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Revista Colombiana de Entomología

Print version ISSN 0120-0488

Rev. Colomb. Entomol. vol.32 no.1 Bogotá Jan./June 2006

 

Reseñas de libros

 

Víctor H. Gonzalez

Natural History Museum and Entomology Program, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Snow Hall, 1460 Jayhawk Blvd. University of Kansas Lawrence, Kansas 66045-7523


Introducción a las hormigas de la región neotropical [Introduction to the ants of the neotropical region]. Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, Bogotá, Colombia. Fernandez, F (ed.) 2003. XXVI+ 398 pp. US $ 20 (Pa-perback). ISBN 958-8151-23-6. Available at: mprudas@humboldt.org.co

Fernando Fernandez, the editor, has made a marvelous effort to produce this high quality, inexpensive, comprehen-sive and well illustrated Spanish book that provides an overview of the neotro-pical ants from a world-wide perspec-tive. The book is divided into 28 chapters, which are organized in six sections. There are more than 400 line drawing figures; some of them in chapter 15, however, are poor in quality. Widely known ant specialists, including E. O. Wilson, B. Bolton, and P.S. Ward, wrote some of the chapters. The first two sec-tions treat the biology and current pro-posals on systematics, and biogeography of ants. Section three offers sampling protocols for use in field and data analy-

sis for ecological and habitat monitor-ing studies. Likewise, this section re-views the practical procedures to start and manage an ant collection. Two chap-ters are dedicated to the economic im-portance of ants as plague or pests in rural and urban ecosystems. The remai-ning sections provide a synopsis of Neotropical genera, including their di-agnoses, distributions, biology and taxo-nomic revisions, as well as an updated checklist of all extant and fossil genera of the world, including the known Neotropical species and subspecies. However, Bolton’s (2003) recent synop-sis should be consulted to update some changes for the subfamilies and genera. Finally, the two annexes provide an ex-planation of the protocol ALL to sample ground-dwelling ants and a useful list of entomological museums with major col-lections of ants in the Americas, and type depository collections of ants in the world. In addition, widely used abbrevia-tions of the museums in the scientific lit-erature as well as contact e-mails and website addresses are include in the list.

The book is not designed as a field guide. In fact, its large size (about 21 cm x 28 cm) could make it difficult to use in the field. Nonetheless, this book will soon become an obligate textbook for young scientists and graduate students, not only for those whose interests are primarily Neotropical ants but also for any tropical biologist. The low price, high quality of the information and presentation, and its worldwide perspective, also makes this book of broad interest for everyone.

Literature Cited

BOLTON, B. 2003. Synopsis and classifica-tion of Formicidae. Memoirs of the Ameri-can Entomological Institute 71:1-370        [ Links ]

HÖLLDOBLER, B. and E. O. WILSON. 1990. The Ants. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. 732 p.        [ Links ]

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