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A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) Paperback – May 15, 1998


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A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) + A Field Guide to Insects: America North of Mexico + A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern and Central North America (Peterson Field Guides)
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Product Details

  • Series: Peterson Field Guides (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Rev Sub edition (May 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395904536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395904534
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 1 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Roger Tory Peterson, one of the world's greatest naturalists, received every major award for ornithology, natural science, and conservation as well as numerous honorary degrees, medals, and citations, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Peterson Identification System has been called the greatest invention since binoculars. These editions include updated material by Michael O'Brien, Paul Lehman, Bill Thompson III, Michael DiGiorgio, Larry Rosche, and Jeffrey A. Gordon.

Customer Reviews

I MUCH preferred this book so finally rebought it.
D Proth
The drawings allow for easy identification of butterflies by displaying distinctive differences.
J. Saltiel
As in bird watching Peterson is the best field guide around.
Mary L Parson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Kyrill Kunakhovich (em5d@virginia.edu) on July 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
The maps in this book are a useful feature, but they are not provided for many of the species. The colour plates are very disappointing, as they often show only one gender of the butterflies and also ignore various subspecies and geographical variations. As the plates are made up drawings, it is often hard to identify species using this field guide, and the reader is left guessing as only the most common variation is shown. The text is quite well done, but moreadditions and details can be made. This book is hardly good as a main field guide (I greatly recommend "The butterflies of North America: a natural history and field Guide" by James A. Scott -- by far the best single-volume guide to American Butterflies), but it is useful as a pocket book that is light and does not take up much space.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Eustace Clark on August 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
As an amateur watcher just wanting to know which butterflies were in my garden, I was somewhat disappointed. I spent a great deal of time trying to compare the butterfly with the poorly represented plates. The few pictures scattered through the book were better, but I found errors in the identification given for the picture and the identification given in the plate and one was even not listed on the page they gave (or no where I have yet to find). The range listed were difficult for me to know if this species was in my backyard and not every species had a range map. These errors I found in one whole afternoon while trying to identify only THREE butterflies in my garden. Some of the book I like, like some of the intro information, but I guess other books have this info also. I was frustrated.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9, 1996
Format: Paperback
For almost half a century, Klots' Guide in the Peterson serieswas the best general text for identifying butterflies ineastern North America. I suppose this new edition still is,but it is a real disappointment in many respects. Itperpetuates the old style of illustration throughout withmuseum- spread specimens, many of which do not look at all theway butterflies are seen in the field. Skippers (where help isalways most needed) suffer particularly from this - surely amodern guide should also show them in side view, with wingsdeterminedly clamped together, with the useful body detailsand colouring and wing postures noted. Various scales are usedwilly nilly - it is not helpful to someone who needs a fieldguide to show the Great Spangled Fritillary the same size asthe Meadow Fritillary, for example. Several of the speciesthat strongly grade south to north in shade are shown in onlyone, southern, version - a Canadian would be hard put torecognize our Wood Nymph from the illustration here.Many species have more forms than are shown - Spring Azure forinstance. Some species are much more prone to sun-bleachingthan others - beginners would find a portion of an unwornMourning Cloak wing without a trace of yellow left, forexample, an instructive illustration of this....Given the rapidly increasing popularity of butterfly watching,the market is wide open for a better field guide. This one isa desk guide, for those who still carry a cyanide bottle withthem.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Mitton on December 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
Unlike some other reviewers I have always liked the Peterson guides best and this is no exception. The emphasis of the book is not simply on sight identification (which can be difficult at best) but also on a rounded education about the world of butterflies.

The first several chapters cover butterfly habitat, life history, behavior and other things helpful for the collector or student. The main chapters are divided by common names with each sub-heading giving both common and scientific names. The butterflies are described according to range, size, and habitat, and there is typically some discussion of the insects' identifying peculiarities.

This isn't the best guide for someone wanting to identity bugs in their garden - other guides have much better and many more photos - but for the general student this is the best.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By pinteareed on October 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
I got this from my son who needed a field guide to take to the park and forests. He loves it and so do I. Before we had borrowed our local libraries' 1950 edition of butterfly field guild. What an improvement! Unlike some people we just love it. The pictures are easy to use in the open where you can just notice a few things before whats being observed takes off flying. Opler is very good at listing the most obvious ID factors for each species. And it fits great in a back pack!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Richard Sallee on September 20, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While the author doubtless put a lot of work into this work I did not feel it came up to the standards of other Peterson handbooks. Perhaps it was the wrong book for what I wanted but I would have liked to see more on the larval and pupal forms of the butterflies than there was. Also I felt the organization of the book was a bit confusing and hard to use.

Richard Sallee
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17 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Bruce J. Marlin on August 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
Teensy-weentsy photographs (of which there are few) and tiny drawings do not an identification tool make. Often, the verbal descriptions given for a butterfly do not match, nay, directly contradict the photograph or drawing included! The practice of providing a textual description on one page, a range map (if there even is one) on another, and yet a third page for the descriptive drawing make this a page-turning nightmare.
In short, take this book from your public library - don't waste your money on a very poorly done work.
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A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides)
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