Field Guide to Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley Regions, by Arthur M. Shapiro and Tim Manolis, UC Press, 2007, 359 pages, $18.95
That butterflies are interesting comes as no surprise—they are charismatic, colorful, and often easy to spot. So it’s a simple task to convince us that butterflies are worth looking for. But this book goes much further than persuading us to notice these remarkable insects. In his informative and entertaining introduction, Shapiro exhorts us all to become “butterfly workers.” There’s citizen science waiting to be done, and this guide is ready to help us get to it. “Don’t just sit there,” Shapiro writes. “Do it.”
He certainly has. Insights from decades in the field inform chapters on butterfly biology, identification, and classification. The species accounts themselves, the functional core of the book, often read like mini-essays, much more than simple identifications. Manolis’s illustrations are detailed and useful and combine with the text to make a solid reference and an inspiring call to get into the field. [Dan Rademacher]
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