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Encyclopedia of Insects 2nd Ed

Encyclopedia of Insects 2nd Ed

I would say that creating an encyclopedia of insects was a herculean task, but I think that sells the enterprise short. After all, Hercules only had twelve labors assigned to him, and twelve years to complete them — with insects, there are over 900,000 different species and many, many more stories to tell. Twelve years from now, there will likely be even more. Why, then, would anyone undertake the seemingly impossible task of compiling an encyclopedia of insects? To an entomologist, the answer is obvious. For one thing, there’s the numbers argument — over 70% of all known species are insects, so if any group merits attention in encyclopedic form, surely it’s the one that happens to dominate the planet. Moreover, owing in large part to their staggering diversity, insects are in more different places in the world than virtually any other organism. There are insects in habitats ranging from the High Arctic to tropical rainforests to petroleum pools to glaciers to mines a mile below the surface to caves to sea lion nostrils and horse intestines. About the only place where insects are conspicuously absent is in the deep ocean (actually, in deep water in general), an anomaly that has frustrated more than a few entomologists who have grown accustomed to world domination. Then there’s the fact that insects have been around for longer than most other high-profi le life-forms. The fi rst proto-insects date back some 400 million years; by contrast, mammals have been around only about 230 million years and humans (depending on how they’re defi ned) a measly one million years.

Author: Vincent H. Resh

Pages: 1169

Issue By: eBook 707

Published: 2 years ago

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