The Science Times Book of Insects

ISBN 13: 9781558217027

The Science Times Book of Insects

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9781558217027: The Science Times Book of Insects

The best nature writing from The Times on the fascinating lives of Earth's most tenacious creatures.

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Review:

In the estimation of former New York Times science editor Nick Wade, the life span of a newspaper article is typically shorter than the life expectancy of your average bug. Hoping to do right by both of these often misunderstood and underappreciated creations--both science reportage and bugs (insects, for the most part, with a few arachnids thrown in for good measure)--Wade has collected 48 articulate, approachable, and densely informative articles that appeared in his newspaper's Science Times section, everything from "Cicadas: They're Back!" to "Spanish Fly Works, at Least for Fire-Colored Beetles."

Surely deserving of a lifetime achievement award for global domination, the class Insecta (and its eight-legged arachnid brethren) has doggedly proliferated into nearly every ecological niche imaginable, spawning some 15 million to 30 million species and accumulating a biomass that--in the United States alone--outweighs humans by a factor of 50. Broken down into loose thematic sections like "Rituals of Insect Courtship" and "Attack and Defense," the well-written, scientifically rigorous series tackles a broad range of creepy-crawly topics, with forays into both the ooh-ahh ("Serenade of Color Woos Pollinators to Flowers") and the eww-gross ("An Elusive Moth with a 15-Inch Tongue Should Be Out There.") Fun and often fascinating reading for anyone so inclined, the book is easy to pick up and put down. (Includes all illustrations originally published with articles.) --Paul Hughes

From the Back Cover:

Insects have inhabited the earth for three hundred million years. Over the course of evolution, they have radiated into tens of millions of species and adapted to every extremity of the planet, from the sands of the Sahara to the frozen wasteland of Antarctica.The Science Times Book of Insects gathers forty-eight articles, by award-winning New York Times journalists, about the most tenacious of all living things - insects and their cousins, arachnids: Witness the 2,500-mile migration of the monarch butterfly, which somehow transfers the map of home to offspring, who complete the journey homeward that their ancestors began. And the sex lives of insects are an unending source of mystery. Courtship among these creatures can be a violent affair, especially for the male redback spider: He slowly somersaults while mating into a position that makes it easier for the female to consume him.Although pesky mosquitoes and cockroaches have given invertebrates a bad name, the world would be an inhospitable place without them. Industrious manure-craving dung beetles recycle waste; mites help decompose the soil, enabling plants to grow; and searcher beetles prey on harmful crop-destroying caterpillars.For more than twenty years, the Science Times section of The Times has brought readers fascinating stories from the natural world, making the latest scientific discoveries accessible to the layperson. The Science Times Book of Insects will enthrall naturalists, amateur entomologists, and nature lovers everywhere. (71/4 X 91/2, 260 pages, illustrations)

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Published by The Lyons Press (1998)
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