256 pages, 1000 col photos & illus
This comprehensive encyclopedia offers superb world coverage of the many kinds of freshwater fish, reptile and amphibian. With detailed profiles of hundreds of species of fish, plus some of the most prominent freshwater reptiles and amphibians, it covers, in stunning full colour, 650 aquatic animals of river catchments, swift-flowing streams, murky swamps and cool, clear-water lakes.
Beginning with a concise illustrated section on how the inhabitants of these waters shape their existence - from navigation and hearing to feeding hierarchies and courtship rituals - so the reader is quickly able to discern the extraordinary range of life supported by the freshwater environment. From the lengthy migrations made up-river by breeding salmon - one of the great biological spectacles of North America - to the tropical mudpools sheltering African catfish, or the aquatic breeding grounds used by predominantly land-dwelling frogs and salamanders, the breadth and diversity of the freshwater world is all too apparent. Large colour artworks of the basic habitat types draw out the different aquatic families likely to live and reproduce in temperate and tropical lakes, pools and rivers, making it easier for the reader to identify the animals of their own locality.
The major part of the book consists of fully-illustrated continental directories on key freshwater families - hundreds of bony fish, as well as turtles, newts, crocodiles, and others. All creatures are grouped by family and genus, to enable the reader to make the connection between similar species, and also tell them apart.
There are fascinating facts on social behavioiur. Read about the nests, or "redds", dug by the tails of breeding trout, or the near-transparency achieved by the elusive Indian glass fish; see some of the stunning colour morphs adopted by cichlids in the enormous African lakes, or the fleshy tentacles that aid the feeding of catfish and barbels.
Many of the profiled species are illustrated with superb, detailed colour artworks to aid identification, as well as colour maps and quick-reference data panels on distribution, habitat, food, size and breeding. With over 1000 glorious colour images overall, this information-packed resource is likely to appeal to anglers, aquarium enthusiasts and budding freshwater biologists alike.
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