FIELD GUIDES: Fishes of Oz

Science  02 Feb 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5505, pp. 795b
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5505.795b

The ornate ghostpipefish must be one of the most unfishlike fish alive, with its tubular body and spiky, pawlike appendages. Catch a glimpse of this and many more unusual fish at the Australian Museum Fish Site. The museum's ichthyology division maintains a collection of nearly a million specimens representing 2000 of the 4100 species known to swim Australia's biologically rich waters. The Web site includes a database of the museum's type specimens (the original specimens used to define the species); although it's targeted to experts, others may want to check out the many entries illustrated with beautiful drawings from the original publications.

For students and general visitors, the fish site offers photos and fact sheets for nearly 300 fishes along with an identification key. There's also a rather macabre virtual tour of the museum's preserved specimens and a step-by-step guide to dissecting a blue mackerel.

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