The Encyclopedia of Flora and Fauna of Bangladesh is the outcome of a long-felt need. Information on biodiversity has been recorded in this part of the subcontinent for centuries, but it occurs in diverse places and forms that are often difficult to retrieve. The need for compilation of the available information under one cover has been felt particularly strongly after adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity at the Earth Summit in 1992 to which Bangladesh is a signatory. This multiple volume of Encyclopedia of Flora and Fauna of Bangladesh has two major sections – Flora and Fauna. Altogether there are 11 volumes in Flora presenting about 6,500 species and 14 volumes in Fauna with close to 7,000 species. In addition, there are two volumes of cumulative Index, one for Flora and one for Fauna. There is an accompanying volume on Bangladesh entitled 'Bangladesh Profile' that describes the land, climate and the environment of the country harbouring the rich biodiversity presented in the Encyclopedia. The Index volumes also contain academic background, specialization and contact details of the contributors, which would be useful to those wishing information on persons in specific areas with whom they might communicate for possible scientific linkage. Each species is described under a format that contains scientific name, synonym(s), scientific description, which is somewhat technical for this to be useful to researchers and students of college and university. Also there is information on ecological aspects, status, ethnobiological use, conservation needs, etc. Reference is given to publications in peer reviewed journals, conference proceedings, seminars, symposia and personal communication in order to authenticate the occurrence of the species in the region that now is part of Bangladesh.
The species in the different Flora and Fauna volumes have been arranged according to taxonomic scheme that is in general use at present. Different volumes of the Encyclopedia were printed at different times as and when ready. Also there were delays in printing a ready volume due to unforeseen circumstances. These resulted in some incoherence between volume number and date of publication.
Volume 24 : Marine Fishes
Volume 24 describes quite a large number of marine fishes in Bangladesh, 393 species distributed in 116 families, of which a large proportion is marine bony fishes numbering 343 species out of the total 393. Outstanding among the marine fishes are the sharks, skates and rays. The whale shark Rhinocodon typhus is the largest living fish known attaining a length of 20 m.
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