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The Titles

Zoogeography of Caribbean Insects, by James K. Liebherr
True Bugs of the World (Hemiptera, Heteroptera) – Classification and Natural History, by Randall T Schuh and James A Slater
Insects that Feed on Trees and Shrubs by Warner T. Johnson and Howard H. Lyon (Revised 2nd edition)
The Anatomy of the Honey Bee, by R. E. Snodgrass.
Principles of Insect Morphology, by R. E. Snodgrass.
Turfgrass Insects of the United States and Canada, by Haruo Tashero.
Amy Ants - The Biology of Social Predation, by William H. Gotwald, Jr.
The Social Biology of Wasps, by Kenneth G. Ross and Robert W. Mathews (Eds)
The Wild Silk Moths of North America, by Paul M. Tuskes, James P. Tuttle and Michael M. Collins

The Reviews

Zoogeography of Caribbean Insects

by James K. Liebherr

ISBN = 0 8014 2143 8
Price = £37.50
Published = 1998
Review written = 16/May/1999
285 pages

Biogeogrphy is the attempt to interpret both the distributional and phylogenetic data of various taxa so as to devise a reasonable hypothesis concerning their evolutionary history. It is a fascinating but often difficult science about which we still have a lot to learn. The Caribbean with its myriad islands and low numbers of vertebrates is an excellent place to study biogeography. With up to 40 percent endemicity in some places it is both adeep well of work and an excellently rewarding source of data. No book has yet been published on the Caribbean insect biogeography so this work represents a useful addition to the literature.

Based on papers from the "Histoerical Biogeography of the Caribbean Insect Fauna" symposium held in Florida on the 10th of December 1985 by the E.S.A. it is positively augmented by to additional introductory chapters. These, on the Caribbean as a area relevent to biogeographical studies and the Geology of the Caribbean, help round out the book and improve both its readability and its usefulness. The eight chapters that follow this present a useful cross-section of studies on various insect taxa. The absence of the Lepidoptera and the inclusion of papers on the Halictidae, Lygaeidae and Polycentopodidae is pleasant to see and adds to the interest the work should have for students seeking a deeper look into the subject. The 11th chapter deals with the fossil record and brings a useful end to the work. A considerate addition is the inclusion of a map of the area concerned on both the front and rear flyleaves.

Contains the following chapters: The Caribbean: Fertile Ground for Zoogeography; Geologic Constraints on Caribbean Biogeography; Zoogeography of West Indian Lygaeidae (Hemiptera); Zoogeography of the Auchenorrhychous Homoptera of the Greater Antilles (Hemiptera); Kaleidoscopic Biogeography of the West Indian Scaritinae (Coleoptera: Carabidae); Biogeographic Patterns of West Indian Platynus Carabid Beetles (Coleoptera); Historical Biogeography of Two Groups of Caribbean Polycentopus (Trichoptera: Polycentropodidae); Relicts in the Drosophila (Diptera); The Biogeography of West Indian Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae); Distribution Patterns and Biology of West Indian Sweat Bees (Hymenoptera: Halictidae); Fossils, Phenetics, and Phylogenetics: Inferring the Historical Dynamics of Biogeographic Distributions.

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True Bugs of the World (Hemiptera, Heteroptera)

– Classification and Natural History, by Randall T Schuh and James A Slater

ISBN = 08014 2066 0
Price = £70.50
Published = 1995
Review written = 7/January/1999
337 A4 pages
152 text figs

The hemiptera are by far the largest group of the hemimetabolous insects and with more than 38,0000 species the heteroptra, now generally accepted as an order in their own right, are the largest hemimetabolous order. It would be impossible therefore for any book to deal with them in all or in any great detail. This book does not attempt the impossible but instead aims at providing an introduction to each of the families and sub-families involved, taking time out along the way to discuss the more important species.

The book starts with a 10 chapter (66 page) introduction to the order with important chapters on collection and preservation techniques, wing polymorphism mimicry and economic importance. As well as this it contains interesting chapters on major workers on heteroptera, sources of information, biogeopraphy, habitats and feeding and adult morphology.

The second part of the work is the taxonomic section comprising 80 chapters dealing with each infra order and family. The first 9 chapters of this section are written by Povel Štys, a major contribution to the work which maybe should have gained him co-authorship.

Chapter Ten includes a key to infra orders, from there each infra order then has its own chapter where it is introduced in a page or two. These introductions include a key to families. Each family is again a separate chapters and contains a further key to sub-families. Each of these chapters are illustrated with 1 or 2 text figures, in general each ‘figure’ contains a number of illustrations including a habitus and a wing and some genitalia, at least of the one representative male.

