Under the sea

There are more than 13000 described species of marine plants and animals in southern Africa (the coastal area stretching from northern Namibia to central Mozambique), yet the only definitive field guide on the subject is Two Oceans – A Guide to the Marine Life of Southern Africa, now in its Fourth Edition. The authors, all internationally acclaimed scientists on matters marine, are George Branch, Charles Griffiths, Margo Branch and Lynnath Beckley. Brilliant photographs, mainly by George Branch, Charles Griffiths and Dennis King, as well as  clear descriptions, make this an easy guide to navigate. From sponges and corals to jellyfish and crabs, from molluscs and starfish to fishes, reptiles, mammals, seaweeds and marine reptiles and birds, the book covers most of what anyone would want to know about what goes on under the waves. Although this is a satisfyingly rich assemblage of information, it is impossible to cover every species in one book. Instead, the authors have focused on the species most frequently encountered by beachcombers, scuba divers and anglers. It’s a must for anyone interested in marine life. Struik Nature, R390.