NANFA-- Texas Freshwater Fishes coloring book

Denkhaus, Robert (
Wed, 24 Jul 2002 16:29:32 -0500

Since becoming a permanent Texas resident 5 years ago, I have been embarrassed
by the lack of a real "Fishes of Texas" book. Apparently, there is one in the
works but no one that I know seems to have any information on it. I was
excited when the book Freshwater Fishes of Texas by Earl W. Chilton II was
published in 1998. The volume was described as follows: "Here's the
definitive guide to all the ones that-hopefully-won't get away while you're
fishing Texas' abundant fresh waters. Sportsmen and -women will find all their
favorites bass, crappie, sunfish, catfish, buffalo, shad, and trout, to
mention just a few, in large, full-color illustrations coupled with an
easy-to-read, informative text. This colorful, attractive publication
features 46 of Texas' most important and interesting freshwater fishes and
gives details on each species' distribution, appearance, and life habits,
along with angling tips and other fishing information. The author, Earl W.
Chilton II, is a fisheries biologist working in the Inland Fisheries Division
of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department." $13 later, all I had was a poor
excuse for a fish book and a healthy dose of disappointment.
At the end of last year a new fish book hit the shelves. I didn't have a lot
of hope for it because it was labelled a coloring book. I thought that maybe
it would be worthwhile to get a copy for my kids. Lo and behold, when Learn
about . . . Texas Freshwater Fishes by Georg Zappler and illustrated by Elena
T. Ivy showed up, I was thrilled!! No it is not a fishes of Texas book but
it's a lot more than a coloring book. It is described as "More than just a
coloring-and-activity book for upper-elementary-school-age children, this book
includes detailed information about the anatomy of fish, ancient fishes, and
the 174 species of freshwater fishes found in Texas today. Grouped by type
(jawless, bony, etc.), the fish are illustrated with black-and-white line
drawings, and each fish's distinguishing features and marks are described."
and includes over 114 fish illustrations for coloring with correct colors
given for each fish, informative text providing important facts about fish
biology and classification and details on selected freshwater species,
fun-filled activity pages and puzzles and a 16" X 21" coloring poster. At
$9.95 there's a lot more information and value in this book than the one
described above.
This is not a coloring book for non-readers. Just to give you an idea of what
is in this "coloring book", I'll list some of the page headings.
What, exactly, is a fish?
The Place of Fishes in the Animal Kingdom
Relationships of the Different Groups of Fishes
Taxonomy, or How Fishes Get Their Scientific Names
The External Parts of Fishes
The Internal Parts of Fishes
Fish Senses

It goes on to cover 25 families and 103 species of freshwater fishes with at
least basic natural history information.

All in all, this is a very good book and currently the best available for
Texas. It has a lot to offer for anyone who wants to educate kids or
themselves (and do a little coloring on the side). It's available at

Rob Denkhaus
Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge
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