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mifune
6th February 2010, 01:28
The Amphibians of Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Paperback)
C. Kenneth Dodd (Author), Jacqualine Grant (Illustrator)
University of Tennessee Press (June 30, 2004), 284 pp.

This very well researched and written book is totally devoted to the natural history of the forty-four species of amphibians recorded or know to occur in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. The great text by Dr. Dodd , the small but high quality photos, and the very nice illustrations by Jacqualine Grant of salamander and frog larvae from specimens collected within the park offer the first illustrated key to the identification of amphibian larvae for this region.

As guide it is one of the nicest ones I have seen and it is indeed a very good one as an identification aid. However, Dr Doddís book, (Dr. Dodd is a research zoologist with the U.S. Geological Survey at the Florida Integrated Science Center) is much more than a simple guide as it includes detailed information on all aspects of the natural history of these species. It is simply, in my opinion, a must have publication and an indispensable guide

The Amphibians of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a carefully and elegantly prepared and interesting guide to read and the photos and artwork alone make it worth its acquisition. Although written for biologists to enable them to set up and maintain an inventory and monitoring program for Appalachian mountains amphibians, the book is accessible to all interested in natural history and particularly those wishing to know more of the amphibians that inhabit the southern Appalachians. It includes sections of the history of research and management effects on amphibians within the park and the most updated information (as of 2004) on the natural history of amphibians in this region based on four years of intensive field research. It even includes a summary information on distribution with range maps and aspects of biogeography along with a comprehensive bibliography of the literature on amphibians within the park. To top what is already a nicely research and comprehensive text, it offers a summary of new data on the conservation of amphibians in the southern Appalachians encompassing issues such as land use, UV light effects on amphibians, and disease.

The introduction is includes sections devoted to the Body plan of amphibians, Amphibian evolution, Species richness in this area, Natural History, Life cycles, Habitats. This is followed by a chapter devoted to the geology and biota of the Great Smoky Mountains which allows the reader to understand the geology, environment, and other biota who the share the land with the amphibians inhabiting this area. A third chapter describes the interaction of humans in this wilderness. Once the reader has acquire a preliminary knowledge of amphibian biology , the natural history of the region and the past and present human influences on the speciesís distribution and biology, we finally move on to the section on identification.

Each species account consists of the following subsections: Etymology, Identification, Distribution, Life History, Abundance and Status and Remarks. Each account is accompanied by photos of adults, sometimes juveniles, larvae or egg, range maps and the very nice larvae illustrations.

Finally I would like to add that this is also a nicely designed guide in high quality paper and that obviously a lot of time and careful editing went into its publication. I highly recommend it not only for those living in the proximity of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park but also for anyone interested in the natural history of amphibians.