I was really excited several months ago to hear about the upcoming release of the Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America. I ordered my own copy as soon as I could! I like it very much overall, but there are some things that I think could be improved upon, as I detail below.
Although the book's region is pretty narrow, it has to be in order to treat such a large group in any detail. Even if you don't live in northeastern North America, I recommend this book for learning about moths, moth study, and recognizing some of the large moth families.
Not all moths are pollinators, but most of the large family Sphingidae play a role in pollination all over the world. This book includes almost 40 species of these moths, including nocturnal and diurnal feeders!
Like all Peterson guides, this one starts with information about body structure and the names of wing and other parts that are helpful in identification. There's a nice little range map at the beginning of the book that shows which states are included in the book's scope, and several introductory pages about observing, photographing, and further identifying moths. You'll even learn a little about moth taxonomy, life history, and conservation!
The images in the species accounts are great- I like that they show all the moths at rest- with their wings folded, because this is how they usually look when you find them! For moths with bright markings that are hidden when they're resting, there's also a photo of an individual with wings spread, so you can see them as well. Many pages in the species accounts also show the moths' actual size.
There are a couple of things that I think would make the book more beginner-friendly. First, there's a colored image next to the description of each moth, but I can't find an explanation of what this thing shows anywhere in the book. My guess is that it is a seasonal color code, with the flight season of the moth species shown with a black bar under the seasons' code. For someone who isn't familiar with natural history or field guides, this could be really confusing. A simple explanation of this at the beginning would suffice to explain it.
Second, I wish all the moths were shown with their complete range maps. There's no range map at all for the moths described until page 176. Does that mean that the moths without maps are found over the entire range covered in the book? The range maps that are shown only cover the range of the book... this makes sense in a way, but I'm interested in the full geographic range of these species, so I'll know if I might see it elsewhere.
Overall, I think this is a great resource for learning moth natural history information, families, and species identification techniques. Moths are an enormous group, and a guide covering everything about them wouldn't be practical for use in the field. Hopefully there will be an updated version in a few years that at least explains the mysterious colored bars!