• Santa Cruz long-toed salamander and grizzly bear

  -Each species is a masterpiece," says biologist and writer E.O. Wilson in his introduction to Witness: Endangered Species of North America, a large-format book of 200 stunning black-and-white and color portraits. Photographers Susan Middleton and David Littschwager collaborated with the California Academy of Sciences and Chronicle Books to produce this collection, to try to focus public attention on the Endangered Species Act, which is up for congressional renewal this spring. The photographers selected two species from each state, ranging from the Tennessee purple coneflower to the New Mexico ridgenosed rattlesnake, and includes endangered insects, arachnids, crustaceans, mussels, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and plants. The animals and plants are pictured divorced from their context to show, Middleton says, that "they are exposed and vulnerable as their habitats."

Chronicle Books, 275 Fifth St., San Francisco, CA 94103 (415/777-7240). Paperbound: $29.95. Hardcover: $50. 256 pages. Black-and-white and color photos, resource guide and bibliography.

* Shara Rutberg

High Country News Classifieds