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Did you know that for every pound of human beings in the world there are estimated to be three hundred pounds of bugs? That 25 percent of all animal species are beetles? That dragonflies can fly sixty miles per hour? That there may be fifty million midges in a single swarm? Whether or not you are curious about insects, Broadsides from the Other Orders is a bewitching mixtuDid you know that for every pound of human beings in the world there are estimated to be three hundred pounds of bugs? That 25 percent of all animal species are beetles? That dragonflies can fly sixty miles per hour? That there may be fifty million midges in a single swarm? Whether or not you are curious about insects, Broadsides from the Other Orders is a bewitching mixture of facts of nature and perceptive reflections. The author of A Country Year and A Book of Bees now turns her attention to butterflies, midges and gnats, ladybugs, daddy longlegs, black flies, so-called killer bees, water striders, silverfish, katydids, dragonflies, gypsy moths, syrphid flies, and camel crickets. Aside from the fact that among themselves entomologists call all of them bugs, these insects have little in common; each is unique, plays a distinct role in its own ecosystem, and is as interesting to read about as is the most complex human being. A poll once revealed that 90 percent of all Americans profess to hate bugs, but Sue Hubbell writes with such wonder, affection, authority, and wit about these tiny creatures that any reader of this book will become absorbed by them as well. Her enchantment with them, and with the scientists who study them, some of whom we meet here, is further evidence that, in the words of The New York Times Book Review, "the real masterwork that Sue Hubbell has created is her life."...

Title : Broadsides from the Other Orders: A Book of Bugs
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780395883266
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 276 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Broadsides from the Other Orders: A Book of Bugs Reviews

