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The Ecology, Biogeography and Speciation of the Butterflies of the Madeiras: High Endemicity on a Small Island = High Vulnerability

by Payne, M.

  • Hardback £100.00
  • New Book Availability : Not yet published
  • This title has been temporarily removed from the website. Please contact Pemberley Books for more details
  • Catalogue No : 36764
  • Published : 2020
  • Cover : Hardback
  • Pages : 450

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The Madeiras is a group of oceanic volcanic-origin island archipelagos, which are much more extensive than the well-known vacation destination of Madeira. Close to Madeira lies Porto Santo, and slighlty further away the Desertas. To the south of Madeira lie the Selvagens, nearer to the Canary Islands than to the other parts of the group. This said, the principal geological, and the most significant biological unit in terms of species richness is the mountainous island of Madeira which rises to some 1,862 metres, is heavily incised with deep erosion gullies and which still retains areas of natural Laurisilva forest which have never been cleared. and which before human colonisation cloaked much of the monolith. Many endemic plant and animal taxa have evolved on Madeira, and the butterfly populations are no exception.In relation to its small area, Madeira is one of the world's undoubted evolutionary hotspots.

This book is the first ever written on the butterflies of these fascinating groups of islands, as well as on the principal island of Madeira alone. It examines in considerable detail and depth all the butterfly species to be found in this isolated and endemic-rich mini-area of Europe, their evolution, environmental context, habits, but also their evolution, their environmental context, their habits, habitats and life strategies and their relationship with the island environments. Some surprising conclusions are made about the island group's butterfly populations. Madeira holds the unenviable distinction of being the only locality in Europe where it is known that a species of butterfly has become extinct globally (in this case, just on its small island home). The dependence of endemic taxa on a very fragile and extremely geographically restricted area is a major theme of this book, with further extinctions predicted. Also discussed are the Ghost Species that it is felt that formerly would have existed in Madeira but which went into oblivion in historical times as Man altered the pristine natural environment post-colonisation.

The Butterflies of the Madeiras forms part of a regional series of more than 100 books on Macaronesia, which in turn will form part of a similar scientific and reference works on the butterflies of every region of Europe, which will in turn comprise part of a world series which is intended in due course to cover the entire planet in a readable, concise scientific and distinctive systematic appraisal. This has never before been attempted, and the books should appeal to professional workers and to informed and interested non-professional enthusiasts alike. The substantial and incisive analytical text of this first-ever book is complemented by maps as well as by numerous superlative photographs of butterflies in different life cycle stages, landscapes of Madeira and butterfly habitats. A detailed and substantial bibliography and reading list completes this volume.

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