404 pages, 12 b/w photos, 31 b/w illustrations, 1 table
As we follow the path of a giant water bug or peer over the wing of a gypsy moth, we glimpse our world anew, at once shrunk and magnified. Owing to their size alone, insects' experience of the world is radically different from ours. Air to them is as viscous as water to us. The predicament of size, along with the dizzying diversity of insects and their status as arguably the most successful organisms on earth, have inspired passion and eloquence in some of the world's most innovative scientists. A World of Insects showcases classic works on insect behavior, physiology, and ecology published over half a century by Harvard University Press.
James Costa, Vincent Dethier, Thomas Eisner, Lee Goff, Bernd Heinrich, Bert Holldobler, Kenneth Roeder, Andrew Ross, Thomas Seeley, Karl von Frisch, Gilbert Waldbauer, E. O. Wilson, and Mark Winston – each writer, in his unique voice, paints a close-up portrait of the ways insects explore their environment, outmaneuver their enemies, mate, and care for kin.
Selected by two world-class entomologists, these essays offer compelling descriptions of insect cooperation and warfare, the search for ancient insect DNA in amber, and the energy economics of hot-blooded insects. They also discuss the impact – for good and ill – of insects on our food supply, their role in crime scene investigation, and the popular fascination with pheromones, killer bees, and fire ants. Each entry begins with commentary on the authors, their topics, and the latest research in the field.
"The editors have gathered some of the finest and most entertaining entomological writing I've ever read."
– Amy Stewart, The Washington Post
"This illustrative overview of the insect world will be helpful and motivating to students interested in biology/entomology as well as lay readers."
– J.M. Gonzalez, Choice
"This broad overview of insect studies is sure to delight, inspire, and enlighten college-level biology students and interested lay readers."
– Annette Aiello, Library Journal
Introduction / Ring T. Cardé and Vincent H. Resh
1. The Fascination of Studying Insects: Bert Holldobler and Edward O. Wilson
2. Insects and the Human Food Supply: Mark Winston
3. Population and Pests: Mark Winston
4. Insect Societies: Bert Holldobler and Edward O. Wilson
5. Location is Everything: Thomas Seeley
6. Insects and the Human Condition: Gilbert Waldbauer
7. War and Insects: Bert Holldobler and E.O. Wilson
8. Insect Terror: Mark Winston
9. The Birds and the Mosquitoes: Gilbert Waldbauer
10. Water Babies, Risky Behavior, and Sex: Gilbert Waldbauer
11. How Insects "Work": Vincent G. Dethier
12. Hot and Cold Insects: Bernd Heinrich
13. Insect Defenses: Thomas Eisner
14. Love at First Smell: Thomas Eisner
15. Night Creatures: Kenneth D. Roeder
16. More Than Just Jewelry: Andrew Ross
17. Crime Scene Bugs: M. Lee Goff
18. Monarchs and Movement: Gilbert Waldbauer
19. Insects and The Dismal Science: Bernd Heinrich
20. Questions of Paternity, Reversal of Sexual Roles, and Sex Addiction: James T. Costa
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Ring T. Cardé is Distinguished Professor and A.M. Boyce Chair in the Department of Entomology at the University of California, Riverside.
Vincent Resh is Professor of Entomology at the University of California, Berkeley.