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National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders (National Audubon Society Field Guides) Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0394507637 ISBN-10: 0394507630 Edition: 1st

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National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders (National Audubon Society Field Guides) + National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals (National Audubon Society Field Guides)
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Product Details

  • Series: National Audubon Society Field Guides
  • Paperback: 992 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (November 12, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394507630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394507637
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 4.2 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

There are about 100,000 kinds of insects in North America, so obviously they can't have a field guide in the same way the 650 species of birds do: something both portable and complete. The National Audubon Society has produced a remarkably useful compromise. This guide has photographs and descriptions of 550 insect species and 60 kinds of spiders. Most of the families of arthropods on the continent are covered, as are all of the most common species. It's a very useful resource for any North American naturalist, and the best choice for an adult who is not an expert entomologist. --Mary Ellen Curtin

From the Inside Flap

Spiders, bugs, moths, butterflies, beetles, bees, flies, dragonflies, grasshoppers, and many other insects are detailed in more than 700 full-color photographs visually arranged by shape and color. Descriptive text includes measurements, diagnostic details, and information on habitat, range, feeding habits, sounds or songs, flight period, web construction, life cycle, behaviors, folklore, and environmental impact. An illustrated key to the insect orders and detailed drawings of the parts of insects, spiders, and butterflies supplement this extensive coverage.

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Customer Reviews

The book contains beautiful & informative photos .
Arlene S. Zivitz
I'm a homeschool mom and this book is a great field guide, we use to help id insects we find on our nature walks or at our house. we love it.
Amazon Customer
I bought this book as a Christmas present for my 6 year old grandson when I saw him mesmerized with my copy of this book.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

107 of 108 people found the following review helpful By Alan R. Holyoak on June 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Audubon Society has put together a helpful field guide to the insects and spiders of North America. The book contains just over 700 photographs of insects and spiders in the front section of the book divided into 22 more or less taxonomic divisions. There is section of descriptive information nearly 600 pages long in the back of the book. The format of the book is such that it can fit into a back pocket or jacket pocket without a lot of bother.
The reference material is helpful in identifying insects/spiders, but I have one significant criticism about the book...why in the world didn't the editors include the scientific names along with the common names of these animals by the photographs in the front section? If one wants to use this book as an aid in scientific identification it becomes an exercise in page flipping -- though those engaged in serious taxonomic identification will doubtless use taxonomic keys for that purpose. Still, for the advanced amateur collector, the page flipping can get annoying.
The photographs are of generally good quality, though no photograph is the equal of a quality illustration.
While 700 photos sounds like a lot, that number is nowhere near the number of photographs it would take to do a comprehensive field guide to insects and spiders of North America. Still, this guide provides good introduction to the diversity of North American insects and spiders. This book will get you in the ballpark when you try to identifying these animals, but you'll have to use other reference materials if you are serious about taxonomy.
A helpful book, though it has a few flaws. You might consider using this book and the Peterson Field Guide to Insects together -- the latter book relies on illustations, and it includes a form of taxonomic keys that are not that hard to use.
4 stars -- well worth the price.
Alan Holyoak, Dept of Biology, Manchester College (IN)
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Schenker VINE VOICE on August 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Even if I am not actually "in the field" I love to read the descriptions and see the photos of the insects and spiders in this book. You learn something new every time you pick it up. The photographs are very clear, often capturing an image of a difficult-to-photograph insect (some of them only 1/32" in size). The thumbnails make it easy to get yourself in the right general area by body type, then you move through the section to identify the specific insect/spider in question. The text descriptions of the spiders is, for me, the most interesting part of this book, and you'll come to appreciate arachnids like never before.
My only criticism of this book is that the editors decided to spend relatively less time on some of the insects that you are more likely to actually see (just two examples that come to mind are millipedes and centipedes), while spending a lot of time on insects that are very unlikely to be witnessed by most amateurs (for example, there is extensive coverage of mites and fleas). Of couse, no one would expect Audubon to be able to cover every angle of the insect world, and no matter what choice Audubon makes they will please some people and displease others. In future editions, however, I would love to see the same coverage of the rare insects with some expansion.
For educational purposes, however, this book is terrific. Children could definitely use it to begin to appreciate the diversity and importance of the insect world. Reading about very tiny insects -- even if they never actually see them -- will reinforce for children the idea that the world is full of life, even in places they can't see. Every description in this book should ignite a child's -- or an adult's -- imagination of what else is out there...
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73 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Conrad J. Obregon TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 23, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At the risk of repeating myself to readers who are searching for an insect field guide, I said in another review:

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.

Unfortunately most, including this Audubon Guide, may not even do that.

To test insect guides I took a series of photographs of each of three insects and then tried to identify them with the help of the guides. They were pictures of a butterfly-like insect, a bee and a fly. To find an insect in Audubon one first looks through an index of over 100 different insect and spider silhouettes. Located next to the silhouettes are the pages in the guide where insects resembling the silhouette are grouped. One can also use a thumb tab located on the page edge of each set of plates to find the desired silhouette.
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