Leafcutter Ants in Books

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I'll be adding both fiction and non-fiction books that feature leafcutter ants in this section. If you know of any other books that should be included, plase email me. Should you wish to purchase any of the books, the links to the left go directly to the item in amazon.com.

In addition, there is a list of other books below for which I have not yet provided more info.

Non-Fiction Books Fiction Books


The Ants by Bert Holldobler, Edward Osborne Wilson
Publisher: Belknap Pr; (April 1990)
ISBN: 0674040759

If you can only buy one ant book, then this is the one you should buy. There is an entire chapter devoted to leafcutter ants, as well as to other "interesting" ants, such as army ants, weaver ants, and so forth. The review from Amazon.com:

This is the definitive scientific study of one of the most diverse animal groups on earth; pretty well everything that is known about ants is in this massive work. But books do not win Pulitzer Prizes, as this one did in 1991, for exhaustiveness; besides being the last word in science, this work is beautifully written, and accessible to the lay reader. Wilson, of Harvard, and Holldobler of the University of Wurzburg, may inspire a whole new generation of budding entomologists. Every branch of biology is covered, from evolution to taxonomy to physiology to ecology. Lavishly illustrated, it is full of amazing facts, many concerning the incredible social behavior of these creatures.

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Gardening Ants: The Attines (Memoirs of the Amer Phil Society, Vol 92) by Neal Weber
Publisher: Amer Philosophical Society; (June 1972)
ISBN: 0871690926

THE book on leafcutter ants of the world by one of the primary attinologists. The book sells for a pretty steep price on amazon.com!

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Herbivory of Leaf-Cutting Ants: A Case Study on Atta Colombica in the Tropical Rainforest of Panama by R. Wirth (Editor), H. Herz (Editor), R. J. Ryel (Editor), W. Beyschlag (Editor), B. Holldobler (Editor), Zoltan D. Molnar
Publisher: Springer Verlag; (March 2003)
ISBN: 3540438963

An entire book devoted to one single species, Atta colombica! One of the editors, H.Herz, is doubly famous for being a featured researcher in the book about the lives of Barro Colorado Island's researchers entitled The Tapir's Morning Bath.

This volume examines the interactions of leaf-cutting ants with the rainforest vegetation on Barro Colorado Islands in Central America. It is the synthesis of field research on multiple scales extending over a period of several years. This work can serve as a model study summarizing and extending knowledge about herbivorous insect-plant relationships, and the resulting consequences on structural and functional features of tropical ecosystems. The text is an invaluable reference for researchers and land managers working in the fields of plant-animal interactions, herbivory, community ecology and biodiversity.

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Journey to the Ants: A Story of Scientific Exploration by Bert Holldobler and Edward Osborne Wilson
Publisher: Belknap Pr; Reprint edition (September 1995)
ISBN: 0674485262

The leafcutters do not rate an entire chapter in this book, but they are the major topic in the chapter about superorganisms. This is probably one of those must-have books for myrmecologists everywhere. Here's the review from Amazon.com:

"Look to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise," says the proverb. Bert Hölldobler and E.O. Wilson have joined together to tell how they took this advice and to share the fruits of their wisdom. As Nature said, they "have done for ants what Levi's did for denim." Not just a good-parts version of their magisterial, Pulitzer-winning The Ants, Journey is also a double autobiography--the history of how early enthusiasm developed into an enormously fruitful scientific collaboration. "We, having entered our bug period as children, were blessed by never being required to abandon it," the authors write. Their devotion to their chosen field shines through.

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The Tapir's Morning Bath: Mysteries of the Tropical Rain Forest and the Scientists Who Are Trying to Solve Them by Elizabeth Royte
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Co; (September 26, 2001)
ISBN: 0395979978

In this very interesting book, the author explores the day to day lives of the researchers at Barro Colorado Island in Panama. Leafcutter ants are one of the prime actors in this drama, as the author follows the indefatigable Hubert Herz, a plant biologist studying the effects of leafcutters on plants in the island.

In THE TAPIR'S MORNING BATH, Elizabeth Royte weaves together her own adventures on Barro Colorado with tales of researchers struggling to parse the intricate workings of the rain forest, the most complicated natural system on the planet. Through the lens of the field station, she also traces the history of modern biology from its earliest days of collection and classification through the decline of the naturalist to the days of intense niche specialization and rigorous scientific quantification. As Royte counts seeds and sorts insects, collects monkey dung and radiotracks bats, she begins to wonder: what is the point of such arcane studies? The world over, rain forests are rapidly disappearing and species are going extinct. While humanizing the scientists in the field, she explores the tension between their research and the reality of a world that may not have time for the answers.

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The Micronauts by Gordon Williams
ISBN: 0553111396
Publisher: Bantam, 1977

I read this little known science fiction book a long while back. It's about a colony of miniaturized people who try to survive in a world where every insect is now a hungry predator. There are scenes with leafcutter ants, and one where leafcutter ants battle a colony of army ants. The original volume itself is not in amazon.com anymore, but you can buy the sequel, which is called Revolt of the Micronauts.

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Other Books

These are books suggested by others that I have not had a chance to research:

From Marc "Teleutotje" Van der Stappen:

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