Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
By Ross H. Arnett
CRC Press, 2000
ISBN: 0-8493-0212-9
Cite: 2489 with citation markup [cite:2489]
If you're serious about identifying insects, you must have this book.

Why is this so expensive?
Would love to get this book but OMG... $150

Additional erroneous counts
I've had to correct a number of species counts for wasps cited to this book that just don't match any of the literature at all. A few are significantly inflated and don't even add up by counting subspecies. I do wonder how much the older bibliographic sources may affect that, especially if an older source were used for a family and a newer for a genus, or vice versa. For instance, this book sites over 140 spp. of Dasymutilla, whereas the current count is only 98 (111 prior to the 2020 revision). I have good reason to believe that the total count for Mutillidae is also wrong by a statistically significant margin, though this may require some manual counts to correct.

I've located the book at a nearby university, but access to any books is still closed due to COVID-19. When they finally open back up, I also plan on looking through what it includes for Neuroptera due to how much inaccurate information is published online (I've even caught several university websites giving misidentifications at the genus level).

all too often the numbers don't add up -- e.g., a family description may say, '188 spp. in NA' but the combined sp. counts of genera can easily give you a total of 700...
of course, some sections are much more reliable than others, but errors abound, so use the book with great caution and double-check the facts --which may take a lot of research.

Google Book preview

Offering a complete accounting of the insects of North America, this handbook is an up-dated edition of the first handbook ever compiled in the history of American entomology.

By using American Insects, A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico, Second Edition, the reader can quickly determine the taxonomic position of any species, genus, or higher taxon of insect known to occur in America and Canada. Every order, family, and genus is conveniently numbered and indexed, making this volume the only complete single source for all of the names of orders, families, and genera currently available.

This book fills the need for an accurate way to identify, with the several hundred drawings and photos, the common insects of all orders. Now there is a tool available to those working without a major collection and library; and those who would like to have a general knowledge of insect life without becoming overwhelmed by the vast number of minute insect species.

This usable guide provides sizes, shapes, color patterns and salient features of some species of each major family by pointing out those groups most likely to be encountered, including all North America pests.

It contains more than 1,200 photos and drawings.


Ross Harold Arnett, Jr. (1919-1999) was an American entomologist noted for his studies of beetles, and as founder of the Coleopterists Bulletin. - Biography per Wikipedia and the Florida Entomologist



Thank you
This is going on my wish list!

your welcome