Insects of the Pacific Northwest by Peter Haggard and Judy Haggard

Insects of the Pacific NorthwestThis field guide, published in 2006, has lovely photographs of 425 of the 28,000 species of insects in the Pacific Northwest. There is a brief and helpful discussion of scientific classification, insect anatomy, and insect growth and development. The guide also includes photographs of plant galls that have been induced by insects.

I was most interested in identifying my backyard insects, especially the bumblebees. Unfortunately, I didn’t get far. The Haggards show two species of bumblebees and mine was neither one. I was able to identify another flying insect as a butterfly, rather than a moth, thanks to the guide. At rest it held it white wings vertically over its body rather than laying them more flat. But, this particular butterfly also was not in the guide. I figured out much less about the flying bug with the distinctive red head.

The problem, I think, is not the Haggards or mine. It’s just the thousands and thousands of species. Given the necessary gaps in the guide as well as the gaps in a beginner’s knowledge, it’s probably most realistic to use this guide to identify order and family, but not to expect to identify genus and species. Maybe you’ll get lucky, but the numbers suggest that you won’t.

Reviewed by Lily

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