Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity: With a Photographic Guide to Insects of Eastern North America Hardcover – Oct 24 2007
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*Starred Review* Insects, comprising more than 80 percent of the approximately 1.5 million animal species that have been formally identified by scientists, play a significant role in our everyday lives. Honeybees pollinate crops; mosquitoes are both a nuisance and potential carrier of disease; cockroaches are unwelcome house guests; butterflies delight children. Written at a level accessible to college students in introductory biology courses as well as motivated laypeople by an entomologist with more than 20 years' experience as a teacher, this guide focuses on families of northeastern North American insects. The geographic scope is loosely defined as east of the Mississippi and north of the state of Georgia.
Arranged in chapters by scientific classification, this work furnishes general information on insect orders and families as well as more specific data on representative individual species. Chapters cover 13 big groups of insects, for example, "Cockroaches, Termites, Mantids and Other Orthopteroids"; "Grasshoppers, Crickets, and Katydids"; "Butterflies and Moths"; "Flies, Scorpionflies and Fleas"; and "Sawflies, Wasps, Bees, and Ants." Each chapter begins with an essay highlighting the characteristics of the group, its natural history, and interesting sidelights on individual species. A separate chapter on observing, collecting, and photographing insects is included.
Some 4,000 detailed color photographs of individual species in their natural environments afford the user the opportunity to view the insects as they appear in life. More than 50 pages of illustrated keys to the identification of insect groups are designed to be as user-friendly as possible; technical taxonomic terms such aspronotum and scutellum are illustrated within the key. Icons alert the user to corresponding photographs and further identification keys. A 21-page "Index of Photographs" refers the reader to page numbers of insects by genus and species as well as some common names. There are no references from broad common insect names such as ladybugs or mosquitoes; therefore, searching by genus and species yields the best results. A separate 23-page general index supplies page references to orders, superfamilies, and families of insects.
Firefly is also the publisher of Firefly Encyclopedia of Insects and Spiders (2003), which, with its broader geographic range and lower price, might be a first choice for smaller libraries. Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity is notable for its numerous color photographs, accessible language, and relatively simple-to-use identification keys. It is highly recommended for public, academic, and special libraries, particularly those in northeastern North America. Nancy Cannon
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity isn't for the general-interest holding so much as the college-level collection catering to entomologists. Insects of Eastern North America are the focus in a jam-packed colorful reference displaying insects within their order and including notes on their introduction, habitats, coloring and more. It's the professional's solid reference to identification and habits, making it a top basic reference pick for serious science libraries. (Bookwatch 2007-05-01)
[Selected as one of Booklist's Editors' Choice, 2006: Reference Sources] Detailed color photographs... designed to be as user-friendly as possible. (Booklist 2007-01-01)
Dazzling and tremendously helpful to anyone who wants to know about insects... I'm honored to hold it in my hands. (Ed Kanze Hersam Acorn Newspapers (NY State) 2006-09-14)
[A] jam-packed colorful reference ... for serious science libraries. (Diane C. Donovan The Midwest Book Review)
[Winner, General Competition, 2006 Science in Society Journalism Awards, National Association of Science Writers] (National Association of Science Writers 2007-06-16)
[Selection, 2007 RUSA Outstanding Reference Source, Reference and User Services Association [RUSA] Committee] "A wealth of information is provided for the work's less-than-$100 price." (Jeff Schwartz, 2007 Chair, RUSA Reference Sources American Libraries)
An impressive book.... Informative and fascinating. (N. Glenn Perrett Sideroads of Caledon and Erin)
Magnificent... thousands of photographs that allow identification of almost any insect to family and many to genus or species... a delight to read due to Marshall's wry sense of humor and idiosyncratic enthusiasms. (Frederic F. Burchsted American Reference Books Annual)
I cannot wait to try this text in my insect-biology class... This is an outstanding contribution to entomology. It will play an important role in the training of insect lovers for the foreseeable future. (William E. Conner American Scientist)
[Selected as one of 2007's Outstanding Reference Sources] Some 4,000 detailed color photographs of individual species in their natural environments afford the user the opportunity to view the insects as they appear in life. (Reference Sources Committee, ALA Reference and Use Booklist 2007-05-15)
Winner of the 2006 Science In Society Journalism Award in the General Book competition (Canadian Science Writers' Association)
[revised ed.] This volume is big, beautiful, well written, and informative.... I recommend this truly valuable tome very highly; it should be in every high school, college, and municipal library in northeastern North America. (Paul P. Shubeck, emeritus, Montclair State Univers Science Books and Film)
Best Books 2007, Junior High & Young Adult, Zoological Sciences (Science Books & Films 2008-02-01)
Whether one is seeking mastery of an understanding of insects or is content with occasionally satisfying his or her curiosity about a particular encounter with an insect, this volume is an excellent resource. The book has coffee-table quality combined with practitioner-level relevance. (Marvin K. Harris Science Books and Films)
The perfect reference book even for those of us with a limited interest in bugs. The book is perfect for birders... To spend an afternoon comparing bugs and pictures, learning about what is in the backyard and having this intimate glimpse into a bird's life is heavenly to me. (Noreen O'Brien Main Courier-Gazette 2006-08-03)
