John C. Murphy

Arizona’s Amphibians & Reptiles

Hardcover, Paperback
(1 customer review)



A Natural History and Field Guide

Second Edition

For both the casual observer and the experienced naturalist, this indispensable field guide and natural history reference covers all the salamanders, frogs, spadefoots, toads, lizards, snakes, tortoises, and turtles in Arizona. Over 250 stunning photographs, accompanied by range maps, show key details of identification. Fascinating life history and behavior accounts will leave the reader amazed at the biodiversity of Arizona, where the convergence of the ponderosa forests and subalpine meadows of the Colorado Plateau with the Chihuahuan, Sonoran, and Mojave deserts has resulted in a unique herpetofauna. Days are dominated by an astonishing variety of lizards; at night, by Gila monsters, geckos, and snakes. And when the summer monsoon sets in, the desert night comes alive with millions of toads and spadefoots.

About the Author

John C. Murphy is a retired science educator with a lifelong interest in herpetology. His other books include: Tales of Giant Snakes; Amphibians and Reptiles of Trinidad and Tobago; Homalopsid Snakes: Evolution in the Mud; Secrets of the Snake Charmer: Snakes in the 21st Century; Dogs and Snakes: avoiding the bite; and A Field Guide to the Amphibians & Reptiles of Trinidad & Tobago.

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Hardcover, Paperback


John C. Murphy

1 review for Arizona’s Amphibians & Reptiles

  1. Laurie J. Vitt

    Arizona’s Amphibians & Reptiles, A Natural History and Field Guide, by Murphy with Jones and Clark, is an up to date and beautifully illustrated book that focuses on the herpetofauna that is the envy of professional and amateur herpetologists throughout the world.

    By day, lizards dominate the landscape, with occasional coachwhips sliding through in search of prey. The bizarre horned lizards stationed along ant trails, collared lizards poised on rocks as though they are sentinels of something we don’t understand, and the many species of whiptail lizards, some of which reproduce parthenogenetically (cloning). At night, an entirely different and equally strange herpetofauna appears, with Gila monsters bumbling along, banded geckos, and a
    host of snake species from tiny threadsnakes to the numerous rattlesnake species.

    When summer monsoon rains hit, the nighttime desert comes alive with millions of toads, including the mysterious spadefoots, which form cocoons around their bodies by shedding multiple times after burrowing deep into the desert soil where they can hang out inactive for a year or more. Massive Sonoran Desert toads produce skin secretions causing a psychedelic effect when licked and tiny Mazatlán narrowmouthed toads hang out underneath tarantulas in their burrows when it is dry.

    Each species has a story to tell, and the more we learn, the more we discover that we are just scratching the surface as we seek to understand how so many species can live in one state, much of which is covered by desert. This book summarizes what is known about each species, with lots of interesting anecdotes that should whet any naturalist’s imagination. This is a must-have for anyone interested in Arizona’s spectacular fauna, and for those of you who are bird watchers, watch your step!

    Laurie J. Vitt
    George Lynn Cross Research Professor
    University of Oklahoma
    (Tubac, Arizona resident)

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