The Secret Life of Fish

The Astonishing Truth about our Aquatic Cousins

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Pub Date 2 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 11 Nov 2021

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Discover the astonishing truth about our aquatic cousins: how they think and what they know, their experiences and unique behaviours, and the many things we have in common.

There are 33,000 species of fish on our planet, and that number is constantly increasing. In context, that is more than all the species of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles added together, making fish the most numerous vertebrates on our planet. Waters worldwide are teeming with these elusive creatures, but how much do we really know about them? 

Grouped into thematic chapters – including the Dangerous and Deadly,Unusual Giants and Mini Marvels – in this comprehensive book biologist Doug Mackay-Hope profiles the secret lives of 50 of our most interesting underwater cousins in an insightful and myth-busting study, complete with charming watercolour diagrams and expert insights.

Learn about the White-Spotted Pufferfish, whose spines hide a deadly toxin, or the Ocellate River Stingray, who lurks in the rivers of South America and who can kill with just one touch of it's barbed stinger. Meet Bargibant's Pygmy Seahorse, who measures just 2cm in length, as well as the enourmous Whale Shark, which grows to around 13m in length. Be fascinated by the wierd creatures of the deep ocean, such as the Peter's Elephantnosed Fish or the kaleidescopic Picasso's Triggerfish.

With a foreword by Jeremy Wade, presenter of River Monsters and Mighty Rivers, and official fish aficionado, this book is a complete compendium of fascinating fish facts, with maps showing where in the globe they can be found, plus facts on how they live, hunt and escape predators.

Beautiful illustrations and photographs accompany each entry, as well as interesting facts on how they evolved to adapt tochanging environments, making this book the perfect guide to all things aquatic.

Discover the astonishing truth about our aquatic cousins: how they think and what they know, their experiences and unique behaviours, and the many things we have in common.

There are 33,000 species of...

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EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9780711260993
PRICE US$24.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 7 members

Featured Reviews

The book cover and title are just the beginning...the illustrations and photographs within beautifully capture fish characteristics. Information includes zones where they live, habitats, eating and mating (and other) habits and loads of details on each species in the body and side bars. There are 33,000+ known species of fish in the world and I reckon there are thousands which are unidentified or even seen. Bodies of water are resplendent with mystery and intrigue and this fascinating book includes 50 fish species, common and less common, which inhabit them. Amongst my favourites illustrated here are the white-spotted puffer which startles its predators, stunning lionfish (which, as is wittily pointed out, complicated to draw!) with its toxic spines, ocellate river stingray with excruciatingly painful barbed stinger, common thresher which...threshes its prey, cute bargibant's pygmy seahorse which is a masterful hider, clingy candiru with its unusual vampirism, less than lovely leopard moray eel, massive fast-growing hoodwinker sunfish, Peter's elephantnose fish which may be able to see colour where there is none, not so cute fanfin angler with a bunch of appendages, leafy seadragon which carries around its own forest and the sociable sardine. Each is intriguing. As I live in the Mediterranean part time one of my goals is to learn more about the sea and its creatures and what I'm swimming with! Whether you know all about marine life or not, do read this riveting book. It hooked me immediately and I did not want it to end. My sincere thank you to Quarto Publishing, Group - Ivy Press and NetGalley for the privilege of learning more about the secret lives of fish!

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A beautiful book, in which 50 different species of fish are explained in a very interesting way and their descriptions are accompanied by drawings and maps. It is practically designed as a children's book and written as an essay for adults, absolute perfection! Un libro bellissimo, in cui 50 specie di pesci diversi vengono spiegati in modo molto interessante e le loro descrizioni sono accompagnate da disegni e mappe. Praticamente é disegnato come un libro per bambini ed é scritto come un saggio per adulti, la perfezione assoluta! I received from the Publisher a complimentary digital advanced review copy of the book in exchange for a honest review.

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Perfect book for my kids and I to read together! My son is fascinated with ocean animals, this book has a lot of information. The pictures are vibrant and colorful, he has learned a lot. Thank you to NetGalley, Ivy Press, and the author for a gifted copy. This is my honest review.

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The Secret Life of Fish by Doug MacKay is an informative and attractive glimpse at a wide variety os aquatic creatures. Each species has a painting of the animal which, the writer admits, is not so much meant to be correct in every minute detail but to capture the essence of the animal. Most of the entries also include a photograph of some sort as well. Although these images make the book nice looking, the actual text entries are what make it appealing. We get a bit of science, some folklore where appropriate, and the conservation status as well. This is an excellent book for those who simply like to learn about animals and would be a particularly effective book for younger readers and their parents to explore together. The writing is geared toward the adult reader but is kept quite accessible and would allow a young reader to gain an interest in nature, the world, and science. Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.

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A wonderful book! If you want to learn fun things or even if you don't, you should definitely read this book! It's written in a way that's easy to understand, but still suitable for fish enthusiasts. Would be a great reference book for aquarium visits, but can also be read cover to cover quite easily! The illustrations convey so much personality and are so cute. The only problem with this book is that the author is overly fond of run-on sentences. I totally get it though; fish are too exciting to use short sentences. New favorite fish fact: icefish, which live near Antarctica, have colorless blood! This is because they lack hemoglobin, and they are the only fish that do this! eARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The Secret Life of Fish by Doug MacKay-Hope is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late October. Colorful watercolor renderings of fish, each with a photograph and a four-page dossier of information, such as the type of fish they are, what MacKay-Hope appreciates about them, and where they swim. A perfect coffee table book for a seaside homeshare.

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