LAWRENCE — Summer days draw Kansas anglers to the state’s rivers, streams and lakes—not just for sport and the open air but also for a glimpse of the colorful world that shimmers beneath the surface.
That surprisingly diverse world fascinated Frank Cross, University of Kansas professor, Kansas Biological Survey director from 1967 to 1973 and author of the widely used Handbook of Fishes of Kansas, first published in 1967.
Now a richly illustrated new hardcover book dedicated to Cross, who died in 2001, offers researchers and naturalists up-to-date, comprehensive information on more than 170 fish species throughout the state.
“It’s a gorgeous and fascinating book for anyone who has even the slightest interest in the natural world,” said Ed Martinko, Kansas Biological Survey director. “It’s also a moving tribute to Frank Cross with stories about this generous man that will touch even those who never knew him.”
Kansas Fishes is available from the University Press of Kansas, which describes it as “a guide and a first-rate reference for the angler, scientist and amateur naturalist.”
More than 50 scientists mentored by Cross — his former students and colleagues, now scattered across the U.S. and Canada — were brought together by a group of regional biologists representing the six state universities in Kansas, as well as the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. These scientists contributed entries on the taxonomy, biology, ecology and conservation status of individual species. The compilation is complete with drawings by renowned illustrator Joseph Tomelleri, a fisherman and naturalist whose work can be found at http://www.americanfishes.com.
Don Huggins, senior scientist at the Biological Survey, coordinated the compilation and editing activities for the Survey. He worked closely with Cross for many years in both the field and the laboratory.
Cross Reservoir, a lake dedicated to research and teaching at the KU Field Station (managed by the Biological Survey), is named for Cross in recognition to his pioneering aquatic research and his appreciation for the beauty of aquatic life.