Archive for November, 2006

On one of my anting trips (September, 2006) with Sunil Kumar at Bannerghatta National Park, Bangalore, we found this ant foraging on the ground. Upon further searching we found another worker that was similar, except for the smaller size of the head, to the previously found worker. All characters of these two ants shouted out Camponotus, but we were certain that if this was Camponotus, it was very likely a new species of Camponotus for Southern India. Both the minor and major workers had a distinct golden pubescence, very similar to Camponotus sericeus, but quite unlike sericeus, the head of this particular ant was blood-red in colour. After returning back, I had a close look at the specimen and confirmed that it was indeed Camponotus. Surprisingly, all characters of this ant matched the features of the commonly occuring Golden Backed Ant C. sericeus.

I pulled out Bingham’s book (which incidentally is available online) to learn that a few specimens of C. sericeus from Burma and Srilanka have a blood-red coloured head. So here it is, Camponotus sericeus with a red-blood coloured head, probably the first records of this morph from Southern India.

Just recently I found that this morph is quite common in Northern India, specifically Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat. [8-xi-2007]

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On A Trail With Ants:
A Handbook of the Ants of Peninsular India
Ajay Narendra and Sunil Kumar M

A primer to the life of ants, introducing the reader to the ants of Peninsular India. The book sets a trend in ant studies by enabling the reader to observe and identify ants at home and elsewhere, in a non-intrusive manner. It is suitable for a varied audience, from students, entomologists, naturalists to photographers. Included in the book are more than 150 colour photographs, with almost all ants photographed in the wild for the first time.

A5 size paperback; 208 Pages; 188 Figures.

An excellent book that will please both the amateur and the professional.. Both photographs and keys are very well presented.. (they) make the book reader-friendly. A very important contribution to science in general.. (and) to science in India… The book is timely because it is very much needed. I believe it will the first for very many years.”

Andrew J Beattie, Professor & Director of Commonwealth Key Centre for Biodiversity and Bioresource, Macquarie University, Australia.


“One of the most welcome, natural history titles to have been published last year was the extremely well put together and printed On a Trail With Ants – A Handbook of the Ants of Peninsular India by Ajay Narendra (an expert on the navigational abilities of ants) and Sunil Kumar M. (who has documented the ant diversity of Bangalore). This vital book should be a permanent part of the travel kit of those who escape to wild places and will prove extremely useful to those who seek to identify the ants in their backyards too. The best thing about the book is its simple but very credible text and the fact that it concentrates on the ants of India. The last, truly comprehensive book was a volume in the Fauna of British India published way back in 1903!” Read on

Bittu Sahgal, Sanctuary Asia

“‘Red, black, big and small’. Well, those were all that Ajay Narendra and Sunil Kumar M. knew about ants before they began their tryst with the tiny critters. Their work till date has yielded the first comprehensive field guide to ants in South India, On A Trail With Ants — A Handbook Of The Ants Of Peninsular India. Don’t be put off by the mention of the field guide though. This book is a unique effort that brings hard scientific research within the grasp of a normal reader.”

Anand Sankar, The Hindu [December 04, 2006]

for copies contact: antbook.india@gmail.com

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