This group of relatively large, colourful and familiar insects are a very popular subject of study because their behaviour can be observed without the use of elaborate equipment.
The unique complex of eastern English wetlands known as the Norfolk Broads is an outstanding example of Man’s exploitation of nature: the Broads are almost entirely artificial, waterlogged pits left by medieval turf-cutters. Largely owing to their origin they are astonishingly varied. Some contain fresh water, some salt, others are brackish. Some have sharply-defined banks, heavily wooded; others are set in mud-banks, covered in reeds and bulrushes. A few are deep, more are shallow, some are almost entirely overgrown, no longer open water but swamp. A few are part of river courses, most are included in drainage systems, a number are completely land-locked. Some are private, but many more are open to the public. This variety of shape, size and setting is reflected in the fantastic richness of their natural history. they provide a setting for multitudinous species of birds, of insects, of flowers and of grasses; some of these, like the swallowtail butterfly, can be seen nowhere else in this country.
Mr Ellis, a leading authority on the region, owns and lives on Wheatfen Broad. Over many years he has compiled, with the help of other experts, this general guide to the natural history of the Broads. For the tourist there is a lively account of the history and nature of the Broads, what they are and what they contain, which will both help to identify the obvious and suggest things worth looking for. For the naturalist there are also detailed lists of broadland species, both flora and fauna, including a unique long appendix on broadland insects. As with all New Naturalist regional volumes, the book is fully illustrated with maps, diagrams and photographs.
The New Naturalist series has already covered many facets of the interrelationship between man and nature, but the grass family is probably the most important man in the whole plant kingdom - just how important is shown in this book. Dr. Moore, the Principal of Seale Hayne Agricultural College in Devon, is our leading authority on grasses and their utilization. His special interest is the use of natural and seeded grass pastures for the feeding of livestock. Striking advances have been made in recent years in the improvement of such pastures and Dr. Moore deals very fully with this vital link in the feeding of the human race; but he also covers that other equally important role of the grass family in our economy, the cultivation of cereal crops for the production of grain. Grass lawns and playing fields form a centre-piece in most British gardens and public parks and there is a chapter on these, but the horticultural value of grasses as ornamental plants in herbaceous borders and woodland gardens is less well known.
These and many other unfamiliar uses for the ubiquitous grass family are described in this succinct work.
From an objective and scientific standpoint, Dr. Mellanby examines the problems of pollution of air, land, river, and the sea, by herbicides, pesticides, sewage, industrial effluents, gases, radiation, leakages, over-drainage, mistakes and mismanagement, in Britain to-day. He sets out to placate neither farmers nor naturalists, but to explain in each case what is happening, to point to both dangers and practical necessities, and to discuss what steps should be taken.
Dr. Mellanby is Director of the Nature Conservancy's Monks Wood Experimental Station, was head of the Entomology department at Rothamsted, and for many years before that did research in medical entomology both in Britain and the tropics.
Greenfinches nest in plantations, large shrubby gardens and churchyards with lots of evergreens, thickets and tall hedges. After breeding, goldfinches forage on waste land, overgrown rubbish dumps, neglected allotments of food, and rough pastures. Bullfinches, in their breeding season, develop in the floor of their mouths special pouches in which food for the young is retained. These pouches open, one on each side of the tongue and, when full, extend back under the jaws as far as the neck, when they together hold about one cubic centimetre of food. Cocks of the Chaffinch and Brambling species sing in the breeding season to repel other cocks and attract hens.
This illustrated survey of finch behaviour is a thorough, non-technical account of the habits of these birds throughout the world. Dr. Newton uses his extensive bird-watching experience and knowledge of the published literature to document the main patterns of feeding, development of feathers, breeding, and migration. As a result, he presents the changing relationship of the birds to their environment.
The author is on the staff of the Nature Conservancy at Edinburgh, Scotland. His several scientific papers on finches have appeared in Birds, Journal of Animal Ecology and other scholarly periodicals.
The diurnal raptors are among the most arresting and dramatic of British bird species, from the magnificent and immense golden eagle of the Highlands to the more widespread but equally spectacular peregrine falcon and the frequent and adaptable kestrel of motorways and urban ledges.
