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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE beginner's field guide on British and European Insects, 1 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Insects of Britain and Western Europe (Field Guide) (Paperback)
Well what can I say. After recently deciding to taking my amateur entomology (bug geek) hobby a bit more seriously, I decided to purchase a book that I could take out into the field with me. I shopped around and read a lot of reviews and in the end decided on Chinery - mainly because it was the most recent (2012). And I am glad I did, because I was not disappointed.

The book begins with an explanation of distributions, insect families and how to identify them and each insect is represented by a clear and high detailed painting (not photograph!). Whist I originally saw this as a downside and thus considered Chinery and Gibbons, Insect (Collins Gem), I preserved with this title through sheer weight of reviews. This I feel was the correct decision, as since having flicked through the Collins Gem title I found that with photographs the guide is held hostage to the print and photo quality, light and composition of the photo when trying to identify a subject, issue which are not present with the paintings in this title. On the opposite page of the photos are the corresponding names (Common (where available) followed by the scientific (or latin) name), information of distribution, habitat, and seasonal availability, usually followed by a piece of interesting behavioural trivia.

However, a couple of things should be noted:

1. The butterfly, moth section and beetle section make up a vary large part of this book (understandably due to genus size and 'laymen' interest in these groups), yet not all caterpillars are shown for all moth and butterfly species and no pupae are shown whatsoever. Therefore, if your interest is primarily in these species you may wish to consider Lewington's Pocket Guide to the Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland or Townsend and Waring's Concise Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland instead. Also the picture of the Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) whilst taking pride of place on the front cover, is frustratingly pictured inside the book at rest with it's wing closed (again not a massive problem)

2. The True Bug (hemiptera) section whilst very helpful, only shows adult markings for shield and squash bugs. Whilst this is helpful to a degree, it can make the identification for nymphs problematic as their markings can differ from adults. Moreover, whilst the book list the major grasshopper species, their markings and colour forms in the description it only displays one colour form in the illustrations. Again this could be frustrating to layperson who is seeking to identify a specie primarily from the images.

Overall this book has been a fantastic resource and has not only allowed me to identify countless butterflies, dragonflies, water insects, beetles and more, it even held its own in a recent summer trip to the Ukraine. Covering Western Europe as well (whatever this means, as the book does not define it), the book also contains an excellent section the praying mantis species found on the continent as an added bonus!

All in all I wouldn't hesitate to by this book for anyone looking to get out and do some insect fancying. A must buy, I don't think you'll find a more comprehensive and yet accessible book on insects of this quality. However, if you are looking for a more in depth guide to a specific family or genus I would suggest you look elsewhere. Chinery's book is more of an overview to take into the field, than an exhaustive compendium.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Guide, 23 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Insects of Britain and Western Europe (Field Guide) (Paperback)
I'm very impressed with this guide, it's the right size to carry on trips and the illustrations are excellent. My daughter came home to visit from Sheffield University where she's studying biology and said 'that's the book we've been recommended for our insect IDs', which is a recommendation in itself. Buy it - you won't regret it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Guide, 2 July 2013
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This review is from: Insects of Britain and Western Europe (Field Guide) (Paperback)
Beautiful illustrations, good descriptions and an excellent scientific guide for anyone interested in understanding the insect world around us. i highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I needed., 1 July 2014
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A. R. Colegate (wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Insects of Britain and Western Europe (Field Guide) (Paperback)
The book is ok with nice illustrations but the European side of it was not really needed. Also I find the inclusion of Butterflies and Moths pointless - not all species included and there are other excellent books that cover them.
The new Comprehensive guide to Insects of Britain and Ireland is better, although it still covers the Lepidoptera
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just the ticket, 10 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Insects of Britain and Western Europe (Field Guide) (Paperback)
I was looking for a book to improve my basic knowledge of insects, this really fits the bill. Without going too deep this book is very informative with excellant colour drawings for recognition. Much better than photographs for clarity. A definite for anybody with an interest in insects. Also has a section on arachnids. Would recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best guide simple and clear, 7 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Insects of Britain and Western Europe (Field Guide) (Paperback)
We used it in France to identify insects, our 7 year old granddaughter loved using it. She had hours of fun trapping moths and butterflies with an upturned net lobster-pot basket, identifying species from the book and keeping a list. It's good to take out as a large pocket guide. Indispensable!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive insect book, 22 Aug 2013
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There are very many illustrations and I felt confused at times by the similarity of these. I was also slightly confused by the size of insects. I realise it is a field guide but perhaps it is my fault I did not choose a larger book with clearer and lifesize illustrations and some photographs. I like the caterpillar illustrations to accompany relevant insects.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BOOK!!!, 28 May 2014
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This review is from: Insects of Britain and Western Europe (Field Guide) (Paperback)
Everything I'd hoped for to assist with insect ID. If you are interested in Entomology this is a very helpful and beautifully illustrated book.

Recommended
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 30 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Insects of Britain and Western Europe (Field Guide) (Paperback)
This is the best insect guide I know of. Excellent illustrations and informative text.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, 25 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Insects of Britain and Western Europe (Field Guide) (Paperback)
A great book, packed with information and supporting images for identifying and learning about insects. Despite how much is in it isn't too big at all. Just a wee bit bigger than a pocket guide.
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Insects of Britain and Western Europe (Field Guide)
Insects of Britain and Western Europe (Field Guide) by Michael Chinery (Paperback - 13 Sep 2012)
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