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A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America

…photos are pretty sumptuous and well set up…

by Jeffrey Glassberg | Princeton University Press | Paperback | June 2017 | 420 Pages | 3500 Colour Photographs & Distribution Maps | ISBN: 9780691176505

NA Butterflies
A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America

The Publisher’s View: This is a revised second edition of the most detailed, comprehensive, and user-friendly photographic field guide to the butterflies of North America. Written by Jeffrey Glassberg, the pioneering authority on the field identification of butterflies, A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America covers all known species, beautifully illustrating them with 3,500 large, gorgeous colour photographs – the very best images available. This second edition includes more than 500 new photos and updated text, maps, and species names. For most species, there are photographs of topsides and undersides, males and females, and variants. All text is embedded in the photographs, allowing swift access in the field, and arrows point to field marks, showing you exactly what to look for. Detailed, same-page range maps include information about the number of broods in each area and where strays have been recorded. Colour text boxes highlight information about habitat, caterpillar food plants, abundance and flight period, and other interesting facts. Also included are a quick visual index and a caterpillar food plant index. The result is an ideal field guide that will enable you to identify almost every butterfly you see.

The Author: Jeffrey Glassberg is a leading butterfly authority and author. He is president of the North American Butterfly Association, editor of American Butterflies magazine, and the author of many books, including the Butterflies through Binoculars series. He is adjunct professor of evolutionary biology at Rice University and lives in Morristown, New Jersey.

Fatbirder Brief View: My review will be brief as, although I have visited the US and Canada I don’t recall seeing many butterflies. I do recall a few in Texas but I guess I was just not sufficiently tuned in to take them in. These days if I had the chance and the time between bird chases I’d no doubt stop and take a record shot and ID them later… which is exactly when this book would come into play. I’d have to look through it a few times to establish the family group and then no doubt would rely on my memory, record shot and distribution maps to narrow down the ID… which in some cases would probably still be difficult in very similar species.

The problem is, of course, that the range and distribution is a bit of a snapshot as season to season and year by year there could be wide geographical variations as the book points out in its blessedly simply introductory pages.

One thing that would irritate of course is that the book doesn’t cover North America as it claims but jus Canada and continental USA… if I ventured anywhere between the Rio Grand and Panama the book would not be much use. Is this chauvinism or just a faulty idea of where North America stops and starts? Would it have been too much of a stretch to call it Butterflies and the USA & Canada?

That’s it folks, the photos are pretty sumptuous and well set up to show wings folded and open and uses a lot of arrows to point put salient features. Maybe one day I’ll get to put it to the test.

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26th June 2017