Cover image for Moths
Majerus, M. E. N.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : HarperCollins, [2002]

Physical Description:
310 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), portraits ; 23 cm.
Of moths -- Life history and anatomy -- Moths and evolution -- sex lives of moths -- Host plants and habitats -- Flight, dispersal and distributions -- deaths of moths -- Moth defences -- Melanism in moths -- Of moths and men.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL542 .M35 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Another volume in the New Naturalist series, this book is a comprehensive account of the diverse natural history of these fascinating and popular insects. Michael Majerus, author of the New Naturalist book Ladybirds, examines all aspects of moths, from their life histories to their role as pests to humans. He covers their reproduction, feeding, evolution, habitats and conservation. The book also discusses the enemies of moths, and the ways they have evolved to avoid detection, including camouflage, warning colouration, and mimicry.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

With nearly 200,000 species worldwide, moths are the planet's second-largest order of animals (after beetles). They form the major part of the Lepidoptera, far outnumbering their more familiar cousins, butterflies. Majerus, a British entomologist, has produced an extremely thorough book about the lives of these "butterflies of the night." Lengthy chapters cover life history and anatomy, evolution, sex, host plants and habitats, flight and distribution, disease and predators, and defenses. Each chapter discusses the place of moths in the natural world and gives specific examples for each general concept that is discussed. A chapter on melanism points out the influence of moths on the way biologists think about evolution, and a final chapter looks at the wide-ranging impact humans have had on moths (and vice versa). Though the book has a decidedly British slant, the universality of the overall principles transcends this partiality. Its price is steep, but there is no other book that matches the author's thoroughness and timeliness. A must for academic libraries and larger public libraries, and recommended for all others. --Nancy Bent

Choice Review

Readers will not know what to expect from this book on moths. Perhaps it is a field guide, or maybe just a collection of colorful plates of these interesting insects. Those familiar with the "New Naturalist" series ("A Survey of British Natural History"), however, will expect, and receive, much more than that. Here is a book that considers nearly every aspect of the biology of moths, in particular "the place of moths in the biological world." Majerus (Univ. of Cambridge, UK) includes several chapters on basic aspects of moth life history; a discussion of the process of evolution along with considerable information on genetics; a chapter on flying abilities, dispersal, and migration; a chapter on enemies and mortality; and another on defenses that have evolved in response to their enemies. The work is well illustrated with black-and-white photos and 16 color plates. Concentrating on British fauna, the book's value to American researchers will not be particularly great, but then the stated aim of the series is to interest the general reader. This goal was achieved admirably, and the volume will be enjoyed by beginning and advanced moth enthusiasts everywhere. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through faculty. P. K. Lago University of Mississippi