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Islands are special places; they can be havens for unique plants and animals and refuges for wildlife. This book investigates the biogeography of butterfly species over the British islands, particularly the factors that influence their presence on the islands and that have made each island's butterfly fauna distinctive.
British and Irish Butterflies: An Island Perspective contains a full log of records of species on the islands and much supporting information. The first three chapters set the scene, illustrating the basics of island biogeography theory, their changing circumstances during the current Holocene interglacial, and studies of natural history of British butterflies that mark the islands as the most intensively studied region for wildlife in the world. The book advances by increasing resolution downscale from a European continental perspective, through patterns and changes on the British mainland, a comparison of the two dominant islands of Britain and Ireland, to a close inspection of the dynamics of species on the multitude of offshore islands. Detailed investigations include contrasts in species' richness on the islands and then of the incidences of each species. Case studies highlight the continual turnover of species on islands. Attention is then given to evolutionary changes since the time that glaciers enveloped Europe. A powerful message is conveyed for the maintenance of butterfly species on the smaller British islands now experiencing population losses at a rate unprecedented since the spread of the last ice sheets: the incontrovertible importance of maintaining populations of species on nearby mainland sources for islands as pools for future migrants.
1: Basics of Island Biogeography
2: The British Islands: a Geological and Historical Outline
3: Island Butterflies: Understanding and Interpreting Records
4: British and Irish Butterfly Species: Links and Gradients
5: Island Associations and Species Affinities: Geographical Influences
6: Assessing the Status of Individual Species on Islands: from Geography to Ecology
7: Changing Patterns of Species Incidences on Islands
8: British and Irish Islands: an Evolutionary Vantage
9: Island Studies: a Glance Back and the View Ahead
Roger Dennis has spent 50 years researching butterfly ecology, biogeography and conservation during which he has produced over 220 publications. His previous book, A Resource-Based Habitat View for Conservation, received the British Ecological Society's Book of the Year in 2012. A Fellow of the Linnean Society and the Royal Entomological Society, he is currently an Honorary Research Fellow at the NERC's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford, and an Honorary Professor at Staffordshire University and at Oxford Brookes University.
Peter Hardy is a retired civil servant and has travelled widely in his passion for Lepidoptera that developed in his school days. He is the Greater Manchester regional co-ordinator for Butterfly Conservation's Butterflies for the New Millennium atlas recording scheme, for which he received a Butterfly Conservation Outstanding Volunteer Award in 2014, and is author of some 50 scientific papers on butterfly ecology, including a book on the butterflies of Greater Manchester and, as the leading author, a book on the butterflies of the Philippines, where he lived from 2000 to 2002.
"'the authors see the book as "a platform for more significant research as well as for the simple joy of discovery" and express the hope that it will provide a guide to priorities in future research and conservation. Certainly, it is a major resource for such purposes and the authors have achieved their modest ambition, but the reader who digs deeply into the volume will be rewarded with a much richer, and nevertheless concise, cornucopia of knowledge and recommendations [...]"
– N. Mark Collins, Chair of the Swallowtail and Birdwing Butterfly Trust, The Niche, British Ecological Society magazine, December 2019
"When I was seven my father gave me a butterfly net and a butterfly book and over the next 50 years I thought I had acquired every book I needed to understand the distribution of British butterflies but I was clearly wrong! This is a great book that should be of use to both professional and amateur entomologists alike. [...] an epic piece of work that adds massive value to our understanding of British butterflies and more importantly island biogeography as a whole. I congratulate the authors and lay down my net and take my hat off to them! It will now take pride of place on my butterfly bookshelves!"
– Richard H. ffrench-Constant, Atropos 64, September 2019
"[...] ln conclusion, the authors of this volume have attempted a very difﬁcult task, namely to produce a comprehensive statistical and analysis of the ecological and biogeographical factors underlying assemblages of butterflies on islands around the coasts of the British Isles in order to provide a deeper understanding of their associations, their changes, their persistence and, indeed, their future, but, at the same time, not only to make the results of their analyses understandable to a much wider range of the increasing number of butterfly enthusiasts. Because their researches have been so wide-ranging, there is also a large amount of interesting information about British butterflies, gathered here, and absolutely accessible, which has never been assembled before. There is no denying that this is a relatively expensive book, and many butterfly enthusiasts might be put off not just by the cost, but by its statistical content. There is, however, a tremendous amount to be learnt from this book, not just about island faunas, but about butterflies and their ecology altogether, with the bonus of all those interesting case studies and other snippets."
– Charles Turner, British Journal of Entomology and Natural History 32, 2019