The Jewel Box, by Tim Blackburn

Staff Pick

On any given night, the light box on Blackburn’s London roof attracts members of some 50 species of moths, and even more when on his Devon house. These treasures include clouded-bordered brindles, springtails, puss moths, pale mottled willows, lime hawk moths, and many others. Blackburn, a founder of macroecology, is as intrigued by the “tiny poems” of these creatures’ names as he is by questions of why these particular species (out of England’s pool of roughly 900) in these particular numbers turn up where and when they do. To find out, he uses tools ranging from behavior and genetics to niches and competition to community ecology, a region’s carrying capacity, rates of emigration and immigration, climate change, and much else. His meticulous investigations are as technical as they are lucid and enthusiastic and yield many surprises—such as that the population fluctuations of the notorious gypsy moth may boil down to—acorns. His book takes you on a field trip you'll never forget.

The Jewel Box: How Moths Illuminate Nature’s Hidden Rules By Tim Blackburn Cover Image
ISBN: 9781642832730
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Island Press - May 16th, 2023