Lucid, large-print texts cover the basics, briefly describing the featured invertebrates' general anatomy, major physical and behavioral characteristics, some differences between important groups, habitats, life cycles, methods of locating and feeding upon hosts (or prey, in the case of worm leeches), natural enemies, etc. The books also mention the ways the animals harm or benefit humankind-as disease vectors or medicinal tools (respectively, the two types of insects and leeches). Each spread has a full-page, clear color photo. Also included are several good close-ups of the featured parasites, a microphotograph of each of the insects, and, in Fleas and Mosquitoes , from three to five photos of common, small (mostly cute) animal hosts-cats, dogs, a squirrel, birds, etc. The latter illustrations are only marginally relevant and function more as decorations. While all three titles are clearly written, the brevity of the texts limits the amount of detail offered; however, other books currently available on these animals are limited in scope. For instance, Ron Knapp's Bloodsuckers (Enslow, 1996), which includes short sections on all three of the featured parasites, focuses primarily on their feeding habits and relationship to humans. Steve Parker's Nematodes, Leeches & Other Worms (Compass Point, 2006) includes a short but cogent section on some of the characteristics and the life cycles of leeches. Despite the sometimes inadequate illustrations (more photos of the parasites would be helpful), Somervill's workmanlike introductions will serve as stopgaps until more detailed works on these animals are available.
Karey WehnerCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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