For the backyard enthusiast... Marshall designed this books so that a reader can easily identify just about any given bug by order or family. (Nathan Whitlock Quill and Quire 2006-08-01)
With over 4000 color photographs taken virtually all in the wild, this book is the most comprehensive photographic overview of insects ever published... The breadth of this book, covering all the insect diversity in eastern North America, including a tremendous amount of biological information that is explained and captured with wonderful photographs, will ensure that the book is a landmark reference in entomology for years to come. (Jeffrey Cumming Bulletin of the Entomological Society of Canada)
Magnificent ... an exceptionally large "field guide" that laboratory workers with some background will find indispensable, but that anyone at all interested in insects will warmly welcome. ... Countless photographs (many of rarely viewed insect families/species) make it an unmatched resource. ... fantastic variety of illustrated species ... This remarkable book is destined to become a fixture in all general entomological collections. Summing Up: Essential. All levels. (P.K. Lago, University of Mississippi Choice 2006-11-01)
Outstanding and should be on the bookshelf of every natural historian -- insect lover or not -- in eastern North America... ideally suited for anyone with an interest in insects, from the curious backyard observer to the experienced field naturalist or professional biologist... comprehensive, easy-to-use ... a beautiful and informative guide... loaded with 4000 stunning photographs made by the author, thus offering a level of uniformity between illustration and description often absent in many such books. Indeed, the photography is so spectacular that this volume could stand alone as a coffee table book of insects... contains a wealth of biological facts and natural history trivia... Put simply, not only is this book a wonderful field guide, it will serve as a fertile source of research ideas for students of entomology... It would not surprise me if, decades from now, professional biologists credit Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity with inspiring them to do what they do --
it's that good. (Clint D. Kelly, Postdoctoral Fellow, Natural Scien BioScience (American Institute of Biological Scien)
[Selected as one of the "Outstanding Academic Titles" for 2006] (Choice)
[STARRED REVIEW] This amazing six-pound volume, which offers more than 4000 excellent color photographs and concise, accurate information about every major insect family worldwide... Bottom Line: This book is simply bigger, prettier, and more comprehensive than any previous publication on insects and will be useful to amateur and professional alike. It belongs in every public and school library. (Annette Aiello Library Journal 2006-09-15)
[starred review] Written at a level accessible to college students in introductory biology courses as well as motivated laypeople... Some 4,000 detailed color photographs of individual species in their natural environments afford the user the opportunity to view the insects as they appear in life. More than 50 pages of illustrated keys to the identification of insect groups are designed to be as user-friendly as possible.... Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity is notable for its numerous color photographs, accessible language, and relatively simple-to-use identification keys. It is highly recommended for public, academic, and special libraries, particularly those in northeastern North America. (Nancy Cannon Booklist 2006-10-15)
When this book first crossed my desk, to say that I was instantly enamored would be an understatement. It was beautiful, the cover adorned with a stunning jewel-toned dogbane beetle... I almost didn't want to crack the binding [but] once I started reading, I couldn't put the book down. Visually stunning... Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity has the look and feel of a glossy coffee table book while still being full of accurate, well-researched information... Priced so as not to be cost prohibitive ... clearly written in plain language, it will be highly accessible to a broad audience, including naturalists, amateur entomologists as well as seasoned professionals. The author has also included a dollop of humour and wit throughout.... This book would make a great textbook for a natural history or general entomology course... With its depth of scope and true to life photographs Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity would be indispensable in the field. I thoroughly
enjoyed this book and would recommend it whole-heartedly to anyone who has an interest in entomology, natural history or a simple curiosity about the six-legged world that surrounds us (Gina Penny, Department of Biology, St. Francis Xav Canadian Field Naturalist, vol. 120, no. 1, Jan-Ma 2006-01-01)
[Selected as one of the "Best Reference Books of 2006"] (Brian E. Coutts and Cheryl LaGuardia Library Journal 2007-04-15)
This volume is an incredibly important, masterfully written, and profusely illustrated work that belongs in the library of every field biologist, educator, student and naturalist who professes more than just a passing interest in insects. It is also an essential reference work for city, school, and university libraries.... I heartily applaud Stephen Marshall's efforts and skill in crafting such a beautiful, useful, and engaging book that is destined to become a natural history classic. (Arthur V. Evans, Research Collaborator, Dept of En The Coleopterists Bulletin 61(3), 2007)
Groundbreaking. (J.B. MacKinnon Explore)
Clearly this represents the life work of a fine scientist.... I urge every library to make them available. (Gerry Rising, State University of New York Disting The Buffalo News and Buffalo University www.acsu.b 2008-03-02)
(starred review) If fascinating isn't a word you tend to use in conversations about canker worms...or any other arthropod with a head, thorax, and abdomen, Marshall is determined to change your way of thinking. He accomplished this with information about members of the 33 insect orders that is clear and in places absolutely riveting. This biological and ecological knowledge is enhanced by more than 4000 photographs that he has taken of insects in their natural habitats.... The volume's value to younger children should not be overlooked.... Marshall's Insects is an invaluable resource for those who want to know more about the biology and behaviour of a particular insect and for those interested in biodiversity, insect classification, and the impact of insects on commerce and human health. Highly Recommended. (Barbara McMillan Canadian Materials)
