I want to start my review by apologizing! My first review is for a book that is out of print and commands big prices these days even on Amazon to own. With that being said let me also add that I cannot recommend this book more! I just hope that the reason it is no longer available is that a newer, updated version is in the works!
“Butterflies Of The East Coast: An Observer’s Guide” by Rick Cech and Guy Tudor, is without a doubt, the best guide to East Coast butterflies. Since I live in Rhode Island this was a book that I bought when it was released in 2005 and was not disappointed at all when it arrived. This book is everything a field guide should be, even though it is oversized (9″ x 11″ and weighs over 3 pounds) and would be cumbersome to take in the field. If you want a pocket guide, then I would recommend any of the available smaller field guides to take with you but for home study, this book cannot be beat!
All species are covered in great detail with full color photos throughout, providing information that the smaller guides could only hope to have. As with most guides, the book is broken down by families (after a 58 page Introduction) and then broken down into individual species. Each species then has color pictures showing dorsal and ventral views as well as, in many cases, images of the larval foodplants. Detailed descriptions are also provided on identification through dorsal and ventral markings, favorite habitats, hostplants, where they occur and ecology. Where different forms are available, they are covered as well.
This is definitely a coffee-table book and if you were fortunate enough to obtain a copy when it was in print then you know why I recommend it so highly. Regular field guides feature smaller pictures and information printed so small that at times it is hard to read. Those books do have their merits (and I will be reviewing many of those next) but this is THE guide to butterflies indigenous up and down the East Coast of the United States. If you can find a used copy that is reasonably priced, I highly recommend grabbing it while you can!