Bug Expert's Latest Books Feature Simple Language, Vivid Photos

ivid photography by Edward S. Ross, a retired entomologist of the California Academy of Sciences, and a foreword by May Berenbaum, head of the U. of I. entomology department.

"The Birder's Bug Book" contains photographs by James Sternburg, a professor emeritus at the U. of I., and drawings by James Nardi, a U. of I. research scientist. It contains a guide to help birders recognize different orders of insects, and it focuses on such topics as "Bugs That Birds Eat," "The Bugs Fight Back," "The Birds Fight Back " and "Bugs That Eat Birds."

European starlings, for example, add foliage with insecticide-like qualities to their nests. Nests without the foliage averaged 500,000 tiny blood-sucking mites; those with it averaged 11,000. In South America, birds must be wary of the Goliath bird-eating spider, which is shown, in action, in full color.

In his final chapter, "Disappearing Diversity," Waldbauer writes that we have entered a "sixth period of mass extinction that may well exceed the others in magnitude, this one caused not by a physical catastrophe but rather by an ecological catastrophe, the actions of an exceptionally destructive member of the worldwide fauna." He is, of course, referring to the human being.


Contact: Jim Barlow
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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