Book Review: Ant Encounters

Title: Ant Encounters – Interaction networks and colony behavior

Ant Encounters by Deborah Gordon. Image from

Ant Encounters by Deborah Gordon. Image from

Writer: Deborah M. Gordon
Publisher: Princeton University Press

Deborah Gordon is well known for her studies on the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex (see for example this blog-post). She is very interested in how interactions between individual ants shapes colony behaviour, and has been studying this topic in detail for many years.

It is exactly this phenomenon that this book is about. She goes into great detail on how something as simple as the amount of interactions an individual ant has with her nestmates (or non-nestmates) influences her decisions. Considering this happens with each and every ant in a colony, she argues very convincingly that the complex collective behaviours we see in nature are the result of simple interactions on the individual level.

I can definitely recommend the book. It is easy to read, well argued, short and to the point, with plenty of examples that make everything clear. However, if you are looking for a ‘general introduction to the lifestyle of ants’, this might not be the book for you, as it is really mostly about how interactions between ants shape colony behaviour.

8 ants out of 10!

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