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Customer Review

75 of 79 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not perfect, 2 Sept. 2004
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This review is from: Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland (Paperback)
When I started mothing I learnt identification from the Skinner volume. As has been said in other reviews Skinner gives no help in the text to sort the moths out. What is more, although the moths are photographed the reproduction is not good so details are lost along with your temper.
The book by Waring et al sorts a lot of this out as the paintings done by Richard Lewington are superb. The moths sit as you see them and shape is a large factor in identification. The text helps a great deal too telling you the important points to look for in identification. It also supplies details on range, emergence time and how common they are all of which help a lot during use.
The layout of the moths through the book follows that given in the British checklist. This is identical to that in other books so moving from one volume to another is easy if confirmation is required. It is also a handbook so it will fit in your pocket.
There are one or two problems. The first is the layout of the book. The pictures are not scattered through the book along with text relevant to each species, they are provided in four groups. Immediately you have trouble finding the pictures. I have ended up marking the site of the pictures with tabs of insulating tape just so that I can locate them. Then starting from a picture of moth, is the text for that species positioned in front or later in the book? Could be either. This may sound silly but time is precious when the moth may disappear any scond! If you are going to group the pictures, I think putting them all in a single group, at the back of the book makes far more sense.
Second for many species the text supplies "similar species". This is a good idea but some of the "similar species" do not look similar at all! In other cases they state "no similar species" and this simply is not true. Some identification problems could have been taken further as there are some groups of moths like: Uncertain, Rustic, Powdered Rustic, Vines rustic etc which are a nightmare to tell apart. They have tried reasonably well but perhaps a small section of text and a table describing the key points may be the way forward.
A third point is the inclusion of pictures of caterpillars. A good idea but you have to put ALL the caterpillars in for it to make sense. Indeed there is another book that does this so why bother wasting space in this way?
Despite all this twining on, I think it is the best Macro moth out there by far so I thoroughly recommend it.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 Jul 2008, 20:04:51 BST
Ms Corbett says:
Perhaps the reason certain species are listed as similar or dissimilar is due to similarities (or differences) of a non anatomical nature? Those species may be similar in behaviour for example. This might sound odd in an identification guide but if you want to learn more about the species than just what they look like then it makes sense. This is certainly what the RSPB do on their website for birds, anyway...

Posted on 29 Aug 2011, 08:43:07 BST
S. Beard says:
This review is the Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland, not the Pocket Guide to the Burrterflies of Great Britain and Ireland.
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Location: Glasgow, United Kingdom

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