Please note that the version published in Europe by Ivy Press is now out of print, so we are offering the version published in the US by The University of Chicago Press.
More than one fifth of all known life forms on this planet are beetles. They are extraordinarily visually diverse: renowned British geneticist JBS Haldane, when asked what could be inferred about God from a study of His works, replied, An inordinate fondness for beetles. The Book of Beetles uncovers 600 significant examples, selected as part of a genome program. They are shown in glorious photographs, life size and in detail, alongside an engraving offering a side or open-winged view. Each profile includes a population distribution map, a table of essential information, and a commentary revealing notable characteristics, related species, and a diagnosis of the specimen's importance in terms of taxonomy, rarity, behaviour, and scientific significance. Arranged taxonomically, this essential reference reveals the variety and importance of beetles for the first time.
What is a beetle?
Evolution & diversity
Communication, reproduction & development
Beetles & society
Classification of the Coleoptera
Notes on contributors
Index of species and families
"Profiles 600 of the most stunning, most wonderfully adapted beetles around. Each is photographed at its actual size, then in a magnified version – from the tiny beaver beetle, all the way up to the enormous and aptly named royal goliath beetle. The result is a work that is nothing short of magnificent."
"Photographs of more than 600 colorful, glossy species, resembling bejeweled broaches more than creepy crawlies, are presented at actual size."
– Publishers Weekly
"A colourful and comprehensive guide to the bug that makes up more than a quarter of the world's animals."
– Globe and Mail
"A beetle with 'dense, decumbent golden pubescence' inhabiting an air bubble in submerged wood: what's not to love? Imaged in glorious, furry close-up, Lutrochus germari is just one of the 600 species (out of a total of 400,000) featured in this paean to the insects that entranced evolutionary-theory pioneer Alfred Russel Wallace."
"Although 656 pages and 2,400 color plates cannot begin to capture the immense biological diversity of the Coleoptera – in form, taxonomic richness, or natural history – the meticulous work of the contributing authors is more than apparent. Their compendium features beautiful, high-resolution photographs of museum specimens, complemented by carefully made distribution maps, refined line drawings, scaled "actual size" images, and just enough text. These elements make paging through The Book of Beetles a treat, and a trip around the world well worth taking."
– American Entomologist
"An ambitious undertaking."
"A book that can be read much as one might open drawers in an entomological collection, with the benefit of also having a studied natural historian at your shoulder to tell you what you are looking at. This book is a sheer pleasure to read and to look at, and everyone will learn from it."
– Entomological Society of Canada
"A spectacular sampling of the more than 350,000 species of beetles on earth [...] The book is not only an excellent reference, but a joy to peruse."