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on 5 August 2012
Books on British grasshoppers seem to come along at a rate of about one a generation. There was David Ragge's 1965 book in the Wayside and Woodland series, and more recently Marshall and Haes 1988 book on the subject. So if you have one of the earlier books, and are not a New Naturalist collector, is it worth buying another volume on the subject? In a word, yes. There have been many changes in the British Orthoptera since the last book came out, many new things about them have been discovered, and the range of many species has changed. The author deals well with all these matters.

The main way in which Marshall and Haes's volume outshines this one is in the illustrations. M & H had beautiful plates to illustrate the features of the species, whereas this volume only has photographs, where sometimes important features are either hidden or not clearly shown. However, the New Naturalist series has never been primarily a field guide, so this is in keeping with earlier volumes in the series.

There is also the matter of the DVD which accompanies the book. In the Introduction the author admits that recording the species for the DVD was a steep learning curve, and this shows in the technical production. However, the DVD often shows things that are otherwise hard to include in a book, such as the songs of many of the species, and both the author and publishers are to be congratulated on this innovation for the series.

There are a few things that puzzled me, for example why is the great green bush cricket described as nocturnal (p. 256)? I am familiar with this species, and find both males and females on most afternoons when I visit my local site. In addition to this there are the usual few typos, but none of these detract from the overall authority of the book.

A worthy addition to the New Naturalist series, and also well worth buying if you have an interest in the subject.
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on 14 September 2012
Here at last is a serious and comprehensive account of all the Orthopteran species of the British Isles. Amazingly, there has never been an earlier New Naturalist volume on this subject, nor indeed a comparable edition from any other publisher and this new publication more than fills the previous void in the literature.

Ted Benton, who only six years ago wrote the remarkable definitive account of British bumblebees for the Collins New Naturalist series, has now turned his extraordinary skills and experience as a field naturalist and amateur biologist to reviewing and explaining the latest research on the life histories,behaviour,identification, distribution, ecology and conservation of this fascinating but somewhat neglected group of insects. The book is generously endowed with photographs of every species, most taken by the author, but a fascinating bonus to the book, and an innovation for the NN series, comes in the form of a DVD showing the behaviour, particularly the mating behaviour, of many of the species described in the text, much of it never having been recorded visually before. This unique video footage (which includes sound recordings of the various songs used by each species to communicate, particularly during mating behaviour) was also taken by the author, clearly requiring many hours of patient observation in the field.

I cannot recommend too highly this outstanding book. It brings together all that we presently know about grasshoppers and crickets in a very readable way, while maintaining a scrupulously scientific approach to its subject. Like its author's previous New Naturalist book, 'Bumblebees', this will undoubtedly remain the definitive book on its subject for many years.
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on 25 February 2013
Although I have only a general amateur interest in the subject, I found this to be a truly excellent, comprehensive, well-researched and illustrated addition to my bookshelf. I will certainly find this very useful for identification and knowledge of the species. The enclosed DVD is certainly an interesting and amusing addition, and the whole is well up to the very best of Collins New Naturalist Library standards. Recommended to amateurs, experts and all country lovers.
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on 5 August 2012
I am not a specialist in Grasshoppers and Crickets and wanted from this NN an introduction that I could dip into and add to my knowledge. In all respects apart from one I found this a most admirable book. Well written, a coherent text, and the DVD an unexpected but welcome bonus.
My only grouse is the photographic illustrations, most far too small for details of the species illustrated to be clearly discernable. If the text had been slightly shortened we could have had larger illustrations that would have been of far more use (alternatively why not a second Disc?). Even so, I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who would like to know more about these fascinating insects.
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on 11 March 2015
One of the very few modern texts on the life history of orthopters
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on 20 September 2012
A truly outstanding, beautifully written book which will be the standard reference for many years to come. It is rare to find a scientific work that is so accessible to the amateur enthusiast.
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on 25 July 2015
This rating is not based on the actual content of the book which is briliant but on the fact that i bought the kindle version and despite the fact that the description said it said it comes with a dvd for all versions of the book it did not. Very dissappointed.
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