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The Butterflies of Venezuela

Part  1

Published Reviews 

Reviews of Part I of The Butterflies of Venezuela have appeared in the following journals and magazines (please follow links for quoted excerpts from reviews):

Amateur Entomologists’ Society (UK) 
December 1999, Volume 58 (427), pp. 228-229

American Scientist (USA)
September-October 1997, Volume 85, pp. 477-478

Annals of the Entomological Society of America (USA)
September 1997, 
Volume 90, no. 5, pp. 701-702

Antenna (Bulletin of the Royal Entomological Society) (UK)
April 1997, Volume 21(2), pp. 80-81

Bulletin de la Société Entomologique de France (France)
1997, Volume 102(3) : 264

Butterflies (Magazine of the Butterfly Society of Japan) (Japan)
1998, Volume 20, p. 64

Butterfly Conservation News (UK) 
Autumn 1997, Number 66, p. 28

Lambillionea (Belgium)
Supplement to II/97 (in French) and III/97 (in English)

Natura (Venezuela)
Volume 107, p. 66

News of the Lepidopterists' Society (USA)
Winter 1997, Volume 39(5), pp. 103-104

New York Entomological Society (USA)
1996, Volume 104(3-4), pp. 236-239

SHILAP Revista de Lepidopterología (Spain)
March 1997, Volume 25(97), p. 52

Tropical Lepidoptera (USA)
May 1997, Volume 8(1), p. 46

Yadoriga (Journal of the Lepidoterological Society of Japan) (Japan)
1997, 
no. 173, pp.34-35


Other Commentaries

The following have also provided their members with brief notes on The Butterflies of Venezuela:

Alexanor (France)

American Butterflies (Magazine of the North American Butterfly Association)


 

Excerpts from Reviews 

Amateur Entomologists’ Society (UK
December 1999, Volume 58 (427), pp. 228-229

“Great attention [has been] paid to the layout of the text and choice of fonts …”

“The quality of the plates is of a very high standard …”

“I think this would be a very valuable addition to the library of anyone interested in Neotropical butterflies and essential reading for any lepidopterist intending to visit Venezuela or neighbouring countries. It is aimed fairly and squarely at the reader who wants to identify butterflies and learn more about their ecology. I feel it is this wealth of textual information, more than any other factor, which really attracted me to the book.”

“This work must have been an enormous undertaking and in it Andrew Neild’s passion for butterflies really shines through. We have a lot to look forward to.”

Chris Raper

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American Scientist (USA)
September-October 1997, Volume 85, pp. 477-478

"Finally someone has combined motivation, ability, enthusiasm and resources to start a first-rate series on the butterflies of Venezuela. Although steeped in a deeply Victorian style, youthful exuberance and modern scholarship shine through Andrew Neild's first volume. Miraculously this books manages to chart a course through the murky waters of amateur showcase butterfly collecting, the pedestrain picture-name-picture-name treatments and the often deadly chloroform of serious science. The result is not only pleasing to the eye and useful to serious students of butterflies, but is readable into the bargain."

"[The species accounts] show a thorough scholarly respect for a widely scattered, multilingual literature, and thus are of lasting value to students of neotropical butterflies. Bravo! A job well done."

"The user is presented with a truly beautiful set of color plates that were photographed by none other than the current master, Bernard D'Abrera. By illustrating multiple specimens per species, the plates not only facilitate correct identifications, but thay also make the identification process a distinct pleasure.

"In summary, this well-done book provides a much-needed stimulus for more detailed work on butterflies of Venezuela and elsewhere in South America. It deserves to be on the shelves of everyone interested in butterflies. The author is to be congratulated not only for breathing new life into the study of Venezuelan butterflies, but also for showing his roots which are deeply anchored in tradition. I look forward to seeing the subsequent volumes in print."

Phil DeVries

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Annals of the Entomological Society of America (USA)
September 1997, Volume 90, no. 5, pp. 701-702.

"This is a magnificent book. This is a superb book. Nothing more needs to be said, but I doubt that the review editor would accept a review which is shorter than a book's title."

"[The plates] are invariably excellent ..."

"The color fidelity of the printing is excellent and the use of page space maximised."

"The book more than serves its purpose as an identification guide and goes far beyond."

