the Ants Cometh

And what would a science collective (even a small one) be without some mention of some of the most numerous and biologically fascinating creatures on earth - the ants!

For the sake of full disclosure, I should mention I am actually an ant biologist, and it is perhaps for this reason I've held off including them here for fear of showing any favoritism towards these marvels of the insect world...

But the time finally has come for a post because a couple excellent ant zines have become a part of our collection and it seems a shame not to share. I guess you could say I was getting "ansty" about it (ouch, a painful pun).

Our myrmecological journey starts with a densely and beautifully illustrated comic zine called Army Ants! - by Lale Westvind. Lale brings us through the jungle up front and (frighteningly) close with the trail of a nomadic army ant colony of the species Eciton burchelli, and the complex ecology they are a part of.

Of course no mention of army ants would be complete without mentioning the work of Mark Moffett, whose documentation of these ants (photos and essays) is simply unmatched. You've likely sen his photographs in National Geographic on a variety of bio-diverse topics, but he also is a big Ant Fan.

Lale's account in her zine of their fierceness is not hyperbole - in coming across a colony of these guys in Panama I learned the hard (and sharp) way just how effective their mandibles are in grabbing flesh; this pictures shows the moment before it sunk its teeth into me!

- - To download the zines printable and foldable PDF, click here.

- - Click the image below here to read it online as a web comic:

Continuing on with our foray into the ant world is also a fascinating zine by Joe Song called Awesome Attributes About Ants.

Here in just this one panel (at the right) he details some part of the multi-species symbiosis that Fungus Farming Ants are involved in. Indeed, you may know these guys as "Leaf-Cutter Ants" as well, for leaves are part of the intricate web of interactions they play a role within.

This wonderful video clip for the PBS Evolution series explains it all, and much more. In fact this zine discusses Trapdoor Ants, Slave-Making Ants, Sugar Ants, Weaver Ants, and give us even more information on the Army Ants too.

- - To read the whole comic online, click on the image below:

Finally, there has been an ant zine in our library for quite some time (in fact it was the first one ever done as part of the SSC project!).

That one you can download to read and/or print by clicking here.