Tag Archives: Insects

Six Legs Walking by Elizabeth Bernays


Title: Six Legs Walking: Notes from an Entomological Life
Author: Elizabeth Bernays
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Essays, Insects, Memoirs
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Year: 2019


I loved the balance of science and personal throughout this collection. The old me who aspired to be an entomologist was completely enthralled by the science. But the me in my new life loved that balance of the relationships one makes in academia. And just life in general. It was the perfect balance.

I read this book while I was seriously distracted. A newborn will do that to you. Which means I can safely recommend this to people who have zero science background. If I can grasp what’s going on when I have a screaming baby throat into my arms, then the language used is very happily accessible. There’s nothing worse than wanting to read about something different to your own life just to find the language totally overwhelming and bizarre.

Not going to lie. While I was reading this, I dreamt of grasshoppers. Frequently. And bugs. And running through fields trying to catch said bugs. Ah, the memories. Bernays is able to bring to life the realities of working in the field. In all of its confusing and bizarre glory. Hot days under the sun and slight madness brought on by long hours… Bernays was able to take me back to my best Uni days.

I like that this collection isn’t in any kind of order. Rather there is a bit of a sensible rambling through the years of work. Everything is clumped into experiences and locales, not in any order. It makes you feel like you’re sitting down with a cup of tea reminiscing on days gone by…

<- Lone RiderCork Dork ->

Image source: Booktopia

Love and Sex Among the Invertebrates by Pat Murphy

Image result for alien sex book cover

Title: Love and Sex Among the Invertebrates
Author: Pat Murphy
In: Alien Sex (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dystopia, Insects
Dates read: 29th December 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: ROC
Year: 1990
5th sentence, 74th page: The warmth of sunlight will cause the creature to extend his sail and gather electrical energy to recharge his batteries.

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Animal sex is entirely unique. But what if it’s the invertebrates which are the next evolutionary step? Not us humans?


At the end of the world, one scientist fights to create something that will last. It’s a nice idea, except for the fact that you know… she’s dying. And it’s a quite tragic ending to a very uncomfortable collection. But also a brilliant story. Though that might be because I have an obsession with bugs, and there is a lot of talking about weird animal sex.

I love that this story investigates evolution. There is such an assumption that we are the pinnacle of evolution and the end of the evolutionary train. But, that’s probably not actually the case. One day we’re likely to die out. In a pretty intense way, this short story questions those assumptions and makes you really think about the future. Which was awesome. And then I had to read something happy and light, because I don’t want to think about the world in that much depth.

This was a perfect story to end on for the Alien Sex collection. It was bittersweet and thoughtful. Still uncomfortable, but not one that leaves a really bad taste in your mouth at the end of it. Just one that is a intense.

 <- Picture Planes ReviewThe Beastly Bride Review ->
Image source: Amazon

A Field Guide to Insects of Australia by Paul Zborowski & Ross Storey

Image result for book cover a field guide to insects of australia

Title: A Field Guide to Insects in Australia: Third Edition
Author: Paul Zborowski & Ross Storey
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Insects, Non-fiction, Science
Dates read: 2nd November – 28th December 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: New Holland Publishers
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Nymph of the snake mantis, Kongobatha diamentata, Mantidae (15 mm long)

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Whether you’re an amateur insect enthusiast, a student or an entomologist, this completely revised new edition of A Field Guide to Insects in Australia will help you to identify insects from all the major groups.

With more photographs, species and up-to-date information, A Field Guide to Insects in Australia will enable you to differentiate between a dragonfly and a damselfly or a cricket and a grasshopper. You’ll find cockroaches, termites, praying mantis, beetles, cicadas, moths, butterflies, ants and bees. More than 300 colour photographs show the insects in their natural habitat, while many line drawings clearly illustrate subtle differences where identification is tricky.


I bought this book in my Undergrad, hoping that it would help me identify some of the bugs in my backyard down to species level. Back then I didn’t know how insanely difficult that was. But now? As an adult? I realise that this book isn’t quite for that. It can help you identify insects down to their orders. Beautifully so. I didn’t feel like I was reading a textbook while reading this. I actually found it incredibly fun and intriguing.

