From the book jacket: "Bernd Heinrich's widely praised Bumblebee Economics (Harvard, 1979) set a high standard for scientifically accurate yet gracefully articulate writing about nature's ingenious patterns, specifically thermoregulation. His Hot-Blooded Insects takes a giant step forward by presenting an overview of what is now known about thermoregulation in all of the major insect groups, offering new insights on physiology, ecology, and evolution. The book is richly illustrated by the author's exquisite sketches.
By describing the environmental opportunities and challenges faced by moths and butterflies, grasshoppers and locusts, dungball rollers and other beetles, a wide range of bees, and other insects, Heinrich explains their dazzling variety of physiological and behavioral adaptations to what, for them, is a world of violent extremes in temperature. These mechanisms are apparent only through precise observations, but the small body size of insects poses large technical difficulties in whole-animal experiments, engendering controversy about the reliability of the data thus derived. Emphasizing an experimental approach, Heinrich pinpoints where he believes studies have gone astray, describing in detail both groundbreaking experiments and those which leave a reasonable doubt" about the mechanism being interpreted. He reviews relevant work on the major taxa to show the underlying patterns that draw diversity together, opines on current controversies, and identifies questions that call for further study. Physiologists, ecologists, entomologists, and zoologists—in fact, all biologists—will be stimulated and challenged to further research by this masterly synthesis of a new field; it will also appeal to informed readers interested in general science."

REVIEWS (not reviewed on Amazon): This book is destined to become the definitive text on insect thermoregulation: there is not competition, and it is so comprehensive and thoughtful that it is doubtful that any successor will soon be forthcoming.Science

 Both scientist and naturalist, the author combines technical information with delicate sketches and philosophical discussions. Destined to become the benchmark for future insect physiology texts.Northeastern Naturalist

"An outstanding source of information, and can be read with profit and satisfaction by the professional biologist and interested amateur alike." —Nature

"From one man's persistent and elegant probing of the temperature biology of bees, we have been led to a deeper understanding of the whole biology of many insect taxa, and of their interactions with ecological and environmental stresses: all who work at the interfaces of physiology, ecology and behaviour have cause to be grateful, and all should certainly read this book."—Trends in Ecology & Evolution

"The book is written in a style that makes it easy for a nonspecialist to comprehend, yet contains enough depth for the most serious of scholars. Heinrich conveys the type of intense excitement that thrust many of us into entomological careers in the first place. Hot-Blooded Insects comes alive with the identification of key workers and their institutions; it is replete with splendid illustrations, including many of the author’s own sketches.American Entomologist


Writing another book never occurred to me, because I had no compelling information to convey. Except, possibly, to consolidate a magnum opus of my previous field that I had been leaving.

Since 1967 I had been extending and elaborating on my main discovery in sphinx moths that had started my career and given it a boost through various pushes and pulls. Insects were at this point, no longer just cold-blooded, they (many) were undeniably hot-blooded. My research had shown which ones were or were not, and why, and which ones had regulated a higher body temperature. In some insects, such as bumblebees, the sophistication of physiology and behavior of body temperature regulation and strategies of energy economy are at least as sophisticated as those of the presumably exclusively warm-blooded animals. The field had exploded. The new things and the old needed to be consolidated into one package. I decided I had to do it, and wanted it to be not only technical and readable to experts, but understandable and perhaps even necessary for other biologists. To that end I made sure it contained graphs a-plenty, but also my pencil sketches. But at 601 pages, it is not bedtime reading.