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Books
The world in one volume

There are at least 18,000 species of butterfly in the world, no single book that covers them all. Several authors however have produced single-volume books illustrating a fairly representative selection of the world's butterflies. These are of little value for identification purposes, but offer an interesting overall coverage of the showier and / or commoner species, and make an excellent gift to a newcomer to butterfly-watching, acting as a stimulus for further investigation.

d'Abrera

Concise Atlas of Butterflies of the World

Large format book covering several thousand species from all regions of the world, excluding Skippers. Reduced-size colour photographs. Lengthy text dealing with anatomy, taxonomy and controversial counter-evolutionary arguments.

Hill House Publishers

2001

d'Abrera

World Butterflies

Paperback version of the above, with reduced text. Excellent value, and ideal as a general overview of the world's butterflies.

Hill House Publishers

2006

Smart

Encyclopedia of the Butterfly World

Large format book. 2000 species illustrated life-size. Excellent text covering all aspects of butterfly biology, written for the general naturalist.

Salamander Books

1975

Lewis

Butterflies of the World

Large format book. Reduced-size illustrations of 7000 species. Includes the Skippers, so covers many species not depicted in other works. Outdated nomenclature.

Harrap

1973

The world in several volumes

Producing an exhaustive treatment of all the world's butterflies is a task that takes many years and can never truly be completed - new species are regularly discovered, and the classification and nomenclature of all species is in a state of constant flux. The works of d'Abrera are true classics, and unlikely to be surpassed. The Bauer and Frankenbach series of paperbacks are best regarded as complementary to d'Abrera, and are useful when additional illustrations of particular genera or species are needed. None of these works include the Hesperiidae.

d'Abrera

Butterflies of the World

Large format books covering the butterflies of the various zoogeographical regions in 16 volumes. Covers all families except the Hesperiidae. Life-size colour photographs of every species in the collection of the British Museum Natural History. Essential.

Hill House Publishers

various dates

edited by Bauer & Frankenbach

various authors

Butterflies of the World

Large format paperbacks covering particular genera tribes or subfamilies. Life-size colour photographs. Each volume in this large and growing series is produced by an entomologist specialising in the relevant taxa.

Hillside Books

various dates

Books dealing with a single country or region

These are generally single volumes or 2 volume sets which deal with the butterflies of a particular country or small group of countries. They are particularly valuable for the travelling lepidopterist who doesn't want to be side tracked with species that are not applicable to the area he or she is visiting. These books generally have an introductory section in which the various habitat types in each region are described in detail. The species descriptions provide further information about the distribution, habitat requirements, behaviour, foodplants and ecology of each species.

Ackery, Smith & Vane-Wright

Carcasson's African Butterflies

 

CSIRO

1985

Baytas

Field Guide to the Butterflies of Turkey

Includes over 750 photographs of butterflies taken in their natural habitats and species accounts of all Turkish butterflies, including recently described Agrodiaetus blues.

National Geographic Turkiye

2007

Braby

Butterflies of Australia

Covers the biology, identification and distribution of all Australian species.

CSIRO

2000

Canals

Mariposas de Misiones

Photographic field guide to the butterflies of Iguassu Falls and surrounding areas of Argentina and Brazil. Covers about 30 percent of the species, including Skippers

Literature of Latin America

2003

DeVries

Butterflies of Costa Rica

2 paperback volumes covering all families except Hesperiidae and Lycaenidae. Reduced-size colour photographs of all species. Excellent and informative text.

Princeton University Press

1987

Eliot

Butterflies of the Malay Peninsula.

Portable hardback covering all West Malaysian butterflies including the Skippers. Full-size colour photographs of all species. Useful text.

Malayan Nature Society

1992

Garwood & Lehman

Butterflies of Southern Amazonia

Photographic field guide covering about 1000 of the commoner Amazonian species, including Skippers.

RiCale Publishing

2007

Henning, Joannou & Woodhall

Living butterflies of southern Africa

 

Umdaus Press

forthcoming

Hernandez

Field Guide of Cuban / West Indies Butterflies

Covers all species found in Cuba and the West Indies

Apollo Books

2004

Lanfranchis

Butterflies of Europe

Comprehensive field guide and key to the butterflies of Europe. Contains distributions maps, taxonomic keys, and detailed drawing of genitalia to assist identification of difficult species.

Diatheo

2004

 

Larsen

Butterflies of West Africa

Large format. 2 volumes covering all West African species including the Skippers. Excellent text.

Apollo Books

1997

Larsen

Butterflies of Kenya

Hardback field guide covering all Kenyan species including Skippers. Illustrated with colour photographs

Oxford University Press

1991

Makris

Butterflies of Cyprus

Describes and illustrates all the butterflies of Cyprus, with information on distribution and ecology. Photographs of uppersides and undersides of both sexes of all species.

distributed by NHBS

2003

McCubbin

Australian Butterflies

Large format. Covers all Australian species including Skippers. Beautifully illustrated with water-colours. Exhaustive and entertaining text.

Nelson

Monastyrskii

Butterflies of Vietnam

A series of identification guides covering the butterflies of Vietnam

Apollo Books

2005

Neild

Butterflies of Venezuela

4 part series covering the Venezuelan members of the Nymphalidae, Pieridae and Papilionidae. 2 volumes published so far. Extremely thorough text and superb plates depicting uppersides and undersides of both sexes of every species at life size.

Meridian Publications

Otsuka

Field guide to the butterflies of Borneo & south-east Asia

 

Borneo Books

2001

Parsons

The Butterflies of Papua New Guinea

Exhaustive study covering the identification, biology, distribution & systematics of all PNG species.

