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'Kansas Fishes' hot off the press




It's the kind of book rough-hewn coffee tables are made for.

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It's the kind of book rough-hewn coffee tables are made for.

But it also has a functional side that can be educational for students, teachers and the type of person who simply likes being outdoors, perhaps stream-side with a rod and reel.

"Kansas Fishes" recently was published by the University of Kansas Press, and is slowly making its way into the hands of fishing aficionados.

The book, said FHSU biology professor Mark Eberle, is aimed at "the people who would have an interest in learning about fish. Not just ichthyologists."

Written by consortium of Kansas people involved in fish and aquatic issues, it also features the art work of Joseph R. Tomelleri, who got his start illustrating the Fort Hays State University pamphlet "Big Creek and its Fishes."

The "Kansas Fishes" book, according to Eberle, also is dedicated to Frank Cross, an ichthyologist who taught at KU for 40 years, and is perhaps the father of Kansas fisheries.

Cross was the author of the only two books about Kansas fishes, the first published in 1957.

But this isn't a book destined just for the classroom.

Eberle said the authors tried to keep the descriptions understandable for everyone, but still accurate.

"A lot of time when people write, they write for their peers," he said.

This one is for everyone.

And that effort fell to an 11 member organizing committee, three of whom have ties to FHSU.

"That's when editing really works," Eberle said of taking scientific writing and turning it into something for the masses.

The update also added 28 species that occur in Kansas.

But the book also looks ahead, adding small descriptions on fish that can be found close to Kansas, and with the advent of climate change, could move northward to stay ahead of the warming temperatures.

Kansas species take up a couple pages, while the others are a long paragraph.

That includes minnows that are coming north out of Oklahoma.

"Who knows what climate change is going to do," Eberle said, but there seems to be some northward movement.

Even though the book sells for $39.95, it's a relatively inexpensive investment considering its size and the color illustrations. As a textbook, it certainly will be lower priced than many.

The cost is reduced because of contributions to help cover some of the printing costs.

Any royalties that might come from the book are going to the Kansas Chapter of Fisheries for a scholarship fund, Eberle said.

"If you're curious, hopefully you can learn from this," he said of the book.

The authors, hailing from the six state universities, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and Kansas Biological Survey, started talking about the book in 2010, and the first draft was forwarded to KU in December 2013.

The 518-page book was published in July. It has 184 color pictures and 121 maps.

The books are available at Sternberg Museum of Natural History.