Insects and wildflowers will be examined this weekend as part of the Burren in Bloom festival.
Insects of Ireland – An Illustrated Introduction to Ireland’s Common Insect Groups by Stephen McCormack and Eugenie Regan, with illustrations by Chris Shields, published by The Collins Press, is one of two books being launched this weekend in Cassidy’s Pub, Carron.
“About one third of our insect species are under threat of extinction, which is worrying because insects are vitally important in our environment. Eugenie and I both agree with David Attenborough who famously said, ‘If we and the rest of the back-boned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if the invertebrates were to disappear, the world’s ecosystems would collapse’,” said Stephen.
Insects are the most diverse group of animals in Ireland but most are very small and escape notice. Identifying them accurately can be very difficult. The guide, by experts Stephen and Eugenie, gives readers details of 120 of Ireland’s most popular insects, accompanied by illustrations by award-winning artist Chris Shields.
Dr Stephen McCormack, a professional entomologist, has published widely on Irish beetles, wasps, butterflies, bugs, spiders and snails. One of Ireland’s top insect experts, he teaches on field courses and in schools.
Dr Eugenie Regan, a professional ecologist at the World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge and formerly at the National Biodiversity Data Centre, has published numerous articles. A regular contributor to radio shows, she has published an introductory guide to Irish butterflies and other insects.
Chris Shields, one of the world’s leading natural history illustrators and award-winning artist, has produced over twenty thousand wildlife illustrations in over 300 books.
The Wildflowers of Ireland: A Field Guide by Zoë Devlin will also be launched at the festival this weekend. This guide divides the Irish wildflower species into colour categories and within each category, the species are grouped by the number of petals in the flower or whether the species carries its flowers in a cluster or a spike. In easily understood terminology, focus is put on the main identifying features of each plant, by colour, size, shape of flower, leaf, habitat, flowering season and where in Ireland it might be found. Zoe is a regular visitor to the Burren.
Dr Cillian Roden, a botanist and ecologist, will officially launch the two publications in Cassidy’s on Sunday evening at 8pm.
By Nicola Corless