Book Reviews -

Britain's Day-flying Moths: A Field Guide to the Day-flying Moths of Britain and Ireland by David Newland, Robert Still and Andy Swash
Paperback ISBN13: 978-0-691-15832-7
e-book ISBN13: 978-1-400-84690-0
224 pages, 200+ colour photos
155 distribution maps
Publishing date: 27th September 2013
Princeton University Press; 6 Oxford St, Woodstock, OX20 1TW.

Britain's Day-Flying Moths: Book Review

David Newland, Princeton University Press, 17.95.
A WILDGuides publication produced in association with Butterfly Conservation.

This book by David Newland, Robert Still and Andy Swash, is a concise photographic field guide designed to help you identify many of the day-flying moths found in Britain and Ireland. The book covers 133 macro moths with at least one photograph of each in natural resting position, and a brief description, with details of its life history and where and when to look for it. Quick facts are also included for each species and cover; where found, when flying, forewing length, larval foodplants and similar species. Distribution maps are also a useful feature, although, as with any printed publication, they were out of date the second the book left the printers. However, they do give a good general indication of the species distribution in Britain and Ireland.
(For current Norfolk distribution please see the website -

The book also covers some micro moths, although only 22 of the more common species are listed in the book. The danger here is that similar species have been excluded, although the author does ensure the reader is aware of this, for example: Tineola bisselliella (Common Clothes moth) "there are many similar species in the family Tineidae". The macro moths also contain details of similar species, although it would have been useful to see comparative images of some. Unfortunately the image of Latticed Heath used in the book is incorrect and is a Common Heath.

Book format follows previous WILDGuides publications with all relevant information regarding each species found on a single page. Additional information has also been included, with sections on how to distinguish butterflies and moths, biology, taxonomy, key family features, habitat, gardening for moths and a glossary. The summary data at the rear of the book is also a useful feature showing habitat, flights, foodplant, status and legislative protection information in a well-designed table.

This book would be a useful addition for beginners and intermediate-level lepidopterists to use in the field. It is well presented, in a clear format, and even comes with a protective PVC cover, and at a great price too!

Jim Wheeler -
11th November 2013

Available from 17.95

Published independently by Clifton&Wheeler 2012.
ISBN 978-0-9568352-1-5
Available from Anglian Lepidopterist Supplies

Conifer Moths of The British Isles: Book Review

Jon Clifton, Jim Wheeler - Clifton & Wheeler, 24.99.

Less than a year after the first in the series - the widely acclaimed Bird-dropping Tortrix Moths of the British Isles - Jon Clifton and Jim Wheeler have produced their second undertaking, this time concentrating on the moths found in conifer-based habitats. Being A5 in size, this glossy softback guide is very handy and will fit into a large coat pocket or small rucksack: very useful if out in the field, whether that be in remote Scottish Caledonian Forest or a coniferous plantation on Cannock Chase. At 129 pages, the guide aims to cover all 108 species of monophagous micro and macro moths whose larvae feed solely on pines and cypresses.

A short yet useful introduction describes the contents of the main species texts, and highlights several general allowances that must be made when one compares photo quality and colour interpretation in images of live and specimen moths. It stresses the need for a hand lens when observing captive and set moths, as well as suggesting that some difficult species may need to be examined to dissection level for definitive identification! Furthermore, it also categorises the two main food plant families and illustrates, with technical terms, the basic anatomy of a typical moth (showing the important morphological characteristics) using a mounted specimen??hugely helpful for comparing one species to another.

The main section of the book contains single species accounts that cover not only the 108 conifer moths, but also a further four micros and ten macros that are potential visual confusion species. Each page is headed with the scientific name alongside the appropriate British checklist number and the English name.


Available from Anglian Lepidopterist SuppliesSPECIAL OFFER
24.99 18 plus p&p

Published independently by Clifton&Wheeler 2011.
ISBN 978-0-9568352-0-8
Available from Anglian Lepidopterist Supplies

Bird-dropping Tortrix moths of the British Isles: Book Review

Jon Clifton, Jim Wheeler - Clifton & Wheeler, 18.00.

It is somewhat surprising that the burgeoning popularity of mothing, particularly amongst the birding fraternity, has not resulted in a deluge of publications to satisfy the thirst for knowledge of a new generation of enthusiasts.
Waring et al. and Skinner cover most of the bases when it comes to identifying macro moths, but for the micros it is a rather different story. The gold-standard multi-volume treatises are expensive and/or out of print and many people rely heavily on the internet or more experienced contemporaries when trying to put a name to micro moths.

Now, Jon Clifton and Jim Wheeler have produced an attractive and affordable guide that, for the bird-dropping Tortrix mimics at least, provides an excellent starting point for those who want to take their identification skills further and begin to get to grips with this difficult group.

The guide is a good-quality softback in A5 format. An introductory section explains the selection of the species covered - one person's list of what constitutes a bird-dropping mimic likely being different to another's. There is a useful explanation (by means of an interpreted photograph) of the technical terms used to describe the topology of a moth. Unless you are an expert, you will need to refer to this regularly when using the guide. The authors recommend the use of a hand lens in conjunction with the guide and emphasise that care should be used when interpreting the colours in the photographs.


Available from Anglian Lepidopterist SuppliesSOLD OUT

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