National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians Vinyl Bound – Nov 12 1979
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About the Author
Professor F. Wayne King is the curator herpetology at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Well, wonder no longer. This book is a great resource for anyone wishing to identify snakes, frogs, toads, lizards, salamanders, etc. Read morePublished on Nov. 5 2006 by Alli Antar
The contemporary edition of the Audubon Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians is decades old. Though it covers many species of snakes, salamanders, newts, etc. Read morePublished on July 10 2004 by J. Connor
This is an excellent field guide for beginning herpers. The photos are excellent and it even has pictures for the different color variations of certain species. Read morePublished on Sept. 28 2003 by Snakeman
The pictures are excellent, similar looking species are placed next to eachother so it is easier to tell them apart, the descriptions of every organism tell you everything there is... Read morePublished on March 12 2003 by Kevin Gowen
I bought this book for my 7 year old son last Christmas and it has been by his side ever since (he even sleeps with it). Read morePublished on Oct. 21 2002 by elizabeth a leiken
An excellent guide with plenty of illustrations for identification of reptiles and amphibians you may run across. Read morePublished on Jan. 24 2002 by Jason Weigner
This field guide is really interesting!!! It shows all reptiles and amphibians of North America! The photos are in full color and I've identified several herps with this guide... Read morePublished on Aug. 10 2001 by Tim
Let's just say that when any of the neighborhood kids finds a turtle, they come to our house to ID it. And we don't have any kids. Read morePublished on May 15 2001 by BL
This guide is the best to use for identification, for nearly half the book is made up of bright, clear pictures that enables precise identification. Read morePublished on March 16 2001 by Larry Rupp
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