B.U.N.K. Volume 2, Number 1 (1984)


On Monday, March 6th, 1665, the first issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London appeared. It apparently marked the publication of the first scientific periodical; indeed, the first periodical of any sort. This landmark issue began with "The Introduction," and I can think of no better way to begin the present launching of our journal, Biologie Und Naturwissenschaft der Käfer, than by quoting that introduction:
Whereas there is nothing more necessary for promoting the improvement of Philosophical Matters, than the communicating to such, as apply their Studies and Endeavours that way, such things as are discovered or put in practise by others; it is therefore thought fit to employ the Press, as the most proper way to gratifie those, whose engagement in such Studies, and delight in the advancement of Learning and profitable Discoveries, doth entitle them to the knowledge of what this Kingdom, or other parts of the World, do, from time to time, afford, as well of the progress of the Studies, Labours, and attempts of the Curious and learned in things of this kind, as of their compleat Discoveries and performances: To the end, that such Productions being clearly and truly communicated, desires after solid and usefull knowledge may be further entertained, ingenious Endeavours and Undertakings cherished, and those, addicted to and conversant in such matters, may be invited and encouraged to search, try, and find out new things, impart their knowledge to one another, and contribute what they can to the Grand design of improving Natural knowledge, and perfecting all Philosophical Arts, and Sciences, All for the Glory of God, the Honour and Advantage of these Kingdoms, and the Universal Good of Mankind.
In the course of human events, it sometimes becomes necessary to expand horizons, to peer beyond the tangled web of politics, economics, and mechanics that constitutes so much of people's lives. On the other side of that web lies a myriad of worlds - open to those who choose to see. Some of these worlds are abstract, clinging to the lacey dendrites of our brains: glance at the colourful quarks, and clean vector spaces. Other worlds touch our senses more directly: the effervescent Io, coldly marbled Europa, the scattered stars beyond, the Earth within. Another universe of worlds, close at hand, lies cradled on our own planet, a universe we call Life. The quick, excited world of a savanna sparrow; the hot, steamy world of a brilliant blue butterfly in the sunlight of a tropical rainforest; the slow, cool world of a glass-woven sea-squirt; the changing, tidal world of a white-lined ribbon worm; the musty primaeval world of a ground beetle's moss-covered pathways.

Seeing the simple purity and honesty of these creatures can soothe the mind, and warm the heart. For these little denizens of hill and hummock, nook and cranny, are all caught up in the game of life, and they look as if they are having just a grand old time at it! One of the sorts of creatures that have evidently enjoyed life a great deal are the beetles. Often dreary, but often colourful, some small, some large, they like a dragon's horde of living jewels are sprinkled upon the landscape. From the huge Goliathus of Africa, to the minute Gehringia of the Rocky Mountains, beetles of millions of species have been going about their lives and deaths for eon upon eon. These are the creatures upon which we will focus our attention.

During the exciting months of preparing our first issue, with the shuffling of papers, meetings, and fervent tapping of typewriters, colleagues with expectant looks upon their faces have knocked upon my door, and asked, "I have a paper, just a short one, that I have written; it has the flavour of your new journal in its words, and I would like to offer it as a contribution, if I may, but, alas, it is not about beetles at all, but another group of animals entirely!" And I respond, "Have no fear! Beetles live in a network of life, and all aspects of that network, however indirectly, touch upon beetles. And to understand beetles, as a whole, as part of their universe, we need to understand the universe. Papers on geography, botany, even astronomy and metaphysics, are all most welcome." While our focus is on beetles, we envisage a much broader world in the pages of our journal.

I, and my co-editors, invite you to venture forth into the following pages, and learn the wonders of beetles and their universe.

David R. Maddison
December 1984

Copyright © 1984, 1996, David R. Maddison, John H. Acorn, and Robert S. Anderson.