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Book Reviews of the Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 6, Number 3, 2007

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 6, Number 3 (2007): 564–570

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564 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 6, No.3 564 Book Reviews of the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 6/3, 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. S.O’M. 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. S.O’M. 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 trilogy to herptofauna. 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 area. S.O’M. 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 565 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. 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-andwhite 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 and chapters outlining future colonizing opportunities and its 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. $49.95, hardcover. ISBN 0813018145. This guide to the shells of the Everglade tree snails is aimed at everyone from beginning enthusiast to professional malacologist. While the largest section of this 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. $44.50, hardcover. ISBN 1575240424. Florida is home to more exotic amphibians and reptiles than any 566 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 6, No.3 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 is 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 and grazing on mountain biodiversity. One section examines the effects of grazing specifically on mountain forests. A section of four chapters address the socioeconomic aspects of land and mountain biodiversity, 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 species, 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 region. C.R. The Reluctant Mr. Darwin. David Quammen. 2006. W.W. Norton, New York, NY. 304 pp. $22.95, cloth. 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 the scientific community at the time. Strong focus 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. Useful in light of current evolution debates. Recommended for anyone interested in the history of science. S.O’M. 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 2007 Book Reviews 567 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. C.R. 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 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 are provided for each chapter, along with a brief index. 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. 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 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 helpful glossary and recommended reading. 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 readable account of the environmental history of the Everglades wetland complex in south Florida. Discusses the natural history and climate of the glacial era. Detailed account of the landscape before modern drainage and reclamation efforts, with dramatic beforeand- after photos. Includes native peoples. Politics of the early 20th-century drainage efforts are well documented. Ends with 568 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 6, No.3 short epilogue on restoration efforts. An astonishing story. Includes notes and bibliography. Recommended for anyone interested in the Everglades, and as a case history of landscape degradation. S.O’M. Natural Histories: Stories from the Tennessee Valley. Stephen Lyn Bales. 2007. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, TN. 280 pp. $24.95, softcover. ISBN 1572335610. Lovely nature writing, bracketed by the Tennessee River and the valley it drains. Each chapter focuses on a different common species of the valley and includes natural history information, personal observations, human cultural history, and the big picture connection. Emphasizes the interconnectedness of things. Gentle and lyrical. Recommended for anyone who appreciates good nature writing or is interested in the plants and animals of the Southeast. S.O'M 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. C.R. Fishes of the Middle Savannah River Basin: With Emphasis on the Savannah River Site. Barton C. Marcy Jr., Dean E. Fletcher, F. Douglas Martin, Michael H. Paller, and Marcel J.M. Reichert. Photographs by David E. Scott. 2005. The University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 460 pp. $64.95, hardcover. ISBN 082032535X. The Middle Savannah River Basin flows through South Carolina and Georgia and is home to a great diversity of fishes, with at least 118 native species. This book covers 101 of those species, including all 86 species specifically known to occur at the Savannah River Site, a nuclear power station. Early chapters describe Savannah River tributaries and habitats, followed by an introduction to fish identification with a taxonomic key to family. The majority of the book consists of family and species accounts, with family keys to species. Each species account is accompanied by a detailed distribution map and color photographs of the live fish in its natural habitat. The photographs are of excellent quality, and the species accounts are concise but informative, providing descriptions of the fish’s appearance, meristic features, biology, distribution, habitat, and size. Extensively referenced to the literature. S.E. The Marine Mammals of the Gulf of Mexico. Bernd Würsig, Thomas A. Jefferson, and David J. Schmidly. 2000. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, TX. 232 pp. $34.95, hardcover. ISBN 0890969094. This text provides a species checklist, identification keys, and descriptions of all the marine mammals believed to occupy the Gulf of Mexico. Accompanied by more than thirty color paintings by Larry Foster and thirty-two color photographs. Also has a set of drawings of marine mammal skulls that comprise a skull key, allowing identification of decomposed strandings. Additional material provides an introduction to the marine mammals of the world, a description of the Gulf of Mexico and how it has been impacted by humans, a history of cetacean research in the Gulf, and worldwide status and conservation. This book is of more than regional appeal, as many of these animals are migratory and can be found elsewhere. A listing of all of the worlds’ marine mammals, an extensive bibliography, and the beautiful illustrations further add to the broad appeal of this book. S.E. Down to the Waterline: Boundaries, Nature, and the Law in Florida. Sara Warner. 