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Good general introduction with some reservations
on 26 July 2011
To cover British insects in one volume compromises have to be made. Overall this book has got it about right, in that it provides a colour photograph of the insect, a brief description and miniature distribution map. Roughly 8 insects are covered on a page. The book covers every order of insects found within the British Isles. Hence, as a book to cover all insects it does a reasonable job.
However, there are some disappointments. Over half of the book (158 pages) is devoted to just one order Lepidopdtera (butterflies and moths), leaving just 134 pages for all other insects. This is a great shame, as Lepidopdtera are better covered by other books, and the other orders are poorly represented in print. There are approximately 2000 Lepidopdtera in the British Isles, but there are 4000 Beetles, 5200 True Flies, 1650 True Bugs, as well as representatives in other orders of insects.
Some of the photographs are substandard, making identification difficult, such as the pictures of bumblebees.
Presentation is a bit inconsistent. For example, the entry for the "RUBY-TAILED WASP Chrysis ignita" is followed by "CHRYSIS ANGUSTULA". Each entry should be in a consistent format. It would be better to present as Latin name - English name (if there is one), rather than present one entry with the English name in upper case and bold, and the next entry as the Latin name in upper case and bold.
References and useful addresses is not as comprehensive as it could be.