Giant Silkmoths

Colour, Mimicry & Camouflage

Philip Howse & Kirby Wolfe

An exploration of the fascinating history, behaviour, ecology and evolution of the extraordinary giant silkmoths, their colourful mastery of disguise and mimicry brought to life in magnificent photographs and a lively, accessible text.

300 x 240 mm

192 pages


ISBN: 978-1-096506-25-4


IPPY Bronze Medal 2012 - Ecology

Subject: Nature

The most spectacular wild silkmoths live in tropical and subtropical forests and include the elegant moon moths with delicate pale green wings and long tails, the huge atlas moths with snake patterns embroidered on the edges of their wings, and the “bulls-eye” moths with brightly-coloured eye-spots that resemble the eyes of owls. The interplay of wing colour and design, behaviour, and ecology in the evolution of these extraordinary insects is explored in a lively, accessible text by award-winning author Philip Howse accompanied by the magnificent photographs of Kirby Wolfe. Many previously unrecognised examples of mimicry of other animals embedded in their wing patterns are described and illustrated, including images of owl eyes, bird wings, claws, teeth, heads of reptiles, birds, rodents, cats…, all designed to frighten the short-sighted, insect-eating birds that seek to prey on them. The grandeur and the fascinating natural history of the giant silkmoths and the manner in which they protect themselves are described and illustrated in this lavishly-produced book in such a way that as to enthrall scientists, students, artists and all those interested in wildlife and photography.

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Philip Howse & Kirby Wolfe

Philip Howse has published books and research articles on insect behaviour and ecology. He has developed environ-mentally-friendly methods for the control of insect pests, recognised by a number of awards including the OBE. After a career spent mainly at Southampton University, he has now retired but continues writing about the insects that have fascinated him since childhood. Kirby Wolfe has published books and research articles on insect behaviour and ecology. He is a Research Associate of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, California, and has spent more than 25 years studying and photographing moths.

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"The most visually exciting book of the year ... Howse has put together a teasing and brilliant treat; a piece of work that is designed to dazzle and boggle and bewilder"
Simon Barnes, The Times

"In a lively and informative text, brimming with historic ancedote and poetic charm, Howse takes us on an evolutionary tour through the striking and bizarre patterns presented by these beautiful creatures. All in all, a big, bright book on big, bright moths"
BBC Wildlife Magazine

"Very occasionally a book comes along which enables you to see the world in a different way, and I have just discovered one"
The Daily Telegraph