This volume is big, beautiful, well written, and informative.... Very few insect books describe or show as many insects as this author has... Each family is introduced in several pages of excellent text and is followed by hundreds of photographs with fact-filled captions.... The material is up to date, the text remarkably free of typographical errors, and the book is printed on fine-quality paper. In addition to describing the diversity, natural history, and behavior of insects, the author provides many examples of insects being used for biological control. The final chapter offers suggestions for collecting, preserving, and photographing insects. A very well illustrated key to insect families and to some common insect larvae is included. I recommend this truly valuable tome very highly; it should be in every high school, college, and municipal library in northeastern North America. (Science Books and Film)
"This is not a coffee table book. Do not be fooled by its large format or lavish colour photo spreads. It is actually more like attending a series of third year entomology lectures, complete with visuals, given by the best lecturer you have ever seen. Based on author Stephen A. Marshall's experience teaching such a course, the book provides information on every insect order and family found in North America (i.e. west of the Mississippi and north of Georgia). Included with each are details on things like taxonomy, ecological relationships, predators and predator defenses, and relationships to people, from economics to disease vectors. Marshall presents this information in such a fascinating and idiosyncratic fashion that you get no sense of the routine approach to classification typical of many field guides. Nature nuggets abound, and this book should become the interpretive naturalist's best friend. It is also a field guide, with well-illustrated and constructed keys and photos which
go from "where should I start with this bug?" to the family/sub-family level for all of North American insects. This is a book for the serious amateur or student who wishes to be immersed in the insect world, and would be well-placed on the bookshelf of biology teachers and outdoor centres. But don't take my word, take E. O. Wilson's (the father of modern biodiversity studies): "I wish I'd had Stephen Marshall's book when I started out in entomology." " (Alan Crook Green Teacher 2014-04-01)
Stunning... a powerful, "must-have" identification tool... The strength of the work is the collection of over 4,000 color photographs (and) well-written captions. Most of the images are of living insects in the field, including many uncommon species I'd wager most entomologists have never seen alive... It is hard to describe the mix of awe, amazement, and perhaps intimidation at Marshall's photographic and entomological accomplishment... There is simply no book approaching the comprehensiveness of Marshall's. It is in a league of its own. (Derek Sikes, University of Alaska Museum, Fairbank American Entomology, Vol. 54, No. 1, Spring 2008, 2008-03-01)
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is specific to the insects of eastern North America (but many species are found continent-wide, too), and some of the species pictured are to be found in the south, others in the north of the book's area of coverage. The identification keys are likely to work on all common to uncommon examples of the groups of insects to be found in all of Canada and the U.S., but to use the keys some magnification tool is needed (a good hand magnifying lens to dissection microscope). For someone wanting to put names to their collected insects, the keys are worth the purchase price of this book alone.
Though extremely useful for identification, this is NOT a field guide -- it contains over 700 typewriter-size pages bound in hardcover -- it will NOT fit comfortably in your back pocket or your day bag. But, as a professional entomologist I have found it useful to refer to it when someone has brought me an insect -- more often than not it is in the book with a good photograph.
I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in entomology (the study of insects): gardeners, nature-enthusiasts, collectors, etc.Read more ›
The keys are relatively easy to follow (as long as you have a dissecting scope), and the parts are even pointed to in the keys, so you know which part of the insect the author is referring to.
Also great about this guide is that it includes arachnids, which some other guides don't include.
The colour photographs are excellent, they are clear and make identification much easier when used with the keys. I used this text to identify insect samples for research, and as an absolute amateur I was able to use the text.
If you have this guide, the only reason you would need any other insect book would be for field use; this book is way too huge for carrying around outside.
I'd expect a book like this to be up to $200, so the $60 price tag makes it an even better investment. Amazon.ca's free shipping is the icing on the cake.
I recommend this book to any entomology enthusiast, it is really a must have, especially at such a low price for a huge hardcover book packed full of amazingly detailed colour photographs.
I had lots of fun identifying insects with it, and was shocked to learn that the cute and inoffensive houseflies that I like so much are in fact cruel bastards that lay eggs in live caterpillars. Oh, well. It broke my childhood, but it's a really good book.
If you don't like insects, you will after reading this book. If you like or love them already, you need this book!
Most recent customer reviews
Wonderful book for identification and info on orders, suborders, family's and subfamilies. I bought it to help with my insect collecting. Came in handy during labs aswell. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Brandon Fayer
Fascinating, well-organized and comprehensive text.
Most of the insects are photographed live and this adds hugely to the vibrancy and intrigue of the subject.
We bought this book for our son and he is so pleased with it. The pictures are just so brilliant and clear and it is so thorough. Read morePublished on Jan. 17 2012 by Aria
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