INSECT COMMUNITIES by Ernestine J. Norsgaard


Email this review


According to Norsgaard ants marry and intermarry, have ""a passion for sweets"" and a ""national dish"" (the honeydew) and give their larvae ""tender loving care""; bees, on the other hand, display ""enthusiasm"" and have flexible work schedules. This sort of coyness can be a serious bar to understanding: many readers, told that wasps leave their nest to die ""for they would not want to desecrate the nests with their own bodies,"" will seek a more precise explanation of what is (or is not) known about this particular behavior. And when, in a chapter on ""What Can People Learn From Insect Communities"" Norsgaard praises the ""cooperative spirit"" of insect ""individuals"" and suggests that this represents a higher form of development than the human commitment to self-interest and ""unlimited expansion,"" she has clearly passed from science into fancy. Considering the many aesthetically varied and scientifically sound volumes on the social insects, there's no need for this.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1973
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap