The most recommended books about biological species

Who picked these books? Meet our 57 experts.

57 authors created a book list connected to biological species, and here are their favorite biological species books.
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Book cover of Brief Eulogies for Lost Animals

Mike Shanahan Author Of Gods, Wasps and Stranglers: The Secret History and Redemptive Future of Fig Trees

From my list on biodiversity, ecology, and extinction.

Who am I?

I am a tropical ecologist turned writer and editor focused on biodiversity, climate change, forests, and the people who depend on them. I did my doctoral research in rainforests in Borneo and Papua New Guinea and have since worked for media organizations and research institutes, and as a mentor to journalists around the world who report on environmental issues. Ecology taught me that everything is connected. Rainforests taught me that nature can leave a person awe-struck with its beauty, complexity, or sheer magnificence. I try to share my passion for these subjects through my writing.

Mike's book list on biodiversity, ecology, and extinction

Mike Shanahan Why did Mike love this book?

I happened to be at a conference of scientists trying to conserve endangered species when I first heard about Daniel Hudon’s book. It struck a chord. It is a beautiful little collection of one hundred eulogies for lost animal species. Some are brief—just a few lines long. Others are more expansive, taking in literature and reportage. But all are poignant reminders of the permanence of extinction. Hudon’s aim is simply to acknowledge that these species existed, to recognize them and make them better known. It is a beautiful and unique collection, stunning in the cumulative force of his poetic words. A perfect gift, Hudon’s tales are both tragic and inspirational. 

By Daniel Hudon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Brief Eulogies for Lost Animals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this collection of one hundred brief eulogies, science writer and poet Daniel Hudon gives a literary voice to the losses stacking up in our present-day age of extinction. Natural history, poetic prose, reportage, and eulogy blend to form a tally of degraded habitats, and empty burrows, and of the songs of birds never to be heard again.


Book cover of Hope for Animals and Their World: How Endangered Species Are Being Rescued from the Brink

Bethany Stahl Author Of Save the Ocean

From my list on non-fiction that inspire you to love earth.

Who am I?

I am an author, illustrator, herbalist, and aromatherapist with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology. I’ve spent years working with native flora and fauna from propagating endangered plants back into their natural habitats and swimming through alligator-infested waters to rescue baby manatees who’ve been abandoned. This list is a look into the wonderful works that have touched me deeply and pivoted me deeper into understanding the world we share.

Bethany's book list on non-fiction that inspire you to love earth

Bethany Stahl Why did Bethany love this book?

I was handed this book after meeting Dr. Jane Goodall herself and was captivated an inspired by our world’s animals.

This book left me feeling hopeful in the otherwise disparaging world news of habitat loss and species extinction. Remaining optimistic has been a huge part of my journey and this book will leave you with just that: hope.

By Jane Goodall, Thane Maynard, Gail Hudson

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hope for Animals and Their World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Interweaving firsthand experiences in the field with premier scientists and environmentalists, Jane Goodall presents a hopeful look at the animals once on the verge of extinction that are now coming back. This book is an illuminating look at how, through the grace of nature and the dedicated work of scientists and environmentalists, we can and are actually saving animal species. Through Goodall's signature impassioned narrative, we read fascinating accounts of how the course of fate has been reversed for these animals. Each chapter illustrates the crucial need to continue saving habitats and the species that live there, as well as…


Book cover of Where to Watch Mammals in Britain and Ireland

James Lowen Author Of 52 Wildlife Weekends: A Year of British Wildlife-Watching Breaks

From my list on helping you see British wildlife.

Who am I?

I have been immersed in nature since I was able to walk, my love for nature initially inspired by a chance encounter as a toddler with a buzzard amid South Devon’s leafy lanes. Upon fledging into adult plumage, I eventually became an award-winning wildlife and travel writer. After returning to Britain after several years leading wildlife tours in South America and Antarctica, I had an irrepressible desire to renew my relationship with British nature. My books 52 Wildlife Weekends, A Summer of British Wildlife (winner, Travel Guidebook of the Year, 2016) and Much Ado About Mothing (a travel narrative longlisted for the 2022 James Cropper Wainwright Prize) are the result.

James' book list on helping you see British wildlife

James Lowen Why did James love this book?

Although this book is also rather dated, it remains a fine source of information – and particularly of inspiration.

It truly opened my eyes to the mammal-watching possibilities available in Britain and Ireland, and informed plenty of the travel involved in researching two of my own books. Get hold of a second-hand copy if you can, and treasure it!

By Richard Moores,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Where to Watch Mammals in Britain and Ireland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Britain's mammals are relatively few in number, but include some notoriously hard-to-see, yet wonderfully charismatic species. There can be few people with even a passing interest in wildlife who would not want to see otters, red squirrels, bottle-nosed dolphins or Scottish wildcats. Even commoner species like the badger, roe deer and brown hare can be difficult to see without some specialist knowledge. This new guide provides sites and useful information to enable the reader to find and observe every British and Irish mammal species, including all marine mammals. Taking a species-by-species approach, the accounts give some background detail on the…


Book cover of Dance of the Goblins

Austin Crawley Author Of A Halloween Tale

From my list on great horror and dark fantasy off the beaten track.

