Ten of nature’s little horrors, presented in a gallery of close-up photo portraits with all-too-detailed commentary.
From the evocatively named tongue-eating louse to the green-banded broodsac, which moves between hosts by crawling up inside a snail’s eyestalk to mimic a caterpillar so that a bird will eat it, these “tiny terrors and mini-monsters” are well-chosen to give even the most hardened browsers the heebie-jeebies. Mendez’s dramatic photorealistic portraits and more schematic views of each parasite or predator in action join a selection of close-up stock photos, and Rake describes behaviors or symptoms with indecent relish. “One [Indian red scorpion] sting can cause humans excruciating pain, vomiting, breathlessness, convulsions, and sometimes major heart problems. Oh, and if that isn’t enough, it can also turn a victim’s skin blue and make them froth at the mouth with pink, slimy mucus.” The co-published Creatures of the Deep offers like delights for 10 sea creatures, from the goblin shark to the blobfish and the sarcastic fringehead (yes, really!). Each volume closes with a summary “Rogues’ Gallery” and further notes on selected entries.
Browsers’ delights, but definitely not for the squeamish. (Nonfiction. 8-10)