Request: Amphibian Declines - The Conservation Status of United States Species by Michael Lannoo

SludgeMunkey

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This is one of the books on my shopping list. As of yet, I have not purchased it.
 

SludgeMunkey

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I managed to pick up this tome for a mere 35.00 USD used online.

If you are an caudate or anura nut-job (like me) you need to own this book. Personally I found the fifty-odd essays on various theories and explanations of amphibian population decline a bit dry. I also found it exceedingly depressing. The data is sound and well referenced. Thanks to the references in this book, I will be hunting for papers and books on amphibians for the next decade!

I feel that it only contributes to much of the controversy surrounding the causes of these population drops and extinctions.many of the essays are liberally biased even though they are based on fact. Many of the essays fail completely to identify multiple factors for more of a media shotgun approach you can almost feel the fervent, zealous, tunnel vision of the authors. Others are very well written and weigh theories and factors from an unbiased perspective with hard data to back it up. If nothing else, these inconsistencies of format only make the reader want to study and cross reference data even more.

The real gem here is the very nearly complete species descriptions of every single known/recognized species of amphibian in the United States as of the time of the writing. While I freely admit I did not read this half of the book in it's entirety, I poured over the caudata and compared it to the only other nearly complete listing I own, Petranka's monolithic book.

It amazes me how much differing opinions and varying sources can change the data presented. The caudate and anuran taxonomic argument is only furthered along here. This makes it very confusing at times for a layman such as myself.

The species information is exactly what you would expect from a college level textbook like this one encompassing so many species. Short, sweet and basic. Habitat. preferred weather, basic breeding, incubation periods and the like are all there in a slightly stunted form.

To sum this book up: If you can find it for a nice low price, this is a must have title for any serious amphibian fanatic. I will state again, the essay section is a tough read for those of us with out a background in academia but it is still accessible and informative. For you academics, it is a dry read, but there is a good many gems of thought and logic about our favorite topic throughout the pages.
 

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Professor Lannoo is following this book up next year with a new book titled something like "Atlas of the Amphibians of the United States and Canada". I was lucky enough to have some of my photos accepted for it so I look forward to posting my review of the copy that's coming my way ;).
 
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