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Editors' notes

Even with three volumes, the description and illustration of over 1250 species meant compression of the text. Data already published in CLOFNAM, e.g. synonyms and literature references were left out of the FNAM books for practical reasons. The compact disc medium you are using now is not limited by a maximum number of pages or (color) illustrations. The present FNAM combines all the CLOFNAM and FNAM data so carefully collected by the authors in an up-dated version. This will allow users to access all information in an easy and fast manner. Below follow some notes from the editors of the FNAM.

Classification: the classification used in CLOFNAM has been modified in the light of more recent works, but reference to it has been retained by using the CLOFNAM numbers for families, genera and species. For species, genera or families that were not previously included, no CLOFNAM number was available.

Keys: the keys (valid only for the area) have been kept as simple as possible. The drawings may offer a tempting short-cut, but the reader is advised to check back through the key and also to confirm the identification by means of the family description. At the family level, where there are few species in a family, the species and genera have been included in the same key. In a few cases, species not yet recorded from the area have been placed in the key if there is a possibility that they may be found in the future.

Synonyms: both common names from FNAM and synonyms from CLOFNAM have been given. Common names: in most cases the English, French and Spanish names are those already adopted by FAO for the Identification Sheets or for World Lists. These are intended for international usage where the scientific name, for one reason or another, is avoided; they do not necessarily replace national names. In some cases, German, Russian or other national names have also been included.

Diagnoses: in order to facilitate comparisons beyond those characters coupled in the keys, the taxonomic features are described in the same sequence and not with priority given to the most obvious. Thus, general body shape is followed by the head and features associated with it, then the various fins, the scales, the lateral line, light organs, vertebrae and finally colour and size. Taxonomists will work patiently through the various keys, but non-specialists may well turn to the illustrations as a first step to locating the species. For this reason and at the risk of enlarging the text, some of the family, generic and key characters are repeated in the diagnosis. Where possible, the size of a body part is expressed as a simple proportion of head length, standard length (SL, i.e. to base of tail) or total length (TL, i.e. to tip of tail), but percentages are unavoidable where the distinction is small. Fin spines are given in roman numerals, and finrays in Arabic numerals. Upper and lower, or anterior and posterior elements of counts may be joined by a plus sign (gillrakers, scutes, photophore series, etc.). Unusual body parts or measurements are explained in the description of the genus or family.

Distribution: first comes a summary of the distribution within the CLOFNAM area, working from the southern boundary (30° N) northward for those species with a more southerly distribution (and vice versa for the more northerly species). Second comes the extra-limital distribution, always beginning with the more southerly extension of the range in the eastern Atlantic and then continuing across the Atlantic and into other regions. The maps have been colored to increase easy recognition of distribution patterns.

Literature: all literature references from CLOFNAM and FNAM have been included in this digital version. This means you will have fast access to well over 5000 references.

Morpology: the CLOFNAM and FNAM books did not have a separate section on fish anatomy and morphology. As there are quite a few specific terms used in the program, the editors of this digital FNAM decided to add this type of information to facilitate the use of FNAM by non-experts. Rather than adding some chapters on anatomy and morphology in the introduction section of the program, it was decided to add a detailed and illustrated glossary of terms, containing definitions for 783 terms.