The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

August 28, 2013

August 28, 1908

We think of Roger Tory Peterson (August 28, 1908 to July 28, 1996) as the author of the definitive bird guides, and so he was. But he also wrote more widely about various species, and edited books on various topics of interest to naturalists.

For example we notice Peterson First Guide to Caterpillars of North America (1998), where we learn the "stages between moltings are called instars: a caterpillar will go through several before it reaches full size in its final instar. This mature larva may bear little resemblance to its first instar." Although it is not typical used this way, the adult stage of an insect may also be called an instar.


Peterson First Guide to Mammals of North America, (1998) where we learn: Cats have shorter faces than most dogs do. with smaller ears. Unlike dogs. they have retractile claws. Their tails. whether short or long. are relatively thin. not bushy. Their vision is excellent. Most hunt at night.

Houghton Mifflin tell us:

When Peterson sought a publisher for the [first] book‚ some doubted whether he could entice people into watching — and learning how to identify — birds. But when Houghton Mifflin took a chance on the young artist and naturalist‚ A Field Guide to the Birds sold out its first printing of 2‚000 copies in one week [1934].  

Paul  Ehrlich described Roger Tory Peterson as the "inventor of the modern field guide.”

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