So, what kind of presents do you get for someone who is Wild About Ants?
How about a “Caution Workers Ahead” sign for their office?
Everyone likes a t-shirt.
Even better, why not one that says “Eusocial” on the front…
and “Anti-Social” on the back.
These gifts were from Wild Cotton by Atlas Screen Printing, 131 S.E. 10th Ave., Gainesville, FL 32601. Full disclosure: my husband is a friend of the owner.
For the bookshelf, try Ants of Florida: Identification and Natural History* by Mark Deyrup.
(*Amazon Affiliate link)
It’s a bit pricey, but a useful resource.
Florida seems to be the place for ant-themed stuff this year.
Have you received any ant-themed gifts this year?
Today let’s take a look at Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle by Douglas J. Emlen and illustrated by David J. Tuss
As I clicked on the category “ant books” for this post I realized that is a bit of a stretch. Ants are mentioned on a few pages, but the author doesn’t talk about much more than worker ants with big jaws. He actually does most of his research on beetles. That said, he does cover the weapons of the entire animal kingdom. His editors even convinced him to tackle human weapons, although he admits being reluctant to do so.
You can see what the author has to say about his book in this video from American Scientist.
Emlen’s writing is clear and engaging. He has been able to make some conclusions based on patterns he has seen in the natural world. His observations about cheaters in the world of battle are particularly chilling.
Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle has elements that are likely to appeal to both those interested in natural history and those interested in weaponry and battle. Definitely recommended.
If you have time, you might want to watch the SciShow Talk Show: Animal Weapons with Doug Emlen & A Southern Three-Banded Armadillo,
plus SciShow Talk Show: More about Animal Weapons with Doug Emlen & Professor Claw the Emperor Scorpion.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it?
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Picador; Reprint edition (December 1, 2015)
Disclosures: This book is my personal copy. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.
Guess what came in the mail this week – my copy of A Field Guide to the Ants of New England by Aaron M. Ellison, Nicholas J. Gotelli Ph.D., Elizabeth J. Farnsworth, and Gary D. Alpert Ph.D.
Pardon while I gush about this book. If you are interested in ants, this book is a must have, pretty much no matter where you reside. People from outside of New England are likely to find at least a few ants in the book that also occur in their area. In the endpapers are drawings of the ant body parts that are univerally used to identify ants. The book also covers general information about collecting and has a chapter on ” Ant Basics: Evolution, Ecology and Behavior.”
In addition to drawings and photographs of the ants themselves, the authors have included maps and photographs of the habitat where the ants are found. These are also helpful for narrowing down possibilities for identification.
I was pleased to see that the authors have come up with common names for every species of ant they list. Let’s face it, although common names can add confusion when there are multiple animals called the same common name, or when an organism has a dozen common names, it is much easier to converse with the interested layperson or children if you have a common name to use. Most of the common names in the guide are based on the scientific name. That said, a couple of the names are a bit of a stretch. “The Somewhat Hairy Fuzzy Ant” does not just roll off the tongue.
Speaking of names, I learned a new word looking through the extensive bibliography – “fewmet.” I will be looking up the reference, but will continue to use the entomologist’s standby, “frass,” instead.
A Field Guide to the Ants of New England is dedicated “To everyone who wants to learn more about the ants who share our planet.” I think the authors have met their goal.
Have you gotten your copy yet? What do you think?
Found any good ant books lately?
Coming out in November (2012) is a new ant book from Yale University Press: A Field Guide to the Ants of New England by Aaron M. Ellison, Nicholas J. Gotelli Ph.D., Elizabeth J. Farnsworth, and Gary D. Alpert Ph.D.
The first author, Aaron M. Ellison, is senior research fellow in ecology at Harvard University’s Harvard Forest and also an adjunct research professor of biology and environmental conservation at the University of Massachusetts.
Ellison talks about the “warm ants” project in this video. He also briefly discusses the importance of ants.
If you’d like to learn more, Yale Press has a summary of the book and Harvard Forest has an information page.
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Yale University Press (November 1, 2012)
Coming out in paperback this month is Rick P Overson’s May 2011 Arizona State University thesis, Causes and Consequences of Queen-Number Variation in the California Harvester Ant Pogonomyrmex californicus.
Paperback: 118 pages
Publisher: ProQuest, UMI Dissertation Publishing (July 17, 2012)
(Note: if you would like a free .pdf copy, google the title for a link).
Wild Bees, Wasps and Ants and Other Stinging Insects by Edward Saunders is an older book that is now available for free on Kindle. It is also available in a variety of formats at Gutenberg.
Do you know of any new ant books coming out or have you found any good older books? I’d love to hear about them.