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Marine Fishes of Southeast  Asia,  
by Gerry Allen, illustrated by Roger Swainston and Jill Ruse

What’s the difference between Fish and Fishes? Well, you use fish when referring to a single individual or more than one individual if only a single species is involved, as in “there were 100 fish in that school of mackerel.” The term fishes is a plural form that is used when referring to two or more different species, as “we saw hundreds of fishes while diving on the reef.”
 
This is only one of hundreds of ichthyologic minutiae that are addressed and succinctly and handily answered in the   expanded version of this outstanding reference work to the fish life of Southeast Asia. Not only are species in coastal waters covered but also from remote offshore reefs of insular Southeast Asia all the way to the very edge of  Western Australia’s continental shelf.
 
Marine Fishes of Southeast Asia suits every need of the fish enthusiast, whether he be an angler, aquarist, snorkeler or diver. The author has even thoughtfully included a guide to the edibility of each fish, so the tome is also of use to lovers of exotic seafood!
 
There are over 13,500 marine species of fishes inhabiting the planet. The seas encompassing northern Australia and the great garland of islands comprising the vast 17,508-island archipelago of Indonesia are inhabited by the richest fish fauna on earth. Official counts are lacking, but an estimated 4,000 species of fish occur in the region, or a staggering 30% of the world’s total marine fishes!
 
Because of its warm waters, tumultuous geological and hydrological past, endless coral reef complexes, vast tropical shoreline and an array of diverse marine habitats, there are more species of tropical marine organisms here than any place on earth. Dr. Gerry Allen is the author nearly 300 scientific articles and 25 books. He has been Senior Curator in the Department of Ichthyology at Western Australian Museum since 1974 and is an internationally recognized authority on the classification of coral reef fishes.
 
Roger Swainstone is acclaimed as one of the world’s foremost fish artists. His illustrations are more than scientific records: his meticulous attention to detail, coupled with years of experience in, and love of angling, diving and marine life, infuse his paintings with a special flavor.  Superb skill is also shown by Jill Ruse who has accumulated over 25 years experience illustrating wildlife.
 
Completed over a three year period and based on photographs of live or freshly caught specimens, the book contains nearly 2,000 hand-painted illustrations, featuring 1,635 individual species. Identification is also made easy by a rigorously exacting and extensive index.
 
The end result is a colorful and highly comprehensive guide and indispensable reference to the sea fishes of the entire Southeast region.
 
Marine Fishes of Southeast Asia by Gerry Allen, illustrated by Roger Swainston and Jill Ruse, Periplus 2000, ISBN 962-953-267-4, 292 pages, softcover.
 
Available for Rp175,000 at Periplus Bookshops in the Bali Galleria and in the Matahari in Kuta, Warung Made in Seminyak, Ngurah Rai Airport (both international and domestic terminals), in Gramedia Bookstores, and in Ary’s  and Ganesha bookshops of Ubud.
 
For comments and suggestions, please write : pakbill2003@yahoo.com
 
Copyright@2004 PakBill
 
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