Pacific Island Books

[Previous Page] [Next Page] [Up] [Home Page] [Mail] [Contents]


Birdwatching in Australia and New Zealand by Ken Simpson and Zoë Wilson. Published by New Holland Publishers. ISBN 1-87633-406-1. Recommended retail price $29.95.

Birdwatching is one of the world's most popular recreational pursuits. Written in simple, non-technical language, Birdwatching in Australia and New Zealand enables the beginner to acquire sufficient skill and knowledge to obtain a high level of enjoyment from this rewarding hobby. In addition the book explains the links between habitat and bird observation, providing an insight into the behavior of birds in their natural surroundings. Sections include how to look for birds, choosing the best time for birdwatching, how to make the best use of a field guide, avoiding common mistakes, tricks for quick identification, and how to keep simple but useful records. Birdwatching in Australia and New Zealand is an invaluable companion to any field guide to Australian or New Zealand birds. Soft cover, 206 pages. Published 1998.

Boas and pythons of the world


Boas and Pythons of the World by Mark O'Shea. Published by Princeton University Press. ISBN ISBN: 9780691131009. Recommended retail price $29.95.

Few reptiles command more respect than the mighty boas and pythons. Prized for their size, relative docility, and spectacular coloration and patterning, they are the most dramatic snakes in the world. But the same snakes that many consider gentle giants--the Green Anaconda can exceed twelve yards in length--are also finely tuned killing machines. In Boas and Pythons of the World, renowned snake expert Mark O'Shea takes readers on an exciting continent-by-continent journey to look at these snakes in their native habitats. Stunning color photographs and intriguing stories from O'Shea's encounters with these snakes in the wild bring these reptiles to life.

There is a tremendous variety of boas and pythons. While the largest are measured in yards, the smallest, the Javelin Sand Boa, is no longer than thirty-two inches. And they inhabit a vast range of habitats on five continents, from stony desert to lush tropical forest. In more than one hundred detailed species accounts, Boas and Pythons of the World examines snakes as different as the cryptically patterned Madagascan Ground Boa and Australasia's beautiful Green Tree Python.

Although some of these snakes are capable of attacking and killing humans, boas and pythons are much more likely to be man's victims. Across the world, these snakes are retreating in the face of habitat destruction, hunting, and climate change. Addressing the dire risks they face, O'Shea discusses what can be done to help save what are among our most fascinating reptiles.

Mark O'Shea, curator of reptiles at West Midland Safari Park (U.K.), has participated in more than sixty fieldwork and filming exhibitions, traveling to every continent except Antarctica. His books include the definitive Guide to the Snakes of Papua New Guinea: Reptiles and Amphibians (coauthored with Tim Halliday); and Venomous Snakes of the World (Princeton).

Cephalopods: A World Guide by Mark Norman. Published by Ikan. ISBN 3925919325. Recommended retail price $40.

A  field guide to the world's cephalopods with over 800 color photos. Author Mark Norman has described over 100 new Indo-Pacific octopuses so is ideally qualified to produce this impressive work. Published by Ikan and produced in the same format as the others from this publisher it is small enough to take with you on field trips but comprehensive enough to cover most cephalopods encounters .. now if you can just get a photo of a life giant squid ...  Hard Cover, 321 pages. Published in 2000.

Corals of Australia and the Indo-Pacific by John Veron. Recommended retail price $95.

This is the coral bible. Corals contains descriptions of almost 1000 coral species, most are illustrated in color. This is no monograph from a desk bound taxonomist but a labor of love by someone who loves the sea. It is my guide for identifying my underwater coral photos. Beautifully drawn distribution maps accompany each species’ description and may encourage amateur biologists to add to our ever-growing knowledge of these extraordinary animals. Hard cover, 644 pages.

Back cover (39k)

Coral Reef Fishes: Caribbean, Indian Ocean, and Pacific Ocean Including the Red Sea by Ewald Lieske and Robert Myers. Recommended retail price $22.95.

This is an excellent “take-it-with-you” guide to coral reef fishes anywhere on the planet. Lieske has been a diver for twenty five years and is a regular contributor to Europe’s largest diving magazine Tauchen. Robert Myers is a superb fish biologist, underwater photographer and illustrator.

Accurate paintings and descriptions of all fishes likely to be observed by divers down to a depth of 60 metres make this the most comprehensive book of its kind. It enables readers to quickly identify 2074 fish species and includes 2500 color illustrations.

The text proceeds according to region, depicting each species and its varieties together with information on its geographic range and where on the coral reef the fish may be found. Soft cover, 400 pages.

Coral Seas by Roger Steene. Published by Firefly Books. ISBN 1-55209-290-9. Recommended retail price $50.00.

I have written previously about my admiration for Roger Steene's photographs. I think it takes an underwater photographer to truly appreciate how wonderful these shots are. Even a jaundiced public, used to great wildlife shots, will be impressed with this collection.

This book is a must for every Marine Biologist, everyone who teaches Marine Biology, and in fact anyone who loves nature. There are over 340 color photographs in this collection and every one is a tribute to Steene's amazing ability to find things and his superlative dive and photographic skills. Every time I pick this book up it makes me want to go diving.

In addition, there are a series of microscope shots of the wonderful world of the plankton. Many of these species have never before been photographed. In the non-microscopic arena check out the bobbit worm and the incredible mimic octopus. Hard cover, 288 pages. Published 1998.

Click on thumbnails below to view some of Roger Steene's photos from Coral Seas

Aurelia aurita, the moon jelly. Photo by Roger Steene (57k)

Rhynchocinetes, Orangenet Hingebeak Shrimp. Photo by Roger Steene. (77k)

Porcellana sp., blue porcelain crab. Photo by Roger Steene. (89k)

Rhinopias frondosa, Weedy Scorpionfish. Photo by Roger Steene. (78k)

Crustacea: Guide of the World by Helmut Debelius. Published by Ikan. Recommended retail price $44.95.

