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Flies: The Natural History and Diversity of Diptera Hardcover – Aug 30 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 616 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books (Aug. 30 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770851003
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770851009
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 4.4 x 27.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #90,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


If the title of this book turns you off, judge it instead by its appealing cover photograph of two whimsically patterned insects perched on a yellow flower. Author Marshall, a professor of entomology at the University of Guelph, Ontario, has produced the definitive work on creatures of the order Diptera, combining scholarly thoroughness and popular accessibility with his own eye-popping photos. Here you'll find descriptions of these diminutive creatures' life histories and behavior, a complete guide to classifying and identifying them, and even a section on trapping and preserving specimens for display. Still, most readers, conditioned to swat at the merest dipteran buzz, may prefer to make this handsome book the extent of their personal fly collection. (Laurence A. Marschall Natural History 2012-11-01)

Marshall...renders mature scholarship accessible and interesting to lay readers... Part 1 provides an overview of fly life histories and their interactions with plants and animals. Part 2 introduces the origins and distribution of the Diptera as well as a detailed global overview of fly families and subfamilies. Part 3 deals with collecting, preserving, and identifying flies... Over 2000 color photographs, including many remarkable close-up views of flies, supplement the text.... Notable for broad scope, cogent organization, informed entries, clear writing, and revealing photographs, [the book] merits a strong recommendation for acquisition by academic, special, and public libraries. (Nancy Cannon Booklist 2013-03-01)

A must have for fly fans. (Ian Paulsen Birdbooker Report 241, GrrlScientist, The Guardian 2012-09-30)

University of Guelph entomologist Marshall has been an insect enthusiast since he was five. He notes that diptera (flies) have been around for more than 300 million years and that they have an enormous impact on the planet, killing millions of people by transmitting disease but also pollinating plants and disposing of dung and carrion that would quickly otherwise overwhelm us. Part 1 of the book describes the life of the creatures, Part 2 examines their diversity, and Part 3 gives advice on how to study, collect, and identify flies. With 2,200 stunning color photos, this book offers a whole new perspective on a world of more than 160,000 species. (Brian E. Coutts and Cheryl LaGuardia Library Journal, Best Reference of 2012 2013-03-28)

Robin McLeod reviewed (very positively) Stephen Marshall's Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity in the February 2008 Cardinal (No. 210). Dr. Marshall is a professor at the University of Guelph and has advanced the technique of insect identification using photography of living specimens. In his just-released book on flies, he follows on with his winning format, presenting more than 2000 photos of flies from around the world. Part 1 of the book discusses the life histories, habits, and habitats of flies. Part 2 covers the diversity of Diptera. Part 3 is devoted to collection and identification. (Hugh Casbourn The Cardinal No. 229, The McIlwraith Field Natural 2012-11-01)

Stupendous ... unless you are a thorough dipterophobe, I urge you to order a copy NOW! Both the pictures and the text will enlighten and amaze you. As E. O Wilson rightly says: Stephen A. Marshall has delivered one of the most beautiful and useful accounts of insect life ever written. ( 2013-01-16)

Flies is written and imaged for both the academic and the enthusiastic layperson. It contains some 2000 color images of flies in their natural environment, nearly all taken by the author. He has selected...those that he finds especially fascinating and those essential for demonstrating global dipteran diversity in form and function... Marshall's text tells compelling stories about all these kinds of flies that are easily read by citizen naturalists and high-schoolers in science class, as well as professional biologists of all walks of study... Without a doubt, Marshall sets high standards. (Terry L. Erwin, Hyper-diversity Group, Department ZooKeys 261:85-86 (2013) 2013-01-24)

This voluminous book is the first worldwide treatment of the order Diptera to be published. The not only a well-known and very experienced dipterist but also an excellent photographer of insects, who is moreover endowed with an indisputably great literary talent and enormous creativity. All these attributes and abilities combined with great experience in science and teaching were utilized in the preparation of this extraordinary publication.... The Pictorial keys to the families of Diptera worldwide, which include a review of the morphological characters used, forms a particularly valuable part of the last chapter called Identifying Flies... The major merit of this work is its intelligibility and readability, which make it accessible not only to dipterists but to a wide public interested in natural history. The unusual number (over 2,000) of spectacular colour macro-photographs of flies, which form an integral part of this book, greatly increases its attractiveness. Even
the most demanding Diptera specialist is likely to be enthusiastic about Marshall's Flies. This is because not only does it include up-to-date information on all currently recognised families of Diptera but also photographs of at least one representative of each family, including some extremely rare or even mysterious ones, 99 percent of which are of living specimens! If nothing else, the considerable effort over many years that was required of the author to achieve this should be greatly appreciated. Who of the contemporary researchers in Diptera could say that he/she had studied or even seen a species of all the families of flies in the world? Surely, almost nobody, but Steve Marshall has enabled us to fill these gaps in our personal knowledge of this order of insects. Finally, also the esthetical aspects of flies should be stressed. The splendid photographs show us the beauty of the colours, forms and diversity of the often very peculiar structures of flies, all of which further
contribute to the attractiveness of this book. It is admirable that the author was able to summarize the vast amount of published data on taxonomy, phylogeny, biology, distribution etc. in this valuable worldwide survey of the order Diptera. We the reviewers have already been working with flies many years, but nevertheless could not have produced such an enormous synthetic study as this.... This excellent book can be recommended to all readers interested in flies be they professional dipterists, teachers or simply nature or photography enthusiasts. There is no other similar comprehensive, well-illustrated and up-to-date book on this extremely diverse and important group of insects. (J. Rohacek and J. Sevcik, Silesian Museum, Opava European Journal of Entomology Vol 110 No. 3)

