The Biology of Bats, by Gerhard Neuweiler (Translated by Ellen Covey)
Bats make up nearly 20% of all mammal species, and as I said in a recent review Long-eared Bats by Susan M. Swift they are poorly under-represented in the worlds literature. This book as been a valuable resource for German reading mammal biologists for a decade and its revised translation into English is a blessing to us all.
This book is a text book aimed at undergraduates and graduate research students. It deals in an orderly series of chapters with all the fundamental aspects of the biology of bats, the chapter headings listed below will give a concise image of its range and depth. Each chapter is liberally illustrated with B/W drawings and the text is enlightened by numerous charts, graphs and tables. There is a great deal of well presented and up-to-date information here and this book will undoubtedly be an invaluable resource for bat workers, colleges and universities around the world, especially considering its quite reasonable price tag. The decision to place the references at the end of each chapter, as in many multi-author works is a little strange and makes it slightly less user friendly than it could be, however as befits such an academic text it is well referenced.
The translator, a biology professor in her own rite researching the neurobiology of echolocation in bats has up-dated and corrected the original 1993 German text while translating it. Not being able to read German I can not comment on the accuracy of the translation but the book reads well so this is really irrelevant.
Personally I would have liked to have seen the chapter on ecology to have been considerably larger, but perhaps that is best left to another work and another author. Though not as easy to read as a monograph not so obviously aimed at university graduates there is no reason an interested amateur could not deepen his appreciation of bats by reading this work.
Chapter headings include: 1)Functional Anatomy and Locomotion; 2)The Circulatory and Respiratory Systems; 3)Heat and Water Balance; 4)Diet, Digestion and Energy Balance; 5)Central Nervous System; 6)Echolocation; 7)Vision, Olfaction and Taste; 8)Reproduction and Development; 9)Ecology; 10)Phylogeny and Systematics.
This document was last updated on the 17th April 1999