Chinery, M., 2005
Complete British Insects
A photographic field guide to 1500 species of larger (5mm or more in length or wingspan) insects. Inevitably the guide gives prominence to the more popular groups (eg butterflies, moths and their caterpillars occupy 79 plates compared to 10 for True Flies with more than twice the number of British species). The claim that "most of our larger and more conspicuous insects have been included, although some rarities … that might be met with just once in a liftime have been omitted" is perhaps not to be taken too seriously! Certainly outside the popular groups like Lepidoptera, Odonata, Orthoptera and Shield Bugs the depicted species are often just examples of a large group, eg Phyllobius, Tipula. One also wonders whether it was appropriate to devote so much space to moths, many of which are rarely seen without light trapping, in a book for the general naturalist - but the target audience probably expects it.
Of course most groups are better covered in other guides, but that's missing the point. The aim was to provide a portable guide covering most of the larger species which the beginner entomologist is likely to notice on his/her rambles and in this it succeeds: the species are reasonably well chosen and the photographs generally good.
The distribution maps are a handy feature, but should only be treated as a guide since most of these organisms are far less well studied than plants or birds.
||Far from "complete", the book illustrates about 1,500 of the commonest, largest or more significant British species.