Despicable Species: On Cowbirds, Kudzu, Hornworms, and Other Scourges
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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American animals behavior bird's birds body brown-headed cowbird called caterpillars centipede century cocaine color common opossum creatures dark deerflies despicable species dew lovers dinoflagellate earth eggs European Starling farm feed female fish killer fruit flies Fungi geese genes genetic genus grass gray squirrel Greek green ground grow habitat hatch head hornworms horseflies horses host house centipede house sparrow human humankind hundred insects Japanese kill kind kudzu land larvae leaves legs lives male molds mosquitoes moth native natural nest niche North Carolina parasitism Paul Pfiesteria piscicida piscicida plant poison population possum predator prey Proteus protists roots sandburs says screaming cowbird seeds skin snake snow geese soil sometimes South Southern sphinx spiders swat symbiosis tail there's things tiny tion tobacco tomato tree vegetation vine Virginia wild wildlife wings wood woodpeckers worms yard