Bugs Britannica is a unique natural history of British insects and other invertebrates. It is not a biological guide but a cultural one, seen through the eyes of writers, poets, musicians, artists and naturalists, as well as ordinary men and women, who have been fascinated and inspired by our 'small life'. Hence, like its distinguished predecessors, Flora Britannica and Birds Britannica, Bugs Britannica is concerned as much with us as with wildlife. It is a record of what we think about our bugs and how they have influenced and continue to influence our lives.
Our guide covers the whole range of British invertebrates, from the simplest forms of animal life such as protozoa and sponges to the vast multitude of insects, spiders and shell life. It ranges from the mountaintops through woods, farms and fields to the soil and fresh water, right down to the shoreline and the shallow sea, and it also includes our houses and gardens. The only condition for selection is that the 'bug' must be familiar or in some other way important. This is a record of all the bugs for which we, as a society, feel admiration, concern, affection, fear, astonishment or wonder. In other words, if a species moves us in some way, it is here. If it is known only to a small group of specialists, look elsewhere. Bugs Britannica is a modern 'people's fauna', a portrait in encyclopedic detail of the teeming world of invertebrates seen through human eyes: an alternative natural history for a new age.
Bugs Britannica completes a trilogy of books about the cultural dimensions of our wildlife. Like its predecessors, it includes observations, anecdotes and experiences from the public and from members of natural history and conservation societies. Unlike them, it cannot hope to include nearly every one of the approximately 40,000 British invertebrates. It does, however, include all those with a significant cultural profile, whether through folk-names, superstitions and beliefs (true or not), a social or domestic use, or a notable place in British art and literature. It includes bugs we seek to attract and those we fight expensive battles to remove. Above all, we have tried to bring our subjects to life in all their beautiful and bizarre glory. We hope the result will interest, amuse, delight and, perhaps occasionally, horrify the reader. No book in English has ever dealt so comprehensively with the manifold links between the British and the small beings at our doorsteps. Bugs Britannica is a testimony to why small life matters and about how it enriches our lives.
A companion volume to Flora Britannica and Birds Britannica
Covers more than 1000 species with nearly 400 colour imagesshow more