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618new book that includes dragonflies

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  • Dennis Paulson
    Jan 7, 2008
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      Hello, odonatophiles.

      A colleague of mine, nature writer and photographer Whit Bronaugh,
      just sent me a copy of his recently published book and asked that I
      let others know about it. I first made Whit's acquaintance years ago,
      when he sent me many dragonfly specimens from Explorer's Inn in Peru.
      His book is for naturalists, including dragonfly aficionados. It's
      called Wildlife of North America, A Naturalist's Lifelist, published
      by the University Press of Florida. The price on the cover is $29.95.
      I've seen them at several book stores in Seattle but hadn't looked
      closely at a copy before now.

      The book is unusual in listing all of the dragonflies, butterflies,
      freshwater fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals of North
      America north of Mexico. It is basically a list of species, with
      common and scientific names, but it's a big book, plenty of room to
      write something for every species. Whit is a perfectionist, so he was
      e-mailing me right up to publication date to ask if there had been
      any changes in dragonfly taxonomy or common names, and I'm sure he
      has done the same for all the other groups. I know many dragonfly
      people are also broadly interested naturalists, and this seems just
      the book for us. Right now it is the only up-to-date list of North
      American Odonata in print, and you get all those other groups as a
      bonus!

      Besides the list, the book has a lengthy introduction, including an
      interesting section on biodiversity and zoogeography of North
      America, with very informative maps of the number of species of each
      group in each state and province; contrasting the maps for
      butterflies and dragonflies was really instructive to me. There is
      also an appendix with recent taxonomic and nomenclatural changes. In
      this appendix, he updates the names and the taxonomy in standard
      field guides (in the case of odonates, Dragonflies Through
      Binoculars), with discussions of the reasons for the changes; you'd
      be surprised how many additional species have been recognized in
      recent years.

      He also has a section on extinction and - really neat, I thought - a
      list and description of all the animals in these groups known or
      thought to have gone extinct at the end of the Pleistocene (e.g.,
      Columbia Mammoth, Northern Sabertooth, La Brea Condor, Titan
      Terrorbird, and NA Giant Tortoise), a moment ago in the history of
      our continent. As he writes, "When you see a Turkey Vulture wheeling
      about in the sky, remember that not long ago it had to share the
      spoils of a carcass with American Lions, Dire Wolves, Giant Teratorns
      and other now extinct avian scavengers." By a novel decision on his
      part, the lists include these species, although there is no record of
      Pleistocene-end extinctions of dragonflies (they apparently weren't
      hunted by the humans that poured into this continent at that time).

      Anyway, this book seems like a bargain to me at $30. Even if you're
      not into listing, the introduction and appendix are unique
      contributions to an understanding of our wildlife, especially the
      vertebrates.

      Sorry for all the duplicate postings to all of you on multiple lists.

      -----
      Dennis Paulson
      1724 NE 98 St.
      Seattle, WA 98115
      206-528-1382
      dennispaulson@...





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