The text of each of these chapters is broken down into a series of sub-headings: general, diagnosis; classification; specialised morphology; natural history; distribution and faunetics.

I have found this to be a very valuable book, filling as it does an otherwise nearly empty niche in the literature in a competent and pleasant manner. This book has to be a must for any library taking itself seriously as a supplier of information on the natural world.

Highly recommended.

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Insects that Feed on Trees and Shrubs

by Warner T. Johnson and Howard H. Lyon (Revised 2nd edition)

ISBN = 0 8014 2602 2
Price = £48.95
Published = 1991
Review written = 27/December/1998
560 A4 pages
241 Colour plate, 29 new plates. Also includes several 100 of b/w text figures and tables

Though only about 5% of the known insect species are pests and even less than that pests of trees and shrubs, it is these insects that make up the bulk of the insects that people ordinarily experience. There is something very annoying about finding your favourite tree or shrub being eaten alive by some obnoxious little bug. Even if it is an attractive and fascinating insect at the same time. This book is an answer to most of the questions asked by gardeners, foresters and horticulturists concerning insects.

It is a compendium of 950 of the commonest woody plant pests that occur in the USA and Canada. Half of it is taken up with plates which are composed of about 5 to 8 photos. Each plate generally gives photos of eggs, larvae, adult and plant damage of the species concerned. The photos are excellent and will allow, in conjunction with text, for easy identification of most pest species.

The text is also excellent. It is clear, accurate and contains all the information needed. The book makes a very good reference for schools and colleges as well because of the detail of life history data supplied. I was impressed with this book both with the quality and quantity of information supplied as well as by the manner in which it is presented. The colour plates and text are augmented by numerous figures depicting yearly life cycles and tables summarising data in an easily accessible form.

The book is well referenced with a bibliography of over 900 entries. The indexes are well constructed and should enhance use of the work. There is also a glossary and a final chapter on sources of information concerning pests and their control in USA and Canada.

The second edition is considerably updated and revised from the already successful first edition, containing 29 new plates and much additional information.

All in all whoever you are, if you deal in woody plants, whether as a professional forester or horticulturist or as a simple house owner with a small garden, you will want a copy of this book available when those inevitable insects come calling.

Highly Recommended

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The Anatomy of the Honey Bee

by R. E. Snodgrass.

ISBN = 0 8014 93021
Price = £35.50 (HBk) £13.50 (PBk)
Published = 1984
Review written = 29/November/1998
334 pages
107 b/w illust

Originally written in 1954, this work like the similar “Principles of Insect Morphology” is a classic masterpiece which it well behoves any serious student of entomology to read. Though obviously not up to date on microstructure, only recently revealed by SEM nor fully conversant with the subcellular mechanisms of life it still represents an excellent introduction to entomology. The subject is of course the ever popular and sometimes feared Honey Bee Apis mellifera but it is written in such a manner that it bears relevance to all the insects.

The book is composed as a readable whole starting with the germ plasma and following the development of the young honey bee from there in a logical manner. The author is a communicator par-excellence and the work is a pleasure to read, making it valuable to both mature entomologists such as apiarists and student alike. Snodgrass is an excellent illustrator and the 107 b/w illustrations greatly enhance the utility and beauty of this work. Reading this book allows you to follow the honey bee as it lives its life from early development through larval growth to the adult including all the mechanisms of movement and perception. As in all of Snodgrass’s writing his strong appreciation of the practical reality of evolution shines through. This is a highly enjoyable and informative book to read.

Includes the following chapters: From Germ Cells to Adult; The Body Wall and the Muscles; The Head; The Organs of Feeding; The Thorax; The Legs; The Wings; The Abdomen; The Alimentary Canal; The Circulatory System; The Fat Body, Urate Cells and Oenocytes; The Respiratory System; The Nervous System and Sense Organs; The Endocrine Organs; the Reproductive System.

Highly Recommended

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Principles of Insect Morphology

by R. E. Snodgrass.

ISBN = 0 8014 8125 2
Price = £46.95 (HBk) £23.50 (PBk)
Published = 1993
Review written = 22/November/1998
667 pages
319 b/w illust

This is a reprinting of the 1935 classic work by the same author and title . As it is still regarded as the single most important text on insect morphology in the English Language, its republication is of great value to the entomological world. The science of morphology has been helped greatly in the last decade by SEM photography which allows for the amazing microstructure of the insect cuticle to be seen. A possibility that was not available to Snodgrass and hence is not a part of this book. However apart from this the fundamentals of insect morphology have not been more clearly or precisely expressed than in this book.