  • Jim
    2019-06-29 05:09

    Hubbell channels Rachel Carson in this wonderful wandering through the bug world. She's environmentally conscious & given to almost poetic maundering about them, from the prettiest to the nastiest. Some passages would be almost pornographic out of context, but it's all good & very interesting. She also gets into the science of bugs a fair amount & includes a lot of personal observation of specific habits & traits. She raised honeybees, but she's not truly a professional. Still, she's a very talented writer & interested amateur. Her enthusiasm lends a lot to the narrative.The main takeaway is that they're extremely prolific (300 lbs of bug per 1 lb of people on Earth) necessary, & often completely misunderstood. Unfortunately, the book is almost 25 years old, so the science is quite dated in some respects. That's not completely bad since it shows just how much more we could answer today, if the resources are available. I doubt they are since bugs aren't nearly as high a priority as they should be, a point she makes quite clear.Another good point is that bugs is a popular term used incorrectly by scientists & layman alike in general conversation. Ladybugs aren't (they're beetles) while aphids, their prey, are. Bugs are just one of the class Insecta. She also points out that there are a lot of changes going on in the taxonomy of insects. This is even way back in 1993 when this was published. I'm sure now that DNA sampling is settling a lot of arguments & likely creating some more.Again, I failed to take proper notes as I listened to this. I'm almost done & just now getting around to filling in my thoughts on the chapters, so some things may be a bit out of order or forgotten.Table of Contents:1) Order Lepidoptera : butterflies isn't just butterflies, but moths, too. I believe she said that 3/4 were moths. Butterflies are often thought to be the prettiest, but moths can be just as beautiful. Telling them apart isn't as easy as I thought. It's not just feathery versus smooth antenna.2) Order Diptera : midges and gnats are separate groups, but not terribly distinct if only because not all scientists class them the same even today. Both are in the suborder nematocera along with mosquitos, crane flies, & black flies. Some midges are black flies, but not all bite. Gnats are generally considered to be nonbiting. Confused? Me too. They're pesky little things, but the swarms of gnats are neat to watch.3) Order Coleoptera: ladybugs are still sold as the natural way to keep the garden free of aphids. I've never tried them & now I'm glad I haven't. How they're harvested is pretty awful & they don't work well, apparently. Aphids are a huge problem (1 million kids per lifetime?!!!) but lacewings are probably a better solution.4) Order Opiliones: daddy longlegs AKA Harvestmen, shouldn't be confused with other Daddy Longlegs. They've always fascinated me & this section was fantastic. I had no idea about their mating habits & Hubbell even describes keeping some in a cage & sexing them.5) Order Diptera: black flies proves just how little most of us know & fear bugs. For instance, I thought all black flies bit. Nope. Only a small percentage do according to Hubbell, but the linked Wikipedia article disagrees. In any case, we treat them all the same. Of course, if you've ever been eaten by their swarms, I doubt you have much more use for them than I do. I found the opinion of one Maine hotel owner illuminating & pertinent. When asked if she thought the government should try to eradicate them, she said no. Folks who couldn't handle them weren't the type she wanted staying at her place anyway. They'd probably want a lot of other things she couldn't provide.6) Order Hymenoptera: bravo bees IIRC, she mostly discussed sawflies but I think there is some difference in her definition & the definition now. Bug Guide has better pictures & descriptions for some. Anyway, they look like bees but don't/can't sting.In this section as well as others, she discusses mimicry. The orange & black of the Monarch butterfly which isn't edible due to its diet. This protects others that look similar. I'd always heard the Viceroy butterfly was an example of Batesian mimicry (harmless species looks like dangerous one, so gets a pass), but a study showed Viceroys were often unpleasant to eat too, so they're an example of Müllerian_mimicry instead.I also thought birds were born with more instincts about what was good to eat, but it turns out it's generally learned behavior. I don't think she handled the evolutionary advantage this lends mimic species very well. Slight edges are far more significant statistically than she lets on, especially in fast breeding prey species in relation to slower breeding predators.7) Order Hemiptera: water striders have always been a favorite to watch. I also wondered how they got to isolated areas of water so quickly since I never saw wings on them, but it turns out some have wings & others don't. This is called wing polymorphism. I'm definitely going to collect some from my pond this year & check them under my microscope.8) Order Thysanura: silverfish: The The Thysnaura order is now the Zygentoma order. Silverfish are one of those bugs that define "ick", but they're ancient & quite successful. That's still the only good thing I have to say about them.9) Order Orthoptera: katydids are just the opposite of Silverfish. I've always liked them, but never knew there were so many varieties. Her descriptions were magnificent & match many of my own observations. They're wonderful mimics & sing so loudly. Often very hard to find even with that clue, sometimes because of it.10) Order Odonata: dragonflies & she also covers damselflies since most of us lump them together. Very cool, especially their mating habits which require pretzel shapes & specific biting not to mention the guarding fights. I'll definitely be watching them closer this year.11) Order Lepidoptera: gypsy moths are the poster child for how not to deal with bugs. England really pushed silk production which resulted in white mulberries (to feed them) becoming an invasive tree as far back as 1700 per New Voyage to Carolina. Until artificial thread filled the gap, we tried over & over again to raise them here, but they never really worked out. In an attempt to improve the breed in the late 1860s, Trouvelot brought them over from Europe. They went wild & have been the subject of some of the most ignorant attempts at stamping out a species ever since. Hubbell covers this well. It's been a nightmare which I have seen first hand. All around us in Maryland during the 1980s, our Dept of Agriculture repeated mistakes made a century before with similar results. Such stupidity would be unbelievable in fiction.12) Order Diptera: syrphid flies are often called Hover flies. Another bee look alike, she again discusses mimicry. This might be where she got into it in detail.13) Order Orthoptera: camel crickets shouldn't be confused with thecommon, dark brown cricket. Same order & suborder, but different superfamily & family. Camel crickets like more moist areas generally, I think. They're a light brown & innocuous little critters, although they sing just like their cousins. That can get irritating. Again she raised them, studied them closely, & discusses their mating habits in almost pornographic detail. It's pretty interesting & her observations with these crickets in captivity were ongoing at the end of this book.Highly recommended. I'd give it 5 stars if the science wasn't so old. (Yes, science younger than my baby girl is very outdated. Wild!)

