It’s not often that I anticipate the release of a book as much as I have with the soon-to-be-released Field Guide to the Jewel Beetles (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) of Northeastern North America. Fortunately, the wait is now almost over—Morgan Jackson, author of Biodiversity in Focus and co-author of the book, has just announced its planned released in early 2013. Even better, he has provided a sneak peak at its contents that is as smartly designed as the book itself.
Obviously, as a serious student of the family Buprestidae, this book would make it into my bookshelf no matter what, and I plan to do a more detailed review of the book once I have a copy permanently in my hands. However, I can tell you that I am already very impressed with the design of the book and the quality of the product. I was fortunate to meet up with Morgan at last month’s Entomological Society of America meetings in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Morgan kindly allowed me to leaf through the carefully guarded copy he had with him (it was difficult handing it back to him). The Prezi preview for the book covers some of the more important features that will set this book apart from other field guides, but worthy of special mention are: 1) the minimum/maximum size silhouette figure in the upper left-hand corner of each species treatment—a tremendously useful feature, 2) inclusion of the both the author and date of the original description of the species (to keep us more taxonomically inclined happy), 3) super high quality dorsal and lateral habitus photographs and of additional key features to aid in identification, 4) geographical range maps coded to show both presumed and recorded ranges, and 5) keys to all treated species, richly augmented with high quality photographs.
There is another reason I am so excited about this book, and that is the authors chose my photograph of Buprestis rufipes (red-legged buprestis), one of North America’s most striking jewel beetle species, to grace the cover of the book. I also provided specimens of a number of uncommonly encountered species which were used for the photographs in their respective species treatments.
Quite remarkably, this book will be available at NO COST—including free shipping anywhere! As a consequence, the book will not be available from commercial book and literature sources. You can request your copy by emailing your mailing address to Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org. I don’t know how many copies of the book are being printed, but I have a feeling that supplies will not last long, and in the coming years one will have to beg/borrow/steal from a kindly old colleague to get a copy (you can have my copy when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers!).
Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2012