A Diver's Guide to Reef Life

Bookshelf: A Diver’s Guide to Reef Life

A Diver’s Guide to Reef Life -Andrea & Antonella Ferrari

A Diver's Guide to Reef Life
A Diver's Guide to Reef Life

A colleague has been doing  Christmas shopping for the diver in her life, and trying to decide between this book, Reef Fishes and Corals and More Reef Fishes and Nudibranchs.

Tony speaks very highly of this book, but I haven’t looked at it until recently. It covers coral reefs the world over. Densely covered regions include the Red Sea, the Carribean, Indonesia, and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Many of the species depicted are found in waters off Southern Africa (further north than Cape Town, alas!).

The pictures are spectacualar – the Ferraris have written several other books, at least one specifically focused on photography, and their standards are high. I cannot over-emphasise how magnificent the photos are. There is a  gallery section at the beginning of the book where you can just enjoy the colours and variety of the different kinds of coral for the joy of it.

The Ferraris also include a few pages of advice on reef conduct, and a section explaining the origin and functioning of coral reefs – “the rainforests of the sea”.

The book is arranged according to taxonomy. Each creature is photographed, and brief habitat information is provided. It’s focused on the experience a diver would have – advice about which fish are hard to approach, which are poisonous, and specific behavioural traits.

For each creature the scientific name and a common name are provided. As my colleague discovered, the common names for many fish differ wildly from place to place. What was called the whitespotted boxfish in Reef Fishes and Corals was called the black boxfish in this book… Quite a difference! This is definitely something to bear in mind when ordering fish identification books from overseas.

You can order the book here. It’s about 500 pages, a squarish small-format hardcover. Fairly heavy, but not impossible to take with you in your suitcase on an overseas dive trip.

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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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