This book will be an essential reference if you have an interest in the life histories of the micro-moths, but it is not a photographic identification guide and contains no illustrations of the moths.
Thirty years after publication of Maitland Emmet's A Field Guide to the Smaller British Lepidoptera (2nd edition, 1988), this third edition has the same format, with the addition of thumbnail distribution maps. The title has been slightly altered for this third edition, as much has been updated, reflecting the amount of new knowledge accrued since that book, and many new species have been added, making this almost a new guide.
This book is designed as an essential guide for anyone interested in finding micro-moths. For every species that breeds in Great Britain and Ireland, the full life-history details are set out concisely in a standard way, with a thumbnail map. Two complementary ways are provided to identify species. A species index allows the user to find a particular species in the text, where there is information on how to find its larval stages. A foodplant index enables the user to identify the possible micro-moth species feeding on that foodplant, therefore narrowing down the identity of any larvae or pupae found.
"[...] For readers who are not familiar with the various incarnations that have come before, this is a field guide. Not in the same sense as [...] pictorial guides [...] This is not the kind of book that lets you flick through the pretty pictures and pick the one that looks most like a moth you may have in a pot. Instead, this is a much more powerful tool for the field lepidopterist. [...] The lack of pictures may put some readers off, but that isn't what this book is about, and the information contained within the text should be more than adequate to enable an identification to be reached (or at least closed in on) when an immature stage is found. [...] Just like its predecessors, this is an essential book for anyone with an interest in microlepidoptera. [...]"
– David Slade, Atropos 62, 2018
"It may come as a surprise to those not familiar with previous editions of this book to learn that this is a field guide with no pictures, save the six photographs on the front cover. [...] It is hard to find fault with a book which contains such a wealth of information. Not everyone is interested in seeking micro-moths in the field, but it is hoped that this guide will inspire more naturalists to do so. It deserves to be on every microlepidopterist’s bookshelf."
– George Tordoff, British Wildlife 29(6), August 2018