366 pages, colour photos
Tennessee's biotic diversity has been well documented in field guides dedicated to its wildflowers; trees, shrubs, and woody vines; mussels; fishes; amphibians; and birds. Glaringly absent from this assemblage, however, is an equivalent statewide guide to the remarkably diverse reptiles of the Volunteer State. The Reptiles of Tennessee fills that void by offering the first authoritative overview of all sixty native species of reptiles occurring in Tennessee. Both a field guide and a scientific reference, this definitive work will prove useful to professionals who work with reptiles for a living as well as those just curious about the various creatures living in their own backyards.
The bulk of The Reptiles of Tennessee is devoted to individual species accounts, each of which includes a detailed range map and comprehensive information on identification, natural history, and conservation of the lizards, snakes, turtles, and alligator native to Tennessee. Also included is information on known introduced species and species whose presence in Tennessee is questionable. Vivid color photographs illustrate each species' various life stages. Introductory chapters provide an overview of reptile anatomy and life history, and of the geography, climate, and habitats in the state. Giving special attention to reptile conservation, The Reptiles of Tennessee highlights various threats to Tennessee's reptile species – including the destruction of their habitats, malicious killing, the pet trade, hunting, and pollution – and describes the most common methods employed by herpetologists and wildlife biologists to safely capture and document reptiles in nature.
Complete with a checklist that will help readers keep track of reptiles they discover, a glossary, and a list of recommended readings, organizations, and websites for those seeking additional information, Reptiles of Tennessee will prove an essential resource for teachers, biologists, and anyone having a stake in the conservation of biodiversity and the natural heritage of the Volunteer State and the nation.
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Matthew Niemiller and Graham Reynolds are postdoctoral research fellows at Yale University and the University of Massachusetts, Boston, respectively, and are the coeditors of The Amphibians of Tennessee. Brian Miller is a professor of biology at Middle Tennessee State University who has studied amphibians and reptiles in Tennessee for over 20 years.