I was recently contacted by Octopus Books who offered me an advance copy of a new book which is due for release on 6 May 21. The book is Empire of Ants by Susanne Foitzik and Olaf Fritsche. It was originally published in German in 2019, but this is the first English translation.
Susanne Foitzik is an evolutionary biologist, behavioural scientist and an international authority on ants. She also has a PhD in ant evolution and behaviour. Her work on ants has been published in more than 110 scientific papers. Olaf Fritsche is a science journalist and biophysicist with a PhD in biology.
I am always excited by the release of a new book about ants, and also a little nervous. Excited because, well, it’s a new book about ants, meaning more up to date information. Nervous because I wonder whether I’ll read some information about ants that I have wrong on my site.
When reading of the academical qualifications of the authors, you might be forgiven for thinking that this book is going to be to “scientifically heavy” for the average non-scientific ant enthusiast to understand. I am pleased to allay you of any such fears. Empire of Ants is a remarkably easy read.
As soon as I started reading the introduction to this book, I was hooked. The information on ants contained therein is absolutely fascinating to say the least. There is a lot of information in this book, yet it is written so well that it is a joy to read. The authors do their utmost to keep too much scientific jargon from bamboozling the layman.
Empire of Ants contains 13 chapters each one centring on a certain aspect of ant behaviour, including The Birth of a Colony, Communicative Sensuality, Finely Tuned Navigation, Savage Hordes and A Garden for a City of Millions. I found the chapters on Army ants and Leaf Cutter ants the most fascinating.
I loved reading about the experiments that the authors conducted, and their fascinating experiences as they worked. It was also great to learn about new knowledge that has recently come to light regarding ants and their behaviour. There are also some amusing anecdotes.
I wholeheartedly recommend Empire of Ants to all ant enthusiasts, be they amateurs such as myself, or professional entomologists and myrmecologists. It is a fascinating book indeed and one that I am happy to add to my list of recommended ant books.
Empire of ants can be preordered/purchased from Amazon in hardback, Kindle and even audio book forms. I’m certainly going to purchase the audio version when it is released.