insectorum sive minimorum animalium theatrum

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Thomas Moffett or Muffet was an English naturalist and physician. He edited the Insectorum sive minimorum animalium theatrum (Theater of Insects), which was an encyclopedia of insects and their behavior based on previous scientific works. Moffett added commentary on the beauty and virtue of insects and the lessons they could teach humans. Moffet wrote

Do you require Prudence? regard the Ant; Do you desire Justice? regard the Bee; Do you commend Temperance? take advice of them both. Do you praise Valour? See the whole generation of Grasshoppers.

Moffett was particularly interested in spiders. In fact, the nursery rhyme “Little Miss Muffet” is said to have been written about an incident involving one of his children.

Thomas Moffett (British, 1553-1604). Insectorum sive minimorum animalium theatrum. London: T. Cotes, 1634. MU Ellis Special Collections Rare Folio QL463 .M93