This work was begun to provide keys to the aquatic insect species known from Brazil. The original goal was to include all genera known from South America and all species from Brazil, but for most groups, the scope was expanded to encompass all species in South America, and, in many cases, to include terrestrial species of orders that include both terrestrial and aquatic taxa. In no case is a taxonomic reVlSlon of any group undertaken, although recommendations for such revisions are included, and the probable synonymy of nominal species still treated as valid in the literature is noted. Two different approaches are employed according to the taxon being treated. For phylogenetic groups encompassing overwhelmingly or exclusively aquatic species, such as the orders Odonata and Ephemeroptera or the families Dytiscidae and Culicidae, keys are provided to distinguish all genera and species known to occur in South America. An effort has been made to include every identifiable species so that the user of the key can determine with reasonable certainty whether or not his specimen belongs to a species that has already been described or whether it is one that is not yet known to science.
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The author, Dr. Charles W. Heckman, has performed ecological research in Laos, Thailand, Germany, Brazil, and the United States. His publications include books on rice field ecology in Thailand and the Pantanal wetland in western Brazil, as well as many monographs and shorter publications on various aspects of biology and environmental sciences. He undertook the preparation of the Encyclopedia of South American Aquatic Insects to produce a reference work with which researchers in South America can identify the species they encounter without having to first complete exhaustive searches of the literature, including papers published on several continents in different languages. The lack of such a tool has long impeded progress in faunal surveys, ecology, and other fields of science. Dr. Heckmana (TM)s extensive experience identifying aquatic insect species using less than optimal literature has allowed him to develop an ability for recognizing the morphological features most useful for distinguishing one species from another, and this ability comes to the aid of the users of his keys to the South American aquatic insect species.Review:
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"This book, already issued in 2001, is the first in a series of identification keys of South American insects limited to continental South America and the offshore islands found in a variety of ‘aquatic habitats’ (in, on, near water etc) treating the Collembola. The series is obviously directed to the practician. ... we have to thank the author for this compilation. Its usefulness has to be proved by practice." (Hartmut Greven, Entomologia Generalis, Vol. 30 (1), 2007)
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