Marine mammals include some of the most fascinating animals on Earth. Large, majestic whales and stunning, playful dolphins have provided mysterious companionship to humans at sea for hundreds of years. These magical creatures, along with their equally fascinating relatives, the seals and sea lions, have developed a completely different set of adaptations from their terrestrial ancestors and relatives. Volume 4 of the HMW series provides complete accounts of all species and families in these important groups. Lavishly illustrated with colour photographs showing different behaviours of all of them, the text contains the latest up-to-date information on all families of sea mammals.
"The Handbook of the Mammals of the World, Volume 4 Sea Mammals is a detailed reference to the cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises), sirenians (manatees and dugongs) and pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) of the world. While covered in many field guides of marine mammals, this volume does not cover Polar Bear and the two marine species of otter, which are covered in Volume 1 Carnivores.
Following an opening chapter on the conservation of sea mammals as a whole, the book delves into detailed information on each family, starting with the pinnipeds and working through to the cetaceans and finally the sirenians. For each family the chapter provides a very good overview, from systematics and morphological aspects to habitat, communication and social organisation. While for those families represented by one or two species this results in a reasonably in depth review of the each, for those highly diverse families it results in a wide range of information being covered. These overviews include a lot of technical terms relating to for example genetics, morphology, molecular data and taxonomy which can make reading heavy going but they do include some of the most up to date information particularly on systematics. Each chapter is then followed with individual species accounts including detailed identification plates. Personally I would have liked to have seen species names next to such drawings to give the reader a quick reference rather than having to flick to the correct page.
What sets this book apart, for me, are the photographs. Depicting a wide range of species and behaviours there are some truly stunning images within this volume."
- Rachel Barber, BTO book reviews
Family Trichechidae (Manatees) Thomas O'Shea
Family Dugongidae (Dugong) Helene Marsh
Family Phocidae (Earless Seals) Brent Stewart
Family Otariidae (Eared Seals) Marc Webber
Family Odobenidae (Walrus) Brent Stewart
Family Platanistidae (South Asian River Dolphin) Gill Braulik
Family Lipotidae (Baiji) Brian Smith
Family Ziphiidae (Beaked Whales) Colin MacLeod
Family Iniidae (Amazon River Dolphins) Vera da Silva & Anthony Martin
Family Pontoporiidae (Franciscana) Eduardo Secchi
Family Delphinidae (Ocean Dolphins) John Wang, Kimberly Riehl & Sarah Dungan
Family Monodontidae (Narwhal and Beluga) Pierre Richard
Family Phocoenidae (Porpoises) Thomas Jefferson
Family Physeteridae (Sperm Whale) Sarah Mesnick
Family Kogiidae (Pygmy and Dwarf Sperm Whales) Donald McAlpine
Family Balaenidae (Right and Bowhead Whales) Barbara Curry & Robert Brownell
Family Neobalaenidae (Pygmy Right Whale) Catherine Kemper
Family Eschrichtiidae (Gray Whale) Steven Swartz
Family Balaenopteridae (Rorquals) Thomas Deméré
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