  • Jimmy
    2019-07-15 10:23

    About a month ago, I was poking around my crawlspace when I noticed a lot of dark crickets jumping around like popcorn as soon as I got close to them. Wondering whether they were harmful, I looked online and found out that they were called camel crickets (but also sometimes known as cave crickets), and completely harmless. They like dark damp spaces, eat detritus, and are completely silent, so you won’t hear them chirping at night. The little things looked so cute, the 5 year old in me thought about raising a few in a cage so I could observe them.Then last week, I was in a used bookstore and I came upon this book through pure luck. A cursory glance through the contents revealed that each chapter is about a different insect, from much loved ones like the butterfly and the ladybug, to ones we consider pests like gnats, silverfish, and flies. I put it in my huge pile of finds that day and took it to the checkout counter. It wasn’t until later that I saw the title of the last chapter—Order Orthoptera: Camel Crickets.I read this book in random impulsive order. One of the first chapters I read was of course the one on camel crickets. I found out so much more about these little critters than Wikipedia could ever be able to tell me. Hubbell writes from a personal angle; she is not an entomologist, (though she is very knowledgeable) just someone who’s very enthusiastic about bugs, so I was able to get that same sense of excitement and discovery that she did. She presents you with amazing tidbits that never feel dry. For example, did you know that insects have green blood because their blood (unlike ours) does not have hemoglobin? They have a system of tubes that carries oxygen throughout their small bodies so that their blood doesn't need to do that for them.Did you know there are water striders (those insects that skim the surface of ponds) that live in the middle of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans?Her approach with each insect is different. With the ladybug, she followed ladybug harvesters (because they sell them now for people who want them in their gardens), for the daddy longlegs and camel crickets, she raised some of her own in cages and observed them, for the butterfly, she followed a few taxonomists, helping them count the different varieties in the Beartooth Mountains.Often, each insect is like a launching pad into other subjects. In "Katydids" she talks about insect size as a theoretical question. In "Dragonflies" she talks about people's revulsion to insects in general, and their fear of different-ness. In "Syrphid Flies" she talks about mimicry. In "Black Flies" she talks about our human-centric view of bugs (did you know that the official definition of "endangered species" does not cover insects that can be viewed as pests?) and the dangers of chemical pesticides. In "Gypsy Moths" she talks about the effects of humans introducing a new species from a different continent.At the end of the book, what struck me most was not all the things I now know about bugs that I didn't before. What struck me most was all the things we as a human race still DON'T know about even the most common bugs! At the end of the chapter on Daddy Longlegs, she lists 3 full pages of questions (most of them very basic) that we still don't understand about these very common insects. And throughout the rest of the book, she is quick to note the many areas that we are still in the dark about. One of the reasons she cites is the lack of funding--especially for insects that don't directly benefit or harm us humans.We're such selfish creatures.

  • Jason
    2019-06-20 11:21

    I rather enjoyed this book. It is several short chapters, each easily read separately and out of order, about bugs. Ms. Hubbell's writing is both elegant, whimsical, entertaining and when it gets to the scientific stuff...just "sciency" enough and and yet not too technical to make the information easy and enjoyable to all. Her own observations, tales, experiences and lovely prose in journal-like entries - are interspersed with her visits with entomologists and other bug-lovers alike - as well as quotes from scientific (and some not so scientific) studies of the past and present. I personally am interested in nature and wildlife - but bugs/insects have never been one of my favorites...but this book may just make me look closer next time when a dragonfly flies by or a daddy longlegs scuttles across my path.

  • David
    2019-07-03 05:35

    Wonderful book on the natural history of seven of the Orders of Class Insecta including Odonata (Dragonflies), Diptera ("true" Flies), Hymenoptera (Bees), and Orthoptera (Grasshoppers). Engaging stories as in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, but with the depth of science that I had wished was present in Rabid. Wonderful writer. I think I found my biologic John McPhee!

