Secretive, nocturnal, and little known, salamanders are often the most abundant vertebrates on the forest floor. This comprehensive volume, the first survey published since 1943, describes the ecology, evolution, biodiversity, behavior, and natural history of 127 recognized species of salamanders found in the United States and Canada, from newts and sirens to waterdogs and hellbenders. Drawing on more than 2,100 research publications, the book includes detailed life history accounts, nearly 500 color and black-and-white photographs, identification keys for larvae as well as adults, and up-to-date distribution maps.
James W. Petranka presents a wealth of information on each species: identification, systematics, courtship and breeding, diet and predation, and the ecology of larval and adult stages are all described. He summarizes major patterns of geographic variation within species to emphasize differences between local and regional populations and to provide a realistic view of intraspecific life history diversity.
With its comprehensive coverage and extensive references, this volume is an indispensable guide not only for herpetologists but also for teachers, naturalists, conservation biologists, environmental planners, and anyone who needs detailed information on the diverse salamander fauna of the United States and Canada.
James W. Petranka is an associate professor of biology at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and is on the editorial boards of Copeia and the Journal of Herpetology.