Justin O. Schmidt (Southwestern Biological Institute and University of Arizona) is a legend among hymenopterologists. His sting pain index scale, earned him an Ig Nobel Prize, which is awarded for creative and atypical work in science, medicine, and technology.
Schmidt offers this interesting book with an enthralling explanation of the evolution of the insect sting. This work presents highly instructive and technically accurate information. We learn about pain from insect stings, but also how relative and inaccurate "pain definitions" can be portrayed. For instance, he mentions that bull ant stings are considered incredibly painful in Australia. For Schmidt, however, its sting hurts less than a honey bee sting. We also ascertain that velvet ants can inflict an instantaneous burning sting that might last several minutes--making it one of the most painful known. However, its venom is one of the least toxic.But the message is that, overall, ants, wasps, and bees are here to stay and are all members of an intricate web of interrelations that even includes humans. This is not a textbook; it is more of a coherent guide that ushers readers into the insect world. It even ends with Schmidt's pain scale for stinging insects! --J. M. Gonzalez, California State University, "Choice"