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Customer Review

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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