Books About Ants and Myrmecology


What books are available about ants and myrmecology?

The list below is of those books about ants and myrmecology that I own.  The following reviews of these books are my own opinions.  They are listed in order of publication (most recent first), with the exception of the first two books on the list (The Ants & Ants), which are my two favourite books about ants and myrmecology.

If you have any questions about the books listed below which. Have not been answered within the text of the reviews, then please feel free to contact me, and I will endeavour to answer your questions as best I can.

Here I will try to answer these questions, and others, to give you a good chance of successfully raising an ant colony of your own. The information I provide here will assume you are completely new to ant keeping.

Books about Ants - Ant Bible
The Ants (Hölldobler & Wilson, 1990)

The Ants
Author(s):  Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson
Publisher:  Springer-Verlag
Year of publication:  1990
Pages:  732
Links of retailer: Amazon (Europe) / Amazon (USA)
 
This is the “bible” of myrmecology (the study of ants).  Co-authored by two of the best-known myrmecologists in the world, it deals with almost everything there is to want to know about ants, whether you’re an amateur enthusiast, or a professional myrmecologist/entomologist.  The detail within this book is phenomenal, consisting of reams of information, charts, tables, and many stunning photographs. It contains information, which is easily understand by the lay reader, but also has more scientific data for those so interested. It’s a very large and heavy book, though is also available on Kindle.  I have both the hardback and Kindle versions and can say with confidence that they are very much worth the high price. Reading the Kindle version on my iPad Kindle app is easy and displays very well indeed.

Books about Ants - Ants
Ants (Brian, 1978)

Ants
Author(s):  Dr M. V. Brian
Publisher:  Collins
Year of publication:  1978
Pages:  223
Links of retailer: Amazon (Europe) / Amazon (USA)
 
My favourite book on ants which I treasure even above Hölldobler and Wilson’s epic book Ants.  It is a delightful book which gives a lot of detail about the ants found in Great Britain, including my favourite species, Lasius niger. It is very easy to read yet packed with so much information.  If you are especially interested I species of ant found in the British Isles, then I cannot recommend a book more than this one.  Though the physical edition of the book is now out of print, though you can find it online, I was not aware until writing this review that this book is now available in Kindle format.  Get it. Now.
 

Books about Ants - ABE
Ants of Britain and Europe (Lebas, Galkowski, Blatrix and Wegnes, 2016/2019)

Ants of Britain and Europe
Author(s):  Lebas, Galkowski, Blatrix and Wegnes
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Year of publication:  2016 (2019)
Pages:  415
Links of retailer: Amazon (Europe) / Amazon (USA)

A favourite book of mine, and my most recent purchase. If you want to know what species of ant are found in Britain and Europe, a key to identifying them, and information on where to find them, as well as general information about each group of species, then this is the book for you. Originally published in French in 2016, and translated into English in 2019, it has lots of fascinating information and plenty of colourful photographs to help you ID many species.

Books about Ants
Adventures Among Ants (Moffet, 2012)

Adventures Among Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions
Author(s):  Mark W. Moffat
Publisher:  University of California Press
Year of publication:  2012
Pages:  288
Links of retailer: Amazon (Europe) / Amazon (USA)

A book that gives lots of easy to read and interesting information about ants, particularly some of the more well-known species.  This includes sections on army ants, weaver ants, leafcutter ants, and the marauder ant.  Some very nice photographs accompany the text. 

Books About Ants - Leafcutter
The Leafcutter Ants (Hölldobler & Wilson, 2010)

The Leafcutter Ants: Civilization by Instinct
Author(s):  Bert Hölldobler & Edward O. Wilson
Publisher:  W. W. Norton & Company
Year of publication:  2010
Pages:  192
Links of retailer: Amazon (Europe) / Amazon (USA)
 
This book is authored by Bert Hölldobler & Edward O. Wilson. Need I say more?  Need you any other reason to purchase it?  From the ruling kings of myrmecologists, The Leafcutter Ants: Civilization by Instinct is truly a fascinating read. Everything you could want to know about leafcutter ants is dealt with in this book with plenty of information, diagrams and colour photographs. A remarkable book indeed.

