Insects and Other Arthropods of Tropical America

Insects and Other Arthropods of Tropical America

Photographs by Kenji Nishida

Visitors to tropical forests generally come to see the birds, mammals, and plants. Aside from butterflies, however, insects usually do not make it on the list of things to see. This is a shame. Insects are everywhere, they are often as beautiful as the showiest of birds, and they have a fascinating natural history. With their beautifully illustrated guide to insects and other arthropods, Paul E. Hanson and Kenji Nishida put the focus on readily observable insects that one encounters while strolling through a tropical forest in the Americas. It is a general belief that insects in the tropics are larger and more colorful than insects in temperate regions, but this simply reflects a greater diversity of nearly all types of insects in the tropics. On a single rainforest tree, for example, you will find more species of ant than in all of England.

Though written for those who have no prior knowledge of insects, this book should also prove useful to those who study them. In addition to descriptions of the principal insect families, the reader will find a wealth of biological information that serves as an introduction to the natural history of insects and related classes. Sidebars on insect behavior and ecological factors enhance the descriptive accounts. Kenji Nishida's stunning photographs—many of which show insects in action in their natural settings—add appeal to every page. A final chapter provides a glimpse into the intriguing world of spiders, scorpions, crabs, and other arthropods.

Paul E. Hanson

Paul E. Hanson is Professor of Biology at the University of Costa Rica.