Seven tenths of the earth's surface is covered in water. This vast aquatic realm is inhabited by a multitude of strange creatures and reigning supreme among them are the fish.
There are giants that live for centuries and thumb-sized tiddlers that survive only weeks; they can be pancake-flat or inflatable balloons; they can shout with colours or hide in plain sight, cheat and dance, remember and say sorry; some rarely budge while others restlessly travel the globe. And yet the mesmerising and complex lives of fish remain largely underrated and unseen, living hidden beneath the waterline, out of sight and out of mind.
Humans can only ever be temporary visitors to the fish's liquid world and it can be a mystifying place, so utterly different to our normal, everyday experiences. Helen Scales is our inimitable guide on an underwater journey, as we fathom the depths and watch these animals going about the glorious business of being fish. Along the way we meet devoted fishwatchers, past and present, including the man who searched for a voodoo zombie potion made of deadly pufferfish and the woman who, in her nineties, dived deep to watch how triggerfish build their nests.
Woven throughout are vignettes of Scales' own aquatic explorations, from eerie nighttime dives with glowing fish and up-close encounters with giant manta rays, to floating in the middle of swirling shoals being watched by thousands of inquisitive eyes.
As well as being a rich and entertaining read, this book will inspire readers to think again about these animals and the seas they inhabit, and to go out and appreciate the wonders of fish, whether through the glass walls of an aquarium or, better still, by gazing into the fishes' wild world and swimming through it.
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