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Natural World of Bugs & Insects [Hardcover]

Ken Preston-Mafham
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The number of species that make up insects, arachnids, and myriapoda (centipedes and millipedes) is uncountable and has evolved to fill every possible ecological niche. This visual encyclopedia is a fascinating and informative study of these tiny and amazing creatures. Written by two brothers who have devoted their careers to investigating bugs and insects, this book even features a species never before documented!
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars So far so promising, but no banana yet! April 21 2002
Format:Hardcover
This is an infuriating book. If you want it just for the coffee table it is beyond praise, stuffed with stunning and fascinating pictures of a vast variety of arthropods, including myriapods, arachnids and insects. They are variously colourful, weird, frightening, endearing, agile, streamlined, camouflaged, armoured, bumbling or helpless, adapted to many niches, and generally haunting to the thoughtful viewer and entertaining to the idle time killer.
If what you want is a source book of pictures, this is a most impressive collection. The visuals are of excellent quality and amazing variety. They also are generally well composed and informative to the trained eye. To anyone with a biological background these are impressive virtues. The accompanying text is generally clearly written, cheerful, and sound, though it tends to be rambling and bitty, which is understandable in such a book.
Then what am I complaining about? Most of the attributes I have mentioned so far are beyond price, even in this day of hordes of competitive biological photographers. Heaven knows how many hours it took, of persistence in the face of boredom, illness, discomfort and danger, to accumulate the collection from which this compilation was drawn. What more could I want?
The trouble is that with so little more, without spoiling the book for either the ten-year-old, the browser or the stressed inhabitant of the waiting room, the book could have been a classic. It could have been treasured by generations of biologists, not only entomologists. It draws material from many ecotypes and most of the continents (I am not sure whether I saw anything about the very high latitudes, but in any case one can't have everything.)
But firstly, text falls between stools, and falls with a sickening thud.
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3.0 out of 5 stars beautiful photographs March 12 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
"The Natural World of Bugs and Insects" is filled with beautiful photographs of a variety of insects. The text is very basic and written for the amateur entomologist or wildlife enthusiast. However, the photographs of rare or cryptic insects make this book fascinating to all professional entomologists as well. Most of the captions contain at least a genus level name of the insect depicted. I would highly recommend this book to anyone captivated by the incredible diversity of arthropods.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book for illustrator student Feb. 24 2003
Format:Hardcover
I wanted to add my 2 cents....I have been using it for the purpose of finding material to illustrate. And also as a bug enthusiast, it's been a very good book for seeing the most beautiful and weirdest bugs ever. As someone commented here, the pictures are very beautiful and high quality. AND HUGE. The book is a sight for sore eyes. :) Amazing colors...an illustrator student's heaven. So, my star rating comes from the visual looks of this book and I don't have anything to comment on the text part.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Big book of bugs Feb. 15 2011
Format:Hardcover
I was looking for a good reference book on bugs...and finally found it. Its of a good size too 12inches by 9inches. Fantastic colour pictures and interesting information on every bug you can imagine. Every house should have this book. The kids will love it for hours.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars beautiful photographs March 12 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"The Natural World of Bugs and Insects" is filled with beautiful photographs of a variety of insects. The text is very basic and written for the amateur entomologist or wildlife enthusiast. However, the photographs of rare or cryptic insects make this book fascinating to all professional entomologists as well. Most of the captions contain at least a genus level name of the insect depicted. I would highly recommend this book to anyone captivated by the incredible diversity of arthropods.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for illustrator student Feb. 24 2003
By Sari Moo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I wanted to add my 2 cents....I have been using it for the purpose of finding material to illustrate. And also as a bug enthusiast, it's been a very good book for seeing the most beautiful and weirdest bugs ever. As someone commented here, the pictures are very beautiful and high quality. AND HUGE. The book is a sight for sore eyes. :) Amazing colors...an illustrator student's heaven. So, my star rating comes from the visual looks of this book and I don't have anything to comment on the text part.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So far so promising, but no banana yet! April 21 2002
By Jon Richfield - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is an infuriating book. If you want it just for the coffee table it is beyond praise, stuffed with stunning and fascinating pictures of a vast variety of arthropods, including myriapods, arachnids and insects. They are variously colourful, weird, frightening, endearing, agile, streamlined, camouflaged, armoured, bumbling or helpless, adapted to many niches, and generally haunting to the thoughtful viewer and entertaining to the idle time killer.
