Site by Bennett Web & Design Co.
376 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 6, No.2
Book Reviews of the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 6/2, 2007
Guide and Reference to the Amphibians
of Eastern and Central North
America (North of Mexico). R.D.
Bartlett and Patricia P. Bartlett. 2006.
University Press of Florida, Gainsville,
FL. 283 pp. $29.95, softcover. ISBN
0813029503. Identification guide to the
astonishing number of amphibian species
found from the eastern seaboard west to
the Dakotas and south to Texas. Especially
useful, given the current worldwide
amphibian decline. Authors note
that species in the guide book area are
doing well generally, better than most,
but are still exhibiting some reductions.
Includes excellent color photos throughout
and species-by-species descriptions
with maps. Also includes helpful general
descriptions of family characteristics.
Like all Bartlett guides, text is punctuated
by anecdotes and personal stories from
authors’ time in the field observing various
species. Could only be improved by
descriptions and photos of egg deposits to
aid in identification of breeding presence
of a species, without having to find an
adult specimen. Highly Recommended.
Guide and Reference to the Snakes of
Eastern and Central North America
(North of Mexico). R.D. Bartlett and
Patricia P. Bartlett. 2005. University
Press of Florida, Gainsville, FL. 342 pp.
$29.95, softcover. ISBN 081302935X. A
wonderful and readable guide to the various
families of snakes in Eastern North
America. Covers 209 species, including
native and introduced and naturalized
species. Coverage area extends west to
western Texas, North Dakota, and
Manitoba. Uses traditional “conservative”
taxonomy and acknowledges subspecies.
Includes key to families. Lengthy
discussion of each family and subfamily
as well as specific species. Personal stories
relating to the authors’ encounters
with each family enliven the text. Includes
a color photo of each species; color
variants discussed, but generally not represented
by photo. Includes glossary and
recommended reading. A useful reference,
highly recommended for general
outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
Guide and Reference to the Crocodilians,
Turtles, and Lizards of Eastern
and Central North America (North of
Mexico). R.D. Bartlett and Patricia P.
Bartlett. 2006. University Press of
Florida, Gainsville, FL. 316 pp. $29.95,
softcover. ISBN 0813029465. Completes
the Bartlett guide book to herptofauna
trilogy. Includes excellent features found
in all Bartlett guides: full color photos,
range maps, clear and thorough species
discussions, helpful descriptions of orders
and families, and authors’ anecdotes of
field time. Includes 208 species. Limited
to adults. Nesting information included in
some family descriptions. Guide is of limited
utility in the northern part of its coverage
area, especially the northeast, due
to small number of species (mostly
turtles) found there. Highly recommended
for those in southern part of coverage
The Mosquito Wars: A History of Mosquito
Control in Florida. Gordon
Patterson. 2004. University Press of
Florida, Gainesville, FL. 263 pp. $55,
hardcover. ISBN 0813027209. At one
time, mosquitos were so plentiful in
Florida that they literally drove humans
insane, killed livestock, and made three to
four months of the year a torment. This
book, written for the Florida History and
Culture Series, tells the story of the successful
effort to control mosquito population
levels in Florida. Written in a clear
and engaging style, this book details the
many strategies employed in this war, including
the widespread use of DDT and
other pesticides. Mosquitos were indeed
2007 Book Reviews 377
controlled, but at a great cost to the ecology
and environment of Florida, leading
to a public backlash against control measures.
The recent occurrence in Florida of
West Nile Virus and some cases of malaria
(both are transmitted by mosquitos)
may cause the debate to shift again. This
is a fascinating story, of interest to all
Floridians and to anyone concerned about
the use of insecticides. S.E.
Ledyard: In Search of the First American
Explorer. Bill Gifford. 2007.
