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Richards, Wayne 1970-

Richards, Wayne 1970-


Born January 13, 1970; married; wife's name Christina.


Home—Erlanger, KY.


Writer, 2006—.


Teachers' Choice Award, Learning Magazine, 2007, for The Life Cycles of Butterflies.


The Life Cycles of Butterflies: From Egg to Maturity, a Visual Guide to 23 Common Garden Butterflies, photography by Judy Burris, Wayne Richards, and Christina Richards, Storey Publishing (North Adams, MA), 2006.


Wayne Richards and Judy Burris are the brother-and-sister team of writers and photographers responsible for The Life Cycles of Butterflies: From Egg to Maturity, a Visual Guide to 23 Common Garden Butterflies. The authors, who are also ardent gardeners and experienced nature photographers, have created extensive butterfly gardens at their homes in Erlanger, Kentucky. They transformed a "childhood interest in animal and plant life," they write on their Web site, "into a nearly full-time devotion to gardening." In 2006, for instance, the authors collected and raised from eggs more than 1,200 butterflies from eighteen different species, all of them native to the Midwest. That factor, more than any other, is what differentiates The Life Cycles of Butterflies from other lepidoptery guides, according to Adah Stock, reviewing the book for the National Science Teachers Association Web site. "As an amateur naturalist," the science teacher wrote, "I have spent a great deal of time flipping through page after page of field guides trying to find a species that I had seen. Having them presented on four pages makes identification much easier."

It is this accessibility, and the concentration on common native species, that makes The Life Cycles of Butterflies different from other guide books. Not only does the book offer full-color photographs of the butterflies at every stage of their life cycle, ranging from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to full-fledged butterfly, it also shows readers the types of insects that they are most likely to encounter in their own backyards or school grounds. Where other volumes might present pictures of stunning butterflies native to Africa, South Asia, or the tropical regions of Central or South America, The Life Cycles of Butterflies concentrates on the types of insects that readers in the United States are most likely to encounter, including the Eastern Black Swallowtail, Giant Swallowtail, Pipevine Swallowtail, Spice-Bush Swallowtail, Tiger Swallowtail, and Zebra Swallowtail (the swallowtails are the largest in size of all North American butterflies, and all of them have wings that end in long extensions, like the wings and tail of a swallow); the Gulf Fritillary and Variegated Fritillary; the Zebra Longwing; the Question Mark and Eastern Comma (so called because of the shape of or the spots on their wings); the Common Buckeye; the American Lady and Painted Lady; the Red Admiral; the Silvery Checkerspot and Red-Spotted Purple; the Viceroy and Monarch and Queen (all three of which look very much alike); the Cabbage White and Clouded Sulphur; and the Pearl Crescent. "With exquisite close-up photography," declared Nancy Bent, reviewing the volume for Booklist, "the eggs, caterpillars, chrysalids, and adults of twenty-three well-known butterflies are revealed."

Burris and Richards, however, do not limit themselves to butterflies. They also show readers other types of butterfly-like creatures that can be found in a Midwestern garden, including various kinds of moths (distinguishable from butterflies by their antennae, which have hair-like extensions, while those of butterflies are smooth) and skippers (which are more closely related to butterflies than are moths, but which have several distinguishing characteristics, including antennae that end in hooks rather than rounded clubs, like true butterflies). Furthermore, they offer advice on the types of host plants most likely to attract butterflies to gardens throughout the United States, including houseplants as well as outdoor garden species such as verbena, milkweed, turtlehead, English plantain, coneflower, and lupine. "With this guide to butterflies," stated a Science News writer in a review of The Life Cycles of Butterflies, "Burris and Richards encourage other people to have as much enthusiasm as they do." "Now," concluded a reviewer for California Bookwatch, "all ages can relish the subject."



Booklist, May 1, 2006, Nancy Bent, review of The Life Cycles of Butterflies: From Egg to Maturity, a Visual Guide to 23 Common Garden Butterflies, p. 59.

California Bookwatch, September, 2006, review of The Life Cycles of Butterflies.

Science News, July 1, 2006, review of The Life Cycles of Butterflies, p. 15.


Butterfly Nature, (March 20, 2008), Wayne Richards & Judy Burris Home Page.

National Science Teachers Association Web site, (March 20, 2008), Adah Stock, review of The Life Cycles of Butterflies.

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