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Butterflies of Peninsular India

"There is no better instrument to broaden interest in the living environment on the part of the public at large than inexpensive, user-friendly field guides.

Once acquired, they provide an endless and virtually cost-free entertainment and an introduction to the biological sciences. Their role as promoters of science and conservation is especially important in tropical countries, which harbour most of the species of plants and animals in the world, including the least studied and the most endangered," writes Edward O. Wilson in his foreword to Butterflies of Peninsular India.
This book by Krushnamegh Kunte, edited by Madhav Gadgil, is a well-written field guide that is a valuable addition to books on Indian wildlife. In this book, Kunte, a field biologist with a deep interest in butterflies introduces some of the species found in peninsular India. It has information on the distribution, ecology and behaviour of butterflies. Natural history accounts of 76 species are given. This book is the first to be published under Project Landscape, an initiative of the Indian Academy of Science that hopes to provide illustrated accounts of 1,500 Indian species – micro-organisms, plants and animals.

This is primarily aimed to assist students and teachers and provides them with a reliable source for species identification. In the detailed introductory chapter, the author gives you a taxonomic description of butterflies, highlights the differences between butterflies and moths and then goes on to the lifecycle and stages in a butterfly’s life. In the second chapter on the ecology of butterflies, he touches up their habitats, feeding and other behavioural habits and adaptations. The sections on seasonal variation in colouration and form and butterfly migration are also interesting. The book also has a chapter on conservation problems and solutions. The key to the identification of butterflies is particularly useful with simple remarks and description that will aid the amateur in easy identification.

The book is well illustrated with over 31 colour plates. The book also includes an appendix with a listing of larval host plants of peninsular Indian butterflies. A comprehensive guide for all those who enjoy watching these 'miracles on wings'.

By Krushnamegh Kunte, Published by: Universities Press (India) Ltd., Paperback; Price: Rs. 470/-

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