Cover image for Furtive fauna : a field guide to the creatures who live on you
Furtive fauna : a field guide to the creatures who live on you
Knutson, Roger M., 1933-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Berkeley, Calif. : Ten Speed Press, [1996]

Physical Description:
x, 86 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
General Note:
Originally published: New York, N.Y., U.S.A : Penguin Books, 1992.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QR251 .K56 1996 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Linguists say that one of the first words in the human vocabulary was a word for the common flea. This study looks at bugs which live on the human body, such as the eyebrow mite and the tooth amoeba. It also investigates the elaborate sex life of the common flea.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Dare you to read this book and not scratch at least once. Sure, you're real tough, and knowing that some hairy-legged, bug-eyed critter is scampering around on your eye lashes isn't going to bother you. Those fleas and mites all around and on you don't annoy you, either. And no itty-bitty animal can make you scratch your leg even though, under an electron microscope, that critter has HUGE jaws oozing, simply oozing, insect spit and is likely--right now!--to be chewing hunks of your dried skin or licking some delicious Homo sapiens oil off or out of your body. (Your leg doesn't itch, does it?) This book will make you aware that, besides hosting such "visitors" as mosquitoes, lice, ticks, etc., you are home and food (!) to all sorts of creepy, crawly mites, amoebas, dermatophytes, etc., and you can't finally get rid of any of them. Just think: you're covered from head to toe with all sorts of . . . THINGS, until the day you die! And then come the maggots! Pleasant dreams. ~--Jon Kartman

Publisher's Weekly Review

The author of the weirdly hilarious Flattened Fauna --a field guide to the common animals often bulldozed on highways by cars and trucks that has sold more than 125,000 copies--here casts his inquisitive eye closer to home to examine ectoparasites, little ``friends'' who live on the outer surfaces of our bodies. These range from female mosquitos (who stop by for a quick meal) to tooth amoebas (permanent and apparently harmless residents who subsist on stray bits of organic matter in our mouths). We're even introduced to flea researchers, who ``feed their own fleas in little cages strapped to their ankles,'' a practice that minimizes the appeal of that career option. Knutson's lively descriptions of flies, chiggers, bedbugs, fungi and so on will most interest junior-high boys; adults may find the humor wears thin. Readers of all ages, however, can discover some useful tidbits (for example, if you spot a tick, use tweezers to get rid of it promptly) or at least learn humility from the fact that a maggot thinks a human looks pretty much like a dead animal or a piece of dung. Illustrations not seen by PW . Author tour. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved