Frogs: Inside Their Remarkable World

Overview

"A comprehensive guide to all 31 families of frogs. Spectacular full-color photographs... This book can be enjoyed by readers of all ages." — Science News

Frogs and toads are one of nature's great animal success stories. They are also the "canary in the mine" for climate change. Renowned herpetologist Ellin Beltz paints a compelling picture of these small survivors.

Some of ...

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Overview

"A comprehensive guide to all 31 families of frogs. Spectacular full-color photographs... This book can be enjoyed by readers of all ages." — Science News

Frogs and toads are one of nature's great animal success stories. They are also the "canary in the mine" for climate change. Renowned herpetologist Ellin Beltz paints a compelling picture of these small survivors.

Some of the features of Frogs are:

  • Unprecedented selection of 125 color photographs of frogs and toads from around the world
  • Detailed examinations of all 31 frog and toad families, describing biology, behavior, physical characteristics, habitat, voice, feeding and reproduction
  • Review of the environmental threats that are rapidly reducing frog numbers around the world and the ongoing conservation efforts to stem potential losses
  • Historical overview of frogs in myth and culture and their place in art and literature
  • Sidebars highlighting unusual and interesting facts.

Frogs is a comprehensive and fascinating reference that is extremely useful for herpetologists and naturalists and informative for general readers.

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Editorial Reviews

The Canadian Field Naturalist - Francis R. Coook
The spectacular feature of this book is its over 160 vivid colour frog portraits and two coloured diagrams of skeletal and internal structures of a typical frog from a variety of sources which effectively depict the range of frog diversity. But it is not just another pretty picture book. The text, though brief, is both instructive and entertaining on a wide range of frog topics. It is a near perfect introduction to a world overview of these lively and attractive animals for anyone young or old.
The Cottager (cottager.com)
A great book for nature enthusiasts young and old. ... Frogs is a feast for the eyes and the mind. A great reference book for any home or cottage
Bulletin of the Maryland Herpetological Society
Filled with valuable information ... extremely useful with a flowing style for easy reading ... An excellent book.
— Harlan D. Walley and Theresa L. Wusterbarth, Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Illinois University
Sideroads of Caledon
Fascinating. The colour photographs of frog around the world are beautiful.
— N. Glenn Perrell
Wildlife Activist
Many interesting facts... a comprehensive look.
Science Books and Films
Color pictures... are startling in their beauty and intrigue... clearly written text... an easy book to enjoy and savor.
— James W. Waddick
Choice
An excellent overview... well written, albeit on a popular level, and it is copiously illustrated with eye-catching color photographs.
— C.E. Buckley
Animal Keepers' Forum [Journal of American Zookeep
Absolutely fascinating, even to the non-naturalist... Such is the subtle lure of Frogs: Inside Their Remarkable World, a book that seduces the reader with intriguing textual detail and marvelous up-close photography.
Aiken Standard
125 stunning color photographs... unveils a remarkable amphibian world... [This book] will convince you that frogs are amazing.
— Whit Gibbons
Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society
Wonderful... easy-to-read and comprehensive... concise, well written and well-illustrated summary... accurate and informative but not overly technical.
— James N. Stuart
Science News
A comprehensive guide to all 31 families of frogs. Spectacular full-color photographs... This book can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
Olympia Olympian
The one-two delivery of information and fascinating photographs is a great deal.
— Sharon Wootton
Globe and Mail
An engaging and informative guide... illustrated with hundreds of brilliant color photographs.
Booklist
An entertaining and comprehensive introduction... a beautifully illustrated primer.
— Nancy Bent
Bulletin of the Maryland Herpetological Society - Harlan D. Walley and Theresa L. Wusterbarth
Filled with valuable information, yet not overly technical. This makes the book extremely useful with a flowing style for easy reading, and keep[s] the reader captivated.... An excellent book for anyone having a budding interest in anuran biology, and herpetology in general.
Sideroads of Caledon - N. Glenn Perrell
Fascinating. The colour photographs of frog around the world are beautiful.
Science Books and Films - James W. Waddick
The color pictures of frogs and toads are startling in their beauty and intrigue... clearly written text... an easy book to enjoy and savor.
Choice - C.E. Buckley
An excellent overview... well written, albeit on a popular level, and it is copiously illustrated with eye-catching color photographs.
Aiken Standard - Whit Gibbons
125 stunning color photographs... unveils a remarkable amphibian world... [This book] will convince you that frogs are amazing.
Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society - James N. Stuart
Wonderful... easy-to-read and comprehensive... concise, well written and well-illustrated summary of the order Anura that is accurate and informative but not overly technical.
Booklist - Nancy Bent
An entertaining and comprehensive introduction... a beautifully illustrated primer.
Olympia Olympian - Sharon Wootton
The one-two delivery of information and fascinating photographs is a great deal.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554075027
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,411,799
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Ellin Beltz is a biologist, herpetologist and author. She has taught at Northeastern Illinois University, the Morton Arboretum, Trinity Christian College and College of the Redwoods.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction
1. A Brief Natural History
2. Frog Families
3. Anatomy & Physiology
4. Environment & Adaptation
5. Frogs in Myth & Culture
Epilogue

Frog Miscellany
Glossary
References
Photo Credits
Index

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Preface

Introduction

Why are humans fascinated by frogs? What is a frog but a little bundle of matter and energy? Is it perhaps that frogs look and act rather like people? They sing and cavort, court, mate and raise families all in plain view of the humans with whom they share their world.

