The Modern Bestiary: A Curated Collection of Wondrous Wildlife (Hardcover)

The Modern Bestiary: A Curated Collection of Wondrous Wildlife By Joanna Bagniewska Cover Image
On Our Shelves Now
1 on hand, as of Sep 28 6:33am


A quirky collection of Earth’s most compelling animals who give mythical creatures a run for their money

The Modern Bestiary: A Curated Collection of Wondrous Wildlife mirrors the medieval tradition of an encyclopedia of incredible beasts, only this charming book with ornamental illustrations features 100 real animals who are stranger than fiction. Organized by the elements Earth, Water, and Air, the book introduces both unfamiliar creatures, like deep-sea harp sponges who catch prey in their barbs and digest them whole, as well as ones that have made headlines, such as cicadas who emerge from the ground in noisy broods every thirteen or seventeen years. Step right up and meet these delightful, unbelievable, and deliciously horrific animals, including:
The endearing:
  • same-sex albatross mothers who raise chicks together
  • tarantulas who keep frogs as pets
  • zebra finches who sing to their eggs to warn them of hot weather

  • The ruthless:
  • flukes who manipulate their host into getting eaten by a final host
  • horned lizards who squirt blood through their eyes to distract predators
  • southern grasshopper mice who harness scorpion venom as a painkiller
    And the just plain weird:
  • antechinuses who mate themselves to death
  • pearlfish who live, fight, and mate in sea cucumber butts
  • immortal jellyfish who reverse their aging process when stressed
    Funny, entertaining, and illuminating, The Modern Bestiary is a book for anyone who wants to become more familiar with the natural world and all its astounding creatures.

    About the Author

    JOANNA BAGNIEWSKA, a PhD in zoology from the University of Oxford, is a zoologist and science communicator, working as senior lecturer in Environmental Sciences at Brunel University London and a public engagement officer at the University of Oxford. She has studied a range of species, including wombats, mole-rats, jackals, and mink. Her academic interests include conservation biology, behavioral ecology, and the intersection of technology and zoology. She has collaborated with the Discovery Channel, won science communication competitions, and performed science stand-up comedy.

    Praise For…

    Starred Review. "Zoologist Bagniewska debuts with a brilliant tour of the animal kingdom’s oddities. ... Bagniewska offers concise and witty descriptions of 100 critters. There are roundworms who 'force ants into impersonating fruit,' a tarantula that 'keeps frogs as pets,' jellyfish that defy death, peacock mantis shrimp with eyes that are 'among the most complex in the animal kingdom,' foxes with ears so big they make up a third of their height, and butterflies that are 'able to make crocodiles cry, only to drink their tears.' Bagniewska admirably moves beyond trivia and delivers insights into ecology and evolution. ...Nature lovers will be eager to see what Bagniewska does next."

    "The entries are quite funny and engaging, and readers will be fascinated by interesting features or ecological characteristics. ...Overall, the intriguing accounts of these 'beasts,' many of which are uncommon species, are worth the price of admission. ...The playful tone and fascinating facts smack of Mary Roach, and younger readers will appreciate both."
    Product Details
    ISBN: 9781588347305
    ISBN-10: 1588347303
    Publisher: Smithsonian Books
    Publication Date: September 27th, 2022
    Pages: 256
    Language: English