Life in the Dark - Illuminating Biodiversity in the Shadowy Haunts of Planet Earth

Author(s): Dante Fenolio


Deep inside caves, at the bottoms of oceans and lakes, beneath the ground: these concealed habitats are absent of sunlight. This strange and fascinating world of complete darkness is not a solitary place-it is inhabited by millions of life forms. Yet most humans-creatures of daylight-have never seen any of them. Until now. In this fascinating-sometimes eerie-book, extreme wildlife photographer and scientist Dante Fenolio brings the denizens of these shadowy haunts into focus. Life in the Dark shows us the many ways in which life forms have adapted to lightless environments, including refinements of senses, evolution of unique body parts, and illumination using "biological flashlights." With more than 200 mesmerizing color photographs, Life in the Dark unveils bizarre creatures like the firefly squid, the giant Amazonian catfish, the Chinese cavefish, and even the human bot fly, which lives in the darkness beneath its host's skin. Fenolio's rich and vibrant images shed new light on the world's fascinating creatures of darkness.


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With brilliant photography and illuminating words, this book truly opens the dark worlds of life for all to reflect upon and enjoy. -- George Raab, president emeritus, Chicago Zoological Society, and former director, Brookfield Zoo As a career-long deep-sea researcher, I often get lost in the technicality of the field and its fauna. It is through masterful works such as Life in the Dark that I can step back and take in the sheer beauty of the forms of life so ubiquitous, yet so unknown, on our planet. Dante Fenolio's eye for pictorial composition is not just among the best there is, it is among the best that ever was, and I believe I have seen just about every deep-pelagic image that is publicly available. These 'twilight' and 'midnight' environments are incredibly complex, yet the descriptions in this work are concise and clear. The attention to detail should serve as a benchmark for future works of its kind. Life in the Dark is destined to be a classic. -- Tracey T. Sutton, Nova Southeastern University That infernal Dante has done it again. He has created a series of photographs so beautiful that it is impossible for us to imagine these creatures otherwise, but this time we also get to read his words. Knowing that you cannot care about things you've never seen, he uses his talents to present compelling images of animals that elude us because they do not live in the daylight as we do. And through this awareness, he hopes that you begin to care, and that through this caring you will act to conserve. It is a powerful argument, one I hope that you will heed. -- Michael J. Lannoo, editor of Amphibian Declines: The Conservation Status of United States Species In these pages, Dante Fenolio gives a rare glimpse inside a hidden world of strange adaptation and the sometimes bizarre answers evolution comes up with to meet the demands of life in the dark. Most people tasked with documenting such diversity are themselves marvels of the natural world, and the lengths biologists go to in order to come into contact with these fantastic creatures is testimony both to their dedication and love for the organisms they seek in the furthest corners of the planet. It is these animals, and the explorers who have brought them to light, that this book celebrates. -- David Bickford, National University of Singapore Life in the Dark is simultaneously delightful, amazing, and inspiring. Dante Fenolio's stunning photography and crisp, authoritative text bring to life the intriguing and bizarre creatures that live in the darkest of places-in caves, underground, deep under the water, even inside other animals, including us. This book is an extraordinary gift-a connection to these magical creatures and an understanding that will foster a desire to conserve them. -- Marty Crump, author of In Search of the Golden Frog Life in the Dark is a fascinating and visually stunning glimpse into a kaleidoscopic array of weird and wonderful creatures that inhabit a world beyond the reach of light. Adaptations that enable life to inhabit these hidden, and surprisingly abundant, places are revealed, as are the limits of our knowledge about many species with which we share our planet. The highlight of the book has to be the hauntingly beautiful photographs, tack-sharp and masterfully lit, of otherworldly creatures from hatchetfish to Mexican mole lizards. These images fuel the imagination and remind us just how incredible and diverse life can be. -- Robin Moore, author of In Search of Lost Frogs: The Quest to Find the World's Rarest Amphibians This fascinating book will guide you on a journey through hidden realms: the abysmal depths of the oceans, the dank galleries of caves, and more. While we slept soundly through the night, the author was awake, scouring the planet to capture the secrets of the pitch-dark animal world. These secrets are revealed for the first time in this handsome, full-color volume. -- G. O. Graening, coauthor of Cave Life of Oklahoma and Arkansas: Exploration and Conservation of Subterranean Biodiversity Life in the Dark, by Dante Fenolio, is a treat for the eye and mind. It introduces the reader to the astonishing life inhabiting the world's dark side with the clarity only a gifted photographer with Dante's lifetime of study can provide. The text does an excellent job of putting each dark environment and its accompanying suite of photos in perspective. What may impress the reader the most is the amount of planet Earth that is perpetually in darkness. Nature, this book teaches us, is at its best in the dark! -- Joseph T. Torres, University of South Florida With stunningly beautiful photography of fascinating and rarely seen creatures, Dante Fenolio reveals the world's dark places. -- George Veni, National Cave and Karst Research Institute

Dante Fenolio, a zoologist, biologist, and wildlife photographer, is the director of conservation and research at the San Antonio Zoo.

General Fields

  • : 9781421418636
  • : Johns Hopkins University Press
  • : Johns Hopkins University Press
  • : 1.51953
  • : March 2016
  • : March 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Dante Fenolio
  • : Hardback
  • : English
  • : 312
  • : 222 colour illustrations