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Butterflies of the East Coast: An Observer's Guide

Butterflies of the East Coast: An Observer's Guide
Rick Cech and Guy Taylor
Princeton University Press
Publication Date: 

cloth, 345 p., $49.50

Butterfly enthusiasts Rick Cech and Guy Taylor are keen observers of the butterflies of the East Coast of the U.S., a range extending from Maine to Florida and from the eastern seaboard inland as far as West Virginia. Of the 250 species seen in the area, the guide contains descriptive entries for 234 established breeders or recurring colonists with clear color photos of selected specimens. Before launching into these individual descriptions, the text reviews some critical fields of inquiry about butterflies, such as why they are attractive to human beings and where they can be found. Noting that certain species seek out specific host plants and types of habitats, the introduction considers the different environments and the factors in life cycles of butterflies that play a part in their distribution and activities.

Bearing in mind the scientific nature of the subject, the authors have attempted to present the material in a user-friendly style. Map keys trace the ranges of individual species. There is an extensive bibliographical reference, as well as an index. This is an informative, well-illustrated work that fills the niche between pocket field guides and technical references.

— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden