The people at Aqualog are renowned for producing books that are pretty to look at but have come in for some criticism in the past over the accuracy of their offerings. Does their latest offering for catfish nuts maintain the former without too much of the latter?
The first "Photo Collection" provides us with 338 excellent photos of African catfishes. Photo Collection is a pictorial based concept which aims to display all the fishes seen in the trade (from common to very rare). It also breaks from the taxonomic mould and groups fishes by their form. Some fishes belong to a particular taxonomic group, but are more like members of another group in appearance. For this reason the fish are ordered generally on groupings relating to the external appearance of the fishes; in theory so that the reader can easily locate them in the books. That said, species within the same genus are in alphabetic order which seems to contradict this refreshing concept somewhat.
Aqualog's "big idea" is to introduce a world wide numbering system used to allow international communication between , for example, importers and exporters. They are not of taxonomic significance, which can be advantageous as many commercial set-ups do not follow the latest (or even remotely recent) scientific name changes. In the text beneath each photo you will find the individual code number, the currently valid scientific name, the common name most frequently used internationally, the range/origin of the species in question, as well as all of its characteristics and maintenance requirements. This information is accurate and useful.
On the CD accompanying the book all the fish photos are stored in JPEG format, so if you can read this you can use it. The images can also be used on your homepage. Each Photo Collection is released in 3 editions with 5 languages each:
For fans of African fish it's a must, something to shout about and wave under the noses of all those Pleco and Cory enthusiasts. In all, Aqualog must be commended for publishing some information and very good pictures of these fish. There is no other publication in existence focusing on solely African Catfish - if you have an interest in these fish at all it's a valuable aid.
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