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butterflies and dragonflies steal the limelight, the vast majority of
species are either beetles, flies, true bugs, or Hymenoptera (made of
ants, bees and wasps). Too much diversity in fact for most
naturalists. Too much diversity also results in few
field guides. Those that are comprehensive can be rather
technical. So with the majority of orders that follow I mark
a star resources that experienced amateur naturalists can utilize
without too much difficulty.
While beetles are the most diverse order of insect in the world they are second place to flies in Canada. Tiger beetles and lady bugs are the most popular types of beetles.
Black and white illustration based with color photographic plates. A good place to start learning about our beetles.
American Beetles Volume 1 & 2 GB AM(Vol 1) AM(Vol 2)
Reference. Illustrated key, black and white. These two comprehensive books provide keys to identify North American beetles to genus level and provide references that go to species level. So with a bit of work (well actually a lot of work) you could identify any beetle species in our area. Quite expensive.
A Manual of Common Beetles of Eastern North America Vol 1 & 2 GB
*An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles GB
A coffee table book for beetles.
How to Know the Beetles GB Am
Illustrated key, black and white.
*Beetles in the Bush Web resources about beetles
Tiger beetles are mostly found in sandy habitats and they can run very fast. Their hunting technique is run and stop, run and stop.
Illustration based, species profile separate. A comprehensive reference is tiger beetles include the various subspecies. Relative to the awesome diversity of beetles in general, you can only find between ten and twenty tiger beetle species in any area. Ontario has fourteen species.
*Tiger Beetles of Alberta: Killers on the Clay, Stalkers on the Sand GB
Photograph based, long species profiles. Life histories are presented in an interesting way.
*Tiger Beetles of West Virginia Full PDF (Two states away)
*Tiger Beetles of Ontario Photograph based. A good local field guide
*Wisconsin Tiger Beetles Photograph based. A slick looking field guide from a neighboring state, with descriptions and personal notes
*Tiger beetles of the United States
Photograph based, long species profiles. Only popular guide to ladybugs in North America. The species mismatch is massive because it is written for Alberta but the text is interesting to read. Tiger Beetles of Alberta is also by the same author, John Acorn.
The Coccinellidae (Coleoptera) of America North of Mexico Text Technical monograph.
Studies in Coccinellidae Review PDF Extremely old, but full view
*Everything About Ladybugs
*Lady Beetles of Ontario is the recommended field guide for lady beetles. It also comes in two posters: a short one and a more detailed one and as a lucid key
Illustration and photograph based. Two states over
Illustrated Key to the Longhorned Woodboring Beetles of the Eastern United States Pub
Field Guide to Northeastern Longhorned Beetles Pub
*A Photographic Catalog of the Cerambycidae of the New World
*Cerambycids.com Images of long-horned beetles
*The Elaphidiini Beetle Site Nocturnal Longhorned Woodboring Beetles. Catalog, key.
Information on fireflies is sparse. You can get a life history on two common species of fireflies in the
*Fireflier companion. The Natural Heritage Information Centre has a species list of fireflies we get in Ontario. Personally I want a guide to the flashing patterns of fireflies. This is the only resource I found: Flashing patterns of fireflies (Lampyridae). Keep in mind that fireflies sometimes mimic the flashing patterns of other species so seeing a flashing pattern will not conclusively identify a species for you. For general information on fireflies check out Firefly FAQ's and The Firefly Files.
Other Groups of Beetles
Jewel Beetles: *The World of Jewel Beetles
Leaf Beetles: Host List of Leaf Beetle Species Occurring in the United States and Canada Pub
Leaf Beetles: Catalog of Leaf Beetles of America North of Mexico Pub
Flea Beetles: Handbook of Palearctic flea beetles Illustrated key.
Flea Beetles: *Flea Beetles of North Dakota Photographic key.
Ground Beetles: Ground Beetles of Canada Photograph based.
Ground Beetles: Carabidae of the World Database, photos, no key.
