Butterflies: Their Natural History and Diversity

(Author) (Photographer)
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Product Details

$24.95  $23.20
Firefly Books
Publish Date
8.9 X 10.9 X 0.7 inches | 2.0 pounds
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About the Author

Ronald Orenstein is a zoologist, lawyer and wildlife conservationist who has written extensively on natural history issues. His most recent books are Ivory, Horn and Blood and Hummingbirds. He lives in Toronto.

Thomas Marent is a wildlife photographer based in Switzerland. His previous books include Frog, Rainforest and Life in the Wild.


[Review of earlier edition: ] These extraordinary beautiful insects are actually moths and long been viewed as the bringers of dreams. Their life cycles are metaphors for birth, death and rebirth, and you will find them all remarkably photographed in this exquisite edition. From brush-footed, whites, sulphurs and gossamer-winged, you will be forever awed!-- (12/01/2015)
[Review of earlier edition: ] This is a combination of exquisite coffee-table book and factual introduction to the six butterfly families and their night-flying relatives, moths. The text is full of fascinating facts about what a butterfly is (a dayflying moth), their origins, families, how they fly, and their colors, patterns, and mimicry. Courtship, nuptial gifts, host plants, caterpillar behavior, metamorphosis, diet, and migration are also succinctly covered in accessible language. Special attention is paid to threats, conservation, and samples of the effects of climate change. The images and accompanying descriptions are a worldwide sample of especially beautiful members of each family: swallowtails, skippers, brush-footed, gossamer-winged, and whites, sulphurs, and yellows. This book aims to entice browsers and readers alike to learn more about these small, miraculous creatures.-- (02/15/2016)
[Review of earlier edition: ] The organization of this book is straightforward and comprehensive, addressing the most important aspects of butterfly classification, life history, diet, and their role in the environment at large... This book got my attention with this assertion: "Butterflies are moths." Not only is this accurate, it is brave. In three words, the author turns all our usual assumptions about Lepidoptera on their heads. I could recommend this book for that reason alone, but there is more. Orenstein's text is perfectly tailored for a general audience and educated reader. Scientific terms are defined within the text, but in a way that still renders the narrative smooth and engaging. This is not easy to accomplish and the author deserves great credit for his skill. The words are in white, on a black page, which lends an elegant air to the book... The location where each image was shot is always given in the caption, a refreshing detail that needs to become standard for all such books... Butterflies exceeded my expectations and I can honestly give it a ringing endorsement. It is also priced reasonably considering the quality and quantity of imagery.-- (12/13/2015)
[Review of earlier edition: ] Writer Orenstein and photographer Marent have teamed up to produce a magnificent book on some of the most interesting and beautiful creatures on Earth. Readers will see the diversity of butterflies and learn their history and ecology.-- (11/19/2015)
[Re. earlier edition: ] Editor's Top 75 Community College Resources, Science and Technology-- (02/01/2016)
[Review of earlier edition: ] Butterflies are among the most recognizable and beautiful of insects. Most people know them only as common garden visitors, never suspecting the many other fascinating aspects of their lives. This book takes readers on a remarkable tour of the hidden world of butterflies and moths, ranging from the many nectar-feeding flower visitors so familiar to everyone, to those that prefer feeding on rotting fruit, decaying animals, feces, or even blood. With emphasis on the many similarities among butterfly groups, as well as on a host of unique species-specific features, Orenstein, a zoologist, lawyer and conservationist and author of Ivory, Horn and Blood, examines general patterns of natural history (e.g., behavior, food preferences, courtship and mating, migration, camouflage and mimicry, puddling, and developmental stages) and some of their many intriguing strategies for survival in a world fraught with predators. The book is densely packed with a wealth of beautiful, full-color photographs... that nicely complement the text. Presentation is worldwide in scope, showcasing the vast array of spectacularly beautiful butterflies and moths. Written in clear, easily readable language and relying little on jargon, this coffee-table-style book will interest anyone captivated by this unique group of insects. Highly recommended. All library collections.-- (02/01/2016)
[Review of earlier edition: ] (starred review) Orenstein (Ivory, Horn and Blood) and Marent showcase a sample of the loveliest, most engaging members of the insect order Lepidoptera; they concentrate on the day-flyers, though a "miscellany" of moths is also included. Species presented range globally from seldom seen tropical species to more familiar North American ones. Orenstein's text is short and purposeful: his introduction covers taxonomy, wings, mimicry, mating, life cycle, caterpillars, feeding, migration, and conservation issues. These topics are developed later in the book, following sections exploring the six families of the order. The power of the title, as with most Firefly publications, is in the visuals; its sharp design perfectly complements its sublime subjects, from the elegant reverse-type presentation of the text to the dramatic way Marent's dazzling close-ups are introduced... This gorgeous book reveals a wonder on nearly every page and will enthrall natural history enthusiasts both amateur and expert alike.-- (12/01/2015)
[Review of earlier edition: ] A large format book with an outstanding cover, easily readable text (white on black) and excellent photographs... Each page offers one to several photos of different sizes to give a 'wow' factor. The author's lucid text makes this volume an enjoyable read and the division of subject matter makes it an easy book to dip into.-- (10/22/2015)
[Review of earlier edition: ] Zoologist Ronald Orenstein and photographer Thomas Marent's new book, Butterflies, explores the lives of these ephemeral insects while showcasing their beauty. The book details the life stages of moths and butterflies from caterpillar to mating adult, with sections to highlight species in each major family. While admiring the diversity of forms and colors in the photographs, you can learn about the remarkable adaptations of camouflage and mimicry, feeding, migration, and social structure that have allowed lepidopterans to thrive since the Jurassic... Butterflies gives us an in-depth overview of why we should give the bugs a closer look, and why conserving them in the face of threats like pesticides and climate change is essential.-- (11/03/2015)
[Review of earlier edition: ] This coffee table style book is a gorgeous volume filled with beautiful full-color photography and text. While primarily aimed at those with an interest in nature and science, this is also a resource that can be enjoyed by anyone, from nature expert to novice. The book begins with a general introduction to butterflies as a species, with further chapters going into more detail on individual butterfly families and their life cycles. Covered are topics such as life history; wing shape, color, and patterns; what butterflies eat; butterfly environments; and effects of climate change to name a few. The text is informative and interesting, but what really shines are the accompanying photos on each page. The text is white on black glossy paper, enhancing the presentation of the photos. This is as much a photography book as a text on butterflies... Butterflies is a treasure trove of information and a handy reference guide to be consulted again and again.-- (11/07/2015)