Book Reviews

Reptiles and Amphibians of New Zealand: A Field Guide

Reptiles and Amphibians Of New Zealand: A Field Guide


Dylan van Winkel, Marleen Baling and Rod Hitchmough

Published by Bloomsbury

This is quite a big field guide book but it covers all 123 terrestrial and marine herpetofauna species found in New Zealand in depth, covering endemic species (89%), vagrant or migrant species (8%) and exotic species (3%).

The book starts with an overall introduction to the history of New Zealand's herpetofauna with sections on tuatara, geckos, skinks, frogs, marine turtles, marine snakes and touching on extinct and exotic species. It also discusses conservation and how to observe species in the wild and finally covers the ecosystems and geographic history of New Zealand.

Individual Species Accounts

The sections for each species are in depth and details looking at description, distribution (with a map), variation and similar species, habitat, natural history and etymology which is a great addition. These are accompanied by fantastic identification photographs that clearly show the species in colour with the start of each group section also having a series of illustrations that clearly highlight important morphological characteristics.

At the back of the book there is a checklist and glossary of terms to complete the guide.

Overall Thoughts

This is a beautifully put together book with in depth information accompanied by great photography. It is a must for anyone interested in herpetology and/or planning to visit New Zealand in search of some of the 123 species that can be found there.

As a photographer and zoologist I have found the book very interesting and a great source of information and the combination of identification images on white backgrounds and in habitat images compliment each other very well.

Having visited New Zealand many years ago looking through this book makes me want to head back in search of some of these 123 species that can be found in New Zealand.

About the Authors

Dylan van Winkel is a wildlife ecologist and consultant herpetologist with a particular interest in reptile and amphibian conservation.

Marleen Baling is a wildlife ecologist with a particular interest in New Zealand herpetology and has been involved in many research and conservation projects for reptiles.

Rod Hitchmough is an adviser for the Department of Conservation in New Zealand specialising in lizard taxonomy, herpetology and conservation and has been involved in the study of New Zealand's geckos since the 1970s.


Reptiles and Amphibians of New Zealand