Cover image for Stokes beginner's guide to butterflies
Stokes beginner's guide to butterflies
Stokes, Donald W.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Little Brown, [2001]

Physical Description:
128 pages : illustrations (chiefly color), maps ; 12 x 18 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library QL542 .S76 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
Clarence Library QL542 .S76 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Grand Island Library QL542 .S76 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Kenmore Library QL542 .S76 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Lake Shore Library QL542 .S76 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
North Collins Library QL542 .S76 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



A pocket-size, brilliantly colorful, simple-to-use guide to butterflies, containing dozens of full-color photographs that enable readers of all ages to identify the most common species; range maps; tips on attracting butterlies, information on habitat needs, life cycle, food preferences; and much more.

Author Notes

Donald Stokes is one of the most trusted names in bird & nature writing. He divides his time between Carlisle, Massachusetts & Sanibel, Florida.

(Bowker Author Biography)



Introduction How to Identify Butterflies Welcome to Stokes Beginner's Guide to Butterflies . This is a user-friendly guide to identifying more than 100 of the most common and beautiful butterflies in North America. Inside the front cover you will find eight categories of butterflies, each represented by an approximately life-sized silhouette and some text. Each category is connected to a color tab along the edge of the guide which leads to a section of the guide. To identify a butterfly, match it to the category it most closely resembles. Then turn to the color tab section of that category and flip through the pages to find your butterfly. Within the section, the butterflies will be grouped by color and other characteristics to further help you. In addition, inside the back cover is an alphabetical index; this will help you quickly find a species for which you already know the name. To summarize, there are three easy steps to identifying a butterfly you have seen: 1.Look at the size, shape, and color of your butterfly. 2.Choose the category inside the front cover that best matches your butterfly. 3.Turn to the color tab section of that category and flip through the pages to identify what you have seen. Understanding the Eight Categories The eight categories into which we have grouped the butterflies are designedto help you narrow your choices as you try to identify butterflies you have seen. They are just guidelines, for obviously the butterflies do not fit neatly into categories. Each category is represented by an approximately life-sized silhouette. When you are in the field, you can use your hand as a rough measuring stick to help you determine large, medium, and small in butterflies. Large = The size of your fist. Medium = The size of the space created by touching the tip of your middle finger to the tip of your thumb. Small = The size of the outer joint of your thumb. Here are further descriptions of the eight categories: Large, with tails: These butterflies have tail-like projections off the back of their hindwings. Large, no tails: These butterflies have rounded wings with no tails. Medium-sized, angled wings: These butterflies have angular, jagged edges to the outer edge of their wings. Medium-sized, rounded wings, white or yellow: These butterflies have rounded wings and are mostly white, yellow, or orange. They stand out because of their light colors and relatively little pattern on their wings. Medium-sized, rounded wings, dark: These are basically all other medium-sized butterflies with rounded wings. Most are brownish, black, or have much patterning. Small, with tails: These butterflies have minute, hairlike tails that can be a little hard to see but are distinctive. Occasionally, the tails may be broken off. Small, no tails, thin-bodied: These are small butterflies with no tails. Their bodies are a fairly even thickness throughout and relatively thin. Small, no tails, thick-bodied: These small butterflies belong to a group called skippers. They have a thick body, especially their middle section, and they fly rapidly. Some of the smaller ones, when at rest, hold their forewings and hindwings at different angles. Understanding the Species Accounts This guide is designed not only to help you identify butterflies but also to help you understand and enjoy their lives and behavior and to show you how to attract them to your backyard. Here is a brief description of the types of information given for each species. Photographs -- For the individual accounts, we have tried to illustrate the most common positions in which each butterfly is seen. For butterflies that rarely rest with their wings open, we have shown only the underside of the wings. This can be more helpful than you might think, for in many of these species their upper surfaces vary in color and pattern depending on the season and the sex of the butterfly, while their undersurfaces remain fairly constant. For species that often rest with their wings open, we have shown the upper surfaces. In some cases, when it is especially important to identification, both the upper and undersides of the butterfly are shown. The photographs were taken by many skilled photographers, and their names are listed in the photo credits on page 20. Names -- The common name of each butterfly is listed at the top of each account. Many butterfly names have changed over the last ten years, but these are the most recent and up-to-date common names according to the North American Butterfly Association checklist. Beneath each common name is the scientific name of the species in italics. The first word is the genus name, the second is the species name. Butterflies that are closely related have the same genus name. Size -- Following the names is the size of the butterfly in a range of inches. Butterflies can vary in size depending on their sex, the season of the brood, and the nutrition gotten by the larva. Identification Description -- These descriptions are designed to point out key identifying features of a species. We describe the "Above" and "Below" of each species (unless they are not distinctive). These are the upper and lower surfaces of the wings. Used with the photographs, the descriptions will help you identify the butterfly you have seen. Habitat -- This section describes the habitats where the butterfly is most often found. There can be quite a bit of variety, especially in the case of species using different habitats in the East and the West. Adult Food -- Most adult butterflies feed on nectar, but some feed on tree sap, fruit, and a variety of other foods as well. This information can also help you know what to offer a species to attract it to your backyard. Larval Food -- This is a list of the plants that caterpillars of this species eat. These plants are essential to the life of the butterflies. If you plant them, you can attract the egg-laying adult females to your yard and promote butterfly conservation. Life History -- This section gives you an idea of how long each stage in the life of a particular butterfly species takes. It is just an approximation, since many factors can affect the length of a given stage, such as weather, season, and latitude. The life stages are described in greater detail in the next section of this introduction. Egg: This is the time spent in the egg stage. Larva: This is the time it takes for the larva, or caterpillar, to grow and change into the pupa, or chrysalis. Pupa: This is the time during which the caterpillar is transformed into an adult butterfly. Adult: This is the amount of time the adult lives and is actively flying about. Broods: This is the number of times this species completes its whole life cycle in one year. Since this can vary according to climate, we use N, S, E, and W to refer to northern, southern, eastern, and western portions of its North American range. Overwinters: Since many butterflies become dormant in winter, this indicates the stage of their life cycle in which they spend their dormancy in winter. Some species are dormant in the North but may remain active all winter in the South. For a few species, it is not yet known how they spend the winter. Range Maps -- For each species there is a range map showing where that species can be found in North America. There is still a great deal of work to be done on learning the ranges of butterfly species, so these maps are only a rough guideline to help you out. On the following pages of this introduction you will find information on butterfly life history, where to find butterflies, butterfly gardening and conservation, and other butterfly resources in books and on the Internet. Excerpted from Stokes Beginner's Guide to Butterflies by Donald Stokes and Lillian Stokes. Copyright © 2001 by Donald W. Stokes and Lillian Q. Stokes. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Google Preview