Wednesday, June 22, 2016

New Titles



1) Dietz, Christian  and Andreas Kiefer. Bats of Britain and Europe. 2016. Bloomsbury. Paperback: 398 pages. Price: $50.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Here is a comprehensive guide to the forty-five bat species that occur across Britain and Europe, based on recent taxonomic advances and newly described species over the last few years. The extensive introduction details the remarkable biology of bats and explores the latest findings in bat evolution and echolocation. In-depth species accounts cover life history, conservation status, and identification. Distribution maps and drawings accompany the text, and the book is illustrated with almost seven hundred breathtaking color photographs. This unique reference is an authoritative field guide suitable for all bat enthusiasts, whether they are beginners, students, professionals, or conservationists.
RECOMMENDATION: Some of the identification photos are small which could limit their usefulness.


2) Harrap, Simon. A Pocket Guide to the Orchids of Britain and Ireland. 2016. Bloomsbury. Paperback: 255 pages. Price: $20.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The orchid family is one of the largest plant families in the world. It is at its most diverse in the tropics, where its exotic and colorful flowers are truly breathtaking. Britain and Ireland have just 56 species of wild orchids, some of which are rare or scarce, while others are surprisingly inconspicuous. Yet whether large or small, all orchids share flamboyant flower structures and incredible beauty.
     This new Pocket Guide covers all 56 species of British and Irish orchids, with concise text, breathtaking color photographs, and accurate range maps based on compilations made by the Biological Record Centre. The book is derived from the highly acclaimed Orchids of Britain and Ireland: A Field and Site Guide, also by Simon Harrap.
RECOMMENDATION: A useful introduction to the orchids of the region.


3) Hawkins, Frank, Roger Safford and Adrian Skerrett. Birds of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands. 2015. Helm/Bloomsbury. Paperback: 336 pages. Price: $45.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The Malagasy region contains one of the most extraordinary concentrations of biodiversity in the world. Its recognition as a zoogeographic region in its own right has recently been confirmed, and, all taxa combined, the region was found to hold the second most distinct assemblage of vertebrates in the world after the Australian region, despite being the smallest of them all.
      This new field guide from the Helm Field Guides series covers the whole of the Malagasy region, which comprises the unique island of Madagascar and the various islands and archipelagos of the Indian Ocean, including the Seychelles, Comoros, and Mascarenes (Mauritius, RĂ©union, and Rodrigues). Every resident and migrant species is covered in full detail with a color distribution map for each species. Vagrants are also treated in detail, and all species are illustrated on a beautiful series of 124 color plates, with artwork from John Gale and Brian Small. Conveniently, the plates have been arranged so that all the key species of the various archipelagos are placed together in sections.
      This is a major work of reference on the birds of the region and will remain the standard text for many years to come.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with an interest in the birds of the region!


4) Hunter, Luke. Wild Cats of the World. 2015. Bloomsbury. Hardbound: 240 pages. Price: $40.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: From the rabbit-sized Black-footed Cat of southern Africa to bear-killing Amur tigers of the Russian Far East, the 38 members of the Cat Family include some of the world's most fascinating and magnificent species on earth. Supremely adapted for the kill, all cats are obligate carnivores; they survive only by preying upon other animals, and they have become one of evolution's most successful predatory lineages of mammals.
     Wild Cats of the World explores the spectacular Cat Family in unprecedented depth. Drawing on thousands of scientific papers and direct observations in the field, each species is profiled at length, covering all aspects of felid behaviour and ecology. The book is profusely illustrated with colour plates, black-and-white sketches showing important aspects of cat life, and accurate images of every species' skull. Over 400 spectacular photographs are included, many of them showing extremely rare and little-known cats published here for the first time. Each profile includes an up-to-date range map and explains the most current science on how cats are classified and related to each other, including some very recent, surprising discoveries.
     Despite their great evolutionary success, the challenges facing felids in the modern world are profound. Only one, the ubiquitous domestic cat, does not require dedicated conservation action to ensure survival for the next century. The book also explores the current conservation issues facing wild cats, the increasingly perilous status of many species, and how they can be saved.
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated overview of the World's felids.
 

5) Scales, Helen. Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells. 2015. Bloomsbury Sigma. Hardbound: 304 pages. Price: $27.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Seashells, stretching from the deep past into the present day, are touchstones leading into fascinating realms of the natural world and cutting-edge science. Members of the phylum Mollusca are among the most ancient animals on the planet. Their shells provide homes for other animals, and across the ages, people have used shells not only as trinkets but also as a form of money, and as powerful symbols of sex and death, prestige and war.
     The science and natural history of shells are woven into a compelling narrative, revealing their cultural importance and the ways they have been used by humans over the millennia. (Seashells have even been tapped as a source of mind-bending drugs.) Marine biologist Helen Scales shows how seashells have been sculpted by the fundamental rules of mathematics and evolution; how they gave us color, gems, food, and new medicines.
     After surviving multiple mass extinctions millions of years ago, molluscs and their shells still face an onslaught of anthropogenic challenges, including climate change and corrosive oceans. But rather than dwelling on all that is lost, Scales emphasizes that seashells offer an accessible way to reconnect people with nature, helping to bridge the gap between ourselves and the living world. Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells shows why nature matters, and reveals the hidden wonders that you can hold in the palm of your hand.
RECOMMENDATION: This title will be available in paperback in July 2016.

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