Dr. Harka Ákos, Sallai Zoltán (2007)
Dr. Harka Ákos és Sallai Zoltán
This book is not only a popular informative work, which summarizes the present fish fauna of Hungary, but at the same time it is a fish classification publication with pictures and offers information on spreading of fish species as well. Its contents are determined by these three functions.
Mainly those fish species are shown in the book, the presence of which in the Hungarian rivers and lakes was approved during the past 25 years. However those species are also included, which have disappeared from the Hungarian surface waters by now (e.g. the stellate sturgeon and Black Sea shad), or those, the self-sustaining populations of which have remained out of the borders of Hungary after the Trianon Treaty (e.g. soufie, Siberian bullhead). These fish species are reviewed not only because historically they are the members of fish fauna of Hungary but because our laws protect them as occurrent individuals of a species in our surface waters, and because the disappeared sturgeons might be reintroduced into the Hungarian surface waters in the near future.
Sometimes the individuals of aquarium ornamental fishes stocked into the surface waters are caught, but they are not the members of the fish fauna so they are not included in this book. However there are some exceptions because some of their self-sustaining populations like the mosquitofish or rainbow cichlid have developed e.g. in the thermal water lake of Hévíz.
The fish species that are kept in some research centres for experimental purposes (e.g. smallmouth buffalo) or that are grown for commercial purposes in special farms (e.g. North African catfish, Nile tilapia) are also not the members of the fish fauna. Even so some escaped individuals of these species have been caught in the surface waters, and it may happen in the future as well. Therefore some non-native species, the individuals of which have been caught in our surface waters, are also included to help the identification of the individuals.
The introductory paragraph of the book deal swith the organism of fish, their classification, environment and protection. The information in the introductory part gives answers to the questions that occur during the classification and the preparatory kitchen work connected to cooking of fish. The topics, which are less important from point of view of practical knowledge of fish-among them the physiological processes-, are not included in the book.
The biggest part of the book is the numbered species description. At the beginning of these descriptions the readers can find the Hungarian and Latin names of fish. They are followed by the taxonomical family, then the English and German names of the species. The time and size limits of catching, and in case of protected fish species (Védett) their theoretical value in HUF, are also given here.
From among the subtitles the “Ismertetőjegyek” (Characteristics) draw the readers’ attention to the more significant features of the given fish species, the “Hasonlófajok” describes the similar species giving the number of description of the given species as well. Under the subtitles “Környezet”, “Táplálék” and “Szaporodás” a short characterization of habitats, nutrition and reproduction conditions are offered, while in the paragraph “Jelentőség” the significance of the species is evaluated.
The paragraph “Elterjedés” describes the spreading of the species. Besides the list of surface waters where it was identified, there is a schematic map which shows the places of occurrence mentioned in the list. As the aim of this work was to describe the recent and present conditions, we did not apply the extremely valuable, but by now outdated data of earlier fauna history. The majority of data was collected during the past two decades in the course of our fieldwork. The publications of other researchers have also been used (see References – Irodalom) together with the information collected from fishermen and angler swho also have wide range knowledge on fish (see Köszönetnyílvánítás – Acknowledgements). In the course of data collection the reliability was a very important demand: the uncertain data have been eliminated. Some authentic observations of rarities were also neglected, as they would have confused the elaboration of the accurate map of spreading of fish species.
The occurrence of a fish species is shown in two ways on the maps:
The black spots show such habitats where the given species was found during the past 25 years. Where there are more block spots, it is possible to catch the fishin the section between the spots as well.
The empty rings show the observation places where the fish were identified more than 25 years ago. They were applied only for those species that have not been caught since that time. It is supposed that the given fish species have disappeared from these habitats and its occurrence is improbable.
The regular and occasional occurrences are not differentiated by the applied denotations: both are shown by black spots, but the description of habitats assists the easier comprehension. However the maps also offer some information on the populations: the markings, which are very close to each other, show a continuous presence and relative frequency, while the single markings, or the markings with a too big spacing refer to rare or occasional occurrence of the species.
The specification of habitats could not be made complete. There was not enough place for all the known habitats of the most common fish species that live in most surface waters of Hungary (e.g. roach, bleak, pike). But conversely the habitats of very rare protected species (e.g. European mud-minnow, weatherfish and ample crucian carp); even the very shallow ponds of Duna-Tisza köze and some smaller channels are mentioned as well.