Taxonomy provides the basic building blocks of our understanding of the diversity of life on this planet. It stems from innate human curiosity; confronted with an unknown species or object we ask "what is it?" Taxonomists recognize species and other systematic unities (the taxa), define them and place them within the framework of known organisms, providing the means for their subsequent identification. The Catalogue of Palaearctic Coleoptera (edited by I. & D. Lobl) gives a taxonomic overview of the most diverse group of all living things in the world-largest biogeographical area. It fixes nomenclature needed for unambiguous transfer of information, gives information about the occurrence of species and subspecies, and contains references that provide key information of over 22,500 systematic units, including many important pests species. The work is a scaffold for biotic surveys, ecological studies, and nature conservation. It responds also to the urgent need of assessment of the still left forms of life, actually threatened by the on-going destruction of habitats. Contributors are: Dirk Ahrens, Alberto Ballerio, Luca Bartolozzi, Ales Bezděk, Tristao Valente Branco, Giovanni Dellacasa, Marco Dellacasa, Jiři Hajek, Charles Hernando, Manfred Jach, Olaf Jaeger, Eduard Jendek, Mark Jurievitsh Kalashian, Bernhard Klausnitzer, Jan Kodada, Masahiro Kon, David Kral, Frank-Thorsten Krell, Vitĕzslav Kubaň, Chi-Feng Lee, Ivan Lobl, Alessandro Mascagni, Milan Nikodym, Georgej V. Nikolajev, Riccardo Pittino, Andreas Putz, Miloslav Rakovič, Ignacio Ribera, Eva Sprecher-Uebersax, Mark Gabrielovitsh Volkovitsh, Stefano Ziani and Carsten Zorn. The index to the species list is provided separately here.