Did you know that for every human on earth, there are about one million ants? They are among the longest-lived insects—with some ant queens passing the thirty-year mark—as well as some of the strongest. Fans of both the city and countryside alike, ants decompose dead wood, turn over soil (in some places more than earthworms), and even help plant forests by distributing seeds. But while fewer than thirty of the nearly one thousand ant species living in North America are true pests, we cringe when we see them marching across our kitchen floors.
No longer! In this witty, accessible, and beautifully illustrated guide, Eleanor Spicer Rice, Alex Wild, and Rob Dunn metamorphose creepy-crawly revulsion into myrmecological wonder. Emerging from Dunn’s ambitious citizen science project Your Wild Life (an initiative based at North Carolina State University), Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Ants of Chicago provides an eye-opening entomological overview of the natural history of Chicago’s species most noted by project participants—and even offers tips on keeping ant farms in your home. Exploring species from the hobbit ant to the tiny trapjaw ant, and featuring contributions from E. O. Wilson and Field Museum ant scientist Corrie Moreau as well as Wild’s stunning photography, this guide will be a tremendous resource for teachers, students, and scientists alike. But more than this, it will transform the way Chicagoans perceive the environment around them by deepening their understanding of its littlest inhabitants, inspiring everyone to find their inner naturalist, get outside, and crawl across the dirt—magnifying glass in hand.