Otoliths of Common Australian Temperate Fish


eBook - August 2007 - eRetailers

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A guide to the accurate identification of fish species and size using otoliths (fish earbones).

The accurate identification of fish ‘ear-bones’, known as otoliths, is essential to determine the fish prey of marine and terrestrial predators. Fish otoliths are species-specific when combining size, shape and surface features, and can remain undigested for long periods. As a result, they can indicate which fish make up the diet of various predators, including cephalopod, seabird, marine mammal and fish species. Such studies are crucial for understanding marine ecosystems, and trophodynamics in particular. Increasingly, these methods are being used to understand the diet of some terrestrial predators, also extending to that of humans in archaelogical studies. + Full description

Otoliths of Common Australian Temperate Fish offers users a verified reference collection to assist in the accurate identification of species and size of fish using otoliths. It covers 141 fish species from a broad geographic range of the Australian temperate region and includes commercial and non-commercial fish species. A standardised written description of the otolith structure, size and surface features is provided for each species. Included are brief distribution and ecology notes, and regression for both otolith and fish lengths, together with high-quality SEM photographs of the otolith described.

This guide will be an essential reference for marine scientists and marine mammal researchers; ornithologists, fisheries researchers and fish biologists studying age and growth or comparative anatomy; and archaeologists.

Winner of the 2008 Whitley Award for Zoological Manual.

- Short description


No longer available in a print edition.


"This book is typical of CSIRO PUBLISHING in the high quality of its presentation. This enables the wealth of information that it contains to be easily accessed…it is to the credit of the authors and CSIRO PUBLISHING that this important resource has been made available to fish biologist.
Jeff Leis, Australian Zoologist, Vol 35 No 1, 2009

"The authors of this volume have done a great service to archaeology by providing a guide to otoliths of fish species that occur predominantely in the temperature waters of southeast Australia…this volume deserves a place in every university library across the nation and in archaeology laboratories that specialise in fish identification in the region covered.
Marshall Weisler, Australian Archaeology, Number 68, June 2009


ePDF | August 2007
ISBN: 9780643098459
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Available from eRetailers


  • Is the first published otolith guide for Australian temperate species
  • Covers a wide variety of both commercial and lower-level foodweb fishes from a broad geographic range of the Australian temperate region
  • Includes high-quality electron microphotographs of the otoliths of each species
  • Provides length/weight regression data to allow estimation of fish prey species
  • Will enhance dietary analysis and provide greater accuracy of food-web knowledge
  • Summarises known predators of each prey items


Methods and materials
Definition of terms
Species list (Systematic order)
Species index


Dianne Furlani has worked in temperate marine science for 20+ years in the fields of taxonomy, biology and ecology, predominantly in SE Australian shelf and inshore waters, and predominantly working on finfish species and ecological work typically with links to trophodynamic studies.

Dr Rosemary Gales is Section Head, Wildlife and Marine Conservation Section, Biodiversity Conservation Branch, Department of Primary Industries and Water (DPIW).

David Pemberton is Senior Curator of Southern Ocean and Antarctica, The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.