Over the past 50 years or so, the techniques of microscopy have attained a high degree of excellence resulting in the accumulation of masses of information on the histology of fishes. This golden age of descriptive morphology, however, is drawing to a close and the time is ripe to draw this material together in a form that can be used by researchers who are studying the diverse aspects of the world's dwindling stocks of fish. For several years, I have been accumulating material on fish histology and, more recently, have been compiling a textbook on the female reproductive systems. My ambition has been to parallel the excellent texts available on mammalian histology and eventually produce similar volumes on other systems. As "fish", I have included Agnatha, Chondrichthyes, and Osteichthyes. Nomenclature used follows that of the authors being cited; in other cases I have used Fishes of the World, 2nd ed., by J.S. Nelson, published by John Wiley & Sons.
Although histology deals in visual images, one of the problems that has beset this discipline in the past has been the high cost and difficulty of publishing micrographs. The advent of digital technology and the storage of images on compact discs (CDs), however, has solved this problem and I have rescued many classic and beautiful images from the dust and obscurity of library stacks, making them once again readily available to the present-day scientist. I have embraced this technology with abandon and large numbers of illustrations are included with this work. It should be noted that magnifications given in the legends are taken from the original sources; the actual values will vary depending on the computer being used.
Dr. W.J.R. Lanzing, formerly of the School of Biological Sciences of the University of Sydney, Australia, provided suggestions and encouragement at the outset of the project. I acknowledge, with gratitude, the patient assistance of my colleagues at the University of Western Ontario, especially the Dean of Science, Dr. F.J. Long-staffe, and the Chair of the Department of Biology, Dr. M.B. Fenton, who made excellent facilities available for my research. Messrs. R.J. Harris and I.C. Craig, provided patient and generous technical assistance. I am grateful to the obliging staff of the Taylor Science Library at the University of Western Ontario for their cheerful attention to my needs. Thanks are owed to the many authors and publishers who readily gave permission to copy their material; specific acknowledgements are included with the legends.
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