Monday, May 21, 2012
1) Howse, Philip and Kirby Wolfe. Giant Silkmoths: Colour, Mimicry & Camouflage. 2011. Papadakis. Paperback: 192 pages. Price: GBP 25.00 ($40.00 U.S.).
SUMMARY: The most spectacular wild silkmoths live in tropical and subtropical forests and include the elegant moon moths with delicate pale green wings and long tails, the huge atlas moths with snake patterns embroidered on the edges of their wings, and the "bulls-eye" moths with brightly-coloured eye-spots that resemble the eyes of owls.
The interplay of wing colour and design, behaviour, and ecology in the evolution of these extraordinary insects is explored in a lively, accessible text by award-winning author Philip Howse accompanied by the magnificent photographs of Kirby Wolfe. Many previously unrecognised examples of mimicry of other animals embedded in their wing patterns are described and illustrated, including images of owl eyes, bird wings, claws, teeth, heads of reptiles, birds, rodents, cats ... all designed to frighten the short-sighted, insect-eating birds that seek to prey on them.
The grandeur and the fascinating natural history of the giant silkmoths and the manner in which they protect themselves are described and illustrated in this lavishly-produced book in such a way that as to enthrall scientists, students, artists and all those interested in wildlife and photography.
RECOMMENDATION: The photography highlights this book! Moth-ers will enjoy this title!
2) Stirling-Aird, Patrick. Peregrine Falcon. 2012. Firefly Books. Hardcover: 128 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Peregrine falcons are famous for their speed--in excess of 200 miles per hour--and their ability to capture prey in mid-flight. That same speed and a preference for inaccessible roosting locations means they are effectively unseen in the wild. They were not elusive enough, however, to avoid near-extinction.
But in 1977, a captive-bred peregrine falcon made history by raising a family in the wild. Since then over 4,000 peregrines have been released so that all of the peregrines now living in eastern North America are captive-bred releases and their descendants. Nevertheless threats persist, including pesticides, premature fledging, and tall buildings.
Peregrine Falcon brings the rarely seen raptor into full view. Informative text describes their biology, behavior, reproduction and hunting, and tells the compelling story of how peregrines were rescued from the brink of extinction. The most striking feature of the book, however, is the 80 extraordinary photographs of falcons in their natural habitat. Close-up and rich in color and detail, they will leave readers in awe. For that alone Peregrine Falcon is essential.
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated overview of the species.