The images in this book are a great way to crystallise all of the information which was being provided to you throughout. As each order and suborder was provided, a number of gorgeous pictures were placed next to them. Many of which I either recognised, or vaguely recognised from similar species. I thought the pictures were completely beautiful. Although I am a total bug geek. So that might have something to do with my happy feelings about the pretty pictures.

Alongside the information about each order and suborder, this book provides information about where you are most likely to find each group. These extra pieces of information are so helpful with identifying a specimen down to order. And I’ll probably be using the Hymenoptera section heavily when it comes to identifying my specimens collected for my PhD.

Although my favourite part about this book was the breakdown of each order, I also loved that the start of this book talked about trapping, catching and preservation. I remember the vast majority of this from my Undergrad days, but it was nice to have a refresher. Again, accompanied by pictures to help you view what was being discussed.

 <- More insect reviewsMore non-fiction reviews ->

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Daddy Longlegs of the Evening by Jeffrey Ford


Title: Daddy Longlegs of the Evening
Author: Jeffrey Ford
In: Naked City (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Horror, Insects, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 11th December 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: He’d traded a pair of official police handcuffs, with key, for the pack it came from.

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A daddy long legs found its way into their son’s ear and made a little nest for itself in his brain… what comes next is definitely the things that nightmares are made of.


I should start this review by saying that I actually really, really love spiders. I keep trying to convince my partner to let me have a pet one… and I specifically love Daddy Long Legs because they are super safe and really cool looking. One of the least creepy spiders in the kingdom. Having said all of that, I wasn’t so keen on this story. It was actually quite creepy and I sat there looking around my room for spiders when I was finished… I didn’t want to turn into Daddy!

I do love that this story works on peoples’ sometimes irrational fears of spiders and them crawling into your brain. I’m not even sure if that’s something that tends to happen… but it’s still something that a lot of people tend to fear. I love stories that take these fears and make them into something that is a little comic, but still quite creepy. Which seems to be a bit of a theme within Ford’s short stories.

Even though I found Daddy in this seriously creepy… I was still seriously happy that he got away in the end. It means that he was probably out killing a whole other town. But I was still really happy that he did… if I don’t think about it too hard. My brain is a really weird place.

 <- Noble Rot ReviewThe Skinny Girl Review ->
Image source: Patricia Briggs

A Guide to Native Bees of Australia by Terry Houston

Image result for book cover a guide to native bees of australia

Title: A Guide to Native Bees of Australia
Author: Terry Houston
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Insects, Non-fiction, Science
Dates read: 16th October – 29th November 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: As the bee immatures reach maturity and pupae give rise to adults, the mite nymphs moult to become hypopi and mount their new bee hosts in preparation for being carried out of the brood cells to begin yet another cycle.

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Bees are often thought of as yellow and black striped insects that live in hives and produce honey. However, Australia’s abundant native bees are incredibly diverse in their appearance and habits. Some are yellow and black but others have blue stripes, are iridescent green or wasp-like. Some are social but most are solitary. Some do build nests with wax but others use silk or plant material, burrow in soil or use holes in wood and even gumnuts!

A Guide to Native Bees of Australia provides a detailed introduction to the estimated 2000 species of Australian bees. Illustrated with stunning photographs, it describes the form and function of bees, their life-cycle stages, nest architecture, sociality and relationships with plants. It also contains systematic accounts of the five families and 58 genera of Australian bees. Photomicrographs of morphological characters and identification keys allow identification of bees to genus level. Natural history enthusiasts, professional and amateur entomologists and beekeepers will find this an essential guide.


This book has been insanely helpful to my understanding and knowledge of native Australian bees. A lot of what I’ve witnessed in the field was supported and further expanded by this book. Yet, it was also filled with approachable language that even people who don’t pursue a PhD would be able to understand. Not something I often find in my science books.

The layout of this book is wonderfully logical. It starts with an overview of Australian bees, starts to go into the specifics of their biology and then, finally, ends with a breakdown of the specifics of each family found within Australia.

There’s not much more I can really write about a nonfictional text in an interesting manner. But, suffice it to say that I would be referring to this a lot as I march around the bush in search of pollinators and other interesting invertebrates.

 <- More insect reviewsMore science reviews ->

Image source: CSIRO Publishing