You may think a book with a title like The Encyclopedia of Land Invertebrate Behaviour
would be soporifically dry, but nothing is further from the truth. Open up to any page and the color photography, sterling prose, and astounding variety of nature's idiosyncrasies will snare you. Take the hangingflies (Bittacidae
), for example. Their courtship is fascinating. A male presents a female with an insect as a nuptial gift--the larger the gift, the longer time the female will schedule for copulation. Pictured is a hangingfly, presumably with big lovemaking plans in mind, presenting a large, plump insect to his hangingfly mate. The encyclopedia covers sexual, egg-laying, parental, feeding, and defensive behaviors for spiders, scorpions, and slugs (the photo of Roman snails in midcourtship dance is truly remarkable), ticks, centipedes, woodlice, and a variety of insects; it succeeds as a stunning work of scholarship (suitable for the shelves of biologists and students) and an addictive introduction for the invertebrate ignoramus. --Stephanie Gold
"This book is the ideal reference to go to either before
a collecting expedition, or a source of information about the creatures one has either collected or photographed after
an expedition. It is doubly valuable because of the high standard of authenticity met by every photograph The curious naturalist will be rewarded with clear and engaging descriptions of a wide range of behaviors, including sexual behaviors, which in this group are endless in their themes and variations. As noted by Cole Porter in another context, birds, bees, and even educated fleas do it; if you want to know how birds to it, there are already lots of books available, but if your tastes run to insects, I heartily recommend this book."
—Ronald R. Hoy
, Professor, Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University