"Neild's work is magnificent and superb, user friendly, and worth its cost. As such, it serves as an excellent model for future regional treatises."

"Finally, there is an obvious need for a comparison between this and DeVries' book (1987. The Butterflies of Costa Rica and their Natural History, Papilionidae, Pieridae, Nymphalidae. Princeton University Press, Princeton), the first to treat a significant portion of a Neotropical butterfly fauna. The two are very different in their emphasis. Where DeVries' forte is life history and behavior, Neild's is taxonomy and identification. Both are excellent references and a DeVries and Neild collaboration, with each contributing his own expertise, would surpass magnificent and superb; it would be just short of awesome."

George T. Austin

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Antenna (Bulletin of the Royal Entomological Society) (UK) 
April 1997, Volume 21(2), pp. 80-81

"The series should appeal to a wide audience. Apart from Bernard D'Abrera's monumental series, only Phil DeVries' Butterflies of Costa Rica is really comparable. But the scope of Neild's work is much wider than simply identification. In many ways it will surely come to to represent another highly significant step, particularly for those involved in butterfly diversity in the Neotropics who must still be striving without the sort of basic tool that this volume provides. Perhaps its greatest value will be in stimulating others, both in Venezuela where much still remains to be elucidated in the local butterfly fauna, and as a model for workers in other neotropical countries."

"In some ways The Butterflies of Venezuela is quite audacious - as a jump into the proverbial deep end by an inexperienced author it can have few parallels. That it succeeds so remarkably is a tribute to the author's personal knowledge and vision, and a cautionary lesson to those of us who after thirty years professionally studying butterflies now see neither the wood nor the trees!"

Phil Ackery

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Bulletin de la Société Entomologique de France (France)
1997, Volume 102(3) : 264

« C’est un travail d’explorateur, de naturaliste passionné, épris du Venezuela. Je dis souvent que les derniers explorateurs sont les systématiciens, car s’il n’y a plus d’îles a découvrir, combien de recoins de la biosphère restent absolument vierges de toute investigation scientifique et regorgent d’organismes inconnus. C’est donc un travail de pionnier, destiné a tout public avide de nature tropical et émerveillé par la beauté des papillons néotropicaux. C’est un ouvrage très soigné, fruit des efforts avisés de l’auteur qui a su s’entourer des meilleurs spécialistes et des compétences qualifiées pour réaliser son projet. »

Jacques Pierre

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Butterflies (Magazine of the Butterfly Society of Japan) (Japan) 
1998, Volume 20, p. 64

This Japanese review was kindly translated for me by the talented Colombian linguist Juan Manuel Cardona (juanmanuel.cardonagranda@gmail.com), author of the Glosario Multilingüe de Terminología Forestal (Multilingual Glossary of Forestry Terminology) in Spanish, English, French, Portuguese and Japanese (ISBN 9583389889).

An unprecedented color guide by the Englishman Andrew Neild on the native butterflies of Venezuela. One of the best of the few illustrated butterfly guides for South America published so far.

The author, Andrew Neild, only 31 years old, who just married this last June, is already an accomplished and earnest individual. We can’t help but commend such a promising young man who has been kind enough to craft this monumental work for us.

The plates, being of neotropical butterflies are of course dazzling. Besides, the Nymphalidae rank among the most gorgeous of butterfly families. Species accounts include distribution, subspecies, identification clues, behavior, diet, etc., and all are extremely detailed. Bibliographic references are also deep and well researched, thus becoming an excellent source of information on Central and South American Butterflies. 

The work surpasses most world standards for a guide.

Motomu Teshirogi 

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Butterfly Conservation News (UK)
Autumn 1997, Number 66, p. 28

"Members planning trips to the New World tropics might like to know about ... this fine book ... [which] will certainly enhance their enjoyment of the butterflies in Venezuela and surrounding countries."  

Patrick Roper

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Lambillionea (Belgium)
Supplement to II/97 (in French) and III/97 (in English)

"The reader will appreciate, [throughout] the 32 colour plates, the excellent quality of the 1195 figures."

"Amongst the vast amount of useful information can be cited the location of the type material of all taxa and particularly of the 2 new species and the 23 new subspecies."

