THE WORLD OF BATS
Klaus Richarz and Alfred Limbrunner
-Kosmos Verlags-GMBH & Co., Stuttgart, Germany, 1992
English translation by William Charlton, T.H.F. Publications, 1993
192 pgs., $29.95 (hardcover)
For readers used to books on bats written from a North American perspective, The World of Bats by Richarz and Limbrunner offers an interesting contrast from a European viewpoint. The English translation by Charlton has captured this flavor in a well-written and superbly illustrated, affordable book.
The traditional overview topics one expects in a reference book on bats (evolution, flight, echolocation, parasites, reproduction, etc.) are written and illustrated in a general, yet interesting and factual, style. Topics such as feeding strategies, roosting behavior, and social interactions, on the other hand, are covered in considerable detail, both in depth of material and preciseness of illustrations. The section on "Bats and Humankind" includes human attempts to mimic bat flight design, as well as the roles of bats in local economies and folklore.
Throughout the book, the authors include interesting personal experiences of many bat researchers, especially European. These experiences particularly enhance the strong section on bat conservation. Although the final section on kinds of bats include worldwide representatives, European bats are understandably covered in greater detail.
Whether the sections are general or specific, the book is clearly and interestingly written and easy for educated lay readers to follow, with scientific terminology defined in the text (there is no glossary). Perhaps the most outstanding features of this book are the high quality of the numerous varnished color photos, including many by Merlin Tuttle, and the detail of the figures. These alone are worth the very modest price for this excellent hardcover book on bats.