I think I prefer the original title, which I think translates to Planet of the Insects. From Norwegian. The English title makes me think of all the annoying things insects do that we don’t like, this book is really about how important they are to making the world go round. Pollination, feeding other animals, even mundane things like coloring our lipstick. Or making shellac. Which is used in so many things. Did you know that comes from the lac bug? Did you know that cacao is pollinated by the chocolate midge? a tiny tiny insect. What about the existence of the fairy wasp- smaller than a pinhead. This book is crammed with such facts- presented adroitly and with a good dose of humor, but it jumps so quickly between tidbits of information that I didn’t really feel like I got much out of it. Wished for something more detailed, in all regards.
Most of the factoids- discussed in just a paragraph or two- were so lightly touched upon I wanted to go look up more about them, but by the time I finished a chapter I’d forgotten most of it. Some of them I already knew- like how buildings that regulate their own temperature are designed after the air circulation engineered by insects in termite mounds. Lots I didn’t, but I don’t know if much of this stuck. Most is about how important insects are to our world, so we better take care of the planet for their sake and ours. Their role in the food chain, their intricate relationships with plants, their specializations. How crucial they are to recycling materials into nutrients that can be used again. A lot about dead wood, because the author extensively studied the thousands of beetle species and other small critters that live in dead wood and break it down. Crazy facts about how insects go about their daily life and procreation, plus some really interesting stuff on how insects have inspired scientists or contributed to discoveries. I liked this book, it was just all too rapid a pace for me to really feel engaged.
Borrowed from the public library.