Butterflies Of The Lower Rio Grande, by Roland H. Wauer
The author provides some tips for understanding how the four features of butterfly identification (size, shape, color and pattern) should be done. I found it interesting that in many cases the only way to positively identify a particular species is a careful and close-up examination of the butterfly genitalia -- a process Wauer suggests should be reserved for a professional lepidopterist. He also explained the benefits of using close-focusing binoculars, which enables one to view specimens at distances less than six feet. What I found to be particularly useful is that the author provides detailed suggestions for finding specific species and a section on "similar species" that provides key features for differentiating between one or more similar species. I also really liked the checklist in the back of the book that readers can use for keeping track of their own butterfly field trips.
One of the places I learned about in this
book is the NABA International Butterfly Park located near
the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. This 83-acre park,
the first facility of its kind in the world, was designed
to attract a huge variety of butterflies. It's one place I
hope to visit someday soon. The full-color photographs of
the hundreds of butterflies profiled in this book are excellent.
Some of my favorites include the Great Purple Hairstreak,
the amazingly colored the Guatemalan Cracker, and the large
assortment of Swallowtails. This very cool book is a great
resource for identifying butterflies on your next road trip
to southern Texas.