Remains of a Rainbow: Rare Plants and Animals of Hawaii

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Remains of a Rainbow glories in flora and fauna found nowhere else on our planet, lush tropical blossoms bursting with color, tiny flowers so rare that scarcely a dozen wild specimens have been found; quick-footed beetles that sparkle like living jewels; fish that can climb 1,000-foot waterfalls, noble, magnificent birds -- more than 140 creatures and plants in all, each captured in fullcolor and black-and-white photographs and a concise yet detailed individual description. From the rainbow-eye damselfly to the ...
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Overview

Remains of a Rainbow glories in flora and fauna found nowhere else on our planet, lush tropical blossoms bursting with color, tiny flowers so rare that scarcely a dozen wild specimens have been found; quick-footed beetles that sparkle like living jewels; fish that can climb 1,000-foot waterfalls, noble, magnificent birds -- more than 140 creatures and plants in all, each captured in fullcolor and black-and-white photographs and a concise yet detailed individual description. From the rainbow-eye damselfly to the Crested Honeycreeper, the Kamehameha butterfly to the hidden-petaled abutilon, the Mauna Loa vampire bug to the Laysan Finch, all are vulnerable and many are endangered. A few of these species are on the very brink of extinction. The delicate balance of their environment, intact for millions of years, has been upset by invaders from the outside world. As W. S. Merwin notes in his quietly urgent foreword, "It has been said that more species have been lost in Hawai'i during the past 200 years than in the whole of North America since Columbus." Shaped by countless centuries of isolation, Hawaiian wildlife has proved only too vulnerable to outsiders -- from whalers, sealers, and sandalwood loggers to alien stowaways, plant and animal alike. These forces have torn great rents in the delicate web of island ecology.

David Liittschwager and Susan Middleton, working in association with the nonprofit organization Environmental Defense, have photographed a tropical paradise unlike any other. By turns an eloquent environmental cautionary tale and a breathtaking gallery, Remains of a Rainbow captures the essence of Hawai'i. David Liittschwager and Susan Middleton have been photographing endangered animals and plants since 1986. Their collaborative work has appeared in Witness: Endangered Species of North America (Chronicle Books, 1994), and Here Today: Portraits of Our Vanishing Species (Chronicle Books, 1991). Middleton's and Liittschwager's photographs have been exhibited and published throughout the world, and they lecture widely about their work. They were the joint recipients of a 1999 Bay & Paul Foundations Biodiversity Leadership Award. Since 1998 Liittschwager and Middleton have been working in association with Environmental Defense to photograph rare plants, animals, and habitats of the Hawaiian Islands.

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Editorial Reviews

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Designed in typically radiant National Geographic style, Remains of a Rainbow greets you with the bright reds and yellows of Aloha State animals and plants. The descriptions are almost as enjoyable as the majestic photographs. We especially enjoyed the write-up of the flightless cone head katydid, one of 12 Hawaiian descendants of a katydid that somehow made it across the Pacific to the islands.
Library Journal
The authors, who have worked with endangered species in their previous photographic work, Witness (Chronicle, 1994), here turn their cameras to Hawaii, home to over a quarter of the specimens on the U.S. Endangered Species List. As in Witness, they present most of their photographs in the form of stunning portraits of individual specimens against a stark black background. Each animal or plant appears almost jewellike in perfection of form or color. Some, like a pair of grinning monk seals or an inquisitive thrush, are playful as well. Over 140 portraits are presented, as are some scenes of unique terrain such as the Silversword Bog and the top of Mauna Kea. Brief articles detail the natural history of the islands, changes wrought by humans and introduced species, and the struggle to preserve fragile species. A foreword by the poet W.S. Merwin, who lives in Hawaii, and an afterword by Environmental Defense Fund Senior Ecologist David S. Wilcove round out the volume. An exhibition based on this book will travel to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, and other locations in the United States. Despite the price tag, this is an important book for both conservation and photography collections. Recommended for most libraries. Beth Clewis Crim, Prince William P.L., VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780792264125
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 10/1/1901
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 11.18 (w) x 12.38 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword 20
Introduction 27
Portraits 35
Field Stories
New Discoveries 51
Pu'u Kukui: Hill of Enlightenment 83
Looking at Diversity 139
Invasion/Preservation 171
Native Stream Fish 201
Rarest of the Rare 223
Afterword 230
Species Profiles 232
Acknowledgments 260
Index 262
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  • Posted March 29, 2012

    Dazzling Pictures!

    A lot of care, effort, and dangerous adventure went into the making of this book. It is truly a valuable record of some of the most stunning creations of this planet. The photos are very artistically staged and the black and white backdrops bring an element of cohesiveness to the collection. Having the small photos with caption explanations at the back is a unique opportunity to browse the gallery of photos without any distraction, yet provide pertinent information that otherwise would leave us with many unanswered questions. As far as the text goes, I found the preface to be very redundant, rambling and tedious to read through. The rest of the read is better.

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