When I became aware of this book, I became excited immediately. Birdwing butterflies have always been my favorite type of Lepidoptera, both for their amazing colors and their size. Though I am a fan of both D’Abrera’s book “Birdwing Butterflies of the World” and the series of books “A Monograph of the Birdwing Butterflies” by J. Haugum and A.M. Low, it seemed, sight-unseen, that this release would be the ultimate guide to these incredible insects.Continue reading
For me, seeing butterflies in my yard, or out on a hike is a thrill, especially if there is a lot of them. Growing up, butterfly populations were much higher than they are today, which just adds to the thrill when you see something you haven’t seen in awhile. It’s nice to know that they’re still there.
There have always been field guides to butterflies and moths, my favorite types of insects. My biggest complaint with them though is that they are never complete; they are always missing some important aspect for each species. For the most part, these guides concentrate on the adult butterfly or moth, rarely showing the other three stages of development (egg, larva and pupa). I am guessing that the main reason for this is cost and eventual size of the book. To show all four stages of each species, and then perhaps images of both the male and female, along with text, would create a book that is cost prohibitive.
I first became aware of the book “The Last Butterflies: A Scientist’s Quest to Save a Rare and Vanishing Creature” thanks to a piece on NPR. Being a lover of Lepidoptera, I thought this would be an interesting book as it dealt with declining numbers in the butterfly world, a subject that has been on my mind a lot. I wasn’t sure what to expect as some of these books can be over-scientific, making it difficult to read. I am happy to report that this book is written so that everyone can enjoy it.
For as long as I can remember I have had an interest in butterflies. In fact, one of my fondest memories as a child during the 1970’s was raising monarch butterflies every summer with my mother’s help. She would drive me to places where milkweed was growing and would help me find the tiny eggs and caterpillars, which we would bring home, raise and then release the adults. We would raise hundreds each summer. What is truly sad is that today, finding eggs and caterpillars seem to be almost impossible as monarch populations are on the decline.
Growing up I was not much of a fan of spiders. On the one hand I thought they were kind of cool looking. On the other, they could be so fast and could bite! I think as a child I just felt it was safer to collect butterflies and moths. As I got older though my appreciation for these eight-legged invertebrates grew and now, I am a huge fan of arachnids. Though their speed and ability to bite makes me hesitant to hold them, I have a huge respect for them, especially with how beneficial they are to the world around us.
I have been on the search for the ultimate butterfly gardening guide for awhile now and with this one concentrating on the use of native plants, thought I would add it to my library. Up until recently I hadn’t taken into consideration the importance of using native species so wanted to learn more.
If you are a regular reader of my blogs then you know that I absolutely love books on insects and arachnids, especially when it comes to butterflies and moths. Forty-five years ago began my interest in Lepidoptera and the passion has lasted until now. I started out as a collector and now any new collecting I do is in the form of photos. Any work with actual specimens is in conservation and raising these beautiful creatures.
Times have certainly changed since I first started gardening. When I began, we planted what we did because we liked it, with no regard as to whether it was a native plant and certainly no concern as to how it could impact the environment. My background has always been with butterfly gardening and early on I wanted my gardens to be filled with anything that would attract butterflies; native or not. Now, it seems that this method can actually be detrimental to not only the butterflies but the bees as well. Being a horticulture manager at a zoo has certainly opened my eyes on many levels to the importance of always using native plants.
Fireflies. Lightning Bugs. Who doesn’t love them. I vividly remember growing up in a place where fireflies were a rarity and to see one was a thrill. I remember catching them with my butterfly net and being fascinated by this small beetle with the light up butt. Because sightings were so few and far between, I kind of forgot the magic of seeing this amazing little insect. That is, until maybe two years ago.