on 16 July 1999
A very portable, well layed-out reference book. It provides, by far, the most comprehensive listings of coral reef species around the world that I have been able to find in any title. However, quite often, referencing was complicated by the absence of photos.
I used this book a lot while doing base-line surveys of reefs in Fiji and, while useful, I identifed one major drawback of the book when used for ID purposes. The fact that drawings only, and not photos, are given can mean the fish seen are not easily identified from the likenesses in the book. Usually, insufficient information is given in the blurb for each species for ID using the picture and despcription to be conclusive. On several occasions fish observed could not be pinpointed in the book, or, worse, more than one species came up as possibilities. This was particularly true of certain families, such as Wrasse, Squirrels, Soldiers and Groupers. In such circumstances I had to refer to a book with photos, which was less than ideal as it was less comprehensive for our region of study.
Overall, a good companion for anyone needing or wanting to identify coral reef fish species while diving, but needs to be used in conjuction with a reference book showing good quality photos.
on 17 November 1998
Coral Reef Fishes : Caribbean, Indian Ocean, and Pacific Ocean : Including the Red Sea by Ewald Lieske, et al. is the best pocketguide on coral reef fishes available on the market. The drawings are excellent and show the characteristic colour pattern of the species, better then any photograph can do. With this book you are able to identify the common fishes in any tropical coral reef of the world. I used this book for my field work in the Philippines, the centre of diversity of coral reef fishes with more than 2100 species, and most of the species I found in this book. The book is very small and therefore excellent for travelling. Since 1995 the Collins Pocket Guide Edition of this book is with me on every journey to coral reefs and it was very helpful in the Philippines, New Caledonia and the Red Sea. I can recommend this book to everybody who is deeply interested in coral reef fishes.