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British Hoverflies: An Illustrated Identification Guide: Incorporating First Supplement Hardcover – Nov 1993


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 254 pages
  • Publisher: British Entomological & Natural History Society; New ed of 2 Revised ed edition (Nov 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0950289191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0950289199
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,816,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tony B on 18 May 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are looking for a simple field guide on hoverflies, this is probably not the book for you. However, if you are really interested in getting to grips with this fascinating group of insects this book is a must. Working through the keys will allow you to identify virtually every species of hoverfly that occurs in Britain, but to do so you will need a microscope. Generally a magnifying glass or loupe is sufficient to get down to tribe level. The book is well structured with chapters on studying, photographing, collecting, habitats and life cycles preceding the keys which start by identifying to subfamily and tribe level, before working through to species level. Finally come the plates - black and white plates of key features required for separating some of the more difficult species (details of legs, genitalia, etc) and finally colour plates of mounted specimens. If you are only buying one book on hoverfles and don't need to identify with precision, then I would opt for Ball and Morris, but if you want the hoverfly "bible" then Stubbs and Falk is it!
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4 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ashtar Command on 29 Jan 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hoverflies (a.k.a. flower flies) are relatively small, brightly colored flies that live on nectar, don't sting, don't carry any tropical diseases, and play an important role as pollinators of flowers. They also espouse a variety of rather strange behaviour, including long-distance migrations, egg-laying in heavily polluted waters, and territorial defense. And they look like bees, wasps or bumblebees!

So how come there doesn't seem to be any popularized books on hoverflies???

When I searched Amazon, the only very vaguely popularized books that came up where "British Hoverflies" by Stubbs and Falk (this book), and "Hoverflies" by Gilbert.

Please note that I said "very vaguely popularized". You probably have to be a not-so-budding hoverfly nerd to really like these books. And if you are, you probably have them in your backpack already! Gilbert's book contain some interesting information on hoverfly habits, but it's very short, more a pamphlet than a book. "British Hoverflies" is much longer but it's a very specialized identification guide. It's also very dated. My edition is from 1983. It covers all 250 British species, and illustrates 190 of them. The species presentations are rather short, and contain the following: a description of the traits necessary for identification, information about habitat and range, and approximate time of the year when the species in question flies. There is also an extensive identification key. The colour plates are all at the back of the book.

I'm sure the local dipterist enthusiasts somewhere in Kent or Somerset actually use this book. However, it wasn't quite what I was looking for. I wanted something about hoverflies along the lines of "Bees of the World" or "The Magpies", two natural science books I review elsewhere. It's a pity that the only *nice* flies don't have a popularizer (yet).

Any takers?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
These are the *nice* flies 5 May 2009
By Ashtar Command - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Hoverflies (a.k.a. flower flies) are relatively small, brightly colored flies that live on nectar, don't sting, don't carry any tropical diseases, and play an important role as pollinators of flowers. They also espouse a variety of rather strange behaviour, including long-distance migrations, egg-laying in heavily polluted waters, and territorial defense. And they look like bees, wasps or bumblebees!

So how come there doesn't seem to be any popularized books on hoverflies???

When I searched Amazon, the only very vaguely popularized books that came up where "British Hoverflies" by Stubbs and Falk (this book), and "Hoverflies" by Gilbert. Both books are unreasonably over-priced here at Amazon.com, so please check out Amazon.com.uk instead. "British Hoverflies" can also be purchased from there (I did).

Please note that I said "very vaguely popularized". You probably have to be a not-so-budding hoverfly nerd to really like these books. And if you are, you probably have them in your backpack already! Gilbert's book contain some interesting information on hoverfly habits, but it's very short, more a pamphlet than a book. "British Hoverflies" is much longer but it's a very specialized identification guide. It's also very dated. My edition is from 1983. It covers all 250 British species, and illustrates 190 of them. The species presentations are rather short, and contain the following: a description of the traits necessary for identification, information about habitat and range, and approximate time of the year when the species in question flies. There is also an extensive identification key. The colour plates are all at the back of the book.

I'm sure the local dipterist enthusiasts somewhere in Kent or Somerset actually use this book. However, it wasn't quite what I was looking for. I wanted something about hoverflies along the lines of "Bees of the World" or "The Magpies", two natural science books I review elsewhere. It's a pity that the only *nice* flies don't have a popularizer (yet).

Any takers?
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