Frogs let it all hang out. From their enthusiastic breeding assemblages to their long tongues, they let us see their every move — even if we don't understand what we see.

Frogs teach us that the more we learn, the more we find out we need to know. Much of what we're learning about frogs directly relates to human physiology and habitat requirements. Perhaps the most important thing is that while there are limits within which individual organisms can function, as a group frogs exist to break their own rules.

One study logged over a thousand food items disappearing into a toad in one day, but others show that some frogs can go six months or more without eating in the hottest deserts. While most frogs prefer just about the same temperatures as people, others can freeze nearly solid and revive without damage in cold northerly climes. Some frogs nervously vanish at the slightest sound while others sit patiently for examination. And, as everyone knows, some frog species are disappearing while others extend their ranges worldwide.

Although each chapter has its own introduction, here are some frequently asked questions — with answers — that introduce the concepts of the book in a general manner.

Why study frogs by family?

Including live and fossil frogs, there are somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 species known, with more discovered every year as formerly remote jungles and rock outcrops are explored and studied. At a minimum, using family organization reduces the need for range maps and repetitive text.

Long ago, people discovered that it is easier to learn things by first seeing generalities and then becoming more and more specific. We study nature by dividing it into large groups by similarities and subdividing by differences. We recognize a large group of amphibians, divided into three groups: salamanders, caecilians and frogs. Within frogs are some 31 families, each one with its own set of characteristics, sometimes including habitat requirements, breeding patterns, behaviors and parenting methods.

How is this book different from a field guide?

Field guides provide a species-by-species account of every organism within their scope. At 4,000 to 5,000 species worldwide, a list of just the names of frog species, one to a line, could take a hundred pages of text!

Why include all the Latin names?

This book includes a list and discussion of frogs and toads by family. Some individual members of each family are discussed in detail and serve as representatives for their family in the text.

All the "difficult" Latin and Greek family names and species names have been included for several reasons:

1. Scientific names are used every day by people around the world in books and on the Internet.
2. "Common names" are not standardized. As people self-publish on the Internet, new common names are created and spread. The common names also use common words. A search of "parsley frogs" on the Internet found recipes for frog legs with parsley, but nothing on the frog family "Parsley Frogs" themselves.
3. Scientific names are the same in all nations and in all languages. They can be found in publications and on websites in foreign languages, even if you can't read the rest of the type.

How do you say the names?

To pronounce scientific names at least as well as anyone today, there are only three rules:

1. Look for familiar word parts that you know how to say. Words that begin with unusual consonants are from Greek. For example Xenopus ("alien foot") is easy for anyone who has ever used a famous brand of photocopier. Another Greek-influenced name was coined for Pseudacris treefrogs. Think "pseudonym" (false name) and say "Pseud-acris."
2. For any unfamiliar word, imagine you are ordering Italian food or upscale coffee. Stretch out all the syllables and say each one. Try the eyeballpopping "Disco-glossis" ("round tongue"); or a real toughie, "E-leuth-ero-dactylus" ("free-fingers") for practice!
3. Be confident. No one has really spoken Latin for a very long time. You will hear several variants of each scientific name, particularly at international conferences where it is interesting to hear how the scientific names pop out of languages that you otherwise do not understand at all.

What do the names mean?

Many word parts are used over and over again for amphibians and are also used for other groups. You can often find these word parts in an unabridged dictionary. Examples of these include "Batrach" for frogs, "gloss" for tongue, "limno' for marsh, and "dactyls" for fingers.

Some names were formed from sounds made by the frog. For example, "Ra-na" is the sound made by a southern European frog, so the Romans used Rana for all frogs. Also, the coqui frog's name reflects its loud "co-kee" cry.

Why don't you say "frogs and toads"?

All toads are frogs, so saying "frogs" covers all the families that contain animals commonly referred to as "toads." Researchers currently do not believe all the "toads" descend from a common ancestor; therefore, using a collective group name for an unrelated group creates confusion. Just search "difference between frogs and toads" on a search engine for 20 or more definitions. Each one is equally correct, but you have to consider the local "toad" known to the writer. There are, of course, differences between frogs and toads. You'll find these in a chart on page 41 in the chapter on Frog Families.

And finally...

