by Sharon LaPlante
The wait is over for all of you butterfly enthusiasts! Florida Butterfly Gardening has just been published and it is THE butterfly book for Florida. Dr. Marc Minno and his wife Maria have put forth what will soon be recognized as the final word on Florida butterfly gardening.
Whether you are a novice or an 'old hand' at butterfly gardening this work will certainly add significantly to your butterfly knowledge. The Minnos' take the reader through the entire butterfly body (palpi to tarsus), its life cycles, behavior, defense strategies, and the Florida habitats in which it lives.
There is a 'quick guide' to the major families of butterflies in Florida, however, extensive text is given to each family, genus and species. The reader will find information on the adult, field marks, larva, pupa, host plants, natural history, distribution and occasional notes.
Each chapter's opening page has the beautiful art work of Diane Pierce. Her drawings are magnificent in detail and color and left me speechless. What a fabulous addition to the book! The photographs, with very few exceptions, were taken by the Minnos' and are breathtaking as well.
Each butterfly is represented in numerous photographs depicting adult, caterpillar, and pupa forms, as well as the host plants for each. One invaluable aspect of this work is the documentation of the different color phases of the adult, caterpillar and pupa, information regrettably lacking in other books on the subject.
The Minnos' have also included information on common moths, developing your butterfly garden, nectar and host plant lists and descriptions, educational activities, a checklist of Florida butterflies and a resource guide.
If you had to have one butterfly book for Florida this would have to be it. Bravo to the Minnos'!
It was published in 1999 by the University Press of Florida, 15 Northwest 15th Street, Gainesville, Fl. 32611. The cost is $34.95. You can order it on-line at the University of Florida Press site, but I would recommend searching for a better price on-line at Add All Book Searching and Price Comparison.
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