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Susanne Foitzik is an evolutionary biologist, behavioral scientist, and international authority on ants. After completing her PhD in ant evolution and behavior and conducting postdoctoral work in the US, she became a professor at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. She now holds a chair at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, where she studies the behaviors and social evolution of ants, with a particular focus on slave-making ants. Her findings have been published in more than 110 scientific papers.
Photo credit: Peter Pullowski
Olaf Fritsche is a science journalist and biophysicist with a PhD in biology. He was previously an editor at the German-language edition of Scientific American, is the author and coauthor of many books, and has been published in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines. He lives in Germany.
Photo credit: Olaf Fritsche
What a fabulously readable and eye-opening book this is. With experts guiding your way, visit the amazing world of ants as they build, raise, grow, and hunt, raid and devour. I’ve always been enthralled by ants and have watched in fascination as they purposefully march their way through life. I’ve also wondered what happens to the lone lost explorer who ends up on your clothing potentially miles away from home, well I found out the answer to this and learned a whole host of other interesting facts in Empire of Ants. Yet this isn’t a data and statistic gala, the writing duo of Susanne Foitzik and Olaf Fritsche have ensured an engaging and absorbing read. One of the first things we are told is that: “If all the ants suddenly disappeared, terrestrial ecosystems across the word would be on their knees… Without ants, the natural world would suffer a long period of instability and would never look the same again”. They’re important then, these bustling ants who exist and create and invent, there’s plenty to learn as we are introduced to them by biologist Susanne. There are so many similarities with humans, and yet their structure could quite easily sit in the realms of fantasy. Empire of Ants is an intensely satisfying and entertaining read that opens up a whole new world.