Identifying Garden Wildlife

Useful books

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thin and crispy
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Identifying Garden Wildlife

Post by thin and crispy »

I hope you'll all excuse the duplication. I posted the following as a reply in another thread, but I thought the information might be helpful here as well.

Garden insects and spiders:

(i) Domino Guide to Insects of Britain and Western Europe (Revised 2007 Edition) by Michael Chinery. AC Black Publishers Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7136-7239-8

All of the 2000+ illustrations are good-quality coloured line drawings, so this book is useful for distinguishing points of detail between similar species. It also has sections on insect classification, anatomy, life cycles, and collecting. The only disadvantage I've found is that when you're trying to identify an insect, it's sometimes easy to miss the corresponding drawing in the book, as they are all a little "scientific" and two dimensional in style. Although it doesn't refer to them in the title, this book includes six pages on spiders and scorpions.

(ii) Complete British Insects by Michael Chinery. Harper Collins Publishers Ltd. (2005) ISBN 0 00 717966 9

Also has helpful sections on life cycles, classification and habitats, but this book has photographs, rather than drawings, of each species covered (about 1500 of them). I find the photos are easier to use for an initial identification. Then I check detail like wing venation using the first book.

This book is particularly strong on butterflies and moths, but it doesn't cover spiders.

(iii) Insects and Spiders (part of the DK Pocket Nature series), by George C McGavin. Dorling Kindersley Ltd (2005) ISBN 1-40530596-7

More concise, but still useful. It has short, but very good, sections on classification, identification, anatomy, habitats, collection and handling. It covers the most common members of each family of insects and arachnids (about 700 in total). Photos are small, but mostly clear - good enough to easily identify most of the species represented.

About 25 of the 200+ pages are devoted to spiders.

General garden wildlife:

Garden Wildlife of Britain and Europe (A Collins Nature Guide), by Michael Chinery. Harper Collins Publishers Ltd. (1997) ISBN 0 00 220072 4

It has about 250 pages - all similar in presentation style to book (ii). About 40% of the book is devoted to insect and spider identification (about 200 species covered). The remaining pages cover other common garden animals (hedgehogs, moles, bats, squirrels, rats, foxes, birds (quite a few), reptiles, amphibians, millipedes, centipedes, slugs, snails and worms), as well as mosses, liverworts, grasses, lichens and various wild flowering plants.
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