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British Wildlife is the leading natural history magazine in the UK, providing essential reading for both enthusiast and professional naturalists and wildlife conservationists. Published eight times a year, British Wildlife bridges the gap between popular writing and scientific literature through a combination of long-form articles, regular columns and reports, book reviews and letters.

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Conservation Land Management (CLM) is a quarterly magazine that is widely regarded as essential reading for all who are involved in land management for nature conservation, across the British Isles. CLM includes long-form articles, events listings, publication reviews, new product information and updates, reports of conferences and letters.

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Field Guides & Natural History  Insects & other Invertebrates  Insects  Butterflies & Moths (Lepidoptera)

Butterflies Their Natural History and Diversity

Art / Photobook
By: Ronald Orenstein(Author), Thomas Marent(Illustrator)
288 pages, colour photos
Publisher: Firefly Books
These photographs are a visual feast that showcases the beauty and mystery of butterfly and moth species from around the globe
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  • Butterflies ISBN: 9780228102496 Edition: 2 Paperback Apr 2020 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
Price: £19.95
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

This visual feast reveals a multitude of butterfly and moth species from around the globe. Here are some of the most colorful, spectacular and sometimes weird examples of the world's butterflies and moths. Vibrant colour photographs and macro images complement the enlightening text written by zoologist Ronald Orenstein, who explains the scientific curiosities of these amazing insects. He makes clear how to differentiate between butterflies and moths; how caterpillars camouflage themselves; and how their feeding strategies and evolutionary adaptations help them prevail in the wild.

With stunning photography, authoritative natural history and an elegant design, Butterflies brings to abundant life the unfathomable beauty and variety of butterflies and moths.


Butterflies has seven sections which provide comprehensive coverage of Lepidoptera. It includes the following and much more:

- Introduction to Butterflies: What are butterflies?; Color Patterns; Courtship; Migration; and Climate Change
- Butterfly Diversity: Swallowtails; Skippers; Whites, Sulphurs and Yellows; Milkweed Butterflies; Fritillaries; Emperors; Gossamer-winged Butterflies; Metalmarks
- Butterfly Wings: Flight; Color; Tails and Ornaments; Eyespots
- Butterfly Life History: Mating; Eggs; Caterpillars; Metamorphosis
- What Butterflies Eat: Feeding Apparatus; Flowers; Rotting Fruit; Drinking; Puddling
- Butterflies in their Environment: Predators; Camouflage; Mimicry; Overwintering
- Myriad of Moths: includes Day-Flying Moths; Silks; Giants; Mimicry; Wing Pattern; Defense

Customer Reviews


Ronald Orenstein is a zoologist, lawyer and wildlife conservationist who has written extensively on natural history issues. His most recent books are Ivory, Horn and Blood and Hummingbirds.

Thomas Marent is a wildlife photographer based in Switzerland. His previous books include Frog, Rainforest and Life in the Wild.

Art / Photobook
By: Ronald Orenstein(Author), Thomas Marent(Illustrator)
288 pages, colour photos
Publisher: Firefly Books
These photographs are a visual feast that showcases the beauty and mystery of butterfly and moth species from around the globe
Media reviews

Reviews of the first edition:

"This is a combination of exquisite coffee-table book and factual introduction to the six butterfly families and their night-flying relatives, moths. The text is full of fascinating facts about what a butterfly is (a dayflying moth), their origins, families, how they fly, and their colors, patterns, and mimicry. Courtship, nuptial gifts, host plants, caterpillar behavior, metamorphosis, diet, and migration are also succinctly covered in accessible language. Special attention is paid to threats, conservation, and samples of the effects of climate change. The images and accompanying descriptions are a worldwide sample of especially beautiful members of each family: swallowtails, skippers, brush-footed, gossamer-winged, and whites, sulphurs, and yellows. This book aims to entice browsers and readers alike to learn more about these small, miraculous creatures."
– Linda Scarth, Booklist on 15/02/2016

"Butterflies are among the most recognizable and beautiful of insects. Most people know them only as common garden visitors, never suspecting the many other fascinating aspects of their lives. This book takes readers on a remarkable tour of the hidden world of butterflies and moths, ranging from the many nectar-feeding flower visitors so familiar to everyone, to those that prefer feeding on rotting fruit, decaying animals, feces, or even blood. With emphasis on the many similarities among butterfly groups, as well as on a host of unique species-specific features, Orenstein, a zoologist, lawyer and conservationist and author of Ivory, Horn and Blood, examines general patterns of natural history (e.g., behavior, food preferences, courtship and mating, migration, camouflage and mimicry, puddling, and developmental stages) and some of their many intriguing strategies for survival in a world fraught with predators. The book is densely packed with a wealth of beautiful, full-color photographs [...] that nicely complement the text. Presentation is worldwide in scope, showcasing the vast array of spectacularly beautiful butterflies and moths. Written in clear, easily readable language and relying little on jargon, this coffee-table-style book will interest anyone captivated by this unique group of insects. Highly recommended. All library collections."
– D. A. Brass, Choice on 01/02/2016

