Insects live alongside us in great profusion – sometimes even in intimate proximity. Their importance to the ecosystems of our world, and to our own survival, cannot be overstated. But it can be challenging to relate to them as fellow living beings when their bodies’ structure and function are so dramatically different from our own.
This excellent RSPB guide to insect anatomy aims to demystify the way that insects live, from the fine detail of their internal processes to the way they co-exist with all other forms of life. Insects exhibit dizzying diversity across their millions of species. Among them are mighty hunters, voracious plant defoliators, deep divers, high-fliers, master builders and devoted parents. Within the vast nests of honey-bees, ants and termites, we see them come together to form a huge, complex, multifaceted living machine. All this variation and potential has come about through evolved modification of a simple but perfectly elegant body plan.
Each chapter of this book tackles a particular body system or aspect of insect biology, from respiration to digestion, movement to metamorphosis. Using a step-by-step approach, the book breaks down structures and processes and explores the myriad ways these are expressed in different insect groups. Separate pages delve into particular aspects of insect biology and ecology, such as how their colours are formed and the biology behind their remarkable migratory behaviour.
Featuring numerous diagrams and more than 200 colour photos, this user-friendly guide is perfect for anyone interested in learning more about these extraordinary animals that – in terms of numbers, if not size – dominate our planet today.