Adventures among Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions [NOOK Book]

Overview

Intrepid international explorer, biologist, and photographer Mark W. Moffett, "the Indiana Jones of entomology," takes us around the globe on a strange and colorful journey in search of the hidden world of ants. In tales from Nigeria, Indonesia, the Amazon, Australia, California, and elsewhere, Moffett recounts his entomological exploits and provides fascinating details on how ants live and how they dominate their ecosystems through strikingly human behaviors, yet at a different scale and a faster tempo. ...
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Adventures among Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions

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Overview

Intrepid international explorer, biologist, and photographer Mark W. Moffett, "the Indiana Jones of entomology," takes us around the globe on a strange and colorful journey in search of the hidden world of ants. In tales from Nigeria, Indonesia, the Amazon, Australia, California, and elsewhere, Moffett recounts his entomological exploits and provides fascinating details on how ants live and how they dominate their ecosystems through strikingly human behaviors, yet at a different scale and a faster tempo. Moffett’s spectacular close-up photographs shrink us down to size, so that we can observe ants in familiar roles; warriors, builders, big-game hunters, and slave owners. We find them creating marketplaces and assembly lines and dealing with issues we think of as uniquely human—including hygiene, recycling, and warfare. Adventures among Ants introduces some of the world’s most awe-inspiring species and offers a startling new perspective on the limits of our own perception.

• Ants are world-class road builders, handling traffic problems on thoroughfares that dwarf our highway systems in their complexity

• Ants with the largest societies often deploy complicated military tactics

• Some ants have evolved from hunter-gatherers into farmers, domesticating other insects and growing crops for food
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Editorial Reviews

Richard B. Woodward
Mr. Moffett…writes with an entertainer's instinct for hooking a restless audience…Along with honoring the interdependence of life forms and offering provocative thoughts on the meaning of individuality within a rigid but highly intelligent mass-minded hierarchy, the author heightens awareness of the mundane, deadly struggles for survival that go on every day beneath our feet.
—The New York Times
New York Times

“Packed with graphic enthusiasm...[and] provocative thoughts. . . . [Moffett] writes with an entertainer’s instinct for hooking a restless audience.”
The Colbert Report

"[Adventures among Ants] is hefty, yet aerodynamic. It’s really good for killing ants."
New York Review Of Books - Margaret Atwood

“Take a look at daring eco-adventurer Mark Moffett's spectacular new ant book.” - Margaret Atwood
Bioscience - Philip Newey

“Adventures Among Ants may reach a broader audience than other recent publications and therefore stimulate interest in ants among a new generation.”
Los Angeles Times

“Serfdom, war and dying for the tribe: It reads like a page out of a Russian novel. In fact, we're talking about ant life.”
National Wildlife

“The book itself is a fine specimen . . . [Moffett’s] expertise with the camera must match his expertise on ant biology.”
Nature

“Moffett's ants are always sleek, polished and doing something spectacular.”
Nature - Deborah M. Gordon

“Adventure Among Ants offers exotic tales of places you will probably never go, and glimpses of beautiful ants performing marvelous feats.”
Washington Post

“Many fascinating anecdotes.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520945418
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 5/5/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 769,555
  • File size: 13 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Mark W. Moffett, Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution, is the author of The High Frontier: Exploring the Tropical Rainforest Canopy and Face to Face with Frogs. Moffett has received the Explorers Club’s Lowell Thomas Award, the Distinguished Explorer Award from the Roy Chapman Andrews Society, Yale University’s Poynter Fellowship for Journalism, Harvard’s Bowdoin Prize for writing, and many international photography awards.
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Table of Contents

Introduction Travels with My Ants 1

A Brief Primer on Ants 7

Marauder Ant, the Ultimate Omnivore

1 Strength in Numbers 12

2 The Perfect Swarm 23

3 Division of Labor 36

4 Infrastructure 51

5 Group Transport 62

African Army Ant, Raiders on the Swarm

6 Big Game Hunters 72

7 Clash of the Titans 85

8 Notes from Underground 95

Weaver Ant, Empress of the Air

9 Canopy Empires 110

10 Fortified Forests 120

11 Negotiating the Physical World 133

Amazon Ant, the Slavemaker

12 Slaves of Sagehen Creek 148

13 Abduction in the Afternoon 157

Leafcutter Ant, the Constant Gardener

14 A Fungus Farmer's Life 170

15 The Origins of Agriculture 187

Argentine Ant, the Global Invader

16 Armies of the Earth 202

17 The Immortal Society 213

Conclusion: Four Ways of Looking at an Ant 221

Acknowledgments and a Note on Content 232

Notes 234

Index 265

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Unveiling the Highly Organized Civilization of Ants

