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Editors: John Langmaid, BA, MB, the late A. Maitland Emmet, MA, Hon FRES, and the late John Heath, FRES
Ongoing taxonomic research has led to the suprageneric levels of classification of the Lepidoptera being under constant review, and the status and relationships of families and subfamilies are subject to change. Consequently, the systematic treatment adopted in earlier published volumes has, in a number of cases, undergone considerable revision. These subsequent changes are laid out more fully in the table in Volume 3 (p. 38) under the heading 'Classification of the British Lepidoptera'. Subsequent volumes present the latest scheme of classification on the opening page of each Systematic Section, adopted by this work at the date of their publication. See Volume 4, Part 1, p. 42, and Volume 4, part 2, p. 9.
Each volume contains special introductory chapters on important aspects of the study of British Lepidoptera; Keys to families and species; Systematic Section consisting of a full description, details of life history, structural drawings where necessary and a distribution map for each species. For the larger species, distribution maps record presence on a 10km grid square basis; microlepidoptera species by Vice-counties. In addition, all species and significant variants are illustrated in colour.
All volumes 250 × 300mm. Clothbound and jacketed, or limpbound (sewn and bound in strong laminated covers). Colour illustrations in Vols 1, 2, 9 & 10 mainly by Brian Hargreaves; those in Vols 3, 4(1), 4(2), 7(1), 7(2) and future volumes by Richard Lewington. Text figures of genitalia and other diagnostic features have been drawn either by the authors themselves or, as in most cases, by professional artists with skill and expertise in this field of scientific representation.Omtaler
'...will be welcomed by all serious amateur and professional entomologists, and will remain the standard work in the foreseeable future.' John F. Burton, British Book News
'...the series [is] outstanding. It is quite simply essential - no other books on the subject even approach it now, nor will do, I am sure, for many years to come.' Dick Seamons, Reference Reviews
'Beautifully produced, carefully edited, well illustrated and comprehensive in coverage, these are volumes aimed to satisfy the dedicated enthusiast' New Scientist
'...works produced with this level of love and care and attention to detail aim to inspire people to discover more.' Patrick Roper, Butterfly Conservation News
'It is a marvellous work ... nowhere else has so comprehensive a coverage been attempted, and to so high a standard.' Mark Ridley, Times Literary Supplement
'This series must be quite the best ever published which is to include the whole of the British Lepidoptera. It will be useful and informative to amateur and professional alike.' The Naturalist
'... not only useful for the British and Irish reader, but to nearly the same extent also for the continental, and therefore I assume, even non-European readers ... highly recommended to everybody interest[ed] in the biology, systematics and distribution of European Lepidoptera.' Clas M. Naumann, Zoologischer Anzeiger
Of the sixty-two families of Lepidoptera recorded in the British Isles, all but five have so far been described in this major series. No other work covers them so authoritatively. In the case of the microlepidoptera, these volumes are often the only source of detailed information necessary for their identification.
Many authors have written for the series, among them professional and amateur entomologists, all with specialist knowledge of the subject they have treated.