The Leafcutter Ants Civilization by Instinct

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Edition: 00
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2010-11-15
Publisher(s): W. W. Norton & Company
List Price: $21.28

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Customer Reviews

Excellent overview  March 27, 2011
Rating StarRating StarRating StarRating StarRating Star

This little book is a very readable overview of leafcutter ant natural history and biology. It contains fascinating information that will interest the layman as well as the professional entomologist. The photos and drawings alone provide a great deal of insight into the organization and behavior of these wonderful insects.

The Leafcutter Ants Civilization by Instinct: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.


The Leafcutter Ants is the most detailed and authoritative description of any ant species ever produced. With a text suitable for both a lay and a scientific audience, this textbook provides an unforgettable tour of Earth's most evolved animal societies. Each colony of leafcutters contains as many as five million workers, all the daughters of a single queen that can live over a decade. A gigantic nest can stretch thirty feet across, rise five feet or more above the ground, and consist of hundreds of chambers that reach twenty-five feet below the ground surface. Indeed, the leafcutters have parlayed their instinctive civilization into a virtual domination of forest, grassland, and cropland-from Louisiana to Patagonia. Inspired by a section of the authors' acclaimed The Superorganism , this brilliantly illustrated work provides the ultimate explanation of what a social order with a half-billion years of animal evolution has achieved.

About the Author

Bert Hölldobler (born 25 June 1936) is a German behavioral biologist and Sociobiologist whose primary study subjects are social insects and in particular ants. He is a co-winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his work on The Ants (1991) with Edward O. Wilson. In 1990, he received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, which is the highest honor awarded in German research. He also collaborated with Wilson to write Journey to the Ants (1994). In 2008 he and Wilson co-authored their third book about superorganisms. He holds positions at the University of Würzburg and Arizona State University where he is a Foundation Professor in the School of Life Sciences.

Author Biography

Bert Hlldobler is foundation professor at Arizona state university and the recipient of numerous awards, including the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize and the Pulitzer. He lives in Arizona and Germany. Edward O. Wilson, a Harvard university professor for nearly five decades, is the author of more than twenty books and the recipient of two Pulitzer prizes and the national medal of science. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

List of illustrationsp. ix
Prologuep. 1
The Ultimate Superorganismsp. 5
The Attine Breakthroughp. 11
The Ascent of the Leafcuttersp. 31
Life Cycle of the Leafcutter Antsp. 33
The Atta Caste Systemp. 51
Harvesting Vegetationp. 59
Communication in Attap. 77
The Ant-Fungus Mutualismp. 89
Hygiene in the Symbiosisp. 95
Waste Managementp. 107
Agropredators and Agroparasitesp. 111
Lcafcutcer Nestsp. 115
Trails and Trunk Routesp. 123
Acknowledgmentsp. 129
Glossaryp. 131
Referencesp. 139
Indexp. 155
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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