"The organization of this book is straightforward and comprehensive, addressing the most important aspects of butterfly classification, life history, diet, and their role in the environment at large [...] This book got my attention with this assertion: "Butterflies are moths". Not only is this accurate, it is brave. In three words, the author turns all our usual assumptions about Lepidoptera on their heads. I could recommend this book for that reason alone, but there is more. Orenstein's text is perfectly tailored for a general audience and educated reader. Scientific terms are defined within the text, but in a way that still renders the narrative smooth and engaging. This is not easy to accomplish and the author deserves great credit for his skill. The words are in white, on a black page, which lends an elegant air to the book [...] The location where each image was shot is always given in the caption, a refreshing detail that needs to become standard for all such books [...] Butterflies exceeded my expectations and I can honestly give it a ringing endorsement. It is also priced reasonably considering the quality and quantity of imagery."
– Eric R. Eaton, Bug Eric Blog on 13/12/2015

"Orenstein (Ivory, Horn and Blood) and Marent showcase a sample of the loveliest, most engaging members of the insect order Lepidoptera; they concentrate on the day-flyers, though a "miscellany" of moths is also included. Species presented range globally from seldom seen tropical species to more familiar North American ones. Orenstein's text is short and purposeful: his introduction covers taxonomy, wings, mimicry, mating, life cycle, caterpillars, feeding, migration, and conservation issues. These topics are developed later in the book, following sections exploring the six families of the order. The power of the title, as with most Firefly publications, is in the visuals; its sharp design perfectly complements its sublime subjects, from the elegant reverse-type presentation of the text to the dramatic way Marent's dazzling close-ups are introduced [...] This gorgeous book reveals a wonder on nearly every page and will enthrall natural history enthusiasts both amateur and expert alike."
– Robert Eagan, Library Journal on 01/12/2015

"These extraordinary beautiful insects are actually moths and long been viewed as the bringers of dreams. Their life cycles are metaphors for birth, death and rebirth, and you will find them all remarkably photographed in this exquisite edition. From brush-footed, whites, sulphurs and gossamer-winged, you will be forever awed!"
– Ann Coombs, Annual Holiday Gift Guide List on 01/12/2015

"Writer Orenstein and photographer Marent have teamed up to produce a magnificent book on some of the most interesting and beautiful creatures on Earth. Readers will see the diversity of butterflies and learn their history and ecology."
– William Hageman, Chicago Tribune on 19/11/2015

"This coffee table style book is a gorgeous volume filled with beautiful full-color photography and text. While primarily aimed at those with an interest in nature and science, this is also a resource that can be enjoyed by anyone, from nature expert to novice. The book begins with a general introduction to butterflies as a species, with further chapters going into more detail on individual butterfly families and their life cycles. Covered are topics such as life history; wing shape, color, and patterns; what butterflies eat; butterfly environments; and effects of climate change to name a few. The text is informative and interesting, but what really shines are the accompanying photos on each page. The text is white on black glossy paper, enhancing the presentation of the photos. This is as much a photography book as a text on butterflies [...] Butterflies is a treasure trove of information and a handy reference guide to be consulted again and again."
– Leslie, Under My Apple Tree Blog on 07/11/2015

"Zoologist Ronald Orenstein and photographer Thomas Marent's new book, Butterflies, explores the lives of these ephemeral insects while showcasing their beauty. The book details the life stages of moths and butterflies from caterpillar to mating adult, with sections to highlight species in each major family. While admiring the diversity of forms and colors in the photographs, you can learn about the remarkable adaptations of camouflage and mimicry, feeding, migration, and social structure that have allowed lepidopterans to thrive since the Jurassic [...] Butterflies gives us an in-depth overview of why we should give the bugs a closer look, and why conserving them in the face of threats like pesticides and climate change is essential."
– Aliyah Kovner, Sierra on 03/11/2015

"A large format book with an outstanding cover, easily readable text (white on black) and excellent photographs [...] Each page offers one to several photos of different sizes to give a 'wow' factor. The author's lucid text makes this volume an enjoyable read and the division of subject matter makes it an easy book to dip into."
Postcards from Sussex Blog on 22/10/2015

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