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Brightly coloured and pleasingly patterned, ladybirds are among some of our most beloved and familiar invertebrates. Their role in helping to protect our crops by devouring huge numbers of pests has firmly established these tiny, flying beetles as the gardeners' friend. Spotlight Ladybirds focuses on the 26 species that are resident in the UK, from the widespread but unusual Orange Ladybird to the rare - and aptly named - Scarce 7-spot Ladybird. Ladybird expert, Richard Comont considers the conservation challenges facing these iconic species, whose populations are now at risk thanks to the threat posed by one of their own, the invasive alien Harlequin Ladybird. And he covers all aspects of ladybirds' biology, from tiny larvae emerging from their oval eggs to large aggregations that converge at specific sites around the world. Richard also examines the natural history and cultural significance of this fascinating group of beetles, from Ladybird Books to Thor. The Spotlight series introduces readers to the lives of our favourite animals with eye-catching colour photos and informative expert text.
Bumblebees are some of our most familiar insects, and are among the few that are almost universally viewed as 'friendly' - their low buzzing is the quintessential sound of our gardens in the summertime. Spotlight Bumblebees considers all 24 UK bumblebee species, examining what made the group so successful and how circumstances have led to the survival of some species but the precipitous decline of the majority, highlighting the dangers we all face if populations continue to plummet. Separate chapters cover all aspects of bumblebees' biology and lifestyles, from spring queens emerging from dark overwintering chambers to establish their nests, to the drone swarms that herald the end of the bumblebee season. Bumblebees around the world are studied, including in the southern hemisphere where Europe's declining species can become harmful invaders. While the influence of bumblebees throughout our history and their place in our culture, from Shakespeare to Transformers, is also examined.