Laurent Keller, Élisabeth Gordon

The Life of Ants Publication date : April 5, 2013

Ants are fascinating organisms. Comprising 12,000 species of varied morphology, ants make up 10% of the entire terrestrial biomass. They have developed a highly complex social system. The queens, whose sole purpose is to reproduce, mate once only and then lay eggs all their lives. The workers, who are sterile, act as caregivers, food gatherers, builders and warriors. The males live just long enough to mate once in flight, and then die. Being social creatures, ants possess several forms of communication: pheromones, dances, gestures and even sound.
Every aspect of ants’ social habits are described here. Laurent Keller is one of the world’s top living experts on ants. With the collaboration of Elisabeth Gordon, he introduces the reader to the extraordinary world of ants. And, on closing this beautifully written, clear and rigorously informative book, the reader may be inclined to ask if ants are not, after all, the winners of the evolutionary process.

Written by a world-famous expert and a scientific journalist, this enthralling book provides a highly accessible description of ants and their social system. It is a brilliant work of scientific popularisation.

Laurent Keller teaches evolutionary ecology at the University of Lausanne.
Elisabeth Gordon is a scientific journalist working for Radio Suisse Romande and l’Hebdo.