Every now and then, a book comes along that makes ones work vastly easier. The Olethreutine Moths of the Midwestern United States is such a publication, and for that, I for one am grateful. This large-format book combines wonderful full-color habitus shots of specimens with photographs of male and female genitalia. It covers a fairly large geographic area and treats 306 species. Prior to this I often had to depend on more scattered and often antiquated literature to identify many of my olethreutine tortricids.
Opening the book is a brief section on historical perspectives that covers the big names in olethreutine taxonomy. It is refreshing to see our historical entomological forefathers brought to light and this history really helps illuminate the stories behind the names. Following is a concise, very well written section on morphology. The illustrations here are excellent, and assist greatly in explaining genitalic terminology. There is a color printing error in the wing venation figure, however, it is merely an aesthetic issue.
The species accounts section comprises much of the remainder of the book. It begins with a list of the species covered and 5 plates of life-sized photographs of all species for quick comparison. Here and throughout the species accounts, the book follows an intuitive numbering system, making the association of photos and accounts easy. Each genus is introduced with a good synopsis and often has references for further information. The species accounts themselves have an attractive layout, with the text on the left and one or occasionally two large photographs of the whole insect on the right. Each account consists of the forewing length, flight period, distribution, biology, and remarks. For a few of the variable species, it might have been preferable to have included more than two photos. The genitalia photographs are large and there are many on the same page, allowing for easy comparison. My only complaint about the genitalia photographs is that only the ostium region is shown for most females. Inclusion of the corpus bursae for more species would have been helpful. In general, however, what is figured is more than sufficient.
Steven Passoa contributed to Part III, which updates McKay's treatment of olethreutine larvae. It provides detailed information on early stages of olethreutines and it is well illustrated. There is also rearing and preservation information for larvae followed by a key to common species. I would, however, have preferred this section to have been incorporated into the main text, because in this format it almost appears to be an afterthought to the rest of the book.
Overall, this is a marvelous book and deserves to be on the bookshelf of every lepidopterist. For myself, it has been a valuable and well-used tool for identifying olethreutine tortricids. Todd Gilligan, Don Wright, and Loran Gibson should be commended on such a wonderful work.