Southern Africa is home to a particularly rich insect diversity, yet the fascinating stories about them have mostly remained hidden in scientific papers. This lavishly illustrated and authoritative book highlights and illustrates interesting, often remarkable, aspects of insect life, and emphasizes their environmental importance as ecosystem service providers.
Organized around 13 distinct biomes within the region, Pollinators, Predators & Parasites covers insects endemic to each system as well as those more widely distributed. It reflects the importance that insects fulfill as essential participants in most ecological processes – from pollination, predation, parasitism, soil modification and nutrient recycling to food for multitudes of other organisms including bacteria and fungi as well as specially-adapted plants and specialized, insect-feeding arthropods, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Most of the phenomena and insects involved are illustrated in some 2,000 photographs that accompany the accessible text. A guide to each of the 25 insect orders found in southern Africa is included, with images showing their diagnostic characters.
The authors hope that providing an intimate insight into the beauty and importance of insects will help to emphasize their value and promote conservation of these key players of the natural world.
Dr Clarke Scholtz is Professor of Entomology in the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the University of Pretoria. His research interests have mainly focused on the systematics, biology and conservation of dung beetles and their relatives. He manages a group of about 10 dung beetle researchers, including post-graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and research fellows.
Jenny Scholtz studied nature conservation and worked for a conservation non-governmental organisation. Her focus later turned to the study of insects, culminating in her co-authoring this book. She lives on a Karoo farm and is involved in a broad spectrum of conservation and environmental issues.
Hennie de Klerk studied and worked in the field of metallurgy but has nurtured a life-long interest in insects. Over many years, armed with camera and macro lens, he has dedicated his leisure time to photographing creatures in the wild, focusing on insects and bird behaviour. Since retiring three years ago he has immersed himself in the study of insects.