Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects

Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson, trans. from the Norwegian by Lucy Moffatt. Simon & Schuster, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-1-9821-1287-5
Conservation biologist Sverdrup-Thygeson exudes an infectious enthusiasm for all things entomological in this curiosity-provoking primer. She presents a series of short, mostly self-contained, accounts of insect behavior, often emphasizing their connection to the larger world, grouped into such chapters as “Six-Legged Sex: Dating, Mating and Parenting,” “Eat or Be Eaten: Insects in the Food Chain,” and “From Silk to Shellac: Industries of Insects.” Moffatt’s translation readily conveys Sverdrup-Thygeson’s enjoyment of her subject, with playful and evocative descriptions and an amused tone—the long, bundled-up sperm of the male Drosophila bifurca fruit fly, at full length “20 times as long as the creature itself,” resembles “what happens when the kids make dinner and forget to put enough water into the spaghetti pan.” Stressing the sheer number of different insect species, she observes that entomologists have named newly discovered ones after pop music stars (the Beyoncé horsefly), and Harry Potter characters (the Ampulex dementor wasp). A short final chapter explicitly about conservation raises concerns while still maintaining a light touch. Sverdrup-Thygeson’s unforced humor and ability to quickly highlight salient information makes this a perfect selection for science-loving teenage readers as well as adults. (July)
Reviewed on : 05/03/2019
Release date: 07/02/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-5082-9430-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-5082-9432-0
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