Insects have inspired fear, fascination, and enlightenment for centuries. They are capable of incredibly complex behaviour, even with brains often the size of a poppy seed. How do they accomplish feats that look like human activity – personality, language, and childcare – with completely different pathways from our own? What is going on inside the mind of those ants that march like boot-camp graduates across your kitchen floor? How does the lead ant know exactly where to take his colony, to that one breadcrumb that your nightly sweep missed? Can insects be taught new skills as easily as your new puppy?
Marlene Zuk is a professor of biology at the University of California, Riverside, where she studies behavior in a variety of animals. She has written articles for numerous publications including the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.
"Sex on Six Legs waxes exuberant [on insects] over nine consistently delightful chapters [...] [Zuk is] wry, mischievous and conversational. The book can be unsettling at times, but it persistently aroused in this reviewer a wriggling, six-legs-up delight.
– New York Times Book Review
Smart, engaging [...] Zuk approaches her subject with such humor and enthusiasm for the intricacies of insect life, even bug-phobes will relish her account."
– Publishers Weekly, starred
" [...] one of the most readable books about insect behavior [...] Zuk has the uncanny ability to take what most of us consider just plain creepy and turn it into the fascinating and the revelatory."
"A global sampling of the clever lives and loves of our six-legged friends. Zuk's chapters, particularly on social insects, are rich in examples [...] Plenty of intriguing questions to ponder as Zuk informs adults in a droll style that may also turn on younger readers. After all, entomology is still a field that can begin, as it did for her, with venturing into the yard to collect stuff in a glass jar."
– Kirkus Reviews
"Incest, democracy, tyranny, sexual cannibalism: insects have them all, and more. In Sex on Six Legs, Marlene Zuk gives insects, the animal kingdom's unseen majority, their full, marvelous due."
– Carl Zimmer, author of The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution and A Planet of Viruses