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Adventures Among Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  356 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Intrepid international explorer, biologist, and photographer Mark W. Moffett, "the Indiana Jones of entomology," takes us around the globe on a strange and colorful journey in search of the hidden world of ants. In tales from Nigeria, Indonesia, the Amazon, Australia, California, and elsewhere, Moffett recounts his entomological exploits and provides fascinating details on ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published May 5th 2010 by University of California Press (first published April 1st 2010)
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Jeffrey There are many many ants. In terms of species, the estimate is about 10 000. In terms of individuals, the number is over 7 billion for sure.
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My real review:

I lay on my stomach in my driveway. The breeze ruffled my skirt and the sun warmed the backs of my legs. Three ants scurried across the concrete. They were tiny, like cumin seeds but smaller. They seemed to come and go from a crack in the pavement where weeds sprouted and untold ant-sized wonders must lie, but I could see no pattern to their hurried movements. I pinched one between my fingertips, stood up, then let her fall. The drop was fo
Mar 09, 2011 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish you could separate ratings by the category of contents of a book: the photos in this, of which there are many, are a 5. The text is a 3. It contains interesting and illuminating explorations of ants, who are in no way trivial to an understanding of the time and age in which we actually live, or where we might be going. Moffett just seems like a self-aggrandizing, perhaps somewhat sexist ass. There's no reason to comment on the "solid swimmer's" body of your research assistant, Mark, espec ...more
Moffett knew from a young age that he wanted to be a field biologist – traveling the world in search of the most interesting animals he could find. And ever since his childhood, he’s had an abiding interest in ants.

And who could blame him? There are thousands of species of ants, found all around the world, and once you get down and really look at them, they display some amazing behaviors. They communicate through a series of smells, functioning almost as a group organism to take care of the nes
Aug 15, 2010 jordan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Part exotic travel-log and part exploration of sublime evolutionary splendor, "Adventure Among the Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions," turns its humble subject into a super star. Mark Moffett, "The Indiana Jones of the Ant World," mixes a memoir of his far flung journeys with the fascinating complexity and variety of ants; his passion for his subject isn't merely palpable, it's infectious. If his goal is to make you pause and appreciate the next time an ant crawls on your kitchen co ...more
Feb 10, 2011 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! The author has such enthusiasm for his subject that it is really infectious! I have always been fascinated by bugs and loved studying them, but this book can be interesting to anyone who enjoys the planet they live on. There are some big doses of philosophy in here, he questions our understanding of what an organism is, what a mind is, how we perceive the world around us based on our humanity. And of course there are lots of cool and funny stories about his adventures all over ...more
Lynn Pribus
Oct 29, 2010 Lynn Pribus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A remarkable book illustrated with the most astonishing photos of ants. The author is enamoured, even obsessed with these little creatures.

It's a long book and I've only read a bit. Have to return it and go to the end of the reserve list line to read more. Incredible detail, yet written entertainingly and with real flair.

His premise: Most ant colonies are actually super-organisms with each ant behaving rather like a single cell.

Certainly worth looking at the pictures, even if you don't read ever
Jun 17, 2010 Sacha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So good! And the pictures are amazing. Although it was not a slim volume, it left me wanting to know even more.
John Vanek
Jun 20, 2015 John Vanek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
I agree with another reviewer. The photos deserve a 5+, but the text only merits a 3. Still, depending on your expectations, this has a very good chance at meeting them.
Aug 24, 2013 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, must-buy
This book is just fun. It's like following the epic stories/ kingdoms /lives of ants without actually having to endure the boredom of watching ants for hours or getting ant bites. And the photographs!! Just amazing. Mark Moffett isn't the best writer, however, sometimes he gets overly wordy or repetitive. You kind of get used to his flowery writing style after a while, though. Also, Moffett kind of gets off topic sometimes - twice he describes dreams he had about ants, which I found kind
Jun 03, 2010 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Global Safari with a cast of Trillions

Flat out, this is the most fascinating non-fiction title I’ve read this year. Ants are seldom seen as fascinating, more like a nuisance! However, this book makes me almost wish for an ant invasion, just to try and observe some of the details the Moffett describes in his worldwide studies on ants.

