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CRF Blog » Blog Archive » Sex on Six Legs

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Sex on Six Legs

by Bill Hayes

Want to read a fascinating book on insects? Of course, you do! Then Sex on Six Legs: Lessons on Life, Love, and Language from the Insect World by M. Zuk is the book for you.

From the New York Times Book Review:

The antithesis of the dispassionate scientist, Zuk, who teaches at the University of California, Riverside, waxes exuberant over insects not for their extraordinary looks or the billion-dollar ecosystem “services” they provide, like pollination and nutrient recycling, but for the often bizarre things they do to get ahead, “things that would put the most gruesome horror film to shame.” Male honeybee genitals explode after sex; wasps turn cockroaches into zombie incubators; male scorpionflies produce wads of saliva to feed their mates — a nuptial gift that distracts her front end while her hind end mates (the larger the gift, the longer the pairing). On vacation in Hawaii, Zuk prowls not the beaches or rain forests but a lawn visited by crickets parasitized by flies that deposit burrowing larvae on their bodies. After hatching, the fly larvae begin to eat the cricket’s fat. As the maggots grow, they colonize the entire body cavity and consume all its organs until the creature “is a shell that looks like a cricket but is pulsing inside with fly.” [more]

Below Zuk talks about her book.