One of the highest concentrations of insect species in the world is found in Mesoamerica and the Isthmus of Panama. Yet visitors and others interested in this abudant region have until now been frustrated by the lack of literature useful for identifying and learning about this incredible array of insect life. This volume provides a wealth of information on many of the most common groups of these neotropical insects. Written for students and interested general readers as well as entomologists, the book aims to inspire increased interest in the study and conservation of this rich yet fragile biological region. The authors note that the volume was prepared with a special sense of urgency since the destruction of tropical forests has accelerated to such alarming proportions that today the Pacific lowland forests of Panama have been virtually extirpated, along with many of their native insect species, and other regions are threatened. Thus the gathering and publishing of information about this fragile and priceless natural heritage is an urgent task. The 42 chapters cover 20 insect orders and review the geology and biogeography of the area. The contributors offer a wide variety of viewpoints , ranging from natural history, to detailed ecological studies, to taxonomic treatments. The book introduces the majority of the smaller insect orders as well as diverse groups within larger orders. It is illustrated with hundreds of line drawings, distribution maps, and black-and-white photographs. A set of abstracts in English and Spanish is provided at the end of the book. This is the first work to focus on the insect fauna of Mesoamerica and Panama since Biologia Centrali-Americana, an exclusively systematic work published nearly 100 years ago.
About the Author
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Table of Contents