It doesn't matter whether you are diving the kelp forests of Monterey, New Zealand's dark and forbidding fiords, the Seychelles or the Barrier Reef, this book will help you identify an unknown crustacean. There are over 1000 color photos of crabs, shrimps, mantis shrimps, lobsters, isopods, amphipods and pycnogonids. To the best of my knowledge this is the most comprehensive field guide to crustacea in existence. Hard cover, 321 pages. Published in 2001.

Designer Genes: The NZ Guide to the issues and facts about Genetic Engineering edited by Ray Prebble. Distributed by Addenda Books. ISBN 0958214603. Recommended retail price $11.98.

“Genetic engineering is forever”, “Most technologies can be used to evil effect as well as for good”, “There is not a single recorded case of a consumer being adversely affected by eating a GM food”, “Fraught with difficulty and economically foolhardy”, “Agriculture will be adversely affected if gene technologies are not used”, “Who profits?”, “The current achievements of genetic therapy are extremely modest”, “A major boon associated with little if any risk”, “Equivalent to mass medications without informed consent” What do you think?

We are in the midst of a genetic engineering revolution making drastic and unprecedented changes to the basic elements of life. It affects our food, health, environment and our economic future.

Is it a horrifying experiment?

Is it a solution to our problems?

This book offers in depth insight into the issues, facts and myths about the genetic revolution. It draws on experts from all sides of the debate to give you the knowledge and understanding you need to have informed opinions about GE – and have your say on an issue that affects us all. Dark Horse Publishers. Soft cover, 221 pages. Published in 2000.

Earth, A Speck of Dust by Keith Wilson. Published by National Pacific Press. ISBN 095824488X. Recommended retail price $20.95.

How many planets have intelligent life?
How can we communicate with other civilizations in the universe?
Do UFOs exist, and why would they visit us?
Which planet will we colonize first?
Are we merely specks of dust living on a speck of dust?

These are just some of the fascinating topics covered by Keith Wilson in Earth, a Speck of Dust. In a refreshingly light-hearted fashion the author asks, and attempts to answer, the things we have all wondered about when looking up at the night sky. An absorbing and entertaining presentation of facts and theories, illustrated by more than 120 of the author’s own drawings – an astronomy book with a difference!

There is an exciting and thought-provoking book which considers the future as well as the past.
-- H. Walter Jones Jr. M.D., Chief of Medicine, MIT Cambridge, USA (retired)

This book is an outstanding effort – it is clear, witty and exciting. Best of all are the sketches, which keep the reader rushing from page to page.
-- Rowland Richards, Professor of Engineering, University of Buffalo, New York

Many of us will enjoy and be mystified by Keith Wilson’s exploration of that eternal question: “Yes, but what is there further out than that?”
-- Sir Graham Speight, High Court Judge (retired)

Soft cover, 174 pages. Published in 2003.

Ecomyth: Challenging the dogma and ideology of the international 'green' movement by Lance Kennedy. Published by Dunmore Press.ISBN 0864694415. Recommended retail price $21.95.

Is our ecology in crisis? Are we poisoning ourselves with GM foods? Is it better to go organic? Are we drowning the globe in toxic chemicals? Will global warming destroy life on Earth? What, really, should we do to feed the starving millions, and save our forests and wildlife? Should we discard modern technology and return to a simpler and more natural way of life?

Lance Kennedy looks at these issues which are crucial to our future, and using detailed and critical thinking, delivers a new, more optimistic, message. Our planet is, in fact, prospering under the management of 21st -century science and technology: forests are expanding; wildlife is multiplying; we are feeding more people more completely than ever before; genetic engineering is not only safe, but brimming with potential to help build a better future; organic food is a con; synthetic chemicals are safer than ever and global warming has been enormously exaggerated. Mmmm ... do you believe all this? It is patently obvious that  some wildlife is not multiplying ... try being an orange roughy or a patagonian toothfish. But it is always good to have a balance to the eco-nazis who cry wolf. There is much commonsense in this book and it should  make many environmentalists evaluate their views... . Soft cover, 184 pages. Published in 2003.

Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea by Jack Randall, Gerry Allen and Roger Steene. Published by University of Hawai'i Press. Recommended retail price $85.

Like Veron’s Corals of the Indo-Pacific this book is the bible for divers, aquarists, naturalists or even professional ichthyologists working in this region of incredible diversity. Over 1200 species are described and most of them are illustrated in color. I use this as my foremost fish identification source.

Roger Steene is one of the world’s best underwater photographers while Gerry Allen and Jack Randall (both professional ichthyologists) are no slouches with a camera either. Highly recommended. Hard cover, 557 pages.

Fishes of the Tropical Eastern Pacific by Gerald Allen and Ross Robertson. Recommended retail price $85.

Fishes of the Tropical Eastern Pacific is a massive scholarly work in the same University of Hawai’i series as Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and the Indo-Pacific by Randall, Allen and Steene and Coastal Fishes of South Eastern Australia by Kuiter. The book covers from the central Gulf of California southward to Ecuador including the offshore Revillagigedos, Cocos and Galapagos island groups. Lavishly illustrated, the work covers 680 species. Of the shore fishes discussed, 84% are endemic to the Eastern Pacific. If you are visiting this region, are an aquarist or a student, this book is highly recommended. Hard cover, 332 pages.

Flowers of the Pacific Island Seashore by Arthur Whistler. Recommended retail price $19.00.

This is an expanded hard cover version of Art’s very Popular Coastal Flowers of the Tropical Pacific. The book covers 120 species, all illustrated with color photographs. The subtitle is “A guide to the littoral plants of Hawai’i, Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Fiji and Micronesia”. I carry this book with me on my field trips to the South Pacific and have found it invaluable. Art gave me my first copy in return for letting him use my photo of him in a rugged nature photographer pose. But enough of the name dropping. This book is highly recommended. Hard cover, 154 pages.



Kri Eco - Raja Ampat by Paddy Ryan. Published by Ryan Photographic. ISBN 978-0-615-29372-1. Recommended retail price $159.95, our price $150.

