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New herp reference fills information gap
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SOCIAL CIRCLE — “Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia” looks like a cross between a field guide and a coffee table book: splashy color, waves of information.
New from The University of Georgia Press, the nearly 600-page book catalogs, in readable fashion, Georgia’s some 170 species of frogs, snakes, salamanders, lizards, crocodilians and turtles. Included are nearly 500 color photographs, range maps by counties and species accounts done by 54 experts.
“We designed the book to have a wider appeal,” said John Jensen, lead editor and a senior biologist with the Wildlife Resources Division’s Nongame Conservation Section. “We tried not to use scientific jargon where a commonly understood synonym could be used just as effectively.”
Jensen and fellow editors Carlos Camp of Piedmont College, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory herpetology specialist Whit Gibbons and Nongame Conservation Program manager Matt Elliott spent years compiling the authoritative reference, which trailed an atlas of the state’s herpetofauna but dug deeper — into museum records and field trips — to fill a need for scientists and laymen.
“Georgia is one of the few states that didn’t already have a book ... and Georgia has some of the highest diversity of reptiles and amphibians in the country,” Jensen said.
That variety, topped only by Texas, is threatened by habitat loss. Amphibians and reptiles are particularly vulnerable because they are less mobile.
Elliott hopes the book “educates people on what we have out there. ... And makes them want to conserve what’s left.”
Order or learn more about “Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia” ($39.95) at
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