The language of butterflies : how thieves, hoarders, scientists, and other obsessives unlocked the secrets of the world's favorite insect

by Williams, Wendy, 1950-

Format: Print Book 2020
Availability: Available at 8 Libraries 8 of 14 copies
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Bethel Park Public Library Nonfiction 595.78 WI
Location  Bethel Park Public Library
 
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Call Number  595.78 WI
 
 
CLP - Squirrel Hill New Books QL544.W55 2020
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Call Number  QL544.W55 2020
 
 
Cooper-Siegel Community Library New Books 595.78 WIL
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Monroeville Public Library New Books 595.789 WILLIAMS
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Call Number  595.789 WILLIAMS
 
 
Mt. Lebanon Public Library New Books 595.789 Wil
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Northland Public Library Nonfiction 595.789 W67
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Pleasant Hills Public Library Nonfiction 595.789 W72
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Robinson Library Non-Fiction 595.78 WILLIAMS
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Call Number  595.78 WILLIAMS
 
 
 
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Summary
In this fascinating book from the New York Times bestselling author of The Horse , Wendy Williams explores the lives of one of the world's most resilient creatures--the butterfly--shedding light on the role that they play in our ecosystem and in our human lives.

Butterflies are one of the world's most beloved insects. From butterfly gardens to zoo exhibitions, they are one of the few insects we've encouraged to infiltrate our lives. Yet, what has drawn us to these creatures in the first place? And what are their lives really like? In this groundbreaking book, New York Times bestselling author and science journalist Wendy Williams reveals the inner lives of these "flying flowers"--creatures far more intelligent and tougher than we give them credit for.

Monarch butterflies migrate thousands of miles each year from Canada to Mexico. Other species have learned how to fool ants into taking care of them. Butterflies' scales are inspiring researchers to create new life-saving medical technology. Williams takes readers to butterfly habitats across the globe and introduces us to not only various species, but to the scientists who have dedicated their lives to studying them.

Coupled with years of research and knowledge gained from experts in the field, this accessible "butterfly biography" explores the ancient partnership between these special creatures and humans, and why they continue to fascinate us today. Touching, eye-opening, and incredibly profound, The Language of Butterflies reveals the critical role they play in our world.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "This entertaining look at "the world's favorite insect" tells about butterflies' captivating beauty, and the ways these bugs have fascinated people throughout history. Almost half of the book is devoted to enthusiasts from previous centuries, a group of dedicated and occasionally eccentric individuals (one questing collector wound up being eaten by cannibals). Accessible chapters explore past assumptions (e.g., butterflies are created through spontaneous generation, just magically appearing and fluttering around); relate how butterflies played an important role in helping prove Darwin's theory of evolution; and explain butterfly physiology: how they eat, procreate, and, most importantly, how they achieve their brilliant color. Readers will learn that recent research debunks all kinds of commonly held theories, such as characteristics thought to be unique to moths versus butterflies, or long-established beliefs regarding monarch butterfly migration, or where butterflies like to hang out (they've been photographed as high as 22,000 feet). The final chapters bemoan diminishing butterfly populations, and advocate for measures to counter the negative effects of climate change and pollution. Williams (The Horse, 2015) shares how she has been mesmerized on more than one occasion by the exotic beauty of butterflies; her enthusiasm is convincing and contagious."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Science journalist Williams (The Horse), mixing a discussion of her experiences learning about butterflies with an overview of centuries' worth of research, offers a deeply personal and lyrical book that also provides meaningful scientific insight. Captivated by the insects' beauty, she writes, "The language of butterflies is the language of color," and that she likes to "imagine them as the world's first artists." She relates the stories of similarly entranced people, including Maria Sibylla Merian, who, in the 17th century, cast aside gender norms to pursue entomology and traveled from her native Germany to Suriname to find the spectacular blue morpho butterfly, in the process writing the first account of the caterpillar-to-butterfly transformation. Williams spends much time on monarch butterfly biology, discussing the insects' ability to migrate thousands of miles and the iridescent wing scales that give them, like all butterflies, their signature patterns. She also discusses the factors behind declining butterfly populations, from habitat destruction to climate change, but remains optimistic that corrective action is still possible. Nature-loving readers will surely share the joy Williams takes in her subject in this admiring tribute to the butterfly. Agent: Michelle Tessler, Tessler Literary. (May)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Butterflies -- Popular works.
Creative nonfiction.
Instructional and educational works.
Publisher New York :2020
Edition First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition.
Language English
Description xiv, 224 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 205-222) and index.
ISBN 9781501178061
1501178067
9781501178078
1501178075
Other Classic View