The reefs around the Raja Ampat Islands are one of the glories of the planet. Already affected by uncontrolled shark fishing and way too much surface trash, they nevertheless contain the greatest marine biodiversity on the planet. This book, based on three weeks and 43 dives at the Kri Eco Resort, is my tribute to this extraordinary dive destination.

Chapter headings include:

$150 is a lot of money for a book, but this is a lot of book. It's a hard cover, 11 inch by 13 inch, "publish-on-demand" coffee table book containing over 330 high quality photos which are reproduced to perfection by the inkjet printing used. To check out the book further click here to be taken to the "publish-on-demand" website (

Hard cover, 270 pages. Published in 2009.

Mammals of the South-West Pacific & Moluccan Islands by Tim Flannery. Recommended retail price $75.

This book and its companion, Mammals of New Guinea are destined to become classics. Classics because Tim is the first person to put together comprehensive, well written accessible works on the region’s mammalian fauna … and what a fauna it is. The region is home to 230 indigenous species of mammal.

Mammals of the South-West Pacific and Moluccan Islands provides species accounts, focussing on living native species, with introduced and extinct species dealt with separately. Distribution maps are provided for each species as well as photographs, detailed faunal lists and comprehensive skull photographs.

While I’m a little grumpy that none of my photographs made it into the book I can console myself with the thought that with the information contained in this work I’ll be better equipped next time. In my copy of another book of Tim’s that I hope to get for the website (Throwim Way Leg) he has written “Cheers, beers, axes and spears” which is a kind of description of his life. An extraordinary book by an extraordinary man. Highly recommended. Hard cover, 464 pages.

Monitors: The Biology of Varanid Lizards by Dennis King and Brian Green, illustrated by Frank Knight, Keith Newgrain and Jo Eberhard. Published by Krieger Publishing Company. ISBN 1575241129. Recommended retail price $25.50.

Australia is home to a rich and unique fauna but few Australian animals are as intriguing as its monitor lizards. Their abundance and bold behavior has made them a familiar favorite with generations of Australian bushwalkers, campers and even picnickers. In an easy-to-read style, Monitors: The Biology of Varanid Lizards covers the fascinating natural history of these ancient animals, which includes the world's largest lizard, the Komodo dragon.

This book is an update of the successful 1993 Australian Natural History Series title, Goanna. Since the publication of the first edition, many major studies have been undertaken in Australian, Asian and African species of monitors (goannas) and much fascinating new information regarding varanid lizards has emerged. For instance, research on Varanus albigularis has revealed that they can count, while work on V. salvator shows that they swim in the ocean when not searching for food. These findings plus other new information in areas as diverse as taxonomy, diet, breeding, behavior, and energetics have been incorporated into this text. Two new additions are chapter on parasites of varanids and a section on foraging strategy. Soft cover, 116 pages. This edition published in 1999.

Nudibranchs and Sea Snails: Indo-Pacific Field Guide by Helmut Debelius. Published by Ikan. ISBN 3925919511. Recommended retail price $75. (We can get this for you but it will have to ship from Germany).

This excellent field guide contains over 1000 color photographs of marine snails taken in their natural environment. Useful information is given to help you confirm your identifications. As nearly all of these photographs were taken in the field it is possible to see the live animal which really enhances identification as shells are often worn and bear little resemblance to a shell collectors cabinet. Helmut Debelius has published several brilliant marine guides and we are proud to carry several of them. Hard cover, 321 pages. Published in 2004.

Parrots: A Guide to the Parrots of the World by Tony Juniper and Mike Parr. Published by Pica Press. ISBN 1-873403-40-2. Recommended retail price $75, our price $70.

There is not a lot of justification for offering this book on our website aside from the fact I like it. But with nearly half of the world's parrot species confined to the Australian region that makes sense of sorts. Besides, when did anyone ever need a justification to sell a great book?

As the title suggests, this encyclopedic book covers all of the world's 350 parrot species. It covers them in 584 pages with identification notes, voice, distribution and status, ecology, description, sex/age, measurements, geographic variation and references for each species. If you are interested in parrots then this is the book for you. If you are a bird lover, this is the book for you. If you are a nature lover ... well you get the idea. Hard cover, 584 pages, published in 1998.

Plate from Parrots: A Guide to the parrots of the World

Planet penguin cover link

Planet Pengin: A (mostly) black and white book by Grant Sheehan. ISBN 9780958283847. Published by Phantom House. Recommended retail price $24.95.

Probably the most popular bird on the planet, and the only one that walks upright, the penguin cannot fly but is a champion swimmer.  There are no penguins at the North Pole, their home is in the Southern Hemisphere; from South Africa to the Galapagos Islands, and in New Zealand, Australia and as far south as Antarctica.

Photographer Grant Sheehan became a penguin fan on a recent first visit to Antarctica and the remote islands between there and New Zealand. Birds they may be, but they often appear to behave in human-like ways. Fanciful interpretations have been made as to what might be being said - if they could speak - or think - by these fascinating creatures as they go about their lives in the harsh environments that make up what we can call Planet Penguin.

For children from 8 to 80 years. Hard cover, 70 pages.

Link to Plight of Penguin cover

The Plight of the Penguin by Lloyd Spencer Davis. ISBN 9781877135569. Published by Longacre Press. Recommended retail price $29.95

Pengins have a curious magnetism that compels us to love them.  Is this because they seem like us?  They walk like us.  They dress in tuxedoes like us.  And perhaps, because of this, we think they should act like us.  We've created a human image of penguins; cute clones that marry for life and live happily ever after as devoted parents, rearing their families in a world of snow and ice

 Zoologist Lloyd Spencer Davis dispels this fairytale view of penguins, replacing it with startling revelations about their lifestyles, seduction techniques and survival secrets.  These are not colorless little polar people; these are raunchy birds that want to be fish.

The author's clear-eyed, direct style has a zest and wit that conveys the complexity of the natural world; the world where these birds lead such astonishing lives.  His enthusiasm, his sense of wonder and beauty are delightfully infectious, his dynamic advocacy of the conservationist's cause wholly persuasive.

