Hawkmoths are truly spectacular to observe. They among some of the largest members of the order Lepidoptera. As caterpillars, they have sleek muscular bodies with sidestripes and a tail "horn" ; some evoke alarm for their resemblance to poisonous snakes. As adult moths, they use their long tongues to drink nectar from flowers while hovering. Found world-wide, many travel prodigious distances: hummingbird hawkmoths regularly fly to Britain from the Mediterranean.
For this volume, two international authorities on hawksmoths have prepared a comprehensive checklist with species descriptions. Covering more than 3,800 family-, genus-, and species-group taxa, it provides a much-needed foundation for research into these insect's systematic and biology.
Hawkmoths of the World opens with an overview of hawkmoth morphology and biology, including discussion of the moth's immature stages, their roles as pollinators and as pests, and their importance in conservation issues. The authors then propose a new system for higher classifications of hawkmoths, one based on the results of the most recent phylogenetic research.
The checklist contains all the nominal taxa of the Spingidae, as well as the names of aberrations and individual forms. The author of each taxon description is given along with its original date of publication. Two species and two subspecies are described as new. Comprehensive notes clearly explain these and other taxonomic changes, lectotype designations, and related matters. Colour plates with 64 photographs further enhance the book.
All those concerned with the conservation of Lepidoptera will welcome the addition of this landmark reference work to their libraries.