From New York Times best-selling author Jonathan Balcombe comes this charming and affecting tale of young Jake, who on his first fishing trip with his grandfather, makes a crucial […]
The New York Times Book Review | Hosted by Pamela Paul | July 9, 2021
The Lives of Flies
Jonathan Balcombe talks about “Super Fly” and Marjorie Ingall discusses Holocaust literature for children
The subtitle of Jonathan Balcombe’s new book, “Super Fly: The Unexpected Lives of the World’s Most Successful Insects” leads to the first question on this week’s podcast. Why “successful”?
“Their diversity, for one,” Balcombe says. “There’s over 160,000 described species — and it’s important to add that qualifier, ‘described,’ because it’s estimated there may be about five times that many that are undescribed. Insects make up 80 percent of all animal species on the planet, so that says something right there about how incredibly successful they are, and flies are arguably the most species-rich subset of insects. It’s estimated there’s about 20 million flies on earth at any moment for every human who’s on the earth. And they occupy all seven continents.”
Marjorie Ingall visits the podcast this week to discuss her essay about why she finds it troubling that children’s literature focuses so relentlessly on the Holocaust.
To listen to the interview online at The New York Times ~ please click here.
How fishes live and die in the human world. By: Jonathan Balcombe My boyhood relationship to fishes probably was not untypical of other boyhoods, with the possible exception that I […]
In Super Fly Jonathan Balcombe explores the world of the most annoying creature, moving beyond the buzz and drone. Book Review by: Rebecca Giggs – please click here to […]
Winner Of The National Outdoor Book Award | Natural History Literature
From an expert in animal consciousness, a book that will turn the fly on the wall into the elephant in the room.
For most of us, the only thing we know about flies is that they’re annoying, and our usual reaction is to try to kill them. In Super Fly, the myth-busting biologist Jonathan Balcombe shows the order Diptera in all of its diversity, illustrating the essential role that flies play in every ecosystem in the world as pollinators, waste-disposers, predators, and food source; and how flies continue to reshape our understanding of evolution. Along the way, he reintroduces us to familiar foes like the fruit fly and mosquito, and gives us the chance to meet their lesser-known cousins like the Petroleum Fly (the only animal in the world that breeds in crude oil) and the Chocolate Midge (the sole pollinator of the Cacao tree). No matter your outlook on our tiny buzzing neighbors, Super Fly will change the way you look at flies forever.
To Read More – Please Click Here
In our fast-paced, human-centered lives, we are often oblivious to the remarkable capacities of so many animal species, like those of our underwater cousins: fish. Article: The Globe And Mail, […]
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Fishes Have Feelings Too: The Inner Lives Of Our Underwater Cousins:
When you think about fish, it’s probably at dinnertime.
Author Jonathan Balcombe, on the other hand, spends a lot of time pondering the emotional lives of fish.
Balcombe, who serves as the director of animal sentience for the Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy, tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that humans are closer to understanding fish than ever before.
What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins
Jonathan Balcombe Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2016)
More than 30,000 species of fish — about half of all vertebrates — roam global waters. And as ethologist Jonathan Balcombe notes in this engrossing study, breakthroughs are revealing sophisticated piscine behaviours.
Balcombe glides from perception and cognition to tool use, pausing at marvels such as ocular migration in flounders and the capacity of the frillfin goby (Bathygobius soporator) to memorize the topography of the intertidal zone.
While diving off the Micronesian archipelago of Pulau, evolutionary biologist Giacomo Bernardi witnessed something unusual and was lucky enough to capture it on film.
An orange-dotted tuskfish (Choerodon anchorago) uncovered a clam buried in the sand by blowing water at it, picked up the mollusk in its mouth and carried it to a large rock 30 yards away. Then, using several rapid head flicks and well-timed releases, the fish eventually cracked open the clam against the rock.
In the ensuing 20 minutes, the tuskfish ate three clams, using the same sequence of behaviors to smash them.
Interview On: The Colin McEnroe Show (WNPRadio)
Animal rights have come a long way over the last century, providing, of course, we’re not talking about fish. While other vertebrates have slowly been recognized as social, feeling, even sentient beings, fish remain good for three things: owning, catching and eating.
It’s All About Food:
Interview of Jonathan by Caryn Hartglass on 9th June 2016 regarding his latest book, “What A Fish Knows” and related topics.[audio mp3="http://jonathan-balcombe.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/AllAboutFood-06072016-jonathan-balcombe.mp3"][/audio]
Closing The Buffet
Review by Justin Hickey on Open Letters Monthly (June 01, 2016)
In 1949, Austrian ethologist Konrad Lorenz introduced his concept of the “baby schema,” which theorized that the large eyes, shorter snouts, and round wobbly heads of infant animals trigger caregiving urges in their parents.
That this phenomenon crosses species lines is irrefutable, considering how much time we spend cooing at puppies and kittens—true fur babies—and any adult creature possessing a hint of benign fluffiness.
If Lorenz were alive today, he’d nod in sage commiseration at our vast internet cache of videos and memes celebrating owls, raccoons, pigs, hedgehogs, rabbits, and ducklings (to name a few, in this reviewer’s order of Descending Cuddliness).
How about fishes?
What A Fish Knows Puts Fish In The Limelight
Book Review on FanGirl Nation by Jessica Greenlee (June 01, 2016)
Jonathan Balcombe is talking about not only What a Fish Knows but how they know it, what they experience, and the question of whether or not they qualify as self-aware, sentient beings.His answer to that last is an emphatic “yes,” and he has the studies to back his conclusion.
Throughout the book, he examines fish senses, intelligence, social and family lives, and concludes with a chapter on fishing. He also points out that not all fishes are alike and we have not come close to studying the wide variety out there.
The book is fascinating, bringing to light an astonishing number of unexpected revelations about fish.
What Are Animals Thinking?
Interview Date: Monday 5th April 2010
Interviewer: Nell Boase
Jonathan Balcombe discusses animal emotions and whether non-humans can be virtuous.
His new book Second Nature – The Inner Lives Of Animals is out now.
The Opinion Pages – New York Times:
Published: May 19 2011
To the Editor:
David Brooks draws an unfair line between humans and other animals.
Virtue is widespread in nature. Studies have found that chimpanzees show spontaneous helping behavior toward humans and fellow chimps. They also console victims of violence and show gratitude for favors. Chickens, prairie dogs, songbirds and others sound the alarm at an approaching predator, heightening personal risk by drawing attention to themselves.