Lloyd Spencer Davis is a world authority on penguins.  He's a Senior Lecturer at the University of Otago, and has published numerous scientific articles on penguins.  He was senior editor of a major academic text Penguin Biology, and his book Penguin won a PEN Best First Book Award.  Lloyd Spencer Davis has written several natural history film scripts and is currently the Director of the world's first university course in natural history film-making and communication.  He has won numerous awards for his research, writing, photography and film-making. Soft cover, 112 pages. Published in 2001.


Possums of the World: A Monograph of the Phalangeroidea by Timothy Flannery and illustrated by Peter Schouten. Published by Geo Productions in conjunction with the Australian Museum. ISBN 0-646-14389-1. Recommended retail price $ 40.

First, a word of explanation. By a not-widely accepted convention it has become customary to refer to Australasian opossums as possums and New World opossums as opossums. Therefore, this book is about the Australasian possums.

Possums are tree-dwelling marsupials which are confined to the Australasian region, especially Australia and New Guinea. Most subsist on a vegetarian diet of leaves or various plant products such as nectar and sap, but there are several insect eaters in the group. Some members of the group - the gliders - can sail from tree to tree on furry membranes stretched between their limbs. Some possums are urban animals, familiar even to many city-dwelling Australians; others inhabit regions so remote that almost nothing is known of their habits - a few in fact, are so obscure that they have only recently been discovered.

Possums are mentioned in documents dating from as early as the sixteenth century, mostly from the explorers, traders and administrators involved in the early days of the spice trade in what was then the East Indies. Scientific examination came somewhat later, but possums were observed and studied by the botanist Sir Joseph Banks at the Endeavour River in northern Queensland in 1770 when Captain James Cook made his famous unscheduled stopover to repair the damage to his ship sustained in its pioneer passage through the Great Barrier Reef.

Recent years have seen vigorous scientific study of possums, both within Australia and overseas, in the field, the museum and the laboratory. At the same time, some significant finds have been made in the fossil beds of Riversleigh and elsewhere, shedding new light on the history and development of the group.

Now the fruits of all this research are surveyed in the first-ever monograph of the group. In this magnificent book, Tim Flannery brings together all that is known of this group of engaging mammals. Superb color plates portray all sixty species and most subspecies. These paintings were prepared by Peter Schouten in close collaboration with the author. each illustration is of a particular specimen, its registration number included in the captions for the plates. Each portrays the animal in its typical habitat, portrayed with careful attention to botanical detail.

The result is both a technical monograph of enduring significance to all mammalogists and lovers of wildlife, and at the same time an artists sensitive and meticulous celebration of one of the most fascinating and attractive group of mammals to be found anywhere.

Most of the above was taken from the dust jacket blurb. These are always flowery and full of superlatives but I have to agree with everything above. This is a superb book and I absolutely have to have a copy of my own. Hard cover, 240 pages. Published in 1994.

Click on the thumbnails below for superb paintings by Peter Schouten.

Spotted cuscus, Spilocuscus maculatus nudicaudatus (63k)

Striped possum, Dactylopsila trivirgata (57k)

Reef and Shore Fishes of the South Pacific: New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands by John E. Randall. ISBN 0824826981. Published by the University of Hawai'i Press. Recommended retail price $75, our price $70.

The South Pacific has long been in need of a comprehensive guide to reef and short fishes. This volume covers the inshore fish fauna of New Caledonia, the Loyalty Islands, the southern Gilbert Islands (Kiribati), Tuvalu, Fiji, the Wallis Islands, Tonga, Samoa, American Samoa, the Tokelau Islands, the Phoenix Islands, the Cook Islands, the Austral Islands, Rapa, the Society Islands, the Tuamotu Archipelago, the Marquesas Islands, and the Pitcairn Islands. It contains accounts of 1,496 species of fishes, illustrated with more than 2,000 color photographs, taken mostly underwater.

Species accounts are headed by the English common name, the scientific name, the author or authors who described the fish, and the date of the description. This is followed by a concise list of the characteristics needed to identify the species, the total length it attains, its distribution, habitat, and in summary form what may be known of its biology. More than 600 references are given for those seeking more information on individual species. The introduction contains a two-page color spread of main external features of fishes. An extensive glossary of scientific terms precedes the idex.

This volume will become the benchmark and bible for anyone interested in the fishes of the South Pacific. Snorklers and scuba divers will find it especially useful; virtually every known species of fish they might encounter can be found within its covers.

John (Jack) E. Randall, the world's foremost authority on tropical marine fishes, has described 555 new coral-reef fishes - more than anyone else in history. He has authored 635 publications in marine biology, including regional guides to the fishes of the Caribbean Sea, Hawaiian Islands, Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Oman, Maldive Islands and the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. Since 1970 he has been senior ichthyologist at Bishop Musuem in Honolulu. Hard cover, 707 pages. Published in 2005.

Reef Fish Identification: Tropical Pacific by Gerald Allen, Roger Steene, Paul Humann and Ned Deloach. Published by New Word Publications & Odyssey Publishing. ISBN 1878348361. Recommended retail price $45.

Finally, a comprehensive fish identification guide covering the fish-rich reefs of the Pacific. 2,500 underwater photographs of 2,000 species from four of the best marine life authors/photographers in the business. Their collaboration makes it possible for underwater naturalists to identify fishes from Thailand to Tahiti with a single, compact, easy-to-use, no-nonsense reference. 108 fish families are presented in one of 20 Identification groups based on a familys' related visual or behavioral characteristics, such as LargeOval/Colorul or Sand/Burrow Dwellers. Likewise, every effort has been made to group similar appearing species together. This format may be a little disconcerting to begin with for the experienced fish watcher but with time proves quick and useful. For the beginner, who doesn't know one fish family from another, this format makes complete sense. I've just used this book on a recent dive trip to Fiji and found it very useful. Soft cover, 452 pages. Published in 2004.

Seabirds of the World: A Photographic Guide by Peter Harrison. Published by Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01551-1. Recommended retail price $28.95, our price $26.

