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Tuatara: Volume 22, Issue 1, February 1976

Book Reviews

page 69

Book Reviews

A Catalog of the Diptera of the Oriental Region Volume 1

Published by the University Press of Hawaii, Honolulu, 1973. $US18.50

This volume, the first of three proposed (Vol. 2 Brachycera, Vol. 3 Cyclorrhapha), is a solid book, sewn and bound in a hard cover. It is built to stand up to the constant use it will receive from the serious diptera student. Catalogues do not need to be explained or excused. The labour-saving devices they are is well understood by any biologist studying particular groups of organisms.

This excellent one is produced on the pattern of the successful U.S.D.A. Catalog of the Diptera in that it is a compromise between a checklist (only a list of taxa) and a complete work (references to all occurrences of every name). Thus each species entry has information on the distribution by countries, reference to the original description, the type locality. Higher categories are adequately recorded with original reference, type species synonymies and occasionally very brief additional information perhaps of a very significant additional reference or information on habits. or habitats.

No record is included on the depository of type specimen(s) and I find this an annoying ‘lapsus’. Dr. Miller put this information in his catalogue of New Zealand Diptera by means of a number code and some similar system could have been used here to advantage.

The 618 pages are needed to record 382 valid genera and 6226 valid species distributed among 23 families. Its effective dates are up to and including 1970.

This and subsequent volumes are essential references for the serious diptera worker but only the chief biological libraries in New Zealand should aim to obtain copies.

R. A. Harrison

Eagle'S Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand in Colour. Two Hundred and Twenty-Eight Botanical Paintings

This beautifully illustrated book contains 228 paintings of native trees and shrubs, both conifers and flowering plants, with examples of all genera. Well, actually, not quite that many trees and shrubs, as one herb (Hibiscus trionum) and some climbers (e.g. some Clematis and Muehlenbeckia species, Calystegia, Ipomoea and the passion flower Tetrapathaea are included). Hibiscus trionum was included to enable comparison with the ‘shrub-like perennial’ Hibiscus page 70 diversifolius. There are about 565 species of native trees and shrubs in our flora and therefore this book deals with approximately 40% of them. It is stated on the inside of the dust jacket that the ‘primary purpose of this book is to provide a means of identification of our native trees and shrubs’. If this were the only purpose, one would be better served by consulting Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand by Poole and Adams (N.Z. Govt. Printer, 1963). For a mere $2.50 that excellent book gives a brief diagnostic account of all our trees and shrubs and salient features of over 400 of them are illustrated by accurate and artistic pen and ink sketches. However, as is also stated on the dust cover, the paintings in Mrs. Eagle's book have a great intrinsic beauty and are the result of twenty years' work. The author is a keen member of the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society and the book is the result of her wish to share her love of painting and the New Zealand bush and to persuade New Zealanders to ‘ease up on the chainsaws and matches’. The paintings make identification of most of the plants illustrated comparatively easy.

With few exceptions, a page is devoted to each species. Written information is kept to a minimum on these pages-there is a consecutive number for each species and its scientific names, and if the plant has them Maori or common names are given. Male and female signs (referred to as ‘Zoological’ symbols on page 240!) unobtrusively identify male and female flowers and ‘juv.’ indicates juvenile leaves. In general, each species is illustrated by foliage (life-size) with flowers and sometimes fruits attached. Enlarged paintings of comparatively small flowers and fruits are frequently included. The order of families and genera follows that in Volumes 1 and 2 of Flora of New Zealand (N.Z. Govt. Printer, 1961 and 1970). Paintings on each page are admirably uncluttered. It does seem a pity, though, that small habit paintings were not included to show whole trees and shrubs where these have a characteristic form, e.g. rewarewa (Knightia excelsa). Only nikau palm, cabbage trees, flax and kiekie are illustrated in this way.

It is good to see some of the rarest plants illustrated - Homolanthus polyandrus and Boehmeria dealbata confined to the Kermadec Islands; Elingamita johnsonii, Tecomanthe speciosa and Pennantia endlicheri (formerly Plectomirtha baylisiana) confined to the Three Kings. One can imagine the author's delight on receiving or finally discovering a rare plant in flower or fruit and in the preface she writes of her: ‘At last I have found a Heimerliodendron brunonianum’ dance!

