Published: 28/09/2016
ISBN: 9781785892356
Format: Paperback



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On Your Doorstep
Moths and Butterflies of Connemara
by Heather Greer

First, as a photographic art book, it includes lots of large-format images of moths and butterflies, and it's intended to convey the intricacy and beauty of these creatures. Of course, images of beautiful butterflies are commonplace; but images of moths are not: moths are most usually thought of as dull, brown nuisances which eat your clothes (only 2-3 species out of several thousand actually do eat animal fur such as wool or fur; the vast bulk eat live plant material). Of the approx 125 species featured, approx 80% are moths, while the remainder are butterflies. The book aims to show that moths are beautiful and deserve 'respect'.

Second, the book is a reference/information guide, containing general information about moths and butterflies (including some information which, though dealt with simply and briefly, is reasonably scholarly, in that even people with a general interest in lepidoptery might find information they didn't previously have). Of course there are already several reference works - some of them very complete - for identifying moths and butterflies. But these are often bewildering, since they usually cover the moths and/or butterflies of Britain and Ireland, or even of Europe. The sheer number of species covered in such books - the vast bulk of which are not found in one locality - can make such books difficult to use.

This books covers not all, but many of, the moths and butterflies which may be spotted specifically in Connemara - a region which is remote and which possesses its own special mix of habitats: acid soils, bogland, heathland, relatively few trees, coastal margins...

The book also contains a chapter which very specifically links the totality of the species contained to the Connemara habitat. It contains information (and images) concerning some of the lesser known plants which butterfly and moth caterpillars feed upon. Thus, it opens a gateway to a broader understanding of a given mix of habitats, via an understanding of the mix of moths and butterflies which occur there.

The book will be of interest to nature lovers in general. It should be noted that many visitors to Connemara (and there are vast numbers each year!) have an interest in nature and countryside, but may spend their entire time here without seeing more than a few garden birds. They will rarely see deer, or otters, or Irish Stoat, or hares, or unusual birds. But they can open their eyes to the nature that's all around them, in the form of a wide mix of beautiful moths and butterflies!

Finally, the book illustrates how the numbers and mix of moths and butterflies demonstrate what is happening to our environment, as climate changes and average temperatures increase - as well as other (mostly malign) human influences on our environment. As such, it is a plea to pay attention to moths and butterflies and their welfare, and through them, to nature itself.

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