Even in paradise, one needs to be mindful of what's underfoot. The Sabino Canyon Recreation Area is a desert oasis in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, a rich repository of wildlife and a favorite destination for Tucsonans and visitors for more than a century. This book presents annotated and illustrated descriptions of the amphibians and reptiles found at Sabino Canyon and an overview of their natural environment. Representing a study spanning nearly twenty-five years, it documents their present and past distribution and examines environmental and herpetofaunal change due to physical, biological, and human impact on species and habitats. In this first publication to describe Sabino Canyon's biota in scientific detail, three expert authors pool their knowledge to provide a detailed discussion of ecological changeespecially as a consequence of drought, flooding, the introduction of exotic species, and direct human impact. Suburbia has arrived on the canyon's doorstep, and human visitation has soared, inalterably affecting the area.
Of particular concern, breeding habitats for amphibians were profoundly altered by flash flooding in Sabino's streams following the 2003 Aspen Fire, which ravaged large parts of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The book contains richly detailed accounts of the 57 species found at Sabino?25 snakes, 17 lizards, 8 toads and frogs, 6 turtles, and 1 salamanderemphasizing their local ecology and the behavior likely to be witnessed by visitors. Physical descriptions and numerous photographs many in colorfacilitate identification. Up-to-date distribution maps provide an essential baseline against which future researchers can measure change. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Their Habitats at Sabino Canyon is essential for anyone who seeks to understand this desert oasis, how it has changed, and how it may change in the future. Written with minimal technical jargon to make it as useful to students and visitors as it will be to scientists and resource managers, it makes a vital contribution to our understanding of creatures underfoot whose habitat we seek to share.
David W. Lazaroff is the author of Sabino Canyon: The Life of a Southwestern Oasis and four other books. He lives in Tucson. Philip C. Rosen is a research scientist for the School of Renewable Natural Resources at the University of Arizona. The late Charles H. Lowe, Jr. was a noted herpetologist who authored many scientific works, including The Vertebrates of Arizona.