Costa Rica field guide - Recommendations?

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Bryan_Hughes
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Costa Rica field guide - Recommendations?

Post by Bryan_Hughes »

What are the essentials? I'm looking to plan a trip, and this is step one. Any recommendations?

Any general advice on timing, etc, on herping Costa Rica would be great too :)

ADCIII
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Re: Costa Rica field guide - Recommendations?

Post by ADCIII »

I thinl your first step would be to use the search button on this forum as this topic is very frequently covered seversl times a year in individual posts. Good Luck, Art

yank gooner
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Re: Costa Rica field guide - Recommendations?

Post by yank gooner »

Is the main purpose for the trip herping, vacation with family, etc...?

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Bryan_Hughes
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Re: Costa Rica field guide - Recommendations?

Post by Bryan_Hughes »

yank gooner wrote:Is the main purpose for the trip herping, vacation with family, etc...?
Strictly herping, no family, and I don't require a lot of comfort/sleep. As the previous poster pointed out, this is pretty well covered in this forum, though any additional advice is great. Specifically, field guide comparison.

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The Real Snake Man
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Re: Costa Rica field guide - Recommendations?

Post by The Real Snake Man »

There is a pretty full spectrum for Costa Rica. On one end of that spectrum is Jay Savage's book The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica: A Herpetofauna between Two Continents, between Two Seas, and while not practical for use in the field (it is enormous), it is an excellent book for identification (from photos you've taken, most likely) and natural history. The illustrations are amazing, and the author is the unquestioned greatest authority on the subject. As far as a field guide, I thought I remembered that Twan Leenders just came out with a brand new Costa Rica field guide this past year, but I can't find it anywhere, which leaves his earlier edition that came out in the early 2000s. Good luck!

-Gene

yank gooner
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Re: Costa Rica field guide - Recommendations?

Post by yank gooner »

Luckily Costa Rica is a popular destination for many reasons, and because of that there is no shortage of information in regards to your questions. Personally I would go in the wet season (May-Nov), but that's because frogs are my first love! This would also be considered the off season there for tourism, so lodging/travel would likely be cheaper.

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Bryan_Hughes
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Re: Costa Rica field guide - Recommendations?

Post by Bryan_Hughes »

The Real Snake Man wrote:There is a pretty full spectrum for Costa Rica. On one end of that spectrum is Jay Savage's book The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica: A Herpetofauna between Two Continents, between Two Seas, and while not practical for use in the field (it is enormous), it is an excellent book for identification (from photos you've taken, most likely) and natural history. The illustrations are amazing, and the author is the unquestioned greatest authority on the subject. As far as a field guide, I thought I remembered that Twan Leenders just came out with a brand new Costa Rica field guide this past year, but I can't find it anywhere, which leaves his earlier edition that came out in the early 2000s. Good luck!

-Gene
Great, thanks! I think I'll get that. The natural history context will be very useful and understanding what I'm looking for will make it much more enjoyable.

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The Real Snake Man
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Re: Costa Rica field guide - Recommendations?

Post by The Real Snake Man »

Bryan_Hughes wrote:Great, thanks! I think I'll get that. The natural history context will be very useful and understanding what I'm looking for will make it much more enjoyable.
I hope you enjoy it.

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gbin
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Re: Costa Rica field guide - Recommendations?

Post by gbin »

The Real Snake Man wrote:... As far as a field guide, I thought I remembered that Twan Leenders just came out with a brand new Costa Rica field guide this past year, but I can't find it anywhere, which leaves his earlier edition that came out in the early 2000s....
Leenders' (2001) publisher, Zona Tropical Publications, doesn't say anything about a new edition of that book, but they recently published a similar title by Chacón and Johnston (2013). Maybe the latter book is what you're thinking of? (I'm afraid I can't speak to the usefulness of either book; I'm just trying to be helpful in sorting things out.)

Gerry

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Ribbit
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Re: Costa Rica field guide - Recommendations?

Post by Ribbit »

That Chacón and Johnston book that Gerry mentioned is a very handy field guide. It has a far more complete set of species accounts than the older Leenders book, and its taxonomy is much more modern. It is a very small book, with very little natural history information, but it has a decent range map, good photo, and paragraph of identification info for almost every species currently known from Costa Rica (it has no photo for a handful of obscure species, but still includes range map and ID info). It is inexpensive. It's a little gem of a field guide.

The Leenders book has significantly longer descriptions of the species it includes, and considerable natural history information. But it covers nowhere near all of the species in the country (even if you are only considering the ones that were known when it was published); it picks and chooses which species to discuss. As a random example, Leenders covers 8 toad species (Bufonidae), whereas Chacón and Johnston cover 18.

John

Kfen
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Re: Costa Rica field guide - Recommendations?

Post by Kfen »

Just another plug for Savage's book. Some taxonomy (especially anurans) has changed, but you can figure out the name changes online. Otherwise, the book has all the info you could hope for. It is pretty inexpensive for what you are getting as well. As others have said, you cant walk around with it in your backpack, but can leave it in your car/hotel for reference.

Lloyd Heilbrunn
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Re: Costa Rica field guide - Recommendations?

Post by Lloyd Heilbrunn »

I took this one and bought the Leenders one at a National Park there.


http://www.amazon.com/Amphibians-Reptil ... 0520237595

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chrish
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Re: Costa Rica field guide - Recommendations?

Post by chrish »

I bought the Savage book and left it at home for research purposes. For use in the field, I agree that the Chacon and Johnston book is the best little field guide book available. The only thing it lacks is frog call information, but the maps and photos are pretty good for a tiny little book. I have the Guyer and Donnely book has good information, but only covers one part of the country.

I would recommend taking the Chacon/Johnston book to CR and use the Savage book to do any research and confirm IDs when you get home.

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cbernz
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Re: Costa Rica field guide - Recommendations?

Post by cbernz »

Savage is a must-have, but unless you love spending a lot of money on baggage fees, also a must-leave-home since it weighs a ton. One thing that I like to do before a trip is to make print-outs based on text and dichotomous keys out of the Savage book, laminate them, and take those in lieu of a field guide. That way I can make my own field cards based on the species from the areas I will be visiting. If there are any animals I have trouble with, I take as many detailed photos as I can so I can ID them later on. For me, the act of creating the field cards itself is helpful in learning field marks, so when I'm in the field I'm more confident than I would be otherwise.

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intermedius
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Re: Costa Rica field guide - Recommendations?

Post by intermedius »

Alejandro Solorzano's 2004 "Snakes of Costa Rica" is also a great guide for the snakes.

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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: Costa Rica field guide - Recommendations?

Post by Bryan Hamilton »

intermedius wrote:Alejandro Solorzano's 2004 "Snakes of Costa Rica" is also a great guide for the snakes.
For $667, it better be good!

http://www.amazon.com/Serpientes-Costa- ... 9968927007

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