The Reference Shelf books

Over the many years of our interest in biology, ecology, natural history, and wildlife management, we have collected--and continue to collect-a number of useful books. It is hard sometimes to distinguish the field guides from the more "meaty" reference works: Peattie's books on trees, for instance, can serve as both, heavy as they are. Obviously there are overlaps; our experience is that no one book answers all questions that come up. All the books on this list have been found relevant to land/wildlife management concerns in Texas, whether they were written as regional books or not. We continue to acquire new volumes, as the publication dates in the listings show.

Ecology, Field Biology, and Land Management

Benson, Delwin E., Ross "Skip" Shelton, and Don W. Steinbach. Wildlife Stewardship and Recreation on Private Lands. Texas A&M University Press. 1999

Jordan, William R., Michael E. Gilpin, and John D. Aber, Editors. Restoration Ecology: A Synthetic Approach to Ecological Research. Cambridge University Press. 1987.

Kreuger, M., J. Dillard and M.E. Berger. Comprehensive Wildlife Management Planning Guidelines for the Edwards Plateau and Cross Timbers & Prairies Ecological Regions. Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

Odum, Eugene P. Fundamentals of Ecology, 3rd. Ed. W.B. Saunders Company. 1971

Packard, Stephen and Cornelia F. Mutel. The Tallgrass Restoration Handbook. Island Press. 2005

Russell, Clifford S., ed. Ecological Modelling in a Resource Management Framework. Resources for the Future, Inc. Washington, D.C. 1975

Smith, Robert Leo. Ecology and Field Biology, 2nd Ed. Harper & Row. 1974.

--Guidelines for Qualification of Agricultural Land in Wildlife Management. Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Telfair, Raymond C. II. Texas Wildlife Resources and Land Uses. University of Texas Press.1999

Geology: Rocks, Minerals, Soils

Cargo, David N. and Bob F. Mallory. Man and His Geologic Environment. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company. 1974.

Finsley, Charles E. A Field Guide to Fossils of Texas. Gulf Publishing. 1999

Hunt, Charles B. Natural Regions of the United States and Canada. W.H. Freeman & Co., 1974.

Pohopien, K.M. An Introduction to the Megascopic Study and Determination of Minerals and Rocks, 3rd Ed. Wm. C. Brown. Dubuque, Iowa. 1969.

Pough, Frederick H. A Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals. Houghton Mifflin. 1960.

Plants (Taxonomy, Systematics, Field Guides, Propagation)

Ajilvsgi, Geyata. Wildflowers of Texas. Shearer Publishing. Bryan, Texas. 1984. (and later editions of this work.)

Alexopoulos, C.J. and H.C. Bold. Algae and Fungi. MacMillan. 1967

Anon. Pasture and Range Plants. Fort Hays State University. Hays, Kansas. 1986.

Anon. Common Weeds of the United States. USDA Agricultural Research Service. Dover Publications.1971.

Brockman, C. Frank. Trees of North America: A Field Guide to the Major Native and Introduced Species North of Mexico. Golden Press. 1968

Brodo, Irwin M., Sylvia Duran Sharnoff, and Stephen Sharnoff. Lichens of North America. Yale University Press. 2001

Correll, Donovan Stewart and Marshall Conring Johnston. Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas. Texas Research Foundation. 1970.

Gould, Frank W. Common Texas Grasses: An Illustrated Guide. Texas A&M University Press. 1978.

Gould, Frank W. and Robert B. Shaw. Grass Systematics, 2nd Ed.. Texas A&M University Press. 1983.

Hitchcock. Manual of the Grasses of the United States. USDA.

Kindscher, Kelly. Edible Wild Plants of the Prairie. University Press of Kansas. 1987.

Loflin, Brian and Shirley Loflin. Grasses of the Texas Hill Country. Texas A&M University Press. 2006

Niehaus, Theodore, F., Charles L. Ripper, and Virginia Savage. A Field Guide to Southwestern and Texas Wildflowers. Houghton Mifflin. 1984.

Nokes, Jill. How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest. Texas Monthly Press. 1986

Peattie, Donald Culross. A Natural History of Trees (of Eastern and Central North America). Houghton Mifflin.

Peattie, Donald Culross. A Natural History of Western Trees. Houghton Mifflin. 1953.

Peterson, Roger Tory, and Margaret McKenny. A Field Guide to Wildflowers. Houghton Mifflin. 1968. (Peterson Field Guide Series)

Petrides, George A. A Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs. Houghton Mifflin. 1958. (Peterson Field Guide Series)

Simpson, Benny. A Field Guide to Texas Trees. Texas Monthly Press. 1988.

Turner, B.L. The Legumes of Texas. University of Texas Press. 1959.

Vines, Robert A. Trees of Central Texas. University of Texas Press. 1987

Wrede, Jan. Trees, Shrubs, and Vines of the Texas Hill Country. Texas A&M University Press. 2005

Animals: Field Guides, Behavior, Conservation


Anon. National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 3rd Ed. National Geographic. (no date.)

