The Butterflies of North America: A Natural History and Field Guide

Overview


The only field guide to cover all North American butterfly species, this monumental work is also a complete natural history, fully describing the biological and ecological world of butterflies in general. It is without question the most important book on butterflies in several decades, and the most complete treatment of a major butterfly faun ever published.

The book is written at several levels of detail, most of it accessible to anyone, and employs the minimum of technical ...

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Overview


The only field guide to cover all North American butterfly species, this monumental work is also a complete natural history, fully describing the biological and ecological world of butterflies in general. It is without question the most important book on butterflies in several decades, and the most complete treatment of a major butterfly faun ever published.

The book is written at several levels of detail, most of it accessible to anyone, and employs the minimum of technical terms necessary for ensuring scientific accuracy. Extensive introductory material—a book in itself—stresses butterfly biology and ecology: structure, flight, metamorphosis, hibernation, physiology, roosting, migration, mating, egg laying, intelligence, social behavior, larval and adult foods, enemies, mimicry, variation, evolution, habitats, distribution, and conservation. The main text is arranged in phylogenetic sequence, and characteristics or behavior common to all members of a family, subfamily, or tribe are discussed at those levels. The skippers, a large group often excluded, are treated in full.

Several unique features make identification easier and more certain than with any other field guide. First, every species (and many subspecies) of butterfly ever recorded north of Mexico (or in Bermuda or Hawaii) is treated at length and illustrated in color. Over 1,800 butterflies representing all 679 species (males, females, uppersides, undersides, subspecies, etc.) are illustrated on 42 full-page plats. Another 136 color photographs illustrate the various life forms in natural habitat: eggs, larvae, pupae, and the more familiar and more spectacular adults.

The author also provides a catalogue listing all known host plant genera and the specific butterfly larvae that eat them; techniques for collecting, raising, and studying butterflies; bibliographies of the most useful plant books and other sources to further the study of butterflies; and an index of all common and scientific butterfly names and all technical terms taken up in the text.

In short, this book is indispensable for pursuing a hobby or scientific interest in butterflies.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Combining the species descriptions of a field guide with the essays of a monograph, this is an excellent one- volume lepidoptery encyclopedia replete with color plates, diagrams, and charts. Part 1 surveys the physical structure of butterflies, their behavior, and population dynamics. Part 2 presents keys to identifying larvae, pupae, and adults. Users are directed through the keys in flowchart fashion, matching the physical features of their unknown specimens with those described. The 679 species descriptions in Part 3 are keyed to the book's 64 color plates, which group adult butterflies not by genus but by common physical characteristics. Each species entry shows a range map, gives scientific and common names, describes the species and its subspecies, and offers information on habitat, life cycle, and behavior. The book is exhaustive in scope and moderately technical in language. Rank amateurs will be better served by basic field guides, but serious amateur lepidopterists and specialists will find this an essential, all-inclusive reference. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries. Laurie Tynan, Huntingdon Cty. Lib., Pa.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804720137
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/1992
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 584
  • Sales rank: 1,115,774
  • Product dimensions: 7.53 (w) x 10.04 (h) x 1.47 (d)

Meet the Author


James A. Scott has served on the faculties of Colorado State University and the University of California, Davis. He has written more than 60 scientific papers and contributed to four books on butterflies and grassland ecology.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2007

    A reviewer

    This reference work is the 'state-of-the-art' guide for anyone interested in all aspects of North American butterflies. Scott knows his subject well and suppplements the thorough text with a photographic section of his own collection and others taken in the field. This is the compendium I go to when I have any questions that cannot be answered elsewhere. It is simply a 'must have' for anyone with serious lepidopteran interests!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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