Microscopic Worlds Volume 2: Bugs of the Land

Reveals the answers to some fascinating questions about land creatures with brilliant 3D images.

In this series of three books, the author escorts the reader on a fascinating and inspiring exploration of areas of the biological world unseen and unknown by most. In each volume, the author presents often complex scientific ideas in a style that is lively and easily understood. Together with stunning 3D images, taken using one of the most modern and powerful scanning electron microscopes available, the books present a unique portrait of the biosphere. Each book contains a pair of 3D glasses. + Full description

In Volume 2, the author reveals answers to some fascinating questions about land creatures, such as: Did you know house flies use their feet to taste the environment? Spiders have specialised structures just below their knees, but what are they for? How are caterpillars able to walk up and down near-vertical surfaces? We all know that the silk produced by spiders is strong, but for the first time readers will be able to see in 3D how complex and variable webs are. These are just a few of the fascinating questions which will be answered as a result of looking at Kerry Swanson’s outstanding 3D images.

Microscopic Worlds will appeal to readers of all ages. The author makes no assumptions about what the reader knows about science, but ultimately it will be the images that initiate a desire to know more. The more we appreciate the complexity and importance of small organisms and the minute systems making up larger organisms, the more likely we are individually to take a concern in, and respond to, global environmental degradation.

- Short description


No longer available in a print edition.

The other titles in this series are:
Microscopic Worlds Volume 1: Bugs of the Ocean, Microscopic Worlds Volume 3: Bacteria, Fungi, Lichens and Plants


"The remarkable and sophisticated images were captured with the assistance of a scanning electron microscope and will instantly swell your admiration for the microscope, as will Swanson’s enthusiasm, awe and personal affinity for these creatures. His overview is simple, understandable and comprehensive. The book soundly challenges any misconceptions that 'bigger is better' and will inspire budding enthusiasts everywhere to appreciate the delicacy, complexity and importance of microscopic life."
Erica Odell, Wildlife Australia Magazine, Winter 2012, pp. 43

"Bugs of the Land is an enjoyable non-fiction book. It is very interesting with a lot of information and images. It goes through all the common bugs and arachnids in Australia with a full description and 3D pictures."
Emily Lam, The Helix, p. 34, 2012

"The photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, are in glorious 3-D and they're great. Mouth parts, heads, scales, clawed legs, feet, hairs, even single strands of spider silk leap from the page in alien glory."
Leigh Dayton, Weekend Australian, Australia, 14 April 2012

"On the third and fourth reading, the detailed, carefully crafted text, with fascinating thoroughly researched information, captures the reader. The facts are interspersed with relevant quotes, diagrams and anecdotes that make these volumes readily accessible to scientists of all ages. In a classroom, these books will enthral students and encourage them to learn more about "the beauty, organisation and diversity" of life. The only challenge for the students will be prying the book from their teacher’s grasp – they are superb."
Dr Heather Meikle, New Zealand Association of Science Educators, pp. 28

"...Kerry Swanson has taken and tried-and-tested pop-up book format and given it a novel twist in three Microscopic Worlds volumes... Instead of cardboard objects that leap up when you turn the page, Swanson’s books include amazing three-dimensional scanning electron microscope images that rise up when you don the (supplied) geeky 3D glasses."
Paul Gorman, The Press - Your Weekend, May 2012

"The photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, are in glorious 3-D and they're great. Mouth parts, heads, scales, clawed legs, feet, hairs, even single strands of spider silk leap from the page in alien glory. Swanson, who described himself as a micropalaeontologist, provides plenty of informative and entertaining information about the tiny creatures."
Leigh Dayton, The Weekend Australian, 14 April 2012

"WOW! What a pleasure it has been to review this magnificent suite of innovative, modern and creative books which do more than just describe: they inspire and grab attention. They bring the 3D perspective to the microscopic world that is so vital for a fuller appreciation and understanding of the living and fossilised microscopic biological world… Not only do the pictures leap out at you but some you just want to touch…. Each time you look at these pictures there is more to see and more questions to ask, surely, the life blood of science. Science is addictive thanks to these books."
Glenn Vallender, Geological Society of NZ Newsletter, 2012


  • New, novel approach to presenting a portrait of components of Earth’s biosphere.
  • Useful teaching tool for science teachers.
  • Contains a pair of 3D glasses.


How and why, and who helped along the way
Introducing the bugs
Moths and butterflies
Houseflies, blowflies and hoverflies
Mosquitoes and midges
Wasps and ants
References and further reading


Kerry Swanson is a geologist with over 40 years’ experience in both industry and tertiary science education. He has published more than 50 scientific papers on a group of microscopic crustaceans from the deep-ocean especially, but has more recently become involved in a project examining the diversity and ecology of microscopic animals living in the aquifers of his home province in New Zealand. Kerry is also a freelance motoring journalist and has published three books on motorcycles and cars.