Can anyone recommend a reference book for butterflies and moths covering UK and S. Europe - particularly S.France?
If you want a book that it easy to slip in a pocket -
Mitchell Beazley Pocket Guide to Butterflies, by Paul Whalley and Richard Lewington (ISBN 1857327721). A slim well illustated guide.
If you are prepared to catch the butterflies, or can take clear photos from all angles, and work through a key:
Butterflies of Europe by Tristram LaFranchis (ISBN 295216200X). A photographic guide with photographs showing the upperside and underside of both sexes of most species - but not particularly easy to use unless you work through the key.
Collins Field Guide, Butterflies. Tom Tolman and Richard Lewington (ISBN 0002199920). Well illustrated, showing upper and underwings.
Butterflies of Britain and Europe (Collins, published in association with the Wildlife Trusts), by Michael Chinery (ISBN 0002200597). A photographic guide with illustrations of the upperwings and underwings of both sexes of most species.
"Moths of Europe" series by P Leraut, with two volumes published so far and (at least) two forthcoming. These are small, and relatively easily portable volumes, but expensive - they do look good though.
Brish moths are covered well by the following, which should identify many (by certainly not all) of the moths in France:
Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland, by Paul Waring. Martin Townsend and Richard Lewington (ISBN 0953139980).
and if you want to travel light there is the concise version (same illustrations, less text) (ISBN 0953139964).
If you prefer photographs try-
British Moths and Butterflies, a photographic Guide by Chris Manley (ISBN 0713686367).
Butterflies and moths aren't my main area of interest though, so I'd be interested in seeing what others recommend.
Roy, Many thanks indeed for this detailed response to my question. I am really grateful. I shall now have to decide which one(s) to buy!
Roland Robineau - Guide des Papillons Nocturnes de France: Plus de 1620 espèces décrites et illustées
Seem to recall some good reviews of it.
Similarly whatever volumes are currently out of Patrice Leraut's Moths of Europe