Mammal Atlas Photo Credits

I received my copy of the San Diego County Mammal Atlas last Tuesday, December 19, 2017. Prior to this I’d seen only the individual species accounts that comprise the main body of the book. There was a gala at the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park, preceded by a meet-and-greet VIP session at 5:30 pm followed by a presentation in the Giant Screen Theater. Scott Tremor, who led the team of scientists responsible for the atlas, outlined the journey from inception to completion of this monumental book.

As Scott told it, the idea began in Y2K when Phil Unitt was well underway with the San Diego County Bird Atlas project (published in 2004). Had Scott known the monumental effort ahead, I’m not sure he’d have pushed forward with his vision, but I’m grateful that he did.

The yardstick that would measure this project would be the Bird Atlas, whose success has been admired by all who’ve read it. Phil Unitt’s skill sets as a writer and an organizer of ideas and humans can not be overstated. Moving the Mammal Atlas forward in the shadow of how effortless Phil made it seem, caused many outside observers to wonder “why is this book taking so long?”. There were several significant differences in the projects. Where the birding community is relatively large (numbering in the hundreds) and somewhat cohesive (organized in clubs such as SDFO and Audubon’s), mammal specialist are far fewer and tend to isolate on specific species or families. Organizing and coordinating these scientists in a single direction was no small task. Some might even describe it as “trying to herd cats”.

Additionally during production of the Mammal Atlas, the museum took on several monumental tasks such as  “re-studying” surveys done a hundred years earlier by Joseph Grinnell in Riverside County and the Mojave Desert. These re-study projects were broad in scope, multi disciplined, and spanned 5 or 6 years (some are still in progress). While I’m not an insider to the politics surrounding museum funding, I believe money gets raised in the form of grants and donations, then all attention is directed into this “new thing”, leaving prior commitments on the back burner. Many outside observers have directed blame at Scott for the slow production of the Mammal Atlas, but I don’t think that’s fair.

I joined the team in July 2016 when Scott called and said the project needed help to round up images for the book. Having worked with Scott and Phil on previous projects, I welcomed the opportunity to participate. My photography interests, while spanning several disciplines, is primarily with birds. To make the book’s images reflect the good work by the authors, I resolved to do all I could to contribute to a quality outcome. Scott had specific traits he wanted the images to display, and there were no images available ANYWHERE for many of the subjects, especially the rodents. I eventually persuaded Scott that a single image for a species might not show all the features he wished for, and I got him to agree that it might be better to have a single “Featured Image”, and include smaller “Support Images” within the text. I accompanied the team into the field and developed the terrarium Scott had been using into larger, full featured “Rat Theater” as I like to call it. I learned to work with the museum’s amazing collections vault when subtle traits needed illustration. None of this work was very sexy or glamorous, but it helped in telling the story.

We looked online for images to fill in the blanks, but getting permission of the photographers proved to be difficult and frustrating. I knew we had many excellent photographers in the birding community, most of whom love to photograph birds as well as things not feathered. I wrote a request to our local ornithology club (San Diego Field Ornithologists), and while we didn’t get everything we need from this connection, we got a lot. For me this was one of the most satisfying aspects of the project, and now we had engaged the community. Many of our best images were rounded up this way.

It is not uncommon that photographer credits are not included as an appendix or index with such a work, I would have liked to seen it. Since it wasn’t, I took it on to create one, post mortem. I think the book is superb and I encourage everyone to look for it in your library, or bookstore. I know they can be had at the museum’s gift store, or online at Amazon.


