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Old 12th July 2009   #1
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Default Book Review: Salamanders, Frogs, and Turtles of New Jersey's Vernal Pools: a Field Guide (Kenney, Burne, Tesauro, et al., c.2001)

Kenney, Leo P. and Matthew R. Burne, with modifications and adaptations for New Jersey by Jason Tesauro, Kris Schantz, and Melissa Craddock. c.2001. Salamanders, Frogs, and Turtles of New Jersey's Vernal Pools: a Field Guide. NJDEP, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Endangered and Nongame Species Program. 54 pp., soft cover, spiral bound.

This small, spiral-bound pamphlet is a really handy little guide with lots of data and images. It includes information about 16 frogs and toads, 9 salamanders, and 5 turtles found in New Jersey's vernal pools. Since the focus of this publication is to assist people in obtaining certification of vernal pools, a general introduction to vernal pools is given as is more specific information on those pools found in New Jersey as well as on the certification program in that state. Individual species identifications for the frogs, toads, and salamanders include sections on Adults, Eggs, and Larvae. Discussion of size, range, thorough physical description of life stages, habit, hybridization and variation issues, feeding preferences, and protection status round out each written description. Each is also thoroughly illustrated in full color: most include a posed adult, eggs/egg masses, larvae, and either color variant(s) or recently metamorphosed individuals. General habitats are sometimes illustrated as well. Of special note is the two-page spread illustrating and describing the eggs/egg masses of obligate species in NJ's vernal pools: wood frogs and mole salamanders (spotted, jefferson, and blue spotted). Much is packed into these 54 pages, and it makes an easily carried quick reference (for places beyond NJ, too).

This book is based on a 77-page booklet by the same authors, called Field Guide to the Animals of Vernal Pools, published by the Vernal Pool Association and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. In the book reviewed, much information pertinent to New Jersey has been added by Jason Tesauro, Kris Schantz, and Melissa Craddock. A quick Google search did not show any copies of the NJ-specific book available online at the moment. Links to sale of Field Guide to the Animals of Vernal Pools can be found at Unfortunately, it seems to be “temporarily out of stock.”

In searching for information on this book (a copy of which I was lucky enough to find at a library book sale few years ago) I did find an interesting, though very basic, online field guide to herps in NJ: (small pdf fact sheets with basic information, including range within NJ and a color photo of each animal).

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