In instances where I have multiple field guides on one topic (birds, or wildflowers, for instance), each one serves its own purpose. Some of them are laid out so differently from each other, or contain such different information, that they complement each other nicely.
As much as I love my field guides, I will admit that they can be intimidating, especially when they cover a subject matter with which I am relatively unfamiliar (like anything that's outside of the realm of birds and wildflowers). This has been the case for me this year when trying to identify various spiders and insects. It reminds me of how I was when I first started birding: I would flip through virtually every page to find a bland brown bird that I had gotten a glimpse of for 2.5 seconds, only to find that every brown bird in the field guide looked virtually the same to my "new" birding eyes.
I figure it's frustrating for everyone at some time or another to use field guides, so I thought I would give you a quick run-through of how I narrowed the beetles in my previous post down to blister beetles (and more specifically, oil beetles).
First, I started off with a top-notch field guide to insects. If you spend any amount of time trying to figure out the identity of any kind of insect, BUY THIS BOOK:
bugguide.net, but the jury is still out on the definitive ID of this blister beetle.
My trusty Kaufman guide also lead me to ID this fantastic metallic-looking beetle as a Dogbane beetle, which was found on - you guessed it - a dogbane plant.
So folks, I'd like your feedback. Was this post helpful and/or informative? Would you like to see more posts like this? I do write this blog for me, but I also like to know if what I'm putting out there is striking a chord with anyone else. Please let me know in the comments! Thanks.