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The Fishes of New Zealand


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Table of Contents

Editors and contributors
- The editors and Te Papa's fish team
- Contributors
What is a fish? What are fishes?
Fascinating fishes
The history of fish collecting and collections in New Zealand
Collection and preservation of fishes
Geography and currents of the New Zealand region
Aquatic habitats of the New Zealand region
New Zealand fish biogeography and diversity
How to use this book
- Fish classification and nomenclature
- Descriptive characters, counts, and measurements
- Illustrative figures
Pictorial keys to all fish families
- General abbreviations
- Institutional abbreviations
Image credits
Checklist of the fishes of New Zealand
Further reading
- Scientific name index
- Common name index
- General index to Volume 1

Higher classification
Orders, families and species

Promotional Information

This work is a scientific achievement of national and international significance, and sets a new benchmark in scientific publishing in New Zealand. The Fishes of New Zealand reflects the best of New Zealand science, in a field where New Zealand leads the world. It will become the standard reference guide, recognised and referred to around the globe, and is a true testament to the research work that goes on within Te Papa.

About the Author

Dr Clive Roberts has been Curator of Fishes and leader of the fish team at the National Museum and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa since 1992. Clive is an experienced field worker who has led numerous expeditions sampling New Zealand fish faunas, with teams of scientists using scuba in coastal waters and commercial and research vessels offshore in the deep sea. In 2003 he was science leader of the NORFANZ voyage on GRV Tangaroa. He has published a large number of scientific papers and popular science articles and is particularly interested in the taxonomy, diversity and biogeography of fishes of the Pacific Ocean. Clive was co-author of New Zealand fish, a complete guide and Rockpool fishes of New Zealand. He is lead editor of The Fishes of New Zealand. Andrew Stewart has been the Collection Manager of Fishes at the National Museum and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa since 1982. He has published a number of scientific papers and is co-author of New Zealand fish, a complete guide. He is a major contributor to monthly feature article "Something Fishy" in the recreational fishing magazine New Zealand Fishing News and was also a writer in the long-running series "Museum Marine File" which featured in the commercial fishing magazine Seafood New Zealand from 1993 to 2007. He has participated in numerous coastal scuba surveys and offshore ship-based voyages, including major oceanic biodiversity expeditions - the NORFANZ survey along the Norfolk and Lord Howe Rises in 2003, and the IPY/CAMP Expedition to Antarctica in 2008. Drawing on his experiences, Andrew has regularly run training seminars on the identification of deep-water fishes as well as giving public talks. Carl Struthers has been Research and Technical Officer at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa since 2005. Carl is currently researching the taxonomy and phylogeny of the families Sebastidae, Moridae, and Aulopidae in New Zealand and the South Pacific, and has published scientific papers on several New Zealand fish families. His work also includes photography, digital imaging and radiography of fish specimens in support of ongoing research projects. As Te Papa's Dive Officer, Carl is responsible for the underwater dive programme and its safe implementation. He is an experienced field worker, participating in many fish collecting expedition using scuba in coastal waters and blue-water expeditions to remote locations, both within and outside New Zealand waters (e.g. Kermadec, Auckland and Three Kings Islands).


The fish ID book to end all fish ID books ... this work is the ultimate assembly of current knowledge of New Zealand fishes and is easily accessible to the educated layman ... I thought I knew a bit about our fishes, but a leaf through the volumes quickly convinced me I had only ever scratched the very surface of the subject ... A phenomenal effort! -- Sam Mossman * New Zealand Fishing News *
Twenty years in the making, The Fishes of New Zealand is a big, scholarly work that will also have huge public appeal for everyone who is passionate about fishing or just curious about the natural world. -- Alison Ballance
Clive Roberts, Andrew Stewart and Carl Struthers have done an extraordinary job in collating so much material ... a Christmas gift that will last a lifetime. -- Tim Pankhurst

Whether you live in Australia or New Zealand, for insights into the species you'd like to catch, or to feed your fascination for the marine world and its diverse plethora of fish species, this is a fish reference without equal. Featuring four hard-cover volumes presented in a beautiful slipcase, this amazing masterwork really is a pleasure to behold.

-- BlueWater magazine
Ideal for the home or the bach, The Fishes of New Zealand will never again leave you wondering what fish it was you caught ... Highly recommended and a must for all fishers, divers, spearfishers, and marine enthusiasts. -- Daryl Crimp * The Fishing Paper *

Open any page in The Fishes of New Zealand and you'll likely be charmed by the name and picture of the fish you encounter. Some will be old favourites, but many will be strange denizens of the deep.

-- Alison Ballance * NZ Listener *
The Fishes of New Zealand is a testament to taxonomy and systematics ... The Royal Society of New Zealand has just published a report on "National Taxonomic Collections in New Zealand", and it raises concerns about the lack of funding for nationally significant natural history collections and the lack of skilled taxonomists. This book is the public face of that enormous yet under-recognised scientific effort. -- Alison Ballance * NZ Listener *
It's an important book and a tribute to the museum [Te Papa]... -- Alison Ballance * NZ Listener *
Handsome, comprehensive, richly illustrated bible of the 1250-plus varieties ... * The Best 100 Books 2015, NZ Listener *
One of the most comprehensive reference books available to all kiwis. A credit to those involved and a must buy for anyone interested in the fishes around our coastline. -- Graham Carter * Fishing and Outdoors *
The final word on New Zealand fishes ... an indispensable reference... * NZ Fishing News *
Massive ... endlessly fascinating and even, at times, quite mad. * Best books for Christmas, North & South magazine *
If you have the slightest interest in what is hiding under the surface of the New Zealand ocean, lakes and rivers, this is the book for you ... Until today, there hasn't been one definite go-to-place where you could find an answer. The books are organized so you have an easy access to find what you need. If you're not on the hunt for answers, nothing better than browsing through the pages on a rainy day and discover all the incredible fish that live so close by, that we are yet to meet. -- Milan Radonich

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