Scarab Beetles: The Scarabaeoid Beetles of Nebraska Pub Illustrated key, close-ups, species profile separate.
Scarab Beetles: *Generic Guide to New World Scarab Beetles Photographic key.
Potato Beetles: The Potato Beetles: The Genus Leptinotarsa in North America (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae) GB Text key.
Bark & Ambrosia Beetles: The Bark and Ambrosia Beetles of North and Central America (Coleoptera: Scolytidae), a Taxonomic Monograph Full view
Hispine Beetles: The Hispine Beetles of America North of Mexico (Chrysomelidae: Cassidinae) *Pub Images Illustrated key.
Net-winged Beetles: Phylogeny of the tribe Erotini (Coleoptera, Lycidae), with descriptions of new taxa Full text
Weevil Beetles: Rhynchophora or Weevils of North Eastern America Full Text
Silken Fungus: Atomariinae of Atlantic Canada Photographic key. Silken fungus beetles
Orthoptera: Grasshoppers, Katydids and Crickets
The appeal of orthoptera is that many have songs and mating displays. A recommended piece of gear for orthoptera are breathable ziplock bags. Cheap and doesn't fry or suffocate the bugs you are trying to identify. Ziplock breathable bags
*Field Guide To Grasshoppers, Katydids, And Crickets Of The United States Am Ch
Photograph based, illustrated key. My top recommendation. Beautifully illustrated color plates. Good illustrated key. Downsides are it covers only 1/3 of the species and splits pictures from species accounts. Makes a great beginner's guide. A companion website, Singing Insects Of North America, has useful recordings and covers all the species of crickets and katydids of North America. The website also covers some cicadas (in the order true bugs).
How to Know the Grasshoppers, Cockroaches, and Their Allies GB
Illustrated key. Pretty old so much of it is out of date but has more detailed information on some groups. Will fill most of the gaps not covered in the above guide.
*Orthoptera of Michigan >> GB
Photograph based, text key. A guide that covers all the species of Michigan. It has good life history information. This should fill in many species not in the first book.
*Guide to the Grasshoppers of Wisconsin >>
Photograph based, species profiles separate, partially illustrated key in black and white. May fill in a few more gaps, particularly for those living in western Ontario. Out of print but has a free PDF.
*Guide Sonore et Visuel des Insectes Chanteurs du Québec et de l'Est de l'Amérique du Nord. Pub Pub(English Translation)
This is a guide to the orthoptera of Quebec. It includes a CD of insect songs which includes cicadas which are not orthoptera. If you read French this may be the most useful field guide for these type of insects.
The North American Grasshoppers Vol 1 & 2 GB
Partly illustrated key, black and white, close-ups. This will cover all the grasshoppers but it is too big to carry into field.
*Guide to Night-Singing Insects of the Northeast GB
Illustration based, CD included. Covers the species found of New England, New York and New Jersey.
*Singing Insects Of North America Photograph based, illustrated keys, sound files, sonograms. A companion site to the book Field Guide To Grasshoppers, Katydids, And Crickets Of The United States. This site has complete coverage of crickets and katydids.
*Tree Crickets Photograph and video based. Includes all the tree crickets of US and Canada. Detailed life history.
*Grasshoppers of the Canadian Prairies Photograph based. Covers common species. Has links to grasshopper field guides in PDF format and other useful information.
*Songs of Insects More insect song.
Orthoptera Species File Online Taxonomy database.
Orthoptera of the Northern Great Plains Text key with photographs at the endpoints of the key. North and South Dakota
Diptera: True Flies
Flies show the greatest species diversity of the orders of insects in Canada.
Flies: The Natural History and Diversity of Diptera Am
Highly recommended. Loaded with images and information. Heavy book.
*Field Guide to the Syrphidae of Ontario. Photograph based. While studying flower flies aka hover flies is popular in Europe this website is a first for Ontario. You may it distasteful the fact the insects are impaled for the purpose of the website. Sometime in 2010 a book on all the flower flies in Northeastern North America will be produced.