Harcourt, Inc., Orlando, FL. 331 pp. $25,
hardcover. ISBN 0151012180. An intrepid
explorer, John Ledyard sailed with
Captain Cook on his final voyage. Befriended
by Thomas Jefferson, Ledyard
had set out to explore North America 15
years prior to the famous travels of Lewis
and Clark, but instead of traveling from
east to west, Ledyard headed east from
Paris. Gifford tells the story of this
Harrison Ford-type figure chronologically
from his early adulthood in Connecticut
through his restless travels to his
untimely death at the age of 37. A largerthan-
life figure, Ledyard makes an engaging
subject for Gifford’s well-researched
and colorful storytelling. An extensive
list of notes, a bibliography, suggestions
for further reading, and an index are provided.
Parasites and Diseases of Wild Mammals
in Florida. Donald J. Forrester.
1992. University Press of Florida,
Gainesville, FL. 459 pp. $59.95, hardcover.
ISBN 0813010721. This text discusses
the distribution, prevalence, and
significance of the parasites and diseases
afflicting a broad range of Florida’s mammalian
wildlife, including rodents, bats,
raccoons, armadillos, bears, panthers,
deer, and marine mammals. Though published
over 15 years ago, it remains a relevant
and useful text that has become a
standard reference for wildlife biologists,
epidemiologists, and veterinarians. Although
it is not a diagnostic manual, the
information it contains is helpful in confirming
a diagnosis. Contains many charts
and figures, as well as black and white
photographs of disease causing agents
and their manifestations, including some
histopathological slides. This text belongs
on the shelf of any Florida wildlife biologist,
but it is also useful well outside of
this region, since many of the described
diseases, parasites, and their mammalian
hosts are not limited to Florida. S.E.
The Cuban Treefrog in Florida: Life
History of a Successful Colonizing Species.
Walter E. Meshaka, Jr. 2001. University
Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
191 pp. $69.95, hardcover. ISBN
081302109X. Meshaka describes his
search to understand how the Cuban
treefrog has so successfully colonized the
southern Everglades. By comparing ten
traits important for colonization across
three geographic areas—its native habitat,
habitats to which it has been introduced,
and habitats at the northern range
of its introduced distribution—the author
seeks to provide an explanation for its
colonizing success. Chapters examining
the natural history of the treefrog, and a
brief introduction to the Everglades are
followed by detailed accounts of reproductive
biology, development and
growth, seasonal and night activity, habitat
affinity, diet, predation, and body size.
A synthesis of how well the treefrog correlates
with characteristics of colonizing
species, along with chapters outlining future
colonizing opportunities and the
Treefrog’s future in the Everglades, conclude
the study. A list of references and
species index are provided. C.R.
The Liguus Tree Snails of South
Florida. Henry T. Close. 2000. University
Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 161
pp. $65, hardcover. ISBN 0813018145.
This guide to the shells of the Everglade
tree snails is aimed at everyone from beginning
enthusiasts to professional malacologists.
While the largest section of this
378 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 6, No.2
book covers shell identification of the 59
named color forms, there is also information
on the ecology, biology, and evolution
of the snails. Distribution and dispersal
are also addressed in individual
chapters. About 300 of the brilliantly colored
shells are depicted in color plates.
Appendices include classification of color
forms, a list of sinistral specimens (those
spiraling counterclockwise) with location,
collector and date, and a partial history
of references beginning chronologically
in 1742. A bibliography and index
are also included. C.R.
The Exotic Amphibians and Reptiles of
Florida. Walter E. Meshaka, Jr., Brian P.
Butterfield, and J. Brian Hauge. 2004.
Krieger Publishing company, Malabar,
FL. 155 pp. $38.95, hardcover. ISBN
1575240424. Florida is home to more exotic
amphibians and reptiles than any
other state in the US and has more exotic
than native lizards. An updated list of species
and an account of each is provided.
Organized by family, each account includes
naming authority, common
name(s), a detailed description, body
measurements, a color photograph, and
discussion of similar species. A history of
the species’ introduction and distribution
is discussed. A range map is included.