Photo Credit Subject Page#/figure#
A. Mercieca Virginia Opossum, California Ground Squirrel, Western Harvest Mouse, Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Desert Cottontail, Ornate Shrew, Feral Cat, Gray Fox, Kit Fox, Striped Skunk, Western Spotted Skunk, Ringtail, Bighorn Sheep P18/f2, P20/f5, P32/f16, P141/f127, P155/f139, P157/f143, P159/f144, P171/f155, P272/f290, P282/f298, P316/f333, P321/f337, P325/f341, P349/f362, P350/f363
B. Ollerton Virginia Opossum, California Ground Squirrel, Desert Cottontail, Bobcat, Coyote, Gray Fox, Kit Fox, American Badger, Striped Skunk, Western Spotted Skunk, Ringtail, Raccoon, Mule Deer P20/f6, P35/f19, P162/f148, P264/f283, P279/f297, P285/f301, P289/f305, P290/f306, P315/f332, P319/f336, P323/f340, P327/f344, P331/f348, P342/f357
J. Daynes Western Gray Squirrel, Round-Tailed Ground Squirrel, Merriam’s Chipmunk, California Chipmunk, Family Heteromyidae, Merriam’s Kangaroo Rat, California Pocket Mouse, San Diego Pocket Mouse, Long-Tailed Pocket Mouse, Baja Pocket Mouse, Spiny Pocket Mouse, Little Pocket Mouse, Botta’s Pocket Gopher, White-Throated Woodrat, Bryant’s Woodrat, Big-Eared Woodrat, Brush Mouse, Cactus Mouse, North American Deer Mouse, Norway Rat, Roof Rat, Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Desert Cottontail, Brush Rabbit, Western Mastiff Bat, California Myotis P22/f7, P38/f23, P39/f24, P43/f27, P48/f32, P51/f37, P55/f41, P67/f53, P70/f56, P74/f60, P80/f66, P83/f69, P86/f73, P98/f84, P104/f89/f90, P108/f93, P111/f96, P112/f97, P115/f100, P120/f105, P130/f114, P131/f115, P134/f119/f120, P148/f133, P155/f136, P155/f140, P159/f145, P163/f149, P188/f174, P240/f246
D. Smith Eastern Fox Squirrel, San Diego Pocket Mouse, Desert Pocket Mouse P26/f10, P77/f63
J.C. Mitchell White-Tailed Antelope Squirrel, Family Heteromyidae, Dulzura Kangaroo Rat, California Pocket Mouse, California Mouse, Mexican Long-Tongued Bat, Big Brown Bat, Yuma Myotis P29/f13, P41/f31, P56/f42, P66/f51, P124/f108, P178/f161/f162,  P204/f193, P257/f275, P258/f277
L. Dorman Round-Tailed Ground Squirrel P36/f20
S. Tremor Desert Kangaroo Rat, Long-Tailed Pocket Mouse, Southern Grasshopper Mouse, Canyon Mouse, Pinyon Mouse, Humpback Whale P48/f33, P51/f36, P73/f59, P116/f101, P127/f111, P138/f124, P364/f382
B. Hollingsworth Merriam’s Kangaroo Rat, Botta’s Pocket Gopher, Southern Grasshopper Mouse, Cactus Mouse P52/f38, P97/f82, P117/f102, P131/f116
M. Peterson Stevens’ Kangaroo Rat P60/f45, P61/f47
W. Spencer Stevens’ Kangaroo Rat P63/f49, P65/f50
SD Zoo Staff Little Pocket Mouse P85/f72
W. Miller Little Pocket Mouse P90/f77, P93/f78
D. Merrill Botta’s Pocket Gopher, Coyote, Raccoon P95/f79/f80, P276/f292, P277/f295, P278/f296, P345/f345
R. Ramos California Vole, North American Deer Mouse, House Mouse P100/f85, P136/f123, P145/f130
A. Harper California Vole P103/f88
J. Lemm Desert Gray Shrew P168/f152
R. Waayers Broad-Footed Mole P174/f158
D. Stokes Mexican Long-Tongued Bat, Lesser Long-Nosed Bat, California Leaf-Nosed Bat, Big Brown Bat, Western Yellow Bat, Canyon Bat, Townsend’s Big-Eared Bat, Pallid Bat, Western Small-Footed Myotis, Long-Eared Myotis, Yuma Myotis P179/f63, P182/f167, P184/f169, P204/f194, P216/f213, P220/f219, P224/f225, P231/f235, P233/f238, P243/f251, P243/f252, P247/f257, P257/f274
R. Jackson Lesser Long-Nosed Bat P182/f166
A. Mercieca and

