Cover image for Insect lives : stories of mystery and romance from a hidden world
Insect lives : stories of mystery and romance from a hidden world
Hoyt, Erich.
Publication Information:
New York : Wiley, [1999]

Physical Description:
viii, 360 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes indexes.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL463 .I7224 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
QL463 .I7224 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A Wonderful Journey into the Insect World through Literature,Science, Art, and Popular Culture Aristotle on metamorphosis
* Alfred Russel Wallace on the rare butterflies of the MalayArchipelago
* Jean-Henri Fabre on the art of the dung beetle
* Dave Barry on naming the U.S. Official National Insect
* Charles Darwin on seagoing insects
* William Beebe on an army ant invasion
* Kevin Kelly on bee and human swarming
* Jonathan Schell on postnuclear insect survival
* Gary Larson on when insects take over
* May Berenbaum on maggots and murderers
* Henry David Thoreau on race wars among the ants
* Thomas Eisner on stealth bugs
* David George Gordon on appreciating the lowly cockroach
* Maurice Maeterlinck on the queen-bee s wedding
* Edward O. Wilson on insect societies

plus many other essays, illustrations, cartoons, screenplays,poems, recipes, tales, and observations on insect life.

Author Notes

ERICH HOYT has written for National Geographic and the New York Times. He is the author of ten books, including The Earth Dwellers: Adventures in the Land of Ants. TED SCHULTZ, Ph.D., is an entomologist at the Smithsonian Institution and a former editor of Whole Earth Review.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The lowly insect inspires some elevated writing, cartoons, and satire, and the occasional monster movie, among which this anthology trolls for the wonder, whimsy, and "icky" with which people regard the six-legged world. For example, the Journal of the Entomological Society may not be famed as a hotbed of humor, but it once published a mordant paper ostensibly on the strength of bee stings as reported by human subjects, one in particular--the paper's author. Those kooky scientists--a bunch of knee-slappers! They must be a little giggly to run experiments on the gait of cockroaches or the scavenging of dung beetles, yet it is well established that insects have carved out durable, critical niches in the biological system. From Aristotle to Charles Darwin to E. O. Wilson, plus dozens of lesser-known biologists, the editors have drawn out the aesthetic rewards of watching the life of a garden or the flight of a monarch butterfly. An eclectic collection with surprises in every excerpt. --Gilbert Taylor

Library Journal Review

The editors of this anthology, by their own admission, have gathered here an eclectic assortment of pieces about insects and how we humans have perceived them through the ages. Hoyt is a writer whose previous works include a book about ants, The Earth Dwellers; Schultz is an entomologist at the Smithsonian Institution. The selections for this volume come from Aristotle, Charles Darwin, William Wordsworth, the Bible, contemporary entomologists such as Edward O. Wilson, and dozens of other sources. The editors have arranged the material into ten chapters on themes dealing with insects both praised and reviled, insect societies, mating, metamorphosis, behavior, and more. The book is well suited for browsing, with many illustrations, relatively short entries, and a wide variety of topics and writing styles. Introductions precede each selection and add to the overall enjoyment of the book. Insect Lives simultaneously informs and entertains; recommended for popular natural history collections.ÄWilliam H. Wiese, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Many have seen the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series (New York Times)--collections of short stories aimed at particular audiences. Insect Lives may be thought of as "Chicken Soup" for those interested in insects. Nature writer Hoyt and Smithsonian entomologist Schultz have put together more than 70 selections by famous entomologists, naturalists, and others. One may pick up this book and flip to any article of interest. Some examples will serve to illustrate the diversity of these readings: Alfred Russel Wallace's "So Great the Excitement," William Wordsworth's "To a Butterfly," Jean-Henri Fabre's "The Sacred Beetle," George Shaefer's "The Ways of a Mud Dauber," "Manna from Heaven" from the Bible, W.J. Holland's "Sugaring for Moths," "Death-Watch Beetles and the Flypaper Sellers of London," by Frank Cowan, Roger Swain's "Bee Bites," "Of Maggots and Murderers," by May Berenbaum, Charles Darwin's "Insects at Sea," "The Insect Societies," by E.O. Wilson, "More Flies at Teatime," by V.G. Dethier, "Caddisfly Houses and Net Traps," by Bend Heinrich, "Bee Cells," by Karl von Frisch, "The Synchronous Flashing of Fireflies," by John and Elizabeth Buck, John Alcock's "How to Win Mates and Influence Enemies," Aristotle's "Of Eggs, Grubs, Nymphs, and Wings," and so forth. Illustrations and cartoons. A delightful collection, recommended highly. All levels. R. C. Graves; Bowling Green State University

Table of Contents

Wonders of Creation: Insects Praised
Plagues of Vermin: Insects Reviled
To Conquer the Earth: Insects Take Over
A Cast of Millions on a Fantastic Journey: Mass Movement
The Superorganism: Social Insects
Insect Architecture
Go Forth and Multiply: Mating and Reproduction
Symbioses and Mimicry
Lives under the Microscope: Insect Behavior