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The Biology of Sharks and Rays

With Illustrations by Steven Oerding
The Biology of Sharks and Rays is a comprehensive resource on the biological and physiological characteristics of the cartilaginous fishes: sharks, rays, and chimaeras. In sixteen chapters, organized by theme, A. Peter Klimley covers a broad spectrum of topics, including taxonomy, morphology, ecology, and physiology. For example, he explains the body design of sharks and why the ridged, toothlike denticles that cover their entire bodies are present on only part of the rays’ bodies and are absent from those of chimaeras. Another chapter explores the anatomy of the jaws and the role of the muscles and teeth in jaw extension, seizure, and handling of prey. The chapters are richly illustrated with pictures of sharks, diagrams of sensory organs, drawings of the body postures of sharks during threat and reproductive displays, and maps showing the extent of the species’ foraging range and long-distance migrations. Each chapter commences with an anecdote from the author about his own personal experience with the topic, followed by thought-provoking questions and a list of recommended readings in the scientific literature. 

The book will be a useful textbook for advanced ichthyology students as well as an encyclopedic source for those seeking a greater understanding of these fascinating creatures.

528 pages | 57 color plates, 87 halftones, 103 line drawings, 12 tables | 7 x 10 | © 2013

Biological Sciences: Biology--Systematics, Evolutionary Biology, Physiology, Biomechanics, and Morphology


“This book is a novel publication in its field—such a cohesive compilation of all aspects of Chondrichthyan fish life was surprisingly nonexistent prior to this text. . . . We believe Peter Klimley’s attempt would serve admirably as a textbook.”

Journal of Fish Biology

“This is really the essential Shark Week companion for nature TV fans, and the chapter on cartilaginous fishes and humans is an especially rigorous antidote to oversensationalization. More than that though, this book is a comprehensive overview of the state of biological knowledge of these fishes. It is logically laid out, with excellent illustrations and abundant, current citations. These features, plus discussion questions for every chapter, make it a very functional textbook, but the spotlight sections and engaging writing should make it appeal to a much broader audience.”

Conservation Biology

“An appealing, comprehensive, and exciting resource on the study of many cartilaginous fishes. . . . What separates this work from other highly useful volumes on elasmobranch fishes is its accessibility and tone. Klimley’s experience as a teacher and mentor really shine in the text; the detailed summaries of the science are nicely paced and easy to read and understand for readers of all backgrounds. Additionally, the book is replete with wonderfully illustrated figures and panels (especially on the anatomy and behavioral ethograms), as well as clear and informative data tables, all of which present actual scientific data from published work. . . . Shark and ray scientists and teachers alike will appreciate the attention to detail and accessibility of this book, and its pages serve as a stepping stone for those interested in deeper investigations into the literature. This resource is highly recommended and should be used by a wide-ranging audience, from high school and college students, to teachers, and even experts in the field. Klimley should be very proud of this career-spanning accomplishment.”

Austin J. Gallagher, University of Miami | Bulletin of Marine Science

“A. Peter Klimley has been studying the biology of sharks for decades. In this book, he combines this extensive research experience with that of others to produce a solid reference for every shark enthusiast.”

Gregory Skomal, The Shark Handbook: The Essential Guide for Understanding the Sharks of the World


Choice Magazine: CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Awards

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