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A Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar
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Authors: Frank Glaw and Miguel Vences.
ISBN-10: 3-929449-03-X (392944903X)
ISBN-13: 978-3-929449-03-7 (9783929449037)
Language: English
No. of Pages: 496
Dimensions: 172mm x 241mm x 33mm

Item Identification Code (UID#): 1226
Shelving Location: Natural History: Fauna
Estimated Value: £55.00
Purchase Date: 10 November 2007
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Price Paid: Log In to view this

A Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar

Third Edition
Vences & Glaw Verlags (2007). (First Published 1992)
Softcover Book

Text from the back cover

Third, completely revised edition.
Biology and description of all Malagasy amphibians and reptiles.
Distribution maps and lists of localities.
Featuring over 700 species and including over 1500 colour photos.

Preface (from pages 6 and 7)

The present book is the third edition of the "Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar". Those who know the first and second edition of this book will notice important changes. Besides major differences in the lay out and an increase in the number of colour pictures, the differences are mainly due to a shift in the scope of the book, and this shift very much reflects several changes in the state of knowledge and research on the biota of this island in general, and amphibians and reptiles in particular.

At the time of writing the first and second editions the knowledge on most amphibians and reptiles of Madagascar was largely based on the studies of relatively few herpetologists, who often provided comprehensive accounts and revisions (e.g., the works of C. P. Blanc, R. Blommers-Schlösser, E. R. Brygoo, and C. Domergue).

Since approximately 1990, a new research era started in Madagascar. Large-scale surveys and species inventories were carried out by a new generation of more numerous researchers in many areas of Madagascar, including well-known sites and hitherto unexplored, remote regions. Important collections were made and provided the basis for taxonomic revisions of many groups, leading to a spectacular increase in the number of recognized species of amphibians and reptiles. Compared to 1994, when 170 described species of amphibians and 290 species of reptiles were known from Madagascar, these numbers are now at 235 and 370 (as of July 2007), not counting about 150 undescribed species of frogs and 50 species of reptiles which have already been identified. Consequently, we predict that for at least another 20 years the completion of the basic taxonomic inventory of Madagascar's amphibians and reptiles will not be achieved.

A further change that needs to be noted is the more cooperative nature of more recent studies. Today, teams of field biologists, museum scientists, and molecular biologists, are teaming up in joint research projects and publications. By combining their efforts they achieve a more integrative view on the systematics and biology of Malagasy amphibians and reptiles. Increasingly, the research teams also include Malagasy students and researchers, and a whole set of recent species inventories, e.g., those known as the "Rap Gasy" program, has been carried out by teams of only Malagasy researchers, leading to remarkable collections.

Summarizing, recent years have seen a general speeding up and broad diversification of herpetological work in Madagascar, like with many other groups of organisms from the island. Application of molecular techniques has the potential of further scaling up the speed of discovery because standardized molecular methods such as DNA barcoding will allow direct and unambiguous comparisons between inventory results obtained by different research teams. The application of these new methods has clearly shown that many or even most species definitions hitherto applied to the Madagascan herpetofauna are insufficient. Consequently, almost all taxonomic groups are in need of a comprehensive revision and much of the available information can no longer reliably be attributed to a certain species.

Producing a field guide in these times thus will necessarily lead to a highly transitional product, as also emphasized by Mittermeier et al. (2006) for their lemur guide. Thus it became obvious to us that it would be impossible to summarize all the complex and heterogeneous knowledge about each of the 600 or so herp species in this book. Furthermore, the time available for writing was rather limited. Therefore, we have reduced the descriptive aspects and instead increased the number of colour pictures. The emphasis is now on identification, not description or revision, although we are aware that a simple and straightforward determination to the species level is not possible in many cases. For the sake of easier use we present the species accounts opposite to the page with the pictures of the corresponding species which means that, for lay out purposes, the descriptive texts are sometimes more extensive and sometimes reduced to the very basic characters of the species. Distributional information is given as maps but also as locality lists, but the selection of records that we considered as reliable enough to be included was a subjective one. Sonagrams [sic] and extensive descriptions of frog calls are not included; however, an extensive collection of frog sounds from Madagascar, including about 250 species has recently published in a set of three compact discs (Vences et al. 2006). Tadpole descriptions have also been excluded because too few tadpoles are known to allow for their reliable identification to species. In the framework of a comprehensive project we are at present identifying tadpoles based on their DNA sequences and describing them in a standardized way, which will allow for a more complete treatment of these larval stages in subsequent publications.

Few issues have evoked such a controversial echo as the inclusion, in the second edition of this Field Guide, of chapters on mammals and freshwater fishes of Madagascar. Several readers and users of the book, whether students, researchers or herp breeders, were enthusiastic about this overview of two other major groups of the vertebrate fauna, while the comments of others were negative. At the time of writing the second edition, in early 1994, no field guide was available on the mammals of Madagascar, although a lemur guide was published simultaneously (Mittermeier et al. 1994). While books on mammals are now available (Garbutt 1999, Mittermeier et al. 2006), there still is no comprehensive treatment allowing identification, be it preliminary, of the freshwater fishes. We still believe that a short overview of these groups might be a useful addition to this book, and especially to its Malagasy translation, and therefore expanded the introduction to allow a photographic summary of their most important representatives.

Despite the many compromises that were necessary for the 1994 field guide, it has intensively been used by researchers, students, ecotourists, and hobbyists, especially as basis for amphibian and reptile identification in surveys and inventories. We hope that the present third edition will be able to play this role as well, and will thus further stimulate the exploration and conservation of Madagascar's unique herpetofauna.

