The Inside Out of Flies

Firefly. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9780228102878. $24.95. REF
Flies are not everyone’s cup of tea, but McAlister (curator, Natural History Museum, London) finds them “stupendous.” Following up The Secret Life of Flies, she shares her love in intimate detail, with archival drawings, detailed photographs, and scientific illustrations. McAlister discusses naming conventions and anatomy (thorax, wings, and reproductive organs), and though text and illustrations are occasionally icky (images of maggots or a fly emerging from a decapitated ant’s head), they’re sometimes unexpectedly beautiful (compound eyes, feathery antennae). The writing is dense but will be accessible to interested nonscientists.
VERDICT Readers may not come to love these creatures, but they will likely grow to see them as more than simply germ-laden pests. Recommended for most libraries.
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