What we can learn from frogs may be of great use to humans in our future. So far, frogs have been used in anatomical studies, as pregnancy tests before more modern chemical testing, and as models for developing radical treatments for burn patients. They have also served as inspiration for thousands of artists, writers and everyday people. And there is no doubt that they will continue to do so.

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Introduction

Why are humans fascinated by frogs? What is a frog but a little bundle of matter and energy? Is it perhaps that frogs look and act rather like people? They sing and cavort, court, mate and raise families all in plain view of the humans with whom they share their world.

Frogs let it all hang out. From their enthusiastic breeding assemblages to their long tongues, they let us see their every move -- even if we don't understand what we see.

Frogs teach us that the more we learn, the more we find out we need to know. Much of what we're learning about frogs directly relates to human physiology and habitat requirements. Perhaps the most important thing is that while there are limits within which individual organisms can function, as a group frogs exist to break their own rules.

One study logged over a thousand food items disappearing into a toad in one day, but others show that some frogs can go six months or more without eating in the hottest deserts. While most frogs prefer just about the same temperatures as people, others can freeze nearly solid and revive without damage in cold northerly climes. Some frogs nervously vanish at the slightest sound while others sit patiently for examination. And, as everyone knows, some frog species are disappearing while others extend their ranges worldwide.

Although each chapter has its own introduction, here are some frequently asked questions -- with answers -- that introduce the concepts of the book in a general manner.

Why study frogs by family?

Including live and fossil frogs, there are somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 species known, with more discovered every year as formerly remotejungles and rock outcrops are explored and studied. At a minimum, using family organization reduces the need for range maps and repetitive text.

Long ago, people discovered that it is easier to learn things by first seeing generalities and then becoming more and more specific. We study nature by dividing it into large groups by similarities and subdividing by differences. We recognize a large group of amphibians, divided into three groups: salamanders, caecilians and frogs. Within frogs are some 31 families, each one with its own set of characteristics, sometimes including habitat requirements, breeding patterns, behaviors and parenting methods.

How is this book different from a field guide?

Field guides provide a species-by-species account of every organism within their scope. At 4,000 to 5,ooo species worldwide, a list of just the names of frog species, one to a line, could take a hundred pages of text!

Why include all the Latin names?

This book includes a list and discussion of frogs and toads by family. Some individual members of each family are discussed in detail and serve as representatives for their family in the text.

All the "difficult" Latin and Greek family names and species names have been included for several reasons:

  1. Scientific names are used every day by people around the world in books and on the Internet.
  2. "Common names" are not standardized. As people self-publish on the Internet, new common names are created and spread. The common names also use common words. A search of "parsley frogs" on the Internet found recipes for frog legs with parsley, but nothing on the frog family "Parsley Frogs" themselves.
  3. Scientific names are the same in all nations and in all languages. They can be found in publications and on websites in foreign languages, even if you can't read the rest of the type.

How do you say the names?

To pronounce scientific names at least as well as anyone today, there are only three rules:

  1. Look for familiar word parts that you know how to say. Words that begin with unusual consonants are from Greek. For example Xenopus ("alien foot") is easy for anyone who has ever used a famous brand of photocopier. Another Greek-influenced name was coined for Pseudacris treefrogs. Think "pseudonym" (false name) and say "Pseud-acris."
  2. For any unfamiliar word, imagine you are ordering Italian food or upscale coffee. Stretch out all the syllables and say each one. Try the eyeballpopping "Disco-glossis" ("round tongue"); or a real toughie, "E-leuth-ero-dactylus" ("free-fingers") for practice!
  3. Be confident. No one has really spoken Latin for a very long time. You will hear several variants of each scientific name, particularly at international conferences where it is interesting to hear how the scientific names pop out of languages that you otherwise do not understand at all.

What do the names mean?

Many word parts are used over and over again for amphibians and are also used for other groups. You can often find these word parts in an unabridged dictionary. Examples of these include "Batrach" for frogs, "gloss" for tongue, "limno' for marsh, and "dactyls" for fingers.

Some names were formed from sounds made by the frog. For example, "Ra-na" is the sound made by a southern European frog, so the Romans used Rana for all frogs. Also, the coqui frog's name reflects its loud "co-kee" cry.

Why don't you say "frogs and toads"?

All toads are frogs, so saying "frogs" covers all the families that contain animals commonly referred to as "toads." Researchers currently do not believe all the "toads" descend from a common ancestor; therefore, using a collective group name for an unrelated group creates confusion. Just search "difference between frogs and toads" on a search engine for 20 or more definitions. Each one is equally correct, but you have to consider the local "toad" known to the writer. There are, of course, differences between frogs and toads. You'll find these in a chart on page 41 in the chapter on Frog Families.

And finally...

What we can learn from frogs may be of great use to humans in our future. So far, frogs have been used in anatomical studies, as pregnancy tests before more modern chemical testing, and as models for developing radical treatments for burn patients. They have also served as inspiration for thousands of artists, writers and everyday people. And there is no doubt that they will continue to do so.

Read More Show Less

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