Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
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Upcoming Events

Information, insects and people from the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

any recommended identification/field guides?

hi! im 16 years old and i want to be able to identify bugs easier! i dont have a lot of experience yet though, so does anyone have any recommended guides? (even ones for specific kinds of arthropods are ok!!! im looking to learn as much as possible)

Regional guides
For species that occupy limited ranges in North America, sometimes a guidebook that covers only one region and perhaps only one kind of bug (e.g., butterflies) is better. You might look into what the nearest university press near you offers.

thank you!!
i hadnt considered looking into a university press, thank you! i think i will get a specialized book about lepidoptera since im especially interested in them! thank you!!

If you are in the northwest, The Butterflies of Cascadia, by Robert Michael Pyle is excellent. Similar books might exist for other regions.

As a general book with keys, I like Borror and Delong's Introduction to the Study of Insects. I have the 7th edition. You might be able to find this used.

I know how to use keys (MS Zoology), and I have a good dissecting microscope at home. But keying insects is often very difficult, so I rely on bugguide most often. Using both is a good way to learn.

If you're just beginning to get into insect photography, you might consider the system I use, a Panasonic Lumix FZ 2500. It's a so-called bridge camera, and with proper settings can take excellent insect photos from a few feet away using enhanced zoom. That model is a few years old now, and you may be able to buy it or the predecessors FZ1000 or FZ80 relatively inexpensively.

thanks a bunch!!
thank you!!! ive been thinking of doing insect photography, but didnt know where to start, so thank you so much!! i will definitely look into delong's introduction, it looks like a very informative book!! thank you again!!

In the meantime take a look at Overview of Orders of Insects. Please, let me know if you find it helpful.

I find the Kaufman guide very useful.

thank you!!!
thank you so much!!! i think i might get the Kaufman field guide!

The field guide I like best is the Peterson field guide. It's a little older, so some of the genera have changed, but the overall knowledge is well laid out and really useful.

A lot of people love the Kaufman Field Guide, but I don't own a copy so I can't speak to it. But one of the authors does hang out on here and I've seen him talk about sending out signed copies. You could ask him about getting a signed one.

Your profile says you're interested in Leps, which aren't my thing, but someone will probably be able to give you good suggestions for them! Welcome to Bugguide!

Lepidopteran taxonomy
Has changed quite a bit since I was working on them in the mid 90’s, so any older guides and such may be a bit out of date, so find a name you think fits then do searches on it to see if things have changed. Many times you can find and download (or at least read) revisionary papers online for certain genera. Just my beetle ID papers take up two bookshelves!

thank you!!
thank you so so much!!! and thank you for the welcome!!! i'll definitely look into those two!

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