Colour illustrations, Glossary, Bibliography, Index
The Natural History Museum, London
Using examples from around the world, leading lepidopterist Dick Vane-Wright explores what it means to be a butterfly, from how the yellow birdwing finds a mate to why the African gaudy commodores produce adults of different colours.
Butterflies starts with the familiar life cycle, charting development from egg to adult, mating and egg-laying. It continues by exploring less familiar aspects of the butterfly life-style: how they care for their eggs, the surprising things that some caterpillars eat, what happens inside the caterpillar to create the butterfly; why is it that there are so many variations in adult wing pattern and colour. These and many more questions are raised in this examination of the butterfly, which concludes by considering the threats and opportunities now faced by them. Butterflies offers an overview of the biology and diversity of this, the major group of day-flying Lepidoptera.
Illustrated with images from around the world
A complete and absorbing natural history of butterflies
Written by a leading lepidopterist
". . . A fascinating introduction to the complex world of the butterfly. ... If you want to learn about false eyes or false heads, mimicry and mockers, adaptation and evolution, it's all here. Once you've read this book, even the cabbage white will never look the same again." David Tomlinson New Scientist, 30 August 2003
Dick Vane-Wright is a specialist on the taxonomy, evolution and classification of butterflies . Through his knowledge about the distribution of species, he has also been involved in evaluating priorities for the conservation of biological diversity. Having first joined The Natural History Museum at the age of 18, he is currently Head of the Department of Entomology.