Home Resume Essays Bibliographies Images Links Site Map E-mail me

Recommended Readings on Insects

Compiled by Terry Morse

Last modified: 20 March 2014

Table of Contents

Getting Started

Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders, by Lorus and Margery Milne. NY: Knopf, 1980.

A Field Guide to Insects: America North of Mexico, by Donald J. Borror and Richard E. White. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1970.

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies, by Robert Michael Pyle. NY: Knopf, 1981.

Life on a Little Known Planet: A Biologist's View of Insects and Their World, by Howard Ensign Evans. NY: Lyons and Burford, 1993.

A Guide to Observing Insect Lives, by Donald W. Stokes. Boston: Little, Brown, 1983.

North American Field Guides

Ants of North America: A Guide to the Genera, by Brian L. Fisher and Stefan P. Cover. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007.

Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders, by Lorus and Margery Milne. NY: Knopf, 1980.

A Field Guide to Insects: America North of Mexico, by Donald J. Borror and Richard E. White. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1970.

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies, by Robert Michael Pyle. NY: Knopf, 1981.

A Field Guide to Western Butterflies, 2nd ed., by Paul A. Opler, James W. Tilden, and Amy Wright.

Butterflies of Cascadia: A Field Guide to All the Species of Washington, Oregon, and Surrounding Territories, by Robert Michael Pyle. Seattle, WA: Seattle Audubon Society, 2002.

A Field Guide to the Beetles of North America, by Richard E. White. Boston: Houghton Miffllin, 1983.

Field Guide to Beetles of California, by Arthur V. Evans and James N. Hogue. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.

A Field Guide to the Moths of Eastern North America, by Charles V. Covell. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1984. (No corresponding Western edition)

Moths of Western North America, by Jerry A. Powell. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009.

Peterson's First Guide to Caterpillars of North America, by Amy Wright. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993.

Caterpillars in the Field and Garden: A Field Guide to the Butterfly Caterpillars of North America, by Thomas J. Allen, Jim P. Brock, and Jeffrey Glassberg. NY, Oxford University Press, 2005.

Dragonflies Through Binoculars : A Field Guide to the Dragonflies of North America, by Sidney W. Dunkle. NY: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Bugs of Washington and Oregon, by John Acorn and Ian Sheldon. Edmonton: Lone Pine Press, 2001.

Garden Insects of North America: The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs, by Whitney Cranshaw. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004.

A Field Guide to the Tiger Beetles of the United States and Canada: Identification, Natural History, and Distribution of the Cicindelidae, by David L. Pearson, C. Barry Knisley, and Charles J. Kazilek. NY: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Insects of the Pacific Northwest, by Peter Haggard and July Haggard. Portland, OR: Timber Press, 2006.

Field Guide to Plant Galls of California and Other Western States, by Ron Russo. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.

Bumble Bees of the Western United States, by Jonathan Koch, James Strange, and Paul Williams. Washington, D.C.: U.S.D.A. Forest Service, 2012.

Dragonflies and Damselflies of the West, by Dennis Paulson. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009.

Tracks & Signs of Insects and Other Invertebrates: A Guide to North American Species, by Charley Eiseman and Noah Charney. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole, 2010.

Common Spiders of North America, by Richard A. Bradley. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.

Field Guide to the Spiders of California and the Pacific Coast States, by Richard J. Adams. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014.

General Information Sources and Reference Works

Insect Life and Insect Natural History, by S.W. Frost. NY: Dover, 1959.

The Encyclopedia of Insects, ed. by Christopher O'Toole. NY: Facts on File, 1986.

Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia, Vol. 2: Insects, ed. by Bernhard Grzimek. NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1984.

1001 Questions Answered about Insects, by Alexander B. Klots and Elsie B. Klots. NY: Dover, 1961.

The Encyclopedia of Land Invertebrate Behaviour, by Rod and Ken Preston-Mafham. Cambridge, MA: MIT Pr., 1993.

Animal Architecture, by Karl von Frisch. NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1983.

