500 Butteflies from Around the World

Overview

The perfect introduction to butterflies in all their diversity.

Covering 500 species, subspecies and forms of butterflies, this book is a valuable and colorful guide to a remarkable insect group. Stunning images of butterflies, frequently in their natural habitat, complement the author's authoritative text and personal observations of Lepidoptera in the wild. Not only are the adult butterflies illustrated but, in certain instances, the ...

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Overview

The perfect introduction to butterflies in all their diversity.

Covering 500 species, subspecies and forms of butterflies, this book is a valuable and colorful guide to a remarkable insect group. Stunning images of butterflies, frequently in their natural habitat, complement the author's authoritative text and personal observations of Lepidoptera in the wild. Not only are the adult butterflies illustrated but, in certain instances, the caterpillars are shown as well.

500 Butterflies includes a wide array of species from all continents. The book is organized by genus and includes a cross-referenced index as well as a glossary.

For each species, the entry includes detailed information on its:

  • Natural history
  • Habitat
  • Distribution
  • Form
  • Behavior
  • Food and feeding
  • Species variations
  • Reproduction
  • Taxonomy
  • Survival.

Despite a history on Earth exceeding hundreds of millions of years, some butterfly species are mysteriously in decline and their continued existence is at risk. 500 Butterflies is a concise and attractive introduction to these fascinating insects and a useful resource for butterfly enthusiasts and naturalists of all ages.

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Editorial Reviews

Muskoka Today - Lois Cooper
The ultimate book for butterfly lovers. Fascinating to compare our Canaidna butterflies with butterflies on other continents.
Lexington Herald-Leader - Art Lander
The color photographs are beautiful and the text is concise. This fascinating little book is hard to put down.
The Chronicle Herald (Halifax) - Jodi DeLong
Readers will enjoy reading about commonplace and unique butterflies from around the world... a handy book to use in field trips or butterfly gardening.
Booklist - Mary Ellen Quinn
Color photographs of butterflies, often in their natural habitats, are paired with brief descriptions and data.
The Folio (RALPH) - A. W. allworthy
Preston-Mafham tells us that there are 20,000 species of butterflies all over the world, give or take a few thousand, and 500 — 514 to be exact — are shown here in photographs, listed neatly by family, along with range, principal food plant, wingspan, and scientific name.
Phoenix Home & Garden - Elizabeth Cuje
Colorful and diverse...this concise guide is a fine introduction for the novice observer and an enjoyable read for lepidopterists.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554072958
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 10/4/2007
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 696,945
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Ken Preston-Mafham is a photographer, naturalist, authority on Lepidoptera, and the author of Butterflies and Moths and Butterflies of the World.

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpted from the
Introduction

500 Butterflies portrays 500 species of butterflies in 14 families. Although they are drawn from all over the world, there Is a very strong bias toward the tropics, where the overwhelming majority of butterflies are found. The 4,000 or so butterfly species found in Africa and Madagascar are well represented here, as are the 8,000-odd species from the American tropics. The selection from tropical Asia is smaller, partly because this area is less rich in butterflies (about 2,900 species) but also because the butterflies there tend to be much harder to see and photograph than those of Africa and tropical America. For example, when the author was in Ghana's Bobiri Forest Reserve, a visiting tour group arrived to look at the butterflies. The leader had recently taken a group to Sri Lanka, and in two weeks they had managed to see about 100 species. Within a few hours at Bobirl, their total was more than 150.

The purpose of this book is to represent butterflies you are likely to observe, which explains the species chosen. The coverage for Africa and Central and South America is fairly representative and should enable you to identity a large proportion of what you see, with the exception of the many small members of the Lycaenidae that are often on show. Also excluded are certain large species such as Prepona (Nymphalidae), in which the brightly colored blue upper side Is normally glimpsed only briefly as the butterfly takes wing. The underside is very drab and is, alas, what you normally see if the butterfly is feeding on fallen fruit or at banana bait.

SPECIES DESCRIPTIONS

Entries in this book arearranged alphabetically by family, and within family in alphabetical sequence of the genera and species. Each entry is accompanied by a photograph. These have all been taken of butterflies in their natural habitat, showing how they look and behave in the wild. Even the use of artificial bait to attract specimens for photography has been avoided. Each entry is headed by the common name, although in many cases names have been given only recently and are far from being in general use.

Each illustration is accompanied by an overall description of the species, the type of habitat in which it lives, and other information, including a reference to the individual butterfly illustrated. There is also a data panel. This starts with the scientific name, which is generally the latest accepted name that the author has been able to track down, bearing in mind the frequent changes that are a constant source of irritation to us all. Next comes alternative common name(s) if applicable, followed by the family to which the species belongs.

