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New Book: “Fishes: The Animal Answer Guide”

One of many facts the authors of this fascinatingly informative book reveal is that worldwide there are some 30,000 species of fishes. They range in size from tiny gobies to the massive ocean sunfish, which can weigh thousands of pounds. Fishes live in just about every body of water on the planet.

Ichthyologists Gene Helfman, professor emeritus at the University of Georgia, and Bruce Collette, of the Division of Fishes at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, provide accurate, entertaining, and sometimes surprising answers to more than 100 common and not-so-common questions, such as “Can fishes breathe air?” “How smart are fishes?” and “Do fishes feel pain?”

They explain how bony fishes evolved, the relationship between fishes and sharks, and why there is so much color variation among species. Along the way we also learn about the devils hole pupfish, which has the smallest range of any vertebrate in the world; “Lota lota,” the only freshwater fish to spawn under ice; the Candiru, a pencil-thin Amazonian catfish that lodges itself in a very personal place on male bathers and must be removed surgically; and many other curiosities.

With more than 100 photographs—including two full-color photo galleries—and the most up-to-date facts on the world’s fishes from two premier experts, this fun, accessible, and informative book is the perfect bait for any curious naturalist, angler, or aquarist.


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