Cover of The Fishes of the Galápagos Islands by Jack Stein Grove and Robert J. Lavenberg Foreword by Jean-Michel Cousteau
The Fishes of the Galápagos Islands
Jack Stein Grove and Robert J. Lavenberg Foreword by Jean-Michel Cousteau

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1997
912 pages.
$145.00

Cloth ISBN: 9780804722896

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Standing in awe-inspiring isolation in the central eastern Pacific and harboring living organisms found nowhere else on Earth, the Galápagos Islands played a pivotal role in the development of the epochal theories of Charles Darwin. This book marks the culmination of icthyological research extending back to 1835, when Darwin was the first to collect fishes from the Galápagos. It thoroughly documents and illustrates the fishes of the Galápagos in the hope that the results will provide an identification guide for visitors to the Galápagos National Park, a comprehensive reference source for scientists, and a baseline for future assessment of possible environmental degradation in the Islands.

The book treats 437 species (some of which are newly recorded) including all those known from freshwater and nearshore habitats and in open-ocean waters within 100 km of the Galápagos. Of special interest to evolutionists and biogeographers is the high level of endemism: 41 fishes are known only from the Galápagos. In the interest of completeness, the authors discuss species that have the potential to occur in the Galápagos and species that have been recorded under suspicious circumstances, although they are not necessarily presented as valid Galápagos records. Almost all of the species are illustrated either in detail, in family groupings for comparative reference, or in color photographs taken in the Galápagos. There are 151 color and 370 black-and-white illustrations.

The ichthyofauna is treated on the taxonomic levels of order, family, and genus and species. Five areas of information are highlighted: natural history, habitat in the Galápagos, Pacific range, size, and systematics. Introductory material includes explanation of coverage; a history of fish-collection and sources of icthyological holdings; discovery and early history; geography and physiography; climate and geology; evolution and endemism; and oceanography. There are also appendixes, a bibliography, a glossary, and indexes.

About the author

Jack Stein Grove is a Research Associate of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and Director of Zegrahm Expeditions. Robert J. Lavenberg is Curator of Ichthyology at the Museum.

“An important contribution to our growing enlightenment about the diversity of life. It is exciting to read the first account of species never before described, species that are found only in the waters of what Darwin called a living laboratory of evolution. This book is a scientific work of immense value to biologists and many others, including nonscientists interested in the Galápagos. I was pleased to see the subject presented in the larger context of geography, evolution, oceanography, and management, and that in addition to systematic descriptions, the behavior, seasonal abundance, and natural history of the fishes are presented in a readable fashion.”—From the Foreword