Howard Ensign Evans was a brilliant ethologist and systematist for whom the joy of science included lying on his belly in some remote location, digging out and diagramming a wasp’s nest. During his career, Evans described over 900 species and authored more than a dozen books, both technical and popular, on a wide range of entomological and natural history subjects. Upon his death in 2002, he left behind an unfinished manuscript, intended as an update (though not a revision) of his classic 1966 work, The Comparative Ethology and Evolution of the Sand Wasps. Kevin O’Neill, Evans’s former student and coauthor, has completed and enlarged Evans’s manuscript to provide coverage of all sand-wasp tribes in Evan’s earlier book. The result is a tribe-by-tribe, species-by-species review of studies of the Bembicinae that have appeared over the last four decades.
The Sand Wasps: Natural History and Behavior already has been hailed by specialists as a new bible for those working on solitary wasps and an essential reference for scientists more broadly interested in insect behavioral evolution.
This book will be an essential reference for any wasp researcher, beginning or established, as well as an indispensable library holding… The volume summarizes a large literature that would be difficult for any single investigator to assemble, given the many obscure, scattered sources cited and the diversity of languages translated… Given the remarkable expansion of knowledge described in this work, one wonders what the next 40 years of sand wasp research will reveal.
Forty years ago, in The Comparative Ethology and Evolution of the Sand Wasps, Howard Ensign Evans surveyed all that was known of the behavior of sand wasps. By mapping on the group’s cladogram the modifications of their behavior (in nest building, brood provisioning, prey carrying, egg laying, etc.), he showed with unusual clarity the origins and evolution of these wasps’ behavior patterns. The present work by Evans and Kevin O’Neill provides a beautiful update of our knowledge of this behaviorally and ecologically diverse group of wasps. The authors show ever so clearly how this group of large, brightly colored, and behaviorally complex wasps remains attractive to students of animal behavior, and how it offers tremendous potential for an integration of phylogenetic analyses with comparative behavioral studies to reveal a remarkable adaptive radiation in insect behavior.
- 360 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
- Foreword by Mary Alice Evans
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