Accuracy of body mass estimates of formalin-preserved fish - a review



Publication Details

Nordeide, J. (2019). Accuracy of body mass estimates of formalin-preserved fish - a review. Journal of Fish Biology,


2019 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles This paper highlights possible effects of physical and chemical mechanisms of formalin fixation and preservation on biological tissue and reviews the consequent potential inaccuracies on estimates of body mass of small fishes fixed and preserved in formalin. Twenty-six papers including 65 independent experiments with 35 species which examine effects of formalin on body mass estimates on small fishes are included. The effect of the formalin on the specimens depends on the salinity of the water used to dilute the commercial formalin (usually 1:9 formalin: water) before being used to fixate and preserve fish. Mean wet body mass of the specimens from the studies using seawater or fresh water diluted formalin deceases by 13% and increases by 7%, respectively, from before to after being immersed in formalin. The same trend is found with condition factor in the few papers that report this parameter. Body length decreases on average by c. 2% in fixated and preserved fish regardless of whether the formalin is diluted in seawater or fresh water.

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