The sting of the wild.

The sting of the wild. Justin O. Schmidt.

Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016. Octavo, dustwrapper, colour photographs.

Entomologist Justin O. Schmidt is on a mission to compare the impacts of stinging insects on humans, mainly using himself as the gauge. In this book, the colourful Dr Schmidt takes us on a journey inside the lives of stinging insects, seeing the world through their eyes as well as his own. He explains how and why they attack and reveals the powerful punch they can deliver with a small venom gland and a "sting," the name for the apparatus that delivers the venom. We learn which insects are the worst to encounter and why some are barely worth considering. The Sting of the Wild includes the complete Schmidt Sting Pain Index, published here for the first time. Schmidt explains that, for some insects, stinging is used for hunting: small wasps, for example, can paralyse huge caterpillars and then lay their eggs inside so that their larvae can feast within. Others are used to kill competing insects, even members of their own species. Humans usually experience stings as defensive manoeuvres used by insects to protect their nest mates. Schmidt provides colourful descriptions of each venom's sensation and a story that leaves you tingling with awe.

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