Review: Amphibians, Reptiles, and Their Habitats at Sabino Canyon

Article excerpt

Review: Amphibians, Reptiles, and Their Habitats at Sabino Canyon By David Wentworth Lazaroff, Philip C Rosen and Charles H Lowe Reviewed by William Ted Johnson Scottsdale Public Library, Arizona, USA David Wentworth Lazaroff, Philip C Rosen and Charles H Lowe. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Their Habitats at Sabino Canyon. Tucson : University of Arizona Press 158 pp. ISBN: 0816524955 (paper) $US 17.95.

Timely, passionate, and well-documented, this text portrays the battle faced by natural habitats on civilization's door step. Illustrated with over 45 black and white photographs, 16 color plates, and 28 species distribution maps, the 57 species of reptiles and amphibians of Sabino Canyon come alive as you move through the text. The structure of the book and the writing style of the authors give you the sense of being in the heart of Sabino Canyon and empowered to make a difference in this battle.

Beginning with a brief lesson on safety when in the company of herptiles, the authors quickly get to the heart of the matter, laying the foundation of ecological understanding with a detailed description of the topographic and geographic features of Sabino Canyon. Climate, vegetation zones, and aquatic environments are subsequently described. Riparian habitats are naturally prone to dramatic changes in stream flow, vegetation cover, and animal activity. The authors do not neglect this vital aspect of life in Sabino Canyon. It is a dynamic place, made all the more interesting by its proximity to a growing metropolitan area, Tucson, Arizona. As if this was not complicated enough, the impacts of fire, drought, invasive plants, and released pets are all discussed.

Species accounts begin with salamanders, followed by toads and frogs, turtles, lizards, and snakes. This is the largest section of the text, running from page 55 to 140. …