Cover: Millions of Monarchs, Bunches of Beetles: How Bugs Find Strength in Numbers, from Harvard University PressCover: Millions of Monarchs, Bunches of Beetles in PAPERBACK

Millions of Monarchs, Bunches of Beetles

How Bugs Find Strength in Numbers

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Product Details


$30.00 • £24.95 • €27.00

ISBN 9780674006867

Publication Date: 12/15/2001

Academic Trade

272 pages

14 halftones


Perhaps the most striking feature of Waldbauer’s delightful book is the enthusiasm with which it is written. A lifetime’s involvement with what for many of us are mere pesky little critters has not dulled his pleasure in chronicling their variety or his amazement at their strangeness. He revels in the natural world.—Derek Bickerton, The New York Times Book Review

Gilbert Waldbauer has addressed a broad audience to explain how and why insect aggregations occur, and to what extent these associations may involve crude co-operation and communication… Waldbauer cites a fascinating range of examples, some familiar and some not, [in] an immensely enjoyable book. A great richness of information is presented in a relaxed and accessible way without compromising the scientific complexity of some of the areas explored. Clearly intrigued by his subject and its ramifications, Waldbauer conveys his enthusiasm and love for natural history in its most catholic form with vivacity, flair and a broad brush.—Gaden S. Robinson, The Times Literary Supplement

A delightful and informative romp with retired University of Illinois professor Gilbert Waldbauer through his favorite bug-hunting venues. Along the way, you will discover that Mr. Waldbauer has never outgrown his childlike enthusiasm for discovery—hence the title—nor his seriousness about good science—hence the publisher… Linking these two is the author’s appreciation for enticing stories accumulated over a professional lifetime. He skillfully weaves eager curiosity, clear science and captivating tales to produce a compact book certain to please even the most casual observer of the world of these small creatures that creep, crawl, fly or burrow all around us.—Fred Bortz, The Dallas Morning News

Waldbauer’s gentle but enthralling prose leads the reader to see beyond the shock of the heaving crawling mass, to glimpse beneath at the underlying biology of some of nature’s most fascinating creatures.—Richard Jones, BBC Wildlife

Although it was written by an entomologist…the book is not for the strictly scientifically oriented. Rather, this book reads like a compendium of insect stories, one interesting tale after another… A remarkable read.—Marlene A. Condon, The Daily Progress

Gilbert Waldbauer writes to share his passion for insects. The insects of an unembellished prose style make his books accessible to the general naturalist and the specialist alike.—W.R. Dolling, Entomologist’s Monthly Magazine

Clear writing, a storyteller’s grace and consummate mastery of his subject make entomologist Gilbert Waldbauer’s Millions of Monarchs, Bunches of Beetles a fascinating incursion into the strange, fabulous and complex world of insects. As entertaining as he is informative, Waldbauer introduces us to groups of insects who use numbers to increase their chances for mating, surviving predators, overcoming prey or coping with weather… His enthusiasm for his subject is infectious, and he communicates far-reaching knowledge without resorting to jargon… [Millions of Monarchs, Bunches of Beetles] stimulates and satisfies the reader’s sense of wonder.—Lynn Harnett, The Herald Sunday

Interesting facts and ideas are stacked one on top of another. This is not technical stuff: It’s an entertaining, interesting book and an easy read that will be enjoyed by a wide audience. Getting food, avoiding predators, finding mates, and other matters essential to the survival of species are topics drawn out of this background of remarkable animal aggregations. A useful index and an extensive bibliography are helpful.Science Books & Films

The social structures formed by ants and bees are well documented. Waldbauer, however, concerns himself with the unsung insects whose simple group habits define less-organized societies.Science News

Every chapter is so full of fascination, that many readers may want to audit professor Waldbauer’s next course. The overall topic is occasionally social insects: how and why do they get together when they do? Their reasons include finding mates, species self-defense, subduing prey, going where the food is, and even controlling their own microclimates—that’s why tent caterpillars make tents. Waldbauer unfolds all this buggy cooperation in absorbing accounts of particular species.—Ray Olson, Booklist

In this, his third popularization of insect life, retired academic Waldbauer focuses on the group behavior of species less well described than ants or honeybees but no less interesting—ladybugs and locusts, mayflies and butterflies, wasps, termites, and others… Clearly a volume to satisfy idle curiosity, from a scholar and a gentleman ever ready to credit the work of colleagues, while at the same time suggesting any number of topics that future scholars might pursue to further our understanding of evolution and the survival of so many, many bugs.Kirkus Reviews

Awards & Accolades

  • 2001 ForeWord Book of the Year Award, Environment Category
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