Many paintings are superb. I was particularly impressed, for example, with those of the Dacrydium species, Fuchsias, Aristotelia, broomes and cabbage trees. It is difficult to illustrate a white flower on white paper and some illustrators overcome this by showing such flowers against a background of leaves, etc. In a few illustrations, particularly of enlarged flowers, the outlines of white petals seem too page 71 bold, but in most cases the paintings of whitish flowers are well done. I have reservations about the accuracy of the green colours of the leaves of some plants. There may well have been some differences between the original painting and the final prints. I noticed that the colours, in the two sample plates in the publisher's brochure advertising the book, were slightly different from those in the book itself.

The illustrations are followed by maps of New Zealand and outlying islands and sixty pages of botanical notes which describe the plants illustrated. Mrs. Eagle notes that a substantial proportion of this information is taken from Volume 1 of the Flora of New Zealand. The description of each plant is preceded by a number corresponding to the plate number. A bolder type for these numbers would have permitted a more rapid correlation between an illustration and its text. The description includes the locality and time of collection of the plants illustrated. It would have been helpful if more information had been included for some of the illustrations. For example, anyone comparing Hall's totara and totara would be misled by the illustrations of male cones, in that the greenish-white compact cone shown for Hall's totara is not fully mature, whereas the more elongated brown one shown for totara is mature and has probably shed its pollen. Unisexual flowers are a common feature of many New Zealand trees and shrubs and frequently the flowers of one sex contain sterile organs of the other sex. For example the male and female flowers of titoki (plate 136) contain respectively sterile carpels and sterile stamens. Such features are not mentioned in the botanical notes. A useful feature of the notes is an explanation of the meaning of the family, generic and specific names, but translations of the Maori names are not given.

The botanical notes are followed by a glossary of scientific terms, a bibliography and an index. There are some inconsistencies in the bibliography - dates of publication are given for some books, but not for others. The bibliography is not extensive and it is unfortunate that some books are omitted which would be useful to those seeking further information on native trees and shrubs, including their cultivation. Thus The Cultivation of New Zealand Trees and Shrubs by L. J. Metcalf (Reed, 1972) and Gardening with New Zealand Plants, Shrubs and Trees by Muriel E. Fisher, E. Satchell and Janet M. Watkins (Collins, revised edition, 1975) are not cited.

The book seems remarkably free from errors. I can find no misidentifications of any of the plants illustrated. A minor error in the index (page 309) is the italicising of the word ‘species’ after Neopanax.

I have left the most unpalatable feature of the book until last. Its price! From the point of view of size, binding, paper quality and quality of the colour printing Eagle's Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand in Colour would seem to be more or less on a par with Mark and Adam's excellent New Zealand Alpine Plants (Reed, 1973).

page 72

Yet the latter retails for $19.50 (cloth bound) and $13.50 (paper bound). Have printing costs accelerated this much in little over a year? Perhaps Collins will consider issuing a cheaper paper-bound edition?


The Editor of Tuatara

C/o. Victoria University of Wellington
Private Bag

Dear Sir,

re: Painted Lady Butterfly

I was most interested to read the letter from Mr. L. S. Rickard in the latest edition of Tuatara.* The Painted Lady Butterfly (Cynthia kershawi) is a regular migrant to New Zealand and is found most years on the west coast of the North Island, usually during early October. Sometimes it arrives in large numbers in such areas as Taranaki and North Auckland and it is amazing to see how fresh the specimens are even after their long journey across the Tasman.

These immigrant butterflies then breed in New Zealand to produce a second generation round about Christmas time, or in January, and it is specimens of this generation that Mr. Rickard seems to have found in Hawkes Bay.

It is strange why no specimens of this species have been found overwintering in New Zealand unless they attempt a return journey to Australia, just as the Painted Lady Butterfly of the northern hemisphere migrates back to Africa with the onset of autumn.

Kenneth J. Fox

Box 23, Manaia

* L. S. Rickard, 1975: Painted Lady Butterfly. Tuatara 21: 129.