This extraordinary book does what it says it will do in the title. All the world’s seabirds are here … including MacGillivray’s (Fiji) petrel which was rediscovered by Dick Watling in 1983. The photos, as might be expected from such a huge coverage are a mixed bag but even the worst are still quite suitable in helping to identify the species they depict. A succinct text and 322 distribution maps and keys to the albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters, storm petrels and diving petrels round out the package. This book should be an essential component of any ornithologist’s library and one of the first packed on a trip to the Pacific where the sea is never very far away. Soft cover, 317 pages. Published in 1987, reprinted 1996.



Seahorse book cover. Pygmy seahorse swimming with soft coral background

Seahorses and their Relatives by Rudie H. Kuiter. Published by Aquatic Photographics. ISBN 978-0-9775372-1-1. Recommended retail price $75.00

Revised from Seahorses, Pipefishes and their relatives, this book is by far the most comprehensive publication of the world's Seahorses and their relatives ever produced. It has been enlarged, more than 100 pages added and includes the recently named as well as many new species.

Fishes of the order Syngnathiformes, collectively known as syngnathids, are amongst the most unfish-like of all fishes. The appearance of many is often bizarre and species such as the Leafy Seadragon are outright spectacular. Their names speak for themselves: seahorses, seadragons, pipehorses, pipefishes, bellowsfishes, flutemouths, trumpetfishes, and seamoths, relating to their unusual appearance, in particular to their body or head shape and their long tubular snout.

Seahorses, with their vertical posture and bend-down head are by far the best known and popular. Therefore they are comprehensively covered in this book, and included for this group are special chapters on thier origin, evolution, world distribution, aquaculture of species for the aquarium trade, why such a trade and how well they are really doing in the wild and the myth about them being threatened.

Also presented here are all other known syngnathid members, as well as closely related families including all ghost piefishes, seamoth, and representatives of others.


Hard cover, 334 pages. Published in 2009.

Seed to Elegance: Kentia Palms of Norfolk Island, South Pacific by Kevin Williams. ISBN 978-0-9775121-1-9. Recommended retail price




Sharks & Rays: Elasmobranch Guide of the World by Ralf M. Hennemann. Published by Ikan. ISBN 3925919333. Recommended retail price $49.95.

Until relatively recently little information was available on the elasmobranchs: a group that includes the sharks, skates, rays and chimaeras (ratfishes). This extraordinary book pulls together photographs (over 600 of them) from all around the world of many elasmobranch species. Here you can see live photographs of the amazing megamouth shark and the goblin shark to name just two. Hard cover, 304 pages. Published in 2001.


Sharks of the World by Leonard Compagno, Marc Dando, and Sarah Fowler. Published by Princeton University Press. ISBN: 9780691120720. Recommended retail price $29.95.

Everyone's heard of the Great Whites. But most people know little of the hundreds of other types of sharks that inhabit the world's oceans. Written by two of the world's leading authorities and superbly illustrated by wildlife artist Marc Dando, this is the first comprehensive field guide to all 440-plus shark species. Color plates illustrate all species, and detailed accounts include diagnostic line drawings and a distribution map for each species. Introductory chapters treat physiology, behavior, reproduction, ecology, diet, and sharks' interrelationships with humans.

  • More than 125 original full-color illustrations for fast and accurate identification of each shark family
  • Over 500 additional drawings illustrating physical features from different angles
  • Clear identification information for each species with details of size, habitat, behavior, and biology
  • Quick ID guide helpful for differentiating similar species
  • Geographic distribution maps for each species
  • For professional and amateur shark enthusiasts



Snorkeller's Guide to the Coral Reef, The by Paddy Ryan. Published by University of Hawai'i Press. Recommended retail price $19.95, our price (signed by the author) $19.

This is the best selling book so far produced by Exisle Publishing. It has achieved world wide sales of 40,000 copies and has been translated into German. The edition we offer is by the University of Hawai'i Press.

The Snorkeller's Guide to the Coral Reef from the Red Sea to the Pacific Ocean introduces readers to the gentle art of snorkelling and then takes them on a voyage of discovery to the reef itself. Jam-packed with superb photos, many by world famous photographer Peter Atkinson, the book looks at each of the major groups of organisms on the reef. Chapter headings include: Learning to Snorkel, The Coral Animals and Reef structure, The Plants, The Worms, The Mollusks, The Echinoderms, The Crustacea, The Fishes, First Aid.

If you are interested in snorkeling on coral reefs then I recommend sea for yourself. This quality company specializes in snorkel trips to exotic locations. Because they know the best sites for snorkeling you can be sure you'll see a wide variety of exotic creatures and plants.

Reviews of the Snorkeller's Guide to the Coral Reef by Paddy Ryan

Splendors of the Seas: The Photographs of Norbert Wu by Norbert Wu. Published by Hugh Lauter Levin Associates. ISBN 0-88363-958-0. Recommended retail price $60, our price $40.

I started copying the dust jacket blurb but decided it was an insult to your intelligence. If you are in the market for this book you'll probably already know and recognize Norbert's photographic talents. If you don't, then let me mention that Norbert is probably amongst the world's top ten underwater photographers as this collection of shots from all over the world shows.

He's a self-deprecating type. Here's how the book begins:

"Most people are a little disappointed when they first meet me. Instead of an athletic. macho, rum-soaked descendant of Blackbeard, they find instead a short, round, rotund, Asian man, hardly the sort of person most people envision doing battle with sharks and whales. However, other divers afflicted with the disease of dunking expensive cameras into salt water love talking to me. They figure that if a puny guy like me can make a living as an underwater photographer, anyone can do it. And they are absolutely right. I use the same equipment and film as most serious amateurs, and my relatives do not include anyone with the surname of Cousteau or Trump."

Yes, well. You be the judge. Hard cover, 252 pages, published in 1994.

Click on the thumbnail below for a Norbert Wu photograph of a harlequin tusk fish

Sulawesi Seas: Indonesia’s Magnificent Underwater Realm by Mike Severns. Recommended retail price $60, our price $55.

