Top 2015 Popular Vertebrate Biology Books

These are my top 5 popular vertebrate biology books for 2015. Personal reviews available on request!

See the rest of this year’s book recommendations here!

  1. Fishes: A Guide to Their Diversity

    by Philip A. Hastings [University of California Press, Paperback]
    Price: $21.61 £17.98 EUR 24,44 EUR 23,93 EUR 26,15 EUR 29,60 CDN$ 33.08

Accurate identification of each group, including its distinguishing characteristics, is supported with clear photographs of preserved specimens, primarily from the archives of the Marine Vertebrate Collection at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. This diagnostic information is supplemented by radiographs, additional illustrations of particularly diverse lineages, and key references and ecological information for each group.


The Western world has had an enduring love affair with dolphins since the early 1960s, with fanciful claims of their ‘healing powers’ and ‘super intelligence’. Myths and pseudoscience abound on the subject. Justin Gregg weighs up the claims made about dolphin intelligence and separates scientific fact from fiction. He puts our knowledge about dolphin behaviour and intelligence into perspective, with comparisons to scientific studies of other animals, especially the crow family and great apes. He gives fascinating accounts of the challenges of testing what an animal with flippers and no facial expressions might be animal behaviour, Gregg challenges many of the widespread beliefs about dolphins, while also inspiring the reader with the remarkable abilities common to many of the less glamorized animals around us – such as chickens.


Cet ouvrage présente les traces de 100 espèces de vertébrés européens.


  1. Bats: A World of Science and Mystery

    by M. Brock Fenton [University Of Chicago Press, Hardcover]
    Price: $23.78 £19.92 EUR 28,42 EUR 29,38 EUR 30,12 EUR 25,12 CDN$ 38.17

Bats: A World of Science and Mystery presents these fascinating nocturnal creatures in a new light. Lush, full-color photographs portray bats in flight, feeding, and mating in views that show them in exceptional detail. The photos also take the reader into the roosts of bats, from caves and mines to the tents some bats build out of leaves. A comprehensive guide to what scientists know about the world of bats, the book begins with a look at bats’ origins and evolution. The book goes on to address a host of questions related to flight, diet, habitat, reproduction, and social structure: Why do some bats live alone and others in large colonies? When do bats reproduce and care for their young? How has the ability to fly—unique among mammals—influenced bats’ mating behavior? A chapter on biosonar, or echolocation, takes readers through the system of high-pitched calls bats emit to navigate and catch prey. More than half of the world’s bat species are either in decline or already considered endangered, and the book concludes with suggestions for what we can do to protect these species for future generations to benefit from and enjoy.


The book begins by examining the dolphin brain and its evolution, the anatomy of its unique sound production and reception systems, and its sensory abilities. It next treats communication, reviewing the complexity of dolphins’ vocalization, and then describes research on cognition, from both experimental and developmental perspectives. Finally, the book considers the future of dolphin research, including a series of provocative questions that remain unanswered, posed by the volume’s expert contributors.


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