Lizards: Least Favorite Herp of the United States and Canada

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The Real Snake Man
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Lizards: Least Favorite Herp of the United States and Canada

Post by The Real Snake Man » August 10th, 2014, 7:53 pm

Today I was looking through my personal herp book collection, and I thought about how great J. W. Petranka's book Salamanders of the United States and Canada was, even sixteen years after being published and several important discoveries being made since. And Ernst and Ernst's Snakes of the United States and Canada is also fantastic after eleven years, though it fails to mention the split of "Elaphe" obsoleta, the description of P. slowinskii, the naming of Contia longicauda, among other developments in the herp world. More recently, Ernst and Lovich's Turtles of the United States and Canada, 2nd Edition in 2010 really only lacks (at this point) Graptemys pearlensis and Gopherus morafkai, and Dodd's brilliant and brand new Frogs of the United States and Canada, a huge two-volume set, is still so new that it needs no up-dates to my knowledge.

And then I thought to myself, "I understand why there is no Crocodilians of the United States and Canada book." Sure, there are no crocodilians in Canada, and there are only two species in the US. Of course, I would instantly buy the book if it were to appear, because I find Alligator mississippiensis and Crocodylus acutus to be fascinating species, but, as I said, I understand why the book does not exist. And furthermore, I understand that there is, in fact, decent literature about both species. But what did not make sense to me is that there is no Lizards of the United States and Canada book, or even such a book just for the US. Alright, there is one, but it was written in 1946. Considering that it's been almost 70 years, I'm going to say it doesn't count, no matter how classic Hobart Smith's work was.

So why not? The closest thing is Lizards of the American Southwest, which, though quite excellent, is not as comprehensive as it could have been with just a little more effort (I mean come on, how many lizards are there in the east compared to the west?). America's lizard diversity deserves a book of its own. Why doesn't the book exist? Any thoughts?

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justinm
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Re: Lizards: Least Favorite Herp of the United States and Ca

Post by justinm » August 13th, 2014, 10:34 am

This is a great discussion, and I hope I see it in my lifetime. I own the books mentioned except Dodd's and I will have it. He has some great books out there.

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The Real Snake Man
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Re: Lizards: Least Favorite Herp of the United States and Ca

Post by The Real Snake Man » August 15th, 2014, 4:26 pm

These are the (native) lizard species not included in Lizards of the American Southwest. I did not include the recent Anniella pulchra complex species. Now obviously, the book was comprehensive as far as the Southwest goes. My point in the list below is that with a mere 24 more species accounts, the book could have covered the entire US (and Canada). That's a little less than 20% of our lizard fauna. Come on!
Crotaphytus reticulatus
Holbrookia lacerata
Holbrookia propinqua
Sceloporus cyanogenys
Sceloporus grammicus
Sceloporus undulatus
Sceloporus variabilis
Sceloporus woodi
Aspidoscelis laredoensis
Plestiodon anthracinus
Plestiodon egregius
Plestiodon fasciatus
Plestiodon inexpectatus
Plestiodon laticeps
Plestiodon reynoldsi
Plestiodon septentrionalis
Ophisaurus attenuatus
Ophisaurus compressus
Ophisaurus mimicus
Ophisaurus ventralis
Anolis carolinensis
Anolis distichus
Rhineura floridana
Sphaerodactylus notatus

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Re: Lizards: Least Favorite Herp of the United States and Ca

Post by BDSkinner » December 5th, 2014, 1:13 pm

There is Lizards and Crocodilians of the Southeast out there. I do not own that particular book, but I have the salamander one of the same series. It seems like the lizard book picks up most of those 25 species you mentioned. It's worth a look, especially for its price. Thanks for the heads up on those other titles! I've been thinking about how much I love Petranka's book and need a bible like that for every life form on this planet.

-Brad

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Re: Lizards: Least Favorite Herp of the United States and Ca

Post by J-Miz » January 15th, 2015, 4:08 pm

If you include all the non-native lizards in Florida, there will be substantially more!

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Re: Lizards: Least Favorite Herp of the United States and Ca

Post by The Real Snake Man » January 15th, 2015, 5:39 pm

That's a good point. Of course, there are separate books on that topic already; but nothing that would stay up-to-date for very long.

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