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Academic & Professional Books  Reptiles & Amphibians  Reptiles

Tortoises of the World Giants to Dwarfs

By: George R Zug(Author), Devin A Reese(Author)
236 pages, 8 plates with 25 colour photos; 15 b/w photos, 51 b/w illustrations
The first book dedicated entirely to the fascinating ecology of the world's tortoises.
Tortoises of the World
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  • Tortoises of the World ISBN: 9781421448350 Hardback Apr 2024 In stock
Price: £41.50
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Embark on a captivating journey into the remarkable world of tortoises with Tortoises of the World. This extensively researched and beautifully illustrated book provides a comprehensive exploration of the biology, natural history, and conservation of these fascinating creatures. Renowned reptile scientist George R. Zug and acclaimed science writer Devin A. Reese draw from the wealth of primary research studies to offer the first book dedicated wholly to the family of Testudinidae.

With a focus on the existing diversity of the 47 known tortoise species and their evolution from ancestral turtles, this guide explores:
- Tortoise adaptations, their unique body plan, and behavioural ecology.
- The odd anatomy and physiology that enables tortoises' life in shells.
- Their resilience in the face of extreme temperatures and aridity.
- Their ecosystem engineering in the diverse habitats they occupy.
- The fascinating life cycle of tortoises, from their mating rituals to the arduous task of nesting and the tenuous survival of eggs and hatchlings.

Zug and Reese also shed light on the challenging interactions between tortoises and humans while highlighting ongoing conservation efforts to secure their futures. This comprehensive and approachable guide will expand your knowledge and ignite your passion for the world of tortoises.


Chapter 1. How the Tortoise Beat the Hare
Chapter 2. Life in a Shell: Tortoise Body Plan
Chapter 3. Physiology and Behavior: Tortoise Resilience
Chapter 4. Courtship to Nesting: Tortoise Reproduction
Chapter 5. Hatchlings to Adults: Tortoise Life Cycle
Chapter 6. Deserts to Rainforests: Tortoise Ecology
Chapter 7. Today's Species: Tortoise Diversity
Chapter 8. Ancestry and Evolution: Tortoise Origins
Chapter 9. Human Interactions I: Tortoise Decimation
Chapter 10. Human Interactions II: Tortoise Conservation

Appendix. Turtle Families and Tortoise Species
Further Readings
Standard and Scientific Name Index
Subject Index

Customer Reviews


George R. Zug (Springfield, VA), emeritus research scientist of reptiles and amphibians at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, is an award-winning herpetology researcher, the author of Reptiles and Amphibians of the Pacific Islands, and the co-author of Herpetology: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles.

Devin A. Reese (Alexandria, VA) is the executive editor of Natural History magazine. An award-winning science writer who earned her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, she has written for the Smithsonian, PBS, the World Wildlife Fund, Science News, and elsewhere.

By: George R Zug(Author), Devin A Reese(Author)
236 pages, 8 plates with 25 colour photos; 15 b/w photos, 51 b/w illustrations
The first book dedicated entirely to the fascinating ecology of the world's tortoises.
Media reviews

"Tortoises of the World is elegantly written and summarizes in an easily comprehensible way the scientific knowledge on tortoises, including the newest insights. It is an outstanding work that should be on the bookshelf of anybody interested in tortoises."
– Uwe Fritz, Senckenberg Society for Nature Research (Germany)

"With Tortoises of the World, Zug and Reese have produced an exemplary natural history book. The superb mix of entertaining and informative writing coupled with exquisite photographs will mesmerize all readers – children to adults, amateurs to professionals. The book is destined to become the consummate authority on these appealing creatures."
– Whit Gibbons, author of Their Blood Runs Cold: Adventures with Reptiles and Amphibians

"This is an excellent introduction with wonderful photos. Tortoises of the World will no doubt become a classic overview of these iconic and threatened animals."
– Anders Rhodin, Founder/Director, Chelonian Research Foundation

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