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About this book
About this book
This easy-to-use identification guide to 280 insect species most commonly seen in Britain and northern Europe is perfect for amateur naturalists. High quality photographs from Britain's top nature photographers are accompanied by detailed species descriptions, which include common and scientific name, height, distribution and habitat. The user-friendly introduction covers the different habitats, life-cycles and the study and conservation of insects.
Customer Reviews (1)
Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne
16 May 2020
Written for Paperback
My first impression is of a book where rather exceptionally, every image is crisp and clear. This is one of the few photographic guides to insects I have seen that is so, because with many insects, they are found in situations which are awkward for lighting and composition. The book has beautiful images, a clean design and a weighting (about two thirds) towards popular species (butterflies, dragonflies and moths) supplemented with just a few other familiar groups such as the grasshoppers, bees and beetles. As a result, one has a book which can be used as a picture source for a family with young children to help them become interested in putting a name to insects they see around them. Adults who are not amateur naturalists will be pleasantly surprised at the variety and beauty of insects found in Britain and Europe. If this book was titled ‘Insects of New Guinea’ the majority of adults I know will readily accept it as true as the insects in the book are so colourful and dramatic that they conjure tropical visions. To cite a few of the stunning layouts the pages with Camberwell Beauty and Purple Emperor (pages 24-25) and the hawk-moths (pages 68-69) are a treat.
There would seem to be two reasons for why the images are so strong. Firstly, the author Robert Read is a professional photographer. Secondly, the photographic consultant is Paul Sterry. So prodigious has Sterry’s output been, I sometimes think it is a team of ten people pretending to be one person.
Just a few days earlier on an exercise walk, I had pointed out to my wife a ‘Bee Hotel’ in Potter’s Green which has been placed by the Southwark Council. Local Authorities are increasingly becoming more enlightened and creating pockets of habitat for native wildlife. I hope the Royal Parks will replace more and more of the biodiversity deficient acres of manicured grass with acres of natural woodland and meadows in the parks in central London.
There is more awareness that even a few native potted plants on a balcony in an urban environment can bring in insects. A starter guide like this can help with the current movement of seeing entire cities as national parks. Although I have emphasised how this can be a great addition to the family bookshelf, the text is very much aimed at an adult audience. The text is expertly written by a naturalist with field experience and follows standard headings of Description, Season, Habitat, Habits and Status. The ‘Description’ category is identification focussed. The text is concise but not dry; one learns that Wood Ants live in colonies which can number 500,000. I often meet city workers with an interest in wildlife who take expensive overseas holidays to photograph wildlife. I always tell them to open their eyes to the wildlife around them by taking membership of a local nature society such as the London Natural History Society.
Pocket-sized books like this are a great way to help people see what is around them and progress to more comprehensive books. A list of useful websites and other books to read is provided in the end sections. The front sections explain what an insect is, the life cycle, insect habitats and has a useful glossary. Delve into this book to be introduced to The Vapourer, Ruby Tiger, Mother Shipton and Yellow Ophion.
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Robert Read is a professional photographer with an emphasis on the natural history of Britain and Northern Europe. He has had a lifelong interest in insects and nature and he also manages the Nature Photographers image library.
Paul Sterry is one of the UK’s leading wildlife and natural history photographers, with more than 40 highly successful books to his name. Originally trained as a biologist, he uses his knowledge of natural history and ecology to take images that depict wildlife in a natural context and celebrate its beauty.