C. VanTassel (collaboration)

California Leaf-Nosed Bat, Western Red Bat, Western Yellow Bat, Canyon Bat, Townsend’s Big-Eared Bat, Pallid Bat, California Myotis, Western Small-Footed Myotis, Long-Eared Myotis, Fringed Myotis, Long-Legged Myotis, Yuma Myotis P183/f168, P208/f200, P215/f211, P219/f218, P220/f220, P223/f224, P224/f226, P231/f234, P239/f246, P243/f250, P246/f256, P247/f258, P250/f262, P253/f268, P256/f273
D. Wilkins Western Mastiff Bat, Pocketed Free-Tailed Bat, Big Free-Tailed Bat, Mexican Free-Tailed Bat, Western Red Bat, Hoary Bat, Western Yellow Bat, Spotted Bat P188/f173, P192/f179, P196/f184, P199/f189, P208/f199, P211/f205, P212/f206, P218/f215, P227/f230, P228/f231
T. Weller Silver-Haired Bat P236/f240/f241
S. Marcum California Myotis, Long-Legged Myotis P240/f245, P254/f269
K. B. Clark Fringed Myotis, Grizzly Bear P250/f263/f264, P294/f310
E. Kallen Bobcat P261/f280
Irvine Ranch Conservancy Mountain Lion P265/f284
L. Kirchhevel Mountain Lion P271/f289
S. Bier Kit Fox, American Badger P289/f305, P314/f331
R. Healy American Black Bear P291/f307
B. Martin American Black Bear, Long-Tailed Weasel, Bighorn Sheep P293/f309, P310/f326, P352/f366
Photo from Brennan Grizzly Bear P295/f312
T. A. Blackman Guadalupe Fur Seal, Sea Otter, Blue Whale, Fin Whale, Humpback Whale, Gray Whale, Risso’s Whale, False Killer Whale P298/f314, P306/f322, P359/f372/f374, P361/f376, P363/f380, P365/f383, P374/f395, P375/f396, P381/f405
M. S. Lowry California Sea Lion, Northern Elephant Seal, Harbor Seal P299/f315/f316, P302/f318, P303/f320
H. Haeseler Northern Elephant Seal P303/f319
C. VanTassel Long-Tailed Weasel P308/f323
A. Searcy American Badger P312/f327
D. Shier American Badger P314/f330
USDA APHIS Wildlife Services Feral Pig P335/f349, P337/f352, P337/f353
A. Fisher Mule Deer P339/f354
San Diego Historical Center American Elk P342/f358
San Diego Zoological Society Pronghorn P343/f359
J. Asmus Plains Bison P346/f360
R. L. Pitman North Pacific Right Whale, Eastern North Pacific Long-Beaked Common Dolphin P364/f367, P368/f387
J. Towers Minke Whale P355/f368
T. A. Jefferson Bryde’s Whale, Blue Whale, Humpback Whale, Eastern North Pacific Long-Beaked Common Dolphin, Short-Finned Pilot Whale, Risso’s Whale, Striped Dolphin, Harbor Porpoise, Dall’s Porpoise, Sperm Whale, Cuvier’s Beaked Whale P357/f370, P360/f375, P363/f379, P369/f388a, P372/f393, P375/f398, P382/f406, P386/f411, P386/f412, P387/f413, P391/f414
S. Brad Humpback Whale P362/f378
W. Perryman Gray Whale P365/f384
A Schulman-Janiger Gray Whale, Killer Whale P366/f386, P389/f403
S. Webb Eastern North Pacific Long-Beaked Common Dolphin, Short-Beaked Common Dolphin, Northern Right Whale Dolphin P369/f388b, P370/f390, P371/f392, P379/f402
M. F. Richlen Pacific White-Sided Dolphin P377/f399, P378/f401
M. Robbins False Killer Whale P381/f404
D. Weller Common Bottlenose Dolphin P383/f407
F. Matheson Common Bottlenose Dolphin P383/f409
NMFS permit Common Bottlenose Dolphin P385/f410
Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute Cuvier’s Beaked Whale P391/f415


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