An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles

4th Edition - March 25, 2013

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  • Authors: Laurie Vitt, Janalee Caldwell
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780123869197
  • eBook ISBN: 9780123869203

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The fourth edition of the textbook Herpetology covers the basic biology of amphibians and reptiles, with updates in nearly every conceptual area. Not only does it serve as a solid foundation for modern herpetology courses, but it is also relevant to courses in ecology, behavior, evolution, systematics, and morphology. Examples taken from amphibians and reptiles throughout the world make this book a useful herpetology textbook in several countries. Naturalists, amateur herpetologists, herpetoculturists, zoo professionals, and many others will find this book readable and full of relevant natural history and distributional information. Amphibians and reptiles have assumed a central role in research because of the diversity of ecological, physiological, morphological, behavioral, and evolutionary patterns they exhibit. This fully revised edition brings the latest research to the reader, ranging over topics in evolution, reproduction, behavior and more, allowing students and professionals to keep current with a quickly moving field.

Key Features

  • Heavily revised and updated with discussion of squamate (lizard and snake) taxonomy and new content reflected in current literature
  • Includes increased focus on conservation biology in herpetology while retaining solid content on organismal biology of reptiles and amphibians
  • Presents new photos included from authors' extensive library


Advanced undergraduate/graduate students studying biology, wildlife and organismal biology and taking courses in herpetology; amphibian and reptile biologists, ecologists and conservation and evolutionary biologists, paleontologists

Table of Contents

  • Herpetology, 4e


    Part I

    Evolutionary History

    1. Tetrapod Relationships and Evolutionary Systematics

    2. Anatomy of Amphibians and Reptiles

    3. Evolution of Ancient and Modern Amphibians and Reptiles


    Part II

    Reproduction and Reproductive Modes

    4. Reproduction and Life Histories

    5. Reproductive Modes

    Part III

    Physiological Ecology

    6. Water Balance and Gas Exchange

    7. Thermoregulation, Performance, and Energetics

    Part IV

    Behavioral Ecology

    8. Spacing, Movements, and Orientation

    9. Communication and Social Behavior

    10. Foraging Ecology and Diets

    11. Defense and Escape

    Part V

    Ecology, Biogeography, and Conservation Biology

    12. Ecology

    13. Biogeography and Phylogeography

    14. Conservation Biology

    Part VI

    Classification and Diversity of Amphibians



    15. Caecilians

    16. Salamanders

    17. Frogs

    Part VII

    Classification and Diversity of Reptiles


    18. Turtles

    19. Crocodylians

    20. Sphenodontidans

    21. Squamates (Snakes and Lizards)

    Part VIII

    Data Sources



    Taxonomic Index

    Subject Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 776
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2013
  • Published: March 25, 2013
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780123869197
  • eBook ISBN: 9780123869203

About the Authors

Laurie Vitt

Dr. Vitt is a reptile ecologist who received his Ph.D. from Arizona Sate University in 1976. He was a Professor at UCLA for 8 years and Professor and Curator at the Sam Noble Museum at the University of Oklahoma for 21 years. He currently maintains Emeritus status. He has had extensive field experience in American deserts and New World tropics, especially Brazil. He has published more than 250 research articles and 8 books. Awards include appointment as a George Lynn Cross Research Professor at the University of Oklahoma, membership in the Brazilian Academy of Scientists, Distinguished Alumnus (Western Washington University), Distinguished Herpetologist (Herpetologist League), and two book awards.

Affiliations and Expertise

Sam Noble Museum and Biology Department University of Oklahoma Norman, Oklahoma

Janalee Caldwell

Dr. Caldwell is an amphibian biologist who received her Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in 1974. She was a Professor of Biology and Curator at the Sam Noble Museum at the University of Oklahoma for 21 years, where she received recognition for outstanding research. She is now Professor Emeritus and Curator Emeritus. Dr. Caldwell conducted field research in tropical forests in Brazil and other South American countries that resulted in publication of numerous scientific articles. She served as President of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles and as editor of several scientific journals. She participated is various projects with the goal of encouraging young people, especially girls, to choose careers in science.

Affiliations and Expertise

Sam Noble Museum and Biology Department University of Oklahoma Norman, Oklahoma

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  • KatharinaGeiss Mon Jan 28 2019

    Very well writen. Very useful

    Very well writen. Very useful during studdying. Great book!