Synopses & Reviews
All animals must eat. But who eats who, and why, or why not? Because insects outnumber and collectively outweigh all other animals combined, they comprise the largest amount of animal food available for potential consumption. How do they avoid being eaten? From masterful disguises to physical and chemical lures and traps, predatory insects have devised ingenious and bizarre methods of finding food. Equally ingenious are the means of hiding, mimicry, escape, and defense waged by prospective prey in order to stay alive. This absorbing book demonstrates that the relationship between the eaten and the eater is a centraland#151;perhaps the centraland#151;aspect of what goes on in the community of organisms. By explaining the many ways in which insects avoid becoming a meal for a predator, and the ways in which predators evade their defensive strategies, Gilbert Waldbauer conveys an essential understanding of the unrelenting coevolutionary forces at work in the world around us.
"In his newest (after Fireflies, Honey, and Silk), Waldbauer delves into the nitty-gritty survival techniques of Nature's less-cuddly creatures. He introduces readers to the basics of insect life in language for the layman, describing the myriad ways in which insects have evolved to evade predators, whether by way of disguises, mimicry, or 'Hiding in Plain Sight.' Waldbauer presents other intriguing bug survival tactics that seem almost unbelievable: a 'species of bombardier beetle... a noxious spray at the temperature of boiling water...from the tip of its abdomen directly in the toad's mouth.' Interesting and occasionally disturbing information is given about what are all-too-often household pests: the familiar 'American cockroach...can tell light from dark even if the eyes on their heads have been covered with black paint.' Though Waldbauer writes about critters many readers would rather ignore, he deftly crafts a pleasurable and fascinating page-turner. But despite the fact that the collective weight of Earth's insects is greater than that of 'all the other animals...combined,' Waldbauer assures us that the earth will not be overrun by the crafty bugs of this book, for the predators have evolved too, and those that can read know that to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Illus. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
and#8220;At times this informative book turns wonderfully gross and lovely, reminding us that thereand#8217;s an entire universe of largely unnoticed creatures all around us.and#8221;
and#8220;For the aspiring entomologist or amateur naturalist, there is much to appreciate in Waldbauerand#8217;s wonderland of astonishing behaviors and colorful creatures. And for the entomologistand#8217;s friends or family who donand#8217;t see whatand#8217;s so great about the hexapod world, this book might be just the ticket. Its vivid stories are sure to inspire a closer attention to the small, everyday dramas playing out on spider webs, on flowers and all around us.and#8221;
and#8220;From burrowing owls that bait dung beetles with lures made from cow manure to the unicorn caterpillar, which sprays would-be attackers with a spritz of acid, the profusion of life in all its forms and finery flies in through the window on biology that Waldbauer opens wide.and#8221;
and#8220;The strengths of the book derive from the authorand#8217;s . . . decades of experience as a keen observer of nature.and#8221;
and#8220;This book is a good source of information for laypeople, young students, and those who have no knowledge of the insect world.and#8221;
and#8220;Readers will certainly come away with . . . appreciation for the ways in which insects use mimicry, deceit and poison to survive.and#8221;
“Fascinating. . . . How Not To Be Eaten is engaging in its descriptive and wide-ranging examples.” J.M. Gonzalez - Choice
and#8220;This absorbing book demonstrates that the relationship between the eaten and the eater is a central -- perhaps the central -- aspect of what goes on in the community of organisms. By explaining the many ways in which insects avoid becoming a meal for a predator, and the ways in which predators evade their defensive strategies, Gilbert Waldbauer conveys an essential understanding of the unrelenting coevolutionary forces at work in the world around us.and#8221;
and#8220;Fascinating. . . . How Not To Be Eaten is engaging in its descriptive and wide-ranging examples.and#8221;
"An entertaining, informative introduction to insect defenses."
About the Author
Gilbert Waldbauer is Professor Emeritus of Entomology at University of Illinois. He is the author of eight books, including Fireflies, Honey, and Silk (UC Press), A Walk around the Pond, and What Good Are Bugs?
Table of Contents
1. Insects in the Web of Life
2. The Eaters of Insects
3. Fleeing and Staying under Cover
4. Hiding in Plain Sight
5. Bird Dropping Mimicry and Other Disguises
6. Flash Colors and Eyespots
7. Safety in Numbers
8. Defensive Weapons and Warning Signals
9. The Predatorsand#8217; Countermeasures
10. Protection by Deception