From subarctic tundra to equatorial rainforest, deep in the soil and at the tip of the highest tree, ants are found the world over. This book, by the world’s leading ant taxonomist, offers a definitive guide for identifying these ubiquitous insects.
Barry Bolton provides identification keys to all the living ant subfamilies and genera, presented in alphabetical order and separated by zoogeographical region. Designed for professional and amateur myrmecologists alike, this guide is as accessible as it is comprehensive, including information on the function and use of identification keys, instructions for preparing specimens for examination, and an illustrated glossary of morphological terms. Over 500 scanning electron microscope photographs illustrate the taxonomic keys.
Bolton introduces each subfamily with a diagnosis of the group, followed by synoptic classifications of all genera within each subfamily, notes on broad distribution, and a list of references to all species-rank publications useful to identification. He also provides a short summary of the extinct subfamilies and includes a checklist of every name ever proposed in the classification of ants, from the rank of family down to subgenus, showing the current status and usage of each.
An updated and exhaustively expanded revision of the taxonomic keys found in Hölldobler and Wilson’s The Ants, Bolton’s identification guide takes its place alongside that landmark work as the foundation for the study of ants for many years to come.
A stunning volume…to be savored visually… [This book] expresses more about our planet’s half-billion-year saga of zoological diversification than could be packed into a thousand pages of purple prose.
Bolton’s aim in producing this book was to provide a means of identifying all extant ant genera, and to produce a catalog of existing and fossil genera, as well as the tribes and subfamilies of Formicidae. In accomplishing this goal, he has been thorough, meticulous, and lucid in his revision. The major thrust of the book is a series of dichotomous keys to the subfamilies and genera of ants. He has done a splendid job in making these keys useful for the specialist, the student or nonprofessional… Perhaps the most innovative and helpful aspects of the book are the 522 scanning electron microscope photographs of the ants… Bolton’s admirable book, keying and imaging 296 extant genera and 16 subfamilies of ants, is a best and thorough assessment, and will be a necessity for ant taxonomists and important for anyone attempting to identify genera of ants.
Besides the obvious value of this book for identifying ants, it is the first time that the diversity of these ubiquitous insects has been adequately portrayed. It is a most enjoyable experience to simply browse through the book and admire the electron micrographs showing the bizarre manifestations and combinations of ant form.
Bolton has emerged as the leading ant taxonomist, and his work is regarded by his peers to be of the highest quality. The coverage of the world fauna is exhaustive at the generic level… [The book is] meticulous and superbly illustrated.
- 232 pages
- 10 x 12 inches
- Harvard University Press
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