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Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America (Kaufman Field Guides) [Turtleback]

by Eric R. Eaton, Kenn Kaufman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 28, 2007 0618153101 978-0618153107 1

Comprehensive yet compact, authoritative yet easy to understand, this is the perfect guide for anyone who wants to know more about the fascinating and diverse insects of North America.


Many insects are difficult even for the experts to identify, but here readers will find a wealth of information on the amazing observable behaviors of insects and their fascinating life histories. Naturalists Kenn Kaufman and Eric R. Eaton use a broad ecological approach rather than overly technical terms, making the book accessible and easy to use. Their lively and engaging text emphasizes the insects that are most likely to draw attention and also includes helpful details on a wide array of lesser-known but recognizable groups. The guide is lavishly illustrated, with more than 2,350 digitally enhanced photographs representing every major group of insects found in North America north of Mexico. 

Frequently Bought Together

Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America (Kaufman Field Guides) + Butterflies of North America (Kaufman Field Guides) + Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America (Peterson Field Guides)
Price for all three: $51.52

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

KENN KAUFMAN, originator of the Kaufman Field Guide series, is one of the world's foremost naturalists.

Product Details

  • Series: Kaufman Field Guides
  • Turtleback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (February 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618153101
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618153107
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 4.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Great for a Backyard Entomolgist February 16, 2007
Format:Turtleback|Verified Purchase
This Field Guide sticks to the same tried and true format as the other Kaufman Field Guides (Birds, Butterflies, and Mammals). Every odd page is packed with digitally touched-up pictures of various insects and the even pages contain brief descriptions of the species/family, their habits, etc... Given the enormity of the insect fauna in North America north of Mexico (the region covered by this guide) it is obvious that a field guide such as this is not going to be able to cover but a fraction of what is out there. Additionally the target audience is not entomologists but rather more causal insect and nature lovers. As a result the selection of insects that are covered is limited. The authors in the introduction state that the guide focuses on "naked-eye entomology".

There are a few pages in the beginning devoted to non-insect invertebrates (spiders, millipedes, ...). It would have been nice if this section was a bit more comprehensive, then again maybe this foreshadows a future Kaufman Spiders field guide!

The pictures are all very nice and the book overall is very pleasing to the eye. The cover and binding seem like they will stand up to field use. Overall I am very pleased with this book and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in insects.
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77 of 83 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Pictures, Not Enough Substance. February 15, 2007
Alas, a good insect field guide is hard to come by. When I ordered the Kaufman guide I was optomistic that it could replace the badly outdated Peterson's guide; sadly this is not the case.

For a neophyte looking to ID your common backyard bugs this would suffice. There are plenty of wonderful pictures that can't otherwise be found in printed form. But for a serious student of entomology this 'guide' is of minimal use. There is virtually no information given to help in IDing a specimen. The guide goes with a purely visual approach which is simply not efficient for studying the great diversity of North American Hexapoda; unfortunately there is still no good choice for an up-to-date compact guide. For exhaustiveness, try picking up a copy of Borror & Delong's.

Even with its faults, I would still recommend picking this one up. The Kaufman guide is a good value, even if it will only be useful for the weekend entomologists out there.
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Photos Not Much Else February 18, 2007
The pictures in this book are wonderful, the info is solid, but where are distriution maps, or any helpful info for finding the specimen? There is the occasional "It occurs in most of the mideastern states" or something along that line, but thats not narrow enough for me, plus all the info on the insects is just a paragraph or two about that insect family, not really specifing on individuals. All in all its a very nice book, but I guess I was looking forward to more, and I was let down, but I would still recommend it to anyone who is interested in seeing beautiful insect pictures and learning the very basic information about them.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Grown-Up Golden Guide! July 16, 2008
I think this book is perfect. It has just enough of everything so that the book is affordable and light enough to really be a FIELD guide. The pictures are terrific...there are just enough on a page so your eye can easily scan when you are looking for a particular insect.

This guide has about 400 pages and more than 2,350 images so OF COURSE it isn't going to have lots of details about every insect. And since, according to one reviewer, there are about 10,000 insects in North America, OF COURSE it isn't going to have every insect. What it DOES have is enough illustrations so you can find something VERY close if you can't find the exact insect. With that information, you can go to the internet and look up the details without wading through lots of irrelevant material--I was spending FAR too much time on whatsthatbug dot com and bugguide dot net before I got this book.

This is the handiest insect book I have had since I was about 6 and wore out my Golden Guide! If you are debating about getting the book, just do it--it's only about $13 and this is Amazon--you can send it back if you don't like it. I'm betting you won't be sending it back.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best in class December 8, 2007
I see several reviews that indicate that information is lacking in this field guide. Well, it's a FIELD guide to the insects of North America. This is quite a daunting task. When I ordered this book, I was dubious that this book could fill this niche any better than any of the other field guide sized books on insects of this huge region. I was pleasantly surprised. In my opinion, this guide does an excellent job of covering species one is likely to encounter, but also representatives of strange or unusual species. Yes, it's a little skimpy on detailed information, but that is what is required in bringing a survey of biodiversity this variable to the field. As far as I know, there are no guides of any kind that provide range maps for all these (some little known) taxa. Yes, some well-known groups have useful range maps, but these are guides (and sometimes full-sized books) that deal with a single order of insects.

If you want a book small enough to take into the field, with an excellent representation of images for this highly diverse group of animals, this is the best I've used. Or, if you want an inexpensive and accessible resource to identify that brown, six-legged thing in your bath tub, this might be what you're looking for. If you are looking for a comprehensive reference on the diversity of insect life in North America, with images, range maps, keys, natural history, etc...., keep looking and let me know when you find one.

I'm not an entomologist, but have completed graduate course work in entomology.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Guide
Though this is not the only book you will need, when trying to learn about and identify the insects around us, it is certainly a very helpful one. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jasmine Cecelic
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't hesitate!
This is the best bug book out there. It has great picture and detailed information. I bought for my daughter when she was four so we could read it together and study critters. Read more
Published 4 months ago by SewMarci
5.0 out of 5 stars well organized
I like how the book is organized. It makes it easier to find groups of similar insects and narrow down your search. Read more
Published 5 months ago by birdologist
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Kaufman guide
Fascinating. Excellent job! Eaton and Kaufman, like the great E. O. Wilson, are telling us the story of our planet's ecosystems by describing the animal kingdom of the small. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Johnny Armstrong
4.0 out of 5 stars some what helpful
it was more like what I was looking for but still not that easy for me to use lots of good picture to help Identify
Published 6 months ago by JACK
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for my 9 year old son!
My 9 year old loves this. Keeps it handy when he is bug hunting outside. Great pictures to refrence as well!
Published 7 months ago by heather miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for kids interested in bugs!
This is a great book. My 7 yr old son was always asking what a certain bug was that he had found in our yard or other places so I saw this book and decided to buy it. Read more
Published 7 months ago by THEURN8OR
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!
It's the easiest to use Bug Guide I've found yet. Illustrations are all in color which is a huge help.
Published 8 months ago by Been There Done That
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative
A comprehensive look at insect life/identification one is likely to encounter close at hand. Relates to being a useful guide for family. John Holms
Published 9 months ago by John Holms
4.0 out of 5 stars Good reference
We do a lot of hiking and wondered what some of the insects were so I got this guide. The first insect I looked up was not listed so that was frustrating and it is abundant on our... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Kathryn Bantz
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