Who am I?

I've been reading Horror and Dark Fantasy books since I was twelve and prefer this genre over any other. The depths of the human psyche explored in these genres expose the core of storytelling itself and the themes that make the best stories really come alive!

Austin's book list on great horror and dark fantasy off the beaten track

Austin Crawley Why did Austin love this book?

For Fantasy readers who wonder why goblins are always at war with humans.

The three books together are epic in scale and the friendship between the leader of the humans and one of the old wise ones among the goblins will be awesome for Dark Fantasy readers who recognize that goblin culture is very different from humans.

Some recognizable mythology is worked into the story and makes perfect sense, especially the purpose of changelings. Also there are dragons, especially in the second book. A strange symbiotic relationship between dragons and goblins is very original and the diversity of different types of goblins makes this Fantasy world one of a kind!

By Jaq D Hawkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dance of the Goblins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The cult Fantasy book that started it all!Discover a dark world where legends begin and natural magic reignsThey say that the earth shifts on its axis every 200,000 years...When the planet shifted, most of the surface dwellers were destroyed. The few pockets of survivors were left without technology and little supplies, but they built a simple feudal society on the rubble of the city.Meanwhile the creatures in the deep places moved closer to the surface, taking over the old underground transport tunnels abandoned by the humans. Their own Shamanic way of life had survived only by staying out of sight…


Book cover of Understanding Human Evolution

Telmo Pievani Author Of Imperfection: A Natural History

From my list on the fact that evolution didn't predict us.

Who am I?

Telmo Pievani is Full Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Padua, where he covers the first Italian chair of Philosophy of Biological Sciences. A leading science communicator and columnist for Il corriere della sera, he is the author of The Unexpected Life, Creation without God, Serendipity, and other books.

Telmo's book list on the fact that evolution didn't predict us

Telmo Pievani Why did Telmo love this book?

I like this book so much because it tells us that we are the last twig in a bush of human species.

Until a few tens of millennia ago, five different human species lived on our planet, that’s amazing! Only recently, thanks to the surge of symbolic intelligence, have we become a marvel of creativity and invasiveness, an ambivalent species.

By Ian Tattersall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Understanding Human Evolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Human life, and how we came to be, is one of the greatest scientific and philosophical questions of our time. This compact and accessible book presents a modern view of human evolution. Written by a leading authority, it lucidly and engagingly explains not only the evolutionary process, but the technologies currently used to unravel the evolutionary past and emergence of Homo sapiens. By separating the history of palaeoanthropology from current interpretation of the human fossil record, it lays numerous misconceptions to rest, and demonstrates that human evolution has been far from the linear struggle from primitiveness to perfection that we've…


Book cover of The Ultimate Book of Sharks

Deb Aronson Author Of Reptiles: King Cobras

From my list on misunderstood or weird creatures for children.

Who am I?

I’ve been a non-fiction writer my entire career and I love learning new things and then sharing them with readers in an approachable and engaging way, as these books do. These books encourage curiosity and that kind of “Oh! I didn’t know that!” response, which can spark a young reader to dig deeper and even share their new knowledge with others.

Deb's book list on misunderstood or weird creatures for children

Deb Aronson Why did Deb love this book?

This book is much meatier than the others on the list. But it also delivers information in easy-to-digest blocks and is filled with amazing photographs, many of which the author himself took.

This book provides information that corrects some myths or misunderstandings that people have about sharks.

By Brian Skerry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ultimate Book of Sharks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Dive into the wild world of sharks! Get up close to learn the truth behind these fantastic, ferocious fish with famed National Geographic photographer and explorer Brian Skerry.

Join this amazing underwater adventure to track the sharks of the world, from the teeniest dogfish to the everfeared great white. This ultimate book features every species of shark on the planet, with awesome photos, fascinating facts, the latest science, and firsthand stories of real-life encounters with these incredible creatures. Learn how sharks live, how they eat, the challenges they face, and whether or not you are actually on the menu.


Book cover of Out of the Woods: The Armchair Guide to Trees

Sian Moxon

From Sian's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Academic Architect Educator Sustainable designer Urban wild gardener

Sian's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Sian's 10-year-old's favorite books.

Sian Moxon Why did Sian love this book?

This book helped me take more notice of trees and confidently identify key British species. Despite my passion for nature and rural upbringing, I could identify only a handful of common species, often only when in leaf, before reading this.

The book’s narrative style, of a gentle guided walk led by the erudite author, will inspire you to take more mindful walks in real life, noticing the leaves, forms, berries, and flowers that help distinguish tree types. The central colour photographs help affirm the vivid, entertaining descriptions, but I recommend you also have a tree-spotter’s guide on hand to help with those species that are not shown.

I recommended this book to open the eyes of anyone suffering from any degree of ‘plant blindness,’ reportedly most adults.

