With their beautiful wing patterns and colours butterflies immediately catch our attention. Of all creatures, they exemplify metamorphosis with the creeping caterpillar transforming into a soaring butterfly. But they have also come to be creatures of science, revealing much to biologists about evolution, and the ecological processes and historical accidents that have generated the diversity of life on earth.
Using examples from around the world, leading lepidopterist Dick Vane-Wright explores what it means to be a butterfly, from how the yellow birdwing finds a mate to why the African gaudy commodores produce adults of different colours.
Butterflies start with the familiar life cycle, charting development from egg to adult, mating and egg-laying. It continues by exploring less familiar aspects of the butterfly lifestyle: how they care for their eggs; the surprising things that some caterpillars eat; what happens inside the caterpillar to create the butterfly; why is it that there are so many variations in adult wing pattern and colour.
These and many more questions are raised in this examination of the butterfly, which concludes by considering the threats and opportunities that now face them
112 PAGES 210 x 235mm PAPERBACK