The Superorganism

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Bert Hölldobler, the Foundation Professor at Arizona State University and the recipient of numerous awards,
including the Pulitzer Prize and the Leibniz Prize, divides his time between Arizona and Germany. E.O. Wilson, a Harvard professor for nearly five decades, is the recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes and the National Medal of Science.

The Superorganism
The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies
Bert Hölldobler and E.O. Wilson

Based on remarkable research, eighteen years after the publication of The Ants, this new volume expands our knowledge of social insects (among them, ants, bees, wasps and termites). Superorganisms—tightly knit colonies of individuals, formed by altruistic co-operation, complex communication and division of labour— represent one of the basic stages of biological organisation, midway between the organism and the species. As the authors demonstrate, the study of the superorganism has led to important advances in our understanding of how the transitions between such levels have occurred in evolution and how life has progressed from simple to complex forms. Visually spectacular, The Superorganism provides a deep look into a part of the living world hitherto glimpsed by only a few.

"A landmark book documents how social insects form highly successful colonies that mimic a single organism..."

"The mountain of footnotes alone make this book the perfect reference for any student or professional eager to grapple with the body of research on social insects...But lay readers with an appetite for detail will find that most of the book speaks to them, too, thanks to the usually graceful prose of the Pulitzer prize-winning duo."
New Scientist

"...this book is truely fascinating."

"...a book that is gripping and informative."

"...the writing is lucid and entertaining, and the subject matter is gripping."
BBC Wildlife

"...a monumental study of social evolution."
Church Times

"As one might expect from two such Masters of their craft not only is the text engrossing but the illustrations and photographs make the book, as an object in itself, beautiful."

"...the quality of writing and subject matter means that it is never less than a fascinating and highly informative read."
School Science Review

January 2009 • £35.00 • ISBN 978 0 393 06704 0 • 576pp • 202 x 254mm • 110 colour, 100 black-and-white illustrations