Zoologist Clouse (The Wiring Diagram, 2016, etc.) offers a beginner’s reference manual of scientific terms relating to invertebrates.
Invertebrate zoology is a vast field, containing numerous strange and wondrous subjects from insects to worms to jellyfish. Its great diversity, however, has given rise to a specialized vocabulary that can seem impenetrable to those who may be looking to enter the field. Clouse’s book is “intended to be a companion that beginners can take to lectures, laboratories, and study sessions to help them navigate the maze of terminology which underlies a course in invertebrate zoology.” He begins with a quick 10-page primer on the Latin and Greek roots that form the building blocks of zoological terminology to help readers suss out the meanings of unfamiliar words: echin means “spiny”; gnath means “jaw”; stoma means “mouth.” He then moves into the glossary proper, taking readers alphabetically through the most essential terms of invertebrate zoology, from “book lungs” (“The respiratory structures of some arachnids”) to “Gordian worms” (“Common name for nematomorphs, also called ‘hairworms’ or ‘horsehair worms’ ”) to “slime glands” (“The large glands in velvet worms that open on either side of the mouth and shoot out sticky secretions for defense and prey capture”). Terms that aren’t common English words feature pronunciations in addition to definitions, and every term lists the taxonomic groups to which it refers. Clouse’s prose possesses the crispness and precision that befits a scientific reference text. The book’s layout is highly accessible and pleasing to the eye, with occasional black-and-white illustrations of creatures at the bottoms of pages. Reading one definition will likely lead readers to a number of other terms; italicized words in each entry are defined elsewhere in the text, allowing one to move through the book by pursuing one’s interests. Even spending half an hour with this text will make readers more knowledgeable about invertebrate zoology than they were prior to picking it up, and it would be difficult to imagine an easier or more handsome reference guide for a novice.
A slim but comprehensive zoological guide.