By Will Cohu, Mungo McCosh (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Out of the Woods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A guide to Britain's 50 commonest trees, which takes you on a journey - from the wildest woodland to municipal carpark, via field hedgerow and orchard garden.


Book cover of Sea Turtles: A Complete Guide to Their Biology, Behavior, and Conservation

Catherine Barr Author Of Red Alert! 15 Endangered Animals Fighting to Survive

From my list on to discover the story of endangered species.

Who am I?

I write picture books about nature to inspire curiosity and care for our planet. I have been writing about wildlife conservation and particularly endangered species since studying ecology, campaigning with Greenpeace, and working with the Natural History Museum in London. Now as a full-time author, I have an extraordinary opportunity to learn through experience and in conversation with scientists, teachers, and children about how best to tell this ever more urgent, evolving story. The statement "Ecology? Look it up! You’re involved" writ large in 1969 by the first Greenpeace campaigners on billboards around Vancouver, still says it all for me.  

Catherine's book list on to discover the story of endangered species

Catherine Barr Why did Catherine love this book?

This coffee table book is a glorious pictorial celebration. Since embarking on the steep learning curve of becoming an International Sea Turtle Campaigner for Greenpeace International many years ago, I have been in awe of these extraordinary, endangered creatures.

From ancient lineage to migrational journeys, in-depth biology, and inspirational advocators, American biologist James Spotila explores the journeys of these ‘seven swimmers’. His book is both a plea for their conservation and a detailed explanation of biology and behaviour. Turn its pages slowly, to capture the detail of their gentle ocean lives.   

By James R. Spotila,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sea Turtles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For more than a hundred million years, sea turtles have been swimming in the world's oceans. These magnificent, long-lived creatures spend their lives in the water, coming ashore to lay their eggs. Upon hatching, the baby turtles leave the nest and enter a dangerous world of storms and predators. The females will return to the same beach to lay their own eggs when they reach maturity a decade later. Today, there are seven species of sea turtle: the grass-eating green turtle; the sea sponge-eating hawksbill; the olive ridley; the Kemp's ridley, which is the smallest species; the loggerhead; the flatback…


Book cover of Providence

Gary Taylor Author Of Luggage by Kroger: A True Crime Memoir

From Gary's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Articulate Well-informed Well-organized Well-read

Gary's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Gary Taylor Why did Gary love this book?

I find stimulation, knowledge and entertainment in a wide range of reading material, from crime fiction to true crime, horror and westerns and science fiction.

This tale of a space ship named Providence and its four-member crew battling a new alien species ranks among my science fiction favorites, alongside Justin Cronin’s Passage trilogy and the Wool books now being serialized on Apple TV as Silo. Published in 2020 by veteran SciFi author Max Barry, it recounts a future voyage into deep space to scout the new species after first contact 17 years before.

Besides non-stop action and in-depth character development for each member of the crew, Barry also provides a greedy corporate villain with a secret agenda using an AI to actually control the ship.

Following characters as they face survival challenges and solve problems offers the kind of inspirational reading experience that lingers long after I finish a book.…

By Max Barry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Providence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Out of the Everywhere and Other Extraordinary Visions

C. S. Friedman Author Of This Alien Shore

From my list on aliens in science fiction.

Who am I?

I have always been fascinated by the workings of the human mind. What instincts and influences make us who we are? This Alien Shore grew out of research I was doing into atypical neurological conditions. It depicts a society that has abandoned the concept of “neurotypical”, embracing every variant of human perspective as valid and valuable. One of my main characters, Kio Masada, is autistic, and that gives him a unique perspective on computer security that others cannot provide. What might such a man accomplish, in a world where his condition is embraced and celebrated? Good science fiction challenges our definition of “Other,” and asks what it really means to be human, all in the context of an exciting story.

C. S.'s book list on aliens in science fiction

C. S. Friedman Why did C. S. love this book?

This anthology has one of my favorite stories by Tiptree, it is called "We who stole the dream". The Joilani have long been enslaved and abused by humans. So has another race, of “delicately winged creatures”, whose sweat is a powerful intoxicant to humans. It is most potent when the donor experiences pain and fear, so humans have taken to torturing mated pairs of them, so the partners can watch each other suffer. The resulting sweat is a drug called Star Tears. Although that unnamed race plays no active role in the story, they are on my list because of the powerful manner in which they influence other species, invoking the darkest and most brutal aspects of human nature simply by existing.

The diminutive, weak, and peace-loving Joilani make a desperate break for freedom. Stealing a spaceship called The Dream, they seek out the mythical planet of their…

By James Tiptree Jr.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Out of the Everywhere and Other Extraordinary Visions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ten tantalizing tales of man, woman and child - and their cosmic connections...

Contents:
Angel Fix (1974)
Beaver Tears (1976)
Your Faces, O My Sisters! Your Faces Filled of Light! (1976)
The Screwfly Solution (1977)
Time-Sharing Angel (1977)
We Who Stole the Dream (1978)
Slow Music (1980)
A Source of Innocent Merriment (1980)
Out of the Everywhere (1981)
With Delicate Mad Hands (1981)