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Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Ants of California

Did you know that for every human on earth, there are about one million ants? They are among the longest-lived insects—with some ant queens passing the thirty-year mark—as well as some of the strongest. Fans of both the city and countryside alike, ants decompose dead wood, turn over soil (in some places more than earthworms), and even help plant forests by distributing seeds. But while fewer than thirty of the nearly one thousand ant species living in North America are true pests, we cringe when we see them marching across our kitchen floors.

No longer! In this witty, accessible, and beautifully illustrated guide, Eleanor Spicer Rice, Alex Wild, and Rob Dunn metamorphose creepy-crawly revulsion into myrmecological wonder. Emerging from Dunn’s ambitious citizen science project Your Wild Life (an initiative based at North Carolina State University) and the work of Brian Fisher with the California Academy of Sciences, Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Ants of California provides an eye-opening entomological overview of the natural history of California’s species most noted by project participants—and even offers tips on keeping ant farms in your home. Exploring species from the high noon and harvester ants to the honeypot and acrobat ants, and featuring Wild’s stunning photography, this guide will be a tremendous resource for teachers, students, and scientists alike. But more than this, it will transform the way Californians perceive the environment around them by deepening their understanding of its littlest inhabitants, inspiring everyone to find their inner naturalist, get outside, and crawl across the dirt—magnifying glass in hand.

80 pages | 78 color plates | 6 x 8 | © 2017

Biological Sciences: Behavioral Biology, Biology--Systematics, Conservation, Ecology, Natural History


“Fun. . . . [and a] great stocking stuffer. . . . Entomologist Dr. Eleanor doesn’t make the mistake of humanizing ants, but she does elevate the tiny insects into a realm of fascination. Despite what the stream of ants in your back yard might indicate, the Argentine ant is not the only species in town.”

Los Angeles Times

“Spicer Rice’s style is clear, fluid, and engaging. . . . Especially lovely is the abundance of photographs by Alex Wild, the Ansel Adams of arthropods.”

Carl Zimmer | National Geographic’s “The Loom”

“Ant genetics and reproduction are complex topics, but Spicer Rice makes it easy to understand with minimal jargon. The species descriptions seem like stories about eccentric and entertaining relatives, rather than ants.”

Gwen Pearson | WIRED

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Pavement Ant (Tetramorium sp.E)
Chapter 2: Winter Ant (Prenolepis imparis)
Chapter 3: Thief Ant (Solenopsis molesta)
Chapter 4: Odorous House Ant (Tapinoma sessile)
Chapter 5: Carpenter Ant (Camponotus spp.)
Chapter 6: Southern Fire Ant (Solenopsis xyloni)
Chapter 7: Field Ant (Formica spp.)
Chapter 8: High Noon Ant (Forelius pruinosus)
Chapter 9: Argentine Ant (Linepithema humile)
Chapter 10: Pogonomyrmex Harvester Ants (Pogonomyrmex spp.)
Chapter 11: Velvety Tree Ant (Liometopum occidentale)
Chapter 12: Veromessor Harvester Ants (Veromessor spp.)
Chapter 13: Honeypot Ants (Myrmecocystus testaceus)
Chapter 14: Acrobat Ants (Crematogaster spp.)
Chapter 15: Frequently Asked Questions
Chapter 16: How to Keep Ants at Home
Additional Resources

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