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The Lives of Lepidopterists

Biography / Memoir
  • Offers exciting, beautifully written vignettes of life in the field and exciting discoveries by leading lepidopterists
  • Brings the reading public in touch with the actual lives of scientists
  • Line drawings of butterflies, moths, landscapes, and people give this volume the feel of a field notebook

By: Lee A Dyer(Editor), Matthew L Forister(Editor)

273 pages, 98 colour & 18 b/w photos and illustrations


Hardback | Oct 2015 | #228371 | ISBN-13: 9783319204567
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1 week Details
NHBS Price: £16.99 $23/€19 approx

About this book

Inchworms, tiger moths, underwings, owlet moths, silkworms, sphinx moths, grass moths, and butterflies. Collectively, these and many others are the Lepidoptera, one of the most diverse groups of animals on the planet.

Lepidoptera can be found in the highest tropical canopies, the driest deserts, and at the leading edge of science. The adults include some of the most beautiful insects that have inspired artists and have sailed through the dreams of human cultures for millennia. The immature stages ("caterpillars"), like the underwing depicted on the cover, link together vital processes in diverse terrestrial ecosystems that are only barely documented let alone understood.

The people that study these animals are lepidopterists, and the goal of The Lives of Lepidopterists is to introduce them with their own words. In twenty chapters, lepidopterists tell their stories, and these tales mirror the diversity of nature in their range and depth. You will find individuals that wrestle with the challenges of scientific careers, stories of far flung travel sand close calls, and historical perspectives on recent decades of scientific break throughs.



Section One: How did we get here?
1: From caterpillars to chemistry M. Deane Bowers
2: A reflection on the career: Following a path to moths and butterflies Pedro Barbosa
3: Follow the breadcrumb trail Carla M Penz

Section Two: Adventure
4:Contingency Art Shapiro
5: Pursued by adrenalin, in pursuit of dopamine Greg Ballmer
6: Mount Shasta and the mystery of Mu Felix Sperling
7: How and when I ventured into the study of butterflies and adventures along the way Lawrence E. Gilbert

Section Three: Discovery
8: One butterfly turned me to biology, another one helped establish metapopulation ecology Ilkka Hanski
9: Tropical caterpillar addiction Annette Aiello
10: Tales of three tigers: A 50-year career-shaping journey chasing swallowtail butterflies Mark Scriber

Section Four: Natural History
11: Butterfly reflections in thirds Phil DeVries
12: It should have been called a moustache Harold F. Greeney
13: Collections, serendipity and flightless moths Jerry A. Powell

Section Five: Secret Lives of Lepidopterists
14: A tale of two... glasses? John Brown
15: Journeys of a microlepidopterist - from South Korea to Arizona Sangmi Lee
16: The education of the field biologist Michael C. Singer

Section Six: History
17: Some Brazilian lepidopterists Ivone Rezende Diniz
18: Butterflies on a dragon's head; butterflies in a dragon's head Roger L. H. Dennis
19: A butterfly has time enough Robert Michael Pyle
20: Butterfly nexus Paul R. Ehrlich

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Lee. A. Dyer is an ecologist who has worked with Lepidoptera-focusing on immature stages-in tropical and temperate ecosystems for the past few decades. He received a BSc in biochemistry and a BA in english from the University of California (UC) Santa Barbara and then spent 6 years traveling, rock climbing, writing poetry, and working on environmental issues before deciding to go to graduate school. His PhD research at the University of Colorado, Boulder, examined chemically mediated interactions between plants, herbivores, and their natural enemies and included work in Costa Rica, Colorado, and California. Lee spends his free time looking for caterpillars, hanging out with his family, rock climbing, listening to music, drinking red wine, writing poetry, and reading books.

Matthew L. Forister is an evolutionary ecologist in the Biology Department at the University of Nevada, Reno. He received a BA in English writing from the University of San Francisco, spent 2 years with the Peace Corps in Ukraine, and then earned a PhD in ecology from UC Davis. He studies herbivory, diversity, and hybridization, and has worked with different plants, animals, and fungi across temperate and tropical ecosytems, but particularly loves the blues, coppers, and hairstreaks (family Lycaenidae) and their humble but fascinating caterpillars and the ants that keep them safe. When not chasing butterflies, he favors old novels, the mountains of the Great Basin, and hanging out on the porch with his family, Beth and Catalina.

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