Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity


718 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55046-900-8
DDC 595.7'0974




Reviewed by Alain Lamothe

Alain Lamothe is a librarian in the J.N. Desmarais Library at Laurentian


Stephen A. Marshall, professor of entomology at the University of
Guelph, has produced a gigantic but excellent field guide on insects.
The book’s contents are based on the lecture notes taken from a
variety of courses he has taught during the past 20 years. The more than
4,000 clear and colour photographs make Insects a visual manual for both
professional and amateur entomologist.

Marshall begins with an overview of insect life that includes a
generalized but detailed anatomical chart. The preface contains a brief
discussion of entomological jargon. Over the course of the next 13
chapters, the author introduces the reader to the various eastern North
American insect orders and families, from wingless insects to
dragonflies and grasshoppers, and from butterflies and beetles to flies,
wasps, and ants. A chapter on non-insect arthropods such as centipedes,
spiders, mites, and the like is also included. Another chapter deals
with the observation, collection, and photography of insects.

Each chapter is divided into two sections. The first is a written
description of the insect order in question. The language is, for the
most part, non-technical. Common names are consistently given along with
the scientific name. The discussion is followed by a long section filled
with colour photos of insects from that order. Each of these visual
sections is identified by a green strip located at the top of the
corresponding pages. An index of photographs is included, and the book
finishes with a series of descriptive identification keys that seems to
be aimed at the novice amateur rather than the professional

Insects is highly recommended for any public or academic library



Marshall, Stephen A., “Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024,