Field Guide to Butterflies of The Gambia, West Africa
by David Penney
Siri Scientific Press (2009) 978-0-9558636-2-2 RRP £15.00
80 pp, 210 x 150 mm, soft cover, 235 colour photos
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Customer review: I discovered the Field Guide to butterflies at one of the lodges I stayed at but being there only a few days, I missed it terribly when we moved on. Like the birds, butterflies are numerous and often strikingly beautiful in Gambia and I photographed many, most of which I was able to identify subsequently when I arrived home and purchased this volume. Being relatively light and slim but beautifully illustrated with photographs of most of the species described, it is an essential traveling companion for anyone traveling to Gambia with an interest in the wildlife.
The butterflies of West Africa are generally well known, but there are no country-by-country field guides for the interested amateur naturalist. The butterfly fauna of The Gambia is not particularly diverse in a West African context, but it does contain interesting elements of both Sahelian and Guinean Savannah species, because the country is located at the interface of these two major biomes. As a result of the distinct wet and dry seasons there are different butterfly species assemblages at different times of the year, with some species present year round. The rainy season and early in the dry season (November and December) are certainly the best times to see the greatest diversity of these magnificent insects. However, despite their highly apparent nature, there is still a great deal we do not know about the Gambian butterfly fauna, including the true diversity of species that occur within the country. Indeed, several species are recorded for the first time in this book. The author is a Visiting Research Fellow in the Faculty of Life Sciences at The University of Manchester. He has spent several years in The Gambia and is also the author of several other field guides in addition to numerous scientific papers.
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