MDC offers new guidebooks on mushrooms and herps

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JEFFERSON CITY Mo - Have you come across unfamiliar reptiles, amphibians or fungi while exploring Missouri outdoors, or your own backyard? The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) offers two new guidebooks to help identify and appreciate many species in these groups.

Show-Me Herps is a colorful and compact guide to 50 amphibians and reptiles in Missouri. (“Herps” is an abbreviated word from the Greek herpeto, meaning “animals that creep.”) Illustrator Steve Buchanan, who so stunningly brought Show-Me-State insects to life in Show-Me Bugs, works his same magic here with salamanders, toads, frogs, turtles, lizards and snakes. Written by MDC Naturalist John Miller, the guide features common and scientific names, descriptions, habitat and food preferences and “cool facts” for each species. The guide also describes what amphibians and reptiles have in common and what makes them different, along with how they grow, look and act and how and where to find, study and conserve them. The price is $7.95

Missouri’s Wild Mushrooms -- A guide to hunting, identifying and cooking the state’s most common mushrooms is a must-have for outdoor lovers, mushroom enthusiasts and cooks. The guide provides color photos and detailed descriptions of 102 common Missouri mushrooms, including nine poisonous species. Written by Maxine Stone, past president of the Missouri Mycological Society, and edited by Barbara Bassett, former Conservation Department naturalist, the book includes tips for finding, gathering, preparing and preserving wild mushrooms. An easy visual key aids identification and clear guidelines help distinguish edible mushrooms from poisonous ones. The section on “Cookery” includes 24 favorite recipes featuring edible mushrooms. While not a comprehensive guide to all fungi in Missouri, it’s an excellent introduction to mushroom hunting and identification. The price is $14

Both guides are available at MDC regional offices and nature centers, online at, or through our toll-free number at 877-521-8632.

Receive a 15-percent discount with an MDC Heritage Card.