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Handbook of Himalayan Salamander

mifune

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Deuti, Kaushik and Hedge, V.D. Handbook of Himalayan Salamander
Delhe, India. Nature Books India, 2007; 50 pp. No isbn provided



Although a modest book, Handbook of Himalayan Salamander is a unique publications that goes into details on the only species of salamander found in India; Tylototriton verrucosus. Although the genus consist of 8 species at the time of writing, seven of them are restricted to China and Southeast Asia. It is only Tylototriton verrucosus that extends its range from China into north-eastern India, mostly the cool mountains lakes and ponds around the Darjeeling district and other districts of Arunachal Padresh, Manipur at altitudes ranging from 1300-2200 meters. Both authors are scientists of the Zoological Survey of India in Kolkata and have done considerable research and surveys in the breeding habitats of this species in Darjeeling. The very last chapter, chapter eleven , contains an impressive and complete list of references of studies done on Tylototriton verrucosus in India and Nepal.

The books opens with a short introduction on the species in India and proceeds to offer information through a series of brief but detailed chapters on the adult salamander, breeding behavior, salamander eggs, the larva, metamorphosis of the juvenile, hibernation, distribution, threat to the species and conservation suggestions. Besides the references, the books contains several pages of color pictures at the very end showing habitat, eggs, mating, larva among others. Unfortunately, these photos are not of the greatest quality but good enough to appreciate and they really do not detract from the detailed information in these pages regarding Tylototriton verrucosus in India.

The information in the chapters, although each chapter is rather brief, is very detailed and I found myself surprised at how much they were able to say regarding the species on each section. The information is succinct but in my opinion, very valuable for those seeking to breed and learn more about this species. It offers a view of the species within particular ranges and habitat that allow the authors to offer a handbooks which is extremely useful in learning about the feeding habits, courtship, breeding, egg deposition, juveniles; everything one wishes to know about this species but confined to the aforementioned areas in India.

Of particular interest is chapter 8, on distribution as it offers exact locations, eleven of them with coordinates, of where to find Tylototriton verrucosus in the Indian subcontinent scattered at different locations in the high hills of the Eastern Himalayas.

The handbook is definitely written in a language accessible to all, from academicians to naturalists and anyone interested in caudates. It is truly a unique and valuable publication about a little known, and considerably threatened salamander.

For those of you interested in Tylototriton this is a must have book. I cannot fail but to highly recommend its purchase if available keeping in mind that it is a modest publication as the authors state from the start. For those of you in the UK it might be easier to get hold of a copy. I had to order mine from India and it took about 3 weeks time to get here. There are some bookstores on the internet that might be able to order it for you or just type the title and you may find Indian bookstores offering it for what I think is a modest price of around $15.00 USD.

José Escobar
Charleston, South Carolina.
 

Nathan050793

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As a keeper of Tylototriton verrucosus, this book is obviously of great interest and I'm interested to see for myself some of the information that may not be found already here on the forum. The habitat photos are also a plus. Definitely another book I'll be adding to my list...
 

mifune

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Hello Nathan,

Try through ABE Books. I think it is worth looking for it and ABE takes care of the arrangement if it ships from India. Amazon UK may have it as well. I also look for Amazon Canada just in case they may have it. The photos are fine but not best quality and it is a small book in size.

Jose
 
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