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National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians Vinyl Bound – Nov 12 1979


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National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians + National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders + National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies
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Product Details

  • Vinyl Bound: 744 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (Nov. 12 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394508246
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394508245
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 2.8 x 19.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #71,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Professor F. Wayne King is the curator herpetology at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By W. Paul W. on May 29 2004
Format: Vinyl Bound
This guide is beset with problems, and there are better out there.
The range maps are so general as to be mostly useless. They're incredibly small, to the point where it's hard to discern where the lines on it are; is that snake's western range limit NM or AZ? You can't tell! The written descriptions of ranges are too vauge as well; they list eastern, western, southern and northern limits, but it's not like an animals range will make a nice little square; there are places within those boundaries where it does not occur. Maybe a lizards westernmost point is in, say Alamogordo, NM: it'll list that as it's westernmost point. but say, as it's range extends northward, it is restricted to a more easterly distribution; that won't be mentioned.
Furthermore, the guide is 25 years old. There have been massive taxonomic revisions since this was written; new species have been discovered, some species have been combined, some subspecies complexes split, etc. Ranges have also shifted since '79, due to development and climatic changes.
Also, the guide only deals with species level info. This is unnacceptable for some animals; L. getula (kingsnake) has some 7-8 subspecies, ranging from the mexican black to the desert to the eastern; these animals have markedly different apperances, habitat, ranges, and behaviors. But the guide doesn't deal with that; it list info for "L. getula" in general, without dividing it into subspecies information. This makes the guide worthless for Pituophis melanoleucus, Lampropeltis getula, Lampropeltis traingulum, and several other species which contain a wide range of different subspecies.
So what to do? Buy a good local field guide; they exist for most states- Degenhardt's Amphibians and Reptiles of New Mexico is execellent. Texas Snakes (Dixon) is good.
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Format: Vinyl Bound
This book may have been something for it's time, but it's since been eclipsed, and has become outdated.
For one thing, the book was written in the 70's--it's older than I am. Taxonomy has changed, but that's not the most important (taxonomy is always changing).
Ranges have shifted; habitat changes have forced various species into new areas and out of old ones, new species have been introduced and become established, etc. Even if the range maps were up to date, they're poorly done; very small and hard to see, and inexact.
Furthermore, the book doesn't delinate subspecies; all kingsnakes (L. getula) and rat snakes (L. obsoleta) are treated as one species a piece, despite each having over six very distinct subspecies. This is problematic as the various subspecies of kingsnake have remarkably different size, patterns, and ranges; a desert king is a rather different animal than an eastern king, but the book just gives you the same info for both. It happens numerous times with king snakes, milksnakes, ratsnakes, and all the pituophis species. It list some 10 subspecis for P. melanoleucus, and gives the same info for all of them, despite radical differences between, say, a northen pine and a bullsnake or SD gopher snake. It does the same thing with kingsnakes; it list 7 subspecies ranging from the Eastern to the Mexican, and gives on set of info for all of them. This occurs many times throughout the book, and negates it's value as a field guide. By now, with the explosion of herpetocultural writings, you're better off buying a good area specific guide; a Peterson's is a decent choice, or you can by a guide just for your state if there's a good one; such books typically give more in depth info and better done.
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By Morgan Churchill on Nov. 14 2003
Format: Vinyl Bound
This guide has a lot of nostalgia for me; it was my first real field guide, a birthday present when I was in 2nd grade. But like many nostalgic items, it hasn't stood up to the test of time. On the plus side, the photos make a good book to introduce youngsters to the joys of the herping world. and animals are arranged by similarities to each other, not by family; a great help for the novice. And it covers "all" the reptiles on the continent, no need for 2 books. On the negative side, photos usually aren't helpful for id, and can in fact be very misleading. But the worse complaint is that the publishers haven't bothered trying to update this book, as they have some of there other guides. Reptile Taxonomy changes every year, and this book is over 2 decades old. Many new introductions, newly discovered species, and split off species aren't covered, and many animals go by out of date names. The ranges maps are also less than helpful, rarely delineating subspecies or race range, just species. Overall, skip this book and invest in the Petersons. They have been updated both in the late 90's, have better range maps, and use modern taxonomy
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Format: Vinyl Bound
This book was written in 1979. The text and photographs were excellent, although the range maps were so small as to be useless, and the common names were the awkwardly academic types used in the first half of the last century. Supposedly, this book was updated in 1997. The text is still good, as are the photographs, but the common names still have not been corrected, the range maps are still too small, and over 70 new species that are now recognized from North America are missing from this book. This Audubon Guide is out-dated. Time to write a new one, with standard common names, modern taxonomy (drop the subspecies), and maybe some new photographs. Not recommended. Get the Peterson Guide. It may be a decade old, but its newer than this book.
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