Kaufman, Kenn. Lives of North American Birds. Houghton Mifflin.1996

Peterson, Roger Tory. A Field Guide to the Birds of Texas: Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin.

Rappole, John H. and Gene W. Blacklock. Birds of Texas: Field Guide. Texas A&M Press. 1994.

Sibley, David Allen. The Sibley Guide to Birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 2000.

Sibley, David Allen. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. Alfred A. Knopf, NewYork, 2001.

Sibley, David Allen. Sibley's Birding Basics. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.2002

Sprunt, Alexander. North American Birds of Prey. Bonanza Books. 1955.

--Travis County Audubon Society Checklist of Birds


Burt, William H. and Richard P. Grossenheider. A Field Guide to the Mammals. Houghton Mifflin. 1964. (Peterson Field Guide Series)

Tuttle, Merlin D. America's Neighborhood Bats. University of Texas Press. 1988.

Reptiles & Amphibians

Behler, John L. and E. Wayne King. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf. 1995.

Conant, Roger. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, 2nd Ed. Houghton Mifflin. 1975. (Peterson Field Guide Series)

Tennant,Alan. Texas Snakes. Taylor Trade Publishing. 2006


Abbott, John C. Dragonflies and Damselflies of Texas and the South-Central United States. Princeton University Press. 2005.

Borror, Donald J. and Richard E. White. A Field Guide to Insects: America North of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin. 1970. (Peterson Field Guide Series)

Dunkle, Sidney W. Dragonflies Through Binoculars. Oxford University Press. 2000.

Drees, Bastiaan M. and John A.Jackman. A Field Guide to Common Texas Insects. Gulf Publishing. 1998

Eaton, Eric R. and Kenn Kaufman. Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Houghton Mifflin. 2007

Glassberg, Jeffrey. Butterflies Through Binoculars: The West. Oxford University Press. 2001.

Mitchell, Robert T. and Herbert S. Zim. Butterflies and Moths: A Guide to the More Common American Species. Golden Press.1962.

Pyle, Robert Michael. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Alfred A. Knopf. 1981.

Stanek, V.J. The Pictorial Encyclopedia of Insects. Hamlyn. 1972.

White, Richard E. A Field Guide to the Beetles of North America. Houghton Mifflin. 1983. (Peterson Field Guide Series.)


Kutac, Edward A. and S. Christopher Caran. Birds & Other Wildlife of South Central Texas. University of Texas Press. 1994.

Martin, Alexander, Herbert S. Zim, and Arnold L. Nelson. American Wildlife & Plants: A Guide to Wildlife Food Habits. Dover Publications. 1961.

Murie, Olaus J. Animal Tracks: Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin. 1974. (also includes non-mammal tracks and sign.)

Portmann, Adolf. Animal Camouflage. University of Michigan Press. 1959.

Personal Communication

The following scientists and wildlife professionals have graciously consented to assist in identification of specimens and/or give advice on habitat management for wildlife in their area of expertise:

Dr. John Abbott, The University of Texas at Austin (Odonates)

Dr. Ben Pierce, Southwestern University (Georgetown), (Amphibians)

Dr. Nick Grishin, U.T. Southwestern Medical School, Dallas (Lepidoptera)

Dr. Cynthia Galloway, Texas A&M Kingsville (Nonvascular Plants)

Dr. Gary Garrett, HOH Fisheries Science Center, Ingram (Fish)

Dr. Mark Muegge, Texas A&M District Extension Service, Fort Stockton (Invertebrates) Online

A number of online resources are now available for both identification of species and land and wildlife management advice. I have over fifty such sites bookmarked for use, including sites hosted by Texas Parks & Wildlife, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, other federal, state, and local government agencies, many universities, etc., arranged by topics from water resource management to specific groups of wildlife (amphibians, reptiles, Odonates, etc.)

To give an example of how we use such resources, BugGuide.Net, ( hosted by the Iowa State University Entomology Department, is a superb source for identification of a wide range insects and arachnids. When I can't identify a specimen from one of our books, I post an image there--I've had many specimens identified, and have also contributed images to their online catalog to help others with their identification problems. Another example: Butterflies and Moths of North America (, hosted at the University of Montana, and Odonata Central ( hosted at the University of Texas at Austin, both offer county-level checklists. While these are not complete yet (I have contributed fourteen species to the Williamson County list at Butterflies and Moths of North America) they are often well-illustrated and suggest which of two possible and similar species is most likely in an area. These sites also have information on host plants and other food sources, and the specific needs of these insects, allowing for better management.

I'm also on four Texas-based listservs for wildlife, all based at the University of Houston (TEXBIRDS, TX-BUTTERFLY, TexOdes, and TX-ENTO) where professionals and others interested in these taxa discuss not only identification but habitat, life history, and conservation status.

On the other side of the shelf, we have now accumulated enough data to serve as a reference source for others: we publish lists of the plants and animals (updated at least yearly, usually oftener) on my website; we are building a photographic catalog by taxa online in my LJ scrapbook (to be, eventually, transferred to the website), and we have hosted naturalists, groups interested in natural history, and groups interested in land management.