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Introduction to Bumblee identification
on 18 June 2011
The Book claims to describe 25 species, but only 23 species are described in detail. For each species the following information is provided: colour photograph of male and female in natural habitat, colour code of stripes for identification, appearance, variability, similar species, distribution and biology, nests, flower visits, icons for habitats, flight times for males and females, distribution map, and face size.
The contents of the book are (main headings only):
13 Life History
27 Identifying Bumblebees
42 Quick Identification Chart
44 Photographs and species account
91 Gardening and bumblebees
97 Going Further
105 Table of names for bumblebee species
107 Useful addresses
108 Further reading
There are a number of disappoints with the book
1) No index - this is a serious omission by the publishers. The only way to find a specific species is to go the quick identification chart, or to search through the book.
2) English names are not with each species, but contained in a table towards the rear of the book. However, don't expect to find the "Tree Bumblebee" as you'll need to look elsewhere to find the Latin name.
3) Size range is not given for Queens, workers and males
4) Photographs - these could be better for identification purposes, as they are all feeding. The Field Studies Council produce better photographs of displayed specimens. Consequently identification has to be mainly by the colour codes.
5) Binding - the book is printed on thick paper, which does not make for easy searching. The cover is thin card with no plastic cover, hence the cover is likely to get damaged quickly, especially if taken into the field.
6) Distribution maps are very coarse for each species. The Natural History website provides far more detailed maps at only a fraction larger.
7) The graphics are too large, it would have been better to have smaller graphics, better descriptions, and a slightly larger distribution map.