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A Few Good Reference Books


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#1 Guest_Oddball_*

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 03:42 AM

Here are a few of the reference books I use to aid in IDing some of the natives I run across:

Eddy's "How To Know The Freshwater Fishes" deals with north american species. The pics are basic but, the physical descriptions and locality info are pretty good. I paid a buck for my copy at a university used book store.

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#2 Guest_Oddball_*

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 03:44 AM

At over 1,000 pages, this free book from F&W is one of the better reference books in my library. (Don't know if they still give them away to tax-payers, though)

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#3 Guest_Oddball_*

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 03:48 AM

Grzimek's Encyclopedia (volumes 4 & 5) has tons of info on fish but, doesn't focus on just the tropical fish hobby.

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#4 Guest_Oddball_*

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 03:54 AM

This is one of the two top native fish books in my personal library. Every collector/keeper should have a high quality book of their state fishes. I found this book, on ebay, by doing a google search on 'Mississippi freshwater fish". It not only has outstanding identification and behavior info on each species but, also provides excellent collecting/location information.

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#5 Guest_Oddball_*

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 04:01 AM

This is probably the best reference book in my personal library on native species. This book has high quality photographs throughout the book. The big thing about this reference is that it deals primarily with the captive care of native species (including detailed spawning info and egg/fry care). Tons of info packed in over 400 pages. I don't recall where I bought the book. It has a penciled in $10 price inside the dust jacket so, I'll assume it was also from a university used book store/sale. I used to frequent Scripps Institute's book store when I lived in San Diego.

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#6 Guest_sandtiger_*

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 02:31 PM

I also have the book American Aquarium Fishes, I bought it off the Barnes and Nobel website not long ago. It's an excellent book, a must for anyone interested in keeping and especially breeding native fishes. My only problem is that it leaves out a few species I like cuh as the black basses and bullheads.

#7 Guest_dsmith73_*

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 09:12 AM

I also have the book American Aquarium Fishes, I bought it off the Barnes and Nobel website not long ago. It's an excellent book, a must for anyone interested in keeping and especially breeding native fishes. My only problem is that it leaves out a few species I like cuh as the black basses and bullheads.


He leaves these species out because they are not generally considered good aquarium specimens due to their size. He is making an attempt to cover the smaller, more suitable species. Of course, he couldn't cover every species, or the book would be several thousands of pages. He has made an attempt, and a pretty good one I think, to cover representative species from all types of fish. Maybe he will come out with a volume two...

Odball, the MI book, the Atlas and Goldstein's book are all certainly very nice references that I think all should have. The other two appear to be good as well, but I am not familiar with them. I would like to add a few if I might.

The Peterson's guide to NA freshwater fishes is basically the bible as far as fish ID goes. There will be a new edition out very shortly and I am excited.

Rohde, et al's Fishes of NC, SC, MD, DE, VA.... This is a nice regional book. This is the closest thing to a fishes of SC i have right now so I make good use of it.

Just a quick note on "Fishes of" books. I totally agree that, if available, everyone should own their fishes of book, as well as those from neighboring states. Some highlights of the Fishes of world are Etnier's TN book, Boschung's AL book, and Jenkins' VA book(if you can get it).

#8 Guest_Brooklamprey_*

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 11:21 AM

He leaves these species out because they are not generally considered good aquarium specimens due to their size. He is making an attempt to cover the smaller, more suitable species. Of course, he couldn't cover every species, or the book would be several thousands of pages. He has made an attempt, and a pretty good one I think, to cover representative species from all types of fish. Maybe he will come out with a volume two...


Whats interesting is He does cover Sturgeons, gars and Paddlefish.....I do think the book started out to be comprehensive then it just got really nutty long so big cuts were made on the part of the authors. Never the less this is an excellent book.

On the point of "fishes of..." books these are really invaluable resources and I agree , one should get all of these books they can financially afford, Especially those in your own state and those surrounding. While the "petersons" is a good field book, it sometimes (Ok..often) requires, one to further narrow a fishes ID by drainage or locality and Petersons just does not cut it. I've personally found Petersons almost useless to ID minnows and other silvery things.

#9 Guest_dsmith73_*

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 12:42 PM

You know Brook, you are absolutley right about Peterson's. I really just listed it because it is accepted as a good reference, and I suppose it can be in the right circumstances. I honestly don't know where mine is at the moment. This is long it has been since I used it. I rely on Fishes of books for the most part, then friends for most of the rest. I am interested to see the new Peterson's though. I wonder what will be different other than some name changes and species splits.

#10 Guest_choupique_*

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 01:00 PM

Don't forget the fishes of WI by George Becker. Put together in 1983 I believe, it is still full of awesome information and was reprinted a few years back. Otherwise I was having to content with borrowing a copy from a library or someone else. I guess the site on the web where you could look at the entire book got so many hits???

Petersons is a good field guide, but I also think that it lacks some things that make it irritating to use at times. For example as stated before in this thread, the minnows section. There should be a standard description for each species. What I mean is in the same order for every fish start with one fin it ray count and go around all the fins, then the various scale counts, then the ventral fin insertion relative to the dorsal fin, then eye shape/mouth position, etc.

