text is technical and of an advanced scientific nature, huge sections are fully accessible to anyone with a desire to learn more about natural history and the biological sciences. It makes an interesting cover-to-cover read and also makes a great book to skim through and focus on whatever catches your eye.

Highly recommended, very enjoyable, and a book that you will enjoy owning, reading, re-reading, and referring to for years to come.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Excelent book! 16 Jun. 2000
By Roberto Caballero - Published on
Format: Hardcover
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.
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