Art and Architecture of Insects

David M. Phillips

Clad in spiked and scaled armor, lance-like pincers at the ready, alien creatures are in our gardens, our floorboards, and our bedsheets. David M. Phillips has taken his life-long love of insect biology and microscopy and produced a mesmerizing look into the hidden world of the insect form. The 150 photographs in this book, all taken using an electron microscope, reveal an amazing variety of anatomical structures normally invisible to the human eye: a wax surface that prevents evaporation, antennae that sense molecules that are undetectable by other animals, and feet that allow insects to walk upside down on almost any surface. Organized with the nonscientific reader in mind, Art and Architecture of Insects explores the intricate structures of some of our planet’s most fascinating residents. This book’s stunning photography and entertaining facts will fill readers with a sense of wonder at the unseen universe that surrounds them. Whether young or old, jaded insect-lover or new to the awe-inspiring strangeness of insect exoskeletons, one thing is certain: You will never look at insects in the same way again.

Paper: $24.95
ISBN-13: 9781611685329
Pages: 152 | Size: 8.5 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: April 1, 2014

“Phillips’s delightful coffee-table volume reveals nature as architect in an ordered yet somehow whimsical world.”

Publisher’s Weekly


  • Phillips’s delightful coffee-table volume reveals nature as architect in an ordered yet somehow whimsical world.

    Publishers Weekly
  • An eye-opening tour of the unseen marvels of insect form and design as revealed in finely sculptured detail and artistic beauty by the scanning electron microscope. . . . This book will make you really see living insects for the wonderful creatures they are.

    Sidney L. Tamm
    professor emeritus of biology, Boston University
  • A fascinating window on the variation in insect form, bolstered by an authoritative but appealingly nontechnical account of its relation to function that answers the question, How can flies walk upside down on the ceiling?

    J. Michael Bedford
    professor emeritus, Weill Cornell Medical College
  • Written in a lively and accessible style, [this book] will appeal to entomologists and zoologists, as well as to students of biology and the general reader curious about the fascinating world of insects.

    Maria-Elisa Perotti
    professor emeritus, Department of Biomedical Science, University of Milan
  • The book is a masterpiece; a rare combination of science, art, and humor. Some of the insects pose as though gesturing to us.

    Ruth Shalgi
    Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University

About the Author

David M. Phillips

David M. Phillips was a biomedical researcher at the Population Council in New York City. He is now retired and living with his wife Robin and their pets in Barnstable, Mass. He has published over 200 papers in scientific journals. His microscopy photographs have appeared in hundreds of scholarly journals.

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