Why is Australia's wildlife so different to the rest of the world? Explore this question for the mammals, birds, reptiles and other native Australian fauna, compare the major wildlife groups to those of other world regions, and discover how the differences and similarities came to be that way through a brief look at geological and evolutionary history. Some tips for remembering the major groups of wildlife are included, and there is a short quiz at the end to test your memory. Scientific terms are largely avoided through the text except a few essential ones, such as those that tell us (or attempt to do so: there is often controversy over details) how closely related various species are. There is however a list of scientific terms at the end of the book that you may find useful to understand when browsing other books or websites. Also included are a few essentials of our wildlife's ecology (especially habitats and diets), some unusual behaviours and adaptations, and a brief look at their current conservation problems. Although the major emphasis is on the terrestrial vertebrates (mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians) there are chapters also on fish, insects and kin, other invertebrates (molluscs, corals and kin etc.) and the major plant groups that our wildlife depend on. A few basic facts about Australia's geography and habitats further assists an understanding of how our wildlife is distributed. The book also includes some tips on where you might see various groups and a few of the more common, unusual or famous species. Advice is offered on how to view them without disturbing them: if they are frequently disturbed by enthusiasts trying for a closer look or a perfect photo they can start feeding or breeding in less favourable areas or use precious energy avoiding onlookers at the expense of feeding their young, mothers may be separated from infants, and nests may be abandoned. This is not an identification guide, but the tips on how to easily remember all the major wildlife groups provides a useful framework to narrow down the possibilities when using identification aids. References to many other useful publications and websites are included at the end of the book. The beginnings of this book came when the author was convening a university lecture course on techniques for wildlife conservation and realised that although there were many excellent books available on particular wildlife groups, it would be too expensive for students to buy all the relevant ones, and there was no affordable publication that gave a good overview conveying an understanding of the major groups of animals one would expect to find in any part of Australia or how they differed from other world regions. The notes developed for the introductory lectures, covering the basics of our wildlife, were later modified into lectures for an adult education course on wildlife of southeast Queensland, where the author has lived and conducted zoological research for several decades, dropping many of the scientific terms to make reading easier for all who attended. When she started running wildlife tours these notes were adapted again to include all of Australia but with special emphasis on southeast Queensland as a booklet to give each guest on multi-day wildlife tours. The current book is a much-extended version of that booklet, and encompassing all of Australia (the author has over the years conducted ecological research in four states, and visited wilderness areas in all states and territories). Costs have been deliberately kept down by keeping the illustrations grey-scale, so it can be easily affordable for secondary and tertiary students, students, amateur naturalists, tour guidesFind tips on how to easily remember all the major wildlife groups
This is not an identification guide, but it does provide a framework to help narrow down the possibilities when using identification aids. References to many other useful books and websites are included.