For the lover of all things lepidopterous, The Book of Caterpillars is a beautifully curated collection and guide to 600 species from around the globe. Beginning with an eloquent and comprehensive general overview of caterpillars and their life cycles, the volume has enough background for the novice but a level of color and detail that even a professional scientist can appreciate. Before introducing the variety of species, the opening chapter provides a narrative introduction defining the caterpillar, looking at metamorphosis, feeding, defenses, the relationship of caterpillars and people, and the research and conservation efforts that are underway to protect and learn more about both moth and butterfly caterpillars. The closing pages of the volume include handy reference guides, including indexing by both common and scientific names and the general classification of Lepitoptera.
The most brilliant contribution of the book, however, is its highly vivid and life-size (unless specifically noted) pictures of so many butterfly and moth caterpillars, along with high-resolution magnified images. Whereas most books focus on the final life stage, this volume highlights the caterpillar in great depth. The resulting butterflies and moths are represented by small images of patterns, so as not to steal focus from the featured stage of the life cycle. Also included are general overviews of the behavior of each species and its interactions with its surroundings, as well as information on its habitat, range, host plants, and conservation status.
More a reference than a book to read cover-to-cover, this is a beautiful catalog of the Lepidoptera and a must-see for anyone interested in that realm.
AMANDA L. GLAZE is an Assistant Professor of Middle Grades & Secondary Science Education at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. In addition to science teacher education, she has taught courses in biological sciences for grades 7–12 and undergraduate students over the last 13 years. Her interests include evolutionary biology, science and religion, and the intersections of science and society – specifically where scientific understandings are deemed controversial by the public. Glaze holds degrees in science education from the University of Alabama and Jacksonville State University. Her address is Department of Teaching & Learning, Georgia Southern University, P.O. Box 8134, Statesboro, GA 30458; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.