Monday, May 7, 2007

"A Photographic Guide to the Inlandwater Fishes of Taiwan" by Chen, I. - S. & Y. - C. Chang (2005)

A Photographic Guide to the Inlandwater Fishes of Taiwan. Volume 1. Cypriniformes. By Chen, I-S. & Y.-C. Chang, 2005. Managing editor: Shao, K.-T. The Shueichan Press, Taiwan R.O.C., xx+284 pages. ISBN: 957-8596-72-3, obtainable from, priced at USD50.

This is a medium sized (26 x 20 cm) bilingual (in Chinese and English) volume lavishly filled with colour plates, covering the cypriniform fishes of Taiwan. This is the first of five volumes covering all the inland freshwater fish species of Taiwan. Volume 1 covers only the cypriniform fishes, with a total of 45 species (35 cyprinids, 6 balitorids and 4 cobitids). Volume 2 covering the Gobiidae, volume 3 the miscellaneous taxa, volume 4 the anguillid and synbranchid eels, and volume 5 the phylogeny of Taiwanese freshwater fish.

There are between 4 to 6 full pages devoted to each species. Each species is listed by both scientific and vernacular names, including sub-family designation. Each species account is further divided into three sections, covering morphology, distribution, and ecology and remarks. The authors had spent much time here and list some very valuable ecological observations of the fish species.

Richly illustrated with almost all living material, photographed from various angles showing different life stages (e.g. Metzia mesembrina) and developmental stages of tubercle formation (e.g. Candidia barbata). The photographers are highly commended for their patience to get properly acclimatized fish and some species even in their breeding colours. Most species accounts are also accompanied by a habitat picture.

This publication also includes 2 appendices, covering 10 introduced and 3 doubtful species. There are a total of 5 species with uncertain identifications, highlighting the current taxonomical status.

One shortcoming of this vivid volume is the lack of a general map or individual maps showing distribution of the fish species.

This is a delightful volume to read and browse through for the layperson, hobbyist and scientist.

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): 199 on 28 Feb 2006.