Academic Press

1988

Parsons

Butterflies of the Bulolo-Wau valley

Handy pocket guide with colour photos of about a third of the butterfly species found in Papua New Guinea, all reproduced smaller than life-size. Useful text.

Bishop Museum Press

1991

Pinratana

Butterflies of Thailand

6 volume set of handbooks covering all species found in Thailand, including Skippers.

White Lotus

1988

Riley

British and Irish Butterflies

Field guide with photographs of all subspecies of British butterfly.

Brambleby Books

2007

Scott

Butterflies of Mexico & USA

Portable guide to all North American butterflies. Mediocre life-size colour photographs. Excellent species text. Superb coverage of anatomy, biology and ecology of N. American species.

Stanford University Press

1992

Smith

Butterflies of Nepal

 

White Lotus

1995

Swaay & Warren

Prime Butterfly Areas in Europe

Of the 576 species known to occur in Europe, 71 are considered threatened. This book aims to identify the areas where conservation efforts should be urgently focused. Within these 431 areas, described country by country, the focus is on target species.

Wageningen

2003

Tennant

Butterflies of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria

 

Gem Publishing

1996

Thomas

Philips guide to Butterflies of Britain & Ireland

Field guide to all British species, written by the leading author in the field of UK butterfly ecology. Superbly illustrated with photographs, water-colours and charts.

Philips

2007

Tolman and Lewington

Butterflies of Britain and Europe

Field guide covering all butterflies found in Europe, including Skippers. Superb watercolour illustrations.

Harper Collins

1997

Tomlinson & Still

Britain's Butterflies

Field guide to British butterflies illustrated with composite photographs depicting all stages of the lifecycle

Wild Guides

2002

Tratt

Butterfly Landscapes

A collection of water-colour paintings depicting British butterflies in context with their habitats.

Langford Press

2005

Whalley & Lewington

Mitchell Beazley Pocket Guide to the Butterflies of Britain& Europe

Truly pocketable book with superb and accurate water-colour illustrations of all species by Richard Lewington

Mitchell Beazley

2008

Wikramanayake

Butterflies of Sri Lanka

 

Wikramanayake

2006

Woodhall

Butterflies of South Africa

Introduction covers biology, anatomy, and taxonomy. The species accounts cover distribution, foodplants and identification. Photographs are mostly of live specimens taken in the wild.

Struik

2005

Books dealing with British counties

These books are mostly produced in collaboration with county branches of Butterfly Conservation, and analyse the history, current status & future trends of each species found in that county. Most counties of Britain now have their own book, so those listed below are just a tiny sample. Most include distribution maps, flight tables and information about habitats and their management.

 

The State of Butterflies in Berkshire, Bucks and Oxfordshire.

 

Pisces

2005

Fuller

Butterflies of Wiltshire

Pisces

1995

Futter

Butterflies of south-west Scotland

An atlas of the distribution of butterflies in south-west Scotland

Argyll Publishing

2006

Collins

Butterflies of Surrey

Surrey Wildlife Trust

1995

Frost

Butterflies of Yorkshire

 

Butterfly Conservation Yorkshire

2005

Oates, Taverner & Green

The Butterflies of Hampshire

Pisces

2000

Biology and ecology

There are many books dealing with the biology and ecology of Lepidoptera. Most are technical in nature and directed at the scientific community. Those listed below however are aimed at amateur butterfly enthusiasts and written in an easily understood but comprehensive style.

Preston-Mafham

Butterflies of the World

Handbook dealing comprehensively with anatomy, lifecycle, behaviour, survival, variation and ecology.

Blandford Press

1988

Vane-Wright & Ackery

The Biology of Butterflies

 

Princeton University Press

1989

Scott

Butterflies of Mexico & USA

Superb coverage of the anatomy, biology and ecology of North American species. Amazing value.

Stanford University Press

1992

Photo-essays

These books are generally produced by wildlife photographers rather than by entomologists. They are intended primarily as showcases of a particular photographers work.

Arndt

Nomads of the Wind

Stunning photographs of Monarchs at the over-wintering sites in Mexico, plus with a selection of high quality images of other species taken by wildlife photographer Ingo Arndt.

Papadakis

2008

Dalton

Caught in Motion

Amazing photographs of butterflies, moths, dragonflies, birds, bats and other animals frozen in flight with a high speed camera.

Weidenfeld & Nicolson

1982

 
Videos and DVDs
Productions dealing with a single country or region

A superb set of videos and DVDs from John Banks illustrating butterflies from all over the world. These depict hundreds of species in their natural habitats, and often include thought-provoking questions about the ecology, evolution and behaviour of butterflies.

More information at www.cinebutterflies.com

Banks

Puzzles of the past

A film probing the history of British butterflies. 75 species filmed in their natural habitats.

Cinebutterflies

1997

Banks

Beauty for Survival

A film of living butterflies from many parts of the world, showing how a butterfly's appearance increases it's chance of survival.

Cinebutterflies

1995

Banks

Diversity in the rainforest

A delightful film about the butterflies of Tambopata, an Amazon rainforest reserve in Peru which has one of the richest butterfly faunas on Earth.

Cinebutterflies

1996

Banks

Ghana's other gold

Butterflies of the West African rainforest. 120 species filmed at Kakum and other reserves in Ghana.

Cinebutterflies

Banks

Wonders of the East

Malaysia's breathtaking Birdwings, Lacewings, Dragontails, Tree Nymphs and many others, filmed in West Malaysia and Borneo.

Cinebutterflies

1998

Banks

What's going on here ?

An introduction to the butterflies of the Amazonian rainforest, filmed in Brazil.

Cinebutterflies

2006

 

 

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