CHAPTER 11 – CONCLUSION | TERMITES | EXTINCTION
There are many works on the nests of the leaf-cutter ants, including the comprehensive work by Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson, The Leafcutter Ants: Civilization by Instinct (New York: W.W. Norton, 2011).
A fascinating documentary featuring Bert Hölldobler called “Ants: Nature’s Secret Power” contains impressive footage of the excavation of a large leaf-cutter mound and is available in its entirety on YouTube. The Hölldobler quote in this chapter comes from this documentary.
The biologists working on the Brazil site mentioned in this chapter include Aldenise A. Moreira and Luiz Carlos Forti. Of the several articles they published on their findings with numerous colleagues, the following article was primarily used: Aldenise Moreira, Luiz Carlos Forti, Ana Paula Andrade, Maria Aparecida Boaretto, and Juliane Lopes, “Nest Architecture of Atta laevigata (F. Smith, 1858) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae),” Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment 39, no. 2 (2004): 109–116.
Termites are very similar to ants in many respects. References used in this section include these five: (1) Eric E. Porter and Bradford A. Hawkins, “Latitudinal Gradients in Colony Size for Social Insects: Termites and Ants Show Different Patterns,” The American Naturalist 157, no. 1 (January 2001): 97–106; (2) J. M. Dangerfield, T. S. McCarthy, and W. N. Ellergy, “The Mound-Building Termite Macrotermes michaelseni as an Ecosystem Engineer,” Journal of Tropical Ecology, 14 (1998): 507–520; (3) Dini M. Miller, “Subterranean Termite Biology and Behavior,” Virginia Cooperative Extension, Publication 444–502 (2010); (4) Ulrich G. Muller, Nicole M. Gerrardo, Duur K. Aanen, Diana L. Six, and Ted R. Schultz, “The Evolution of Agriculture in Insects,” Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics (2005): 563–595; and (5) Roger E. Gold, Harry N. Howell Jr., Grady J. Glenn, and Kimberly M. Engler, “Subterranean Termites,” Texas A&M System AgriLife Extension E-Publication, December 2005.
You can see pictures of, and obtain more information about, the incredible Eastgate Centre at the architect’s website.
This section references Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives—How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2009) by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler.
The essay “I, Pencil” by Leonard Read was originally published in the December 1958 issue of The Freeman. Today you can read it online.
The Matt Ridley quote is from yet another great TED talk, “When Ideas Have Sex.” It was given at the TEDGlobal 2010 Conference.
Many animals are “social,” but very few are “eusocial,” including humans, ants, and termites. Biologists have divided animals into various social levels including presocial, subsocial, parasocial (which can include communal, quasisocial, and semisocial animals), and eusocial, which is the highest level of sociality.
Mark Moffett’s quote about the similarities between humans and ant colonies is from
Jennifer Viegas’s article, “Human Societies Starting to Resemble Ant Colonies” published by Discovery News on May 2, 2012.
Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (New York: Penguin, 2006) is referenced in this section. Additionally, see his essay “The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race,” Discover Magazine, May 1987: 64-66.