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Fishes of Arkansas.

Publication of "Fishes of Arkansas" by Henry W. Robison and Thomas M. Buchanan has been announced by The University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, AR 72701. This is an immense (536 pages), thorough, and scholarly volume, long in the making, and useful well beyond the boundaries of the State of Arkansas, at least in part owing to the number of fishes that traverse the Mississippi River and partly because most other Arkansas fishes have ranges well outside state borders. Indeed, with this volume and "Fishes of Wisconsin" one would have a fairly thorough coverage of central United States freshwater fishes.

Both authors have published extensively on Arkansas fishes and Robison, professor of biology at Southern Arkansas University, Magnolia, is coauthor of "The Fishes of Oklahoma." Buchanan, a professor of biology at Westark Community College at Fort Smith, is author of "Key to the Fishes of Arkansas."

The authors begin with a history of ichthyology in Arkansas, mentioning the role of Spencer F. Baird studying specimens collected by U.S. Army Capt. R. B. Marcy and sent back to the Smithsonian Institution, as well as other area collection efforts for the U.S. National Museum and the U.S. Fish Commission. Another chapter reviews the state's aquatic environment--the terrestrial and aquatic settings, environmental alterations, the rare, endangered, and introduced species, and its commercial fisheries.

Species accounts then make up the bulk of the book, with extensive data provided on the state's 215 species in 63 genera and 27 families (17 of the species have been introduced and one, the rainbow smelt, made its own way into Arkansas waters after having been introduced in northern states). The state's ichthyofauna is quite diverse, representing a little over 20 percent of the roughly 950 freshwater fishes in North America north of southern Mexico. The bulk of the 215 species are found in five families: 66 cyprinids, 41 percids, 20 centrarchids, 19 ictalurids, and 18 catostomids--more than 75 percent of the states fish species.

Economically, fishes are very important to the state as game, food, and bait: The state is the top-ranking producer of bait fish (a $20 million industry), and Arkansas ranks second to Mississippi in channel catfish production, at about $13 million. In 1985 alone, commercial fishermen harvested over 17 million pounds of wild fish worth $7.5 million.

Keys are provided to the families and to the species within each family. Data on each species includes general characteristics, life colors, variation and

taxonomy, distribution, habitat, biology, data on their uses, if any, and how to distinguish them from similar species. Each species is well illustrated (often in color), and range maps depict their distribution in the state and in the nation, with a key for pre-1960 collections and 1960-87 collection records.

Appendices list scientific collections of Arkansas fishes, methods of preservation of fish specimens, aids to fish identification, and the fishes known to occur in Arkansas. Also included is a glossary and an extensive literature cited section. Layout and design are excellent, and the volume is a fine encyclopedia of Arkansas fishes that would be useful to students, biologists, anglers, and others interested in the region's ichthyofauna. Hardbound, the 536 page volume is available from the publisher for $50 (cloth) or $30 (paper).
COPYRIGHT 1989 U.S. Department of Commerce
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Marine Fisheries Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 1989
Words:540
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