Banquets for Butterflies
This book is a follow up to the much acclaimed Bring Nature Back to your Garden by the same authors. Like its predecessor, it aims to spread a conservation message to the public, via the popular hobby of gardening, so encouraging people to conserve what little is left of the country’s natural heritage. However, in addition, it is an important scientific work of use to natural scientists. It is unique in being the most comprehensive and up-to-date source of information on all indigenous South African butterfly larval food-plants.
There are also a number of useful cross-referencing lists: For example, in a chapter which deals with the complexity of the scientific naming system applied to all living things, including butterflies, it lists the Latin names of all our approximately 670 butterfly species with their corresponding common names.
Over 140 pages of the book are devoted to describing indigenous larval food-plants. Although these are in alphabetical order according to their botanical names, all applicable common names are provided to assist those who do not have botanical knowledge. For each plant there is a description of what it looks like, where it grows and what species of butterfly larvae it supports. The provinces in which both the plant and the butterfly species are found are always provided.
There is an intriguing further chapter on bizarre lifestyles – few people know, for example, that some butterfly larvae are carnivorous and abuse the hospitality of ants which host them, by eating their unsuspecting offspring.
A sobering penultimate chapter, Butterflies in Trouble, is a plea to conserve butterfly habitats. While demonstrating that ordinary people can make a difference, it highlights the damage humans are doing with their ever-increasing ecological footprint (two species, and one subspecies, of South African butterflies are already extinct, and a further 60 species are threatened).
The recommended retail price is R145-00 including VAT. It has descriptions of over 500 plants selected by our butterflies themselves. All known indigenous larval food-plants are included. The book comprises 265 pages, has black & white and some colour illustrations. The ISBN number is 0-620-36665-6.
Comments about South Africa’s most comprehensive butterfly gardening guide
This wonderful book contains an astonishing amount of information, yet is an easy to use practical guide to attracting butterflies Dr John Ledger, leading environmental scientist and author.
Very impressive, an encyclopaedia of butterfly gardening but lighthearted and full of humour Dr Eugene Moll, eminent botanist and Chairman of the Botanical Society.
What a brilliant book! It will make butterfly gardening accessible to the public like nothing before, while also being invaluable to lepidopterists Steve Woodhall, butterfly expert and author of Field Guide to the Butterflies of SA.