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Tuatara: Volume 14, Issue 3, December 1966

Review — The Tuatara, Lizards and Frogs of New Zealand

The Tuatara, Lizards and Frogs of New Zealand

This Book is sure to have a wide appeal. It is written mainly for the layman but I venture to say it will find its place on the bookshelves of many professional biologists both in New Zealand and overseas. The illustrations are lavish — 24 pages of colour photographs, and 21 black and white text-figures—and many of them are quite superb. They reveal a world of beauty and interest in our reptile and amphibian fauna not suspected by most New Zealanders. The text, of 94 pages and with an introduction by Mr. Gerald Durrell, is very readable and much of it is based on Mr. Sharell's personal observations of the animals. Mr. Sharell has also drawn freely on scientific sources. There are separate chapters on the tuatara, the geckos and skinks, and the frogs, which cover in considerable detail their biology, structure and habits. Other chapters deal with the geological history and evolution of reptiles and amphibians as a whole, and the tuatara and lizards in Maori myths, legends and art. The final chapter is a guide to the principal reptiles and amphibians of New Zealand. This chapter will disappoint professional biologists in that it doesn't give a complete coverage of the fauna, while some of the information is also repetitive of that in the earlier chapters. However for those who want to read further, Mr. Sharell provides a list of references.

In summary, Mr. Sharell's book is a very valuable contribution to New Zealand natural history, and fills a long-felt want.