Smithsonian Handbook of Interesting Insects


Product Details

$19.95  $18.55
Smithsonian Books
Publish Date
6.1 X 7.1 X 1.1 inches | 1.5 pounds

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About the Author

BLANCA HUERTAS is the Senior Curator of Lepidoptera at the Natural History Museum, London. GAVIN BROAD is the Principal Curator of Insects at the Natural History Museum, London.


"Curators from the Natural History Museum in London present a fascinating gallery of insects in this richly photographed work. [...] It is rewarding just to peer at the handsome photographs and to discover, for instance, that the Goliath beetle resembles an Art Nouveau brooch, or that the leaf beetle is downright cute. The text accompanying each photograph is rarely longer than five sentences and offers facts about, among other topics, distribution (the ubiquitous stink bug is "almost cosmopolitan" in its dispersion around the world) and size (the Atlas moth sports a 10-inch to 12-inch wingspan), as well as humor (lantern bugs are "supposed to taste like bacon, " according to aficionados in Madagascar). [...] this book of little creatures will be a welcome arrival for amateur entomologists."


Broad (Natural History Museum, London) draws on the collections of his home institution for the featured insects. Between the single-page introduction and the final page of the book are vignettes of some 100 insect species, each one represented by a stunning photograph of the adult form. Text on each facing page provides the common and scientific names, distribution, and size along with pithy yet authoritative remarks, thoughtfully edited to provide an interesting profile unique to that species. The two-page layout devoted to each species allows for succinct presentation that is distinctive for every species included. The arrangement of species appears eclectic: whether influenced by pure whimsy, the status of contributing author(s), or the overall design of the volume remains obscure. This nevertheless provides for a surprise with every turn of the page. The book's intent is to celebrate the existence of the intriguing and attractive insects with whom we share this planet, broadening readers' understanding of nature. This approach will surely whet the appetite of the budding naturalist, while also informing general readers unfamiliar with particular species. The book would be delightful to find on a coffee table or in a waiting room, as a source of edifying facts for consumption in just a few minutes.
--M. K. Harris, emeritus, Texas A&M University

Summing Up: Recommended. All readers.