For example of how Petersons is hard to use for me. I will have a minnow with a blackstripe down the side. I have narrowed it down to three species in the range I caught it. I could further narrow it down to two of them by the way the black band goes around the snout in relation to the mouth. But then I cannot figure out with the rest of the description which of the two fish I have. I reread, rereread and rerereread the descritpion and cannot find two definitive characters the two fish don't share. This is only an example, but something like fish A has 8 anal fin rays, while fish B has 8 to 10. My fish has 8 anal fin rays, so I am stuck with wondering which of the two it is.

#11 Guest_choupique_*

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 01:13 PM

Ooops, I forgot to mention that John Lyons made a supplement to the Fishes of WI in ...2000 along with Phil A. Cochran and Don Fago. Alone this book is lacking, except for descriptions of listed, newly found and newly named species. It also has great information on introduced species. Without the orginal, the "common" species accounts are what is lacking. Using the two books together you have WI fish covered almost perfectly. Good photos are not a strong point in either book, but the written descriptions are done so well, the mind can make a good picture of the fish.

I also would like to throw in the mix my first, The Audobon Field Guide to North American Fish and Whales ( title might be a bit different - going off of memory). It has many fantastic photos of fresh and saltwater fish. My copy is from the early 80's, and I think the newer versions are better. I thumbed through one in a book store several years ago. The only qualms I have with the orginal version I have is half of the photos of freshwater fish are preserved, which unless you are keeping and or looking at preserved fish, the photos make it tough. That printing also skipped many common fish all together, like orange spotted and bantam sunfish. I think the newer edition I looked at took care of that.

Also with the Audobon book, sometimes I find the "related species" and "similar species" parts of the descriptions very helpful to misleading.

[Rohde, et al's Fishes of NC, SC, MD, DE, VA.... This is a nice regional book.] I have this book as well, and it is awesome. Excellent material on almost every specie of sunfish. An example of how a book far away from one person location can be an valuable resource!

#12 Guest_Irate Mormon_*

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 07:31 PM

Eddy is a great reference down to the family level, but most of us know families by sight. I have a later copy which is spiral bound.

#13 Guest_nativeplanter_*

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 09:29 AM

Does anyone know if a PDF version of the F&W Atlas is available? I googled around, but couldn't come up with one.

#14 Guest_bflowers_*

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 12:34 PM

I am not sure if a PDF version exists, but you might watch Ebay. I picked up a copy for about $5.00. Of course now that I have said that, I will probably never get another book from there that cheap. Me and my BIG fingers!!

Bill F.

#15 Guest_dsmith73_*

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 04:32 PM

I am fairly certain that this does not exist in a PDF form, at least for free. I got mine from Ebay too, by the way.

#16 Guest_nativecajun_*

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 03:17 PM

Whats interesting is He does cover Sturgeons, gars and Paddlefish.....I do think the book started out to be comprehensive then it just got really nutty long so big cuts were made on the part of the authors. Never the less this is an excellent book.
On the point of "fishes of..." books these are really invaluable resources and I agree , one should get all of these books they can financially afford, Especially those in your own state and those surrounding. While the "petersons" is a good field book, it sometimes (Ok..often) requires, one to further narrow a fishes ID by drainage or locality and Petersons just does not cut it. I've personally found Petersons almost useless to ID minnows and other silvery things.



So I am not alone on the minnows in Petersons book. I just caught one today and for the life of me, and I consider myself good at noticing and ID'ing, and picking out field marks on fish. I cannot figure out what this minnow is. Sooner or later I will quite throwing the book down in disgust and find it but I wished it were sooner. My local stream seems to be full of them. The fins are redish, the eye somewhat high on the head and moderatly large. The body somewhat compressed and largest from top to bottom of fish at around the front of the dorsal. Collegedale Tennessee is the location. (A little east of Chattanooga) very near the Georgia line. The mouth is not downturned but somewhat centered to facing up. Well wish me luck. and all the book info here is very very interesting thanks for the Posts and Photos.

#17 Guest_Skipjack_*

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 04:03 PM

So I am not alone on the minnows in Petersons book. I just caught one today and for the life of me, and I consider myself good at noticing and ID'ing, and picking out field marks on fish. I cannot figure out what this minnow is. Sooner or later I will quite throwing the book down in disgust and find it but I wished it were sooner. My local stream seems to be full of them. The fins are redish, the eye somewhat high on the head and moderatly large. The body somewhat compressed and largest from top to bottom of fish at around the front of the dorsal. Collegedale Tennessee is the location. (A little east of Chattanooga) very near the Georgia line. The mouth is not downturned but somewhat centered to facing up. Well wish me luck. and all the book info here is very very interesting thanks for the Posts and Photos.


Anything like this?

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#18 Guest_fundulus_*

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 04:14 PM

Anything like this?


You beat me to it.... scarlet shiner, Lythrurus fasciolaris.

#19 Guest_Histrix_*

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 11:12 AM

Here is another good one for those of you living in the Great Lakes states:

Hubbs, Carl L., Lagler, Karl F., Smith, Gerald Ray. Fishes of the Great Lakes Region, Revised Edition. University of Michigan Press, 2004.

http://www.amazon.co...R...TF8&s=books

#20 Guest_Histrix_*

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 04:36 PM

This is an excellent resource for all of the Michigan people out there:

Bailey, Reeve and Smith, Gerald. Atlas of Michigan Fishes with Keys and Illustrations for Their Identification. University of Michigan, Museum of Zoology// Miscellaneous Publications, 2004.

http://www.amazon.co...i...TF8&s=books




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