|Author & (Publisher)||Editors: Gloria Arratia, B.G. Kapoor, michel Chardon & Rui Diogo (Science Publishers Inc., 2003)|
|Subject Matter||A melting pot of scientific articles covering current knowledge on varied aspects of catfish biology.|
Article © Heok Hee Ng, uploaded January 01, 2002.
If you had to write a book about catfishes, what would you put in it? Well, one could just cover all the diversity in the order Siluriformes (as in the Burgess Atlas), or one could cover a little bit of everything and come up with this (OK, so this may really be TWO books on catfishes). Written by a slew of researchers who have spent considerable time working out the mysteries of this group of fishes we love, the work is divided into two volumes. The first covers anatomy, function and functional morphology, and phylogeny of select catfish groups, while the second (which may be more relevant to hobbyists) covers the fossil record, ecology and behavior, development and sensory biology.
Given the extremely large canvas to paint on, it is no wonder that one may feel that the coverage of a subject area as large as this may feel spotty (OK, we all know that you would need more than two volumes to cover every aspect of catfish biology in reasonable detail). Although some of the topicas covered are interesting, the inadequate (and, some feel, uneven) coverage (I confess to being the author of one of the more inadequate chapters), the technical language and the price tag may put off hobbyists (although they are not really the intended target audience).
There is still enough interesting information that might make it worth the while for some. But unless you are seriously into catfishes or have plenty of disposable income, it might be more worthwhile to read this at your local library.
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