This book is a celebration of the insect universe, exploring their amazing forms and functions, their fascinating behaviour and the enormous impact they have on our lives. With its lively and informative text, it looks at insects in all their extremes, from the biggest, fastest and fiercest to the best nest builder, most devious hunter and deadliest bride.
Insects are extreme in numbers – a single leaf-cutter ant nest, the size of a large camper van, may contain seven million individuals working together as a single giant super-organism. Insects are extreme in their bizarre forms – the stalk-eyed fly, as its name suggests, carries its eyes on the end of two ludicrously long stalks. And insects are invariably extreme in behaviour – take for instance the giraffe-necked weevil that holds head-bobbing contests to win a mate. Yet there is always method in their apparent madness, as each strange form and function is an adaptation designed to solve the extreme pressures that arise through the struggle to survive in a world that is always dangerous, competitive and unforgiving.
Richard Jones is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, a past president of the British Entomological Society and author of several books on insects, wildlife and gardening. He also contributes articles on insects and the environment to several high-profile newspapers and magazines (including the Guardian, BBC Wildlife and Gardener's World Magazine), appears regularly on radio and television, and takes part in ecological and environmental surveys.
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.
Enjoy and Learn!
This introduction to the diverse yet little known world of spiders is packed with concise, accurate information. With full-color pictures and readable text, this guide identifies representative species and describes:
Their characteristics and habits
Growth, courtship and enemies
Where they are found
Includes information on poisonous species and how to collect, preserve, and raise spiders.