Okay, we know that Indonesia isn’t in the Pacific but we just couldn’t resist this superb book by Mike Severns. Over 150 luscious photos from North Sulawesi are featured. If you are a diver, graphic designer, or naturalist there is much in this book for you. I was particularly drawn to photos of species I haven’t seen previously. For me the standout is the photo of a one and a half inch pink anglerfish propped next to two deep green ascidians. Highly recommended. Hard cover, 160 pages.

Understanding Fisheries in the South Pacific by Michael King. recommended retail price $3.00.

Tropical fisheries expert Mike King delivers a brief guide to fisheries in the tropical Pacific. Together with the companion volume Fisheries in the Economy of the South Pacific they provide a brief overview of this topic. The booklet is illustrated with many of Mike's excellent pen and ink drawings. Soft cover, 24 pages.

See also the companion work Fisheries in the economy of the South Pacific also by Michael King.

Venmous snakes of the world

Venomous Snakes of the World by Mark O'Shea. Published by Princeton University Press. ISBN: 9780691150239. Recommended retail price $19.95.

Feared, revered, and often misunderstood, venomous snakes have been a source of legend and nightmare since time immemorial. In this comprehensive volume, author Mark O'Shea has combined expertly written, in-depth descriptions of the world's common and exotic venomous snakes, highlighted by previously unpublished gripping accounts of his adventures with snakes, including personal observations and several serious snakebite episodes.

The book begins with a description of the anatomies of venomous snakes, along with their diversity and distribution. Also included is a unique in-depth look at the various types of snake venom and the ways that each type attacks the body. A section on anti-venom, including thoughts on the looming anti-venom crisis, is also presented. Information on the adaptations of ocean-dwelling snakes and issues of snake conservation as well as an examination of venomous lizards follow.

From bamboo pitvipers to deep-diving seasnakes, and from adders and asps to terciopelos and the massasaugas, this book takes an original approach to examining these enthralling creatures. Rather than the typical taxonomic categorization, the snakes are grouped by geographic location: the Americas, Africa, Eurasia, Tropical Asia, Australasia, and the Oceans. Each section is illustrated with stunning and rare pictures, many of which were taken by the author himself.

Suitable for professional snake handlers and armchair herpetologists alike, this extremely accessible book is an enthusiastic celebration of the diversity and beauty of venomous snakes worldwide.

Mark O'Shea, curator of reptiles at West Midland Safari Park (U.K.), has participated in more than sixty fieldwork and filming exhibitions, traveling to every continent except Antarctica.

Wayside Plants of the Islands: A Guide to the lowland Flora of the Pacific Islands by Arthur Whistler. Recommended retail price $19.95, our price $18.75.

Dr. Arthur Whistler (Art to his friends and no doubt his enemies too) has spent over 25 years making botanical excursions to various islands of the Pacific to collect and identify plants. I was fortunate enough to accompany him on a six weekend lowland ecosystem survey in Samoa. Art knew all of the plants on sight.

Wayside Plants of the Islands includes color photos of 170 of the most common of lowland species together with descriptions and other useful information (such as the local name). Because many of these species range beyond the islands, this book would be useful for a visitor to any part of the tropics. Soft cover, 202 pages.

Whales and dolphins: Cetacean World Guide by Ralf Kiefner. Published by Ikan. ISBN 3925919589. Recommended retail price $49.95.

Another of the superb books by Ikan on marine subjects. This volume includes over 500 photographs of whales and dolphins from all over the world. As well as being an identification guide there are many first person encounters with whales including a heart-rending story of a youg female blue whale being attacked and ultimately killed by bull sharks in New Caledonia. Some of the photos are quite superb. Memorable for me is a picture of ten or so dolphins surfing a wave in South Africa. Hard cover, 305 pages. Published in 2002.

Cove rof whales dolphins and other marine mammals thumbnail


Whales, Dolphins and Other Marine Mammals of the World by Hadoram Shirihai & Brett Jarrett. Published by Princeton University Press. ISBN: 9780691127576. Recommended retail price $24.95.

This breathtakingly beautiful book brings readers nose-to-nose with all of the world's marine mammals-a comprehensive line-up of remarkable whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, walruses, otters, polar bears, dugongs, and manatees.

A highly practical field guide, it combines state-of-the-art illustrations with superb color photographs and detailed maps. The book highlights key field marks and clearly summarizes the types of behaviors that marine-mammal watchers may observe.

Where other guides settle for static or wooden images and descriptions, this one comes to life with the kind of detailed text and stunning photos that make for a go-to reference guide. Armed with this book, any observer anywhere in the world should be able to identify the marine mammals they encounter.

Soft cover, 384 pages, published in 2006.

Whale Watching in Australian & New Zealand Waters by Peter Gill & Cecilia Burke, Color illustrations by Pieter Folkens. Published by New Holland Publishers. ISBN 1-86436-472-6. Recommended retail price $24.95

Whale watching is fast becoming a passion in Australia and New Zealand, both home to numerous species of whales and dolphins. With whale-watching operations starting up in many places, viewing cetacea in the wild is now much easier.

Whale Watching in Australian & New Zealand Waters is a definitive guide for all adventurous holiday makers, amateur naturalists and students who want to take a closer and well-informed look at these fascinating mammals. This easy-to-follow book covers all you will need to know, including:

· the ecology and behavior of whales and dolphins
· interesting insights into whaling history, whale conservation and research
· identification notes, accompanied by detailed color illustrations and locator maps for each species
· a comprehensive guide to sites highlighting the best places to see whales
· a listing of whale-watching operators

Soft cover, 148 pages. Published in 1999.

Where to watch birds in Australasia and Oceania by Nigel Wheatley. Published by Princeton University Press. Recommended retail price $55.
This book describes over 200 major bird watching sites in detail and many more in passing, from New Guinea to New Zealand and across the Pacific to Hawai’i. In those instances where Paddy has been able to check on its accuracy it passes muster. While it will not replace the experience and advice of local observers it provides amateur ornithologists with a wonderful start.

