The Quick Guide To Creepy-Crawlies

The Quick Guide to Creepy-Crawlies allows anyone to place any creepy-crawly into one of the approximately 40 orders to which it belongs. For some, just knowing that it's a beetle and not a true bug or a snakefly (which, like many other things called flies is not a true fly at all) that will be sufficient. But if you are trying to identify a specimen to family, genus or species level then identifying the order to which it belongs is an essential first step.

This is not always easy, especially from a photograph, as many insects tend to mimic other insects in a different order. Take these bees for example:

Western Honey Bee Apis mellifera

The first is a fly mimicing a bee (Order Diptera), the second is a bee (Order Hymenoptera). The books and the internet will tell you that the way to differentiate between the two is that flies have one pair of wings whilst all other insects have two pairs of wings. Very true but can you see the bee's hindwings underneath his forewings? I can't. The trick is to look at the antennae; all true flies have very short antennae.

The Quick Guide to Creepy-Crawlies is full of practical tips like this which I have built up over many years of observing our little friends. By following a simple key you can identify any creepy-crawly anywhere in the world and there is a page on each order. For instance if your answers to the following questions were thus:

Does it have legs? Yes
How many? 8
Does it have a waist? No
Are the legs long and spindly? Yes

You will be led to the Opiliones (Harvestmen) page which will tell you a little bit about it, why it is not a spider, whether it is harmful and what to look for, as well as how to recognise a juvenile version (which, in the case of many creepy-crawlies is totally unlike the adult – think caterpillars and butterflies for instance).

I hope that this book will be useful both to those of you who are merely mildly curious about the miniature world around you and to serious naturalists who would like a handy reference guide for those odd little creatures which we all come across from time to time and which take hours of memory searching just to work out what the heck they are!

I anticipate having the book available in both paperback and on kindle (useful in the field) by the autumn. If you would like to know when it becomes available click on the 'hamburger' in the top left hand corner of this page (illustrated left) and follow the blog by email.


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