The wingspan quoted is generally midway between the maximum and minimum given in other references and is intended as a very approximate guide only. Under "larval food plants" the food eaten by the caterpillar (where known) is listed. The flight period for many tropical species is given as "all year," but it should be stressed that this does not necessarily mean you will see this species on any given visit to its habitat. This is because, even in the warm tropics, butterfly numbers may drop to very low levels at certain times of the year (for example, in the dry season or at the height of the rainy season), although the species will still be on the wing somewhere. For temperate areas the months of usual emergence are given, although these times will vary according to latitude, elevation, and individual seasons. Finally, "range" lists the countries or general area in which the species has been recorded to date.

The butterfly families used in the following pages follow the "traditional" concept of retaining a larger number of smaller families. In most recent works no fewer than nine of the families used here (Acraeidae, Amathusiidae, Brassolidae, Danaidae, Heliconiidae, Ithomiidae, Libytheidae, Morphidae, and Satyridae) have been lumped into a hugely expanded and unwieldy concept of the Nymphalidae. Since this classification has not been universally accepted and because the application of smaller families makes for a much more accessible book, they have been retained here. The number of species included usually reflects the size of the family, so that in small families such as Morphidae, Brassolidae, Amathusiidae, and Libytheidae only one or two species are illustrated.

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Preface

Excerpted from the
Introduction

500 Butterflies portrays 500 species of butterflies in 14 families. Although they are drawn from all over the world, there Is a very strong bias toward the tropics, where the overwhelming majority of butterflies are found. The 4,000 or so butterfly species found in Africa and Madagascar are well represented here, as are the 8,000-odd species from the American tropics. The selection from tropical Asia is smaller, partly because this area is less rich in butterflies (about 2,900 species) but also because the butterflies there tend to be much harder to see and photograph than those of Africa and tropical America. For example, when the author was in Ghana's Bobiri Forest Reserve, a visiting tour group arrived to look at the butterflies. The leader had recently taken a group to Sri Lanka, and in two weeks they had managed to see about 100 species. Within a few hours at Bobirl, their total was more than 150.

The purpose of this book is to represent butterflies you are likely to observe, which explains the species chosen. The coverage for Africa and Central and South America is fairly representative and should enable you to identity a large proportion of what you see, with the exception of the many small members of the Lycaenidae that are often on show. Also excluded are certain large species such as Prepona (Nymphalidae), in which the brightly colored blue upper side Is normally glimpsed only briefly as the butterfly takes wing. The underside is very drab and is, alas, what you normally see if the butterfly is feeding on fallen fruit or at banana bait.

SPECIES DESCRIPTIONS

Entries in this book are arranged alphabetically by family, and within family in alphabetical sequence of the genera and species. Each entry is accompanied by a photograph. These have all been taken of butterflies in their natural habitat, showing how they look and behave in the wild. Even the use of artificial bait to attract specimens for photography has been avoided. Each entry is headed by the common name, although in many cases names have been given only recently and are far from being in general use.

Each illustration is accompanied by an overall description of the species, the type of habitat in which it lives, and other information, including a reference to the individual butterfly illustrated. There is also a data panel. This starts with the scientific name, which is generally the latest accepted name that the author has been able to track down, bearing in mind the frequent changes that are a constant source of irritation to us all. Next comes alternative common name(s) if applicable, followed by the family to which the species belongs.

The wingspan quoted is generally midway between the maximum and minimum given in other references and is intended as a very approximate guide only. Under "larval food plants" the food eaten by the caterpillar (where known) is listed. The flight period for many tropical species is given as "all year," but it should be stressed that this does not necessarily mean you will see this species on any given visit to its habitat. This is because, even in the warm tropics, butterfly numbers may drop to very low levels at certain times of the year (for example, in the dry season or at the height of the rainy season), although the species will still be on the wing somewhere. For temperate areas the months of usual emergence are given, although these times will vary according to latitude, elevation, and individual seasons. Finally, "range" lists the countries or general area in which the species has been recorded to date.

The butterfly families used in the following pages follow the "traditional" concept of retaining a larger number of smaller families. In most recent works no fewer than nine of the families used here (Acraeidae, Amathusiidae, Brassolidae, Danaidae, Heliconiidae, Ithomiidae, Libytheidae, Morphidae, and Satyridae) have been lumped into a hugely expanded and unwieldy concept of the Nymphalidae. Since this classification has not been universally accepted and because the application of smaller families makes for a much more accessible book, they have been retained here. The number of species included usually reflects the size of the family, so that in small families such as Morphidae, Brassolidae, Amathusiidae, and Libytheidae only one or two species are illustrated.

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