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This profusely illustrated comprehensive key for identifying amphibians and reptiles from the continental United States and Canada incorporates a wealth of scientific findings.
Since the first edition was published in 1998 and the second in 2012, the number of currently recognized species of native amphibians and reptiles in the area covered by this key has increased from 545 to 634 to 685, and the number of established non-native species has increased from 39 to 58 to 67. The increase in native taxa reflects the dynamic nature of modern systematics and the use of new (especially molecular) techniques to elucidate relationships and redefine species boundaries. The increase in non-native species reflects the porosity of the North American borders when it comes to controlling animal imports.
The key is easy to use and illustrated with outstanding line drawings that show details of colour patterns and structures used for identification. To accommodate the additional taxa, the number of line drawings in this third edition has increased from 257 to 279 to 295. In addition, nine maps illustrate the distributions of species that have been recognized since the publication of maps in the most recent editions of the Peterson Field Guides to the reptiles and amphibians of eastern, central, and western North America. A large number of annotations detail current taxonomic ambiguities or disagreements and the literature cited has been expanded. Collectively these features enhance opportunities to teach and learn the classification and identification of amphibians and reptiles in the continental United States and Canada.
Robert Powell is professor emeritus of biology at Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri. Joseph T. Collins was director of the Center for North American Herpetology in Lawrence, Kansas. Both were coauthors (with Roger Conant) of the Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Errol D. Hooper, Jr., is an accomplished scientific illustrator.