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Science Entomology


The Natural History and Diversity of Wasps, Bees and Ants

by (author) Stephen A. Marshall

Firefly Books
Initial publish date
Apr 2023
Entomology, Insects & Spiders
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2023
    List Price

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A treasure Hymenoptera highlights these insects in an incredibly rich selection of color photographs and text, that serve both in identification and to illuminate their lives and strategies It is hugely pleasing Superb
-- Bernd Heinrich, biologist and author

Stephen A Marshall's natural history titles -- Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity, Beetles: The Natural History and Diversity of Coleoptera and Flies: The Natural History and Diversity of Diptera -- are among the most respected books on the insect world published in the last 20 years More admirable than the books' rigorous science, however, is that they are wholly suitable for a lay audience, including high school students interested in entomology The books have been adopted as classroom texts at the university level and are on the reference shelves of many practicing entomologists

In Hymenoptera, Marshall has applied his broad knowledge of insects to the world of wasps, bees and ants The subject of this book is an enormous one, since Hymenoptera is arguably the largest order of living things Comprehensive and packed with richly illustrated keys and thousands of color photographs identified with help from many of the world's best hymenopterists, this volume provides the reader with a colorful and enjoyable introduction to a huge group of organisms, along with an overview of the diversity of fascinating families included in the group

Marshall opens with a description of what makes a wasp a wasp, and then introduces the diversity, importance and natural history of the order with copious examples and explanations Topics include the life histories of wasps, Hymenoptera and plants, Hymenoptera in history, culture and fiction, kleptoparasitism, and many more

Part two of Hymenoptera is a guided tour of the diversity of the order, with fascinating stops for almost all of the world's 100 or so families of wasps as well as most of the significant subfamilies Thousands of photos, almost all taken in the field by the author, are used to capture the range of form and function in each family, with pages of photographs of the popular groups -- such as bees, hornets and ants -- but also with little-known groups ranging from pincer wasps to fairyflies Essential information about importance, range, behavior and biology is provided for each group, and easy-to-use photographic keys to most families are provided for those wishing to use the book as an identification guide

Like Marshall's companion titles, Hymenoptera will be welcomed by the scientific, academic and naturalist communities, as well as the next generation of entomologists

About the author

Stephen A. Marshall is a professor of entomology at the University of Guelph, where he developed a major insect collection and carries out research on insect systematics and biodiversity. He has discovered hundreds of new species, several new genera and even two new subfamilies. He is also the author of Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity, a Booklist Editor's Choice Reference selection for 2006.

Stephen A. Marshall's profile page

Editorial Reviews

After writing massive texts on flies, insects, and beetles, entomologist Marshall tackles hymenopterans in his latest book Exquisite photographs fill the pages There are also handy comparison guides to help aspiring entomologists distinguish between look-alikes Readers will likely appreciate the anecdotes from the field, especially the encounters with venom The book also describes how pollination relates to people's lives Verdict: Purchase where this author's wonderfully thorough books continue to thrive

Library Journal

(starred review) Perhaps only an entomologist would find a book on the natural history of wasps, bees, and ants interesting Not so with this fascinating work that skillfully addresses scientific concepts in a way that is accessible And then there are the photos! Even in part one, when discussing the biology or ecology of the Hymenoptera, there are numerous brilliantly clear and upclose pictures of different species These images aren't randomly chosen but instead support the biological concepts under discussion Part two reviews the life histories of the superfamilies or suborders for the wasps, bees, and ants A general introduction describes the key biological characteristics of each family within a superfamily before transitioning to pictures of individual species These include defining features or interesting characteristics Finally, part three discusses how to study the insects, including how to collect and photograph them The majority of this section also includes keys to identify families; again, with many colorful pictures to assist The author, a renowned entomologist, has done a marvelous job making the frightening and diverse Hymenoptera worth studying Highly recommended


Other titles by Stephen A. Marshall