The straight, more or less, “poop” on dung beetles, dragonflies (“fighter jets of the insect world”), and the rest of our six-legged overlords.
Aside from making debatable claims that insects are “the dominant life-form on Earth today” and “the true rulers of our planet,” Collard delivers airy but persuasive evidence that beetles are “da bomb!”—and likewise all their teeming relatives. After noting that insect species alone outnumber comic-book superheroes (for instance) by approximately 1,000 to one, he offers a history of this ancient clan, overviews of insect body parts, diet, reproductive practices, mimicry, and other general features, as well as ups and downs in our complex relationship with them. Examples, nearly all alive and in natural settings, pose in photogenic splendor in the sheaves of bright color close-ups, all but a handful by the author himself. And if Collard declines to supply leads to further information (“You are all smart. You know how to go to the library”), he does close with notes on scientific nomenclature plus a list of rain-forest conservation groups.
A lighthearted invitation to join the insect-appreciation club: “Righteous exoskeleton, dude!” (index, glossary) (Nonfiction. 9-11)