Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America
By Charles V. Covell, Jr.
ISBN: 1884549-22-5
Cite: 24520 with citation markup [cite:24520]
Treats 1300 species found in the eastern United States and Canada.

Covell's work has long been sought after, and his earlier guide has sold for over $100 in the used book market. Publication of this book puts him back in the affordable category!

Note, 7/18/2005: Amazon doesn't seem to list this book, but the Virginia Museum of Natural History says they have it and the price is $40.00.

Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America - Covell
amazon has and updated printing of this work available for $250 used, and almost $300 new.

Amazon link

I like it
I a beginner when it comes to moths, but I have found the Moths guide very helpful. The new print is still helpful, although the pictures could be better. I heard a new edition with new photos, descriptions, and maps is to be released in around 2012.

Does anyone know
whether this book is useful at all in the West (California)? Any guesses as what percentage of the moths in this guide are trans-continental?? I've heard that the Eastern Caterpillar guide can be useful in the West, so perhaps this is also?

Ordering information--Moths/nature of revisions
Well, it took me some time to find this on their web site. Look under "Learning Resources" on the menu bar at There are cascading menus: Publications:Scientific:Special Publications. Scroll down to "Special Publication 12". Here is a direct link, which may or may not work. They do not have on-line ordering--only a FAXable form or a phone number.

Well, I was not going to buy this, but Bob Patterson says that the plates are improved--I guess it is not just a reprint? The information on the web site says:
495 pages
76 line drawings
64 color and black and white plates
Those are the same number of pages and figures as for the 1984 Peterson field guide.

This review says: "The bulk of the revisions are in the books introduction, including a new foreward by the author who explains that financial constraints required them to print the bulk of the book unchanged."

Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina

Moth Guides
We are planning on purchasing a Moth Guide at the Park. Could I have input as to the best Moth ID Guide. Is it the one listed here or is there a better one?

I bought a copy
I bought a copy solely because of the unavailability of the old edition. If you have the original, there is not much new here; as Dr. Covell says in the introduction, it's "virtually unchanged" except for updates in classification and names, due to either recent taxonomical changes or discoveries of errors in the original. You have to look for the corrections in the introduction - they are not changed in the main text, which is an exact reproduction of the original. From Dr.Covell's introduction:
"This Introduction is designed to provide a slight degree of revision, especially where names have changed and where the classification of the Lepidoptera has been revised. Updates cannot be included, unfortunately, in some areas such as ranges, immature stages and foodplants. The text, plate legends and indices are not changed."
The front cover has a photo of a Luna moth - that's the most dramatic difference!

Moth Guides
Thanks to everyone that commented. I did buy "The Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America". It has been helpful. However, I would like a field guide that showed photos of wings closed & opened. This one only shows opened. So, you have to use your imagination some on the closed wing.

Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern N. America
The new Peterson FG to Moths of NE A\North America does just what you requested. It shows moths in their natural resting position. Unfortunately for us in other parts of the U.S., it does not cover moths not found in the Northeast. Still, a very useful handbook.