The work is divided into 24 chapters, many of which include individual glossaries, while chapter 12 which deals with the mouth in 64 pages has subchapters on the feeding mechanisms of 2 different insect orders.

This is an invaluable work for students of entomology at all levels of study and should be available in all college and university libraries.

Contains the following chapters: Introduction; General Organisation and Development; The Body Wall and its Derivatives; Body Regions, Sclerites and Segmentation; The Segmental Appendages of Arthropods; The Head; The Thorax; The Thoracic Legs; The Wings; The Abdomen; The Organs of Ingestion; The Alimentary Canal; The Organs of Distribution, Conservation and Elimination; The Respiratory System; The Nervous System; The Sense Organs; The Internal Organs of Reproduction; The Organs of Copulation and Oviposition.

Highly Recommended

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Turfgrass insects of the United States and Canada

by Haruo Tashero

ISBN = 0 801418 14 3
Price = £40.95
Published = 1989
Review written = 2/August/1998
390 A4 pages
64 Colour Plates, 450 photos

Growing and maintaining good quality swards of turfgrass is a major industry. Many sporting facilities depend on the existence of a short cut grass sward for there very existannce, particularly golf. Lawns of neat tidy green grass are also considered very attractive by many people, both privately and publicly. Turfgrass entomology is therefore a lucky facet of the entomological gem. Because of the financial support for many sporting activities, funding for research into the lives of insect specialising in, or frequently using, turfgrass, has been more forthcoming than in other areas of entomology and much is now known about ther lives, the pest species in particular.

It is surprising then that until the publication of this book no English Language publication existed which dealt with the species ocurring in the USA or Canada. Since its publication this book has, for reasons of its competence, become a major resource for workers in this field. Because of the depth of ecological data supplied this work is also of value to research scientists and university students as well as to turfgrass managers and pest control agencies. The topicality of its subject and the straightforward manner in which it is written makes it useful to secondary school students as well.

It starts with a brief introduction to turfgrasses and their environment throughout the range of habitats represented by USA and Canada. Chapter 2 is an introduction to insects and arthropods in general. Chapter 3 looks at mites and chapters 4-20 deal with the various taxa of insects. The last few chapters look at control measures, ecological interactions, survey and detection techniques and vertebrates. Vertebrates are included because, as the author correctly points out, the vertebrates are there because of the invertebrates. There are two appendices, one as sources of information and the other as conversion between imperial and metric units. This is because measurements are given as metric throughout, though imperial equivalents are often appended in brackets.

The 64 plates are an excellent addition to the work, illustrating most of the species concerned in over 450 photographs. The book also contains numerous text figures including many life history diagrams making it a pleasure to use. Recommended

Highly Recommended

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Amy Ants - The Biology of Social Predation

by Paul M. Tuskes, James P. Tuttle and Michael M. Collins

ISBN = 0 691 04426 0
Price = £31.50
Published = 1995
Review written = 2/August/1998
302 A4 pages
20 Colour Plates, 338 B/W illustrations
Review written by Dr. D.J.Stradling

Wilson (1971) considered the ants to be the premier social insects. The 7 genera which comprise the 'army ants', are divided between three subfamilies with both old and new world representatives. That such a relatively small taxonomic group should merit separate treatment is well justified by their singular social organisation and nomadic behaviour which render them significant predators in tropical ecosystems.

It is now more than 25 years since the posthumous publication of Schneirla's (1971) monograph on these ants and much has been added to our knowledge in the interim. Gotwald cites 220 references specifically on army ants, 50% of which have been published since 1971 and include his own not insignificant contribution. This book brings us up to date and its publication is timely. The text which is both comprehensive and fluent, is well supported by 102 excellent line drawings and monochrome photographs supplemented with 20 coloured plates. The subject matter is organised in 7 chapters.

Having introduced the reader to the general features of army ant colonies in the first chapter, the author uses the second to clear up past confusion over the taxonomic position and to present the geographical distribution of the genera. The third chapter, perhaps misleadingly entitled 'the colony', is extensively concerned with the morphology as well as the function of the castes. From the basis of the synchronous brood cycle, chapter 4 examines the use of pheromones as a basis of the communication system which integrates army ant behaviour. This proceeds to a lucid exposition of the foraging strategies and an examination of diets, emigration cycles and reproduction.

