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Finding Butterflies in Arizona: A Guide to the Best Sites

The second in a series of state guides to butterfly-watching, this book will appeal equally to those who simply enjoy these beautiful insects and to the serious observer who keeps a life list. With 334 species of butterflies reported, Arizona ranks second only to Texas, and like Texas, its proximity to Mexico brings the prospect of exotic butterflies not readily seen elsewhere in the United States.

Thirty-five sites are divided among seven regions and each site includes a map and concise driving directions to recommended stops. Travelers will appreciate notes on the nearest food, gas, camping, and lodging. The authors give a species-by-species account of Arizona’s butterflies, with recommendations for the best places to find them. They also provide a month-by-month guide to the best places to find butterflies throughout the year. Winter-weary visitors to Arizona will find butterflies even in December and January! A full checklist of the butterflies of Arizona is included as an appendix.

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Tags: Arizona, Sites, Butterflies, Finding, Guide


  1. James A. Colborn "NatureGeek" says:

    Great guide for new butterfly enthusiasts Finding Butterflies in Arizona, by Bailowitz and Brodkin, is a welcome addition to available literature on the fauna of Arizona, and one of the first of it’s kind that I’ve seen in this format. It will be particularly helpful for birders who are interested in learning about and finding butterflies. The book is arranged very much like a typical bird-finding guide, a major plus. The major biotic regions of the state are described in the front of the book, and then broken down into fairly concise but clear chapters devoted to each region. Specific species, both common and rare, are discussed in each chapter, including the best season to look for them. The last third of the book describes where to look by species and is arranged taxonomically, starting with the swallowtails and ending with the skippers, and is fairly complete. Towards the back of the book is a chapter describing what to look for by season, and is extremely helpful. A checklist is featured at the end of the book.There are only a few pages of butterfly photos in the book, mostly common species, and no real natural history info,so anyone without strong knowledge of the local lepidofauna should bring a field guide with them, either a general guide like the Kaufman or Peterson guides, or an Arizona-specific or southwest specific field guide, when using this book in the field.

  2. Larry D. Simkins says:

    It worked for us We used this book on a recent butterfly adventure in the White Mts. and thanks partly to this guide, we had great sucess. For example, the book states that Riding’s Satyr could be found on the south side of Luna Lake in late June. We got out of car on the south side and we had walked only 30 yards and, BINGO!, we had that cryptic creature.

  3. Albert A. Thurman says:

    A must-have for Arizona butterfliers This is a great guide for anyone looking for butterflies in Arizona, whether for watching or collecting. Specific distances and landmarks are very valuable when searching for the right location for butterflies. This guide provides that for locations all over Arizona. The month-by-month information is also very useful.My personal experiences collecting butterflies in Arizona for over 15 years could not have even approached the completeness of this guide. With rare exception it pretty much covers all the good collecting areas that I know about, but I’ve only visited relatively few of the spots mentioned in the guide, and that is an incentive for me to spend the next 15 years trying to visit all the spots the authors cover.I hope users of this guide are able to forward additional information on species, locations, and dates of capture or sighting, to the authors so they can update their information and add it to a later version of this guide, should there be one.Some friends of mine (with another author) recently published a similar guide (Where to Find Birds in Panama), which does the same for Panama bird-watcher as these authors did for Arizona. However, the Panama guide is also extremely useful for butterfly enthusiasts, since everywhere there are birds in the tropics, there are usually butterflies. I used the Panama guide recently to locate a great butterfly area I had only visited once, in 1978, and their guide took me right to it. This guide will do the same for you when searching for butterflies in the back-country of Arizona. I’ll be using it from now on.

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