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Desert Diary
Biology/Desert Literature


A large number of books treat portions of the natural history of the Chihuahuan Desert. Two books on mammals cover just about any of the furry inhabitants of the northern parts of the desert. David Schmidly's sixth edition of "The Mammals of Texas" covers everything within the state, but to add the high-elevation mammals of southern New Mexico, Jim Findley's "The Natural History of New Mexican Mammals" is a must. Love amphibians and reptiles? "The Amphibians and Reptiles of New Mexico" is available in paperback, and you may be able to get hold of Jim Dixon's second edition of "The Amphibians and Reptiles of Texas". There is a wealth of books on birds, thanks to the popularity of avocational bird watching. One of these is "The Sibley Guide to Birds", with paintings and range maps covering over 800 species of birds in North America.

For fuller information on these and many other articles and books concerning the Chihuahuan Desert, visit the Museum's Chihuahuan Desert Home Page and click on "Bibliography". You'll be surprised how much is out there.
pen and ink


Contributor: Arthur H. Harris, Laboratory for Environmental Biology, Centennial Museum, University of Texas at El Paso.

Desert Diary is a joint production of the Centennial Museum and KTEP National Public Radio at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Three books for the desert

Three books for identification and natural history of desert animals. Photograph by A.H. Harris.



Degenhardt, W. G., C. W. Painter, and A. H. Price. 1996. Amphibians and Reptiles of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, xix + 431 pp.

Dixon, J. R. 1987. Amphibians and reptiles of Texas. Texas A&M University Press, College Station. 434 pp.

Findley, J. S. 1987. The Natural History of New Mexican mammals. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. 164 pp.

Schmidly, D. J. 2004. The mammals of Texas. 6th ed. University of Texas Press, Austin. 501 pp.

Sibley, D. A. 2000. The Sibley guide to birds. Alfred A. Knopf, N.Y., 544 pp.

Web Resources

Chihuahuan Desert Bibliography