Susanne FoitzikOlaf Fritsche

THE SIX-LEGGED SUPERPOWER: THE HIDDEN LIVES OF ANTS

On workers, soldiers and slaveholders.

Fascinating yet commonplace animals, ants have certain similarities to humans. They have developed forms of communication, social organisation and ways of dividing labour. They establish gardens and cultivate fungi, keep aphids as work animals that they protect against rustlers. They keep stores and move from one abode to another, wage wars and turn other ants into slaves, who in turn attempt to break free. They develop defences against pathogens, including vaccines. Many of their colonies are the size of an acorn, but some are thousands of kilometres across. After bees, ants are probably the most astoundingly complex of all insects.

Evolutionary biologist Susanne Foitzik, a world authority on ants, and biophysicist Olaf Fritsche have written a fascinating and informative book that tells us everything we need to know about ants. It offers deep insights into their social forms and explains their evolutionary development. Yet this richly illustrated book also describes the work of scientists. How do researchers study the behaviour of animals only a few millimetres in size? And what happens if you want to take an ant hill you’ve just excavated in Utah through customs? Readers of this book will never see ants the same way again.

 

Susanne Foitzik

Susanne Foitzik

Susanne Foitzik is an evolutionary biologist and behavioural scientist. Her PhD focused on the evolution and behaviour of ants. After research stays in USA, she taught at the LMU in Munich and is currently a professor at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. She investigates coevolution between slaveholding ants and their hosts as well as behavioural manipulation through parasites. She also studies the evolution of aging and work roles in insect states. The results of her work have been published in over 100 scientific papers.

 

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