Using examples from around the world, leading lepidopterist Dick Vane-Wright explores what it means to be a butterfly, from how the yellow birdwing finds a mate to why the African gaudy commodores produce adults of different colours.
Butterflies: A Complete Guide to their Biology and Behaviour starts with the familiar life cycle, charting development from egg to adult, mating and egg-laying. It continues by exploring less familiar aspects of the butterfly life-style: how they care for their eggs, the surprising things that some caterpillars eat, what happens inside the caterpillar to create the butterfly; why it is that there are so many variations in adult wing pattern and colour. These and many more issues are covered in this complete introduction to the butterfly, which concludes by considering the threats and opportunities that now face them.
Fully revised and updated with new photographs and the latest research, this reformatted edition offers an overview of the biology and diversity of the major group of day-flying Lepidoptera.
9. Butterfly futures
Picture credits and acknowledgements
Dick Vane-Wright is a specialist on the taxonomy, evolution and classification of butterflies. Through his knowledge about the distribution of species, he has also been involved in evaluating priorities for the conservation of biological diversity.
Having first joined the Natural History Museum, London, at the age of 18, he became Head of the Department of Entomology. He is now Honorary Professor of Taxonomy at the University of Kent. Dick has written numerous scientific papers and books on the subject and continues to try to bring a love of these enchanting insects to a wider audience.
"[...] this colourful book is a fascinating introduction to the complex world of the butterfly [...] If you want to learn about false eyes or false heads, mimicry and mockers, adaption and evolution, it's all here. Once you've read this book, even the cabbage white will never look the same again."
- New Scientist