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May 2020    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 46, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Jack Randall, the Original Fish ID Book Author, Passes

from the May, 2020 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Caribbean Reef Fishes - Book by Jack Randall

The world of ichthyology is mourning the passing of John Ernest "Jack" Randall. When it comes to fish identification, in 1983 he wrote the book -- Caribbean Reef Fishes -- on which all others are based. Shore Fishes of Hawaii was published in 1996. All his books carried his endless photographs to help ID the fish.

In his time, he described more than 600 species of marine life, authored 11 books and over 670 scientific papers, as well as many popular articles in magazines. He spent most of his career working in Hawaii and died in April 2020 at the grand old age of 95.

Doug Perrine sums up a lot of our experiences in fleeting encounters with the great man when he writes, "When I met Jack he was already at the top of Mt. Olympus of the world of ichthyology, and I was just a schmuck with a camera looking for some help identifying the fish in my photos. He always took time to look at my photos [and] give them his best shot at identification. There are few people who rise to such a level of accomplishment and high regard in their field, and fewer yet who do so while always exhibiting generosity and good humor to others."

If you knew him and would like to write a tribute, you can join a hundred others on a website set up for the purpose by Richard Pyle. He writes, "Don't be shy! Helen and the rest of the Randall 'Ohana' will greatly appreciate anything you are willing to share."

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