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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
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.
"Mark Moffett has been described as 'the Jane Goodall of ants.' Certainly Adventures among Ants, with its detailed account of his fieldwork, makes an invaluable contribution to our scientific knowledge of these creatures. But it does more. It is so well written and captures his excitement so wonderfully that it will bring this wealth of information to a far wider audience. I was fascinated by ants when I was a child—how I wish this book had been available to me then!"—Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute, and UN Messenger of Peace
"Mark Moffett is in the front rank of present-day explorer naturalists. He has been in many of the most remote parts of the world, and has thorough scientific knowledge of his subject. His photographs are superb, the best ever taken."—Edward O. Wilson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Future of Life and The Ants
"I love the book. Mark's excitement and joy will affect anyone willing to take a dive into a bizarre world. I will never intentionally step on another ant—perhaps out of a new love, respect or fear. The book truly grows on you rather then swarming up your leg."—Kary Mullis, Author of Dancing Naked in the Mind Field and Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
"Mark Moffett's alluring stories show the extraordinary behavior of a world still on the edge of discovery. From swarm raiders to empire builders, Adventures among Ants combines brilliant portraits of six species with thought-provoking lessons about the nature of social evolution."—Richard Wrangham, Author of Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human
"Think you know all about ants? Think again, and take it from Mark W. Moffett, who has traveled all over the world to study them. The world of ants seems to be a parallel universe to our own. It's rife with warfare, terrorism, traffic jams and highway infrastructure. There is freedom and servitude, disease and hygiene, tool use and teamwork. A stimulating read, with stunning photography."—Bernd Heinrich, author of The Mind of the Raven
"Mark Moffett is second to none as a naturalist storyteller. His big book of ant adventures is resplendent in detail, information, and theory, with that inimitable personal touch."—Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, columnist for Scientific American
"This book will return you to the magic you knew as a child, when you watched a tiny parade of creatures and understood: Here, too, is life. Here you will find a parallel universe of mysterious, alien creatures silently emerging from and returning to their dark and magical queendoms."—Dale Peterson, author of Elephant Reflections
"Mark Moffett's Adventures among Ants is a complete celebration of the fascinations of ants that is accessible to the general reader. Happily the book has much to offer professional biologists too. Here academics can acquire novel perspectives on issues associated with ant social biology, ranging from the foraging tactics of army ants to the evolution of the extraordinary invasive ant species now conquering the Northern Hemisphere to the utility of the term 'superorganism.' Admire the photographs but do not neglect the text."—John Alcock, author of Animal Behavior
2010 PROSE Award in Popular Science & Popular Mathematics, Association of American Publishers, Inc.
Outstanding Academic Title in Zoology, Choice, a publication of the American Library Association
Winner of the Nature and the Environment Category, National Outdoor Book Awards
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