Leslie Brown's account of our 15 resident, 7 vagrant and 2 migrant species of eagles, falcons, hawks and vultures in Britain presents a great mass of scientific information about these birds in a manner as attractive to the general reader as to the dedicated ornithologist. Each of the resident species is discussed in detail - its status, past and present; its feeding and hunting behaviour; its life history; its breeding behaviour; migration and the threats to its survival. Then the biology of the birds of prey, changes in their habitat and status, their food habits, breeding behaviour, their territories and populations are examined in depth in separate chapters.
An acknowledged world authority on birds of prey - co-author with Dean Amadon of Eagles, Hawks and Falcons of the World, and author of many other books besides - Leslie Brown is immensely enthusiastic; and the many tables, maps, figures and bibliography are all indicative of the thoroughness of his research.
Also illustrated with 40 superb black and white photographs.
The complex and wonderful organisation of the honeybee has fascinated many naturalists and writers, but the New Naturalist is fortunate in securing for its library what is undoubtedly one of the finest and most comprehensive treatises on the subject. For many years head of the research station at Rothamsted, Dr Butler's own discoveries (particularly the existence of "queen substance") are truly remarkable.
Skilfully woven into the book are the results of the work of others - such as that of von Frisch on the orientation of bees, and the almost incredible way in which information is conveyed about the distance and direction of food sources, by beautiful, extraordinary dances. The copious illustrations are all taken by the author and are marvels of close-up photography.
This edition contains the finding of latest research, including the discovery of the sex attractant released by the queen and its function; and exactly how the piping sounds made by the emerging queen are produced.
"Excellent guide to the mysteries of bee life, for the general reader as well as the beekeeper and entomologist"
"Important as an exposition of a most suggestive theory, that of the "queen substance". The experiments behind this are fascinating."
"One of the best books of this (20th) century on bees"
British Bee Journal
In this seminal new work, Philip Corbet and Stephen Brooks examine the behaviour, ecology and distribution of dragonflies in Britain and Ireland, placing emphasis on the insects' habitats and also on measures needed to conserve them.
Published in 1960 – with Philip Corbet as contributing author – volume 41 of the New Naturalist series provided the first in-depth study of the biology of British dragonflies, helping to inspire many people to take an interest in these intriguing insects. In this new volume, Corbet has teamed up with Stephen Brooks, offering a fascinating outlook on the natural history of dragonflies. The authors have combined their knowledge and experience to help illuminate the relevance of British dragonfly species, placing them in the overall context of natural history from a broader, worldwide perspective.
Illustrated with beautiful photography throughout, New Naturalist Dragonflies explores all aspects of the biological significance of dragonfly behaviour, thus revealing the beauty and hidden complexity of these powerful, agile, flying predators.
This volume deals with the natural history of British insects, and introduces the reader to some of the latest discoveries and ideas about them. The author has brought together within convenient compass a large amount of scientific knowledge, often of absorbing interest; and he describes many of the remarkable features associated with the lives of insects.
Only limited treatment is given to butterflies and moths, since there are several excellent books on these insects that are readily accessible, including Dr Ford's volume on Butterflies in the New Naturalist. When it comes to other insects, beetles, two-winged flies, plant-bugs, bees, lace-wings and the like, it is much less easy to find out much about them. Books on such insects are few and far between, and most of them are rather technical in character.
An increasing number of people are interested in the insects of our countryside, and this book is intended to fill at least some of their needs. It will increase their pleasure in observing the creatures with which it deals and may, perhaps, induce some of its readers to become independent observers. There is a great field to be explored by anyone who is drawn to look beneath the mere surface and study in detail any of the very commonest of our insects, no matter to what groups the latter may belong.
One of the special features of the book is the large number of colour photographs of different aspects of insect life. Almost all of these were taken by Mr. Beaufoy from the living insects. Mr. Beaufoy is an outstanding expert in nature photography. There are forty coloured plates, of which only seven were taken from dead and 'set' specimens.
The author is well-known in the world of biologists. Until recently he held the important post of Reader in Entomology at Cambridge. He has written several leading text books on entomology.