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  • Secret Lives of Ants
  • Book
  • Jae Choe. foreword by Jane Goodall. photographs by Dan Perlman
  • 2012
  • Published by: Johns Hopkins University Press
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summary
In the great naturalist tradition of E. O. Wilson, Jae Choe takes readers into a miniature world dominated by six-legged organisms. This is the world of the ant, an insect that humans, as well as most other life forms, depend upon for their very survival. Easily one of the most important animals on earth, ants seem to mirror the actions, emotions, and industries of the human population, often more effectively than humans do themselves. They developed ranching and farming long before humans, and their division of labor resembles the assembly lines of automobile factories and multinational enterprises. Self-sacrifice and a finely tuned chemical language are the foundations of their monarchical society, which is capable of waging large-scale warfare and taking slaves. Tales of their massacres and atrocities, as well as struggles for power, are all too reminiscent of our own. The reality of ant society is more fascinating than even the most creative minds could imagine. Choe combines expert scientific knowledge with a real passion for these miniscule marvels. His vivid descriptions are paired with captivating illustrations and photographs to introduce readers to the economics, culture, and intrigue of the ant world. All of nature is revealed through the secret lives of the amazing ants. In the words of the author, “Once you get to know them, you’ll love them.”

Table of Contents

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  1. Cover
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  1. Front Matter
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  1. Contents
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  1. Foreword
  2. pp. ix-xiii
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xv-xviii
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  1. Introduction: My First Journey to the Ants
  2. pp. xix-xxvi
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  1. Part I. The Economics of Ant Society
  1. 1. Ants Mean Business: How the Futuristic Economics of Ants Maximizes Their Returns
  2. pp. 3-9
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  1. 2. Economies of Scale and Rational Business Management: From Joint Ventures to Multinational Enterprises
  2. pp. 10-16
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  1. 3. A 50-Million-Year Tradition of Farming: The Massive Underground Mushroom Farms of the Leaf-cutter Ants
  2. pp. 17-27
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  1. 4. Ant Ranchers: Masters of Dairy Farming Second Only to Mankind
  2. pp. 28-36
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  1. 5. The World’s First Bodyguards: Standing Watch for Room and Board
  2. pp. 37-46
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  1. 6. The Charge of the Ant Brigade: The Terrifying March of the Army Ants
  2. pp. 47-54
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  1. Part II. The Culture of Ant Society
  1. 7. Talking with the Ants: The Clever Designs of Ant Communication
  2. pp. 57-64
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  1. 8. The Ants Come Home: Sense of Direction and Biological Clocks
  2. pp. 65-71
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  1. 9. Ants at Work: Maids, Nannies, Laborers, Soldiers
  2. pp. 72-81
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  1. 10. Con Artists of the Ant World: Parasites That Have Cracked the Ants’ Secret Code
  2. pp. 82-88
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  1. 11. Villains and Monsters of the Ant World: Predators and Parasites
  2. pp. 89-98
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  1. Part III. The Politics of Ant Society
  1. 12. No Children of Their Own: Females in the Service of an Amazon Queen
  2. pp. 101-109
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  1. 13. Conflict in the Queendom: Divine Right of the Queen? Or the Will of the Masses?
  2. pp. 110-118
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  1. 14. Political Conflict and International Alliances: Yesterday’s Comrade, Today’s Enemy
  2. pp. 119-127
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  1. 15. The Foundation Myth of the Aztec Ant Queendom: The Queens’ Battle for the Throne
  2. pp. 128-138
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  1. 16. War and Slavery: From Full-Scale Slaughter to Bloodless Warfare
  2. pp. 139-147
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  1. Epilogue: To Know Them Is to Love Them
  2. pp. 149-156
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