I am always thrilled when I see a Coyote, or a Red Fox, making a living within the confines of a city. The two encounters I have had with North American wolves remain significant memories etched in my brain forever. My mind is indelibly imprinted by a morning spent in the company of Ethiopian Wolves high on the Bale Plateau in those remote highlands of the Horn of Africa.
As far as I know, there has been no previous publication of a field guide consolidating into one volume all of the Canids of the World.
Princeton Field Guides are legendary for their quality and depth of coverage and this volume does not disappoint. Modern field guides have gone far beyond their original purpose, when simple depictions of the subjects were included, with accompanying notes as to the characters to clinch identification.
This volume starts out with a fabulous introductory section covering all of the vital aspects of canid ecology and biology, including an excellent phylogenetic tree. Feeding behaviour and diet is covered, as is reproduction, visual communications, olfactory communications and many other topics. Skeletal structure is discussed, including highly detailed illustrations, all presented with precision and ease of use.
The photographs, assembled from the combined efforts of a stellar group of canid specialists and wildlife photographers are nothing short of superb.
The accompanying text is precise and well organized.
Each species account has a range map included with the account of the species, always so useful, especially when placed within the body of the section on a given species. One of the most annoying things about some field guides is that all the maps are included at the back, or, horror of horrors, there is no range map at all.
I very much like the way the book is organized into sections titled South American Canids, Wolf-like Canids, Red Fox-like Canids, and Gray (Grey) Fox-like Canids, with each segment colour-coded for ease of reference.
This treatment is very helpful to the user of a field guide, likely a dedicated naturalist and canid enthusiast who is not, however, necessarily familiar with all the taxonomic niceties that a specialized biologist might bring readily to hand.
Canids of the World: Wolves, Wild Dogs, Foxes, Jackals, Coyotes and Their Relatives
José R. Castelló
Paperback - $29.95 - 9780691176857 - 336 pages - 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" - 150 colour plates - 139 black-and-white illustrations - 174 maps
Publication date: 11 September 2018