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by Robin K. Laughlin
6-1/2 x 6-1/2 in; 80 pp; 50 Full Color photographs; Hardcover
Crawling with full-color, larger-than-life photographs, Backyard Bugs depicts the amazing bugs we see around us every day in an altogether new light. From common pill bugs to exotic-looking dragonflies, tiny orange mites to green fanged spiders, Robin Kittrell Laughlin's vivid photographs capture the kaleidoscopic colors, fascinating details, and amazing facial expressions (yes, expressions) of these underappreciated creatures. With a witty homage to bugs by best selling author Sue Hubbell, scientific information about the bugs and their habitats, amusing literary quotes, and a glossary of bug terminology, Backyard Bugs is sure to capture the imagination of nature lovers, gardeners, and kids all ages.
Excerpt from Backyard Bugs
Because we have them, we tend to think well of backbones, and so the animal world has been divided up by those people who think about that sort of thing into two great groupings: the vertebrates, animals with backbones, and the invertebrates, animals without backbones.
There are a great many more of the latter than the former. Invertebrates are also much more important in maintaining a well-regulated planet of the sort we like than are vertebrates. If all of us animals with backbones were magicked away one day, the earth would tick along pretty much as it has been, but if animals without backbones disappeared, the rest of us would find our food chains breaking apart, our crops dying, the world filling up with waste and refuse, disease spreading without check, and we, too, would soon be eliminated from the planet. E.O. Wilson, the ant specialist and student of social insect behavior, has called invertebrates "the little things that run the world."
This Swift Long-winged Skimmer Dragonfly was circling a roadside pond in southern New Mexico. The species is found throughout North America and eats small insects. Its body was one and a half inches long. He was friendly and cooperative, always quick with a smile. It took me five minutes to do his portrait. He was not fussy or vain about his hair.
These Velvet Mites were about one-eighth of an inch long and wide. They are found throughout North America, but I never thought I would find any because they are so small, and so exotically colored. I was looking for arrowheads when I saw several bright, tiny spots on the ground. I carefully picked them up and put them in my bug jar. Each time I checked on them throughout the next few hours (until I got home) they seemed dead. I imagined they must need cow blood or dog blood to live. I thought about using Buster, my dog, to revive them, but I suspected they were just playing deadwhich they were. But they do look like they could bite.
I also heard them called water bugs. Some people think that they become drunk on water from the rain and come to the surface from deep underground. It is amazing what people make up about bugs.