Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Fish

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Fish

Article excerpt

By Tim Harris $35.65. 64 pp. Black Rabbit Books, Mankato, MN. 2011. ISBN: 9781936333325.

Fish are aquatic vertebrates with gills and fins. These ectothermic creatures are covered with scales and possess a swim bladder and a series of sensory pits known as a lateral line. Two major groups of fish exist, depending on whether their skeletons consist of cartilage or bone. The earliest fish, known from fossils dating back 480 million years, were different from their modern counterparts.

Fish profiles a sampling of fish in various degrees of endangerment: the primitive Coelacanth, once believed to be extinct; the anadromous American sturgeon; the whale shark, the largest fish in the world; and the northern bluefin tuna, whose numbers are de-clining due to the popularity of sushi and sashimi. Twenty-three species are described in rich detail, including information on their classification, distribution, physical characteristics, habitat, diet, and reproduction.

Like land animals, fish must endure consequences of human influences, some of which can potentially drive species to extinction. Fish conservation is an urgent necessity. More than 35% of North American freshwater species are now threatened. Between 2000 and 2010, more than 1,000 species of fish became endangered. …

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