    Mark Moffett is as much a wonder as is his topic of this particular book ADVENTURES AMONG ANTS: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions. Not only is he an intrepid biologist/entomologist, an explorer who knows no fear, and a true Naturalist (comfortably in the company of Muir, Audubon, Thoreau, and Darwin!), but he is also a writer of great skill and a photographer par excellence.

    In this endlessly fascinating a thorough book Moffett invites us to join him on a global journey that spans from California to Nigeria, from the Amazon to Australia, from Indonesia to India, Borneo, Botswana, and Madagascar, and as his pupils we not only learn a lot about these destinations (and many others), but his guiding core is studying the ant. One could very easily be satisfied with simply surveying the many full color photographs of ants at work and learn from those. But that is not Moffett's purpose. Writing with a sense of awe and amazement that is contagious, he explores the highly organized civilizations that ants create. Here are chapters that read like small novels explaining weaver ants and the complex manner in which they create canopy empires, the 'sisterhood' concept of colonies, the divisions of labor in these highly integrated cultures of ants, and the manner in which ants take slaves, fight invaders, stage wars and invade distant lands.

    The similarities between ant civilizations and human civilizations are presented in a matter of fact, untainted manner - a factor that makes Moffett's wring inviting instead of accusatory. Yes, there is much to learn from his close scrutiny of ant colonies and behavior, but in other writers' (and thinkers') hands the result would not have the immediate impact of sharing secrets of the world we cannot readily see. Moffett provides enormous binoculars through which we can get a closer at the aspects of our planet we know and understand so little. A brilliant book, this.

    Grady Harp

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    Awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I love this book even though I never read it before

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    have only read the first chapter and love it

    all his journeys and research make you fall in love with this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 21, 2011

    Needs editing

    The author spends way too much time on how uncomfortable he was as he traveled the world looking at ants. One assumes that crawling around a rain forest is not very pleasant. I didn't need to be reminded about it every few pages.

    He also has a condescending attitude about the locals, at one point describing his guide as "my kinky haired guide Asab".

    This book could stand some serious editing.

    I'm glad I borrowed this one from a library, and didn't waste my money on it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2010

    Tedious

    I had read some excerpts in a previous book regarding ants and wanted to explore the subject further. This book had been rated very highly so I purchased it. The first seventy pages reads like a thesis paper and the author gets "in the weeds" with regard to ant behavior. It is not so much of an "adventure" as it is an exercise in staying awake. If you are looking for a reference for your college entomology paper...enjoy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Flawless, gorgeous, stunning

    A Global Safari with a cast of Trillions








    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). Some ants have coordinated group attacks that allow them to overcome much larger prey simply by virtue of their large numbers rather than a stinger Army ants are useful in some ways because they clear out vermin, such as roaches and mice, from the vicinity. Driver ants can overtake a monkey corpse and reduce it to bone in just a few days. More interesting is that driver ants can play dead, for sufficiently long periods of time to allow them to escape.





    Weaver ants were possibly the most fascinating to me, as they literally sew leaves together (see photo at right). The ants grab a leaf as a team, and another ant picks up a larva (basically a baby ant) that exudes silk and uses the silk as thread to create nests that can last for years. Argentine ants are battling a dangerous war in Southern California, as the colonies actually raise and "herd" aphids. Aphids in oversized numbers then attack local plants. This leads to the death of important indigenous plants that serve to provide pollen to the region, and upwards through the food chain different species are affected by the invasive species.


    The writing style is witty and fast-paced. The author's enthusiasm is contagious, and the details never get too cumbersome or so overly scientific that you end up bored. Great photographs that enlarge the ants to a bigger size make the details that much more fascinating.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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