Flies: The Natural History and Diversity of Diptera

By Stephen A. Marshall

Firefly Books, 2012; 616 pages, $125.00

If the title of this book turns you off, judge it instead by its appealing cover photograph of two whimsically patterned insects perched on a yellow flower. Author Marshall, a professor of entomology at the University of Guelph, Ontario, has produced the definitive work on creatures of the order Diptera, combining scholarly
thoroughness and popular accessibility with his own eye-popping photos. Here you’ll find descriptions of these diminutive creatures’ life histories and behavior, a complete guide to classifying and identifying them, and even a section on trapping and preserving specimens for display. Still, most readers, conditioned to swat at the merest dipteran buzz, may prefer to make this handsome book the extent of their personal fly collection.

Recent Stories

Conspicuous armaments are good visual proxies for fighting ability.

Bats, reservoirs for such viruses as Ebola, are increasingly villainized and require special conservation.

After centuries of moving through the Irish countryside, a group known as Travellers has come to rest.

Algae, plants and humans: three groups of organisms that used chemistry to change the planet.