In the last fifty years our butterfly and moth populations have declined by more than eighty per cent and butterflies are now facing the very real prospect of extinction. It is hard to remember the time when fields and meadows were full of these beautiful, delicate creatures – today we rarely catch a glimpse of the Wild Cherry Sphinx moths, Duke of Burgundy or the even once common Small Tortoiseshell butterflies. The High Brown Fritillary butterfly and the Stout Dart Moth have virtually disappeared.
The eminent entomologist and award-winning author Josef H. Reichholf began studying butterflies in the late 1950s. He brings a lifetime of scientific experience and expertise to bear on one of the great environmental catastrophes of our time. He takes us on a journey into the wonderful world of butterflies – from the small nymphs that emerge from lakes in air bubbles to the trusting purple emperors drunk on toad poison – and immerses us in a world that we are in danger of losing forever. Step by step he explains the science behind this impending ecological disaster, and shows how it is linked to pesticides, over-fertilization and the intensive farming practices of the agribusiness.
His book is a passionate plea for biodiversity and the protection of moths and butterflies.
Josef H. Reichholf is an environmental biologist and author who has twice received the German Science Book of the Year prize.