World renowned for its biological diversity and model conservation system, Costa Rica is home to a wide variety of amphibians and reptiles, from the golden toad to the scorpion lizard and the black-headed bushmaster. Jay M. Savage has studied these fascinating creatures for more than forty years, and in The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica he provides the most comprehensive, up-to-date treatment of their biology and evolution ever produced.
Savage begins with detailed discussions of the natural and cultural history of Costa Rica, setting the stage for a detailed treatment of each of the 396 species of amphibians and reptiles that may be found there. Each species account synthesizes and analyzes everything that is known about the animal's anatomy, behavior, geographic distribution, systematics, and evolutionary history and provides keys for identifying amphibians and reptiles in the field. In addition to distribution maps and systematic and morphological illustrations, the book includes color photographs of almost every known species, many taken by the distinguished nature photographers Michael and Patricia Fogden.
Because Costa Rica has played, and continues to play, a pivotal role in the study of tropical biology as well as in the development of ecotourism and ecoprospecting, and because more than half of the amphibians and reptiles in Costa Rica are also found elsewhere in Central America, The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica will be an essential book for a wide audience of nature lovers, naturalists, ecotourists, field biologists, conservationists, and government planners.
The revised edition of this well-loved guide is the essential reference for the identification of amphibians and reptiles in the Great Lakes region. Fully updated treatments of over 70 species feature detailed information on the distribution, habitat, behavior, and life history of these fascinating animals. This edition includes all new distribution maps as well as 90 additional color photographs showing close-ups of distinguishing features, common color phases, and different metamorphic stages. A thorough introduction provides a wealth of information on the evolution, natural history, classification, and conservation of these animals and examines changing Great Lakes ecosystems and their impact on herpetological diversity. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region is a must-have resource for teachers, students, naturalists, professional biologists, and anyone else with an interest in this region’s ecology.
Consisting of more than six thousand species, amphibians are more diverse than mammals and are found on every continent save Antarctica. Despite the abundance and diversity of these animals, many aspects of the biology of amphibians remain unstudied or misunderstood. The Ecology and Behavior of Amphibians aims to fill this gap in the literature on this remarkable taxon. It is a celebration of the diversity of amphibian life and the ecological and behavioral adaptations that have made it a successful component of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
Synthesizing seventy years of research on amphibian biology, Kentwood D. Wells addresses all major areas of inquiry, including phylogeny, classification, and morphology; aspects of physiological ecology such as water and temperature relations, respiration, metabolism, and energetics; movements and orientation; communication and social behavior; reproduction and parental care; ecology and behavior of amphibian larvae and ecological aspects of metamorphosis; ecological impact of predation on amphibian populations and antipredator defenses; and aspects of amphibian community ecology. With an eye towards modern concerns, The Ecology and Behavior of Amphibians concludes with a chapter devoted to amphibian conservation.
An unprecedented scholarly contribution to amphibian biology, this book is eagerly anticipated among specialists.
In these essays that survey the burgeoning field of tropical herpetology, former students and associates pay tribute to Jay Savage's four decades of mentoring. The result is a book unlike any other available in tropical herpetology. Covering a wide array of subjects, Ecology and Evolution in the Tropics is the first book in more than two decades to broadly review research on tropical amphibians and reptiles. A tribute to Savage and an invaluable addition to the herpetological literature, this work will be cited for years to come.
Through its emphasis on recent research, its many summary tables, and its bibliography of more than 4,000 entries, this first modern, synthetic treatment of comparative amphibian environmental physiology emerges as the definitive reference for the field. Forty internationally respected experts review the primary data, examine current research trends, and identify productive avenues for future research.
Frogs are worshipped for bringing nourishing rains, but blamed for devastating floods. Turtles are admired for their wisdom and longevity, but ridiculed for their sluggish and cowardly behavior. Snakes are respected for their ability to heal and restore life, but despised as symbols of evil. Lizards are revered as beneficent guardian spirits, but feared as the Devil himself.
