Insect Poisons, Allergens, and other Invertebrate Venoms

in, Handbook of Natural Toxins, Volume 2, edited by Anthony T. Tu. xv + 732 pages, Marcel Dekker Inc., New York 10016. 1984. $135.00.

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  • College of Pharmacy University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721

Anyone who has attempted to put together a text of contributed papers written by different authors well understands the difficulties of presenting a cohesive thesis in a concise and readable form. This book illustrates some of the difficulties. Firstly, the title seems misleading. The first 332 pages deal with the insects, principally the Hymenoptera. There is a single contribution on Chilopoda venoms, and the remainder of the book is confined to the Arachnids. With respect to allergens, there are only two entries in the index, an additional one on allergy, and one on allergic reaction. However, this is a shortcoming of the index rather than the text. The index leaves much to be desired in the way of cross-referencing. There are numerous instances where the authors have described the same object or phenomenon using different terms, and this goes unnoted in the index. Finally, the great mass of invertebrate venoms, including the marine ones, are untouched.