"This volume is very carefully edited. It has the advantage that it can be used to study the fauna of adjacent countries and even that of the whole of tropical America. Therefore this book should be present in all libraries, of amateurs as well as specialists. The author should be encouraged to continue his work to complete the three other volumes announced in this series."

Ronald Brabant

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Natura (Venezuela)
Volume 107, p. 66

"Se ilustran fotograficamente y a todo color alrededor de 1200 especímenes (muchos de los cuales son tipos primarios de los museos de Venezuela, Inglaterra, y Paris) en las brillantes 32 láminas preparadas especialmente por Bernard D'Abrera ... "

Around 1200 specimens (many of them primary types from museums in Venezuela, England, and Paris), are figured with sumptuous colour photographs on the stunning 32 colour plates which were especially prepared by Bernard D'Abrera.

"En esta obra, tanto neófito como entomólogo profesional encontrará la satisfacción de un lenguaje sencillo y preciso ... y una cantidad de datos interesantes sobre la clasificación, distribución y los hábitos de todas las mariposas venezolanas hasta ahora registradas en las subfamilias Limenitidinae, Apaturinae y Charaxinae, incluyendo la descripción de dos especies y 24 subespecies nuevas para la ciencia."

In this work both the neophyte and professional entomologist will be pleased to find a text which is both straightforward and precise, ... and a plethora of interesting information on classification, distribution and behaviour of all the Venezuelan butterflies so far recorded in the subfamilies Limenitidinae, Apaturinae y Charaxinae (and, moreover, the description of two species and 24 subspecies which are new to science).

"Esta obra ocupa un lugar importante en la literatura zoológica venezolanista, no solo por su contenido novedoso en si, sino por presentar al final la bibliografía completa que existe sobre los temas tratados, de manera que aquel que quisiera profundizar algun aspecto de la lepidopterología podria localizar rapidamente la referencia pertinente."

This work occupies an important niche in the Venezuelan zoological literature, not just for its unique and informative content, but also for providing a full bibliography for all the subjects treated, so that whoever wants to look into some area of study in greater depth can rapidly locate the relevant references.

Angel L. Viloria P.

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News of the Lepidopterists' Society (USA)
Winter 1997, Volume 39(5), pp. 103-104

“Much of the text in the identification section is of a revisionary nature, and readers will find a mine of information regarding correct nomenclature and identification. IN this respect the notes and plates for the complex species in the genera Adelpha and Memphis will be especially helpful. Many related taxa that fly outside of Venezuela are also discussed, thus ensuring that this work will benefit those working on the fauna of other countries in the region.”

Boyce A. Drummond

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New York Entomological Society (USA)
1996, Volume 104(3-4), pp. 236-239

“This attractive book is the first of an ambitious series of four parts …”

“Neild has done an admirable job combining descriptions of adult butterflies and what is known of their behaviour and life histories with the excellent colour plates …”

“While not without its flaws [see note below – A.Neild], I think this is an attractive, useful and generally well-executed book …[which] will be a helpful tool for curating even large butterfly collections like those of the AMNH and NMNH. Given the complexity of the neotropical butterfly fauna, and the extent of our ignorance regarding its ssytematics and biogeography, Neild is to be congratulated for attempting to match DeVries’ standard with a guide to a larger and more diverse South American country.”

Andrew V. Z. Brower

Note: For the sake of fairness I should note that the above were the favourable comments in this somewhat uncompromising review. Andrew Brower certainly raises a number of important criticisms and opinions. While some of these appear unreasonably subjective, others are fair comment that reflect my own limitations and those posed by the scope and circumstances of the work. The review is certainly thought provoking and caused some controversy – Keith Willmott wrote a vigorous rebuttal of Brower’s unwarranted comments on some of my taxonomic notes (see News of the Lepidopterists' Society, Autumn 1998, Volume 40(4), pp. 92-93).

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SHILAP Revista de Lepidopterología (Spain)
March 1997, Volume 25(97), p. 52.

"Damos una merecida bienvenida a la calidad de la información sistemática y biogeográfica ofrecida en el primer volumen de esta prometedora serie. El autor ha compilado elegantemente toda la información disponible sobre mas de 270 especies y subespecies de ninfálidos conocidos para Venezuela. El autor proporciona plenitud de nuevos datos geográficos, ecológicos y generales de primera mano, basado en su propia experiencia de campo en el pais, en el estudio de importantes colecciones nacionales y foráneas, y en las multiples contribuciones de colegas venezolanos que el autor ha tenido a bien acreditar sin reservas."

