Until just a few decades ago, very little was known about the phylogenetical old, but very successful group of sharks, rays and chimaeras (ratfish). Since then, a lot of information has become available on the 1,000 or so living species of cartilaginous fishes. Naturally, the reef dwellers among them are better known than their deep-sea relatives. Hence the focus of species selected for this unique identification guide has been on those sharks and rays inhabiting shallow water. This makes it an indispensable guide (240 species on more than 600 color photos) for diver and visitor to public aquaria. In addition to including some little known and never published species as well as fossil forms, there is also a discussion of relevant topics such as the utilization of cartilaginous fishes by man, and their threatened extinction.
R.M. Hennemann et Helmut Debelius