on July 6, 2004
The Audubon Guide to Tropical Marine Fishes is used for identifying brightly colored fish that are most likely to found in the open ocean or on reefs. This guide is different from its predecessor, "Audubon Guide to Fishes" in many ways. First off, the range is quite different, containing a wider variety of fish. This book also takes up where "Fishes" left off. There were so many species to cover that there needed to be more explanation in a second book, "Tropical Marine Fishes".
So, this is the correct field guide to take along on a scuba trip to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Florida, or other places that the guide covers. Since it is much smaller than "Reef Fish Identification" by Paul Humann, it is much easier to carry along in a smaller pack, and one does not have to worry about the bulkiness of other guides.
Now for the content: There are over four categories of fish, including : bass like fishes, sharks & whales, and Eels. The butterflyfish and damselfish are the most colorful part of the entire guide. There are a nice amount of frequently seen sharks talked about here, but not as many as in "Audubon Guide to Fishes, Whales, and Dolphins", which is a follow up. So, if you basically want a straightforward guide to saltwater fish, take a look at this and the original Guide to Fishes.
on January 20, 2002
This is the best book I've seen for identifying fish in this region when snorkeling, diving, or tide-pooling. I own & use several, but if you're only going to buy one guide, this is the one to get.
The illustrations alone would make this better than anything else on the market. Most guides rely on artists' renderings or studio photographs of dead fish. This book illustrates each of over 400 species with a close-up color photograph of a live fish in the water. Incredible.
The lay-out is good for identification; fish are grouped together by shape. That means you don't have to know much about fish to quickly look up something you saw. You can then cross-reference it to a complete description.
The physical manufacture of the book is also a plus. Its small size and flexibility make it almost unnoticable in luggage or a beach bag. It's also a little water-resistant: my copy has seen more than its fare share of dunkings, and still acts like a book instead of a soggy mess.
Of the few criticisms I have of this book, one would be that the index isn't too good (if Rainbow Runner isn't listed under "R", then where is it?). This isn't too much of a shortcoming, though, given that a field guide is usually used to identify species by appearence, not the other way around.
If you plan on observing fish in this region, I highly recommend this book.
on January 13, 1998
As a diver and as a hobbyist of home reef systems, I find this book to be indispensible in identifying various reef fishes located in our Eastern waters. The book provides and focuses on distiguishing characteristics and certain behaviors that a diver or a hobbyist might see in encounters with these fish. Contains a great full-color plate section as well as basic outlines/silhouettes and of course brief yet detailed descriptions. An excellent work, now if I could just find its companion for corals....