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Britain's Insects (WildGuides) by Paul Brock (1 Viewer)

John Cantelo

Well-known member
Another interesting volume from WildGuides has now arrived in bookshops. My knowledge of insects is slight but when I browsed a copy yesterday in my local Waterstone's I thought it rather impressive and a tempting buy (£25) even for an ignoramus like me. What do experts here think?

Here's the publisher's blurb -
Britain’s Insects is an innovative, up-to-date, carefully designed and beautifully illustrated field guide to Britain and Ireland’s twenty-five insect orders, concentrating on popular groups and species that can be identified in the field. Featuring superb photographs of live insects, the guide covers the key aspects of identification and provides information on status, distribution, seasonality, habitat, food plants and behaviour. It also offers insight into the life history of the various insect groups, many of which are truly amazing. This is the go-to guide for entomologists, naturalists, gardeners, wildlife photographers and anyone else interested in insects, whatever their level of knowledge.
  • More than 2,600 stunning photographs, carefully selected to show key identification features
  • Photo guides to every insect order, covering 316 families and almost 850 genera
  • Covers 1,653 species, of which 1,476 are illustrated
  • Designed to allow easy, accurate comparison of similar species
  • Up-to-date distribution maps and charts summarizing adult seasonality
  • QR codes that link to sound recordings of grasshoppers and crickets
  • Information on photographing and recording insects to help conservation
 

aeshna5

Well-known member
I've had it for a week or so now. It is good book with excellent photos but like all general insect ID guides can only cover a tiny number of the actual species. A few days ago I found a Cantharis soldier beetle & was surprised it only featured one species of soldier beetle (the ubiquitous Rhagonycha fulva) & thought I'd check it out. Though I wouldn't expect all the species to be covered, for such widespread & often well marked beetles that general naturalists or gardeners may encounter, I would have expected some other species to be covered?

Looking at dragonflies, a group I'm very familiar there is mention of Southern Migrant Hawker which it describes as a rare immigrant which is no longer true & now has well established resident populations in parts of the south-east & turning up more widely each year. Vagrant & Lesser Emperors are described as rare immigrants that have bred. The former has been seen ovipositing but hasn't been proved to successfully breed here whereas the latter I would describe as scarce & probably resident in a few places.

Perhaps nit-picking a bit, but still a lovely book to look through.
 

pdwinter

Paul Winter
I've had it for a week or so now. It is good book with excellent photos but like all general insect ID guides can only cover a tiny number of the actual species. A few days ago I found a Cantharis soldier beetle & was surprised it only featured one species of soldier beetle (the ubiquitous Rhagonycha fulva) & thought I'd check it out. Though I wouldn't expect all the species to be covered, for such widespread & often well marked beetles that general naturalists or gardeners may encounter, I would have expected some other species to be covered?
That's a bit odd. I have "A comprehensive guide to Insects of Britain & Ireland" by Paul Brock (pisces publications) and there are 14 species of Soldier Beetle shown :) . Not much of an incentive for me to get the Wildguides book.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
That's a bit odd. I have "A comprehensive guide to Insects of Britain & Ireland" by Paul Brock (pisces publications) and there are 14 species of Soldier Beetle shown :) . Not much of an incentive for me to get the Wildguides book.
You can never have enough resources, I'm currently trying to get my head around the technicalities of identifying Lacewings, using this.

 

pdwinter

Paul Winter
You can never have enough resources, I'm currently trying to get my head around the technicalities of identifying Lacewings, using this.

Very true, Andy. I've just bought Sawflies of Europe as I find it easier to read a physical book than the pdf versions of Benson's RES handbooks.

That said, I'm not sure the new Wildguides book
  • More than 2,600 stunning photographs, carefully selected to show key identification features
  • Covers 1,653 species, of which 1,476 are illustrated
will give me any more than Paul's previous book (that's on my shelf) which has
  • Over 2,900 photographs
  • covering 2,250 insect species
It would be useful for someone who ends up with both books could do a comparison (perhaps a task for the next lockdown)

Paul
 

Surreybirder

Ken Noble
I bought this book a couple of weeks ago. I am very much a dabbler in insects but I'd say that it's a good general overview. If you want to identify things to species level, it could be a bit of a trap for the naive. I noticed a mistake in the demoiselles (damselflies) - the description of the females doesn't match the photographs, which left me confused. I have four of the series and really like them (birds, spiders, hoverflies and this) but even the hoverfly book only covers the species that can be reliably identified without dissection - so you still need Stubbs and Falk if you are really serious. My overall feeling is that Britain's insects is very good value for money but should be regarded as an introduction to the subject. (Not surprisingly, larva are not well covered, and neither are nymphs of many species.)
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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