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The Butterflies of Iowa [Paperback]

Dennis W. Schlicht , John C. Downey , Jeffrey C. Nekola

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Book Description

May 1 2007 Bur Oak Book
This beautiful and comprehensive guide, many years in the making, is a manual for identifying the butterflies of Iowa as well as 90 percent of the butterflies in the Plains states.
    It begins by providing information on the natural communities of Iowa, paying special attention to butterfly habitat and distribution. Next come chapters on the history of lepidopteran research in Iowa and on creating butterfly gardens, followed by an intriguing series of questions and issues relevant to the study of butterflies in the state.
    The second part contains accounts, organized by family, for the 118 species known to occur in Iowa. Each account includes the common and scientific names for each species, its Opler and Warren number, its status in Iowa, adult flight times and number of broods per season, distinguishing features, distribution and habitat, and natural history information such as behavior and food plant preferences. As a special feature of each account, the authors have included questions that illuminate the research and conservation challenges for each species.
    In the third section, the illustrations, grouped for easier comparison among species, include color photographs of all the adult forms that occur in Iowa. Male and female as well as top and bottom views are shown for most species. The distribution maps indicate in which of Iowa's ninety-nine counties specimens have been collected; flight times for each species are shown by marking the date of collection for each verified specimen on a yearly calendar.
    The book ends with a checklist, collection information specific to the photographs, a glossary, references, and an index. The authors' meticulous attention to detail, stimulating questions for students and researchers, concern for habitat preservation, and joyful appreciation of the natural world make it a valuable and inspiring volume.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Iowa Press; 1 edition (May 1 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587295334
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587295331
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 17.9 x 24.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g

Product Description


" Without a doubt, this is the most comprehensive guide to butterflies in Iowa. It provides information regarding both historic and present-day distributions relative to landforms, plant resources, and specific natural areas. In addition to the standard morphological descriptions, each species is described relative to flight time, natural history, and particular questions that need future research. An excellent source!" -- Diane Debinski, Iowa State University

About the Author

Dennis Schlicht is an advanced placement biology instructor at George Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; he has been studying butterflies for more than forty years. Entomologist John Downey (1926-2005) retired in 1988 as graduate dean of the University of Northern Iowa; prior to that he was chair of the biology departments at UNI and Southern Illinois University. Jeff Nekola is currently an adjunct associate professor in the Biology Department at the University of New Mexico.

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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Iowa Butterflies Sept. 8 2008
By J.V. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Finally, we have a guide that is specific to Iowa!

The authors have done a great job putting together information about each species - more detail than you can find in many guides.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid, thorough reference with quality photos of all IA species Aug. 21 2008
By Jack Holloway - Published on Amazon.com
Basics: 2007, softcover, 233 pages, 118 species, 392 color photos, distribution maps, seasonal flight bar-charts

This book covers all butterflies known from Iowa. Each is shown by color photographs that are of good quality and size. Both the dorsal and ventral views are shown. Unless there are insignificant differences between the sexes, both the male and female are illustrated with both dorsal/ventral photos. Some of the species (e.g., sulphurs) are shown with six photos when notable variations exist.

Each butterfly is covered with about one-half page of text. This includes status, seasonal flight dates, and a quick mention of the distribution and habitat. A paragraph is dedicated to the distinguishing features of the butterfly. This is written clearly with good details. Many of the descriptions include brief notes on differences from a similar species.

A unique inclusion is a "Questions" section that concludes the text for each butterfly. These questions address holes in the knowledge for each species. Hopefully, these will spur butterfly enthusiasts to fill in the gaps of natural history information. Examples include "What are the larval hosts?", "Why is it absent from seemingly appropriate fen and wet prairie sites in ne Iowa?", and "How do populations synchronize the flights of individual adults?".

The Iowa distribution map for each butterfly includes a dot within each county to represent the butterfly's presence. Adjacent to each map is a seasonal flight chart.

This is a great book. I really like its format with the photos, maps, and text. The only minor critique I'd offer is to use the page number instead of the Opler/Warren number to match the photo with the text. It's a tiny bit inconvenient to find butterfly #422 when flipping through the pages since many numbers are not included (because the species are not found in Iowa). Thus, it's a little unnatural to find butterfly #422 by skipping over missing numbers to find it immediately between #s 403 and 432. However, this is still minor.

Since this book covers nearly 90% of the butterflies in the adjoining plains states, this will be a very useful book for Midwestern butterfly enthusiasts to have in their library.

I've listed several related books below...
1) Butterflies & Moths of Missouri by Richard
2) Field Guide to Butterflies of South Dakota by Marrone
3) Butterflies of North America by Brock/Kaufman
4) The Butterflies of North America by Scott
5) National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice book, great local reference for new butterfly enthusiasts June 12 2014
By hortguy511 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a very good starting point for serious new butterfly folks. What I liked most was the butterfly's story: life stages, overwintering, migration, ID tips. I was able to confirm a "Little Yellow" sighting by looking at the photos of mounts, but otherwise those photos were of limited use to me. That's the only reason for a 4 instead of a 5 star rating.
5.0 out of 5 stars Butterfly guide for Iowa Oct. 2 2013
By Mary Jo Hartogh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lots of butterfly guides, but none that specialize with field maps just for Iowa. I like the multiple examples in cases where they might look a little different due to season or wear. Everyone should have one.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great reference on Iowa Butterflies Feb. 8 2008
By Leo Lady - Published on Amazon.com
There's lots of details on butterflies in this book. It includes some good photos for identifying as well as discussion of ranges within Iowa. Product arrived in just a few days.

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