*Robber Flies from wisconsinbutterflies.org Photograph based. An attractive and useful online field guide to robber flies for our neighbor state Wisconsin. Good photographs and life histories.
Robber Flies A central site for robber flies. Keys available, some photographic.
Laphria Meigen s. str. in Eastern North America Photograph based.
*The Bee Flies (Diptera: Bombyliidae) of Ontario, with a Key to the Species of Eastern Canada Photographic key.
*Crane Flies of Pennsylvania Photographic key. Technical terminology.
Incredibly there are field guides to both mosquitoes and black flies complete with range maps and coverage of all the species in North America north of Mexico. These books are not only useful for keen field observers (with patience for scientific jargon) but also researchers and for people involved in mosquito or black fly control programs.
The Black Flies (Simuliidae) of North America GB Reference.
The black fly book is more detailed and probably includes hard to read research reports. It includes species descriptions and in fact contains nearly all published information on black flies. The mosquito book is mostly a detailed key.
*Photographic Key to the Adult Female Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) of Canada Photographic key.
*Tabanidae of Canada, east of the Rocky Mountains Photographic key. Horseflies of eastern Canada.
Other True Flies
*Anatomical Atlas of Flies Spiffy atlas to the anatomical features of several flies.
Herschel Raney's Diptera Keys Bunch of keys to various families of flies
USDA Diptera Site A worldwide portal to true flies. Links to many sites with keys or other information on specific families of flies. Families inside the site. Quite a few links are broken at the present time.
Identification Manual for the Larval Chironomidae (Diptera) of North and South Carolina Illustrated key, black and white, close-ups. Non-biting midges
Bird Blow Fly Keys to the Genera and Species of Blow Flies (Diptera:Calliphoridae) of America North of Mexico - Terry Whitworth Text key, black and white illustrations.
Tachinidae chapter by Wood from Manual of Nearctic Diptera
Morphology, higher-level phylogeny and classification of the Empidoidea (2006 Zootaxa paper by Sinclair and Cumming)
A Catalog of the Diptera of America North of Mexico Full text Text key, color plates.
Destructive and Useful Insects: Their Habits and Control Am
The Plant-Feeding Gall Midges of North America GB
The Chironomidae (Non-biting midges, keys to subfamilies on page 53) GB Illustrated key, black and white.
Hemiptera: True Bugs
True bugs are an immensely diverse order of bugs but few books or websites cover specific families of true bugs.
Catalogue of the Hemiptera of American North of Mexico: Vol. 2 Full Text
The Pentatomoidea (Hemiptera) of Northeastern North America GB Text key. Stink bugs, keys, no photos, illustrations
Heteroptera of Eastern North America Full text Illustrated key, black and white.
How to Know the True Bugs GB Illustrated key, black and white.
*ScaleNet A portal for scale bugs. You can find identification keys for scale bugs from this website.
Another singing insect group. We get only one or possibly two species of these species. Accounts of these species can be found at *Great Lakes Cicada Page. Another website to check out: *Cicadas of Michigan
Hymenoptera: Ants, Bees, Wasps
Another diverse order of bugs with few relatively accessible resources.
Illustrated key, black and white, close-ups. Photographic plates. The only general field guide in North America for ants. It covers down to the genera of ants.
Bolton's Catalogue of Ants of the World 1758-2005 GB
For the ultimate reference, on a CDROM this resource covers 14450 species and subspecies of ants and all the taxonomic papers from 1758 to 2005. Quite a bit of information!
Carpenter Ants Of The United States And Canada GB
Illustrated key. Color plates. Range maps, chapters on various behaviors.
*Ants of North America
The Bumble Bees of Algonquin Provincial Park: A Field Guide Pub Review
*Bee Genera of Canada Photographic key.
*Types of Bees Photograph based. Life history information for each type of bee.
All the following books are rather technical with a few exceptions.
Parasitic Wasps GB Biology of parasitic wasps mostly.
