573 pages, colour photos, b/w illustrations, colour distribution maps
This invaluable companion to The Mammals of Australia is intended to be taken out into the field and used in conjunction with the more comprehensive volume. Genuinely practical in the outdoors, the book includes accounts of 389 species and newly developed, comprehensive identification keys. The field companion is introduced by a Mammal Distribution Matrix, which provides a classified checklist of all mammals in Australia (including those extinguished since European settlement) and the distribution of extant species in each state and territory.
The authors have developed separate keys, illustrated with detailed drawings and maps, for the six states and the Northern Territory, to simplify the identification process and allow the reader to confidently separate all mammal species, no matter how subtle the differences. With the addition of these identification keys, this book becomes more than a field guide. Although it is intended primarily to be used outdoors and allows the user to finish identification based on more obscure characteristics, which is an advantage for some hard to identify species groups it is also a usual reference.
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Steve Van Dyck PhD is Senior Curator of Vertebrates at the Queensland Museum where he has worked for the past 36 years. His research interests have centred on studies of carnivorous marsupials in Australia and Papua New Guinea and the documentation of the status, distribution and ecology of various rare and threatened species in Queensland. With its original editor, Ron Strahan, he co-edited the latest edition of Mammals of Australia upon which the field companion is based.