Categories: Books Sea Fishing NZ

Collins Guide to the Sea Fishes of New Zealand Tony Ayling

Collins Guide to the Sea Fishes of New Zealand

by Tony Ayling with 48 colour plates by Geoffrey J. Cox

Published by Collins 1982. There is also a slightly revised 1984 edition. Hardback. 198 x 130mm. ISBN 10: 0002169878 ISBN 13: 9780002169875. Out of print but copies are available from


To present, in a logical order, a summary of the ‘fishy’ knowledge available, for everyone interested in the sea, from beginner to specialist, and to do so in an interesting and enjoyable way.


Deals with the three main groups of sea fishes – jawless, cartilaginous and bony – to be found within New Zealand’s 200-mile limit.


This follows the taxonomic groupings in the presumed evolutionary sequence.


Includes instructions on how to use the book for identification purposes; lists and illustrates the 170 families; provides keys to the salient identification points. Covers 486 species, with the fullest information available on size, growth rates, feeding, breeding, distribution and habitats.


180 specimens painted in full colour by Geoffrey Cox, 475 line drawings by Tony Ayling, plus maps and diagrams.

ISBN 0 00 216987 8

I have used the Collins Guide to the Sea Fishes of New Zealand by Tony Ayling for many years as a great, easy to carry identification guide ideal for use in the field, or rather boat or beach. The 180 specimens painted in full colour make it easy to identify the vast majority of fishes likely to be encountered by anglers fishing around the coast of New Zealand. When these illustrations are combined with the informative text which outlines the whereabouts in New Zealand that these species can be found, descriptions, fish length, body shape, expected weight range, interesting facts and so on, you can generally work out which species of fish it is you have caught.

Tony Ayling – biologist, author and artist

Tony Ayling was born in England in 1947, he has spent most of his life in New Zealand where he completed a PhD in marine biology at the University of Auckland in 1976.

Geoffrey J. Cox – artist and biologist

Geoffrey J. Cox was born in England in 1952 but moved to New Zealand in 1963. Geoffrey has always been interested in natural history and art. He chose to specialise in natural history and graduated with an MSc (Hons) in zoology from the University of Auckland in 1977.


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