Fishes: The Animal Answer Guide (The Animal Answer Guides: Q&A for the Curious Naturalist)

Fishes: The Animal Answer Guide (The Animal Answer Guides: Q&A for the Curious Naturalist)

Language: English

Pages: 216

ISBN: 1421402238

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

One fish, two fish, red fish, nearly thirty thousand species of fish―or fishes, as they are properly called when speaking of multiple species. This is but one of many things the authors of this fascinatingly informative book reveal in answering common and not-so-common questions about this ubiquitous group of animals.

Fishes range in size from tiny gobies to the massive Ocean Sunfish, which weighs thousands of pounds. They live in just about every body of water on the planet. Ichthyologists Gene Helfman and Bruce Collette provide accurate, entertaining, and sometimes surprising answers to over 100 questions about these water dwellers, such as "How many kinds of fishes are there?" "Can fishes breathe air?" "How smart are fishes?" and "Do fishes feel pain?" They explain how bony fishes evolved, the relationship between them 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 book is the perfect bait for any curious naturalist, angler, or aquarist.


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night, perhaps to thwart the highly developed senses of roving nocturnal predators such as moray eels or blood-sucking parasitic invertebrates. On a coral reef, there is a changeover from daytime to nighttime slightly before sunset. Beginning about an hour before sunset, plankton-feeding fishes (such as some butterflyfishes and damselfishes) descend from the water column, while large herbivores (such as parrotfishes and surgeonfishes) migrate from daytime feeding areas to nighttime resting

Photo by Ltshears Do fishes play? Sadly, most fishes fall down as playmates. There is very little evidence to suggest that fishes engage in what we recognize as play, such as manipulating objects in a tank for no apparent reason. One of the few examples of play in fishes comes from what may be one of the more intelligent fishes, an African species known as the elephantfish (Gnathonemus petersi). This family (Mormyridae) is well studied because its species are weakly electric (see “What are

the curving path. Other fishes glide and some even propel themselves out of the water. Best known are the South American freshwater hatchetfishes (Gasteropelecidae) that also have greatly enlarged pectoral fins. Hatchetfishes vibrate their pectoral fins using pectoral muscles that may account for 25% of their body weight to launch themselves out of the water (see “Can any fishes fly?” in chapter 2). A common means of discouraging pursuing predators is to have poisonous skin or spines and to

other shapes show the location of nerve endings on a Rainbow Trout’s (Oncorhynchus mykiss) head, mouth, and lips that are sensitive to strong touch, harsh chemicals, or high temperatures. Some of these pain receptors are as sensitive as those on the human eyeball. From Sneddon, Braith-waite, and Gentle, 2003 What should I do if I find an injured fish or a fish that looks diseased? Unfortunately, there is not much we can do about sick fish in the wild. Even a sick or injured fish will swim

gobioids in the genera Eviota, Mistichthys, Pandaka, and Schindleria mature at 8–10 millimeters (less than a half inch). In fresh water, an Indonesian minnow, Paedocypris progenetica matures at 7-8 millimeters (less than a half inch). The Russian Beluga Sturgeon, Huso huso, is probably the largest freshwater fish in the world. Belugas have been drastically overfished for their valuable eggs. The resulting beluga caviar can sell for over $165 an ounce ($5,280/kg), making a very large beluga

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