The authors. Köln (Cologne), October 2007

About the Authors (from page 496)

Frank Glaw
Born 1966 in Düsseldorf, Germany, he soon developed a deep interest in amphibians and reptiles and carried out herpetological field work in Madagascar since 1987. He studied biology at the University of Cologne and moved after his diploma to the Museum Koenig / University of Bonn where he received his PhD. Since 1997 he is curator of herpetology at the Zoologische Staatssammlung München, Germany

Miguel Vences
Born in Cologne, Germany, in 1969, he has been fascinated by amphibians and reptiles since early childhood. After a diploma in biology and a doctoral degree, both from the University of Bonn and with subjects related to the Malagasy herpetofauna, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher in Paris and Konstanz, and as assistant professor and curator in Amsterdam. He currently is professor for evolutionary biology at the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany.

Frank Glaw and Miguel Vences have carried out 12 field trips to Madagascar, starting at their time as undergraduates in 1989 and 1991. They have described 75 new species of frogs and 7 new species of reptiles, and published over 200 scientific papers on the herpetofauna of Madagascar.


  • Contents
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
    • Geological history
    • Climate in the past
    • Fossil evidence
    • Colonization history of Madagascar
    • Climate and biogeographical zonation
    • Flora
    • Invertebrates
    • Freshwater fish
    • Birds
    • Mammals
    • Bats
    • Lemurs
    • Carnivorans
    • Tenrecs
    • Rodents
  • Introduction to Amphibians and Reptiles
    • Amphibians
      • Distribution and biogeography
      • Predation and anti-predator strategies
      • Activity patterns
      • Life history
      • Reproductive diversity
      • Territoriality and parental care
      • Diversity of eggs and clutches
      • Tadpole diversity
      • Vocalizations
      • Sexual dimorphism
      • Nuptial pads
      • Femoral glands
      • Other glands and skin structures
      • Characters for species distinction
      • Colouration
      • Eyes
      • Skin
      • Terminal finger discs
      • Metatarsal tubercles
      • Lateral metatarsalia
      • Webbing
      • Hindlimb length
      • Tympanum
      • Body size
      • Skeletal features
      • Threats, conservation, and future research
    • Reptiles
      • Distribution and biogeography
      • Nutrition
      • Predation and anti-predator strategies
      • Activity patterns
      • Reproductive diversity
      • Territoriality and parental care
      • Diversity of eggs and clutches
      • Life history
      • Vocalizations
      • Scent signals
      • Sexual dimorphism
      • Characters for species distinction
      • Scales
      • Finger and toe lamellae
      • Body size and proportions
      • Colour
      • Crests and appendages
      • Limb reduction
      • Eyes
      • Hemipenes
      • Threats, conservation, and future research
      • Box: Chytrid fungus infection: a potential danger for Malagasy frogs
  • Species accounts
    • Amphibians
      • Dicroglossidae
        • Hoplobatrachus
      • Ptychadenidae
        • Ptychadena
      • Hyperoliidae
        • Heterixalus
      • Microhylidae
        • Paradoxophyla
        • Scaphiophryne
        • Dyscophus
        • Rhombophryne
        • Madecassophryne
        • Plethodontohyla
        • Stumpffia
        • Platypelis
        • Cophyla
        • Anodonthyla
      • Mantellidae
        • Boophis
        • Laliostoma
        • Aglyptodactylus
        • Blommersia
        • Wakea
        • Mantella
        • Guibemantis
        • Spinomantis
        • Gephyromantis
        • Tsingymantis
        • Boehmantis
        • Mantidactylus
    • Reptiles
      • Turtles
        • Testudinidae
          • Astrochelys
          • Pyxis
          • Kinixys
        • Podocnemididae
          • Erymnochelys
        • Pelomedusidae
          • Pelomedusa
          • Pelusios
        • Dermochelyidae
          • Dermochelys
        • Cheloniidae
          • Caretta
          • Chelonia
          • Eretmochelys
          • Lepidochelys
      • Crocodiles
        • Crocodylidae
          • Crocodylus
      • Lizards and snakes
        • Chamaeleonidae
          • Brookesia
          • Calumma
          • Furcifer
        • Iguanidae
          • Oplurus
          • Chalarodon
        • Gerrhosauridae
          • Zonosaurus
          • Tracheloptychus
        • Scincidae
          • Trachylepis
          • Cryptoblepharus
          • Madascincus
          • Amphiglossus
          • Androngo
          • Sirenoscincus
          • Voeltzkowia
          • Cryptoscincus
          • Pygomeles
          • Pseudoacontias
          • Paracontias
        • Gekkonidae
          • Blaesodactylus
          • Geckolepis
          • Gehyra
          • Hemidactylus
          • Paragehyra
          • Matoatoa
          • Ebenavia
          • Paroedura
          • Uroplatus
          • Lygodactylus
          • Microscalabotes
          • Phelsuma
        • Boidae
          • Sanzinia
          • Acrantophis
        • Colubridae (sensu lato)
          • Madagascarophis
          • Stenophis
          • Leioheterodon
          • Compsophis
          • Brygophis
          • Alluaudina
          • Langaha
          • Ithycyphus
          • Pseudoxyrhopus
          • Heteroliodon
          • Exallodontophis
          • Pararhadinaea
          • Liophidium
          • Liopholidophis
          • Bibilava
          • Dromicodryas
          • Mimophis
        • Typhlopidae
          • Ramphotyphlops
          • Xenotyphlops
          • Typhlops
        • Elapidae
          • Pelamis
  • Appendix: Additional photos and species
  • References
  • Index


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Condition of Item

Very Good.

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This item was kindly donated to the Madagascar Library collection by Miguel Vences.
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