Did you know that some ants cultivate fungi gardens? Or raise aphids as working livestock? Or make vaccines to avoid disease? Or that scientists estimate that there are ten quadrillion ants in the world, or one million ants for every human alive today? This book on the workers, soldiers, and enslavers of the insect world reveals all these secrets and more.
Fascinating yet commonplace animals, ants have astonishing similarities to humans. They have developed forms of communication, social organization, and division of labor. They establish gardens, keep stores, move from one abode to another, wage wars, and turn other ants into slaves, who in turn attempt to rebel. They even create defenses against the pathogens that threaten them.
Like bees, ants form astoundingly complex societies, and they have an astonishingly long history: In fact, ants existed at the same time as the dinosaurs. The lengthy tale of their evolution gives a sense of scale to humans’ own empire-building and destroying.
Evolutionary biologist Susanne Foitzik, a world authority on ants, and biophysicist Olaf Fritsche tell us everything we need to know about ants, offering deep insights into their social lives and explaining their evolution. This richly illustrated book also offers insight into scientists and their work. How do researchers study the behavior of animals that are just a few millimeters in size? And what happens when you want to take an anthill you have just excavated in Arizona through customs? Readers of this book will never see ants the same way again.