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Ancient and strange, beetles call to mind a lost world of Egyptian magic and belief—a reminder of the fascination they’ve long held for human culture. In Beetle, Adam Dodd offers a richly illustrated, engaging account of the natural and cultural history of the beetle, from its origins more than two hundred and fifty million years ago to the present, when its anatomy is inspiring cutting-edge developments in cybernetics. Along the way, Dodd explores the incredible variety of beetles on earth—there are more than 350,000 species—and their amazing ability to exploit nature’s niches. He also takes readers on a wide-ranging tour of the countless ways that beetles have infiltrated our art, folklore, literature, and religious beliefs. Stolid, secretive, and still-mysterious, beetles continue to exert a powerful pull on naturalists and collectors today, and no beetle fanatic will want to miss Dodd’s winning appreciation of their history.

224 pages | 70 color plates, 30 halftones | 5 3/8 x 7 1/2 | © 2016


Biological Sciences: Natural History

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"Dodd’s fluid writing and sturdy conjectures build a cross-cultural framework (from the Egyptian afterlife to Japanese video games and the US military’s fascination with cyborg beetles) on which to hang his insights. Recommended."


"Dodd explores the world of beetles who sometimes have astounding and bizarre interactions with the world of human beings. From ancient Egyptian deities to German automobiles, beetles have left an indelible mark on human cultures around the world. Inspiring early occult beliefs and religious myths, the beetle also finds its way into art, folklore, literature and science. Dodd uncovers the beetles ongoing place in the aesthetic appreciation of nature and shows how knowledge of beetle anatomy is assisting the development of cutting-edge cybernetics and blurring the boundary between science and fiction. . . . Extremely well illustrated, bursting with historical detail, and engagingly written. . . . Exceptional . . . [and] will undoubtedly change the way readers think about their relationship with these captivating insects."

European Journal of Entomology

"This book is packed with fascinating material, including many interesting stories."

American Biology Teacher

"In Beetle, the author explores the world of the beetle and how, over millions of years, it became a permanent fixture in the natural world, as well finding its way into art, folklore, literature, and science. . . . Thoroughly illustrated, full of historical detail, and accessibly written, this cultural and natural history of the beetle could change the way that we think about our relationship with these creatures who are all part of God’s creation."

Methodist Recorder

Table of Contents

1 Coming to Terms with Beetles
2 Sacred Beetle
3 Scientific Beetle
4 Managing Beetle
5 Popular Beetle
Select Bibliography
Associations and websites
Photo Acknowledgements

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