This new book with 1700 colour photos includes a little information on the biology and natural history of many species and as well as including many of his photos from over 30 years searching, the author has also been able to fill some gaps through the willing agreement of other photographers to participate in this project.
I haven’t stopped to count, so I am not sure whether the title means that there are 1001 species in the book, but I don’t think so, although there is quite an extensive coverage of species, mainly from the tropical Pacific. A major problem with the book is the size of the photographs. On most pages there are 15 photographs. They may be full colour, but they are the size of large postage stamps. While animals with a bold colour pattern can be clearly seen, species with a subtlety of colour pattern or a complex shape are difficult to see. There is also no guidance on what part of the colour pattern, if any, is useful in identifying particular species.
And now to the use of ‘common names’ in this book. I have often on the Forum made my views clear about what I think of making up ‘common names’ for books, so it will come as no surprise if I say I find the practice self-defeating. I now have novices writing to me for information on ‘Abstract Reticulidias’ and the ‘Made-up Phyllodesmium’, and I have no idea what they are talking about. I can’t emphasise enough that the scientific name is an international name and part of an international language. I don’t agree that scientific names are ‘difficult’. If gardeners can say Geranium then its insulting to think that divers can’t say Hypselodoris.