Living jewels: the natural design of beetles
This book is a visual feast of beetles; its purpose is to introduce some amazing creatures who, for the most part, lead their lives and go about their business unseen. Due to their diminutive size, the majority of beetles seem to fly under the radar of human notice. The immature phases of their life cycles are spent hidden in the soil, within layers of tree bark, or in the roots of plants. The adult portion of their lives is usually brief, confined to a single season.
The order Coleoptera - the beetles - has evolved over 230 million years. Shaping themselves to fit every conceivable climate and landscape on earth, they have developed a phantasmagorical diversity of shapes and sizes, colors, patterns and textures. In the beetle's natural world his fabulous decoration is the camouflage that allows the beetle to blend seamlessly into the leaf litter of the forest floor or the shiny foliage of the rainforest canopy. Bark-like texture allows a long-horned beetle to disappear on a branch, patterning on a flower beetle mimics dappled sunlight and shadow through leaves. When lifted out of the concealing clutter their beauty comes into vivid focus. They are presented here, magnified and isolated against stark white backgrounds, to allow for a close inspection and appreciation of their complex structures, varieties of form, and kaleidoscope of colors and patterns.