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Catfishes of India

Title Catfishes of India
Author & (Publisher) K. C. Jayaram (Narendra Publishing House, 2006)
Price £39.99
Subject Matter As titled.
Edition 1st, English

Article © Heok Hee Ng, uploaded November 17, 2006.

Despite its title, the book deals not only with the catfishes of India, but all the species found on the Indian subcontinent (Pakistan, Nepal, India, Bhutan and Bangladesh) and Myanmar. The book provides a synopsis of all the catfish species known from southern Asia, and provides keys for identifying the species in each genus.

Although the taxonomy and identification of southern Asian catfishes is confused and a book such as this is badly needed, there are a number of issues that limit the usefulness of this work. Firstly, the figures used are not well rendered (leading to a certain amount of inaccuracy and being largely copied from older works), poorly reproduced (if copied from more recent works), or are just plain inaccurate (e.g. the Hamilton figure of Amblyceps mangois being reproduced as A. tenuispinis). While this may be less of an issue for scientists, aquarists hoping to use this book as a quick identification guide will be sorely disappointed with the quality of the figures (although this is one of the few books on Indian catfishes that possesses color figures, the color reproduction leaves much to be desired). Another major drawback is that a considerable portion of the information inside is copied from other works with little synthesis, thus giving the impression that the work was cobbled together without much thought. The dichotomous keys also frequently use subjective terminology; this makes it difficult for the user to determine the identification of the species in many cases.

In summary, the relatively high price of the book (if you are purchasing it outside of India) and the quality of information inside makes this book more attractive to collectors of books on Asian fishes than to the Asian catfish enthusiast.

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