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A Field Guide to Insects: America North of Mexico (Peterson Field Guides) 2nd Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The authors, Borrer and White, have developed a sort of mini-entomology book for use in the field. The first part of the book contains helpful hints and instructions on how to collect and preserve insects. That section is followed by about 15 pages on the biology and taxonomy of this huge group. Understanding this information is essential if one is put together a useful insect collection. It also helps the insect watcher better understand what they are seeing in the ecology and body plans of these animals. Those sections are followed by over 300 pages of information that will help the determined insect watcher/collecter figure out the kind of animal they are looking at.
You should be advised that this book will NOT help you identify insects to the level of genus and species. The taxonomic information in this book targets primarily the family level (the level above the genus level).
Some reviewers have commented that the lack of color illustrations renders this book nearly useless. You need to understand that, for the serious collector, there are characteristics much more important in figuring out what they are looking at than color. The book is loaded with the kinds of information used by professional entomologists to identify the animals they study.
You should also be reminded that there are thousands of insect species, and many regional variations of those species, so no single field guide could ever hope to provide a comprehensive treatment of the group.Read more ›
Consider the lucky birders. In North America there are less than 900 species of birds. While some may be only 3 or four inches long, others are measured in feet. New birding guides are issued every year. And while a few species, like the empidonax flycatchers may be difficult to tell apart, all of the species are illustrated in most guides, and 90% are identifiable if the birder gets a good look at them.
Now consider the amateur entomologist. There are over 80,000 species of insects in North America. Most insects are relatively small. Telling the difference between species may require examining the vein pattern in wings. The field guides to insects illustrate at most 700 insects. No wonder there are more bird watchers than insect watchers. And no wonder there hasn't been a major insect field guide published since 1981!
A field guide to insects then probably can't help you identify most specific species. The authors feel they have done their job if they can help you identify the family.
The Peterson guide provided a decision tree just inside the front cover that helped me to identify the order of the insects. The tree also provided the page of the guide where the entries for this order could be found. Next I had to flip through the entries, which are arranged in taxological order, examining each of the black and white drawings to find an insect that most closely resembled my specimen. Occasionally a species listing bore a reference to a color drawing found on collected plates in the center of the book. Occasionally detailed drawing were provided for identification, such as a comparison of the wing venation of a family of bees.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not a bad book, but has line drawings rather than photos. Ordered in error, meant to order the National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Insects. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Joyce Goode
4 stars because the book is mostly out of date on the larger groupings of Insecta but the info on the families are for the most part correct. Read morePublished 4 months ago by scarlet aguilar
There is a ton of writing in this book which may have been to advanced for my nephews but the center of the book has an area full of photo's that they enjoyed going through.Published 4 months ago by Joe
A great goose for identifying bugs. It has a dichotomous Key in the covets that helps you get on the right track with your identification.Published 7 months ago by Science Teacher
I am having trouble finding pictures and description of some of the bugs I see but will probably eventually find them.Published 8 months ago by homesteader finally