lies in the central region of Southeast Asia and the Indo-west Pacific.
The shallow seas and equatorial climate support a wide range of ecosystems
like coral reefs and mangrove swamps. The island is flanked in the
east by the South China Sea which has over 4,000 species of fish.
of Singapore River
an artificial estuarine environment
photo: N Sivasothi
rabbitfishes (Siganus guttatus) and snappers (Lutjanus
at an artificial reef in
the Singapore Straits
the time of writing, at least 865 species of marine fish have been
recorded from Singapore since the 1800's, but only about 400 of these
are of confirmed occurrence.
The others consist mainly of species collected from markets and may
not actually be found in local waters.
The fishes covered
in this guidebook spend most, if not all of their lives in brackish and
saltwater. These are found either in coastal inland drainages or in the
sea. There are fishes which can live in the sea, as well as in freshwater.
They tend to frequent estuarine areas where the water is brackish, Many
species can easily be observed in their natural habitat, especially in tide
pools by the beachcomber, and on coral reefs, by the scuba diver or snorkeller.
The latter may have a harder time appreciating fishes here as the visibility
of local waters is often very poor. The angler sees the fishes that he or
his companions catch. Fishes wastefully discarded by anglers on jetties
are mostly of the shore-dwelling variety and many of these are illustrated
book is not a comprehensive record of the coastal marine fishes of
Singapore, but rather is intended more as an introductory guide for
students and the nature enthusiast. We hope the reader will find this
small and handy guide useful in helping to identify the more common
species of fish. However, do not expect to be able to identify every
and any fish with this book as only 200 of the more common species
are illustrated. We also like to point out that Singapore's marine
fish fauna is not well studied, and new records, and even new species
of fish are still being discovered.
(Apogon endekataenia) characterised by a large black blotch
at the tail base and reddish stripes on the sides, were photographed
in the Singapore Straits
Coastal Marine Habitats
Fishes and Man
About the guidebook