An accessible but comprehensive overview of beetles, illustrated with 4,500 photographs.
Among Stephen Marshall's many other natural history titles are Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity and Flies: The Natural History and Diversity of Diptera, two of the most respected books on the insect world published in the last 20 years. More admirable than the books' rigorous science, however, is that they are wholly suitable for a lay audience, including student readers from high school on. The books have been adopted as classroom texts and assigned as required reading at the university level and are on the references shelves of many practicing entomologists.
In Beetles: The Natural History and Diversity of Coleoptera, Marshall has again applied his deep knowledge of the insect world. Comprehensive and packed with 27 pages of richly illustrated keys and 4,500 color illustrations, it provides the reader with a colorful and enjoyable introduction to the natural history of a huge group of organisms, along with an overview of the diversity of fascinating families included in the group. The subject of this book is an enormous one, since the beetles, or Coleoptera, include almost 400,000 named species.
Marshall opens with a description of what makes a beetle a beetle, and then introduces the natural history of the order with copious examples and explanations.
Part one of the book includes:
Part two of Beetles is a guided tour of the diversity of the order, with fascinating stops for all of the world's 180 or so families of beetles as well as most of the significant subfamilies. Thousands of photos, almost all taken in the field by the author, are used to capture the range of form and function in each family, with pages of examples of the popular groups -- such as fireflies, tiger beetles, jewel beetles -- but also with unique photographs of little-known groups ranging from long-lipped beetles to the rarest rove beetles. Essential information about importance, range, behavior and biology is provided for each group, and easily used photographic keys to most families are provided for those wishing to use the book as an identification guide.
The profusely illustrated keys in Beetles, linked to the unprecedented photographic coverage of the world's beetle families and subfamilies, enable readers to identify most families of beetles quickly and accurately, and to readily access information about each family as well as hundreds of distinctive genera and species.
Like its companion titles, Insects and Flies, Beetles will be welcomed by the scientific, academic and naturalist communities, including the next generation of students of entomology.
Stephen A. Marshall is a professor of entomology in the School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph, Ontario. He has discovered hundreds of taxa new to science and published over 200 papers on insect systematics and biodiversity. When he is not working in the University of Guelph Insect Collection (Canada's oldest insect collection) he can usually be found in his bug-rich backyard on the banks of the Grand River near his hometown of Fergus, Ontario.
One can open this book anywhere in the almost 800 pages and be met with beautiful photographs of beetles, many of them taken in the field; alone, these would make the book a centrepiece on any naturalist's coffee table. However, the huge volume of information in the text will make this a go-to reference book for even the most ardent coleopteris... A book of this quality and magnitude is rare; there should be no second thoughts about getting this for yourself or other insect enthusiast.
This comprehensive, hefty, and detailed overview of beetles introduces readers to the history, habits, and habitats of the order Coleoptera. More than half the book is devoted to a family-by-family profile of the various species. For the armchair enthusiast and general collector, the book includes a chapter on how to collect, preserve, and photograph beetles. Also included is a key that provides images along with features to aid in identifying specific beetle species. Detailed information is interspersed with funny anecdotes by the author, including the fact that the U.S. was accused of using beetles as weapons of war during the WWII, and the requisite reference to the Beatles. A section on beetles in literature is also included. The text is replete with well-annotated images and stunning pictures and concludes with a list of references, further readings, and a thorough index. Marshall's (Flies, 2012) work is certain to appeal to, engage, and inform anyone with an interest in entomology, especially in public libraries.
My first reaction to receiving this volume is that it is a very weighty tome... But, on opening the pages, I realised that it is the extravaganza of stunning colour images of beetles from around the planet that is the real weight of this remarkable book. Lavish illustration on this scale is amazing... This book is however not just about its images. It provides a comprehensive overview of the world's beetles. It is a remarkable introduction to the wealth of beetles that our planet has to offer.
Beetles are everywhere, an unsurprising fact when we consider they are one of the most common living things on Earth. Marshall provides broad and specific details about beetles around the world. He also shares his own experiences in this first-person narrative. Part 1 considers beetles in general--their biology and history--while the second part examines beetles throughout the world and how they differ... Those interested in learning to identify beetles will find the volume extremely helpful. Chapters seven through ten break down beetles into family groups, with plenty of photographs illustrating the groups described. The end material, which includes information on collecting and preserving beetles, also provides thoughtful tips for photographing them. As the author is also the photographer of many of the pictures featured, the advice is welcome. For educated, devoted entomologists.