Monday, November 1, 2010

Amphibians and Reptiles of Northeast India, A Photographic Guide: A Book Review





Ahmed, M. F., A. Das, and S. K. Dutta. 2010. Amphibians and Reptiles of Northeast India, A Photographic Guide. Guwahati: Aaranyak. 169 pages. About US$25.

There are many places on the globe that have a poorly known herpetofauna, while these places are fewer in number than they were 50 years ago, they still exist. Northeast India  covers 2.6 million square kilometers, and is composed of the political units of: Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Sikkim. It contains portions of the Eastern Himalayan and Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspots and has a species rich herpetofauna with some of the most spectacular species of the planet's fauna. Here you can see the unique crocodilian, the Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus); the Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle (Chitra indica) one of the largest freshwater turtles; the Burmese Python (Python bivittatus); the Reticulated Python (Broghammerus reticulatus); as well as many colorful rhachophorid frogs, pit vipers, and cobras. The book covers 101 species with accounts and those species are illustrated in 165 color photos. An additional 90 species are illustrated in the back of the book in a Photo Gallery Appendix. Thus, the book contains illustrations of about 70% of the 274 species of the herpetofauna known to occur in Northeast India. Sections on: how to use the guide, conservation, an introduction to amphibian and reptiles, snakebite management and first aid, facts and fallacies, and indexes are included. Each species account is contained on a single page with a high quality photograph of the species. The text for each account included a diagnostic synopsis, distribution, habits and habitat; diet, legal protection, conservation status and threats, and notes. Overall this is an excellent book that will provide the user with easily accessed information on much of the herpetofauna of Northeast India. The book will be useful for the ecotourist or the visiting herpetologist who may not be familiar with the fauna, as well as the local population. The volume is a great start for a region that has been poorly known.
The book is available from Aaranyak ,50, Samanwoy Path, Survey, Beltola, Guwahati- 781028, Assam, India, email: info@aaranyak.org

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