Look what came out this week: Beetles of Eastern North Americaby Arthur V. Evans.
What's a myremecologist like me doing talking about a book about beetles? Ants and beetles actually get along well.
This book has something for everyone, in fact, hard-core coleopterist to lightly-interested amateur. If you are new to beetles, it is a fabulous place to start learning. There is an extensive introduction covering anatomy, natural history, where to look for beetles, how to observe and collect them, etc. On page 52, Evans discusses how to become involved in beetle research, encouraging students and amateur naturalists to participate.
The majority of the book, however, is devoted to the beetles themselves. It covers a "goliath" number of species: 1,406 with representatives from all 115 families of Coleoptera. Even better, each species description is accompanied by a full-color photograph. Most of the photographs are of live specimens, showing the shape and posture as no drawing can. The photographs are by a number of different photographers, but care was obviously taken that the images are of uniform composition and quality. This is not a lightweight field guide, but a desk top reference you will go back to again and again.
Let's do a test run and see if the book describes some beetles I've chosen at random.
Does the book have the thistle tortoise beetle, Cassida rubiginosa? Check, listed on page 435.
What about the lady beetle, Coleomegilla maculata? It is described on page 315.
How about the spotted asparagus beetle, Crioceris duodecimpunctata? On page 433 there is another Crioceris species, but not this one.
How about these?
The tumbling flower beetles were easy enough to key to family Mordellidae, even from this photograph. With only 17 species shown out of a possible 149, I couldn't identify them any further.
I'm pretty familiar with beetle families, so it probably took only a few minutes to find the first three beetles and less than 5 minutes to key out the last one to verify my guess. The photographs add a lot of information and make searching easy for the visually-oriented. With the Glossary, family classification list in the Appendix, and a full Index, the book is a breeze to use. The page numbers are even easy to read and find.
If you are interested in beetles, then this is a must have. Are you still using those two old volumes of Dillion and Dillion? Are still thinking of bark beetles as Scolytidae? Get up to date with Beetles of Eastern North America!
Paperback: 560 pages
Publisher: Princeton University Press (June 8, 2014)
Disclosures: This book was supplied by the publisher for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate for Amazon, and if you click through the linked titles or ads and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Proceeds will be used to maintain this self-hosted blog.