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Swainston's Fishes of Australia  : The Complete Illustrated Guide - Roger Swainston

Swainston's Fishes of Australia

The Complete Illustrated Guide

Hardcover

Published: 31st October 2011
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Roger Swainston's breathtaking artwork provides a fascinating overview of the extraordinary diversity of Australia's marine and freshwater fishes.

Here, more than 1500 remarkable illustrations portray every family of fishes ever recorded from Australian waters. The names of all known species are listed alongside detailed information on the taxonomy and biology of each family.

About The Author

Roger Swainston is one of the foremost marine-life artists in the world, with more than 25 years of artistic and scientific endeavour. His paintings are renowned around the world for their accuracy and vibrancy.

After training as a zoologist at the University of Western Australia, Swainston spent several years in the Department of Ichthyology at the Western Australian Museum, working on the taxonomy of fishes and the re-cataloguing of the museum's extensive collection of specimens. In the ensuing years he has taken part in scientific surveys of a wide range of environments: from the deep waters off the North West Shelf to the inshore waters of the southern coast of Australia and the coral reefs of Papua New Guinea. As expedition artist with a team of international scientists, he spent two months surveying the fish life of the remote Clipperton Atoll in the far eastern Pacific. Later he worked with the Natural History Museum of Paris and Pro-Natura International, portraying the biodiversity of the marine environments and freshwater streams of Vanuatu. More recently he has accompanied scientists surveying the biodiversity of northern Mozambique and Madagascar.

Swainston has dived, snorkelled and painted fishes right around the coast of Australia and in many other locations worldwide, including the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Caribbean, and areas throughout the Indian and Pacific oceans. For many years he has closely monitored a number of sites on Ningaloo Reef, off Western Australia, spending countless hours under water drawing the reefs and observing and photographing fishes to produce panoramic scenes of the environments. He has also worked extensively with professional fishers around Australia, studying their catches and fishing methods.

His work has been included in many well known field guides to fishes, including Sea Fishes of Southern Australia, Marine Fishes of North western Australia, Reef Fishes of New Guinea, Freshwater Fishes of New Guinea and Fishes of the Eastern Pacific. He has also illustrated major scientific works, such as Sharks and Rays of Australia and guides to the Emperors and Snappers of the world, as well as contributing illustrations to numerous other publications. His artworks have been used by numerous scientific institutions, including the Smithsonian Institute, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and the Natural History Museum of Paris, as well as many government environmental and fisheries agencies both in Australia and abroad.

Swainston has held solo exhibitions in Sydney and Fremantle, and in France. His paintings are held by private collectors around the world, and by institutions including the Ministry of the Environment and the Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaire in France, the Oceanographic Institute of Monaco, the National Archives of Australia, and the Western Australian Museum. Several documentaries about his underwater work in the Red Sea and on Ningaloo Reef have been widely broadcast internationally.

Roger Swainston presently lives and works in Fremantle, Western Australia, with his partner Catherine and their three children.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
Swainston's Fishes of Australia
 
4.8

(based on 5 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

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100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (4)
  • Deeply informative (3)
  • Rich resource (3)
  • Well written (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Reference (5)
    • Gift (4)
    • Older readers (3)

    Reviewed by 5 customers

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    5.0

    Great reference book

    By Thomo

    from Perth

    About Me Everyday Reader

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Deeply Informative
    • Easy To Understand
    • Rich Resource
    • Well Written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Older Readers
      • Reference
      • Special Needs

      Comments about Swainston's Fishes of Australia:

      As a keen fisherman I find this a great reference, the artwork is magnificent.

      Comment on this review

       
      5.0

      a fantastic book

      By Catherine

      from Perth

      About Me Everyday Reader

      Pros

      • Deeply Informative
      • Easy To Understand

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Gift
        • Reference

        Comments about Swainston's Fishes of Australia:

        Can't stop reading and looking at the stunning illustrations

        Comment on this review

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Fantastic overview of Australian fish

        By Sharon

        from Darwin

        About Me Bookworm

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Accurate
        • Beautifully illustrated
        • Easy To Understand
        • Rich Resource
        • Well Written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Beginning Scientists
          • Gift
          • Older Readers
          • Reference

          Comments about Swainston's Fishes of Australia:

          This book is extremely comprehensive with hundreds of fish illustrated and many more listed. I am trying ID relatively uncommon fish and I may not find the exact species but I can gain an understanding of the basic features of the genus and then look it up further on fish base or other sources. I would highly recommend it.

          Comment on this review

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          A beautiful book

          By Kel

          from Sydney

          About Me Casual Reader

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Informative
          • Stunning Illustrations

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Gift
            • Older Readers
            • Reference
            • Younger Readers

            Comments about Swainston's Fishes of Australia:

            I am a huge fan of roger swainston's work. This book is a great catalogue of his work, which I bought to help me select some prints to purchase in a larger format.

