d'Abrera's Concise Atlas minireview

Patrick Foley patfoley at csus.edu
Wed Jan 16 19:12:25 EST 2002

I got my copy of d'Abrera 2001. The Concise Atlas of Butterflies of the
World from Bioquip today. It cost $112 plus shipping, includes 353 pages
and 6000 butterflies. It measures 8.5"x11"x1" with heavy glossy pages.

The book has 150 plates (at 65%) of beautiful dead butterflies arranged
by regions, presumably an excerpt from the multivolume Butterflies of
the World series by D'Abrera (as he used to be known). There is a 100
page section to give the geographic range of the photo'd species and the
authority (but no date) for its name, but no locality, host plant or
other information. Each genus has a line about distribution and number
of species in the region. He is pretty sparing on information. There is
no bibliography.

The 100 pages of introductory material include beautiful live butterfly
pictures and some surprisingly weak if vociferous attacks on
evolutionary theory.We expect more from students of the Jesuits (as he
and I both are). I can only assume that his later Benedictine training
did him in. The thirty or so pages devoted to diatribe might have been
better spent on biogeography, ecology or literature cited. None of which
are, I believe, hateful in the eyes of God.

Looking over my new book, I lost track of time, waking up to find that I
was 15 minutes late picking up my three year old daughter. I am afraid
d'Abrera's new book will be the occasion for many sins of omission.

Patrick Foley
patfoley at csus.edu


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