Looking for a good field guide for Moths Eastern N. America

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Kyle from Carolina
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Looking for a good field guide for Moths Eastern N. America

Post by Kyle from Carolina » October 1st, 2014, 10:30 am

Can anybody recommend a quality field guide to moths of north america or even eastern north america? I generally prefer field guides with drawings that indicate the distinguishing tell for whatever group (genus, species, etc). Field guides with photographs are ok too, although they can be a bit more subjective.

While doing online searches, I've come across these two that look pretty good:

Peterson guide to northeastern moths - Beadle and Leckie

A field guide to moths of eastern North America - Covell.

The Covell book seems more inclusive but it's also a bit old, not sure how accurate it might be for range maps, nomenclature, etc.

Does anybody recommend or have issues with these or any other guides out there?

Anything covering a narrower region or other recommendations would be greatly appreciated too.

Thanks,

Kyle

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cbernz
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Re: Looking for a good field guide for Moths Eastern N. Amer

Post by cbernz » October 17th, 2014, 6:40 am

The Peterson Northeast guide is great. It's not comprehensive, but it does a good job covering the species I see most often here in NJ. It uses live photos against a white background, so the field marks are clear and you get to see the moth in a natural pose, which makes it 1000 times more useful than the old Peterson Eastern guide with the photos of pinned specimens. I hope they continue the series and do regional books for the rest of the country (or continent).

I use mine mainly to identify photos I've taken in the field or at my lights. About 99% of the time I can get down to species using the book, and then I'll use a bugguide.net or Moth Photographer's Group to double check the difficult ones. It's a great system for me - using the book plus websites is way faster for me than using websites alone.

Covell was my first moth guide, so I have fond memories, but I don't use it anymore. Who has patience for black-and-white plates nowadays?

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BillMcGighan
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Re: Looking for a good field guide for Moths Eastern N. Amer

Post by BillMcGighan » October 17th, 2014, 4:47 pm

Not much help for a "carry with you" field guide, but for those times when you find something that strikes your fancy, these folks are very good at IDing a moth or butterfly:

http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/

They also appreciate vouchered data entries, like our HERP data base.

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Kyle from Carolina
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Location: western MA and NC

Re: Looking for a good field guide for Moths Eastern N. Amer

Post by Kyle from Carolina » November 20th, 2014, 9:06 pm

cbernz and Bill,

Thanks for the replies and suggestions, they are quite helpful. I think I am leaning towards the peterson guide. I can't wait to find and identify some more moths when it gets warm.

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