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Planet of the Bugs: Evolution and the Rise of Insects (Paperback)
  • Planet of the Bugs: Evolution and the Rise of Insects (Paperback)
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Planet of the Bugs: Evolution and the Rise of Insects (Paperback)

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£13.00
Paperback 264 Pages / Published: 27/10/2015
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Dinosaurs, however toothy, did not rule the earth-and neither do humans. But what were and are the true potentates of our planet? Insects, says Scott Richard Shaw-millions and millions of insect species. Starting in the shallow oceans of ancient Earth and ending in the far reaches of outer space-where, Shaw proposes, insect-like aliens may have achieved similar preeminence-Planet of the Bugs spins a sweeping account of insects' evolution from humble arthropod ancestors into the bugs we know and love (or fear and hate) today. Leaving no stone unturned, Shaw explores how evolutionary innovations such as small body size, wings, metamorphosis, and parasitic behavior have enabled insects to disperse widely, occupy increasingly narrow niches, and survive global catastrophes in their rise to dominance. Through buggy tales by turns bizarre and comical-from caddisflies that construct portable houses or weave silken aquatic nets to trap floating debris, to parasitic wasp larvae that develop in the blood of host insects and, by storing waste products in their rear ends, are able to postpone defecation until after they emerge-he not only unearths how changes in our planet's geology, flora, and fauna contributed to insects' success, but also how, in return, insects came to shape terrestrial ecosystems and amplify biodiversity. Indeed, in his visits to hyperdiverse rain forests to highlight the current insect extinction crisis, Shaw reaffirms just how crucial these tiny beings are to planetary health and human survival. In this age of honeybee die-offs and bedbugs hitching rides in the spines of library books, Planet of the Bugs charms with humor, affection, and insight into the world's six-legged creatures, revealing an essential importance that resonates across time and space.

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226325750
Number of pages: 264
Weight: 363 g
Dimensions: 226 x 150 x 15 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Shaw's Planet of the Bugs is the most eloquent and passionate book on insects in a generation."--Mark W. Moffett, Smithsonian Institution "author of "Adventures among Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions" "
"A very enjoyable read. Planet of the Bugs is packed full of really great information from a unique 'buggy' perspective and is done with humor and fun."--Dena M. Smith "University of Colorado at Boulder "
"Shaw has been collecting bugs since he was four. Now a professor of entomology at the University of Wyoming, he shares his passion for these creatures and their cosmological significance in Planet of the Bugs. The scope of this work is immense. . . . Packed with intriguing trivia. . . . Shaw boggles the reader with his enthusiasm and expertise, and reveals a playful side. Among his many encyclopedic turns, he waxes philosophical and indulges in metaphor and even humor, resulting in a surprisingly accessible and entertaining read. A love of bugs is not required. Discover: An impassioned view of insect evolution and the awesome implications of bugs for all life on earth."--Julia Jenkins "Shelf Awareness for Readers "
"The 165-million-year-long era when dinosaurs roamed the Earth shouldn't be called the Age of Reptiles. Nor should the era that followed, which extends to the present, be christened the Age of Mammals. Just ask an insect guy. In Planet of the Bugs, Shaw . . . makes a good case that Earth has long been dominated by insects. . . . In a chapter-by-chapter march through time, [he] engagingly chronicles the evolutionary innovations that have rendered insects so successful. . . . Drawing from field studies and the fossil record, Planet of the Bugs is a fascinating look at the rise and proliferation of creatures that shape ecosystems worldwide."--Sid Perkins "Science News "
"Shaw is a masterful guide to insects' intimidating diversity and complicated history. . . . He is particularly effective at dispelling misconceptions, pointing out that, despite what exterminators might suggest, most insects are not pests. . . . Science-minded readers will appreciate how alternative, competing hypotheses are presented for various unresolved questions, like why insects first evolved flight and the causes of mass extinctions. In the end, Planet of the Bugs succeeds as an accessible introduction to the evolutionary history of the organisms that truly dominate our planet. (Hint: It's not us.)."--Scott Solomon, Rice University "Washington Independent Review of Books "
"Shaw, our erudite and passionate guide, makes bugs the star. Give him a few hours and you may briefly escape our species bias. . . . Shaw has . . . done justice to the claim in his title, Planet of the Bugs."--Temma Ehrenfeld "Weekly Standard "
"Speaking of creeping things that creepeth upon the earth, and whirring, buzzing things that zip about in the air, Shaw's Planet of the Bugs is another of the glories of 2014 . . . . The book offers a mixture of great learning, passion, wit, and arrested development. . . . I wish I could flick a switch now and then to see with Shaw's eyes. His book is the next best thing."--John Wilson "First Things "

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