Book Reviews of Fieldbook of Pacific N.W. Sea Creatures.

1. "It has been noted somewhere that the sea is full of a number of things, and it is probable that the long section of the Pacific Coast stretching between northwestern Alaska and Southern California's Point Conception harbors contains considerably more than its fair share of marine animals In Sea Creatures, McLachlan and Ayres include hundreds of excellent illustrations [and photographs]--mostly in full color--of the natural inhabitants of that coast, particularly those an offshore diver or pedestrian explorer might encounter. Nearly all the pictures include a helpful portion of each creature's preferred surroundings, and each is accompanied by a brief description of the subject's biology, habits, and family characteristics.

"The book is a thoroughly businesslike piece of work, and has educational potential well beyond its immediate use for identification. It includes a long and specific contents section, a field key to analysis and identification, a designation of habitat through five depth zones, an extended glossary, a list of references, and the requisite index. McLachlan and Ayres have produced a useful, scholarly and absorbing guide." (Dave Black, Sea Magazine, October 1980)

2. "The authors liken their book, Sea Creatures, to a family album of the creatures that a tidepool gazer or a diver might see in the waters of the Pacific Northwest. Like a family album, it does contain many fine photographs, and, most certainly, it is prepared with love and sensitivity. 'We favor leaving animal and plant life unharmed in their natural environments...and therefore, we would like to encourage people to be careful where they place their feet, to turn back over turned rocks, and to leave unharmed all creatures so that they might continue to live in natural, unspoiled ways.' The book is a field guide and, perhaps, the most complete and easily read work of its kind on this subject. It is the book that Pacific tidepoolers have been longing for. A small, visually appealing, simple but complete book on the fascinating creatures of the sea. To me, the three most outstanding characteristics of the work are its lucidity, its superb organization, and the fine color photographs which are such an aid to identification. The writing is a giant step above the usual field guide--it is easily understood." (Diane Chapman, Peninsula Times Tribune, Palo Alto, California, February 23, 1980)

3. "Fieldbook of Pacific Northwest Sea Creatures is the latest attempt to provide an adequate color field guide for Pacific Coast marine life. Unfortunately, it falls far short of the very ambitious goal set by the authors in the introduction--'Included are most of the animals a tidepool gazer or a diver is ever likely to see.' First of all, for the geographic area of coverage of Alaska to northern California, they have left out a very large number of invertebrates and fishes that are commonly encountered by the diver and tidepooler. It appears that the guide would be most useful in the Puget Sound area. Secondly, the authors' attempt to provide a guide to both intertidal and subtidal animals is an almost impossible task, considering the hundreds of species of fish and invertebrates that inhabit the region. To compound the problems with this guide, there are at least five species that are misidentified: on page 80, the sea star listed as Evasterias troschelii is actually Orthasterias koehleri; the nudibranch on page 105 listed as Archidoris montereyensis is Anisodoris nobilis; the nudibranches listed as Cadlina luteomarginata and Dendronotus rufus on page 106 are instead Acanthodoris nanaimoensis and D. iris, respectively; and the fish on page 183 listed as Leptocottus armatus is Enophrys bison. The book also suffers from poor color reproduction of what appear to be, in most cases, high quality original photographs. To sum up, by limiting the geographic area of coverage, limiting the coverage to either intertidal or subtidal animals, correcting the identifications, and redoing the color separations, the authors and publisher could, in their next edition, provide another valuable guide for Pacific coast divers and tidepoolers." (Daniel W. Gotshall, California Fish and Game, vol. 67, no. 3, July 1981)