Where to watch birds in Australasia and Oceania answers crucial questions you find yourself asking before you go: Where can I see birds that characterize the region? Which country supports the best cross-section of species and the most endemics and which sites do I need to visit to see most of them? How long do I need, and when is the best time to go?

General introductions to each country are followed by site details, which include bird lists under the headings ‘Endemics’, ‘Specialities’ and ‘Others’, a list of other wildlife if applicable, and up-to-date information on where to look for particular species. Over 100 maps and 50 line drawings complement the text. Hard cover, 448 pages.

Click below for links to related books

ABC of Calf Rearing, The by Sharyn Munnerley

Ana Otabwanin Kiritimati: The Environment of Christmas Island by Roger Perry and Martin Garnett

Australia: An Ecotraveller's Guide by Hannah Robinson

Australia the Beautiful Land by Bruce Elder

Australian Bats by Sue Churchill

Australian Cicadas by M.S. Moulds

Australian Crocodiles: A Natural History by Grahame Webb and Charlie Manolis

Australian Fungi, Field Companion to by Bruce Fuhrer

Australian Goannas by Matt Vincent and Steve Wilson

Australian Grasshoppers and Locusts, A Guide to by D.C.F Rentz, R.C. Lewis, Y.N. Su and M.S. Upton

Australian Insects; A Natural History by Bert Brunet

Australian Marine Life: The Plants and Animals of Temperate Waters by Graham Edgar

Australian Wildflowers, Field Guide to, by Denise Greig

Australia's Wildflowers Transforming the Landscape by Denise Greig

Awesome Forces: The Natural Hazards that Threaten New Zealand edited by Geoff Hicks and Hamish Campbell

Best of Australian Birds, The by David Watts

Birds of Fiji. 1. Land Birds by Dick Watling, illustrated by Chloe Talbot Kelly

Birds of Fiji. 2. Sea & Shore Birds by Dick Watling illustrated by Chloe Talbot-Kelly

Guide to the Birds of Fiji & Western Polynesia (including American Samoa, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Wallis & Futuna), A by Dick Watling

Birds of the Fiji Bush by Fergus Clunie, illustrated by Pauline Morse

Birds of Hawai'i and the Tropical Pacific: A Field Guide to by H. Douglas Pratt, Philip L. Bruner, and Delwyn G. Berret. Illustrated by H. Douglas Pratt

Birds of Kaua'i, The by Jim Denny

Birds of New Guinea by Bruce Beehler, Thane Pratt, and Dale Zimmerman. Illustrations by Dale Zimmerman and James Coe

Birds of New Zealand, The Hand Guide to the by Hugh Robertson and Barrie Heather

Birds of the Night; Owls, Frogmouths and Nightjars of Australia by David Hollands

Birds of Vanuatu by Heinrich Bregulla

Birdwatcher’s Guide to Hawai’i, The by Rick Soehren

Cattle Breeds in Australia; A Complete Guide by Jenny Parsons

Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia by Rudie Kuiter

Coasting: The Sea Lion and the Lark by Neville Peat

Cocos Island, Diving and Snorkeling Guide to by Lucy Agace

The Complete Guide to Antarctic Wildlife: Birds and Marine Mammals of the Antarctic Continent and the Southern Ocean by Hadoram Shirihai Illustrated by Brett Jarrett

Cuckoos, Nightbirds & Kingfishers of Australia. Edited by Ronald Strahan

Designer Genes: The NZ Guide to the issues and facts about Genetic Engineering edited by Ray Prebble

Diving and Snorkelling Australia’s Great Barrier Reef by Len Zell

Diving and Snorkeling Guide to Australia; Southeast Coast and Tasmania by Peter Stone

Diving and Snorkeling Guide to Fiji by W. Gregory Brown

Diving and Snorkeling Guide to the Hawaiian Islands by Doug Wallin

Diving and Snorkeling New Zealand by Jenny and Tony Enderby

Diving and Snorkeling Papua New Guinea by Bob Halstead and Tim Rock

Diving and Snorkeling Guide to Vanuatu by Bob Bowdey, Judy Beaty, and Brian Ansell

Eagles Hawks and Falcons of Australia by David Hollands

Eagle's Complete Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand by Audrey Eagle

Ecology and Evolution of Darwin’s Finches by Peter Grant

Enjoying Birds in Hawaii: A Birdfinding Guide to the Fiftieth State by Douglas Pratt

Environmental Weeds by Kat

Eucalypts of South Australia by Dean Nicolle

Eucalypts, Field Guide to Volume 1; South-western & Southern Australia by M.I.H. Brooker & D.A. Kleinig

Eucalypts, Field Guide to Volume 2; South-western & Southern Australia by M.I.H. Brooker & D.A. Kleinig

Exploring Hanauma Bay by Susan Scott with photographs by David Schrichte

Extinct Birds of New Zealand by Alan Tennyson and illustrated by Paul Martinson

Ferns of Hawai'i by Kathy Valier

Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, A by Graham Pizzey, illustrated by Roy Doyle

Fiji, Herpetofauna of, a Field Guide to by Clare Morrison

Fiji's Natural Heritage by Paddy Ryan

Finches, Bowerbirds & Other Passerines of Australia. Edited by Ronald Strahan

Finding Birds in Australia's Northern Territory by D. Donato, P. Wilkins, G. Smith and L. Alford

Fiordland Underwater ... New Zealand's Hidden Wilderness by Paddy Ryan and Chris Paulin

Flowering of Gondwana, The: The Million Year Story of Australia's Plants by Mary White

Frogs of Australia, Green Guide by Gerry Swan

From the Country: An Anthology by T.R. Garnett edited by George Seddon

 Galápagos Islands, A Guide to the Birds of the by Isabel Castro and Antonia Phillips

Gardens in Australia: Their Design and Care facsimile edition of the author’s copy by Edna Walling

Gordon Ford: The Natural Australian Garden by Gordon Ford with Gwen Ford

Grasses of Temperate Australia: A Field Guide by C.A. Lamp, S.J. Forbes and J.W. Cade

Grassland Plants of South-Eastern Australia by Neil and Jane Marriott

Great Barrier Reef  by David Doubilet

Handbooks of the Flora of Papua New Guinea: Vol. I. Edited by John S. Womersley

Handbooks of the Flora of Papua New Guinea: Vol. II. Edited by E. E. Henty

Handbooks of the Flora of Papua New Guinea: Vol. III. Edited by Barry J. Conn

Hawaii; a Natural History by Sherwin Carlquist

Hawai'i, An Underwater Guide to by Ann Fielding and Ed Robinson.

