Insects through the seasons


Insects through the seasons

Gilbert Waldbauer

Harvard University Press, c1996

  • : hardcover

大学図書館所蔵 件 / 8



Includes bibliographical references (p. [265]-277) and index



They appeared on earth 400 million years ago, long before the first reptile, bird or mammal, and they may well last 400 million more. They make up about 75 per cent of the 1.2 million currently known species of animals and no-one knows how many millions of them have yet to be discovered. As many as 30,000 of them co-exist and interact in one square yard of the top inch of a forest's soil. The success story of insects, unparalleled in evolution or ecology, is the story told in this book. How do these often tiny but indefatigable creatures do it? In a nontechnical style that should appeal to readers young and old, to amateur naturalists as well as curious browsers, Gilbert Waldbauer pursues this question from hot springs to Himalayan slopes, from lightless caves to the Great Salt Lake, from roadsides to forests, scrutinizing insect life in its many manifestations. As we pass through the seasons we learn of the incredible diversity of mechanisms by which insects attract and court their mates, provide for their offspring, satisfy their often highly particular food requirements, and avoid becoming food themselves. We see the sexy side of a mosquito's buzz, the unexpected meaning of a tiger moth's chirp, the antics of a butterfly besotted with fermenting fruit. Scores of insects crawl and creep and flit through these pages, but there is a leading character: the handsome cecropia moth, whose story leads us through the seasons of the year. It becomes a familiar figure, to whose methods of survival we can compare the varied strategies its countless fellow insects have adopted to meet the challenges of living. Strapping as the cecropia with its five-inch wing span or tiny as a mite, the insects in this story are among the most important players in this evolutionary drama that even now is being enacted on the global ecological stage.

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