The Language of Butterflies: How Thieves, Hoarders, Scientists, and Other Obsessives Unlocked the Secrets of the World's Favorite Insect

The Language of Butterflies: How Thieves, Hoarders, Scientists, and Other Obsessives Unlocked the Secrets of the World's Favorite Insect

by Wendy Williams


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In this fascinating book from the New York Times bestselling author of The Horse, Wendy Williams explores the lives of one of the world’s most resilient creatures—the butterfly—shedding light on the role that they play in our ecosystem and in our human lives.

Butterflies are one of the world’s most beloved insects. From butterfly gardens to zoo exhibitions, they are one of the few insects we’ve encouraged to infiltrate our lives. Yet, what has drawn us to these creatures in the first place? And what are their lives really like? In this groundbreaking book, New York Times bestselling author and science journalist Wendy Williams reveals the inner lives of these “flying flowers”—creatures far more intelligent and tougher than we give them credit for.

Monarch butterflies migrate thousands of miles each year from Canada to Mexico. Other species have learned how to fool ants into taking care of them. Butterflies’ scales are inspiring researchers to create new life-saving medical technology. Williams takes readers to butterfly habitats across the globe and introduces us to not only various species, but to the scientists who have dedicated their lives to studying them.

Coupled with years of research and knowledge gained from experts in the field, this accessible “butterfly biography” explores the ancient partnership between these special creatures and humans, and why they continue to fascinate us today. Touching, eye-opening, and incredibly profound, The Language of Butterflies reveals the critical role they play in our world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501178061
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 06/02/2020
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 48,697
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Science journalist Wendy Williams has spent her life outdoors, either on the back of a horse, on skis, or on her own two feet. She has spent a great deal of time in a variety of countries in Africa, walking in the fields and forests of Europe, and exploring North American mountain chains and prairies. She lives on Cape Cod in Massachusetts with her husband and her Border Collie Taff. She is the author of The Horse and The Language of Butterflies.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

Part I Past 1

1 The Gateway Drug 3

2 Down the Rabbit Hole 15

3 The Number One Butterfly 27

4 Flash and Dazzle 45

5 How Butterflies Saved Charles Darwin's Bacon 67

Part II Present 77

6 Amelia's Butterfly 79

7 A Parasol of Monarchs 87

8 The Honeymoon Hotel 97

9 Scablands 111

10 On the Raindance Ranch 121

11 A Sense of Mystical Wonder 135

Part III Future 143

12 The Social Butterfly 145

13 Paroxysms of Ecstasy 171

14 The Butterfly Highway 181

Epilogue: In the Mountains of Mexico 199

Acknowledgments 203

Notes 205

Photo Credits 223

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