In this ode to toads and snakes, newts and tuatara, crocodiles and tortoises, herpetologist and science writer Marty Crump explores folklore across the world and throughout time. From creation myths to trickster tales; from associations with fertility and rebirth to fire and rain; and from the use of herps in folk medicines and magic, as food, pets, and gods, to their roles in literature, visual art, music, and dance, Crump reveals both our love and hatred of amphibians and reptiles—and their perceived power. In a world where we keep home terrariums at the same time that we battle invasive cane toads, and where public attitudes often dictate that the cute and cuddly receive conservation priority over the slimy and venomous, she shows how our complex and conflicting perceptions threaten the conservation of these ecologically vital animals.
Sumptuously illustrated, Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog, Adder’s Fork and Lizard’s Leg is a beautiful and enthralling brew of natural history and folklore, sobering science and humor, that leaves us with one irrefutable lesson: love herps. Warts, scales, and all.
Frogs and toads have become canaries in the coal mine when it comes to conservation, as the discovery of malformed frogs has brought increased attention to global habitat loss, declining biodiversity, and environmental pollution. Midwestern species of frogs and toads—already declining due to habitat loss from agriculture—have been greatly affected by this worldwide phenomenon. VanDeWalle includes a complete description of each species along with distinguishing characteristics for three subspecies, information about range and habitat preferences, diet, types of calls, and breeding season.
Marty Crump has searched for salamanders along the Amazon River; she has surveyed amphibians and reptiles in hostile Huaorani Indian territory; she has been stung by a conga ant and had run-ins with an electric eel, a boa constrictor, and a bushmaster viper. In the course of her travels she has dined, not always eagerly, on wild rat, parrot, guinea pig, and chicken foot soup. And for those among us who prefer our experiences to be vicarious and far away from biting insects, venomous snakes, and inhospitable surroundings, she has written In Search of the Golden Frog.
The book is a detailed and fascinating chronicle of Crump's adventures as a field biologist—and as a wife and mother—in South and Central America. Following Crump on her research trips through Costa Rica, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile, we learn of amazingly diverse landscapes, equally diverse national traditions and customs, and the natural history of her subject of study, the frog. In leading us through rain forests and onto windswept coasts, Crump introduces us to such compelling creatures as female harlequin frogs, who pounce on males and pound their heads against the ground, and also sounds an alarm about the precipitous decline in amphibian populations around the globe.
Crump's perspectives as both a scientist and a mother, juggling the demands of family and professional life, make this highly readable account of fieldwork simultaneously close to home and wildly exotic. A combination of nature writing and travel writing, the richly illustrated In Search of the Golden Frog will whet travelers' appetites, affirm the experiences of seasoned field biologists, and offer the armchair naturalist vivid descriptions of amphibians and their habitats.
Naturalists in every age have been intrigued by frogs, toads, and salamanders. They have seen these amphibians in a variety of guises -- as beings with magical powers or implicit moral lessons, as the products of spontaneous generation, as heralds of the seasons, as evidence of evolution or material for biological experiments, or, most recently, as ecological barometers for the biosphere.Nature's Fading Chorus presents an anthology of writings on amphibians drawn from the entire Western natural history tradition, beginning with Aristotle's Inquiry Concerning Animals written in the fourth century B.C.E., and continuing through recent scientific accounts of the relatively sudden -- and alarming -- global declines and deformities in amphibian species. The offerings not only reveal much about amphibian life, but also provide fascinating insight into the worldviews of the many writers, scientists, and naturalists who have delved into the subject.The book is divided into five sections. The first three offer selections from the most influential contributors to the Western canon of natural history writing, and contain classic texts that illustrate central themes in the changing understanding of amphibians and of the natural world. The fourth section offers engaging essays by leading twentieth-century nature writers that portray a variety of amphibians in diverse terrains. Part five covers the various aspects of, and research on, the problem of amphibian declines and deformities. Featured are more than thirty-five pieces, including works from Pliny the Elder, Gilbert White, William Bartram, Henry David Thoreau, Charles Darwin, T. H. Huxley, Loren Eiseley, Stephen Jay Gould, George Orwell, Annie Dillard, Terry Tempest Williams, and many others.Arranged chronologically, the writings provide an intriguing look at the ways in which humankind's understanding of its place in nature has changed through the course of Western history, and of the niche amphibians have occupied in that evolution.
