A Field Guide to Common Marine Fishes of Singapore

Fish index (by name)
Fish families (by picture)
Parts of a fish
Kelvin K P Lim and Jeffrey K Y Low

This guide is designed mainly as a visual guide, using pictures and short diagnoses for identification of marine fishes found within the port limits of Singapore, as well as in brackish water of coastal drainages. The 200 species depicted here are those which in our experience, are likely to be seen by inshore anglers, beachcombers and even divers. However, the book will not enable one to identify every fish he or she encounters. If a fish cannot be identified with this book, the interested reader should consult publications like those listed at the end of this book.

Alternatively the specimen(s), best kept frozen, could be sent to the local zoological museum (see address below) for identification. In return for this service, it is kindly requested that the specimen(s) be donated to the museum to be preserved as a record of Singapore's biodiversity, and for future taxonomic reference.

Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research
Department of Biological Sciences
The National University of Singapore
Kent Ridge 117600 SINGAPORE

In this book, 'fish' refers to one or more individuals of one species, and 'fishes' to many individuals belonging to more than one species.

The text for each species illustrated is presented as follows:

English name: Unlike scientific names the English (common) names of fishes have not been standardised and different books use different names for the same fish. The names used here have been chosen from books based largely on frequent usage. Malay and Chinese names are included for a number of species.

Scientific name - genus and species (in italics).

Name of person (or persons) who first described the species (e.g., Bleeker, Valenciennes). If the author's name is within parentheses, it means that he (or she) did not name fish under present genus.

Family (names ending with '...dae'). Family names are those latin words ending with '..DAE'. Names ending with '..FORMES' are orders, the next higher category of classification after the family. Classification follows Nelson's (1994) 'Fishes of the World' with some modifications. Also refer to the illustrations in the picture guide to marine fish families known from Singapore.

Details on each fish include:
Concise morphological and colour descriptions.
Short notes on their natural history.
Length, given as total length (snout tip to tip of tall fin) unless otherwise stated, for example: standard length: from snout tip to caudal base; disc width: from one edge of the pectoral fin to the other (as in the Rajiformes). See Parts of a Fish for diagrams.

Depending on availability, photographs of live or freshly dead fish are used as far as possible to illustrate colour patterns which are often diagnostic. A few of the photographs are of fish preserved for many years and their colour is often lost. Fishes best identified by colour will not be featured in this state.

Below every photograph, a short caption contains the information on the photographer or source of photograph; and the source of the specimen in photograph. As far as possible, specimens obtained from Singapore waters are featured. Where this is not possible, fish from nearby areas, or market specimens are illustrated. Sometimes in the absence of a photograph, a simple line drawing is used instead. These are usually mode with references to photographs not available for use in this book.

Where the source of the photo is indicated as REST, this refers to the Reef Ecology Study Team, School of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore.
Coastal Marine Habitats
Fishy Trivia
Dangerous Fishes
Fishes and Man
About the guidebook
From A Guide to Common Marine Fishes of Singapore by Kelvin K P Lim and Jeffrey K Y Low
Published by the Singapore Science Centre and sponsored by BP

©Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research and Singapore Science Centre