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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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March 2014    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 40, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Reef Life: A Must-Have Guide to Tropical Marine Life

from the March, 2014 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Reef Life: A Must-Have Guide to Tropical Marine LifeWhat? Another fish ID book when you thought Paul Humann's and Ned Deloach's were enough? Yes indeed, and while I rarely say this, Reef Life: A Guide to Tropical Marine Life is a must-have for the library of every traveling diver. And if you only want one ID book, this is it.

You see, it's the clear and descriptive text that makes this guide special. For example, there are sections on anti-predation behavior (that is, staying off other fishes' menus), mimicry, schooling, cleaner fish behavior, food habits . . . all kinds of useful factoids about tropical reef fish. You'll learn that the indigo hamlet eats blue chromis, that the male redbar anthias chases other males away "to defend its harem," the humphead wrasse returns every night to its preferred sleeping site, the great barracuda can hit 36 m.p.h., and tuna prey on seahorses. There's nothing better than sitting around a table with your fellow divers and being able to spin these stories.

There aren't as many fish listed here in comparison to the entire Humann series, but in this paperback volume (6.5" x 7.5"), photos of 400 ray-finned fishes are featured with brief but solid descriptions, as well as sharks and rays, invertebrates, turtles, crustaceans,, corals, marine mammals and ecosystems. Co-authors Brandon Cole, a marine biologist whose photos have appeared in National Geographic and Scientific American, and Scott Michael, a writer and researcher who has consulted for the Discovery Channel and the National Geographic, Channel, logged thousands of hours underwater to produce this fine paperback guide. Within its 616 pages, you will find (besides the 400 fish identified), 1,000 photographs, maps and descriptions of all the tropical diving areas -- Maldives, Florida, Caribbean, Indonesia and everywhere else.

I'm certain you'll find this a great book to peruse at your leisure or use for serious research. Click on the book's info listed on our homepage ( ) to buy it on (where it's listed at about $23), and we'll get about five percent of the sales price, which we will then donate to preserve coral reefs and the oceans we love (we gave away more than $3,000 last year).

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