In 1990 an international group of biologists, meeting to discuss rumors of declines in the number of amphibians, discovered that amphibian disappearances once thought to be a local problem were not—the problem was global. And, even more disturbing, amphibians were disappearing not just from areas settled by humans but from regions of the world once believed to be pristine. Under the mantle of the Declining Amphibian Populations Task Force, this timely book addresses three fundamental questions for the midwestern United States: are amphibians declining; if so, why; and, if so, what can be done to halt these losses?
In the Midwest—defined here as Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan—there can be no doubt that the number of salamanders and frogs has declined with Euro-American settlement and the conversion to an agriculturally dominated landscape. Habitat loss and landscape fragmentation have been major factors in this decline, as have aquacultural uses of natural wetlands. Bullfrog introductions have eliminated populations of native amphibians, and collecting for the biological supply trade has reduced the number of individuals within many populations. The goal of the forty-two essays in this well-documented, well-illustrated book is to put between two covers all we know now about the status of midwestern amphibians. By doing this, the editor has created a readily accessible historical record for future studies.
Organized into sections covering landscape patterns and biogeography, species status, regional and state status, diseases and toxins, conservation, and monitoring and applications, this landmark volume will serve as the foundation for amphibian conservation in the Midwest.
Their Blood Runs Cold is entertaining, informative reading that not only enhances our understanding of a unique group of animals, but also provides genuine insight into the mind and character of a research scientist.
Whit Gibbons possesses the rare talent of conveying the challenge and excitement of scientific inquiry. A research ecologist who specializes in the study of reptiles and amphibians, he gives accounts of work in the field that are as readable as good short stories.
From the dangers of being chased by an angry rattlesnake to the exhilaration of discovering a previously undescribed species, Gibbons brings to life the everyday experiences of the herpetologist as he chases down lizards, turtles, snakes, alligators, salamanders, and frogs in their natural habitats. With essays like “Turtles May Be Slow but They’re 200 Million Years Ahead of Us” and “How to Catch an Alligator in One Uneasy Lesson,” Their Blood Runs Cold both entertains and informs.
The thirtieth anniversary edition of Their Blood Runs Cold features a new prologue and epilogue, additions that address changes in the taxonomy and study of reptiles and amphibians that have occurred since the publication of the original edition and offer suggestions for further reading that highlight the explosion of interest in the topic.
In a Panamanian pond, male túngara frogs (Physalaemus pustulosus) gather in choruses, giving their "advertisement" call to the females that move among them. If a female chooses to make physical contact with a male, he will clasp her and eventually fertilize her eggs. But in vying for the females, the males whose calls are most attractive may also attract the interest of another creature: the fringe-lipped bat, a frog eater.
In the Túngara Frog, the most detailed and informative single study available of frogs and their reproductive behavior, Michael J. Ryan demonstrates the interplay of sexual and natural selection. Using techniques from ethology, behavioral ecology, sensory physiology, physiological ecology, and theoretical population genetics in his research, Ryan shows that large males with low-frequency calls mate most successfully. He examines in detail a number of explanations for the females' preferences, and he considers possible evolutionary forces leading to the males' success.
Though certain vocalizations allow males to obtain mates and thus should be favored by sexual selection, this study highlights two important costs of such sexual displays: the frogs expand considerable energy in their mating calls, and they advertise their whereabouts to predators. Ryan considers in detail how predators, especially the frige-lipped bat (Trachops cirrhosus), affect the evolution of the túngara frog's calls.