Cover image for The ants
The ants
Hölldobler, Bert, 1936-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1990.
Physical Description:
xii, 732 pages, 24 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 32 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Subject Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library QL568.F7 H57 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

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This landmark work, the distillation of a lifetime of research by the world's leading myrmecologists, is a thoroughgoing survey of one of the largest and most diverse groups of animals on the planet. H#65533;lldobler and Wilson review in exhaustive detail virtually all topics in the anatomy, physiology, social organization, ecology, and natural history of the ants. In large format, with almost a thousand line drawings, photographs, and paintings, it is one of the most visually rich and all-encompassing views of any group of organisms on earth. It will be welcomed both as an introduction to the subject and as an encyclopedia reference for researchers in entomology, ecology, and sociobiology.

Author Notes

He was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1929. He is currently Pellegrino University Research Professor & Honorary Curator in Entomology of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. He is on the Board of Directors of the Nature Conservancy, Conservation International & the American Museum of Natural History. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Holldobler and Wilson provide a comprehensive synthesis of ant biology ranging from anatomy, physiology, and ecology to the role of pheromones in influencing behavior and the social structure of the colony. A taxonomic key allows identification of ants worldwide. Specific chapters focus on natural history, social organization, modes of communication, foraging strategies, and symbiotic relationships. Other sections examine the biology of army ants, leaf-cutting fungus growers, harvesting ants, and weaver ants. This large-format book is abundantly illustrated with black-and-white photographs, line drawings, graphs, and tables. An exquisite addition to the book is a series of full-page color plates. A 64-page bibliography and an extensive glossary enhance the book's utility as a reference. The Ants, destined to be a classic treatise, continues E.O. Wilson's outstanding series of books that includes The Insect Societies (CH, May'72) and Sociobiology (CH, Nov.75). Will appeal to both the general reader and the researcher. Every public and academic library should have a copy. -R. E. Lee Jr., Miami University (OH)

Table of Contents

Classification and origins
The colony life cycle
Altruism and the origin of the worker caste
Colony odor and kin recognition
Queen numbers and domination
Caste and division of labor
Social homeostasis and flexibility
Foraging and territorial strategies
The organization of species communities
Symbioses among ant species
Symbioses with other animals
Interaction with plants
The specialized predators
The army ants
The fungus growers
The harvesters
The weaver ants
Collecting and culturing ants

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