If what you want is a source book of pictures, this is a most impressive collection. The visuals are of excellent quality and amazing variety. They also are generally well composed and informative to the trained eye. To anyone with a biological background these are impressive virtues. The accompanying text is generally clearly written, cheerful, and sound, though it tends to be rambling and bitty, which is understandable in such a book.
Then what am I complaining about? Most of the attributes I have mentioned so far are beyond price, even in this day of hordes of competitive biological photographers. Heaven knows how many hours it took, of persistence in the face of boredom, illness, discomfort and danger, to accumulate the collection from which this compilation was drawn. What more could I want?
The trouble is that with so little more, without spoiling the book for either the ten-year-old, the browser or the stressed inhabitant of the waiting room, the book could have been a classic. It could have been treasured by generations of biologists, not only entomologists. It draws material from many ecotypes and most of the continents (I am not sure whether I saw anything about the very high latitudes, but in any case one can't have everything.)
But firstly, text falls between stools, and falls with a sickening thud. I don't know who is likely to read it. It is too technical for anyone using this as a picture book, insufficient for anyone trying to pick up much useful information as a layman, and frustrating to any entomologist who seeks serious information about the pictures. Most of the names used are common names. To a non-biologist this might sound like a pretty luke-warm criticism; after all, what is the point of all those Latin and Greek words that pretentious professors use? Plenty! Firstly having a scientific name permits one to look up information about the creature, anywhere in the world and in any language. Common names mean practically nothing, or are actively misleading; the same common name applies to many animals and many common names apply to the same animal, and the common names of one region are so much gobbledegook or directly contradict the use of the same names in other regions, let alone other countries or languages. Then again, many of the so-called common names have been coined by amateur biologists; even in English, they mean no more to the layman than the most obscure Greek or Latin might. Professionals can of course identify most specimens to some useful, informal level, but that leaves the most interesting cases begging. It is the ones you DON'T know that you needed the proper labels for. The book has pictures where I don't even know the family and can't guess it from the text!
In some cases you can guess say, that "darkling beetle" mean Tenebrionid; a few pictures are more helpfully labelled say, Nymphalid while in other cases you just have to take the picture as meaning hardly anything at all. This kind of inconsistency carries over to the index. A book such as this one, which is organised mainly around a number of regions in some chapters, and around biology in others, needs something special in the design of the index. This index is by no means special.
It is not as though the authors believe that no one will buy the book if it contains no scientific names; sometimes they specify them right down to the species. (Mind you, there are a few items where the editors had spectacular finger trouble with the spelling!) When I want anything in this book I most often resort to paging through it! Obviously this reduces its usefulness!
I do hope that the authors will produce a follow-up edition, slightly supplemented. It should not be difficult to tidy up the text and embellish it with a reasonably coherent thread of discussion and much more coherent terminology. I would have no objection if the technical terms were segregated to a table of illustrations or the like. I could cheerfully forgive a few labels that amount to "don't know!" That is simply how things happen in this field. Personally I should love a volume twice the size; these pictures must have been drawn from a collection may times as large and it could do no harm to make the showcase a bit more comprehensive; it would not even scare off the coffee table browser.
What this book needs is either a great deal more text, enough to make it coherent, or a companion volume of text, keyed to the pictures. Alternatively it could be keyed to discussions of each picture, by keying it to such standard a text book as say, Imms' General textbook of Entomology, or possibly some rival classic.
Oh, and I don't like the book's title. "Bugs & Insects" indeed! In civilised speech, bugs are hemipteran. Yes, yes, I know, but I still don't like it! I realise that that is my problem, rather than the authors' but I still, still don't like it. But that is not the basis of my criticism! If the title were my only problem, this review would be a rave, not a whine.
Meanwhile, I seldom take the book off the shelf. The frustration is bad for my blood pressure.
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book Aug. 30 2011
By Erin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great book. Amazing pictures. Perfect for our 5 year old who loves bugs and bug hunting. It is also a great educational tool :) awesome book at an awesome price!
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reference Oct. 26 2005
By Stefano Mendoza - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I bought it specifically for photo reference and this book was great at that. Great detailed-focused pictures. Very visual book.
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