Despicable species: on cowbirds, kudzu, hornworms, and other scourges

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Lyons Press, 1999 - Nature - 216 pages
5 Reviews
In fourteen revealing essays, Lembke ponders some of the most loathsome creatures with which we share the planet. But for every creature's nasty reputation, there is a silver lining, which Lembke, with dazzlingly researched bits of history, science, and culture, deftly brings to our attention. There is the European starling, that invader of nests and devourer of fruit crops -- the great mimic and inspirer of Mozart and Shakespeare. The grey squirrel, famed pillager of yards and bird feeders and vastly entertaining acrobat and problem solver. The horse fly, blood-sucking insect with a walloping sting, whose maggots exude chemicals that aid in healing human tissue. Mold -- the astonishing facts of fungi-sex revealed. That famous infant abandoner, the cowbird. The centipede. The hornworm. The opossum. The fruit fly. The microbe Pfiestreria piscicida, deadly to fish and man, of which there is little good to say, except that it necessitates our own clean-up of rivers -- or else. Kudzu. Sandspur. And, finally, our very own species.

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Review: Despicable Species: On Cowbirds, Kudzu, Hornworms, and Other Scourges

User Review  - David Ward - Goodreads

Despicable Species: On Cowbirds, Kudzu, Hornworms, and Other Scourges by Janet Lembke (Lyons Press 1999)(577.85). The author has collected some loathsome critters for her essays. Surprisingly, for ... Read full review

Review: Despicable Species: On Cowbirds, Kudzu, Hornworms, and Other Scourges

User Review  - Marissa - Goodreads

Insights on a selection of hated species - eg starlings, centipedes, kudzu, et al. The author is a hilarious and well-spoken woman who has no problem writing what she thinks. Read full review


European Starling
Pfiesteria piscicida

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About the author (1999)

Janet Lembke is the author of many highly-praised books of natural history, gardening, and cooking, and numerous translations from Greek and Latin, including her recent version of Virgil's "Georgics". Her essays have appeared in "Audubon, Sierra, The Southern Review", and elsewhere. She lives Staunton, Virginia.

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