Books about Ants - Lives
The Lives of Ants (Keller & Gordon, 2009)

The Lives of Ants
Author(s):  Laurent Keller & Élisabeth Gordon
Publisher:  Oxford University Press
Year of publication:  2009
Pages:  252
Links of retailer: Amazon (Europe) / Amazon (USA)
 
I love this book as it is such an easy read yet contains a plethora of fascinating information.  Subjects discussed range from the ecological success of ants to the social life of ants; from advantageous liaisons between ants and other creatures to sociogenetics.  I recommend this whether you have very little knowledge about ants, or an experienced ant enthusiast.

Books about Ants - Carpenter
Carpenter Ants of the United States and Canada (Hansen & Klotz, 2005)

Carpenter Ants of the United States and Canada
Author(s):  Laurel D. Hansen and John H. Klotz
Publisher:  Comstock/Cornell
Year of publication:  2005
Pages:  204
Links of retailer: Amazon (Europe) / Amazon (USA)
 
Another well-presented book which details those species called Camponotus, or Carpenter ants.  It deals with subjects such as ecology, morphology, taxonomy, life history, foraging, and economic importance and management.  It also contains many drawings, maps, charts and monochrome photographs. A very interesting read.  Lots of information at an easy to read level.

Books about Ants - Sleigh
Ants (Sleigh, 2003)

Ant
Author(s):  Charlotte Sleigh
Publisher:  Reaktion Books
Year of publication:  2003
Pages:  216
Links of retailer: Amazon (Europe) / Amazon (USA)
 
This is a rather fascinating and unique book which not only discusses information about ants and their lives, but it also touches on ants in mythology, children’s books, morals and even technology. It’s a small book yet packed with very interesting information.
 

Ants - Biodiversity
Ants: Standards for Measuring and Monitoring Biodiversity (Various, 2000)

Ants: Standard Methods for Measuring and Monitoring Biodiversity
Author(s):  Various (forward by Edward O. Wilson)
Publisher:  Smithsonian Institute
Year of publication:  2000
Pages:  280
Links of retailer: Amazon (Europe) / Amazon (USA)
 
As the name suggests this book provides a lot of useful information on the techniques used to study ants and their diversity.  It contains a wealth of information in text, data and chart form, and provides a lot of advice on how to study ants, and what to do with that information.  Clearly and well presented.

Books about Ants - Fire
Fire Ants (Taber, 2000)
Fire Ants
Author(s):  Stephen Welton Taber
Publisher:  Texas A&M
Year of publication:  2000
Pages:  308
Links of retailer: Amazon (Europe) / Amazon (USA)
 
Information aplenty on these in famous and notorious ants.  Discussed is how these invasive ants came to the USA, including the black and red imported varieties. Also detailed are the native species of fire ant, the evolution, symbionts, and even medical importance and pest control. There are also guides on identifying fire ants, how to keep them for study, and details of the different species found throughout the world.

Books about Ants
Ants at Work (Gordon, 1999)

Ants at Work: How an Insect Society is Organised
Author(s):  Deborah Gordon
Publisher:  Free Press
Year of publication:  1999
Pages:  182
Links of retailer: Amazon (Europe) / Amazon (USA)
 
I was gifted this book by a medical officer I served with whilst in the Navy, and it is an engrossing read.  It chronicles the work of Deborah Gordon as she studies and documents the behaviour of Harvester ants, over a 17-year period, with the aim of linking levels of organisation. Deborah studies these ants in an area between the Chiricahua and Peloncillo mountains on the state line of Arizona and New Mexico. It really is a fascinating book as she details her studies of individual colonies, from their birth to their natural demise.

Books about Ants - Aussie
Australian Ants: Their Biology and Identification (Shattuck, 1999)

Australian Ants: Their Biology and Identification
Author(s):  S. O. Shattuck
Publisher:  Csiro
Year of publication:  1999
Pages:  226
Links of retailer: Amazon (Europe) / Amazon (USA)
 
This is the one and only book that I own about Australian Ants, which I believe is not out of print, though available on Kindle. It lists every species of ant found in Australia (at time of print) and provides plenty of information about each subfamily without being too heavy on the text. It shows where the subfamilies can be found on a map of Australia and contains some very nice photographs too.

