on 2 November 2012
Ian Stell's book "Understanding Bee Anatomy" is, I think, a significant addition to the range of honey bee anatomy books currently available. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and this book is packed with high quality pictures; photos of dissections, histological slides in a range of magnifications, electron microscope pictures, and explanatory line drawings. The text is clear and the accuracy and precision of the anatomical descriptions demonstrates the author's background of anatomical training at medical school. Dr Stell clearly emphasises the relationship between form and function, and I found the detailed embryological descriptions particularly fascinating.
Those beekeepers who are looking for a guide to the practicalities of dissection and how to use the microscope will, however, be disappointed; they probably ought to stick to Dade's book.
Also, some might find the book's title misleading, I don't know why it wasn't called "Understanding Honey Bee Anatomy", although I'm sure that the general principles can be extended to other examples of the Apidae.
In summary, this is an outstanding achievement by someone who manages to keep bees as well as working full time as an A&E consultant. He shows a deep understanding and love of his subject which he manages to convey to the reader. For those with an interest in this field of study, this book is well worth the price tag.
on 31 October 2012
Ian Stell's new anatomy book helps to fill the gap left by the other three publications available on the subject. It tackles this task with the help of excellent, mostly full colour photographs, and with many very good and full colour graphics and drawings. They illustrate and the text describes accurately all three castes, both sexes of the insect, from the moment an egg is laid, through the developmental stages, to adults. Each body part and most functions are dealt with individually and in great detail. This rather slender and very affordable book is not a big tome destined to adorn a coffee table, but will probably be the essential, informative textbook for any student of the insect, whether a keen hobbyist beekeeper, or a professional scientist.