  • Kim Zinkowski
    2019-06-21 03:37


  • Andrew Breslin
    2019-07-05 08:24

    I don’t love bugs. Not in general, anyway. I have an inordinate fondness for spiders, specifically and exclusively amongst the creepy crawly world. Several of the 8-leggers are tattooed upon me and I often take the screen name “arachnophile,” though as Hubbell points out, this self-description is inaccurate, or at least insufficient. Arachnids include such vile, horrid little beasties as ticks in addition to the araneae, the true spiders. As far as those blood-sucking bastards are concerned, I’m a confirmed arachnophobe. A few weeks ago I was violently assaulted by some of these parasitic monsters, and now fear I’ve been infected with some terrible tick-borne illness. So I’m just going on the record and saying that, with a few notable exceptions, I hate bugs.But then I have to stop and think about bugs like lady bugs and bees, upon which the agricultural system that prevents me from starving to death so vitally depends. While we may look superciliously down our nose at insects crawling about in piles of dung, thinking ourselves far more advanced and sophisticated for that sort of thing at least without Jägermeister, were it not for bugs, at least some bugs, we’d all be up shit’s creek.Hubbell’s book came out over 20 years ago, and so does not record perhaps the most significant development in the history of bugs and people and their relationship with one another since that unpleasantness with the plague louse back in the 14th century, which is the meteoric rise in Colony Collapse Disorder and the concomitant potentially catastrophic reduction in honey bee populations. If this book came out today, the chapter on bravo bees would be very different. The oversimplified gist of it was that you should probably be a lot less worried about “killer bees” than media hype would have you be. Today I would hope the gist would be that you should be a lot more worried about CCD than you probably are. Whether you like bugs or, like most people, find them icky at best and often much worse, Broadsides from the Other Orders is an often (though not consistently) fascinating peek into that microcosmos. (True bug lovers have already seen that film , but I figured I’d link to a trailer here anyway, because it is truly awesome, and I mean that it will inspire genuine awe, not just that it’s pretty cool.)Hubbell’s book and documentaries like Microcosmos are more than just interesting. It’s not overstating the case to say that a deeper understanding of insects and what makes them (wince) tick may be crucial to our continued life on Earth, at least a life that includes the benefits of modern agriculture, such as actually feeding all 7 billion of us. I’ll be getting my blood test in the next few days, and hope it will come back negative for Lyme’s. In the meantime, I may spend part of my day harvesting some crops from my garden, which I share with a lot of assorted arthropods. It’s an organic garden, so my options for fighting the bugs are limited. On the other hand, since chemical pesticides are considered a likely significant contributor to CCD, smaller crop yields seem a relatively small price to pay to avoid the wholesale collapse of the entire agricultural system. Oh hey, don’t mention it, bees. It’s the least I could do. Really, it almost is.

  • Nancy
    2019-07-01 05:16

    I learned a great deal from this book, and as someone with a casual interest in entomology, was thrilled by many of the gems I came across. However, I had two reservations: 1) very few of the orders were actually represented; I would like to have seen a wider range of insect types. 2) I have to admit that the book was a bit of a struggle to read. It took me a really long time, as I wasn't enthusiastic about picking it up again after putting it down. Hubbell has so many wonderful ways of describing the natural world... as well as so many dry and uninteresting passages, which rarely flow into the following topic easily. I would have loved to have worked with her as an editor to clean things up, pare others down, tighten the language and eliminate her tendency to ramble. And maybe this would have left room for a few more orders.

  • Ray Francis
    2019-07-16 10:08

    This book reminded me of how much I enjoyed summer biology classes. One of my high school friends and I took bug-collecting to creative and enthusiastic heights. We fearlessly caught and studied all kinds of specimens, and collected bugs for our more squeamish fellow students. We found quicker, and we supposed more humane, ways of dispatching bugs destined for Styrofoam boards. I still find bugs very entertaining and genuinely interesting. Sue Hubbell reminds me of my biology teacher in the good ways: knowledgeable and generous with information. Her thrill for the subject comes through: nothing in it is forced and her enthusiasm shows no artifice. She likes bugs. With more time and land, this book could become, for me, a cautionary tale.

