New edition of 'The Insects: An Outline of Entomology'

Tuesday 21 October 2014
Cover 'The Insects'

Penny Gullan and Peter Cranston, Emeritus Professors in EEG, have received advance copies of their new 5th edition of 'The Insects: An Outline of Entomology' (Wiley-Blackwell, November 2014). For the past year Penny and Peter reviewed the whole field of entomology. As usual, many updated ideas concern evolutionary relationships at all levels, and many phylogenies have had to be modified between editions. For example, the hexapods, to which the insects belong, clearly evolved from within the Crustacea, thus forming a group Pancrustacea. However many more text changes are associated with human activities, not only involving warming of the planet but including global trade - so much so that a new chapter entitled ‘Insects in a Changing World’ has been added. Insects clearly respond rapidly to changes in climate, and this is of immediate concern for the spread of insect-borne diseases affecting crops, domestic animals and people. However, at least of equal significance are insect range shifts associated with global commerce (‘free trade’) that brings many accidental passenger insects that impact agriculture, health and the natural environment. For example, many invasive pests now damage timber resources, landscape trees and even plantations of our beloved coffee. A new cover page caricatures this relentless onslaught on our ‘border security’.

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