Centipedes of the British Isles - review
Review from Gordon Ramel's review
Like Southwood and Leston's "Land and Water Bugs of the British Isles" Eason's "Centipedes of the British Isles" is one
of those classic works that is practically unobtainable in the modern world. After reading it for the first time in
1988 I looked for it on many occasions over the next ten years in various Natural History book stores in England and
Wales and never found a single copy for sale. It is a book I would still love to own a paper copy of, but while that
seems unlikely to come about, now, thanks to Pisces Conservation, I can at least have it available for research in the
form of their recently published CD version.
During the last years of the last century there were rumours that a new version of Eason's book was being released, but
little seems to have actually happened. Eason's book was originally published in 1964. It is not surprising then that
much new knowledge has been gained since then, however outside of the journals in a University library this is still
unobtainable, and Eason's well written book is the best that is available. Having said that for those actually involved
in survey work in the UK the Provisional Atlas of the Centipedes of the British Isles. by A.D. Barber and A.N. New
published in 1999 will be a necessary addenda as we now know there are 41 and not 32 species in the UK as Eason
believed, making his keys a little less useful than they once were.
Despite its datedness this book is still an extremely good introduction to the Chilopoda as it contains much
fascinating and useful information. It consists of an introduction to the group followed by four chapters on the orders
Geophilomorpha, Scolopendromorpha, Lithobiomorpha and Scutigeromorpha, an appendix on collecting and preserving
techniques, a glossary and a variety of well drawn plates.
For the modern computer world a CD version of a book like this is an excellent option, particularly for the images,
which a reproduced well here. It is cheap and good value for money, an undoubtedly useful resource for every zoology
student, naturalist and or teacher in the UK who has students looking at the world around them.
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