- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (August 2, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 015101373X
- ISBN-13: 978-0151013739
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 29 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #637,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sex on Six Legs: Lessons on Life, Love, and Language from the Insect World 1st Edition
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Sex on Six Legs "waxes exuberant [on insects] over nine consistently delightful chapters... [Zuk is] wry, mischievous and conversational. The book can be unsettling at times, but it persistently aroused in this reviewer a wriggling, six-legs-up delight."
--New York Times Book Review
"Smart, engaging...Zuk approaches her subject with such humor and enthusiasm for the intricacies of insect life, even bug-phobes will relish her account."
- Publishers Weekly, starred
-Booklist"A global sampling of the clever lives and loves of our six-legged friends. Zuk's chapters, particularly on social insects, are rich in examples... Plenty of intriguing questions to ponder as Zuk informs adults in a droll style that may also turn on younger readers. After all, entomology is still a field that can begin, as it did for her, with venturing into the yard to collect stuff in a glass jar."
-Kirkus Reviews"Incest, democracy, tyranny, sexual cannibalism: insects have them all, and more. In Sex on Six Legs, Marlene Zuk gives insects, the animal kingdom's unseen majority, their full, marvelous due."
-Carl Zimmer, author of The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution and A Planet of Viruses
From the Inside Flap
Insects are capable of incredibly complex behavior, despite having brains often the size of a poppy seed. How do they accomplish feats that look like human activity—expressing personality, using language, nurturing their offspring—via completely different pathways from our own? What if anything, might our own large brains might be for, if the world’s smallest animals seem equally adept at performing complex tasks?
Sex on Six Legs is a startling and exciting book that provides answers to these questions and many more. Zuk, a writer praised as “thought-provoking and sublimely witty” (The Boston Globe), uses her decades of research on insects to illuminate the unheralded capabilities of a variety of astoundingly accomplished species. She offers us a glimpse of the parenting techniques of the earwig, a thorough examination of the high-stakes world of ant warfare, and the intriguing possibilities of personality in wasps.
Gracefully written, deeply learned, and wonderfully eye-opening, Sex on Six Legs opens a window on the fascinating, weird world populated by the innumerable insects around us.
Top customer reviews
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Like many pop science books, the organization is a little haphazard - the primary focus is on ease of reading, so it's not arranged as clearly as textbooks or reference books are. I also thought the book could benefit from some diagrams, especially when talking about the sex-determination system: a picture would have helped me understand why exactly a worker bee is more closely related to her sisters than to her own potential offspring.
Overall though, this was a fun and educational book, a great example of the pop science category.
I was hoping this book would fit into that category, but it just didn't work. I mean, sometimes a title can really sell a book, for example Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime: The Oceans' Oddest Creatures and Why They Matter, and I think the publishers were going for a similar sex-appeal type sales pitch here. Alas, the book, though adequate is certainly not outstanding.
So, what's my main beef with the book, i.e., why only 3 stars? The author, IMO, tried to be way too "cutsie" with the book and chapter titles, but the text and prose, though adequate is, well, only adequate. Too much "cute" and too little meat. Granted, there is some good info here, but nothing really earth shaking, and nothing too memorable.
It's a good effort, but not outstanding.
That's my 2-cent's worth.
I hope this was helpful.