Introduction

We intended to write a popular book on some fascinating aspects of insect life, but we could not check the temptation of incorporating in it many interesting details, including some recently published ones, and the write up has become semi-popular in nature. While it has retained a popular flavour, it has also taken the form of a collateral reading for students of biology and entomology.

Though a common notion about insects is that they are lowly evolved, several aspects of insect life show that they are highly advanced in the evolutionary direction taken by their group. They present a huge biodiversity, much greater than of the more familiar group, the vertebrates. Their high fecundity, their capacity to adapt to widely diverse sources of nourishment, their presence in widely different environmental conditions on land, including high altitudes, polar regions and deserts, their secondary adaptation to life in fresh water and even in seas, their great migration and dispersion ability, their defence strategies, and the social pattern of life in some of them are amazing. Care has been taken to choose topics which are not commonly covered in textbooks.

The book includes discrete chapters on some aspects of insect life. It may be re-emphasized that it is not intended to serve as a textbook. It is semi-popular in nature and is meant to be used as supplemental reading for those interested in insects.

Entomology is the study of insects. But in this book "Entomology" has been taken in a broader meaning, like some authors (e.g. Fox and Fox,

1964) to include also other arthropods. We have not treated spiders, mites, king crab or Limulus and millipedes as "untouchables".

Reference

Fox, R.M. and Fox, J. W 1964. Introduction to Comparative Entomology. Reinhold Publishing Corporation, New York.

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