Killer Ants

Overview

Extraordinary facts abound in this mesmerizing picture book about the fearsome appearances, habitats, and hunting skills of killer ants.

Deep in a tropical forest, a million soldiers are on the march. Their huge hooked jaws are wide-open—they are ready to do battle. Meet the flesh-eating killer ants, who bite their victims and tear them to pieces to carry to their nests for food. These ferocious ants are found all over the world—species ...

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Overview

Extraordinary facts abound in this mesmerizing picture book about the fearsome appearances, habitats, and hunting skills of killer ants.

Deep in a tropical forest, a million soldiers are on the march. Their huge hooked jaws are wide-open—they are ready to do battle. Meet the flesh-eating killer ants, who bite their victims and tear them to pieces to carry to their nests for food. These ferocious ants are found all over the world—species include army ants in Central and South America, red fire ants in the southern United States, and bulldog ants in Australia.

Nicholas Nirgiotis' scholarly text and Emma Stevenson's breathtaking paintings reveal the creepy beauty and intricate details of these deadly, pint-sized predators of the natural world.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
Different species of ants are found in many parts of the world. This book features some of the flesh-eating killer ants like the army ants, driver ants, fire ants, and bulldog ants. These ants have large mandibles and stingers used for survival and protection. The book starts with a short vignette as army ants start to invade a camp in a tropical forest. There is brief information about non-killer ants before introducing the featured killer ants. The physical features, characteristics, and life cycle of the ants are described and there are detailed illustrations of the ants. There are headings that mark the start of each killer ant section in the book; however, there is no table of contents to direct the reader to different sections in the book. Perhaps the index at the back of the book may help the student or young, future myrmecologist who is doing some research on killer ants. The information about the way these particular ants live and survive is fascinating, and for some readers, it may seem gruesome. The subheadings provide more specific information about the ants. Many of the illustrations have italicized captions that provide more details, such as information about the body parts or how the fire ants attack. Fascinating information awaits students interested in killer ants. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—This colorful introduction examines four types of unusually aggressive, predatory ants. After a spread covering the insects in general, separate sections of varying lengths briefly describe the outstanding physical characteristics of army, driver, fire, and bulldog ants; their habitats; nests; behavior (particularly their methods of attack); diet and feeding habits; and the danger they pose to humans. A few dramatic encounters are related. The army ant section also describes life cycle; the functions the queen, males, and workers perform within the colony; communication; and a typical "raid." Realistic, vivid color drawings of these creatures accompany the text on every page; a few illustrations are larger. While the majority of this sensationalistic work is clearly written, there is a confusing discrepancy regarding army-ant diet. One sentence states that the ants "…eat only invertebrates…" and merely sting vertebrates, but another, on the same page, declares that "Any creature in their path has to run for its life." Also, the book opens with an account of hunters thwarting an army-ant attack on caged animals by setting a fire. It is unclear if this was an actual incident. Sandra Markle's Army Ants (Lerner, 2005) gives a clearer description of the ants' behavior and is a better choice for reports. It affirms that they will prey on any animal, points out their role as scavengers, offers more detail on a typical raid, and is illustrated with sharp, close-up photographs. Nirgiotis's title is good for browsing.—Karey Wehner, formerly at San Francisco Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Nirgiotis brings to life the eerie world of killer ants. Amid discussions of body parts, prey, habitat, growth and development and, of course, the gruesome nature of swarms of flesh-eating ants, fascinating facts abound. Australian bulldog ants can jump, and their jaws have been used by surgeons to close wounds. In the Amazon rain forest, some groups test young boys' bravery by leaving them in a room full of army ants. African driver ants can exterminate the pests in all of a village's houses. Fire ants in the southern United States arrived by mistake aboard a shipment of lumber, and with no natural enemies, they seem to be here to stay. Complementing the text are Stevenson's gouache illustrations, which portray the ants in the full range of their activities. Minute details in the larger-than-life drawings allow readers to compare and contrast the different ant species presented. An index gives the text added value as a reference source. A solid look at some species that are simultaneously fascinating and horrifying. (Nonfiction. 6-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823420346
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 8 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 940L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.30 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Nicholas Nirgiotis has never been attacked by killer ants and hopes he never will be. But just to stay on the safe side, he keeps up with the ant world by researching them and traveling to places where they live. This is his first book for Holiday House. A Chicago native, he now lives in Florida.

Emma Stevenson is a graduate of University College Falmouth in Cornwall, England. Of her debut illustrations in Marilyn Singer's Eggs, The Horn Book exclaimed, "Stevenson's beautiful field guide-like illustrations capture every nuance and detail." She lives in England.

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