Special Topics

The Thermal Warriors : Strategies of Insect Survival, by Bernd Heinrich. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999.

The Hot-blooded Insects: Strategies and Mechanisms of Thermoregulation, by Bernd Heinrich. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993. (A technical version of the previous book.)

Bumblebee Economics, by Bernd Heinrich. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979. (A very readable introduction to the ecology and energetics of bumblebee colonies for a general audience. Includes a pictorial guide to North American bumblebee species.)

A Fly for the Prosecution, by M. Lee Goff. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000. (Forensic entomology)

Maggots, Murder, and Men, by Zakaria Erzinclioglu. NY: Thomas Dunne Books, 2000. (Forensic entomology) (Entertaining case studies, but A Fly for the Prosecution gives a better picture of the actual practice of forensic entomology)

Life in Amber, by George O. Poinar, Jr. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992.

The Amber Forest: A Reconstruction of a Vanished World, by George Poinar, Jr., and Roberta Poinar. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999.

What Bugged the Dinosaurs?: Insects, Disease, and Death in the Cretaceous, by George Poinar, Jr., and Roberta Poinar. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008. (Fascinating discussion of insects known from Cretaceous amber and how they may have interacted with dinosaurs.)

Insects in Flight, by John Brackenbury. NY (?): Blandford, 1995.

Let's Go Buggy!: The Ultimate Family Guide to Insect Zoos and Butterfly Houses, by Troy Corley. Encino, CA: Corley, 2002. (www.letsgobuggy.com)

For Love of Insects, by Thomas Eisner. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003. (Chemical ecology - how insects use chemicals for defense against predators. A popular account of Eisner's career, research, and love of insects.)

What Good are Bugs?: Insects in the Web of Life, by Gilbert Waldbauer. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003. (Explores the ecological roles played by insects, most of which benefit humanity.)

Chasing Monarchs: Migrating With the Butterflies of Passage, by Robert Michael Pyle. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999. (Reminiscent of Edwin Way Teale’s award-winning American Seasons series, this is an engaging account of butterfly expert Pyle’s automotive effort to follow monarch butterflies migrating west of the Rocky Mountains. In particular, he is interested in whether all western monarchs overwinter in California, or whether some might join their eastern counterparts in the mountains of Mexico.)

Evolution of the Insects, by David Grimaldi and Michael S. Engel. NY: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Insects and Flowers: The Biology of a Partnership, by Friedrich G. Barth. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991.

The Natural History of Pollination, by Michael Proctor, Peter Yeo, and Andrew Lack. Portland, OR: Timber Press, 1996.

Techniques for Pollination Biologists, by Carol Ann Kearns and David William Inouye. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 1993.

Textbooks

The Insects: An Outline of Entomology, by P.J. Gullan and P.S. Cranston. NY: Chapman and Hall, 1994. (Organized by topic; highly recommended)

An Introduction to the Study of Insects , 6th ed., by Donald J. Borror, Charles A. Triplehorn, and Norman F. Johnson. Philadelphia: Saunders, 1989. (Organized by insect Orders; recommended for hard-core enthusiasts)

Specific groups of insects

Journey to the Ants: A Story of Scientific Investigation , by Bert Holldobler and Edward O. Wilson. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994.

Ants at Work: How an Insect Society is Organized , by Deborah M. Gordon. NY: Free Press, 1999.

Aquatic Entomology: The Fishermen's and Ecologists' Illustrated Guide to Insects and Their Relatives , by W. Patrick McCafferty. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett, 1998.

An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles , by Arthur V. Evans and Charles L. Bellamy. NY: Holt, 1996.

Butterflies and Moths: A Guide to the More Common American Species , by Robert T. Mitchell and Herbert S. Zim. NY: Golden Press, 1987.

Discovering Moths: Nighttime Jewels in Your Own Backyard, by John Himmelman. Camden, ME: Down East Books, 2002.

Dragonflies: Behavior and Ecology of Odonata, by Philip S. Corbet. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999.

Dragonflies of the World, by Joy Silsby. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001.

