Language: Most contributions in English, some in German
This volume pays tribute to Ernst Heiss, a world authority on Aradidae, or flat bugs. Introductory chapters introduce Ernst Heiss and his work, and the history of Heteropteran studies in Austria. The rest of the book presents heteropteran research papers from a wide range of biological disciplines, including six papers on morphology, systematics, biogeography, and karyology of aradids, followed by 38 papers on heteropteran systematics, and 15 papers on biogeography.
"This monumental (if strangely titled) book is in honor of the 70th birthday of Ernst Heiss. Its excellence, its breadth and depth, and its wide authorship all pay tribute to the degree Ernst is liked and respected by friends and colleagues around a world through which he has traveled, collected, and made friends. A year ago, he wrote to me, "Yes, we moved along the route Alexander took [in] 329 BC (the Silk Road)," where Ernst was advising the Kazakhstani government.
Ernst Heiss is the world authority on one of the most interesting groups of insects, the Aradidae, a heteropteran family known, accurately, as "flat bugs." Weirdly flattened, sometimes paper thin, these bugs live (most of them) under tree bark, where they feed with their long filamentous mouthparts on mycelia of fungi. Ernst Heiss also represents a fine European tradition: the dedicated and talented amateur, one whose vocation lies elsewhere and whose avocation, in this case entomology, is pursued with vigor and excellence. He is an architect and, in that capacity, has traveled widely, designing buildings and advising governments—and collecting insects.
He has described 133 recent species (120 of these aradids) and 33 fossil species (27 aradids) (plus a subfamily) from all continents, has published 180 papers, and has inspired and generously helped the work of countless other entomologists (including many of the contributors to this volume).
The book is a vast and impressive compendium. It opens with accounts by and about Ernst Heiss himself, including a list of his entomological (but not architectural) publications, and a list of new taxa described by him and of those named in his honor. There follows (W. Rabitsch) a detailed (50 pp.) history and bibliography of heteropteran studies in Austria from the 18th century, heavily illustrated with portraits of the history makers. The book then marches forward a great Panoptikon (so titled) (H.-J. Hoffmann), a 40-page omnium-gatherum of heteropteran folklore, fact, and fancy, of tasty dishes beautifully photographed (but sans recipes), of bugs in medicine as cause1 and cure, of bugs in art, philately, literature (German), cartoons, film, and much else. The bibliography, of >100 items, opens with Albertus Magnus. These three chapters are the chapters of general interest—of great general interest,-the hors d'oeuvres.
The rest of the book, the entrée, is rich, filling and wonderfully diverse, like an Edwardian dinner. More than a thousand pages of heteropteran research from a wide range of biological disciplines are presented. The first section contains six papers (110 pp.) on morphology, systematics, biogeography, and karyology of aradids. A significant paper here is by M. H. Sweet, who fulfills his 1966 promise (Thomas Say Publ. Entomol. Proc.) to expand in detail why he believes the Aradidae should be elevated to a new infraorder, Aradimorpha, the eighth in the suborder. His arguments for this elevation are detailed, convincing, and based on a thorough knowledge and understanding of the Heteroptera as a group.
This section is followed by 38 papers (500 pp.) on heteropteran systematics. Here are generic revisions, discussions of tribes, genera, and species, and new taxa described: one new subfamily, a tribe raised from synonymy, 13 new genera, three new subgenera, 118 new species, in 22 heteropteran families from every continent and every biogeographic realm! Eighty-three authors (my rough count) wrote these papers, themselves from every continent and biogeographic realm. Of particular interest (and beauty) is the monographic work (120 pp.) by G. Cassis and L. Vanags on the jewel bugs (Scutelleridae) of Australia. In effect, this is a revision of the fauna, with a key to species, morphological and taxonomic descriptions, accounts of food plants, and lovely photographs of these aptly named insects.
Fifteen papers on biogeography come next, and include some faunal lists: from the bugs of the Canary Islands (B. Aukema, J. P. Duffels, M. Báez) to the Plataspidae of China (G.-Q. Liu, L.-Y. Zheng) and the Tingidae of Namibia (J. Deckert, U. Göllner-Scheiding.
The nine papers in the final section, Biology, include the use by tachinid parasites of bug pheromones (J. R. Aldrich, A. Khrimian, A. Zhang, P. W. Shearer), a review of Chagas vectors (Triatominae) (J. Jurberg, C. Galvão), maternal care, polyphagy, and a range of other fascinating topics.
The book itself is well printed, on paper that will last. The text is in double columns, and it is very well illustrated. Nearly every page has an illustration, and these are wonderfully well reproduced, from glorious color photos to scanning electron micrographs and line drawings. Editor, publisher, and printer have together produced a work worthy of its honoree. The languages are English (mostly) and German, with abstracts in both languages. My careful reading of many papers and casual reading of the rest have found no typographical errors, itself a marvel.
All contributions are marked by care, thoroughness, and a careful use of the literature. Each paper is an important advance in our knowledge of this small, fascinating, and wonderfully colorful group. Taken together, these papers give an excellent snapshot of where the study of Heteroptera is today, and whence it came and whither it might go. Each paper also has been thoroughly reviewed by the editor and at least two other reviewers, and the former insisted that necessary changes be made (as I know myself). I mention this because too many symposia are tossed together like elderly greens in a bad salad. This one is not: The papers in this Festschrift will be used for many years to come and, for many years to come, they will continue to honor this remarkable man and scientist, Ernst Heiss."
- Carl W. Schaefer, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut in Annals of Entomological Society of America, Vol. 101, No. 2, March 2008.