An Illustrated History of Butterflies of the Afrotropical Indian Ocean Islands: Madagascar, Comoros, Seychelles, Reunion, Mauritius, Rodrigues and Socotra
by James M. Lawrence and Mark C. Williams
Siri Scientific Press (1 May, 2021) 978-1-8381528-3-3 RRP £29.99
256 pp, 240 x 165 mm, soft cover, 73 colour plates
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in press: The book aims to provide ‘a detailed summary of the published information’ ‘acting as a starting point in advancing our knowledge on the natural history and conservation of these insects’; indeed, this aim is achieved. ... The book presents accounts on 391 butterfly species, of which 311 species are illustrated with 805 individual drawings. It is of value that 150 species are illustrated by the iconotypes, i.e. the drawings were made from the corresponding types. ... I wish to congratulate the author and publisher for such fine work. Indeed, such a richly illustrated account could serve as a reliable field guide for anyone interested in the insular fauna of African butterflies. In my opinion, it is a must have for both private libraries and those of any natural history museum or university.
Foreword by Steve Collins (African Butterfly Research Institute, ABRI)
What a delight and wonderful opportunity to see the scientific paintings of which many are more than 100 years old, some as early as the establishment of the Linnean classification system over 250 years ago.
Almost all the illustrations used in this book are taken from hand-coloured paintings, which until now have been largely out of reach to the general public, due to the scarcity of the works which are also enormously expensive.
The authors have brought the scientific nomenclature up to the current classification status.
What generally happens when examining a book, particularly when used as a guide, is to turn to and look at the plates before reading the text. Many species from these islands have never been illustrated in a consolidated book before, and this in particular makes this book invaluable for field work. Although not all species are illustrated, they are generally covered in the text.
The Literature review is particularly valuable, as this has also never been consolidated before. Several of those species not illustrated in the 73 plates do appear in the various Figures in this section of the book.
An interesting assembly is to include the Island of Socotra, when generally one thinks of Madagascar and the surrounding islands as the Indian Ocean Islands. What a great opportunity to meet the butterflies of Socotra as well again, what has been written is largely unobtainable.
The authors must be congratulated for their vision, both of whom have previously published Field Guides to the butterflies of Seychelles, Philippines and Southern Africa, as well as the Internet-based encyclopedia Butterflies and Skippers of the Afrotropical Region, and thanked for making the current information available to a much wider audience. Thank you James and Mark and well done.
This book is a must have for any serious student of Afrotropical butterflies.
African Butterfly Research Institute (ABRI), Nairobi January 2021
Abbreviations used in the text
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