Monday, January 11, 2021

Field Guide to Insects of South Africa by Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths and Alan Weaving

If I'd had the Field Guide to Insects of South Africa by Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths and Alan Weaving when I was younger, this may have set me off down yet another rabbit hole in terms of amateur nature conservation. And despite the bewildering array of bugs, beetles, mantids and more that stalk between these pages, Insects is nonetheless presented in such a way that it is a handy guide to quickly identifying most of the creepy-crawlies you may encounter both at home and on your travels. Which is incredibly useful to someone like me who knows next to nothing about them.

For quick reference, simple line drawings on the inside front- and back-covers help you decide whether you're looking at a mayfly or a cricket, after which you can page to the relevant section where clear photos and descriptions, along with range maps help narrow things down further. An introduction gives the basics for those who are new to delving deeper into the subject, not only brushing on the importance of insects and their defining characteristics, but looking at their life history and distribution patterns. A nice touch is also a glance at observing and collecting insects, including methods for capture, but also tips for preserving and presenting them and even photographing them. So this is very much the sort of book I'd gift to budding entomologists.

Due to the vastness of the subject matter, it's simply impossible to for the authors to go into exhaustive detail about every single species out there while still having a book that can be packed in for a trip, but they do touch many species and mention, when applicable, that there are other, similar types creeping about if they don't have their own, discrete entry. This book is absolute gold, and has a permanent spot in my collection. If you love nature or gardening, Field Guide to Insects of South Africa is a must.

No comments:

Post a Comment