A Guide to the Common Sea Fishes of Southern Africa

Bookshelf: A Guide to the Common Sea Fishes of Southern Africa

A Guide to the Common Sea Fishes of Southern Africa – Rudy van der Elst

A Guide to the Common Sea Fishes of Southern Africa
A Guide to the Common Sea Fishes of Southern Africa - Rudy van der Elst

Once I got over my initial shock of discovering that the pictures corresponding to each type of  fish were photographs of dead fish out of water, I found this book very useful. It’s no good for identifying fish as a scuba diver – unless you’re a very special (and illegal) scuba diver, you won’t be going through a pile of dead fish on land after a dive to find out what you saw! The fish don’t look anything like they do when they’re swimming about – the colours are all wrong, they’re limp, and their body shapes lose integrity out of the water. It was actually quite upsetting to me at first! The book is aimed at anglers, I think, and they’re a different breed to scuba divers.

What the book is very useful for are its detailed descriptions of the habitats of the fish (no doubt for anglers to hunt them down), their feeding preferences, reproductive behaviour, and very nice distribution maps. For the aquarists, there are even tips on keeping the fish in a tank, if that’s possible. It’s an excellent supplement to your knowledge of marine fish but should be used in conjunction with Two Oceans or A Field Guide to the Marine Animals of the Cape Peninsula as your first port of call for identifying the fish you’ve just seen.

The book can be purchased here if you’re in South Africa, otherwise click here.

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Clare

Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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