Synopses & Reviews
Frogs are worshipped for bringing nourishing rains, but blamed for devastating floods. Turtles are admired for their wisdom and longevity, but ridiculed for their sluggish and cowardly behavior. Snakes are respected for their ability to heal and restore life, but despised as symbols of evil. Lizards are revered as beneficent guardian spirits, but feared as the Devil himself.
In this ode to toads and snakes, newts and tuatara, crocodiles and tortoises, herpetologist and science writer Marty Crump explores folklore across the world and throughout time. From creation myths to trickster tales; from associations with fertility and rebirth to fire and rain; and from the use of herps in folk medicines and magic, as food, pets, and gods, to their roles in literature, visual art, music, and dance, Crump reveals both our love and hatred of amphibians and reptilesandmdash;and their perceived power. In a world where we keep home terrariums at the same time that we battle invasive cane toads, and where public attitudes often dictate that the cute and cuddly receive conservation priority over the slimy and venomous, she shows how our complex and conflicting perceptions threaten the conservation of these ecologically vital animals.
Sumptuously illustrated, Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog, Adderandrsquo;s Fork and Lizardandrsquo;s Leg is a beautiful and enthralling brew of natural history and folklore, sobering science and humor, that leaves us with one irrefutable lesson: love herps. Warts, scales, and all.
and#8220;An extraordinary book based on the experience of an impressive team of specialists on amphibian declines and conservation.and#8221;
andldquo;A scholarly, provocative, and compelling account of our relationships with amphibians and reptiles. These interactions are extremely diverse, both highly positive and severely negative, and by helping us understand them, Eye of Newt will play a critical role in resolving contentious but core issues in conservation. Driven by fine, clear, evocative writingandmdash;the more so for Crumpandrsquo;s personal stories interwoven with those of her granddaughter and her late friend, the great writer-naturalist Archie Carrandmdash;and Fenolioandrsquo;s always outstanding images, Eye of Newt is engaging, trustworthy, and will be of widespread interest both to amphibian and reptile enthusiasts and professional herpetologists. Wonderful and unusual, emotionally and intellectually captivating, this is an important, timely bookandmdash;and the ending is superb.andrdquo;
andldquo;Accomplished scientist and author Marty Crump has distilled a lifetime avocation studying amphibian and reptilian folklore into a masterwork. Eye of Newt not only instantly becomes the authoritative source on lore and mythology, but also transforms it into a compelling argument for conservation. Without these species our culture would be forever impoverished. No reader will ever look at one of these animals the same again.andrdquo;
This benchmark volume documents in comprehensive detail a major environmental crisis: rapidly declining amphibian populations and the disturbing developmental problems that are increasingly prevalent within many amphibian species. Horror stories on this topic have been featured in the scientific and popular press over the past fifteen years, invariably asking what amphibian declines are telling us about the state of the environment. Are declines harbingers of devastated ecosystems or simply weird reflections of a peculiar amphibian world?
This compendiumand#151;presenting new data, reviews of current literature, and comprehensive species accountsand#151;reinforces what scientists have begun to suspect, that amphibians are a lens through which the state of the environment can be viewed more clearly. And, that the view is alarming and presages serious concerns for all life, including that of our own species.
The first part of this work consists of more than fifty essays covering topics from the causes of declines to conservation, surveys and monitoring, and education. The second part consists of species accounts describing the life history and natural history of every known amphibian species in the United States.
Recent estimates suggest that nearly 3 million people in the US alone keep an amphibian or reptile as a pet.and#160; YouTube videos with odes to cane toads are ubiquitous.and#160; And yet amphibians and reptiles also keep extermination companies in business, and are reviled by many.and#160; These emotions pose great challenges to the conservation of these species, just as their populations in the natural world are in great decline.and#160; It can be quite hard to inspire stewardship of a tomato toad in the same way that one can more generally charismatic fauna like pandas and polar bears.and#160;and#160;and#160; In response, herpetologists have created large-scale programs such as Amphibian Ark, the umbrella organization behind the Year of the Frog campaign, http://www.amphibianark.org/, to educate and enthrall citizens with the charm of the more slimy species of the planet.
Few herpetologists have contributed more to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles than Marty Crump, a renowned expert on declining amphibians.and#160; This manuscript is her ode to the toad, a masterful compilation of science and narrative centering on human relations with amphibians and reptiles across the globe.and#160; An intrepid explorer and skilled writer, Crump has gathered stories and myths and paired them with natural history to give a wonderful view of how essential amphibians and reptiles are to our well being.and#160; Using symbolism, folklore, and science, the manuscript also explores the conservation consequences of our complicated amorous and vexed affair with snakes, frogs, toads and other herpetofauna.
With over 7,000 known species, frogs display a stunning array of forms and behaviors. A single gram of the toxin produced by the skin of the Golden Poison Frog can kill 100,000 people. Male Darwinandrsquo;s Frogs carry their tadpoles in their vocal sacs for sixty days before coughing them out into the world. The Wood Frogs of North America freeze every winter, reanimating in the spring from the glucose and urea that prevent cell collapse.
The Book of Frogsand#160;commemorates the diversity and magnificence of all of these creatures, and many more. Six hundred of natureandrsquo;s most fascinating frog species are displayed, with each entry including a distribution map, sketches of the frogs, species identification, natural history, and conservation status. Life-size color photos show the frogs at their actual sizeandmdash;including the colossal seven-pound Goliath Frog. Accessibly written by expert Tim Halliday and containing the most up-to-date information,and#160;The Book of Frogsand#160;will captivate both veteran researchers and amateur herpetologists.
As frogs increasingly make headlines for their troubling worldwide decline, the importance of these fascinating creatures to their ecosystems remains underappreciated.and#160;The Book of Frogs brings readers face to face with six hundred astonishingly unique and irreplaceable species that display a diverse array of adaptations to habitats that are under threat of destruction throughout the world.
About the Author
Marty Crump is currently an adjunct professor of biology at Utah State and Northern Arizona Universities. She has been a herpetologist for more than forty-five years, working with tropical amphibians in the areas of parental care, reproduction, territoriality, cannibalism, and tadpole ecology. Her work hasand#160;drawn attention to theand#160;issue ofand#160;declining amphibian populations. In addition to her science writing, In addition to her popular science writing, she is the author of the recent award-winning childrenandrsquo;s book, The Mystery of Darwinandrsquo;s Frog. She lives in Logan, UT.