After reading the article Vacation Bat Watching in the Tropics in the last issue of BATS, several members asked us to recommend a field guide for Latin America. Although there is no single book, or even combination of books, that covers all of Mexico through South America, many of the bat species you will encounter in these areas are included in Fiona Reids 1997 Field Guide to the Mammals of Central America and Southeast Mexico. Longtime BCI members may recall that Reids bat artwork has graced several of our catalog products and that she led a BCI natural history tour in southeastern Arizona last year.
It is no surprise, then, that Reids neotropical field guide, which she both wrote and illustrated, is noted for its especially strong section on bats. Although it encompasses all native mammals from Mexico to Panama, including aquatic species, the book devotes over 100 pages to bats, covering more than 130 species. In addition to summaries of each family represented, Reid provides physical descriptions, range maps, and beautiful color illustrations--painstakingly hand painted from live subjects in the field--for most species. Both professional biologists and amateur naturalists will appreciate her clear, succinct format, which allows readers to quickly scan vital information such as measurements, distribution, status, habitat, and behaviors. Also useful are an index for scientific as well as common names and an informative introduction on the study of mammals.
A Field Guide to the Mammals of Central America and Southeast Mexico (456 pages) can be purchased directly from Oxford University Press at 1-800-451-7556 or www.oup-usa.org. Paperback (ISBN 0195064011) is $29.95 and hardback (0195064003) is $60.
Salvin's big-eyed bat (Chiroderma salvini) is one of 118 bat illustrations included in this comprehensive guide.