Friday, November 20, 2009

Gift Ideas

As I write this there are only thirty-four (34!) shopping days left until Christmas. I therefore consider it my obligation to inform you of a couple of wonderful gift choices perfect for the entomologists in your family.

I am pleased to recommend a brand new regional insect guide for residents of, and visitors to, the upper reaches of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, as well as the fine folks in adjacent Canada. Insects of the North Woods, by Jeffrey Hahn, is the latest offering in the "North Woods Naturalist Series" published by Kollath+Stensaas Publishing in Duluth, Minnesota.

This little gem of 246 pages covers most of the common families of insects likely to be encountered in that region of North America. I can personally attest to the effort that goes into assuring the utmost quality of this entire series, well worth one's investment because of their user-friendly nature, lavish photography, and compact size. Since most of the species profiled also occur elsewhere in eastern North America, the geographic slant to these publications is of minimal consideration. They are a handy reference almost anywhere east of the Rockies.

Much as I hate to "toot my own horn" as they say, you might also consider picking up a copy of my Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, authored by myself and naturalist extraordinaire Kenn Kaufman. Kenn really doesn't get enough credit for this book because he is modest to a fault, and won't readily admit that he wrote the sections on moths and butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies, and many of the grasshoppers and crickets. Oddly, his finely-honed skills at editing text and images, and layout of plates seem to constantly take a back seat to his expertise in world bird fauna and rock guitar-playing.

The North Woods guides and Kaufman guides in general make excellent complementary gifts sure to please the naturalist who has everything (else). Please feel free to share your own favorite books, gadgets, and other bug-related products in the comment section of this post. I'll be eager to hear what has served you well in the field and your library. Happy holidays, friends.


  1. Hi Eric,
    I really like the Kaufman's Guide. I bought it after posting several images at Bug Guide and then getting them ID'd by one of the authors (guess who!). That led me to the book, with which I am very pleased. Before that I was using the Audubon field guide, but I always find their stuff a little klunky since the photos and descriptions are on separate pages, and then you hafta figure out of they're referencing page numbers or plate number, or something else.

    Anyhow, thanks for the id's at BG, and thanks for the book!

  2. I love, love, love the Kaufman insect guide. I have an old copy of Audubon insects and I usually forget I even have it. The Kaufman guide has steered me through so many identifications and I like that the text is interesting comments on natural history. If I could think of people in my family who would appreciate one for Christmas I'd be all over it as a gift, but the entomologists of my family all already have copies. ;

    That said, like most naturalists I have a book fetish and will check this northwoods guide out, sounds interesting and appropriate to our area.

  3. Eric I too own the Kaufman guide to insects, and I have to agree with the others that it is a supremely useful guide. It is very easy to use and has helped me on numerous occasions to ID specimens. I also like the NWF guide to Insects and Spiders of North America. A friend of mine recently published a field guide: "A Photographic Field Guide to Butterflies in the Kansas City Region" Her name is Betsy Betros, and although this guide specifies KC, these butterflies will most likely be found anywhere in the Eastern US and possibly parts of the Western US. It is a beautiful guide, written in a format that is unlike any I've ever seen, and absolutely full of hundreds of color photographs of all stages and color forms of these gorgeous flying flowers. I use it often. Sure to please any butterfly lover!

  4. Thanks for the love fest, folks:-) Thanks, MObugs, for the tip on the butterfly guide....My good friend Art Evans did the National Wildlife Federation insect guide, and I highly recommend it, too.

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