Annotated Keys to the Genera of Nearctic Chalcidoidea GB Text keys with some black and white photos and illustrations, close-up.
The Natural History and Behavior of North American Beewolves GB
A family of solitary wasps.
Natural History and Evolution of Paper-Wasps GB Text keys.
Aleiodes wasps of eastern forests: A guide to parasitoids and associated mummified caterpillars Full Text Photograph based.
Yellowjackets of America North of Mexico GB
Sphecid wasps of the world: a generic revision GB Text keys, some illustrations, black and white.
*The Man Who Loved Wasps: A Howard Ensign Evans Reader GB
*Solitary Wasps: Behavior and Natural History GB
*Wasps Pictures of wasps.
*Identification Atlas of the Vespidae (Hymenoptera, Aculeata) of the northeastern Nearctic region Photographic key.
*Sphecid Wasps of Michigan Photograph based. (Thread-waisted Wasps) Life histories
*Handbook of Nearctic Chalcidoidea Illustrated key with photographs. Parasitic family of wasps that prey on pupae of butterfly, moths, flies and maggots.
*Solitary Wasps Videos. Dick Walton - Natural History Services - Online Video
Mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies and other aquatic insect orders are mostly of interest to people who do fly-fishing. These aquatic insects are great bioindicators and is a chance for "fly-fishermen" to contribute to science if they tracks these insects. Flyfishing Entomology is the main site on the internet about this topic. From that website is their recommended books and entomology bookshelf.
Troutnet.com A portal for fly-fishing for trout. Identification resources for most aquatic orders of bugs, especially mayflies, caddisflies and stoneflies.
Photograph based, black and white and color plates. Genus level, North America. Great color photographs.
*Mayflies: Major Eastern and Midwestern Hatches GB
Photograph based. Common mayflies. Great photography.
Mayflies of Michigan Trout Streams GB
Illustration based. Species level, with illustrations of nymphs, wing venation, and genitalia
*Mayflies the Angler and the Trout GB
Species level keys, very detailed.
Mayflies, An Angler’s Study of Trout Water Ephemeroptera GB
Illustration based, reference.
Illustration based, black and white. Definitive reference.
*The Caddisfly Handbook GB
*Caddisflies: A Guide to Eastern Species for Anglers and Other Naturalists GB Am
Caddisflies: The Underwater Architects GB Text key with some black and white illustrations.
Genera of the Trichoptera of Canada and Adjoining or Adjacent United States
Photograph based. Species level, color photographs, adults and immatures
*Stoneflies for the Angler GB >> Photograph based.
Nymphs of North American Stonefly Genera Am GB
Aquatic Insect Orders
Mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies
*An Angler’s Guide to Aquatic Insects And Their Imitations Am
Species level but generalized, all types, adults and immatures, general .
Aquatic Entomology: The Fishermens Guide and Ecologists Illustrated Guide to Insects and Their Relatives GB
Illustrated key, black and white. Illustrated plates, color. Great textbook on aquatic entomology.
Guide to Aquatic Invertebrates of the Upper Midwest PDFs Illustration based
*Fishbugs: The Aquatic Insects of an Eastern Fly Fisher GB
Aquatic Insect Orders - Immature
*Nymphs Volume II: Stoneflies, Caddisflies, and Other Important Insects ... GB
*The Hatches Made Simple GB
Larvae of the North American Caddisfly Genera (Trichoptera) GB
Other Insect Orders
Stick Insects of the Continental United States and Canada GB
North American Psocoptera GB
Photographic key, black and white. Barklice and Booklice
*Mecoptera of Ontario Photographic key. Scorpion Flies. Good photographic key. A small insect order.
The Order Dermaptera (Earwigs) in Florida and the United States, by P. M. Choate (modified from Hoffman, 1987)
Photographic key. Ontario only has a few species of earwigs.
Orders without known specific resources:
Homoptera (Cicada, Leafhoppers, Aphids) (formally part of true bugs)