With perhaps the notable exception of dragonflies and damselflies, the majority of invertebrates which inhabit our ponds and streams go largely unnoticed. Yet, as anyone who has ever gone pond dipping knows, simply look below the surface and you will quickly discover an extraordinary variety of life. Perhaps the most numerous and arguably the most interesting inhabitants of this underwater world are the water bugs and water beetles. With evocative names such as water scorpions, pondskaters and whirligigs, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Frequently brightly coloured or adorned with exquisite markings they are all supremely adapted to life on, in or alongside water. The Water Bugs and Water Beetles of Surrey showcases their beauty, character and behaviour.
Despite being landlocked, Surrey supports one of the richest wetland beetle and bug faunas in Britain and the majority of British species occur in the county. The Water Bugs and Water Beetles of Surrey covers all aquatic Heteroptera (or `true bugs') together with those members of the order Coleoptera (the beetles) which spend at least part of their life cycle in water or alongside water. Following the format established by earlier titles in the Surrey Wildlife Atlas Series, it includes detailed notes on the distribution and ecology of all species known in the county. For readers new to the subject, the book also includes a general introduction to the biology of these fascinating animals whilst representatives from every family are illustrated in over 200 colour photographs, including most of the species which can be easily named and identified.
Dr Jonty Denton is a freelance ecologist and county Coleoptera recorder for both Surrey and Hampshire. He is one of our most active field naturalists studying and recording a wide variety of plants and animals but always with a particular interest in freshwater life of all kinds.
This guide to water bugs and water beetles is nicely, even joyously, written, and includes an excellent set of colour photographs of nearly every secies - Peter Marren, British Wildlife, February 2008.