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The Jewel Box

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Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781474624565

Price: £24.99

ON SALE: 8th June 2023

Genre: Mathematics & Science

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Every morning, ecologist Tim Blackburn is inspired by the diversity contained within the moth trap he runs on the roof of his London flat. Beautiful, ineffably mysterious organisms, these moths offer a glimpse into a larger order, one that extends beyond individual species, beyond lepidoptera or insects, and into a hidden landscape.

Footmen, whose populations are on the march as their lichen food recovers from decades of industrial pollution. The Goat Moth, a thumb-sized broken stick mimic, that takes several years to mature deep in the wood of tree trunks. The Oak Eggar, with the look of a bemused Honey Monster, host to a large wasp that eats its caterpillars alive from the inside. The Uncertain, whose similarity to other species has motivated its English name. The Silver Y, with a weight measured in milligrams, but capable of migrating across a continent. A moth trap is a magical contraption, conjuring these and hundreds of other insect jewels out of the darkness.

Just as iron filings arrange themselves to articulate a magnetic field that would otherwise be invisible, Blackburn shows us that when we pay proper attention to these tiny animals, their relationships with one another and their connections to the wider web of life, a greater truth about the world gradually emerges. In THE JEWEL BOX, he reflects on what he has learned in thirty years of work as a scientist studying ecosystems, and demonstrates how the contents of one small box can illuminate the workings of all nature.

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Reviews

Engrossing . . . [An] enchanting book, which not only celebrates moths but provides an introduction to the basic ideas of ecology and the study of the natural world
Nick Rennison, DAILY MAIL
A delightful peek into the treasures of the moth trap. The Jewel Box is a manifesto to care for the individuals of our local ecologies, a heartfelt plea to see those creatures around us that share our air, our gardens and roof terraces. Passionately written, Blackburn shows just how our lives can be lit up by noticing theirs
JAMES CANTON, author of THE OAK PAPERS
Tim Blackburn shows us that moths are more than bugs that invade outdoor lights and bathroom drains. Through Blackburn's scientific passion and insight, these relatives of butterflies teach us a lot about evolution, nature and the ecological consequences of our species, the real pests in the woollen chest of Earth
JACK E. DAVIS, author of THE BALD EAGLE and THE GULF
The moths in Blackburn's jewel box are like Blake's grain of sand: gems to be treasured not only for their beauty, but for the way their brilliance, captured during the dark of night, casts light on the complex whole of living nature . . . Nature lovers in search of a new hobby may be inspired to invest in a moth trap of their own
NATURAL HISTORY magazine
[An] excellent primer on ecology . . . a book that will appeal to those who have a fascination with moths and want to understand the world in which they live. Blackburn's passion for the subject makes this a digestible entrée into nature's workings
Iain Gordon, THE BIOLOGIST
Not only is this a wonderful hands-on introduction to a diverse and enigmatic group of insects (moths), it is also an excellent primer on the basic principles of ecology, and crucially, the urgent need for humankind to live more gently on the Earth
JONATHAN BALCOMBE, author of SUPER FLY and WHAT A FISH KNOWS
Beautifully written, accessible and essential reading for anyone curious about the workings of the natural world
SEIRIAN SUMNER, author of ENDLESS FORMS
Interesting, informative and well-structured . . . an excellent book . . . brilliant. The author has taken a subject and tackled it with zeal
Tristan Gooley, THE TELEGRAPH
What more could we ask for? A dextrous and clear-eyed unveiling of the dizzying jigsaw of life. This is how the world goes round. The moth trap as snapshot of the global panorama. The stupendous spectacular stupefying 4 billion year miracle. Take notice
KEGGIE CAREW, author of BEASTLY
An utter delight. A lucid introductory course in ecology . . . [Blackburn] deftly reveals some fundamental mechanisms of life on earth
George McGavin, TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT