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Re: Peterson's Guide to fw fish.

J.L., it's a good book, but I don't think it lists every FW fish in the
nation.  They make that claim by mentioning many species under another's
description.  Certainly not every species is illustrated.  There are no
photographs; everything is illustrated with plates, and many of those aren't
in color.  But where color is important to identifying a species, the plates
are done in color, and are for the most part pretty good IMHO.  Each page of
plates has a facing page of legends, listing the species name and the
identifying points; many plates include arrows.  For a field guide used in
identification, as it's designed, it's probably the best available.  With
time, you could track down the species of almost any specimen - regional
variations will still give you trouble - so in that respect it does cover
every available species (as known in 1991).  Other field guides using photos,
notably the Audobon Society's, are more attractive but of much less value in
identification IMHO.  And of the other field guides I've seen using plates,
none even comes close.  I highly recommend it; just realize that natural
history is very sparse.
    The range maps are remarkably detailed, better than most, but show only
original range in most cases.  Of course, they don't have the detail of a
state or regional guide, but for a national scope they're the best I've seen.
    Hope this helps,