A Naturalist's Guide to the Tropics

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, May 15, 2000 - Nature - 312 pages
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Every year hundreds of thousands of travelers head for the Tropics to thrill to the raucous call of a howler monkey booming across the emerald cathedral of a rainforest, or to marvel at a brightly colored clown fish gliding fearlessly among the stinging tentacles of a sea anemone on a coral reef. Ranging from South and Central America to Africa, Southeast Asia, Oceania, and the Caribbean, A Naturalist's Guide to the Tropics provides engaging overviews of the geology, climate, soils, plants, animals, and major ecosystems of the Tropics. The book is beautifully illustrated throughout with color plates, photographs, and drawings.
Whether you're a first-time visitor or a veteran of many trips, this convenient guidebook can help you plan your vacation and serve as a knowledgeable companion to answer the many questions that may arise during the course of your journey. Why are tropical birds and fishes so colorful? What is an atoll, and how do they form? Why are tropical soils red and sterile, while rainforests are lush and green? Why does Madagascar have lemurs but not monkeys? Special features of the book include chapters on the conservation status of the Tropics and how to prepare with "caution without obsession" for tropical dangers such as infectious diseases and charging rhinoceroses.
The first comprehensive introduction to the natural history of the Tropics worldwide, A Naturalist's Guide to the Tropics has been completely revised and updated by the author and the translator to reflect the most current information available.

* first field guide in English to cover all the world's tropics, not just specific regions or countries
* more than 350 illustrations, many in color
* sturdy flexibound cover and compact size ideal for travelers
* boxes in text define scientific terms or explore side topics in more detail, such as "What Is Biodiversity?" and "Why Is Tropical Fauna So Colorful?"
* discusses tropical dangers and precautions to cope with them, such as vaccinations to obtain and foods to avoid
 

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Contents

TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY AND BIOGEOGRAPHY
1
Text Boxes and Tables
4
The History of the Tapir
10
THE CLIMATE
17
Climates within the Tropics
19
Climates of Some Tropical Nations
26
THE SOILS
29
Savannas
34
CORAL REEFS
151
Enormous Edifices Constructed by the Sea
159
Different Colors for Different Functions
166
Shells
167
The Trumpetfish
173
Fish
180
Sea Turtles
183
SAVANNAS
185

What is Biodiversity?
40
Top Ten Countries for Diversity in Higher Plants
46
Fruits
50
Bananas
53
THE FAUNA
55
Prosimians Monkeys and Apes
61
Why Is Tropical Fauna So Colorful ?
67
LeafCutting Ants
73
Biodiversity in the Democratic Republic of Congo
79
Birds of Africa
81
Tropical Saurians Lizards
84
MANGROVES
91
Seeds That Are Adapted to Water Mud and Tides
98
The Horseshoe Crab
108
Aquatic birds
110
FORESTS
113
Countries Having the Most Extensive Rainforests
117
Epiphytes on the Three Continents
127
Parrots
128
Jungle Cicadas
133
Predatory Ants
140
Pollinators and Dispersers
147
Getting to Know the Camp Visitors
197
Hunting Techniques of the Large Carnivores of the Savanna
203
Birds of the African Savannas
210
DESERTS
213
The Ancient Sahara
217
African Deserts and Their Dunes
223
Saurians
228
Sand and Obstacles
231
THE TROPICS IN PERIL
235
Some Local and Global Negative Effects of Tropical
236
Endangered Corals
244
Nations with the Highest Rates of Deforestation
251
The Menace of Introduced Species
258
Some Daily Rules for Helping to Protect the Tropics
264
TROPICAL DANGERS AND PRECAUTIONS
267
Vaccinations Not to Forget
270
Precautions against Shark Attacks
279
Intimidatory Rituals of Sharks
286
Suggested Reading
293
Index
303
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