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AuthorMiguel Vences
TitleShort notes and reviews Amphibians of France, Belgium and Luxemburg
JournalContributions to Zoology
AbstractAs a general trend, accounts on regional and local herpetofaunas tend to become more and more colourful and extensive, and the classical borders between fieldguide, distribution atlas and handbook are fading. The book reviewed here is a good example for this trend. Edited by Rémi Duguet und Frédéric Melki for the “Association pour la Connaissance et l’Etude du Monde Animal et Végetal” (ACEMAV), it summarizes the state of knowledge on the amphibians of France, Luxembourg and Belgium. Thereby it bridges a very important gap, because no comprehensive account on this region was so far available – despite its “batrachophilic” character, expressed in the yearly import of over 2970 tons of frog limbs to France, 2100 t to Belgium and 34 t to Luxembourg for consumption.
These detailed figures (referring to 1999) exemplify the high density of detailed and original data that are woven into the text by the 18 authors who contributed to the book. The first 200 pages are devoted to introduce amphibians and place them into the context of the animal kingdom (chapter 1) and to discuss the basic patterns of their biology (chapter 2), biogeography and ecology (chapter 3) as well as their relationships to human culture and society (chapter 4). These chapters have an ample perspective, illustrating, for instance, representatives of many tropical amphibian families to be able to sort the European taxa into a world-wide context. Many aspects of the biology and behaviour of European amphibian species are documented photographically, and the same is true for many of the regionally typical habitats. All species are allocated to different biogeographic clusters depending on their distribution pattern, and much effort is devoted to discussing the possible geological and climatic explanations of these patterns. Amphibian conservation is another focus, and the many detailed reports of regional conservation measures are especially interesting. Precise instructions are given to carry out successful amphibian conservation measures, and state-of-the-art methods for inventorization, mapping and monitoring of these animals are described. The latter bears relevance because previous efforts of herpetofaunal mapping in France have heavily been criticized by part of the scientific community because of their presumably too uncritical approach.
Document typearticle
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