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A Field Guide to the Ants of New England

A Field Guide to the Ants of New England

Aaron M. Ellison
Nicholas J. Gotelli
Elizabeth J. Farnsworth
Gary D. Alpert
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    A Field Guide to the Ants of New England
    Book Description:

    This book is the first user-friendly regional guide devoted to ants-the "little things that run the world." Lavishly illustrated with more than 500 line drawings, 300-plus photographs, and regional distribution maps as composite illustrations for every species, this guide will introduce amateur and professional naturalists and biologists, teachers and students, and environmental managers and pest-control professionals to more than 140 ant species found in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada.

    The detailed drawings and species descriptions, together with the high-magnification photographs, will allow anyone to identify and learn about ants and their diversity, ecology, life histories, and beauty. In addition, the book includes sections on collecting ants, ant ecology and evolution, natural history, and patterns of geographic distribution and diversity to help readers gain a greater understanding and appreciation of ants.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-18890-5
    Subjects: Zoology, Biological Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  5. 1. Ants and the New England Landscape
    (pp. 1-10)

    New Englanders live in a changeable climate. Locals quip, “If you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes.” But we don’t always appreciate how diverse our landscape is. We lack the grand mountains of western North America (our tallest, Mount Washington, is just over 2,000 m high), and it may seem to the casual observer that New England is one large suburb from Portland, Maine, to Fairfield, Connecticut. But from an ant’s-eye view, even a change in elevation of only 100 m or a shift in latitude of only 1º (about 110 km) can determine whether a nest can survive....

  6. 2. Ant Basics: Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior
    (pp. 11-27)

    Ants are very different from most other animals. They form large colonies of closely related individuals, many of whom have specific tasks required to maintain the colony, and most of whom are unable to reproduce themselves. The ant you see crawling up a tree trunk or along your kitchen counter is almost always a sterile female. She will never reproduce, and she works exclusively for the benefit of the queen and the rest of her colony. An active ant colony consists of one or several queens—the only females that reproduce—and anywhere from a couple of dozen to tens...

  7. 3. Observing, Catching, and Collecting Ants
    (pp. 28-43)

    This field guide focuses mostly on collecting and identifying ants, but you can learn a lot more about their natural history, ecology, and behavior by studying them—alive—in the field. Ant workers often are specialized for foraging, recruitment, and nest defense, and they exhibit a rich array of behaviors that you can easily observe. With only a couple of exceptions, there are no ant species in New England that can seriously bite or sting you, so you shouldn’t be shy about interacting with them. But first you have to find them.

    Where should you look? Your first impulse may...

  8. 4. Identifying Ants
    (pp. 44-58)

    You’ve found your ant, photographed it, caught it, brought it home, pinned it, and drawn it. Now you want to know what it is. To identify an ant (or any other organism), you key it out. This field guide and its different keys are your tools for identification. We present traditional dichotomous keys with illustrations, pictorial matrix keys, verbal summaries of genera and species groups, and detailed descriptions of each species, each on its own page. This combination provides a suite of identification tools unavailable for ants (or most other animals) in any other region.

    The family of ants (Formicidae)...

  9. 5. Descriptions of, and Keys to, the Subfamilies, Genera, and Species of New England Ants
    (pp. 59-332)

    This chapter summarizes our knowledge of the regional fauna. As of March 2012, we know of 31 genera and 132 species nesting somewhere in New England (three of which were described based on only a few individuals or a single colony and have never been seen since and 14 of which are not native to our region). Eleven other species and 1 genus discussed in this chapter have not yet been found in New England but have been found in a county of New York that borders New England or in habitats in nearby Quebec that also are part of...

  10. 6. The Biogeography of New England Ants
    (pp. 333-352)

    The distribution map on each species page in Chapter 5 provides a snapshot of where each species has been recorded in New England. Where do these maps come from, how accurate are they, and what can they tell us about how New England’s ant fauna will respond to changes in regional climate during the next 50–100 years? These questions are in the domain of biogeography—the study of the patterns of diversity of organisms in space and time. It is well beyond the scope of this field guide to present a detailed biogeographic analysis of all the data on...

  11. Bibliography and Further Readings
    (pp. 353-363)
  12. Internet Resources
    (pp. 364-366)
  13. Index
    (pp. 367-392)
  14. Map of the Counties of New England
    (pp. 393-393)
  15. Checklist of the Ants of New England
    (pp. 394-396)
  16. About the Authors
    (pp. 397-398)
  17. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)