Books about Ants - Advances
Advances in Myrmecology (Various, 1998)

Advances in Myrmecology
Author(s):  Various (edited by James C. Trager, Ph.D.)
Publisher:  E. J. Brill
Year of publication:  1998
Pages:  551
Links of retailer: Amazon (Europe) / Amazon (USA)
 
This book is not so much one that a casual reader wanting to learn basic information about ants.  It concentrates, as its title suggests, on advances in the field of myrmecology and is aimed more at the scientific community.  It assumes the reader has a good knowledge of ant taxonomy and other relevant information.  It’s not a book I have read from cover to cover but is one I dip into every now and then.  However, it is still a fascinating book to read, but, due to its limited availability, it can be pricey to purchase (approx. £185/$246).

Books about Ants
The World of Harvester Ants (Taber, 1998)

The World of Harvester Ants
Author(s):  Stephen Welton Taber
Publisher:  Texas A&M
Year of publication:  1998
Pages:  213
Links of retailer: Amazon (Europe) / Amazon (USA)
 
One of two books I own detailing the Harvester ant, with information including habitat, nest life, defence, communication, anatomy and evolution. Identifying charts and keys, drawings, photographs, and easy to read information. There is certainly plenty to capture the attention of harvester ant enthusiasts.

Books about Ants - SocialEvolution
Social Evolution in Ants (Bourke & Franks, 1995)

Social Evolution in Ants
Author(s):  Andrew Bourke and Nigel Franks
Publisher:  Princeton University Press
Year of publication:  1995
Pages:  529
Links of retailer: Amazon (Europe) / Amazon (USA)
 
This book delves deeply into the fascinating subject of the social evolution of ants. It has so much information centring around genetics, kin selection, eusociality, sex ratio theory, polygyny and biology.  Plenty to get your teeth into here.
 

Books about Ants
Army Ants: The Biology of Social Predation (Gotwald Jr, 1995)

Army Ants: The Biology of Social Predation
Author(s):  William H. Gotwald, Jr
Publisher:  Comstock/Cornell
Year of publication:  1995
Pages:  302
Links of retailer: Amazon (Europe) / Amazon (USA)
 
This is perhaps the best book solely on the subject of the fascinating army ant.  Easy to read and understand there is so much to learn about these iconic ants within its pages.  Opening with an introduction to army ants, this book includes a range of topics, such as classification and distribution, the army ant colony, behaviour, guests and predators, and the role of army ants in the tropical ecosystems.
 

Books about Ants - Journey
Journey to the Ants (Hölldobler & Wilson, 1994)

 
Journey to the Ants
Author(s):  Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson
Publisher:  Harvard University Press
Year of publication:  1994
Pages:  228
Links of retailer: Amazon (Europe) / Amazon (USA)
 
This book was released four years after The Ants.  In the preface the co-authors describe Journey to the Ants as condensing the best of myrmecology to a more manageable length, with less technical language.  It certainly is a book that is easier for the casual reader to understand than its predecessor, The Ants.  However, it still contains a lot of fascinating information about ants, and again like its forerunner, it also boasts some beautiful photographs of ants. Another truly fascinating book from the best-known myrmecologist in the world.

Books about Ants - Wheeler
Ants: Their Structure and Development (Wheeler, 1910)

Ants: Their Structure, Development and Behaviour
Author(s):  William Morton Wheeler
Publisher:  Columbia University Press
Year of publication:  1910 (1925)
Pages:  663
Links of retailer: Amazon (Europe) / Amazon (USA)
 
William Morton Wheeler is considered the grandfather of myrmecology and was the foremost authority on ants in his time. Originally published in 1910 it was updated in 1925.  Though some may consider the book to be dated, it still is an invaluable source of relevant information about ants.  Over 600 pages of information, hand drawings and monochrome photographs.  It’s a fascinating read for any serious ant enthusiast and should have a prominent place on your bookshelf.  One of the aspects I find most interesting as I read it is seeing how much was known about ants back then, and how much the field of myrmecology has advanced since then.
 

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My Ant Farms (Oct 19)
My current ant farms as of October 2019