British Moths and Butterflies - A photographic guide
This guide is unusual in that it uses photographs rather than drawings to illustrate the different species; more than 2000 photographs in fact, which is a feat in itself.
The book covers 1420 species of moth, 850 macros and 500 micros, as well as 314 caterpillars, pupae and eggs and 74 butterflies.
To buy this book from Amazon, click British Moths and Butterflies: A Photographic Guide - Usually available for under £20
The photography does make it easier to ID your moths, as how often with an illustrated guide do you struggle to tell the difference between a satellite and a chestnut. Illustrated books are more aesthetically pleasing, set against the white background, but this photographic guide is more useful. With more than 300 pages of photos, it will help to know a little about the moth you are trying to identify, though just flicking through the book is a rewarding exercise in itself.
How to see and photograph moths
The author is obviously a leading expert on this subject, and he is happy to share his tips with the reader. One key tip, which has become so much simler with digital technology and applies to all forms of photography, but especially wildlife, is to take as many pictures as possible, and just select the best.
Each species has photo accompanied by details of wingspans, status, distribution, flight seasons, habitats and larval foodplants. There is also a list of vagrants and accidentals, and a useful list of larval food plants that will tell you which caterpillars feed on each plant. So if you want to know what has been eating your cherry, it is probably a Green Pug, whereas your fuchsia will have been nibbled by a Hawk-moth, either an Elephant, Striped or Silver-striped.
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