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The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica

A Herpetofauna between Two Continents, between Two Seas

With Photographs by Michael Fogden and Patricia Fodgen
World renowned for its biological diversity and model conservation system, Costa Rica is home to a wide variety of amphibians and reptiles, from the golden toad to the scorpion lizard and the black-headed bushmaster. Jay M. Savage has studied these fascinating creatures for more than forty years, and in The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica he provides the most comprehensive, up-to-date treatment of their biology and evolution ever produced.

Savage begins with detailed discussions of the natural and cultural history of Costa Rica, setting the stage for a detailed treatment of each of the 396 species of amphibians and reptiles that may be found there. Each species account synthesizes and analyzes everything that is known about the animal’s anatomy, behavior, geographic distribution, systematics, and evolutionary history and provides keys for identifying amphibians and reptiles in the field. In addition to distribution maps and systematic and morphological illustrations, the book includes color photographs of almost every known species, many taken by the distinguished nature photographers Michael and Patricia Fogden.

Because Costa Rica has played, and continues to play, a pivotal role in the study of tropical biology as well as in the development of ecotourism and ecoprospecting, and because more than half of the amphibians and reptiles in Costa Rica are also found elsewhere in Central America, The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica will be an essential book for a wide audience of nature lovers, naturalists, ecotourists, field biologists, conservationists, and government planners.

954 pages | 516 color plates, 396 maps, 335 line drawings, 36 tables | 8 1/2 x 11 | © 2006

Biological Sciences: Conservation, Ecology, Natural History, Tropical Biology and Conservation

Table of Contents

List of Keys



Photographers’ Acknowledgments

Illustration Credits


1Discovering a Tropical Herpetofauna

2The Costa Rican Environment

3Organization of the Systematic Accounts
(How to Use this Book)


4Amphibians (Class Amphibia)

5Caecilians (Order Gmynophiona)

6Salamanders (Order Caudata)

7Frogs and Toads (Order Anura)


8Reptiles (Class Reptilia)

9Squamates (Order Squamata)

10Lizards (Suborder Sauria)

11Snakes (Suborder Serpentes)

12Turtles (Order Testudinata)

13Crocodilians (Order Crocodilia)


14Ecological Distribution of the Herpetofauna

15Geographic Distribution: Historical Units, Faunal Areas,
Endemism, and General Patterns

16Development of the Herpetofauna



Literature Cited

Systematic Index

Subject Index

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