A Landscape of Insects
Discover the wild world at your feet in this new book on insects.
A Landscape of Insects is a look at the creepy crawlies of the Diamond Route, a collection of properties belonging to De Beers and the Oppenheimer family. From the first moment you pick up this book it’s immediately clear that entomologist Duncan MacFadyen and nature photographer Shem Compion have a passion for their subject: their glossy coffee-table book runs nearly 300 pages.
The size of this book may be inversely proportionate to its diminutive subject matter, but it’s as visually striking as the most beautiful butterflies and glossy beetles captured on the pages. Compion’s macro photography lets you zoom in on many insects you might normally overlook or would not be quick enough to catch – there is a wonderful picture of a bee in flight. The close-ups also make it possible to pick out distinguishing features like the shimmering casing of an emerald jewel beetle or the comical face of a royal tiger beetle.
MacFadyen’s text is scientific in nature, but he tries to give added explanations for the layman and there is a glossary at the back of key terms. In addition to a physical description, he tells you where to look for the insects and highlights interesting behaviour.
The book is organised according to the regions where the Diamond Route properties are located, spanning from the East Coast to Namaqualand. Each chapter rounds up the beetles, bugs, butterflies, grasshoppers, ants, spiders, scorpions and other invertebrates of the region – the numbers and varieties are incredible.
I was just as impressed to learn that for many of these creatures it’s the first time they’ve appeared in print. Every insect is photographed in its natural habitat, whether rolling grassland or the evocative sandscapes of the Kalahari.
A Landscape of Insects is a wonderful collection of the splendour, range and ecological importance of South African insects and a timely reminder that the microcosmos is as wild as any big game park.
A Landscape of Insects (R295) is available from good bookshops or kalahari.net.
Posted on: October 11, 2012, 7:11 AM