Recommended Field Biology References for North Carolina

Maypop flower by Dale Suiter

The list of field references on this page includes some useful books and websites that will help you identify species and natural communities in North Carolina. These are some of the sources that Natural Heritage Program staff biologists regularly use.

Visit the "NatureServe Explorer" Website


Vascular Plants

  • "Carolina Nature Plant Photos" website:
  • Godfrey, R.K. and J.W. Wooten. 1979-81. Aquatic and wetland plants of southeastern United States. 2 vols. University of GA Press, Athens.
  • "NCU Flora of the Southeastern United States" website:
  • "FloraQuest" iPhone and iPad app:
  • Porcher, R. D. 2002. A Guide to the Wildflowers of South Carolina. University of South Carolina Press. 544 pp.
  • Radford, A.E., H.E. Ahles, and C.R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Univ. North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 1183 pp.
  • Weakley, A.S. 2015. Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States. Working draft of May 2015. University of North Carolina Herbarium (NCU), NC Botanical Garden, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Download free or order a copy from
  • Weakley, A.S., J.C. Ludwig, and J.F. Townsend. 2012. Flora of Virginia. BRIT Press, Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Fort Worth, TX. 1554 pp.


  • Crum, H. & L.E. Anderson. 1981. Mosses of Eastern North America. 2 Vols. Columbia University Press. N.Y.
  • Hicks, Marie L. 1992. Guide to the liverworts of North Carolina. Duke University Press.


  • Brodo, Irvin, M. 2001. Lichens of North America. Yale University Press.

Visit the Lichen Portal Site



  • Bowers, N., R. Bowers, and K. Kaufman. 2004. Mammals of North America. Kaufman Focus Guides. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York. 352 pp.
  • Kays, R.W., and D.E. Wilson. 2009. Mammals of North America; Second edition. Princeton Field Guides. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
  • "Mammals of North Carolina" website:
  • Reid, F.A. 2006. A Field Guide to Mammals of North America north of Mexico; Fourth edition. Peterson Field Guides. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York.
  • Webster, W. D., J. F. Parnell and W. C. Biggs Jr. 1985. Mammals of the Carolinas, Virginia, and Maryland. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 255 pp.


  • “Birds of North Carolina: their Distribution and Abundance” website:
  • Dunn, J.L., and J. Alderfer. 2011. National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America; Sixth edition. National Geographic Society, Washington, DC. 574 pp.
  • Potter, E. F., J. F. Parnell, R. P. Teulings, R. Davis. 2006. Birds of the Carolinas. 2nd ed. Univ. North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. 399 pp.

Reptiles and Amphibians

  • Beane, J. C., A. L. Braswell, J. C. Mitchell, W. M. Palmer, and J. R. Harrison III. 2010. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia. Second Edition, Revised and Updated. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. vii + 274 pp.
  • “Carolina Herp Atlas” website:
  • Palmer, W.M., and A.L. Braswell. 1995. Reptiles of North Carolina. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. 412 pp.

Freshwater Fishes

  • Menhinik, E.F. 1991. The Freshwater Fishes of North Carolina. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. 227 pp.
  • Page, L.M., and B.M. Burr. 2011. Peterson Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes. Second Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. 663 pp.
  • Rohde, F. C., R.G. Arndt, D.G. Lindquist, and J.F. Parnell. 1994. Freshwater Fishes of the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. University of North Carolina Press. 222 pp.
  • Mollusks



Delaware Skipper by Ed Corey

Delaware Skipper by Ed Corey

Butterflies and Moths

  • Beadle, D., and S. Leckie. 2012. Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. 611 pp.
  • Brock, J. P. and K. Kaufman. 2003. Butterflies of North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 392 pp.
  • “Butterflies of North Carolina” website:
  • Cech, R., and G. Tudor. 2005. Butterflies of the East Coast – an Observer’s Guide. Princeton University Press. 345 pp.
  • “North American Moth Photographers Group” website:
  • Wagner, D. L. 2005. Caterpillars of Eastern North America. Princeton Field Guides. Princeton University Press.

Dragonflies and Damselflies

  • Dunkle, S. W. 2000. Dragonflies through Binoculars: a field guide to Dragonflies of North America. Oxford University Press, USA. 266 pp.
  • Paulson. D. 2011. Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East. Princeton University Press. 538 pp.
  • “The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina” website:

Tiger Beetles

  • Knisely, C. B. and T. D. Schultz. 1997. The Biology of Tiger Beetles and a Guide to the Species of the South Atlantic States. Virginia Museum of Natural History. 210 pp.

Brackish Marsh Dare County

Brackish Marsh Dare County by Misty Buchanan

Natural Communities

  • Blevins, D. and M. P. Schafale. 2011. Wild North Carolina: Discovering the Wonders of Our State's Natural Communities. The University of North Carolina Press. 176 pp.
  • Jeffries, S. B. and T. R. Wentworth. 2014. Exploring Southern Appalachian Forests: An Ecological Guide to 30 Great Hikes in the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia. The University of North Carolina Press. 310 pp.

Little Eastern Grasshopper nymph by Steve Hall

Little Eastern Grasshopper Nymph by Steve Hall

Endangered Species

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service "Endangered and Threatened species of North Carolina" website: