Endless Forms The Secret World of Wasps  Seirian Sumner

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“There may be no insect with worse PR than the wasp, and none guarding so many undiscovered wonders.

“Bees and ants have long been the darlings of the insect world. But the first ant was a wasp that lost its wings, and a bee is a wasp that has forgotten how to hunt. This much-maligned winged thug of the insect world is the stinging picnic botherer of most people’s imagination but is in fact older, cleverer, and more diverse than them all. The evolutionary ancestor of the bee – flying 100 million years earlier – the wasp is just as essential for the survival of our environment.

“Exquisitely endless in form and function, they are probably more species-rich than any other animal group. Secretive and mysterious, their skills and complex societies are as wondrous and diverse as those of the much-loved bee. As stewards of our eco-systems they are superior pest controllers, pollinators and seed-dispersers, holding hidden treasures of relevance to our culture, survival, health and happiness. Some live inside figs, others turn cockroaches into zombies, while one species even taught us how to make paper.

“Seirian Sumner passionately fights for the wasp to be rightly reframed in the public’s consciousness. From their extraordinary evolutionary story and ecological significance to their sophisticated social worlds, unique hunting methods and cultural inspiration she unravels all their mysteries, challenges our perceptions, and gives reasons to value them, stirring new heraldry for these undiscovered gems of nature.

“The closer you look at these spurned, winged insects – both custodians and bouncers of our planet – the more you see. Their secrets have so far gone mostly untapped, but Endless Forms offers up a maligned insect in all its unexpected, mesmerising splendour and reveals that the potential of the wasp is indeed, endless.”