on May 29, 2010
When you spot an insect or other creature, there are any number of guidebooks that will help you identify it. But where do you turn when you see only the signs that an unknown something has been there? At last, here is the book for you! Whether it is a mass of eggs, a silk structure, an odd hole in the ground or in a tree, a tiny shed skin, a damaged plant or even a pile of droppings, you will probably be able to find the cause.
The book is set up in easy-to-use sections such as Eggs & Egg Cases, Webs & Other Silk Constructions, Burrows & Mounds, Tracks & Trails and a lot more, including many signs found in aquatic habitats. For those fond of forensic police shows, this book will even help you solve the mystery of what killed the dead invertebrate you found.
Pupae, outside of those of common butterflies and moths, are often ignored in many guidebooks. Although they are part of insect life cycles rather than "signs," many pupae are pictured, including those of less-known insect groups.
The book is beautifully-illustrated with clear color photographs, and notes on the lives of the covered organisms are included.
This book should be a must for every field biologist, science teacher, extension agent, scout leader and camp counselor and should be on the shelf of every library. It is also a wonderful source of information and enjoyment for anyone with a love for nature and a sense of curiosity and wonder.
on April 7, 2010
This is an excellent beginning to a collection of tracking and animal sign books for naturalists and nature lovers in North America. It has a little of everything about invertebrates of all kinds in it, enough to satisfy the curiosity of most beginners like me and, I suspect, even a few of the experts. It certainly will add a great deal of knowledge to any library on nature and the critters we might encounter outdoors. And it especially focuses on the ones you'll most likely see rather than those rare invertebrates you might only see once in your lifetime. And the habitat coverage is vast, I don't think there is anything lacking, even the seashore! I love this book and am going to purchase a copy for my children's Nature Club. It's user friendly enough that even my elementary-age club members will be able to use it. Combined with some of the other excellent books on tracking the vertebrate species, like the ones by Elbroch and Rezendes, there won't be much you can't identify on your outdoor treks.
This book even includes a bit of the natural history of each of the creatures whose signs it identifies; and with color photos throughout! Just what you need to get you started toward learning more about these creatures. Take advantage of the "Look Inside!" option and view the table of contents, index and other sample pages for yourself. I was quickly able to indentify the coccoon of the polyphemus moth I found under one of my oaks some time ago...something I couldn't find much information on nor photos of in any of my other resources. Can't say enough about this wonderful reference. Added to a reasonably complete library of field guides or books on insects and other American invertebrates, this will give you that additional boost you've been looking for. It will quickly become one of your most-used and favorite references.
on November 29, 2010
This is my new favorite reference book. I'd been looking for a reference book on insect eggs - this book provides that and so much more! Find a strange gall and want to know what caused it? This book's got it. Want to know who is stuffing peices of grass in the wood of your deck? This book's got it. Love to learn nifty facts about spiders that use spit to cover their eggs? You guessed it - this book's got it.
As a naturalist I use it to discover which insect mines that ragwort leaf along the trail. As an environmental educator, I use the photos to motivate children to look for the little signs all around us. As a trainer, I point to this book as a resource for staff.
Great book! Get one and give it a permanent home in your backpack.
on August 1, 2010
An impressive accomplishment by the authors. Unique subject matter. Identifies and explains myriad invertebrate signs, constructions, traces encountered in the micro landscape that are so often overlooked or ignored. Extremely informative. Filled with intriguing detail and excellent photo color illustrations. Very readable.
on January 8, 2013
Marvelous book that is necessarily eclectic due to the size of it's topic, but fascinating and easy to navigate. This book divides evidence that an insect has been present into the pieces you will see in the wild, and then explains and depicts with clarity and beauty both in words and in pictures which types of insects would leave this type of evidence. A glance at the table of contents shows the clarity with which the authors present the material. ("Eggs and Egg Cases" "Pupae and Exuviae" "webs and other silken constructions" "mole life Excavations and simple surface trails" to name a few of the chaprter titles.) The photography is amazing in presentation, beauty and clear depiction of the topic. The text is well written and clear.
The book is a joy to read, and an excellent field manual at the same time. I would recommend this for both the armchair enthusiasts, and for those going afield. There is a wealth of information that will fascinate anyone over the age of 10, and yet captivate the adults at the same time. And while not making the reader a trained entomologist, will certainly enrich the reader's pleasure in the outdoors.
on August 12, 2014
This is the best book ever. I have wondered for far too long in ignorance what some insect sign I have found is and I no longer need to live that shame. It has so much information. Not just pictures but paragraphs of helpful descriptions and interesting information on the insects that create the tracks and signs that you find everywhere. I haven't stumped the book more than a couple times out of the hundreds of times I have come to it for answers and the answers that I find usually far exceed my expectations.
on June 11, 2013
As an amateur naturalist and Nature photographer, I am always curious to know about the things I am seeing or photographing. I have numerous Nature reference books for birds, insects, butterflies, Wildflowers etc. This book fills a big void and explains many of the smaller and often overlooked items in Nature. No other book that I know of gives the information that this one does. Every page is a revelation and leaves the reader saying, " Oh that is what that is" . So if you are a Nature lover, by all means buy this book. It is far informative more than its title would lead one to believe. Highly recommended.
on June 30, 2016
My wife asked for this as a birthday gift to supplement the moth, butterfly, caterpillar, and dragonfly books I got for her on prior birthdays. We are both glad she dropped the big hint, as usual......
on January 16, 2014
Who knew !? As one who has always been intrigued by nature, and who has an (I thought) full appreciation for, and a deep understanding of, our natural world ... I found this book fun, informative and educational. My grandsons and I have already planned for spring hikes to find and identify ... the unknown (!) (now with a good chance to 'put a face and name' to it!)
on October 13, 2013
I have several other track and sign books done by Mark Elbroch and this one, which done by different writers, follows the same, easy to understand, format that the Elbroch series does. I would recommend this to any professional or beginner naturalist, its a real MUST have!