Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Do you like bugs?

If so you will be fascinated with our “500 Insects: a Visual Reference” by Stephen A. Marshall. Like all the Firefly Books I have read it is a well done reference book. Marshall leads off with a good introduction, explaining the incredible number of identified insect species (over 1 million) compared to the estimated number of insect species (1.7 million) and leading it to the explanation of the taxonomy of insect names. Even with this amazing number of insects, he explains that they fall into 4 recognizable orders: Diptera (flies), Hymenoptera (wasps), Coleoptera (beetles) and Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). He explains how you will find similar species around the globe in similar habitats. He rounds out the introduction with sections on collecting and photography as well as basic bug biology and structure. All that before we get to the beautiful photographs that make up the bulk of the material.

The photographs are grouped by orders, families and sub-families, with one page dedicated to each insect. In addition to the close-up photograph of each insect you find some interesting information about the order and family.

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