2005. The University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 266 pp. $44.95, hard2007 Book Reviews 569 cover. ISBN 0820327034. In most states, the Ordinary High Water Line functions as the boundary between public waters and private uplands. Using the state of Florida as a case study, this book examines the legal implications of a natural boundary that is always subject to change. Human activity, such as the channelization of rivers, and natural events, such as droughts and floods, often shift the contours of established boundaries. Warner uses some of the subsequent legal battles to underline how natural ecosystems are often better when left alone, and that nature can derail the best manmade plans. This is a useful book for public- policy professionals, advocates for public access to fresh-water ecosystems, and to anyone who owns property along a shorefront. S.E. Baboon Metaphysics: The Evolution of a Social Mind. Dorothy L. Cheney and Robert M. Seyfarth. 2007. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 348 pp. $27.50, hardcover. ISBN 0226102432. Based on 15 years of field research, this book explores the ability of baboons to understand their own existence and knowledge, and seeks to determine the inner mental life of this primate. Reviews the existing literature and theories of social organization and animal cognition. Goes beyond simple in situ observation; authors conducted many field experiments to test their ideas. Extensive references. Non-technical but dense, recommended for those with a specific interest in animal cognition. S.O'M. Seashore Animals of the Southeast: A Guide to Common Shallow-water Invertebrates of the Southeastern Atlantic Coast. Edward E. Ruppert and Richard S. Fox. 1988. University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC. 429 pp. $29.95, softcover. ISBN 0872495353. This is a very good field guide, designed for use by the public but informative and scientific enough for any student of marine biology. An illustrated key in the first chapter that groups seashore animals by their overall appearance allows for a quick identification to at least the level of order or family. Further identification is enabled by means of over 100 drawings and 175 photographs (100 of them in color). Clear and informative written descriptions of more than 300 common seashore animals give details on identification, biology, and ecology. Chapters at the end of the guide provide more information on the major groups of marine animals, marine ecology, and how currents, waves, and tides influence marine life-forms. This is a must-have book for beachcombers and marine biologists, amateurs and professionals alike. S.E. 100 Butterflies and Moths: Portraits from the Tropical Forests of Costa Rica. Jeffery C. Miller, Daniel H. Janzen, and Winifred Hallwachs. 2007. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. 356 pp. $39.95, hardcover. ISBN 067402334X. A lovely collection of photographs and descriptions of tropical butterflies and moths. Photos of adults are full page and full color and organized one through one hundred. A numbered species- by-species account follows, and each includes a photo of the species as caterpillar. Special attention is paid to Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (ACG), a conservation wildland in northwestern Costa Rica; all of the species photographed were collected in ACG. Recommended for Lepidoptera lovers and those interested in Costa Rican natural history. S.O'M. Science in Latin America: A History. Juan Jose Saldana (Ed.). 2006. University of Texas Press, Austin, TX. 256 pp. $45, hardcover. ISBN 0292712715. This book of nine essays by leading Latin American scholars explores the history of science development in Latin American. Premised on the belief that it is necessary for nations who are “peripheral” to scientific advances and lack international stature in 570 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 6, No.3 science must understand what factors have impeded or fostered the development of science in their countries as well as what actual and potential for science development exists. Often relying on scant data, i.e., church records, these scholars trace the history of scientific developments and key scientists in the sixteenth through twentieth centuries. Among the contextual factors seen as modifying scientific advancement are religious repression of the Spanish Inquisition, repressive colonization policies and practices, importation of basic science and scientists from Europe, wars of emancipation, political developments in emergent nation states, and local industrial economics. Conversance in Latin American geogra- Errata The following Figure should have appeared on page 326 of the paper entitled "Factors Influencing Paddlefish Spawning in the Tombigbee Watershed" by Daniel M. O’Keefe, Johanna C. O’Keefe, and Donald C. Jackson in the last issue of the Southeastern Naturalist (Volume 6, Number 2). The online version of the article in the BioOne.org database has been corrected. Figure 2. Gage height and water temperature in the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, AL, below Howell Heflin Dam during spring 2005, with number of successful egg samplers (numerator) and number of functioning egg samplers (denominator) shown above the abscissa. Collection of one or more paddlefish eggs on an egg sampler was considered a success. phy and history enhances comprehension of developmental nuances. An unintended outcome of this review is the vivid portrayal of tenacity required of Latin American scientists in their struggle to create science for local and international use. Although aimed primarily at scholars of the history of science, this book will interest concerned citizens, policymakers, and politicians who wish to promote scientific development in Latin America and similarly challenged countries. N.L. Book Reviewers: S.E. = Stephen Eddy, N.L. = Nancy Lovejoy, S.O’M. = Sarah O'Malley, C.R. = Cathy Rees.