Life in the undergrowth

by Attenborough, David, 1926-

Format: Print Book 2005
Availability: Available at 3 Libraries 3 of 3 copies
Available (3)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Allegheny Regional Non-Fiction Collection QL362.A88 2005x
Location  CLP - Allegheny Regional
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  QL362.A88 2005x
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction QL362.A88 2005x
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  QL362.A88 2005x
Penn Hills Library Non-Fiction 592 ATT
Location  Penn Hills Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  592 ATT

An insect disguises itself as a flower or leaf. A spider lassoes its prey. A beetle persuades a bee to care for its young. This beautifully illustrated book by veteran naturalist Sir David Attenborough offers a rare glimpse into the secret life of invertebrates, the world's tiniest--and most fascinating--creatures.

Small by virtue of their lack of backbones, this group of living things plays a surprisingly large role in the evolutionary cycle. These diverse creatures (more than one million species are believed to exist) roamed the earth before us and will still be here when we have gone. They are the pollinators, cleaners, and recyclers of life on earth. Without them, we would not last long.

Attenborough has studied and enjoyed these diminutive beings since he was a schoolboy in the Leicestershire countryside of England. Life in the Undergrowth , part of his innovative series on natural history topics, looks at invertebrates the world over: their arrival on land and mastery of every habitat, and their fantastic variety of hunting, mating, and highly organized social behaviors.

Adults are prejudiced against insects--handicapped by their ignorance and fears and limited by their size and vision. Children, who are closer to insects in size, notice and enjoy the tiny creatures.

In this companion book to the Animal Planet television program, Attenborough shares his childlike curiosity for invertebrates, taking us down wormholes and into insect homes for an up-close-and-personal look at their habitats. As the biblical book of Proverbs implores: "Go to the ant, thou sluggard: consider her ways and be wise." David Attenborough does go. It is worth going with him.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Attenborough is at it again, exploring the natural world with his team of cinematographers and clearly explaining what they've found to a lay audience. In this companion volume to a series on TV's Animal Planet, Attenborough explores the lives of the planet's land-based invertebrates. Concentrating mainly on insects and spiders, the author investigates all aspects of the animals' life cycles. He first surveys the invertebrate invasion of land from the primordial sea, as illustrated by some of the most ancient species known (horseshoe crabs, scorpions, velvet worms, and snails). Insects then conquered the skies, and Attenborough observes some of the more familiar fliers as he compares and contrasts the lives of dragonflies, cicadas, and butterflies. A most fascinating section examines the diverse and often complicated ecological relationships of land invertebrates with their prey, their predators, their mates, and their rivals. Finally, the author turns his lens to the insects that live in super societies--ants, bees and wasps, and termites--and discusses the evolution and advantages of such extreme sociality. The text is always lively. --Nancy Bent Copyright 2006 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "A companion to a new television program on Animal Planet, this wonderful exploration of invertebrates exceeds the requirements for a great nature book through the strength of its photographs and the quality of its prose. It helps that veteran naturalist and author Attenborough (The Life of Birds) brings the enthusiasm of an animal lover and the knowledge of a polymath to his goal: tracing the broad history of the development of "this vast invertebrate world, which constitutes by far the greatest numbers of both species and individuals on earth." His material is arranged in five chapters ranging from the first "invasion" of land by invertebrates to the complex "supersocieties" that many have developed. Along the way he describes literally hundreds of species, such as the "cartoon-like" velvet worm, the "cartwheel" mating position of dragonflies and the exploding "suicide bombers" of the Globotermes ant family. Each page of text offers at least one remarkable description, further enhanced by the 275 photographs; minuscule cameras and new optical systems make it possible to provide elegant glimpses of invertebrates "behaving normally and in intimate detail." One of the most striking of these photos (used on the jacket) is an extreme closeup of a bug-eyed yet almost human-looking damselfly. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Invertebrates.
Publisher Princeton, N.J. :Princeton University Press,2005
Language English
Notes Includes index.
Description 288 pages : color illustrations ; 25 cm
ISBN 0691127034
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