As of this writing there are 954 known species of tarantulas in the world, with dozens upon dozens of described genus names. As research continues on these fascinating animals, new genus and species names are created and animals are being shifted into new nomenclature. You just never know when what you had yesterday as a Brachypelma smithi could now be Brachypelma hamorii tomorrow. What one day was Avicularia versicolor is now Caribena versicolor. As new species are discovered and more research is done, I am sure these shifts will continue.
For anyone that raises butterflies and moths, having your caterpillars form pupae is a huge undertaking. You spend weeks feeding these hungry mouths and though you may be doing it in protected environments, the chance of failure is still there. Stink bugs, yellow jackets, skunks and raccoons are always hungry for your babies and at times, no matter how hard you try, they still seem to find what you are working so hard to protect. There is an excitement that is unequaled when your caterpillars finally form their chrysalis or cocoon. With all of these odds against you in captivity, what chance do they have in the wild?
When I was approached in early 2015 to be a part of this book, I quickly agreed. How exciting would it be to be a part of a book that had not been attempted yet about one of my favorite subjects, butterflies and moths. Yes, there have been other books on caterpillars (most notably “Caterpillars of Eastern North America” by David L. Wagner and “Caterpillars in the Field and Garden” by Thomas J. Allen) but none can boast a world-wide variety of 600 species shown full size! That is exactly what “The Book of Caterpillars: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred Species from Around the World” has done!
When you have as many tarantulas as I do, you tend to go with what is easy in terms of enclosures. Uniformity works best, not only because it makes feeding easier but also because in many cases, you can maximize space used (and most tarantula enthusiasts will concur that you just cannot have enough space). There are downsides to this though, especially if you really want to showcase a prize specimen.
For the most part, I use Exo-Terra Breeding Boxes (see review HERE). Their rigid construction allows for stacking which maximizes much needed shelf space. The problem is that they don’t really allow for your collection to be displayed properly. For housing a large variety of tarantulas, they are perfect; but if you want visitors to check out your collection, viewing them is difficult.
Field guides are one of my favorite types of books, especially when it comes to insects. If you are a regular reader of my site you will know that I have actually reviewed quite a few here. The problem is there is a lot of rehash from guide to guide, oftentimes not offering any new info. If there’s nothing new to offer then why buy it?
The 70’s were a special time for me. It was a great time to be a kid for so many reasons. I still vividly remember the cool toys like Micronauts and the 8″ Mego super-hero action figures (they are not dolls). Actually, pretty much any toy made by Mego at the time was cool! During this time there was also a constant availability of horror and monster movies to be seen on television.
This was also the time period that began my interest in entomology (the study of insects). Thanks to a Christmas gift of a kit for collecting butterflies and moths, I have had this interest ever since. Instead of actually collecting them now though, I am more into photography and conservation with them.
This is such a great time to be a tarantula enthusiast. New exciting species are popping up all of the time and thanks to the internet, it is so easy to meet and talk to people with similar interests and experiences. Though there are many tarantula books out there, only a handful can really be described as exceptional. The subject of today’s review is one such book.