Large social insect colonies constitute an accumulation of resources which are worth exploitation. In chapter 5, Gotwald introduces the reader to the plethora of predators and guests which are fellow travellers with army ant colonies. This embraces a range of invertebrates as well as the well known ant-birds. This chapter draws together much information which has previously only been available in scattered papers. Chapter 6 examines the ecological and economic impact, in particular the influence of army ants on invertebrate species diversity in tropical moist forests. A final short chapter on references to these ants in popular literature serves to establish anecdotal credibility. The bibliography exceeds 500 references.

This is a significant entomological text which brings the reader up to date with the literature on this important group of tropical insects.

Schneirla, T.C. (1971) Army Ants: A Study in Social Organisation.. (Ed. H.R.Topoff.) Feeman, San Fransisco.

Wilson, E.O. 1971. The Insect Societies. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Highly Recommended

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The Wild Silk Moths of North America

by Paul M. Tuskes, James P. Tuttle and Michael M. Collins

ISBN = 0 8014 3130 1
Price = £58.95
Published = 1996
Review written = 2/August/1998
250 A4 pages
30 Colour Plates

The beauty, size and mystery of Silk Moths (the Saturniidae) has enchanted entomologists and lay people for many decades. This book is a feast of the heart for all those who love the gentle magnificence of these animals.

The first 55 pages provide a comprehensive introduction to the general biology of the 70+ species of Saturniidae that occur in North America. This includes a discussion of the maps and classification used throughout the book as well as sections on : Metamorphosis and Development; Diapause; Voltinism; Adult Emergence; Defensive role of wing patterns and Behaviour; Pheromone Mating System; Oviposition; Host Plants; Caterpillar Survival Strategies; Responses to Secondary Plant Defenses; Pupation; Parasitism; Diseases; Population Genetics; Speciation Polymorphism; Collecting; Rearing; and Silk Moths and Human Culture.

Part 2 comprises the species accounts, on average each species has about 2 pages devoted to it. this allows for a very complete coverage and information is presented under the headings of General Comments, Distribution, Adult Diagnosis, Adult Variation, and Rearing Notes,. Recognised sub-species are treated just as completely. Distribution maps are also supplied generally with 3 species per map, this does not hinder their interpretation. The colour plates are excellent, particularly the larva, and with 320 adult and 79 larval individuals figured all the species of North America are well documented.

This is a very lovely and well produced book which I am sure will be enjoyed by many lepidopterists young and old, professional and amateur around the world for years to come.
Highly Recommended

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The Social Biology of Wasps

by Kenneth G. Ross and Robert W. Mathews (Eds)

ISBN = 0 8014 9066
Price = £31.50
Published = 1991
Review written = 30/July/1998
678 pages

Social insects have been the centre of much research and theorizing for many years. The social wasps represent a large and fascinating group within this field because their nesting biology makes them appropriate subjects for the testing of theories concerning the origin and maintenance of insect sociality. There are many grades of sociality observable within the family Vespidae, from solitary to fully eusocial. They are particularly valuable for studies seeking to understand the evolution of sociality within insects and particularly the hymenoptera.

This book brings together the expertise of 17 internationally accredited authorities on the family Vespidae in a series of inter-related review papers on morphology, sociology, natural history and classification of this diverse and fascinating family. Part 1 is a series of 8 papers commencing with an introduction to, and review of, the classification of the Vespidae. It moves on through the major taxa supplying an introduction to the biology and social ecology of each of the main subjects of this book. Part 2 is a collection of 9 papers on special topics, with particular reference to theories of social evolution as they are and have been applied to the Vespidae.

This book contains a massive amount of information otherwise unavailable in a single place. The information was, at the time of publishing, and much of it still is up-to-date. This book already has a good track record among naturalists, students and researchers as an essential reference in the field of social wasps. It contains the following chapters: Phylogenetic Relationships and the Origin of Social Behavior in the Vespidae; The Solitary and Presocial Vespidae; The Stenogastinae; Polistes; Belanogaster, Myschocyttarus, Parapolybia and the Independent-founding Ropalidia; The Swarm-founding Polistinae; Vespa and Provespa; Dolichovespula and Vespula; Reproductive Competition during Colony Establishment; Evolution of Queen Number and Queen Control; Polyethism; Nourishment and the evolution of the Social Vespidae; Population genetic Structure, Relatedness, and Breeding Systems; Evolution of Nest Architecture; The Nest as the Locus of Social Life; The Function and Evolution of Exocrine Glands; Evolution of social Behavior in Sphecid Wasps.

Basically this book is essential reading for anyone even contemplating the study of social wasps.
Highly Recommended

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