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A journey into the weird, wonderful and truly astonishing lives of the small but mighty creatures who keep the world turning.
When Charles Darwin declared that the brain of an ant was perhaps more marvellous than the brain of man he had only scratched the surface of how instrumental insects are in explaining the history and the future of the Earth, and humans' existence within in.
Out of sight, underfoot, unseen beyond fleeting scuttles or darting flights, insects occupy a hidden world, yet are essential to sustaining our entire natural landscape. Weird, wonderful, astonishing insects work quietly and tirelessly to complete the eternal and crucial circle of life and death on Earth. Bark beetles throw parties in the fermenting sap; termites cultivate fungi for food; ants farm lice for honey dew; flour beetle larva digest plastic; blowfly larva heal wounds; and all ensure that what is dead is decomposed, ready to become life once again.
But their private lives are also full of fun, intrigue and wonder from musical mating rituals to house hunting for armies of beetle babies, developing flying techniques that inspire the US air force and metamorphosing into entirely new characters. Insects influence our ecosystem like a ripple effect on water. They were here when life first moved to dry land, they preceded and survived the dinosaurs, and they will be here long after us. After reading this extraordinary book you might think again before swatting a fly or squashing an ant.
Please note that this book has been published in the US under the title Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects.
Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson is a professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) in As, Norway, as well as a scientific advisor for The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research NINA. She has a Doctorate degree in conservation biology and lectures on nature management and forest biodiversity. Her research focuses on insect ecology. In addition she has studied history and is interested in outreach activities, runs a science blog and is a regular guest on the popular science radio programme EKKO - Abel's Tower on NRK P2.