12 January 2007

A book for bivalve collectors

bivalvesbookIf you are going to Florida to collect seashells, take this book with you. The Bivalve Seashells of Florida by Trish Hartmann should become an indispensable field guide for many years to come. It is well written and has nice sharp color pictures of most bivalve mollusks you are likely to find. As the author indicates, the book should also be useful, as species' ranges overlap, for collectors along the northern coasts of the Gulf of Mexico as well as for those in the Caribbean.

In addition to species descriptions, the introductory chapters give information on taxonomy, shell nomenclature, ecology, habitats, anatomy and collecting methods; the basics that every novice should learn. The discussion of the bivalve anatomy, however, could have used a diagram to better illustrate the general organization of bivalve anatomy. And a page or two about bivalve evolution would also have been quite appropriate.

Many US-printed field guides I have seen over the years still inexplicably stick to inches as their sole measurement unit. I commend Trish for using both inches and millimeters. My only other criticism is that I think a shell size range rather than the maximum size given in this book would be more useful. For example, Tucker Abbott, in the 1954 edition of his American Seashells gives (in inches) size ranges.

The Bivalves of Florida is available directly from the publisher, the Anadara Press.

After I mentioned this book briefly in a previous post, Trish Hartmann kindly sent me a courtesy copy. However, my review was not biased by her favor.

1 comment:

John Jacobs said...

If you're collecting Florida bivalves, get this book! It is wonderful and relatively inexpensive!