Reed Books Australia

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The Titles

A Field Guide to Insects of Australia, by P. Zborowski, and R. Storey
Spiderwatch a guide to Australian Spiders, by B. Brunet

The Reviews

A Field Guide to Insects of Australia

by P. Zborowski, and R. Storey

ISBN = 0 7301 0414 1
Price = PB $29.95 Au.
Published = 1995
Review written = 18/Jan/1997

This is more of 'An Introduction to Entomology, based on the Insects of Australia' than 'A Field Guide to the Insects of Australia' as it claims to be. It states in the Introduction that "The primary object of this guide is to provide a means to identify an insect in the hand to the level of order, with reasonable accuracy and minimal prior knowledge.", and providing you are aware that it is designed to give identification to the level of order only and that it will identify very little to species or even genera then you will not be too disappointed. Retitled this book could be valuable entomological resource for children and interested beginners, and would be of particular use in schools. It is reasonably well written, and contains some very nice photography, though the key at the front could have done with some thought. A first couplet that starts off "Adults of all species wingless, or Adults of most species winged" seems abit hopefull to me, I have never seen 10% of the species of anything let alone all of them. How a beginner who has one insect only that he is trying to identify is supposed to make headway with a key like this is a mystery to me. All in all, despite its winning the 'Whitley Award' from the Royal Zoological of NSW, I would make sure you have a good look at this book before you buy it, it has its strengths definately but it has it weaknesses also.

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Spiderwatch a guide to Australian Spiders

by B. Brunet

ISBN = 0 7301 0486 9
Price = PB $24.95 Au.
Published = 1996
Review written = 18/Jan/1997

Spiderwatch is a good introduction to the Spiders of Australia, and is particularly strong on the dangerous species which should make it valuable to parents and teachers who often have to worry because of their tendency to be more dangerous to young children. Including information on bite identification, symptoms resulting from envenomation and advice on treatment. Though having being brought up in NSW I know you soon get into the habit of emptying the visitors out of your boots before putting them on, a habit which stays with you and now surprises my English friends. Though not really going very far into the identification of the harmless species, about 5% of the 2 000 Australian species are illustrated, this book is nevertheless a good introduction to Arachnology, supplying a good overview of the main types of spiders and there lifestyles. This book would be a valuable addition to any library, particularly those of both primary and secondary schools.

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