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British Moths: A Photographic Guide to the Moths of Britain and Ireland

Field / Identification Guide
  • Covers 2,147 species, including 871 macros and 1,276 micros
  • Fully revised second edition includes 800 additional species
  • Distribution maps provided for every resident species

By: Chris Manley(Author)

352 pages, 3200+ colour photos, colour distribution maps

Bloomsbury Publishing

Hardback | Feb 2015 | Edition: 2 | #210449 | ISBN-13: 9781472907707
Availability: In stock
NHBS Price: £39.99 $51/€45 approx

About this book

Packed with stunning photographs, this photographic guide is the most comprehensive collection of British moth images ever published. Over 3,200 photographs create a visual feast that not only showcases the wealth and variety of moths in Britain and Ireland, but also provides an invaluable identification tool for experts and amateur naturalists alike. Uniquely, all the photographs are of living insects taken in natural conditions. The photographs are accompanied by a concise text that includes wingspans, status and distribution, flight periods, habitats and larval foodplants. This is the definitive photographic guide to British moths.

What's new in the 2nd edition (from the preface):
"When my editor, Nigel Redman, suggested considering a second edition I was thrilled. This would be the opportunity to build on the success of the first edition by adding a few new features.

First, I aimed to expand the coverage of the smaller moths considerably. Although many of these are not regularly seen as adults they can often be more readily identified by the feeding patterns left by the larvae in the food plant (the tiny adult Phyllonorycter acerifoliella on the front cover is easily spotted as a larva). Some of these mines are shown in the book. Others, such as the Coleophoridae, have larvae that build distinctive cases in which to travel around feeding. Second, the photographs have been rotated to achieve a similar alignment for ease of comparison. Third, each photo has a size bar beneath it, showing actual size. Finally, every resident species now has a distribution map which is an instant aid to identification. This new edition also gave me the chance to replace some of the pictures, either to take advantage of improvements in digital cameras or simply, as far as possible, to give the reader a brand new book.

In a nutshell, the new book has 2,147 species, comprising 871 macros and , 276 micros. This is 800 more species than the last edition. The extras are mainly micros. For the first time, all resident species are mapped. On the minus side, the new edition omits butterflies and caterpillars, so the new edition is simply the most comprehensive collection of photos of British Moths ever assembled."

"Drawings and paintings of moths are indispensable but the photographs in Chris's book complement these admirably and give the user more a "feel" for the moth. I have nothing but praise for this book and am constantly flicking through it. If you are at all interested in moths then buy it!"
– Dave Emley; County Moth Recorder for Staffordshire, BES Bulletin 46(4), December 2015

"The first edition of this popular photographic guide was published in 2008 as British Moths and Butterflies.  The second edition represents a significant revision, and has much new material to offer.

Although the new edition has exactly the same number of pages and is the same size as the first, it is now in a more robust hardback format; but the greater changes are inside.  Butterflies and larvae, which were included previously, are no longer covered, and the resulting space has been used to good effect by including an additional 800 species, mostly micro-moths, which now receive extensive coverage. The moths are listed in the order proposed in 2013 by Agassiz, Beavan and Heckford in their Checklist of the Lepidoptera of the British Isles, although the older Bradley and Fletcher numbers are also given.

Many new photographs have been included, including significant numbers of leaf mines, and those of adult moths are arranged where appropriate in a common orientation with the head to the upper right.  UK and Ireland species maps are included for the first time, and a dark line below photographs of adult moths indicates their typical length.

This is an excellent volume, and will justly be consulted alongside moth guides relying on artwork or set specimens to assist the ever increasing number of moth enthusiasts in identifying their catches."
- Graham Geen, BTO book reviews


Reviews of the first edition:

"Jam-packed with photographs [...] this book really is superb and the quality of the photographs excellent. I'd say that you should make room on your bookshelf for this but I suspect you will use it so frequently it will rarely be on the shelf!"
Bulletin of the Amateur Entomologists' Society (February 2009)

"A real breakthrough [...] There are two main points which make this book such a winner: the photographs and the range [...] I enthusiastically recommend this book."
The London Naturalist (December 2009)

"For relative beginners as myself, a good field guide is essential and the recently published British Moths & Butterflies by Chris Manley ticks all the right boxes as an introduction to this fascinating groupd of insects."
– (6 August 2009)

"One of the most comprehensive guides to the subject ever published."
Bexley Times (26 February 2009)

Related titles

See the previous edition

British Moths and Butterflies

Packed with the stunning photography of Chris Manley, this new photographic...

NHBS Price: £24.99 $32/€28 approx


Illustrated Index to Moth Families   4
Preface to the Second Edition   7
Acknowledgements   7
Introduction   8
How to See Moths   10
How to Photograph Moths   14
Classification and Distinguishing Features   15
Anatomy   16
Life Cycle of a Typical Moth   17

Species Descriptions   18

Bibliography and Further Reading   342
Index   344

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Chris Manley is an author, sculptor and moth specialist. Beyond his detailed knowledge of lepidopterans gained through years of study, Chris is an insect photographer of rare talent. His previous book The Moths of Trigon, is a photographic guide to the 500 species recorded in that corner of Dorset. He is also the compiler of a comprehensive app covering the Butterflies of Europe.

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