A water strider darts across a pond, its feet dimpling the surface tension; a giant water bug dives below, carrying his mate’s eggs on his back; hidden among plant roots on the silty bottom, a dragonfly larva stalks unwary minnows. Barely skimming the surface, in the air above the pond, swarm mayflies with diaphanous wings. Take this walk around the pond with Gilbert Waldbauer and discover the most amazingly diverse inhabitants of the freshwater world.
In his hallmark companionable style, Waldbauer introduces us to the aquatic insects that have colonized ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers, especially those in North America. Along the way we learn about the diverse forms these arthropods take, as well as their remarkable modes of lifehow they have radiated into every imaginable niche in the water environment, and how they cope with the challenges such an environment poses to respiration, vision, thermoregulation, and reproduction. We encounter the caddis fly larva building its protective case and camouflaging it with stream detritus; green darner dragonflies mating midair in an acrobatic wheel formation; ants that have adapted to the tiny water environment within a pitcher plant; and insects whose adaptations to the aquatic lifestyle are furnishing biomaterials engineers with ideas for future applications in industry and consumer goods.
While learning about the evolution, natural history, and ecology of these insects, readers also discover more than a little about the scientists who study them.
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About the Author
Gilbert Waldbauer is Professor Emeritus of Entomology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Table of Contents
A First Look 1
Who's Who in the Water 9
Where They Live 29
The Breath of Life 57
Finding Food and Eating 75
Going Places 103
The Next Generation 125
On Being Eaten 151
How Not to Be Eaten 179
Coping with the Climate 205
Our Friends and Enemies 229
Selected Readings 249
What People are Saying About This
This book is a good deal more than just 'a walk around the pond.' Even readers who have studied aquatic insects for many years will find much that is new and interesting in these pages. The book is a total immersion in the lives of these amazing insects and the creatures, including ourselves, who interact with them.
With breathtaking wonders on every page, A Walk around the Pond will change forever how we think of some of our commonest insects--and indeed, how we think about the almost unimaginably strange and thrilling planet we also, too often, take for granted. This book belongs on every naturalist's bookshelf. --(Sy Montgomery, columnist and author of The Curious Naturalist)
This book is a good deal more than just 'a walk around the pond.' Even readers who have studied aquatic insects for many years will find much that is new and interesting in these pages. The book is a total immersion in the lives of these amazing insects and the creatures, including ourselves, who interact with them. --(Sidney W. Dunkle, author of Dragonflies through Binoculars)