Bookshelf

Britain’s Day-Flying Moths

A field guide to the day-flying moths of Britain & Ireland

David Newland, Robert Still & Andy Swash

WildGuides/Princeton Press

ISBN 978-0-691-15832-7

Britain's Day-Flying Moths

Britain’s Day-Flying Moths

Over recent years there has been a real increase in birders becoming mothers, whist some birders may well have become mothers in the truest sense, I am putting the emphasis firmly on the last syllable… mothERS. To many, me included, moths present a huge ID challenge, indeed some are only identifiable by dissecting their genitalia – not for me. Consequently many birders give moths a miss and concentrate on butterflies and dragonflies in those lean summer months. If this is the case there is a group of moths, mostly just as colourful as the butterflies and very easily seen. These are the day-flying moths. These are often confused with butterflies by many (The Valley of Butterflies on Rhodes is in fact a site for 100000s of Jersey Tiger moths).

This handy guide follows the usual WildGuides format and allows you to identify confidently most of the insects you will encounter in the field or even the garden. A useful introduction looks at the separation of moths and butterflies before looking at moth biology; the naming of moths and their taxonomy. The introduction then focuses on identifying moths, looking at habitat and has a handy section on gardening for moths (and other insects by default).

Before the species accounts proper there is a useful glossary of terms. The species accounts themselves start with an introduction to the species family. Each moth then gets a full page with a large photograph and a small inset photo if there is a confusion species. The text guides the reader through all you need to find and identify the moth. There is a quick reference guide down the right-hand of the page with a distribution map. The photographs are universally excellent and annotated to highlight key ID features.

Speckled Yellow

Speckled Yellow

At the end of the book is a list of day-flying moths with quick references to habitat, flight season, larval food plant and conservation status. There then follows a section on conservation, legislation and recording. For those wanting to get more involved there is a section for further reading and useful websites before a comprehensive index.

Finally the inside of the rear cover has a handy life size comparisons plate of the main species families. The book also comes with a weatherproof plastic cover.

Life Size Comparisons

Life Size Comparisons

This is truly a field guide to slip into your bag or pocket and use in the field – get a copy and get ready to enjoy some moths this Spring.

John Hague

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