The text contains lots of surprises as it covers various species of ants, and I can’t scratch the surface of all the funny and also disquieting details about these
Tim Martin
Aug 28, 2012 Tim Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature, reviewed
Simply a fantasic popular natural history book, just first rate. The text is both informative and accessible, not watered down but just technical enough. The author does a good job of weaving in stories of his trips abroad to study ants and even brings in some humor from time to time along with some of the personalities he met. Having said that, it is a science book, not a travel book, and ants are always the focus.

There are gorgeous color photos thoughout the book of the ants, some of them jus
M.L. Rudolph
Mar 28, 2011 M.L. Rudolph rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2010. Mark Moffett gave a great interview on NPR. He described ant nation states battling for world domination under my feet and my imagination did the rest. I had to read this book.

Moffett has gone everywhere in search of ants. Colonies range from as few as four ants to supercolonies that number in the billions. They are native to every continent except for Antarctica. They've conquered every habitat. They live below the earth, on the earth, in trees, and above the forest canopy. They dine on
May 23, 2010 Grady rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unveiling the Highly Organized Civilization of Ants

Mark Moffett is as much a wonder as is his topic of this particular book ADVENTURES AMONG ANTS: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions. Not only is he an intrepid biologist/entomologist, an explorer who knows no fear, and a true Naturalist (comfortably in the company of Muir, Audubon, Thoreau, and Darwin!), but he is also a writer of great skill and a photographer par excellence.

In this endlessly fascinating a thorough book Moffett invites u
Kerem Cankocak
Mar 26, 2016 Kerem Cankocak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dünya üzerinde 100 milyon yıldan fazla bir süredir hüküm süren karıncalar savaşçı, yapı ustası, büyük hayvan avcısı ve köle sahibidirler. Pazar ekonomisi uygularlar, imalat hatları oluştururlar, hijyene önem verirler, atıkları değerlendirirler, çiftçilik ve savaş yaparlar. Uluslararası gezgin araştırmacı, biyolog ve fotoğrafçı, “böcekbiliminin Indiana Jones’u”, gözüpek Mark W. Moffett, karıncaların gizli dünyasını araştırırken bizleri yerküre çevresinde şaşılası, harika bir yolculuğa götürmekte. ...more
Trae Brookins
Jun 18, 2010 Trae Brookins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Really interesting. About as close to a book on alien anthropology as you will find until actual aliens show up on Earth. It illuminates a world that is at once completely foreign and familiar.

There are some weak points to the book. I have to admit that (although it was very interesting) I wasn't that interested in the author's personal narrative. He did a really good job too with crediting the work and assistance of the various people who worked in the field with him. Unfortunately, from a str
Bob Stocker
Apr 28, 2011 Bob Stocker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I probably wouldn't have sought out this book, if I hadn't heard Mark Moffett interviewed on NPR. I enjoy nature, but I'm not an ant buff.

Moffett focuses both camera and narrative on six different kinds of ants: Marauder ants are swarming omnivores; army ants are carnivores with a different swarming style; weaver ants live in the canopies of tropical forests and use silt thread dispensed by their larvae to bind leaves together to make nests; Amazon ants (which live in the Northern Hemisphere, no
Isaac Lambert-lin
The pictures are wondrous, and I would definitely buy a new book of Moffett's which contain a majority of pictures.

The text and style could be improved. Each chapter is an analysis of a different ant, and the end is a slim summary. This leaves you with a mishmash feeling. I would have enjoyed it more, and also had a better understanding of ants, had it gone chapter by chapter about ant's different behaviors, showing examples of ants which, e.g, perform slavery, farming, and other unique characte
Jul 07, 2012 Suzanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just a fascinating book! I've always been interested in ants, and liked watching them go about their business. After reading this book, I know now their business is far more complicated and varied than I ever thought! Mark Moffett has been around the world studying different types of ant colonies---some with all different sizes of ants for different jobs, some that use slaves, some that farm, some that engage in warfare---and he writes about all of them with a skilled voice. There are also many ...more
Dec 17, 2010 Tuck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
great book on ants, and humans. very nice end notes too. some things seem pretty far fetched, for instance that leaf cutter ants have over the millenniums domesticated crops just as have humans with our wheat and maize. cept the ants have figured out how to grow huge populations with just the sweat of their exoskeletons and can farm fairly carbon-neutrally, while humans farm with the sweat AND burning obscene amounts of fossil fuel, hence changing world climates. Author never does really explain ...more
Apr 24, 2016 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals-nature
Ants are amazing - a massive civilization going on right under our feet. I mean, if they build homes and roads, feed each other, farm plants and animals, have divisions of labor, and go to war, can't we call that civilization? The author's extreme enthusiasm for ants is infectious. He goes to extreme lengths, and all over the world, to find the specific ants he wants to see and to catalog their behavior.

