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Adventures Among Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions Hardcover – May 5, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
But I have to say, it's Mark's easy, thoughtful, and incredibly engaging writing style that makes this a wonderful book. I've already bought two copies, one for me and one for our local nature center. And then there's my older brother, my nephews, my.....
The story is Moffett's search to uncover the logic behind the unbelievably complex actions of ant societies. Starting out as a student entomologist with dreams of exploring the wild like Jane Goodall, he gains entry first into the inner sanctum of EO Wilson's world - one of the greatest scientists alive - and then, with his field research and images to record proof for his research, he gets the attention of one of the greatest science editors alive, Mary G. Smith of National Geographic. For all those who hope to make a living pursuing what they love, this kind of ready access is as astonishing as it is frustrating. That being said, Moffett had the talent to deserve it.
On the scientific side, he provides a portrait of the parameters of ant behavior. With communication via pheromone trails and their physical abilities, ants have a certain range within which they can operate - restricted yet incredibly varied. Moffett investigates their hunting strategies and diets, their habitats, their degrees of physical variation (a function of specialization that limits flexibility yet adds efficiency), and patterns of behavior. What emerges is a kind of collective mind, governed by tiny decisions, such that the actions of each ant colony appears to resemble those of a super-organism rather than a collection of individuals.Read more ›
With this book I believe that Mark Moffett will emerge as a superstar among naturalists. In addition to being a world class photographer whose photographs of ants are unique in their clarity and expressiveness, he is an intrepid traveler and explorer who has visited every continent except Antarctica looking for ants. (He'd probably go there too if there were any ants!) He has bivouacked on numerous islands as well, including Malaysia and Easter Island where he found that the island has become overrun with Argentine ants, the little black ants that live in our lawns and kitchens. But more than anything Moffett is a first class biologist who specializes in myrmecology and loves it.
Consequently this book is a tour de force, the result of many years of study, exploration and just plain hard work in difficult circumstances in jungles and other terrain the world over. The energy of that work comes gushing out of the pages in a torrent with enough force to make the reader enter not only the world of the ant but the world of the scientist who studies the ant and to realize the incredible labor that went into its production.Read more ›
Flat out, this is the most fascinating non-fiction title I've read this year. Ants are seldom seen as fascinating, more like a nuisance! However, this book makes me almost wish for an ant invasion, just to try and observe some of the details the Moffett describes in his worldwide studies on ants.
The text contains lots of surprises as it covers various species of ants, and I can't scratch the surface of all the funny and also disquieting details about these creatures. He first discusses marauder ants, who can be classified in three sizes: the largest is 50 times larger than the smallest, and often serves as a `bus' to carry smaller ants to new locations. Most ants are female, they can live upwards of two years, and their behavior as workers for the colony is altruistic. The worker ants do not reproduce, and thus do not compete for food. In fact, he describes the male ants (that resemble wasps) as `socially useless', and confined to being sperm donors.
Their travel in columns is well-known, but how they find food and relay the information to the workers is unique. They emit a "recruitment" pheromone that immediately tells ants in the vicinity that food is near, and within seconds a full swarm goes into attack mode, retrieving the food and taking it back for storage. But what is more fascinating is the Pharoah ant that also has a "don't bother" pheromone that it emits when the food is gone, so that no ants waste their time.
The paths that ants use are actually ant roads, they reuse them as needed, rather than just randomly traveling over earth (as it would appear).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Most people laugh when I tell them ants are fascinating and much like humans in their society. Everyone should read this book because very few people know about this incredible... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
One of the most interesting and well written books I have read and... I am not a scientist! Even if you don't care anything about ants, you will come out with a whole new interest... Read morePublished 9 months ago by EBC
Good book, cool pictures, great explanation of immortal south american ants.Published 14 months ago by yup
I have read several books on ants, with Moffett's edition being the latest. Several reviewers have commented on the amount of autobiographical content in Moffett's book compared to... Read morePublished 24 months ago by Brett A. Fishwild
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The author is entertaining and yet he does not over simplify his descriptions. I recommend this book without reservation.Published on May 15, 2014 by David P. Cooper
This book has so much you can learn from and if you are interested in ants and knowing more about them, this is the book for you.Published on February 10, 2014 by Milos Stevanovic