Comprising well over half of all known animal species, insects are the most successful organisms on the planet. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that one cannot study agriculture, biology, and the environment, without a basic understanding of entomology. Furthermore, insects are indispensable to advances in molecular biology and genetics, and their ongoing decline in many parts of the world has stimulated much research in the crucial roles they play in global ecosystems.
However, the sheer diversity of insects can be a challenge to every newcomer to entomology. Most entomology textbooks tend to focus on insect biology, leaving readers with only a superficial idea of insect diversity and evolution, while others delve into too much detail that will deter the novice. In contrast, Essential Entomology has a clear taxonomic structure that provides readers with the necessary framework to understand the diversity, life history, and taxonomy of insects in a new light. This fully revised edition provides the most up-to-date guide to insects and includes all the major developments in molecular biology and palaeontology of the last 20 years.
Essential Entomology is an essential read for undergraduate and graduate students taking courses in entomology, agriculture, and forestry. It will also appeal to a broad academic audience of ecologists, conservationists, natural resource managers, as well as to the far more numerous general readers who are interested in wildlife, nature, and the environment. With these diverse audiences in mind, the straightforward and accessible style of the first edition has been maintained, technical jargon has been kept to a minimum, and sufficient background information is provided to enable the reader to follow the text with ease.
Section 1: Introduction to Insect Evolutio and Biology
Section 2: The Insect Orders
Zygentoma (Silverfish and Firebrats)
Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies)
Haplocercata (Dermaptera and Zoraptera) (Earwigs and Angel Insects)
Orthoptera (Grasshoppers and Crickets)
Dictyoptera (Blattodea and Mantodea) (Cockroaches, Termites, and Praying Mantids)
Xenonomia (Grylloblattodea and Mantophasmatodea) (Ice Crawlers and Heel Walkers)
Eukinolabia (Phasmatodea and Embioptera) (Stick Insects, Leaf Insects, and Webspinners)
Psocodea (Barklice, Booklice, and True Lice)
Hemiptera (True Bugs)
Megaloptera (Alderflies, Dobsonflies, and Fishflies)
Neuroptera (Lacewings, Antlions, and Mantidflies)
Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Hymenoptera (Bees, Wasps, and Ants)
Section 3: Fieldwork
George McGavin studied Zoology at Edinburgh University, followed by a PhD in entomology at Imperial College and the Natural History Museum in London. After 30 years as an academic, mostly at Oxford University, he became an award-winning television presenter. He is an Honorary Research Associate of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and an Honorary Principal Research Fellow at Imperial College, a Fellow of the Linnean Society and the Royal Geographical Society, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, and an Honorary Life Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society. In 2019 he became the President of the Dorset Wildlife Trust.
Leonidas-Romanos Davranoglou studied Zoology at Imperial College London. He then undertook his PhD thesis in entomology at the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK, funded by the prestigious Oxford-Natural Motion and the Onassis Foundation scholarships. In 2021, Leonidas was honoured with a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History to study the evolution of insect communication and morphology using both living species and their extinct relatives preserved in 100-million-year-old Cretaceous amber. He joins George McGavin as co-author for the new edition of this classic work.
Review of the first edition:
"This book should be as indispensable to students as to amateur entomologists, ecologists, and nature enthusiasts [...] it is to be hoped that this excellent value reference book will achieve a wide circulation."
– Galathea, 2001