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Essential Coral Reef Fishes & Invertebrates Guide

Michael AW with Sara Baggott

“Particularly touching is the ‘In plain truth’ section at the very front of the book, which is almost like a love letter to the sea. This jam-packed book does not just cover fish. Invertebrates of all kinds are also given the ‘Aw’ treatment.”
Jane Morgan & Gill MacDonald

From the very first page of an “Essential Guide to Coral Reef Fishes & Invertebrates”, Michael Aw’s love, passion and almost reverence for the sea and its inhabitants shine out. Particularly touching is the ‘In plain truth’ section at the very front of the book which is almost like a love letter to the sea, while still being interesting and useful. As Michael himself points out, there have been many other marine id books published, so what is special about this one? Well, several things actually. Here there are no dry, scientific lists of the wonderful and exotic creatures who live out their lives on a coral reef. Instead, in the fish category each family is addressed with a general description of how to identify the group, what they look like and how to spot them. This is followed by a ‘domain & diet’ paragraph explaining where they can be found and what and sometimes more importantly how they eat, all really helpful information to enable the diver to better understand what he/she is looking at.

Perfect bound 232pp Text + 4pp cover
150cm x 210cm H folded
Matt Art free Paper
Part proceeds from this book will go to the Ocean Geographic SOS (Save Our Sea) Fund.

Essential Coral Reef Fishes & Invertebrates Guide
$AUD/ SGD 36.80  (includes postage and packaging within Australia, Malaysia & Singapore)

Book Order Form


 $USD 38.80 (including postage and packaging worldwide)

Book Order Form

Essential Coral Reef Fishes & Invertebrates Guide - Review

Particularly touching is the ‘In plain truth’ section at the very front of the book, which is almost like a love letter to the sea. This jam-packed book does not just cover fish. Invertebrates of all kinds are also given the ‘Aw’ treatment.

Review By Gill MacDonald & Jane Morgan

From the very first page of an “Essential Guide to Coral Reef Fishes & Invertebrates”, Michael Aw’s love, passion and almost reverence for the sea and its inhabitants shine out. Particularly touching is the ‘In plain truth’ section at the very front of the book, which is almost like a love letter to the sea. As Michael himself points out, there have been many other marine identification books published, so what is special about this one?

Well, several things actually. Here, there are no dry, scientific lists of the wonderful and exotic creatures that live out their lives on coral reefs. Instead, each family is addressed with a general description of how to identify the group, what they look like and how to spot them. This is followed by a ‘domain and diet’ paragraph explaining where they can be found and what and how they eat, all helpful information to enable the readers to better understand what he or she is looking at. However, what truly separates this book from other fish identification books are the photographic tips provided for each family.

Michael is well known for his ability to produce beautifully striking imageries of the world’s oceans and the creatures that inhabit them. He has received over 61 awards from numerous international organisations and has written 28 natural history books about fish, corals and invertebrates. He is thus well qualified to offer tips on how to capture rewarding images of the wonderful marine life on the coral reef. His tips cover underwater photography from numerous angles, from what is the best lens to use, to the best position to adopt, to the best way to capture a particular behaviour of an animal and even the best time of day to capture a particular shot.

The fish category is cleverly split into three colour-coded sections for the three zones of the reef: benthic (bottom or sheltered dwelling), free swimming (close to the reef) and pelagic or reef (found in the blue water around reefs). At the front of the book, is a clear description of how to identify a particular fish family based on their size, tail shape, colours etc. All this greatly helps in locating and identifying the particular creature you are seeking in the book.

This jam-packed book does not just cover fish. Invertebrates of all kinds are also given the ‘Aw’ treatment. From jellyfish to sponges, shrimps to feather stars and many other usual suspects in between. The colour coding on these pages, while grouping types of life forms, is less significant than the fish zones, but it makes for a very colourful rummage if you prefer to scan the book at random.

These more static creatures are no less important in the book’s contents and are also fully described in their habitats, movements, behaviour and of course, there are tips on how to photograph them successfully.

I was pleased to note both the contents at the front and index section at the back refer to both the Latin and English names of the animals. This is not always true of identification books and one can spend a long time trying to track down the beast in question, often resorting to flicking optimistically through the pages in the hope of catching a glimpse. In this book, it is very clearly laid out and indexed.

The photographs to accompany all this fascinating information are typically colourful and vibrant. Michael explains that the pictures are, as they have to be, primarily used to document and identify different species and as such, are not always the most artistic depictions. But, you can’t take the photographer out of the author and a lovely short section at the back of the book describes the art form of taking beautiful pictures underwater.

If you want to know what you are looking at, how the wonderful marine creatures live, eat, mate and behave and especially if you want tips on how to best photograph each different type of creature, buy this book!

Essential Coral Reef Fishes & Invertebrates Guide
$AUD/ SGD 36.80  (includes postage and packaging within Australia, Malaysia & Singapore)

Book Order Form


 $USD 38.80 (including postage and packaging worldwide)

Book Order Form