Aside from pets, family members, or roommates, many of us often go weeks without seeing another living thing in our homes. But appearances can be deceiving. We are, in fact, surrounded by arthropods—insects, spiders, centipedes, and other animals with hard external skeletons and jointed legs. They are the most successful animals on the planet, and the walls that shield our homes to the elements are no barriers to them.
In the first systematic census of its kind, a team of entomologists combed through 50 American houses for every arthropod they could find, and discovered a startling amount of diversity. Each home had between 32 and 211 species, belonging to between 24 and 128 families. Most are not pests. Many were...
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