Photo credit: Mark Hall, Biomes
When I was searching, searching, searching for decent photos of the Red goatfish and coming up with nothing, I made a last-ditch request of Mark Hall, the director of Biomes.
I'd stumbled upon Mark's essays in my many internet travels. On one page he'd put up a small thumbnail photo of what looked like a Red goatfish. The photo was too small to definitively ID, so I took the leap, and sent him an email asking if it was a Red goatfish, and would he be willing to share a larger photo?
I'd sent many cold-call emails over the course of researching the illustrations for the book. Many of the folks I'd contacted replied and either helped me enormously, or replied with regret. Very few requests were ignored. I realized that these folks had nothing to gain from helping me, other than the satisfaction of giving and contributing to our book. There were many people who went above and beyond my simple requests. Mark was one such person.
He wrote back that, indeed, the photo was of a Red goatfish. And amazingly, he had others in tanks at his Center. Not only that, he offered to photograph the fish in his tanks and email the photos to me! Jackpot!
I waited with great anticipation. This goatfish is a common nearshore fish, but one that had not been extensively recorded. It had been misidentified in a prominent ID book, which further complicating my efforts. I'd made many requests in search of information, and had always come up empty. Anyway, the photos arrived in my inbox. Some were blurry, others dark, but they were definitely Red goatfish, and I could confidently use them to illustrate this missing link.
So, the goatfish section is complete and comprehensive, thanks to a virtual stranger with similar passions and a willingness to share. Thanks, Mark!