How Not To Be Eaten

The Insects Fight Back



Gilbert Waldbauer


University of California Press, 2012


ISBN: 978-0-520-26912-5

When I purchased this book I thought that I could not go wrong. After all, what could be more interesting than reading about the myriad strategies devised by insects to survive predation? To the uninitiated maybe this is not so obvious, but believe me when I say that the insect world can be as strange and unusual as any extraterrestrial planet you could imagine. Unfortunately I encountered a book that is written by an entomologist for entomologists. The arthropods described in the book are all named using both their common as well as their scientific names, but only an expert or insect enthusiast would be able to recognize them. To make things even more daunting, the book makes minimal use of pictures or photographs, and when it does, they appear to be arbitrary. For every picture I saw I found myself wishing they had included a different one. To boot, all the pictures are monochromatic, which contrasts starkly with the vividly colorful descriptions of insect warfare and defense in the text. Although expertly written and easy to read, I would caution the naïve reader to have a smart phone or tablet handy so that they can look up the insects mentioned and get the most out of this book.