Hawai’i’s Birds, A Pocket Guide to by Douglas Pratt with photographs by Jack Jeffrey and Douglas Pratt

Hawai'i's Ferns and Fern Allies by Daniel Palmer

Hawaii’s Fishes; A Guide for Snorkelers, Divers and Aquarists by John Hoover

Hawaiian Coastal Plants: An Illustrated Field Guide by Mark Merlin

Hawaiian Forest Plants: An Illustrated Field Guide by Mark Merlin

Hawaiian Insects and Their Kin by Francis Howarth and William Mull

Hawaiian Natural History, Ecology, and Evolution by Alan Ziegler

Hawaiian Reef Animals (Revised Edition) by Edmund Hobson and E.H. Chave

Hearts & Minds: Creative Australians and the Environment by Michael Pollak and Margaret MacNabb

Hebes, An Illustrated Guide to New Zealand by Michael Bayly and Alison Kellow

Herpetology in Australia: A diverse discipline, edited by Daniel Lunney and Danielle Ayers

Indigenous Plants of the Sandbelt: A Gardening Guide for South-eastern Melbourne by Rob Scott, et al.

Island of The Colorblind, The by Oliver Sacks

Kadimakara: Extinct Vertebrates of Australia edited by P.V. Rich and G.F. van Tets. Illustrated by F. Knight

Kangaroos & Wallabies of Australia by Dave Watts

Kingfishers and Kookaburras of Australia: Jewels of the Australian Bush by David Hollands

Life in the Tall Eucalypt Forests by David Lindenmayer and Esther Beaton

Mai Veikau tales of Fijian Wildlife by Dick Watling illustrated by Ian Rolls.

Mammals of New Guinea by Tim Flannery

Marshall Islands, The - Living Atolls Amidst the Living Sea by The National Biodiversity Team of the Republic of the Marshall Islands

Moa’s Ark: The Voyage of New Zealand by David Bellamy and Brian Springett with Peter Hayden

Moths of Australia by I. F. B. Common

Native Orchids of Southern Australia, a Field Guide to the by David & Barbara Jones

Native Plants of Melbourne and adjoining areas by David & Barbara Jones

Natural History of the Hawaiian Islands, A:  Selected Readings II edited by E. Alison Kay

Natural History: Icons from Te Papa

Nearshore Marine Resources of the South Pacific edited by Andrew Wright and Lance Hill.

Nest Boxes for Wildlife: a practical guide  by Alan and Stacey Franks

New Zealand Birds, The Reed Field Guide to by Geoff Moon.

New Zealand Coast,The ; Te Tai O Aotearoa edited by James R Goff, Scott L Nichol and Helen L Rouse

New Zealand Fish: a complete guide by Chris Paulin, Andrew Stewart, Clive Roberts & Peter McMillan

New Zealand Lichens: Checklist, Key and Glossary by WM Malcolm & DJ Galloway

New Zealand Stream Invertebrates: Ecology and Implications for Management edited by K.J. Collier and M. J. Winterbourn

Pick of the Bunch: New Zealand Wildflowers by Peter Johnson

Plants and Flowers of Hawai'i by S. H. Sohmer and R. Gustafson

Plants in Samoan Culture: The Ethnobotany of Samoa by Art Whistler

Pohutukawa & Rata: New Zealand's Iron-hearted Trees by Philip Simpson

Princeton Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, The. Edited by Ken Simpson, illustrated by Nicolas Day.

Remains of a Rainbow; Rare Plants and Animals of Hawai'i by David Liittschwager & Susan Middleton

Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia by Hal Cogger

Reptiles and Amphibians of South Australia, The by Edgar Waite

Rockpool Fishes of New Zealand, The by Chris Paulin and Clive Roberts.

Samoan Archipelago, Field Guide to the : Fish Wildlife and Protected Areas by Meryl Rose Goldin

Samoan Herbal Medicine by Dr. W. Arthur Whistler

Sharks and Rays of Australia by P. R. Last and J. D. Stevens

Sharks & Rays of Australia, Green Guide by Kelvin Aitken

Shells of Hawai’i by E. Alison Kay and Olive Schoenberg-Dole

Shore Fishes of Hawai’i by John Randall

Smarter Than Jack: 87 true stories edited by Jenny Campbell

Snakes & Other Reptiles of Australia: Green Guide by Gerry Swan

Snakes of Papua New Guinea, A Guide to The by Mark O'Shea

Tasmanian Birds, Field Guide to by Dave Watts

Terre Napoleon by Susan Hunt and Paul Carter

Toroa: The Royal Albatross by Te Aorere Riddell

Tropical Food Gardens: a guide to growing fruit, herbs and vegetables in tropical and sub-tropical climates by Leonie Norrington

Underwater Wonders of New Zealand by Gillian and Darryl Torckler

Watching Wildlife: Galapagos Islands by David Andrew

Wildflowers of Sydney and adjoining areas by Alan Fairley

Wildflowers of Victoria by Margaret G. Corrick and Bruce A. Fuhrer

Wildlife of the Galápagos by Julian Fitter, Daniel Fitter and David Hosking

William Dampier in New Holland

[Previous] Music
[Next] Other Non-fiction
[Up] Catalog
[Home] Home Page
[Mail] Send E-Mail to Pacific Island Books
[Contents] Pacific Island Books Contents

Thanks for visiting Pacific Island Books