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A Natural History of Amphibians Paperback – Jan 26 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Reprint edition (Jan. 26 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691102511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691102511
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 15.1 x 22.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,028,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Format: Paperback
I really enjoy this book, A Natural History of Amphibians offers the basic foundation of amphibian fundamentals. This book is a very good starting point for biology students or advancing hobbyists. this book covers a great deal of information in very little text (not completely in depth but a very good over view) gives information on skin, breathing, locomotion, nose, eyes, vision, food habits, ears, voice, temperature, water regulation, protection against predators, home range, territorial behavior, (a very good chapter and sub-chapters on) reproduction, and about 40 pgs on declining amphibians and the contributions of amphibians to human welfare (with obvious sub categories of all). I am giving this book *4 stars* and I am starting to lean to 3.5 only becouse of its age, this book is now apx. 15 years old (from first print) and there is a lot of new text and findings that could make this and other books like it extremely beneficial. "A++ one to get you started"
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Format: Paperback
I don't have a biology background but was (am) very interested in learning more about amphibians since we're setting up a neat frog pond in the back yard. So this was a book I came across and its pretty good for the lay person like me but it does get a bit technical in parts (so its probably better for beginner biology student or someone with the basics already under their belt). There are some really neat drawings in here - like those that show the different toe shapes of different salamanders and then go on to describe the different modes of locomotion. There's interesting behavioral info like territorialism in salamanders (I had no idea! they always seem so mellow!) And there's a fascinating chapter (short unfortunately) on homing and migration. There are lots of neat chapters, those are just a few items that spring to mind. I'm still looking for more books that will give me a good basic understanding of the life and times of amphibians but this was certainly a great start. I highly recommend it since it does have so much info and for the lay person like myself it gave me a chance to expand my knowledge. I'm fascinated by vernal pools and the whole migration/reproduction cycles but this was a good start.
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Format: Paperback
This book is intended for a general audience and is great for anyone who wants to know more about frogs, toads, salamanders, and caecilians. Despite this fact, I'm sure that even professional herpetologists will find this book interesting and learn something that they do not know. Chapters include: skin, breathing, food habits, voice, reproduction and declining amphibians. Overall, an interesting and highly informative book. Highly recommended!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Good book, a lttle technical Nov. 22 2003
By merrymousies - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I don't have a biology background but was (am) very interested in learning more about amphibians since we're setting up a neat frog pond in the back yard. So this was a book I came across and its pretty good for the lay person like me but it does get a bit technical in parts (so its probably better for beginner biology student or someone with the basics already under their belt). There are some really neat drawings in here - like those that show the different toe shapes of different salamanders and then go on to describe the different modes of locomotion. There's interesting behavioral info like territorialism in salamanders (I had no idea! they always seem so mellow!) And there's a fascinating chapter (short unfortunately) on homing and migration. There are lots of neat chapters, those are just a few items that spring to mind. I'm still looking for more books that will give me a good basic understanding of the life and times of amphibians but this was certainly a great start. I highly recommend it since it does have so much info and for the lay person like myself it gave me a chance to expand my knowledge. I'm fascinated by vernal pools and the whole migration/reproduction cycles but this was a good start.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Superb June 23 2007
By Dr. Lee D. Carlson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amphibians usually are ignored when speaking about species that are threatened with extinction. Unlike birds and mammals, amphibians are not romanticized in the nature magazines of the popular press, due possibly in part to their physical appearance, which may not garner sympathy as compared for example to a bald eagle or an elephant. But amphibians are fascinating and beautiful creatures, and in this book their biology and evolution is discussed concisely but effectively. Those readers, such as this reviewer, who are not familiar with the subject matter but who are very curious about the biology of amphibians, will find a good introduction here, and many references can be consulted for readers who need more details.

There are many interesting discussions in the book, and many surprises for those who are new to the subject. For example, it is surprising to learn that there are salamanders that can grow to over 1.5 meters, that some amphibians keep their gills throughout their life, instead of losing them, as is typically the case for most of the species, and that amphibians usually drink by dermal absorption. The authors also describe the breathing mechanisms for amphibians, and the reasons why one observes a different frequency between the movements of the throat and the body. Readers with a background in physics in particular will appreciate this discussion, along with others such as the vision capabilities of amphibians (they focus by changing the position of the lens rather than its shape), their extraordinary auditory capabilities, and their hydroregulation. It is also amazing to learn that amphibians can survive freezing of their bodily fluids by converting liver glycogen to glucose in response to the formation of ice in their body tissue. By far the most interesting discussion in the book though is on "shoreline orientation" and what information amphibians need to carry it out.

The book ends with discussions on the survival/extinction status of amphibians, with a list of the threatened species. Convincing arguments are given for the need of the biosphere to maintain the amphibian species, but it will be interesting to see if the author's recommendations are carried out. As a statistical survey might show, humans do not seem to care too much about amphibians, and so it might be more difficult to preserve them than is the case for other animals. But to not hear a coqui frog in Puerto Rico, or to not see hordes of toads coming out in the summer rain would definitely diminish the human quality of life.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
well-written and easy to read June 25 2001
By Jodi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is intended for a general audience and is great for anyone who wants to know more about frogs, toads, salamanders, and caecilians. Despite this fact, I'm sure that even professional herpetologists will find this book interesting and learn something that they do not know. Chapters include: skin, breathing, food habits, voice, reproduction and declining amphibians. Overall, an interesting and highly informative book. Highly recommended!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I couldn't put it down March 14 2011
By E. Lyle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was fascinated by amphibians from the first moment I became aware of them. But, I didn't really know much about them. I thought they were like reptiles except they lived the first stage of their life in water. This book opened their amazing world to me, far different from the one I imagined: the strange little tricks they use to fend off predators, their ability at times to be active at amazingly low temperatures, their life-long needs for moisture, their ability to breath not only using lungs or gills but through their skin, and more. The book does a run-down of major body systems --Skin, limbs, tails, and so on. Then it moves on to how amphibians adjust to their environment: Regulating their temperature and moisture levels, protecting themselves from predators, establishing territories, migrating, and reproducing. The style is fairly engaging, far more interesting than what many academic authors offer. Other books I've read on the subject were either very dry or overloaded with detail yet lacking in important conclusions that take tons of expertise to reach otherwise. For anyone fascinated by wildlife, but not yet up on amphibians, this book is a must and very pleasant read.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Very good Oct. 22 2009
By Maria J. B. Leite - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very good book and is great for anyone who wants to know more about frogs and other groups.

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