  • Barbara
    2019-06-29 09:24

    I loved Broadsides from the Other Orders: A Book of Bugs, but I also love bugs. I bought this book years ago when I was teaching insects to second graders, because it contains lots of interesting stories and facts about lots of bugs. There are chapters covering all of my favorites: butterflies, ladybugs, daddy longlegs and dragonflies. Lesser-known bugs, such as syrphid flies, were also discussed. Sue Hubbell, a beekeeper from the Ozarks in Missouri, did a great job of making bugs interesting and relevant. My only complaint was the ending. I was left wondering what happened with the camel crickets! It’s definitely not a kids’ book and probably not a scientific textbook. It is, however, a very good read for people who have an interest in bugs.

  • Steph Bader
    2019-07-17 09:20

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Hubbell is an amateur naturalist (and professional apiarist) and this is a series of essays about various bugs and how they interact and impact our lives. She writes well, paints wonderful verbal pictures of her subjects, ranges far and wide in her observations, and makes the connections with the larger world that I find fascinating. This is not a nail-biter, nor a "must read" but a gentle, enjoyable set of essays through which I learned much about various bugs and insects that I found interesting.

  • Mila
    2019-07-11 03:12

    Who can describe Sue Hubbell's work? You might just have to read all of her books once you try a chapter of this one, because the stories here teach you very intimately about the human connections with insects, how they effect our lives positively and in fact support our very existence. In a book told with humor, deft observation and a very human perspective, Hubbell links us to understanding of the entymologists' world and our own.

  • Todd Hoke
    2019-07-16 04:37

    From this book, I learned how Daddy Longlegs trap and kill their prey. I also learned about bravo bees (killer bees to the dramaprone among us). And gypsy moths and camel crickets and ladybugs (Hubbell goes on a ladybug harvest with a pro: interesting stuff). No essay on cockroaches, though, and that suggests to me that there are lines that even Sue Hubbell won't cross.I love Hubbell's writing. And I love her enthusiasm and interest in the world around her/us.

  • Kay
    2019-07-16 09:20

    Here's a poser: Why are so many entomologists also terrific writers? Hubbell is not an entomologist per se, but her "Book on Bugs" certainly is a gracefully written one. Arranged by orders (Diptera, Coleoptera, Lepidoptera, etc.), the book is packed with facts, but manages to be entertaining. In large part that is because Hubbell takes you along as she ventures into the world of bugs. Nice illustrations, too, making it easier to understand what she's talking about.

  • David
    2019-06-28 07:32

    When this first began, I thought the biological lingo (as an audiobook) would go over my head, but I quickly adjusted and it was a pleasant, informative read: virtually everything any layman would want to know about butterflies, moths, daddy long-legs, blackflies, silverfish, killer bees and host of other "bugs" and flying things. Great observations, along with a history of attempts to manage the population of such groups.

  • Viki
    2019-06-22 05:08

    I started reading this book almost 15 years ago - never got past the first few pages. Finally picked it up again last year and breezed through the conversational, well-rounded stories of the author's adventures with bugs and the entemologists who love them.

  • Kim
    2019-07-08 09:20

    Sue Hubbell is a great writer and she explores gypsy months, butterflies, dragonflies, damselfies, black flies and silverfish. This isn't one of her best books-but it does provide insight of several of the more common bugs that we see.

  • Mr. P
    2019-07-15 11:26

    Tired with the ho hum human existance ...? Check out another universe from the perspective of an entomologist. What are they, what are they doing, and why are they doing that are the 3 essential questions....

  • Joyce Sigler
    2019-06-28 11:17

    A fascinating treatise on the small living things in Sue Hubbell's world. Beautifully written and astoundingly informative. A book to read and reread.

  • Xio
    2019-07-08 05:16

    Interesting approach to the topic; useful with children, to assist them against the development of neurotic habits around bugs. (as in fear)

  • Jesus
    2019-07-17 04:14

    So far I have only read the chapter on dragonflies (one of the most fascinating creatures I have seen) and I am excited to delve into the other essays.

  • Gwyn
    2019-07-20 09:24

    Sue Hubbell has a warm spot in her heart for bugs and entomologists, and it shines through in this book. Engaging even if you're not into bugs.