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Australian Ants

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Australian Ants

Their Biology and Identification

Monographs on Invertebrate Taxonomy Series 3

S Shattuck   CSIRO Entomology

256 pages
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing

This book is no longer available in print.

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Ants are one of the most influential elements in Australian ecosystems, having a major impact on plant growth and reproduction, and soil structure. They act as predators and competitors of other arthropods, and are an important food source for other animals.

The book provides details on separating genera from those which are superficially similar and those which are commonly confused. The distribution, habitat preferences and general biologies of each genus are discussed, and there is an introduction to the more important research papers investigating each group.


  • Only complete listing of the entire Australian ant genera
  • Covers 103 genera, including 3 undescribed genera
  • Includes Keys to identifying genera
  • Contains a glossary naming the important parts of an ant's body
  • Lists the names of all known Australian ant species
  • Scanning electron micrographs are included for all but two of the genera (one of those omitted is known from only a single specimen while the other is known from only two specimens
  • Details of the nests, foraging habitat preferences of each genus

Ants in Australia
Life in an Ant Colony
The Life Cycle
Ants as Pests
Ants and Environmental Monitoring
Terms Used in the Keys and Descriptions
Collecting Methods
Specimen Preparation
Additional Reading
Key to the Subfamilies
Key to the Genera of the Subfamily Cerapachyinae
Key to the Genera of the Subfamily Dolichoderinae
Key to the Genera of the Subfamily Formicinae
Key to the Genera of the Subfamily Myrmicinae
Key to the Genera of the Subfamily Ponerinae
Subfamily Aenictinae
Subfamily Cerapachyinae
Subfamily Dolichoderinae
Subfamily Formicinae
Subfamily Leptanillinae
Subfamily Mymeciinae
Subfamily Myrmicinae
Subfamily Nothomyrmeciinae
Subfamily Ponerinae
Subfamily Pseudomyrmecinae

 The information presented will prove of great value to students, biologists and researchers who study ants. Projects such as those investigating the effects of habitat management systems on native flora and fauna, and the monitoring of site recovery after mining or other disturbance, will benefit greatly from this guide. 

 "Australian Ants: Their Biology and Identification is a breakthrough book in the subject, an important contribution both to science and popular natural history. It serves not only as an update of classification and distribution of Australian ants to the generic level, but a field guide that will open the fauna to both professional biologists and naturalists."
Edward O. Wilson, Professor Emeritus, Pellegrino University

"Australian Ants: Their Biology and Identification is another important step toward bringing ants to the centre of biodiversity and conservation research. The systematic layout of the description of each genus and the well documented key will become the new standard."
Donat Agosti (Systematic Entomology, 24)

"I could find no errors in this publication. . . Shattuck has put together a book which will become the standard text for researchers, enthusiasts and students who wish to understand Australian ant diversity."
David R. Britton, University of New England (The Victorian Naturalist, v.116 no.4 1999)

". . .I would recommend that this book be acquired by entomological libraries. . .as it proves useful general information on ant identification and biology and it features an ant fauna that all ant researchers should come to understand. I would like to recommend the book to individual buyers as well but it is very expensive, which is a pity for a book that is so interesting to read and which is aimed at specialist and non-specialist alike."
H.G. Robertson, Life Sciences Division, South African Museum (African Entomology v.7 no.1 1999)

Australian Ants is a great introduction to the diverse and fascinating ant fauna of Australia. It is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the ants of Australia. It is the only book with a complete overview of the entire Australian ant fauna, the first to show the known distribution of all known Australian ant genera, and lists all the described species and subspecies of Australian ants. … The use of scanning electron micrographs for each of the genera not only improves the appearance of the book, but illustrates the rich diversity of these amazing organisms in a way that the line drawings of previous books could not. I highly recommend this book.”
Derek Smith, Australian Museum (Nature Australia Winter 2000)


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