The Natural History of Flies, by Harold Oldroyd. NY: Norton, 1965.

Bumblebee Economics, by Bernd Heinrich. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979. (A very readable introduction to the ecology and energetics of bumblebee colonies for a general audience. Includes a pictorial guide to North American bumblebee species.)

The Natural History of Bumblebees: A Sourcebook for Investigations, by Carol A Kearns and James D. Thomson. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2001.

Wasp Farm, by Howard Ensign Evans. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985.

Studying and Observing Insects

The Practical Entomologist, by Rick Imes. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1992.

Adventures with Insects, by Richard Headstrom. NY: Dover, 1963.

A Guide to Observing Insect Lives, by Donald W. Stokes. Boston: Little, Brown, 1983.

Handbook for Butterfly Watchers , by Robert Michael Pyle. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1992.

For Kids

Incredible Insects , by National Wildlife Federation. NY: Learning Triangle Press, 1998.

Pet Bugs, by Sally Kniedel. NY: Wiley, 1994.

The Insect Workbook, by Anna Leahy. Lanham, MD: Entomological Society of America, 1994.

Essays on Insects

Life on a Little Known Planet: A Biologist's View of Insects and Their World, by Howard Ensign Evans. NY: Lyons and Burford, 1993.

The Insect World of J. Henri Fabre, by Jean-Henri Fabre. Boston: Beacon, 1991.

Near Horizons: The Story of an Insect Garden, by Edwin Way Teale. NY: Dodd, Mead, 1942.

Bugs in the System: Insects and Their Impact on Human Affairs , by May R. Berenbaum. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1996.

Insect Conservation

The Forgotten Pollinators , by Stephen L Buchmann and Gary Paul Nabhan. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1996.

Pollinator Conservation Handbook: A Guide to Understanding, Protecting, and Providing Habitat for Native Pollinator Insects, by Matthew Shepherd, Stephen L. Buchman, Mace Vaughan, and Scott Hoffman Black. Portland, OR: The Xerces Society, 2003. (http://www.xerces.org/Home.htm)

Rearing Insects

Keeping and Breeding Butterflies and Other Exotica , by John L.S. Stone. London: Blandford, 1992.

Caring for Insect Livestock: An Insect Rearing Manual , by Gary A. Dunn. Lansing, MI: Young Entomologists' Society, 1993.

Moths and How to Rear Them 2nd rev. ed., by Paul Villiard. NY: Dover, 1975.

Insect Gardening

Butterfly Gardening , rev. ed., by the Xerces Society and the Smithsonian Institution. SF: Sierra Club Books, 1998.

Spiders

Spiders and Their Kin, by Herbert W. Levi and Lorna R. Levi. NY: Golden Press, 1987. (An excellent introduction to spiders; useful for identification, too)

Biology of Spiders, 2nd ed., by Rainer F. Foelix. NY: Oxford Univ. Pr., 1996. (Technical, but very readable; a must if you are a spider afficionado)

Spiders: Learning to Love Them, by Lynne Kelly. Crows Nest, Australia: Allen and Unwin, 2009. (Popular book on spider-appreciation by a reformed arachnophobe. The author is Australian, so the book may not be as appealing to an American audience as one written featuring our familiar spiders. Nonetheless, it is worth reading for its natural history content.)

Videos

"Alien Empire" (Time-Life Videos)

"David Attenborough's Private Lives of Plants, vol. 3: The Birds and the Bees" (PBS Home Video)

"MicroCosmos" (Walt Disney Video)

John Acorn (The Nature Nut) videos

Websites recommended by Otylia Baranowski’s science students at the Colonial Academy

BugGuide.Net - Upload your insect and arachnid photos and get help identifying them.

Animal Planet Insect Facts

The Truth About Bed Bugs at bedbugs.org

Insects, Bugs and other Creepy Crawlies at Animal Corner

Super Bugs at the Flying Turtle Science and Technology Exploration Site

Home Resume Essays Bibliographies Images Links Site Map E-mail me