I am looking for a book my husband read in high school that would have been written before 1970, about a University science expedition from Earth to a planet overgrown with vegetation, especially flowers, with poisonous butterflies but thought to be uninhabited by higher life forms. The scientists/college students ultimately discover small humanoid beings on the planet. I believe the plot is about their interaction with the humanoids.

  • Are there a lot of trees, and a lot of logging?
    – Spencer
    May 5 at 15:56
  • Were the students all entomologists, each with a different speciality? Also, did some characters require tracheotomies to survive the poisoning? I remember reading this when I was very young in the late 1960s early 1970s. Ben Bova comes to mind, but I can not definitely say so. May 5 at 16:33
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    I’ve read a short story that sounds like this. Something about finding a world that seems perfect with no predators but too late it is discovered that the beautiful seemingly harmless butterflies are the apex predator of the world. I can’t recall who wrote it but Bradbury is a likely candidate. Unfortunately my web searches keep turning up “The Sound of Thunder”. I remember something about the butterflies landing on the ship as they try to escape and their venom can eat through the hull. May 5 at 17:10
  • Thanks for the suggestions. My husband cannot remember any other details. But I will check out Bova and Bradbury as potential authors. It was definitely not The Sound of Thunder, and yes my search results also turn up the butterfly effect results!
    – mtmangum
    May 5 at 19:25
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    @Todd Wilcox I seem to remember something similar but the other world was actually future, and they inadvertently brought the butterflies back to the present, which is why in the future the world is taken over by them - a temporal paradox. Jun 16 at 21:25

My Google fu is terrible, but possibly Doctor to the Galaxy or Space Plague by AM Lightner. I know at least one of those had butterflies in it.

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    The Space Plague, by A M Lightner. It had butterflies. The disease was carried by the larval form of the butterflies. The heroes discovered the native humanoids, and the humanoids had a cure for the disease that was somehow derived from the scales of the butterfly wings. I read it during Junior High, as I recall, a LOOOONG time ago. May 6 at 5:20
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    "The Space Plague" fits with the field trip, the small humanoids, and the deadly butterflies (called "flutterbyes" in the book if I remember correctly). May 6 at 7:20

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