THE WORLD OF ANTS by Remy Chauvin


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If one can get through this book, one will never again regard the ant as suitable for little more than stepping on. . . . If. . . . The author is clearly a patient, skilled and good-natured researcher. But the writing (or possibly the translation from the French by George Ordish) varies from graceful and clear to awkward and thoroughly confusing. The content too is uneven and reflects the pros and cons of being written by a scientist who knows the subject well and loves all of it. Pro: there are interesting comparisons with other animal life as well as with brains and computers; also, and especially, charming personal reactions. Con: there are six thousand species of ants with queens, workers, soldiers, etc. in each. By the end of the first half of the book the reader feels he has shaken antennae, mandibles, petioles and ommatidias with every type. As a result, many potential converts to myrmecology will give up before reaching the second, or best, part. Which is a pity. For the author points out that there are still many gaps in our knowledge and he will convince more than one reader that ants and their societies are indeed fascinating and deserving of the subtitle -- ""A Science-Fiction Universe.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1971
Publisher: Hill & Wang