PROFILE: Dolores R. Santoliquido main content.

PROFILE: Dolores R. Santoliquido

Part of the Biodiversity Crisis Curriculum Collection.

Black-and-white illustration of a jungle scene with a jaguar, sloth, different types of birds, and other animals hidden in foliage.
That They May Survive: Ecuador, acrylic and color pencil, 28" x 34." All the animals and plants in this painting represent endangered species in the tropical rain forests of Ecuador. Illustration by Dolores R. Santoliquido.

When it comes to capturing the visual essence of a plant or animal species—what enables an observer to distinguish it from any other species—no photograph or written description can match a good line drawing provided by illustrator Dolores R. Santoliquido. Possessing a natural talent for drawing and trained as a sculptor, Santoliquido has a passion for the outdoors that helped propel her into a career as a natural science illustrator. Today she illustrates signage art for zoos, botanical gardens, and conservation parks—in addition to illustrating books and magazines concerned with natural science subject matter.

Illustrator, painter, and teacher, Santoliquido is committed to what she does. She says, “I consider myself fortunate to do the work I do. Often I get to experience things and situations that someone restricted to the responsibilities of a conventional job cannot. There are many aspects of my work that are extremely rewarding: to work in the field, to visually document a species of plant or animal that is rare, or to see others learn from an illustration I completed for a conservation park or botanical garden. There are also aspects that are quite sad, when you return to a site where a particular species once flourished to find it diminished or no longer in existence there for one reason or another. It is also quite disturbing to realize that with every species that disappears there are numerous other species that are interdependent, and the disappearance of one may cause the disappearance of countless others."

This is an excerpt from THE BIODIVERSITY CRISIS: LOSING WHAT COUNTS, edited by Michael J. Novacek, a publication of the New Press. © 2000 American Museum of Natural History. To order the book, call 1-800-233-4830, or go to