Cover: Secret Weapons: Defenses of Insects, Spiders, Scorpions, and Other Many-Legged Creatures, from Harvard University PressCover: Secret Weapons in PAPERBACK

Secret Weapons

Defenses of Insects, Spiders, Scorpions, and Other Many-Legged Creatures

Add to Cart

Product Details

PAPERBACK

$30.00 • £24.95 • €27.00

ISBN 9780674024038

Publication Date: 04/30/2007

Academic Trade

384 pages

6 x 9 inches

350 color illustrations, 150 chemical formulas

Belknap Press

World

Mostly tiny, infinitely delicate, and short-lived, insects and their relatives—arthropods—nonetheless outnumber all their fellow creatures on earth. How lowly arthropods achieved this unlikely preeminence is a story deftly and colorfully told in this follow-up to the award-winning For Love of Insects. Part handbook, part field guide, part photo album, Secret Weapons chronicles the diverse and often astonishing defensive strategies that have allowed insects, spiders, scorpions, and other many-legged creatures not just to survive, but to thrive.

In 69 chapters, each brilliantly illustrated with photographs culled from Thomas Eisner’s legendary collection, we meet a largely North American cast of arthropods—as well as a few of their kin from Australia, Europe, and Asia—and observe at firsthand the nature and extent of the defenses that lie at the root of their evolutionary success. Here are the cockroaches and termites, the carpenter ants and honeybees, and all the miniature creatures in between, deploying their sprays and venom, froth and feces, camouflage and sticky coatings. And along with a marvelous bug’s-eye view of how these secret weapons actually work, here is a close-up look at the science behind them, from taxonomy to chemical formulas, as well as an appendix with instructions for studying chemical defenses at home.

Whether dipped into here and there or read cover-to-cover, Secret Weapons will prove invaluable to hands-on researchers and amateur naturalists alike, and will captivate any reader for whom nature is a source of wonder.

Awards & Accolades

  • 2005 Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science, Rockefeller University
Sufi Lyrics: Selections from a World Classic, by Bullhe Shah, translated by Christopher Shackle, from Harvard University Press

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns, by Bruno Latour, translated by Catherine Porter, from Harvard University Press

Honoring Latour

In awarding Bruno Latour the 2021 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy, the Inamori Foundation said he has “revolutionized the conventional view of science” and “his philosophy re-examines ‘modernity’ based on the dualism of nature and society.” Below is an excerpt from An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. For more than twenty years, scientific and technological controversies have proliferated in number and scope, eventually reaching the climate itself. Since geologists are beginning to use the term “Anthropocene” to designate the era of Earth’s history that follows the Holocene