E O Wilson knows a lot about ants. He's probably the world's expert. I've read a few things he has written but really their astonishing social life is still an enigma to me. An ant is an ant. I'm not going to get too close to study them. But this, on Mt Baw Baw, was a sight - a whole bush covered in winged ants that were moving frantically. Since coming home I've read (Australian Insects: a natural history by Bert Brunet) that 'during summer winged male and female ants, called alates, leave the nest and swarm in nuptial flights, after which they shed their wings and establish new colonies'.
Wilson once said that if he had his life over again he would study microbes (or some such thing), the minute life of the soil. At least they don't bite.