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The butterflies of the Azores: fascination and mystery unbounded. A field guide-plus

by Payne, M.

Forthcoming
  • Hardback £60.00
  • New Book Availability : Not yet published
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  • Catalogue No : 36767
  • Published : MAR 2020
  • Cover : Hardback
  • Pages : 240

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Description:

This book is the first ever written on the butterfly species of the Azores, and it profiles in great scientific depth the species recorded from this remote volcanic mid-Atlantic Ocean archipelago. A particular focus is on the endemic Hipparchia complex of butterflies which has evolved within the group, and the author reduces to two (or at most, three) the number of separate taxa which were mis-identified in the past by a phalanx of pseudoscientists that descended upon the archipelago in a feeding frenzy of naming things that did not actually exist. Past obsessions with wing patterning and ecological traits led to many observes seeing things that were not there, with the general pattern being one of ignoring the fundamental scientific concept of phenotypic plasticity in a bid to be the first to name a new sub-species. This sad obesession continued well into the era of molecular analysis, with such genetic investigations starting to reveal the fallacies behind the true position.

Other concepts examined in depth in this ground-breaking book for the butterfly species of the Azores include habitat change, North American origins for several of them, colonisation patterns (and in particular of Danaus plexippus and Vanessa virginiensis), wing patterning and colouration - particularly in the local Colias crocea populations - parasitism, the role of Ghost islands and palaeoenvironments, voltinism, altitudinal ranges, phenology, host-plants, autecologies, pre-imaginal stages and cycles, predation, camouflage, behaviour and local abundance and much more. Possible/likely future colonists are identified. The incisive and comprehensively scientific text is complemented by numerous photographs and distribution maps.

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