Long Awaited: The Insects
"The gold standard of entomology textbooks" will be available in the United States beginning in early March but publisher Wiley-Blackwell has already released it in the United Kingdom.
The 584-page textbook offers a comprehensive insight into the wonderful world of insects. Well, some are wonderful! Your favorites--honey bees and ladybugs--are in there, along with the nasty pests such as those blood-sucking mosquitoes and sand flies, insects that transmit diseases.
"Much of the book is organized around major biological themes - living on the ground, in water, on plants, in colonies, and as predators, parasites/parasitoids and prey,” the publisher says.Gullan and Cranston, both systematic entomologists, teach and research insect identification, distribution, evolution and ecology.
(How do you say "bug" in Italian? In Mandarin Chinese? In Portuguese?)
Since the third edition came out five years ago, the authors have been busily updating it. In keeping with today's technology, they've added an accompanying Web site with downloadable illustrations and links to video clips.
Updates include the Africanized honey bee and colony collapse disorder in the sphere of the apiary; the use of bed nets and the resurgence of bed bugs; dengue fever and West Nile virus in relation to human health; and case studies in emergent plant pests, including the emerald ash borer that is destroying North American landscape trees. Artist Karina H. McInnes has added new drawings.
Writer Abigail Tucker mentioned the Gullan-Cranston textbook in her "Bugs, Brains and Trivia" article in the Smithsonian (Nov. 17, 2008), featuring the Linnaean Games, a national insect trivia contest conducted at the Entomological Society of America meeting. In the Linnaean Games, teams of entomology students vie for top honors in a college-bowl-like competition.
It's much more popular in the scientific community than the TV show, "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader."It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of the Linnaean Games, just as it is easy to be fascinated by the millions of insects that are all around us.