The 36th book from great scientist and two-time Pulitzer winner Wilson. Wilson is one of the world’s leading experts on ants; but he also uses that knowledge to give readers perspective on human society, biology, and evolution. He is a graceful, thoughtful writer, not difficult to read, especially in his non-technical publications like this. This title, written in Wilson’s 91st year, is a combination of autobiography with his astounding observations on the immense variety and power of the world of ants. Wilson was fascinated in nature, especially reptiles and insects, from his boyhood in various regions of the southern United States. He became somewhat famous at the age of 13 in Alabama, when he discovered the first known nest of fire ants that had arrived from South America.
It was Wilson who began to break the “pheromone code” in which ants use scents to communicate with each other. Among other things, he was able to show what chemical caused ants to realize that a nestmate was dead, so it could be carried to “the dead ant pile.” He also was an early discoverer of the kinds of amazing parasites that live on and with ants, from inside their mandibles to the base of their antenna to the heels of their back feet.
The adaptability of nature, and of ants in particular, seems inexhaustible. This short book will expand your perceptions of the tiny worlds that occupy most of our planet.