RESOURCES: All the Fish in the Sea

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Science  03 Sep 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5689, pp. 1381
DOI: 10.1126/science.305.5689.1381d

When pioneering taxonomist Carolus Linnaeus was cataloging all known species in the 1750s, keeping track of the fishes was easy; scientists had tallied only about 500 kinds. But with ichthyologists netting some 300 new species a year, today's researchers can get swamped without a guide such as The Catalog of Fishes, which covers all of the roughly 29,000 currently recognized species. Curator William Eschmeyer of the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and colleagues trawled nearly 250 years' worth of publications and threw back defunct and dubious species names, creating the first comprehensive compilation of fish taxonomy since Linnaeus. The site also links to other Cal Academy ichthyology resources, such as an image database stocked with photos and x-rays of most of the academy's more than 1600 type specimens (the original examples used to describe the species). Above, the ray Pteroplatea rava from Mexico.

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