The publisher claims that Whales, Dolphins And Seals is the first complete field guide to the worlds marine mammals and I have no reason to doubt it. Field guide means a book with a robust cover and sized to fit in a biggish pocket. Then its always available just in case you see so many different mammals each day that youre in danger of getting confused.
In reality most of us would consider ourselves lucky to see one or two such species on a trip, usually from a boat, but you can be sure that whatever it is you see, from Arctocephalus australis (fur seal) to Zalophus californianus (sea-lion), youll find it here. Then you can whip out your field guide and share all the many details with your companions on the boat!
This is a beautifully produced book, lavishly illustrated with nearly 1000 well-annotated drawings, colour photographs and maps.
Its heartening in a way to see that there are still so many species out there (129 in all), even though so many populations have dwindled.
If youre into marine mammals, youll enjoy this whether out in the field or in front of the fire.
Steve Weinman
  • Whales, Dolphins And Seals by Hadoram Shirihai & Brett Jarrett (A&C Black. ISBN 9780713670370 (Softback, 384pp, 12.99)