The book is dense; I couldn't read much at a time, so it took me a couple of months to finish
Mar 02, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely astonishing to me... who would have thought that 231 pages about *ants* could be so interesting that I'd be searching for moments to pick up the book?!?

Some quote on the back cover says the author is a "naturalist and storyteller," and boy is that true. He seamlessly mixes enormous amounts of research with stories of doing fieldwork himself. He makes you care about different kinds of ants, raises questions about when their behavior is puzzling, and draws fascinating conclusions about
Alicia Farmer
Dec 06, 2011 Alicia Farmer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
If nothing else, check this out foe its amazing photos. They'll probably pique your interest enough that you'll at least read the introductory descriptions of the 6 species of ants Moffett introduces.

I have always been intrigued by ants. This book gave me new behaviors, new physiology, new web-of-life relationships to appreciate.

I also appreciated Moffett's efforts to place the ant smorgasbord in the more accessible context of one researcher's personal and professional life. The segues weren't a
Oct 12, 2012 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You'll know whether this book is for you before you even pick it up. Do you like to learn about ants? Yes? Five stars. No? Probably not for you. But if you like ants...

Excellent pictures, and really fascinating observations about these creatures. I thought I knew ants pretty well, but then he talks about slavers who can't live without their abducted minions, or blind army ants who just tunnel underground until they smash into a termite nest. Or weavers. Weavers are amazing.
Crow Bar
Sep 22, 2010 Crow Bar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most interesting books I've ever read. I'd advise anybody looking for just random knowledge or going into etymology or other biologic fields to read this. Although dry at points that was mostly due to the daunting size of a chapter. The mix of narrative, and information makes the book much easier to read than most nonfiction books. The end hypothesis's are a great summation and show the insight of Moffett. Great Book, five stars.
Nov 28, 2013 Ash rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ants are fucking fascinating. His description of the superorganism and how from small to large colonies they confront and solve the problems of sustenance (foraging, agriculture, slavery), defense, nest building/finding, and procreation largely by division of labor is amazing. I knew ants were cool, but not this cool. The prose is never dull and the photos are exquisite.
May 26, 2012 Kaylee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, non-fiction
Very well done! The narrative style of this book makes it engaging to read. There were times when I was laughing out loud and had to read a passage to Ben. He also does a really good job of showing how studying ants relates to other disciplines, everything from robotics to economics. And he quotes Ogden Nash (anybody who quotes Ogden Nash is pretty much awesome.)
Jan 10, 2015 Knarc rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found it informative on the lives of ants but very long. The author has a very good knowledge of ants and is very enthusiastic about the subject; however it seemed very long winded and drawn out. I typically like niche nature subjects like this. Other readers appear to love the book. So, maybe I will have to reread at a latter date and see if I have the same conclusion.
Jim Talbott
This is a thoroughly delightful book on select ant species: marauder, weaver, leaf cutter, army, and Argentinian. The book really makes you love the ant world. In the first few days of reading, my kids and I were already experimenting with ants at the local playground. The photographs are another wonderful feature of the book... Overall, it was a pure joy to read.
Jun 22, 2010 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating--the extent to which ants are able to function effectively as a group without a "leader" make them fascinating. Humans, with their egocentric leadership concept, could learn a lot from a careful study of our six-legged rivals for dominance on the planet.
Dec 19, 2012 Pancha marked it as no  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
I had to stop reading this because the descriptions of ants murdering frogs was just too much for me. If you have a stronger stomach than me, this is a really cool book. Lots of great (gross) photos and info! And I think World War Z will be even more horrifying.
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