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2018 Vol. 17, No. 4
Herping Texas: The Quest for Reptiles and
Amphibians. Michael Smith and Clint King.
2018. Texas A & M University Press, College
Station, TX. 336 pp. $30.00, softcover. ISBN
9781623496647. While many people go out
of their way to avoid snakes or shudder at the
thought of touching a toad, herpers take to the
field armed with cameras, hooks, and notebooks
hoping to come across a Horned Lizard, Green
Tree Frog, or even a Diamondback Rattlesnake.
In Herping Texas: The Quest for Reptiles and
Amphibians, Michael Smith and Clint King, expert
naturalists and field herpers, take readers on
their adventures across the state as they search for
favorite herps and rare finds. Part nature travel
writing and part guide to field herping, Herping
Texas also includes a section on getting started,
where the authors give readers necessary background
on best field-herping practices. A glossary
defines herping lingo and scientific terms for
newcomers, and an appendix lists threatened and
endangered species at the state and federal level.
Herping Texas promotes experiencing natural
places and wildlife equipped with solid information
and a responsible conservation ethic .
Weeds of the South. Charles T. Bryson and
Michael S. DeFelice (Eds.). 2009. University of
Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 468 pp. $40.95, softcover.
ISBN 9780820330464. Weeds threaten the
safe, efficient, and sustainable production of food,
feed, fiber, and biofuel throughout the world.
Featuring more than 1500 full-color photographs,
this handy guide provides essential information
on 400 of the most troublesome weedy and invasive
plants found in the southern United States.
Drawing on the expertise of more than 40 weed
scientists and botanists, the guide identifies each
plant at various stages of its life and offers useful
details about its origin, habitat, morphology, biology,
distribution, and known toxic properties. The
book also includes illustrations of the most common
characteristics of plants and the terms used to
describe them, a key to plant families, a glossary
of frequently used terms, a bibliography, and an
index of scientific and common plant names..
Coming to Pass: Florida's Coastal Islands
in a Gulf of Change. Susan Cerulean. 2015.
University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 292
pp. $29.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780820347653.
Coming to Pass tells the story of a necklace of
northern Gulf Coast islands. Both a field guide
to a beloved and impermanent Florida landscape
and a call for its protection, this memoir
chronicles the uniquely beautiful coast as it once
was, as it is now, and as it may be as the sea
level rises. For decades, Cerulean has kayaked,
hiked, and counted birds on and around Dog, the
St. Georges, and St. Vincent Islands with family
and friends. Like most people, she didn’t know
how the islands had come to be or understand the
large-scale change coming to the coast. With her
husband, oceanographer Jeff Chanton, she studied
the genesis of the coast and its inextricable
link to the Apalachicola River. She interviewed
scientists as they tracked and tallied magnificent
and dwindling sea turtles, snowy white beach
mice, and endangered plants. With images from
prizewinning nature photographer David Moynahan,
Coming to Pass is the culmination of
Cerulean’s explorations and a reflection of our
spiritual relationship and responsibilities to the
world that holds us.
The Book of Snakes: A Life-size Guide to Six
Hundred Species from Around the World.
Mark O’Shea. 2018. University of Chicago
Press, Chicago, IL. 656 pp. $55.00, softcover.
ISBN 9780226459394. For millennia, humans
have regarded snakes with an exceptional combination
of fascination and revulsion. Snakes
can convey both beauty and menace in a single
tongue flick, and so these creatures have held a
special place in our cultures. Yet, for as many
meanings that we attribute to snakes—from
fertility and birth to sin and death—the real-life
species represent an even wider array of wonders.
The Book of Snakes presents 600 species of
snakes from around the world, covering nearly
1 in 6 of all snake species. It will bring greater
understanding of a group of reptiles that have
existed for more than 160 million years, and that
now inhabit every continent except Antarctica, as
well as 2 of the great oceans. The text is written
for laypeople and includes a glossary of frequently
used terms. Herpetologists and herpetoculturists
alike will delight in this collection, and even
those with a more cautious stance on snakes will
find themselves drawn in by the wild diversity of
the suborder Serpentes.
