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Field Guide to Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley Regions (California Natural History Guides) Paperback – June 5, 2007
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"A masterpiece on the butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley regions."Paul A. Opler, author of A Field Guide to Western Butterflies
"An accessible and entertaining guide to the natural history of Bay Area and Sacramento Valley butterflies."Carol Boggs, Stanford University
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Although I usually abhor carrying identification resources with me on hikes, the small size of this volume fits so easily into my daypack that I have started bringing it with me, to learn more about the butterflies I'm seeing out where I can instantly compare the notes with the habitat. I only gave it 4 stars because I'm not a field biologist nor a lepidopterist, so I can't judge the accuracy nor usefulness of this volume at the professional level, but for nature photographers and budding naturalists in northern California, I would consider this an essential part of your reference library.
Instead, I was delighted to find a very accessable, well written, good natured and often humorous field guide, to the butterflies of the bay area, written by this scientist.
The treatment of individual species is stunningly detailed, and the plates illustrating the species are just fine, and logically organized (e.g the blue copper is with similar looking blues for comparison, rather than the coppers).
In addition, all sorts of useful specific information about finding butterflies, rearing larvae, butterfly gardening, and things to do with butterflies is layed out in the tightly written text.
As might be expected for a veteran UC Davis thesis professor, Arthur M. Shapiro does touch on big emerging or ongoing debates in butterfly biology, but in an easy introductory way, without the traditional academic qualification of every aspect of every point proposed. These debates can be quite interesting, too. A troubling trend toward declining California butterfly numbers is examined in some detail.
Overall this book is a masterpiece, which colorfully details countless discoveries in butterfly natural history. It's a real joy to read. I definitely recommend it.
There is no way, NO WAY, that I can believe that the person giving this a "one star" rating could ever have actually read this book. Or perhaps that reviewer has some kind of a grudge against the author for some reason. I've never seen such a low rating for such an exquisite, beautiful nature book.
I've bought multiple copies already and I would never do that unless the book in question was world-class....I hope you trust my comments, because this book is a gem!