We give a well-deserved welcome to the quality of the systematic and biogeographical information presented in the first volume of this promising series. The author has elegantly compiled all of the available information for the more than 270 nymphalid species and subspecies recorded in Venezuela. The author provides us with a plenitude of new geographical, ecological and general data, based on his personal experience in the field, the most important national and international collections, and the multiple contributions of Venezuelan colleagues which he has had the good will to credit unreservedly.

"Por si fuera poco el trabajo fotográfico de Bernard D'Abrera, complementa lo que siempre habriamos esperado los lepidoptérologos suramericanos: una obra nivelada a la altura de la modernidad que satisface las exigencias de aficionados y especialistas por igual en cuanto su contenido y imagen."

Moreover, the photographic work of Bernard D'Abrera complements what we South American lepidopterologists have always hoped for: a work which reaches the highest ranks of contemporary writing and which satisfies the demands of amateurs and profesionals alike with its content and visual quality.

"Debo celebrar la publicación ...", "... una guia precisa ...", "... los apendices son todos indispensables ... ", "... bibliografía exhaustiva ... ",  "... el nutrido cuerpo de este trabajo ... luce tipográficamente impecable."

The publication is praiseworthy ...; ... a detailed guide ... ; ... all of the appendices are indispensable ... ; ... an exhaustive bibliography ... ; the copious body of this work ... is outstanding for its impeccable typography.

"Esta obra sentará precedente en el estudio de la fauna neotropical y es, por la cantidad de nuevos taxa descritos - dos especies y 24 subespecies - , y otras contribuciones relevantes a la sistemática, obra indespensable en el ámbito científico."

This work sets a precedent in the study of the Neotropical fauna and is, by virtue of the number of newly described taxa - two species and 24 subspecies - , and the other relevant systematic contributions, an indispensable work in the field of scientific literature .

Angel L. Viloria P.

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Tropical Lepidoptera (USA)
May 1997, Volume 8(1), p. 46.

A "long awaited and beautiful book", "clearly and concisely written". 

"The main text is refreshingly well written."

"One of the great strengths of the book is that the author has spent an immense amount of time trying to ensure the accuracy of the taxonomy and nomenclature employed throughout, resolving many difficult problems in the process, and in this respect the book is superior to all other Neotropical butterfly works."

"The stunning front cover photgraph of the charaxine butterfly Prepona praeneste gives the reader a forestaste of the superb quality of the 32 colour plates .... "

"The Butterflies of Venezuela, Part 1, with its beautiful color plates and notes on identification, will be of great assistance to all field lepidopterists working in northern South America. In addition, the large amount of taxonomic research incorporated within, and figures of many important type specimens, make this work invaluable for all students of Neotropical butterfly systematics. We eagerly await the remaining volumes in the series."

Keith R. Willmott and Jason P. W. Hall

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Yadoriga (Journal of the Lepidoterological Society of Japan) (Japan)
1997, no. 173, pp.34-35.

This Japanese article is more of a factual introduction than an appraisal/review. It was kindly translated for me by the talented Colombian linguist Juan Manuel Cardona (juanmanuel.cardonagranda@gmail.com), author of the Glosario Multilingüe de Terminología Forestal (Multilingual Glossary of Forestry Terminology) in Spanish, English, French, Portuguese and Japanese (ISBN 9583389889).

Even if it is perhaps impossible for a place like South America, it would be desirable to have a guide that:

·    Has drawings of male and female forms of all the species in a particular area.
·    Guides the user to identification through color and pattern
·    Gives preference to depicting type specimens
·    Has abbreviated species accounts of the current knowledge of each species.

Mr. Andrew Neild’s “Butterflies of Venezuela” is a series that is just beginning to get published that can satisfy the above ambitious hopes of both lepidopterophiles and regional museum staff who have been regrettably deprived of guides for identifying specimens from faraway lands where they have never set foot. 

This book [is] a veritable vade-mecum for the reader.

Dr. K. Ueda

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