Tuesday, May 8, 2007

"An Atlas of Ichthyotoxic, Medicinal and Dangerous Fishes" by Wu, H.-L., D.-H. Chong, Y. Mou, Y.-H. Chen & Y. Ni (2005)

An Atlas of Ichthyotoxic, Medicinal and Dangerous Fishes. By Wu, H.-L., D.-H. Chong, Y. Mou, Y.-H. Chen & Y. Ni, 2005. Chief Editor: Wu, H.-L. Shanghai Scientific & Technical Publishers, Shanghai, v+482 pages. ISBN: 7-5323-7996-5 [in Chinese].

This is a small hardcover volume (15 x 21 cm) dealing with all toxic fishes, but also covering fishes consumed for medicinal purposes.

The colour plates are situated at the start, with 8 pages depicting 31 species. This mini-tome covers 422 species of freshwater and marine fishes. The atlas is divided into 3 main parts – toxic, medicinal and dangerous fishes. The first part deals with ciguatoxic fishes, covering 9 sections – flesh-toxic, tetraodontoxic, ichthyootoxic, gall bladder-toxic, ichthyohemotoxic, ichthyohepatotoxic, pelagic species-toxic, gempylotoxic and carchatoxic species. The second part deals with fishes of medicinal properties. The third part deals with dangerous fishes, covering 4 sections – biting, electrical, saw snouts and parasitic species.

All species come with a one page account, starting with the Chinese vernacular and scientific names, then describing morphology, habit, first aid technique or medicinal benefits. All species accounts are illustrated with line drawings.

This is a very interesting and informative volume for the layperson, hobbyist, scientist and gastronomist.

Tan Heok Hui
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore
Kent Ridge 119260
Republic of Singapore

First published in The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Vol. 54(1): 201 on 28 Feb 2006.

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