Meticulously researched and illustrated.... Flies is a landmark reference book that will be indispensable to any naturalist, biologist or entomologist. (Ian Paulsen GrrlScientist, The Guardian 2012-10-01)

This is the first time that fly biology and natural history has so thoroughly been covered in one place for novices, students, and experts, and thereby adds a major access point to knowledge on Diptera. ... The author, Stephen Marshall, is a world authority on flies and a recognized teacher of entomology. He successfully mixes fascinating biology, strong scientific context, and visual wonder in this book... both novices and students can develop a sense of the breadth of fly diversity in an organized and scientifically accurate framework... A large fraction of the work is a photographic compendium and guide to flies and so it functions as a reference, an identification tool, a study guide, and a celebration of fly diversity. The final two chapters will be particularly valuable to students of insect diversity who need to know more about collecting and identifying flies. This includes a chapter on collecting and photographing flies that brings the author's passions to light through his
enjoyable journey and real passion for documenting fly diversity. In all, this is a beautiful and valuable scholarly resource for fly biologists, students, and naturalists illuminating these little appreciated, but ubiquitous, animals in all their complexity and wonder. (Brian M. Wiegmann, Entomology, North Carolina Stat Quarterly Review of Biology Vol 88 No 4 2013-12-01)

About the Author

Stephen A. Marshall is a professor of entomology at the University of Guelph, where he developed a major insect collection and carries out research on insect systematics and biodiversity. He has discovered hundreds of new species, several new genera and even two new subfamilies. He is the author of Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you had the chance to read/use Steve's other book, "Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity" you know you are in for a treat. If you haven't I'd suggest it also. Steve is an passionate dipterist that is an excellent teacher and photographer.

Chapter sections are very well written and loaded with facts and information about fly ecology, life history, and evolution. The extensive collection of systematically organized photos along with insect keys is very very handy.

Also, you cannot beat the price for this full of colour photos hardcover book. It was very generous of the author and publisher to provide the book at an affordable cost for an excellent guide.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent reference book for anyone interested in insects and nature generally. This volume should be in every school library.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't read the reviews! Oct. 11 2012
By Psarus - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is NO need to read any reviews about this book, just buy it. It is the best book written about flies ever, and if you have even the slightest interest in this subject: this is your book. Just buy it - do not waste your precious time reading what other people think... I talked with many professional Dipterists, they all agree, it is the best book (and will be for a long time to come)... even E.O. Wilson endorses it, and he is not a fly-guy (he is an ant guy of course, and one of the greatest).. So if you are still reading this, instead of reading the book, let me tell you that this is a BIG book, packed full with the most amazing fly pictures (Steve is just one of the best photographers out there), loaded with knowledge, interesting stories and great insight about flies, their biology, their interactions with other organisms, their role in the universe, and it comes with very useful (and easy to use) keys to the families of flies... Every page reflects Steve's deep passion for this amazing order of insects - and this makes the book a completely infectious read. No matter if you are somebody who has no idea about flies, or a seasoned scientist, after reading this book you will look at flies in a different way.
PS look out for Princess Leia (thanks Chris for the hint)...
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flies Oct. 16 2012
By F. Christian Thompson - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Obviously I am a biased reviewer, but there is no question that this book well illustrates the great diversity of flies as well as summarizes their importance to us (man). There is no better source for any one interested in flies, which make up more than 10% of the World's known biodiversity.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review for FLIES Jan. 11 2013
By massey4 - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
FLIES is incredible! Every entomologist should own a copy. It is truly a benchmark text. Please buy a copy and enjoy dipping into this beautiful work.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flies rule, and this book proves it! April 17 2013
By jbrunyon - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This has to be the best book ever on flies, no doubt. I knew that the author was an excellent photographer (not to mention being a world expert on fly taxonomy), so I expected a book stuffed with top-notch photos, but this book goes way, way, way (way) beyond that. It is truly amazing, and I cannot say enough great things about this masterpiece. AMAZING. Truly amazing.

You will not regret buying this unique work of art.
5.0 out of 5 stars FLIES soars! Nov. 16 2012
By Bruce A. Noll - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a gift to dipterists, pros and amateurs . . . Delves into a good level of current bio-understanding, has wonderful charts and photos for help in seeing the characteristics of known (described) families. It's a great edition to my library!