1) Grant, K. Thalia and Gregory B. Estes. Darwin in Galapagos: Footsteps to a New World. 2009. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 362 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Thalia Grant and Gregory Estes meticulously retrace Charles Darwin's island expeditions, taking you on an unforgettable guided tour. Drawing from Darwin's original notebooks and logs from the Beagle, the latest findings by Darwin scholars and modern science, and their own intimate knowledge of the archipelago, Grant and Estes offer rare insights into Darwin's thinking about evolution in the context of the actual locales that inspired him. They introduce Darwin as a young naturalist in England and onboard the Beagle and then put you in his shoes as he explores remote places in the islands. They identify the unique animals and plants he observed and collected, and describe dramatic changes to the islands since Darwin's time. They also explore the importance of Darwin's observations and collections to the development of his thinking after the voyage.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in Darwin and/or the Galapagos Islands.
2) Henderson, Carrol L. Butterflies, Moths, and Other Invertebrates of Costa Rica. 2010. University of Texas Press. Paperback: 173 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Carrol Henderson published Field Guide to the Wildlife of Costa Rica in 2002, and it instantly became the indispensable guide. Now Henderson has created a dedicated field guide to more than one hundred tropical butterflies, moths, and other invertebrates that travelers are most likely to see while exploring the wild lands of Costa Rica. He includes fascinating information on their natural history, ecology, identification, and behavior gleaned from his forty years of travels and wildlife viewing, as well as details on where to see these remarkable and beautiful creatures. The butterflies, moths, and other invertebrates are illustrated by over 180 stunning and colorful photographs—most of which were taken in the wild by Henderson. A detailed and invaluable appendix that identifies many of Costa Rica's best wildlife-watching destinations, lodges, and contact information for trip-planning purposes completes the volume. Color range maps are included.
RECOMMENDATION: For those interested in the natural history of Costa Rica.