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Premium Member - 2023
Premium Member - 2023
Posts: 418
Joined: Mon May 23, 2022 2:30 pm
Solomon Islands

Re: d'Abrera

Post by Chuck »

John Tennent reviewed the 2003 revised edition of Birdwing Butterflies of the World in Australian Entomologist 2005, 32 (4): 183-188. I could not quickly locate it online, but have a hard copy.

Tennent's critique cite several recurring flaws, including failure to include images of newer sp/ssp (the latest acquisition of Ornithoptera by BMNH at that point was 1992) despite some being readily available in UK, and others via email; none of which was done. Much of the critique is of the rude address D'Abrera uses throughout the book concerning recognized experts. There is, of course, detailed accounts of sloppy work, and sloth such as images of 14 nearly identical urvilleanus males consuming eleven pages simply because D'Abrera had them to photograph. Too, Tennent takes issue that D'Abrera refused to provide much by way of descriptions, instead noting D'Abrera's comment that photos are good enough.

The price of the book (in 2005) is noted at approximately AU$650.

While it's fortunate that we now have both print and virtual resources that exceed D'Abrera's books, the fact remains that in most cases he was the first to publish any volumes of the type.

My personal opinion is that a specimen is generally less valuable than knowledge. Of course, neither are of much value until exploited and shared. I'd rather have a good reference book than another specimen.
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