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Call of Nature


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I love this book. Packed with scatological gems, it is a magnificent, highly entertaining and beautifully illustrated guide to the world of excrement. No bookshelf could be complete without it. -- Professor Dave Goulson, Author of A Sting in the Tale, Academic & Founder of Bumblebee Conservation Trust We all know that s**t happens. It's what happens to it afterwards that is really important - a beautiful book about the biological poetry of dung, droppings, scat and frass. -- Nick Baker

Table of Contents

1 Introduction - what is dung? 2 Cleanliness is next to fastidiousness - the human obsession with sewage 3 Waste not - dung as a human resource 4 It's worth fighting over - dung as a valuable ecological resource 5 Dung communities - interactions and conflicts 6 The evolution of dung feeding - where did it all begin? 7 A closer look - who lives in dung? 8 Cross section of a dung pat - a slice of coprophagous life 9 The ageing process - time line of a dung pat 10 Dung problems - the end of world ordure as we know it 11 Dung types - an identification guide 12 Dung inhabitants and dung feeders - a rogues' gallery 13 Dung is a four-letter word - a scatological dictionary References Index

About the Author

Richard Jones is a nationally acclaimed entomologist, a fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, fellow of the Linnean Society, and past president of the British Entomological Society. He has been fascinated by wildlife since a childhood exploring the South Downs and Sussex Weald after plants and insects. Richard writes about insects, nature and the environment for BBC Wildlife, the Guardian, Gardener's World and Countryfile and has regular radio appearances on such programmes as Home Planet and Woman's Hour. Richard is author of several books on science and wildlife including Nano Nature (HarperCollins, 2008), Beekeeper's Bible (to which he is a major contributor, HarperCollins 2010). Extreme Insects (HarperCollins) was published in September 2010 and received widespread recognition in the press. The paperback was issued in September 2011. The Little Book of Nits (Bloomsbury) was published in May 2012. Mosquito, in the acclaimed Animal series (Reaktion Books) appeared in August 2012. House guests, house pests - a natural history of animals in the home was published in February 2015 (Bloomsbury). It was released in paperback in February 2016. He is currently working on the Beetles volume of HarperCollins' famous New Naturalist series.


Call of Nature is an eloquent review of what is currently known of the biology of insects in dung. The authors sense of humour bubbles to the surface throughout the text offering an often mischievous counterpoint to the biology under discussion. Here is a book that may even render dung an acceptable topic in polite conversation. It is a must for anyone with an interest in the natural world who does not mind getting their fingers warm and fragrant. -- Peter Smithers Antenna The language used is user-friendly; this is scientific education by stealth and I fully approve. I picked it up intending only to glance at it before reviewing it later, but I could not put it down! I finished the full 292 pages at that first sitting and ended up wishing that the book might have been even longer. It is an absolute MUST for all entomologists whatever their chosen group and it is certain to be enjoyed also by others whose lives are blighted by having an entomologist as a life partner. I suspect that it will probably also attract friends, neighbours, tradesmen and most others if left lying around like flies around...! -- Colin W Plant Entomologist's Record General readers may not think there'd be much to say about the subject; but as entomologist Richard Jones proves, there's actually quite a lot to learn about, whether discussing dung beetles or elephants. A lively tone pairs with detailed scientific facts and research in a surprisingly compelling survey which many will pick up for its shock value, only to find its details unexpectedly engrossing. -- Diane Donovan California Bookwatch

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