Forty HNHS members and beetle enthusiasts gathered at the headquarters of the Royal Entomological Society near St Albans on the evening of 31 July to celebrate the publication of Trevor James's landmark book Beetles of Hertfordshire. A second, daytime event at Rye Meads Visitor Centre (by kind permission of the RSPB Manager) on 10 August brought together more beetles fans, keen to have their copies signed by the author.
Trevor's 496-page book is the first publication to not only list all the species that have been reliably recorded in a single county, but also provide tetrad-level distribution maps and photographs for the more commonly recorded species as well as habitat information. The book describes 2,483 species that had been recorded at the time it went to press. These include many records contributed by Trevor himself during 40 years as county recorder.
However – as Trevor explained at the Royal Entomological Society launch – another seven new species have been recorded since then, including two located by his wife, Chris, in the previous week! He added that this only underlined the need for continued recording effort and fuller understanding of the contribution that beetles make to understanding climate change and other ecological health issues.
Trevor warmly thanked the Royal Entomological Society for not only hosting the launch event, but also subsiding half the book's production costs. He likewise thanked Ken and Linda Smith for providing generous financial support.
It was a particular pleasure to welcome Bryan Sage, Trevor's predecessor as Hertfordshire Coleoptera recorder and a past-President of the HNHS (pictured above with Trevor), to the launch. Trevor presented him with a signed copy of the new book, noting that it was Bryan who had compiled all previous records before handing over the recording role.