A journey into the weird, wonderful and truly astonishing lives of the small but mighty creatures who keep the world turning.
Out of sight, underfoot, unseen beyond fleeting scuttles or darting flights, insects occupy a hidden world, yet are essential to sustaining life on earth.
Insects influence our ecosystem like a ripple effect on water. They arrived when life first moved to dry land, they preceded – and survived – the dinosaurs, they outnumber the grains of sand on all the world's beaches, and they will be here long after us.
Working quietly but tirelessly, they give us food, uphold our ecosystems, can heal our wounds and even digest plastic. They could also provide us with new solutions to the antibiotics crisis, assist in disaster zones and inspire airforce engineers with their flying techniques.
But their private lives are also full of fun, intrigue and wonder –musical mating rituals; house-hunting for armies of beetle babies; metamorphosing into new characters; throwing parties in fermenting sap; cultivating fungi for food; farming smaller species for honey dew and always ensuring that what is dead is decomposed, ready to become life once again.
Here, we will discover life and death, drama and dreams, all on a millimetric scale. Like it or not, Earth is the planet of insects, and this is their extraordinary story.
About the Author
Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson is a professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) in Ås, Norway, as well as a scientific advisor for The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research NINA. She has a Doctorate degree in conservation biology and lectures on nature management and forest biodiversity. Her research focuses on insect ecology. In addition she has studied history and is interested in outreach activities, runs a science blog and is a regular guest on the popular science radio programme EKKO – Abel's Tower on NRK P2.
'Extraordinary Insects is a joy' The Times
'Erudite, enlightening and entertaining (...) a timely reminder of the fragility of our ecosystem and the vital role that insects play in the future of the planet and humanity's existence' Countryman
'Extraordinary Insects is packed with wondrous information. There are more than 200 million insects on Earth for every human being and anyone wanting to learn more about them will find this book fascinating' Daily Express
'A fascinating new book [that] tells the remarkable story of insects living right under our noses' The Sun
'The enthusiasm of Professor Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson for insects is infectious. She communicates her extensive scientific knowledge in elegant, readable prose. A brilliant, informative read, full of fascinating facts about the species that help keep the world on an even keel.' Sunday Express
'[Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson] guides us round a huge cabinet of curiosities, and is the best kind of teacher. The stories she tells are so strange and absorbing that we don't notice that we're being systematically educated. [She] champions the insects primarily to champion us. She has a serious purpose, and succeeds magnificently.' Evening Standard
'A riotous party of colour, noise and humour, from the scatological to the sublime.' Resurgence and Ecologist Magazine
'Sverdrup-Thygeson, a Norwegian professor of life sciences, writes with such infectious and well-informed enthusiasm that it's impossible not to develop a new-found respect for insects.' Reader's Digest
'This excellent book by a Norwegian entomologist is filled with such infectious enthusiasm for the insect world...It's a book that will change the way you see the world. A genuine must-read.' WI Life Magazine
'A refreshing and surprising insight into some of the most underappreciated critters.' Magic Radio Book Club