THE HUNTING WASP by John Crompton


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The pattern of this follows closely that of the earlier published The Life of The Spider and Ways Of The Ant and combines life story of the wasp with the history of the subject and the ingenious experiments and observations of Fabre. There are the revelations that the female of the Ammophilia variety of wasps ranks herself as ""the only user of tools so far known except man"" when she constructs an elaborate underground nursery for her offspring, buzzes steadily to scare away intruders, and, once the nursery is completed, uses a stone to ""hammer down the loose soil"". There's a mock-racy comparison of the sexual instincts of the wasp with the boudoir finesse of man and a like whimsy on its villainies and idyllic tendernesses. Although they may not be very social or sociable insects, they are fastidious, cunning, tireless, capable of great self-sacrifice for their home and hearth, and fairly epicurean. Crompton makes no case for the wasp's likeability but does underscore, in precise and adroit manner, a lot of curious and enticing information. For his previous readers and all those who like their nature lore in urbane style.

Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin