Book Announcement: Field Guide to the Jewel Beetles (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) of Northeastern North America

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 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

19 thoughts on “Book Announcement: Field Guide to the Jewel Beetles (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) of Northeastern North America

  1. Bruce Gill had a copy at Fred Skillman’s beetle party this summer and I got a (too short!) peek at it. Great book! I’ve emailed my request for a copy! Now for a Field Guide to the Jewel Beetles of SOUTHWEST North America!

  2. Wow, thanks for the heads-up–I just requested my copy! Also, your photo is fantastic — your work constantly reminds me that I need to get my act together put together a decent flash diffuser. With my current setup I could never do justice to a shiny beetle like that.

    • No diffuser I can come up with would produce a photo like that either. I used a white box with indirect flash—it’s the only way I know of to get the lighting so completely and uniformly diffuse.

  3. Congrats to you and your buprestophile colleagues on what looks to be a really valuable addition to the literature!
    A question: How well does the book cover the fauna around our area (mid-Mississippi Valley)?

    • I haven’t been able to check it yet to see how well the coverage applies to Missouri, but since the large majority of our species have eastern/northeastern affinities I expect the the gap to be small – perhaps missing only the few south-central and strictly southeastern species that make it up this far.

  4. Ted,
    I can’t help but think you MUST be playing some sort of prank on Morgan. FREE? I sent in my request. By the way, I’m completely redoing ALL the labels in my fledgling coleopteran collection. I hope you guys are happy, now. At least, all the work is keeping me out of the saloons this winter.

    • Yes, I was shocked by the cost as well.

      Regarding labeling, that’s what you get for trying to reinvent the wheel! 🙂 I keep a magnifying glass on my desk and use it frequently – small price to pay for the vastly increased efficiency of what is sure to eventually become limited storage space. In the long run, you’ll be happier and will thank us for sending you down the right path while your collection was still in the “fledgling” stage.

  5. Thanks, Ted. I’ve put my order in – sounds very interesting (and the price is right, but I’d almost like to pay Morgan / the Canadian Government for their efforts).

  6. Pingback: Jewel Beetle Field Guide Update » Biodiversity in Focus Blog


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