Beetles: The Natural History and Diversity of Coleoptera

Firefly. Oct. 2018. 784p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780228100690. $95. SCI
Beetles are everywhere, an unsurprising fact when we consider they are one of the most common living things on Earth. Marshall (entomology, Sch. of Environmental Sciences, Univ. of Guelph, Ontario; Flies: The Natural History and Diversity of Diptera) provides broad and specific details about beetles around the world. He also shares his own experiences in this first-person narrative. Part 1 considers beetles in general—their biology and history—while the second part examines beetles throughout the world and how they differ. This is a daunting read for novices. The book jumps right into the structure of beetles, assuming that readers have some prior knowledge, or at least the motivation to continue wading through heady material. However, though the author states that this is "not a field guide," those interested in learning to identify beetles will find the volume extremely helpful. Chapters seven through ten break down beetles into family groups, with plenty of photographs illustrating the groups described. The end material, which includes information on collecting and preserving beetles, also provides thoughtful tips for photographing them. As the author is also the photographer of many of the pictures featured, the advice is welcome.
VERDICT For educated, devoted entomologists.

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