Cover image for A naturalist's guide to the tropics
A naturalist's guide to the tropics
Lambertini, M. (Marco).
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Guida alla natura tropicale. English
Publication Information:
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xxiv, 312 pages : illustrations (some color), maps ; 20 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QH84.5 .L3613 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



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

Author Notes

Marco Lambertini is Director of Network and Programme for BirdLife International, UK.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Lambertini (BirdLife International, UK) originally wrote this book in Italian. It might be called a primer for the beginning tropical traveler; if read carefully, it provides a general appreciation for what will be encountered and what might stimulate the acquisition of other volumes on various tropical subjects. The book covers geography and biogeography, climate, soil, flora, fauna, mangroves, forests, coral reefs, savannas, deserts, tropics in peril, dangers, and precautions. The coverage of any topic is extremely brief; slightly more emphasis is given to the Old World tropics. The material is readable and useful to novices. If one is traveling to a specific tropical region, this book should be supplemented by more detailed information. Recommended for large public libraries and novice tropical travelers. General readers. K. L. Williams; emeritus, Northwestern State University

Table of Contents

Text Boxes and Tables
Photographs and Color Plates
Guide to Reading the Color Plates
Tropical Geography and Biogeography
Continents in Evolution
The Ice Ages
The Climate
Different Climates from the Equator to the Tropics
Scorching Sun and Pelting Rains
Seasonal Winds
The Soils
The Flora
Water, Heat, and Light: The Winning Formula in the Tropics
Analogies and Differences among Continents
The Richest Botany in the World
The Fauna
An Extraordinary Wealth
Great Diversity and Unexpected Look-Alikes
A Thousand Strategies for Survival
Homeland of the Great Fauna
The Nonexistent Mangrove Tree
Original Architecture and Adaptations
The Army of Specialist Crabs
A Fish out of Water . . . or In
The Strategy of Being Amphibian
An Exciting Habitat-An Important Resource
Virgin Forests and Secondary Jungles
Profile of a Tropical Forest
The Ecology of a Green Universe
The Collapse of Giants and the Feast of the Colonizers
A Universe of Fruits and Flowers
Climbers, Lianas, and Epiphytes
The Great Fauna of the Forests
A Fervid Aerial and Arboreal Life
Pollens and Pollinators
Coral Reefs
Reef-Building Corals
Geography of Coral Formations
Barriers, Fringes, and Atolls
Hard Corals, Soft Corals, and Still Others
The Structure of the Reef
Invisible but Indispensable Alage
A Universe of Life among the Corals
Change of Scene from Day to Night
Sands and Beaches
Fire and Rain
Halfway between Desert and Forest
The Kingdom of Grasses and Herbivores
Characteristic, Specialized Fauna
Birds: Flying and Otherwise
Hot and Cold Deserts, Arid and Semiarid Deserts
The Hydric Deficit
Sun, Heat, and Wind
Seas and Waves of Sand
The Difficult Contest for Those Living in the Desert
The Tropics in Peril
Tropical Dangers and Precautions
Caution without Obsession
Dangers with 'Small' Beginnings
Dangers in the Sea
Suggested Reading