Insects of Cultivated Plants and Natural Pastures in Southern Africa is a compilation of authoritative accounts prepared by an impressive team of experts, mostly from South Africa, of the insect pests found on 75 types, or related groups, of beneficial plants in this region. Even with the focus on southern Africa only, the detail and enormity of the subject matter is almost overwhelming in terms of the number of cultivated plants and crops, and the hundreds of inherently complex insect species and interactions involved.
In order to find out what you want to know from this book all you need, as a start, is the name of the plant or crop that is of interest. Thus, there are 12 main sections, each authored by an expert or by a small group of specialists, comprising cognate and logical groupings of plants, such as vegetables, cereals, through to categories such as subtropical fruits, plantation trees and ornamentals. For each of the plant-categories, say citrus, a comprehensive table is provided listing the common and scientific name of each of the pests associated with that crop or plant, with notes on the parts of the plant that are damaged, cross-referenced to other entries on that particular pest-species to be found elsewhere in the book.
In all, nearly 700 insect pest species are listed: about two-thirds of these, namely those of major importance, are given extensive coverage in the book and the text is greatly enhanced by 860 stunningly high-quality photographs of the insects themselves and the damage that they cause. The latest information is provided for each of the major pests on their:
- Scientific and common names (in English, Afrikaans and Portuguese);
- Origin and distribution;
- Identification (typically, of each of the life stages);
- Host plants;
- Life history;
- Natural enemies;
- Management; and, in addition
- Further reading (to key references for each species).
Besides the various expedients mentioned above that allow access to the information contained in the book, ease of reference to chosen subjects is considerably enhanced by an exceptionally functional 5,612-entry index. And for the non-specialist, there is a 200-entry glossary that explains technical or idiosyncratic terms that form part and parcel of the language of entomologists and their kith and kin.