Details regarding habitat and habits, reproduction,
diet, and predators are also
covered. This well-illustrated and comprehensive
book will be appreciated by
naturalists and land managers. A cross
reference between scientific and common
names is provided, as well as an extensive
list of references. C.R.
Land Use Change and Mountain
Biodiversity. Eva M. Spehn, Maximo
Liberman, and Christian Körner (Eds.).
2006. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 362
pp. $109.95, hardcover. ISBN
084933523X. A collection of papers presented
at two Global Mountain
Biodiversity Assessment workshops in
Tanzania (2002) and Bolivia (2003) that
focused on biodiversity and sustainable
use of tropical and subtropical highlands.
An introduction is followed by a collection
of papers that address the effects of
fire on mountain biodiversity and one on
the effects of grazing. One section examines
the effects of grazing specifically on
mountain forests. A section of four chapters
that address the socioeconomic aspects
of land and mountain biodiversity is
followed by a chapter that synthesizes human
impacts of fire and grazing and a
chapter that presents a research agenda
for land-use effects on biodiversity. Separate
subject, plant, and animal species indices
are provided. C.R.
Wild Orchids of South Carolina: A
Popular Natural History. James
Alexander Fowler. 2005. University of
South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC. 242
pp. $39.95, hardcover. ISBN
1570035660. Fowler provides detailed
accounts of the 55 species of orchids
documented in the state. Several highquality
color pictures are provided for
each species, often showing close ups of
the flowers and the whole plant in its
habitat. Common and scientific names are
given for each, with an interpretation of
the scientific name. A description identifies
distinguishing characters. Flowering
period, habitat, range, and pollinators are
also listed. A range map shows the counties
in which each orchid has been found.
A glossary and index conclude the book.
Written for those with an interest in natural
history, this book will be valued by
orchid and wildflower enthusiasts of the
Mockingbird Song: Ecological Landscapes
of the South. Jack Temple Kirby.
2006. The University of North Carolina
Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 361 pp. $29.95,
hardcover. ISBN 0807830577. Kirby
presents a rambling narrative on how
people, past and present, relate to one another
and the landscapes of the south.
This is an environmental history as
2007 Book Reviews 379
shaped by humans. The ethics of the human
relationship to nature is touched on
in each chapter. The book begins with a
discussion of the native human cultures
that populated the south at the time of
contact with the first Europeans and describes
the interactions of these cultures.
European culture dominates the remainder
of the book, which examines the relationship
of people to the land with regard
to agriculture (the plantation) and wildlife
(how a hunting tradition was harnessed by
the military). The need for shelter as it
developed into construction of towns and
cities is discussed, with a final chapter on
the postmodern landscapes that we have
constructed. Notes for each chapter and a
brief index are provided. C.R.
Pharsalia: An Environmental Biography
of a Southern Plantation, 1780-
1880. Lynn A. Nelson. 2007. University
of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 295 pp.
$39.95, hardcover. ISBN 0820326275.
Nelson tells the story of a Piedmont Virginia
plantation owned by a single family
for a century from a wealth of notes left
behind. The story documents the struggle
for agrarian independence and the negative
impacts of farming on the fragile
soils of the Piedmont. The result of a
single family’s attempt to work with the
environment, the marketplace, and their
own yearning for independence was similar
to others’ in the region and unexpectedly
resulted in agriculture as a form of
slave-dependent capitalism. Well written
and informative, this history of circumstances
leading up to the southern conservation
movement will be enjoyed by anyone
with an interest in agricultural issues,
both past and present, and how our treatment
of the land has far reaching consequences
we might not anticipate. C.R.
The Plausibility of Life: Resolving
Darwin’s Dilemma. Marc W. Kirschner
and John C. Gerhart. 2005. Yale University
Press, New Haven, CT. 314 pp. $18,
softcover. ISBN 0300119771. While Darwin
was able to make a strong case for
natural selection, he was less effective at
explaining variation. The authors have set
out to provide this explanation with the
theory of facilitated variation, which covers
how useful variations are produced
and how they affect evolutionary change.
