Frankfurt Contributions to Natural History, Vol. 48
Frankfurt a.M. 2011, hardcover, 390 pages, 249 colour photos
It could be expected that such an experienced and knowledgeable herpetological author like Dr. Maren Gaulke who worked on the Philippine Islands, particularly on Panay Island, for so many years and who published such a great number of scientific articles on the amphibians and reptiles of that area, would finally present her collected knowledge in the form of a monographic treatment. This has now been realised in the present book, which appears in the ‘white series? of the Chimaira Publishing House in Frankfurt am Main. Subtitled – with some understatement – as ‘An illustrated Field Guide?, this book offers much more than what a simple field guide usually offers, because it provides also extensive introductory information on the geology, biogeography of fauna and flora, climate, conservation issues and legislation, and concludes with additonal chapters on doubtful Panay records, snake bite problems, habitat and faunistic relationships, and a voluminous list of references. Maren Gaulke and her coworkers discovered and described numerous new frog, lizard and snake taxa from the Philippine Islands, but her herpetological career started with varanid lizards, especially with the Philippine water monitors of the Varanus salvator group. One of her most important discoveries of any new species concerns a truly spectacular monitor lizard, the second frugivorous Varanus in the world that has become known: the big-growing, uniformly black, impressive Varanus mabitang, which figures with full justification not only as one of the most important flagship species for the conservation of Panay’s unique fauna, but also as the subject of the first photograph on the very beginning of his brightly illustrated book, which – as I am sure – will find a broad readership. (Wolfgang Böhme)
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