Moth balls

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday, 6 February 2011 20:26

I have just bought a copy of 'British and Irish moths: an illustrated guide to selected difficult species' by Martin C. Townsend, Jon Clifton and Brian Goodey. I have to say I am impressed. I fear many people will be put off by the microscope shots of dissected moth genitals, you shouldn't be. If you are a moth-er, you should get this book, even if you only ever use the paragraphs on external characters it will be worth it. The best thing though is the detailed, step-by-step description of how to dissect a moth's genitals. I know many people are put off by this but once you do it, it opens up a whole world of natural history.  It does however require a microscope, something I use now way more than my telescope. Many beetles for example are impossible to identify without dissecting and taking the odd specimen. I think this kind of text might even encourage people to move on to these more difficult groups (I would say though that dissecting a moth is pretty hard compared to a hard bodied insect like a bug or a beetle). You can buy it from BC at the introductory price of £15 (plus £2 P&P). So please don't be put off by the technical side of this publication, it's a brilliant piece of work and it's so much more than a load of old bo

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