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National Audubon Society Guide to Marine Mammals of the World Paperback – Apr 2 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Among the most celebrated creatures on earth are the 120 species of water-dwelling mammals catalogued in this handsome and informative field guide, the latest in the National Audubon Society's family of nature publications. Photographs, drawings and paintings combine with maps, charts and essays to provide not only data but also insight into the behavior of these highly evolved and specialized animals. The book is sensibly arranged and easy to navigate, whether the reader is in an easy chair or on the open water. The introduction provides a general guide to marine mammals: their habitat, behavior, reproduction, diet and conservation status. The individual articles are packed with facts about each species and the best ways to find and identify them in the wild. The book is organized according to the four classifications of marine mammals: cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises); pinnipeds (seals and walrus); sirenians (dugongs, manatees); and polar bears and otters. The charts on each species specify size, weight and longevity. The maps show the reach of each type of animal while helping the reader to visualize its range and habitat. The articles also describe ways of identifying similar species whose ranges overlap. Among this guide's best features are the appendixes, which break down the species by region and offer a chart of species morphology and an illustrated glossary. This book is ideal for students and amateur animal watchers. Color illus. and paintings, maps.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Just about everything one could hope for in a guide can be found in this info-packed yet extremely user-friendly tome. Introductory pages cover the basics and more. The section "Watching Marine Mammals," which includes advice on what to bring along, proper etiquette, and what to do if a stranded animal is encountered, is particularly engrossing. Every group has its own overview with an illustrated spread showing relative sizes among species within it. Each species entry opens with a beautifully rendered color illustration accompanied by a brief list of key features to look for when trying to identify the animal. A neat little map indicates the mammal's range and is paired with a box containing vital statistics such as size, weight, and life span. A liberal dose of superb, high-quality action color photographs shows the creatures in their natural surroundings. Appendixes include a map that shows marine mammals by world region and a "Marine Mammal Morphology" with three line drawings indicating generic parts. While this book has obvious value as a research tool, students are sure to linger over the pages. An attractive presentation with satisfying content.
Sheila Shoup, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
I would hazard to guess that this book is intended for the "arm-chair naturalist." Very few of us can afford vacations to the distant locales where many of the marine mammals in this book live.
The book is laid out like the typical birding guide: species description, similar species, habitat and natural history.
With this in mind, I was disapointed to find the "species describtion" and the "similar species" sections of the species accounts were often longer than the behavior and natural history sections. I do want to know how a Swainson's Thrush is similar to a Grey-checked Thrush (two similar birds), but I really do not care how to tell apart two endimic Antarctic seals. I would much rather read more about how their lives are lived.
My only other quibble is with the "status and conversation" sections of the species accounts. While it is certainlly true that many marine mammals are threatened and endangerd, it is also true that many marine mammals (such as harbor seals and bottle nose dolphins) are doing just fine. The authors of the book seem reluctant to admit this.
Both of these are minor quibbles. If you are even remotely curious about the variety of marine mammals in the world, this book is certainly for you.
The whales and dolphins section is the best part of the guide, listing rare and endangered species. I don't suspect anyone has heard of the "Tucuxi" dolphin, have they? Rather than just listing commonly seen or normal species, Audubon has done extensive research on others, and has inserted dozens or more in each family section, making identification completely unmistakable. The seals and sea lions covered are no different in variety and number of listings. However, many of the seals listed are subspecies of 6 previous listings.
The binding is usual quality by Audubon publishers, making an excellent reading book, whether on a boat trip, in a car, or simply in an easy chair at home. Forget other Marine Mammal Guides, and make an extensive search for this!
There is fascinating detail as the book goes on to describe the world's whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea lions, manatees, marine and sea otters, and polar bears. Not only is there detailed descriptions, but there are maps to show where these animals live throughout the world. There is a general introduction that outlines the evolution and tanonomy of marine mammals, distribution, migration, watching guidelines, identification techniques, organizations and laws that protect marine mammals.
There are 120 species represented in this book. Also, there are facts about social organization, surface behaviors, swimming and diving, details about food items and foraging techniques, and estimates of population in the wild, plus current and historic threats.
If you are taking a trip to the coastlines or live near the oceans then don't be caught without this fine field guide. You will be amazed by the wildlife near the and in the ocean. This is a comprehensive and beautifully illustrated work.
Don't leave home without it, as your trip will be richer and more fulfilling as you spot the animals listed.
Along with a number of excellent quality photographs, Pieter Folkens (from my hometown of Benicia, CA!) illustrations are superb. From Knopf, the same publishers of the Sibley Guide to Birds, the graphics and layout of this guide are similarly clean and very attractive. I think it's one of the best looking books of it's type, and an ideal introductory guide for anyone with an interest in marine mammals.
Most recent customer reviews
Very informative excellent descriptions with great photosPublished 23 months ago by Josette Pelletier
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