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Customer Review

on 7 January 2013
I am not a 'Fly Fanatic' but have been interested in Diptera since reading Oldroyd's 'Natural History of Flies' back in the 1960's. My sons decided that Marshall's 'Flies' would make a suitable Christmas Gift - and I must count it as one of the most enjoyable surprise presents I've ever received.
It is a big book, both in dimensions and number of pages - over 600.
The first section starts with Life Histories, Habits and Habitats, painting in quite graphic terms the incredible range of strategies employed by the Diptera, and the varied and diverse relationships they have with other organisms and the the impact they have on man, both directly and indirectly.
The second, and largest section of the book, deals with Diversity, starting with probable origins, to present day distributions. This is followed by four hundred odd pages describe individual families, their appearance habits,and any other points of interest, illustrated with photographic guides. The families are arranged under their old familiar groupings of Nematocera, Brachycera etc.
The final section considers collecting, preserving and identifying flies, covering everything from photography to physically collecting,preserving and recording specimens. Lastly keys (which I've yet to try out) with excellent annotated photographs showing those features that are always used in keys, but for someone like myself extremely difficult to find!
The Photography is stunning, and like Oldroyd the book is eminently readable, with a total lack of convoluted prose that ruin so many otherwise excellent monographs.
I have only one very minor critisism, the blocks of pictures in photographic guides are large enough to be useful, but could also have been duplicated at higher definition on an included CD.
This is a great book, and deserves a place on anyones bookshelf who is interested in insects, or indeed, the living world around them.
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