About this Effort

Why am I doing this?

Because I can? I wrote software to curate fish pictures so why not? It's always bothered me that fish books have always been incomplete. What fish book ever showed all the killifish or all the tetras for example and the reason is obvious: the limitations of paper and ink but there are no such limitations on the web.

Plus what can be done here is different that what can be done with a book. You'd have to release another edition of a book to update it. Axelrod tried something like this with the TFH looseleaf book and it was ok in the day but Nixon was in office then and this is now. Worse, back then there were no automated ways to look up scientific information about fish and when these were finally available you could then pay $100/hr for find out there are six articles with he word "Aphyosemion" in them available for searching.

Better, now we have a canonical list of all names of fishes. William Eschemeyer is an ICZN commissioner and ichthyologist of some renown (specialising in scorpionfish) and he decided about 25 years ago to make a list of all fish names. After 10 years of this the US National Science Foundation funded his team for another ten years to complete it which they dad and it exists with a petty reasonable search interface. It is the only such list in the world and all catalogs of fishes defer to this one site which to this day is updated nearly daily certainly several times a week. I have yet to see an actual error in it, modulo a typo once every ten years, its a superb piece of work.

So I thought it would be a cool idea to illustrate it with pictures of the fish people share. This will give is a good snapshot of what we have and I've been doing this long enough with killifish it gives me a good sense of what fish is around and what isn't which is handy when you're trying to see who last had a certain rare species.

In the 1986 I created some newsgroups on the usenet news network, the first social media platform. These were about fish and after a few years we all ponied up for a $1000 disk drive to store all this stuff on, one guy (not me) had tried to summarize what we'd talked about and learned on that site, this is still around as "The Krib" ( and if you want to see what we had to do to echange images in a pre-web internet have a look at which was about the cutoff point. Three years later the web was ubiquitous) and in a sense this is what I'm doing here. As people worldwide meet and greet and swap fish photos, I swipe up on the general principle sharing is caring. Of course I'll take anything down you don't wish to be seen in public for whatever reason.

Richard Sexton, July 2017