            Comment on this review

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Very Informative

            By Hotcho

            from Geelong

            About Me Casual Reader

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Deeply Informative
            • Easy To Understand
            • Rich Resource
            • Well Written

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Gift
              • Reference

              Comments about Swainston's Fishes of Australia:

              I use this book as a reference to help identify fish species

              Comment on this review

              Displaying reviews 1-5

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              Foreword

              Over many years I have had the opportunity to see and handle an enormous variety of fishes; always looking at them with one eye as a scientist, the other as an artist. At times I have illustrated other subjects, but I always return to fishes and remain captivated by their astounding diversity and beauty.

              The illustrations in this book are selected from nearly 6000 paintings of fishes I have created over the past 25 years. All are executed in acrylics on watercolour paper. Each is a synthesis of all the information I have been able to find, visual or otherwise, on a particular fish. Ideally this means photographing a fish while it is still alive, with all its vibrant natural colour; keeping a specimen for a detailed, measured drawing; and completing the painting in the studio. This process is of course not always possible, and some paintings have had to be conjured from a few poor photographs, a faded preserved specimen, or simply a detailed description.

              In my travels over the years, finding the local fish market or the port where boats land their catch has always been a priority. I have seized any chance to look at fishes, photograph a specimen, or get a feel for regional differences in the fauna – always with the anticipation of discovering something new or previously unseen. I have dived and snorkelled and accompanied scientists and fishers, working in every type of marine and freshwater habitat, from the ocean depths to still jungle pools.

              What drives my fascination with fishes? A Longtom shimmering in crystal-clear tropical waters could be a pure distillation of light, water and colour; a perfectly camouflaged Stonefish could have spontaneously generated from the lumpy, algae-covered rocks themselves. Fishes are form and function and habitat made flesh; they display the most extraordinary responses to the constraints of the underwater world. Two species can be almost identical in form, swimming side by side in the freezing darkness thousands of metres below the surface, and one is jet black, the other completely transparent. There are fish that can fly, others that walk on land at the edge of the sea, and even some that move mysteriously through the total darkness of underground streams in fissures beneath the earth. Still others excavate and live in burrows; cultivate algae farms; work in groups to herd rushing shoals of prey; or lie motionless for weeks, awaiting the moment to explode from the sand and engulf a passing meal.

              The diversity of fishes is endlessly intriguing, and every colour imaginable can be found in their beauty. Yet the more I study fishes, the more I come to realise how little we really know about them. Apart from a few commercially important and much-studied species, the vast majority of fishes are out of sight and thus out of mind, their lives and habits unknown to us.

              Fishes are now under intense pressure around the world. Fishing has become industrialised and technologically advanced, and many species have been exploited to the verge of total population collapse. Although overfishing is occurring in Australia, we are fortunate perhaps that it has not yet progressed to such a sad extent as in other parts of the world – and we still have a chance to ensure that it will not do so. However, there is a lot of work that needs to be done and some difficult decisions to be made before the fishes of Australian waters can be considered safe from overexploitation. There is room for a great deal of improvement in the way we target and exploit fishes, and our fishing methods and strategies must become much more refined. This is not so that we can take even more from a diminishing resource, but so that we can build a much larger resource and take a smaller, sustainable percentage of it.

              During the past three decades I have seen the numbers of many fish species gradually decrease in Australian waters. We can now only imagine what must once have been: the multitudes that teemed in our oceans, before a century or more of ever-increasing fishing effort. We must turn and begin on the path back towards that natural state. Across society the realisation is steadily growing that strong measures must be taken to restore balance in our waters and rebuild the diversity and abundance of fishes.

              Fishes are fascinating and beautiful creatures, and they have sustained humankind since prehistoric times. They deserve our respect and protection. We must ensure that our children and grandchildren can experience the same extraordinary diversity and abundance of fishes as our grandparents. We must learn more, take less, and cherish and protect our natural environment; everyone has a part to play in this.

              There is so much we have yet to discover about these remarkable animals. Great cycles, migrations and movements are constantly in play beneath the surface of the waters. Imagine this: every evening around the globe, as the sun sets, countless billions of small luminous fishes, many of them still unknown to us, rise from the ocean depths in a glowing constellation towards the surface to feed. As the world turns and the sun rises they sink into the darkness again.

              I wish I could see it. Perhaps there is a way . . .

              ISBN: 9780670071647
              ISBN-10: 0670071641
              Audience: General
              Format: Hardcover
              Language: English
              Number Of Pages: 836
              Published: 31st October 2011
              Dimensions (cm): 28.7 x 25.3  x 6.7
              Weight (kg): 28.7