Devoid of jargon specific to any particular
group of scientists and assisted by a
glossary, this book will be enjoyed by all.
Exploring the Geology of the Carolinas.
Kevin G. Stewart and Mary-Russell
Roberson. 2007. University of North
Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 298 pp.
$19.95, softcover. ISBN 0807857861. A
terrific guide to the geology of North and
South Carolina, aimed at the curious nonscientist.
Uses the most up-to-date research
on regional geology. First several
chapters provide an introduction to geology
and an overview of plate tectonics
with a history of the rocks that make up
the region. The rest of the text is devoted
to “Field Trips,” detailed descriptions of
sites in all three geological provinces
(Blue Ridge, Piedmont, and Coastal
Plain) that highlight geological features
of interest. A wide range of locations
from mountains to beaches are included.
Field-trip descriptions emphasize the geology,
but include limited directions and
access information. Includes a helpful
glossary and recommended reading. Recommended.
The Reluctant Mr. Darwin. David
Quammen. 2006. W.W. Norton, New
York, NY. 304 pp. $22.95, softcover.
ISBN 0393059812. A short biography of
Charles Darwin focusing on the period
of time after his return from sea in which
he developed the theory of natural selection
and published The Origin of Species.
Chiefly the account of intellectual
development of a specific idea, rather
than a comprehensive biography. Provides
a look at the social and intellectual
context of Darwin and his connection to
380 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 6, No.2
the scientific community at the time.
Spends a good deal of time on Darwin’s
relationship to and semi-rivalry with
Alfred Wallace (who developed a similar
theory of evolution before Darwin published
his own). Very readable due to
David Quam-men’s clear writing style.
Recommended for anyone interested in
the history of science. S.O’M.
The Everglades: An Environmental
History. David McCalley. 1999. University
Press of Florida, Gainsville, FL. 215
pp. $19.95, softcover. ISBN 0813018277.
A fascinating and well-written account of
the environmental history of the Everglades
wetland complex in south Florida.
Discusses the natural history and climate
of the glacial era. Detailed description of
the landscape before modern drainage and
reclamation efforts, with dramatic before
and after photos. Includes native peoples.
Politics of the early 20th-century drainage
efforts are well documented. Ends with a
short epilogue on restoration efforts. An
astonishing story. Includes notes and bibliography.
Recommended for anyone interested
in the Everglades and/or a case
history of landscape degradation. S.O’M.
A Guide to Sampling Freshwater Mussel
Populations. David L. Strayer and
David R. Smith. 2003. American Fisheries
Society, Bethesda, MD. 103 pp. $55,
softcover. ISBN 1888569506. Mussels
are often important components of freshwater
aquatic ecosystems, and can be useful
monitors of ecosystem health and pollution.
Increasingly, they are under threat
from human activities. Their populations
need to be accurately estimated by biologists
using statistical sampling methodology.
This guide presents a review of sampling
designs and sampling gear, and discusses
the statistical approaches best used
for sampling sedentary organisms that are
spotty in distribution and submerged in
water. This is a technical text with an emphasis
on statistical methodology; a background
in statistics will be helpful, though
not essential for understanding. Though
oriented towards sampling mussel populations,
this text is of practical value for
anyone needing to sample plant or animal
populations in the field. S.E.
Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in
Natural History. Stephen Jay Gould.
1992. W.W. Norton and Company, Inc.,
New York, NY. 285 pp. $15.95,
softcover. ISBN 0393308189. An engaging
collection of essays addressing all aspects
of evolution. Originally published in
1977, this collection seems as timely as
ever. Covering topics as diverse as human
evolution and continental drift, Gould
captures the interest of the naturally curious.
Book Reviewers: S.E. = Stephen Eddy,
S.O'M. = Sarah O'Malley, C.R. = Cathy
2007 Gopher Tortoise Council Meeting. October 11–14, 2007 at Adventures
Unlimited in Milton, FL. For more info: www.gophertortoisecouncil.org.