Fish Town: Down the Road to Louisiana's Vanishing
Fishing Communities. J.T. Blatty. 2018.
University of Virginia Press, Charlottesville, VA.
Distributed for George F. Thompson Publishing.
Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 17/4, 2018
2018 Vol. 17 No. 4
200 pp. $39.95, cloth. ISBN 9781938086519.
Fish Town is an inspired documentary project
focused on preserving, through photography and
oral history recordings, the cultural and environmental
remains of southeastern Louisiana’s
fishing communities. Owing to a dying wildcaught
seafood industry and a rapidly vanishing
coastline, the places and people who are multigenerations
deep in Louisiana’s fishing traditions
have been quietly slipping into extinction for
decades; many without a form of historic preservation.
These are the same towns that not only
have made New Orleans an epicenter of fresh
seafood dining but have traditionally served as
getaway places for New Orleanian families, an
escape to nature where time can be spent together
sport fishing on the lakes and bayous and gathering
around crab and crawfish boils. J.T. Blatty has
been traveling “down the road” from her home in
New Orleans since 2009, capturing these places
and people as no one previously has. His book
includes 137 color photographs taken between
2012 and 2017. Interspersed throughout are text
narratives transcribed from audio recordings with
long-standing members of the fishing communities,
many of whose ancestors came to Louisiana
during the late 1600s.
Whooping Cranes: Biology and Conservation.
John B French, Sarah J. Converse, and Jane E.
Austin. 2018. Academic Press, London, United
Kingdom, an imprint of Elsevier. 538 pp. $84.96.
Hardcover. ISBN 9780128035559. Whooping
Cranes: Biology and Conservation covers one of
the most endangered birds in North America, and
the subject of intense research and highly visible
conservation activity. This volume summarizes
current biological information on Whooping
Cranes and provides the basis for future research
necessary for conservation of this species.
Whooping Cranes: Biology and Conservation
seeks to inform and galvanize action dedicated to
meeting the challenges faced by Whooping Crane
managers and conservationists. Thus, it describes
one model of endangered species conservation
and restoration that will interest a wide audience:
professionals that work on cranes; researchers
in the fields of small population biology, endangered
species, and avian ecology; wildlife veterinarians
and those involved in avian husbandry;
administrators of management agencies or
conservation organizations; conservationists in
other fields; teachers of conservation biology or
ornithology and their students; and the educated
Ghost Birds: Jim Tanner and the Quest for
the Ivory-billed Woodpecker 1935-1941. Stephen
Lyn Bales. 2010. University of Tennessee
Press, Knoxville, TN. 270 pp. $29.95, hardcover.
ISBN 1572337176. Naturalist James T. Tanner
was a 21 year-old graduate student when he saw
his first Ivory-billed Woodpecker, in a remote
swamp in Louisiana. Two years later, Tanner hit
the road in search of this ever-elusive bird. His
work would result in some of the most extensive
field research ever conducted on the magnificent
woodpecker. Ghost Birds recounts, in fascinating
detail, the scientist’s dogged quest as he chased
down leads in 8 southern states. With author
Bales as our guide, we experience the same awe
and excitement that Tanner felt when he was
able to observe and document several of these
birds—including a nestling that he handled,
banded, and photographed at close range. His
work was particularly urgent because the species
was quickly vanishing. As sightings became rarer
in the decades following his research, the bird
was feared to have become extinct. Since 2005,
reports of Arkansas and Florida sightings made
headlines and gave new hope to ornithologists
and bird lovers, although extensive subsequent
investigations have yet to produce definitive
confirmation. Before he died in 1991, Jim Tanner
had come to believe that the majestic woodpeckers
were probably gone forever, but he remained
hopeful that someone would prove him wrong.
This book fully captures Tanner’s determined
spirit as he tracked down what was then, as now,
one of ornithology’s true Holy Grails.
The Southeastern Naturalist welcomes submissions of review copies of books that publishers or authors
would like to recommend to the journal’s readership and are relevant to the journal’s mission of publishing
information about the natural history of the southeastern US. Accompanying short, descriptive summaries
of the text are also welcome.