A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes from Alaska to California
Val Kells, Luiz A Rocha and Larry G Allen
Johns Hopkins University Press, £14.50
This is a quality text in many ways: it has a high standard of finish and layout, beautiful illustrations and detailed, current information. It will be valued by scientists and fishermen alike.
It is a compact guide, yet contains more than 950 illustrations relating to 65 orders and 157 families of fishes, detailing almost 700 species. The area of interest is recognised in two double-page maps at the beginning of the book.
The preface explains the logic behind the layout and details the latest information with regards to classification, adaptations, identification and conservation of fishes. The introduction is particularly useful, with pictorial references to the features used in the descriptions of the species. Val Kells is a renowned marine science illustrator and has produced detailed images of the species featured.
Each illustration in the same genus and on the same page is shown 'size relative' to the longest fish in the genus and the descriptions include scientific and common names, possible colour morphs, specific anatomical features, location range and position in the water column.
This is a good book to consider if you are visiting the area, even if you only use it when visiting the local fish markets, something I include in my holiday itinerary!
Jean Wilson MBE CBiol FRSB