Eye of the Shoal

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild At Home -

HE­LEN SCALES, BLOOMSBURY, £16.99

Ac­claimed au­thor and ma­rine bi­ol­o­gist He­len Scales takes read­ers on a glo­ri­ous and riv­et­ing ex­plo­ration of the lives of fish. Through a vivid and amus­ing por­trayal of these lesser-loved crea­tures, Eye of the Shoal questions the ev­ery­day no­tion that fish are dull, un­in­tel­li­gent be­ings (not to men­tion cold, slimy and smelly) that hu­mans sim­ply catch to eat, re­cast­ing them as in­spir­ing an­i­mals who can sing and dance, who are able to shape gi­ant sculp­tures from sand, and who can use light, colour and even elec­tric­ity to their ad­van­tage – whether to hide, to send mes­sages or to hunt. In mak­ing her case, the au­thor em­barks on un­ex­pected and in­trigu­ing jour­neys – not only across oceans, but deep into his­tory.

At a time when we are hear­ing so much about the dam­age be­ing wreaked upon our oceans, this is a re­fresh­ingly ju­bi­lant cel­e­bra­tion of life and an open in­vi­ta­tion to ap­pre­ci­ate and ex­pe­ri­ence the ex­cit­ing world be­neath the waves. Fish, in­deed, have much to tell us about life, the ocean and ev­ery­thing.

Olive Hef­fer­nan Science writer

The bright stripes of an em­peror an­gelfish break up its out­line, help­ing it to avoid pre­da­tion.

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