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Tuatara: Volume 17, Issue 1, May 1969

Animals of the Rocky Shore of New Zealand

Animals of the Rocky Shore of New Zealand

by Margaret A. Leslie.

Published by A. H. and A. W. Reed, Wellington, 1968. $2.50.

One of the richest and most exciting fields for the study of a biological community is undoubtedly the rocky shore. Such a study is often undertaken as part of the courses in general science and biology in our secondary schools, and Margaret Leslie's book is certain to be welcomed by both students and teachers as a most helpful aid to the enjoyment and success of this study.

The introduction provides a useful survey of the environmental conditions encountered by the organisms of the rocky shore, and the reader is introduced to some of the problems as well as to the advantages of living in such surroundings. This allows the reader to see the animals in relation to a particular habitat rather than as a collection of unrelated and structurally distinct organisms.

page 47

There is also much useful information in the appendix on methods used in studying such an area. This includes a list of equipment, needed, methods of constructing a quadrat and transect, sampling, recording results, and notes on the preservation of organisms. The methods are outlined concisely but in sufficient detail to allow students to carry out their investigations without the close supervision of someone more experienced.

As the title indicates, the major part of the book is devoted to a description of the more common animals of the rocky shore. They are grouped according to phylum: the distinctive features of each phylum are described and any technical terms are explained. A particularly pleasant feature of the book is that on the page facing the written description of any organism is a labelled diagram with a scale included. The textual description which emphasises the distinguishing features of an organism, together with the illustration should enable the student to identify the organism quite easily. There are no photograph but this deficiency is offset by the clarity of the diagrams. An excellent glossary of technical terms as well as a comprehensive index will help any student who has difficulty with the text.

The author states that her book is aimed at meeting the requirements of sixth-form biology students, university and training college students, and amateur naturalists’. She is to be congratulated on producing a book which is certain both to find a place on the library shelves of our schools and colleges, and also to be used by nature lovers who enjoy a visit to our rocky shores. The bibliography is interesting and should suggest a considerable amount of further reading for the student. The price of $2.50 is very reasonable for such a book.

— E.C.B.