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TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Scorpaeniformes (Scorpionfishes and flatheads)
Family: Cyclopteridae (Lumpfishes)

Genus/species: Eumicrotremus orbis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The globular shaped body is covered in cone-shaped plates, called tubercles. Females are dull green in color, while males are dull orange to reddish-brown.

Typically measures 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.6 cm) in length, with a maximum length of  7 inches.

The Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker’s anal fin has evolved into a large suction cup, allowing it to attach to surfaces. They are most commonly found attached to solid objects and are ineffective swimmers.

 

Distribution: North Pacific: From Japan to Alaska south to Puget Sound, Washington.
Habitats, include eelgrass beds, rocky reefs, kelp patches, shallow bays, and docks. They can be found in near shore waters to a depth of 500 feet (150 m).

DIET: Crustaceans and mollusks.

REPRODUCTION and DEVELOPMENT: Males guard eggs following spawning.

CONSERVATION IUCN NOT EVALUATED

REMARKS: The large adhesive sucking disc with thickened fringed margin is composed of modified and ossified pelvic rays. When disturbed, the fish hovers about, changing directions aimlessly like a tiny helicopter.

The family name Cyclopteridae translates from Greek as “circle wing,” a reference to their circle-shaped pectoral fins. Their roe is used as a substitute for expensive and/or unavailable caviar.


References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, locomotion, 2018

Ron’s flickr sitehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608359804936/

Ron’s WordPress short link  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-kw

fishbase  www.fishbase.de/summary/Eumicrotremus-orbis

Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald and H. Hammann, 1983. A field guide to Pacific coast fishes of North America. Boston (MA, USA): Houghton Mifflin Company. xii+336 p. (Ref. 2850)
(formerly on Academy staff)

TAXONOMY
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Scorpaeniformes (Scorpionfishes and flatheads)
Family: Scorpaenidae (Scorpionfishes or rockfishes)

Genus/species: Dendrochirus biocellatus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: the body is stout and irregularly banded in brown and light orange. D. biocellatus has large, fan-like pectoral fins, and tall, quill-like dorsal fins. It is unique from other Lionfishes because of the two, feeler-like appendages on the chin. The Fu Manchu received its name from the long mustache appendages on the front of it’s mouth.

Length up to 5 inches

Dendrochirus biocellatus6287769897_0dbf3ffb24_b

 

DISTRIBUTIONHABITAT: The Fu Manchu Lionfish is found in the Indo-Pacific in deep crevices and caves on tropical coral reefs.

DIET IN THE WILD: small fishes and shrimps.

Dendrochirus biocellatus6287770317_9ccf0044ea_b

REMARKS: Scorpionfishes have venomous quill-like spines to repel predators. Near the posterior fin false eyespots also confuse predators. They are mainly nocturnal inhabiting deep crevices and caves during the day.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Water is Life Surviving 2018

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?genusname=Den…

 EOL  eol.org/pages/211678/details

Ron’s WordPress shortlink http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1EC

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/6287769897/in/album-72157659936804343/

ADW animaldiversity.org/accounts/Dendrochirus_brachypterus/

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animal
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Family Serranidae (Sea basses: groupers and fairy basslets)

Genus/species: Hypoplectrus gemma

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Blue Hamlet is iridescent blue with thin borders on its tail. Max length : 13.0 cm

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Western Central Atlantic: USA (Florida) and Mexico. Marine; reef-associated. Tropical

DIET IN THE WILD: Hamlets have a large mouth and are carnivorous. In the wild Blue Hamlets feed on shrimps, small crabs, small crustaceans and the occasional small fish.

REPRODUCTION: Hamlets are simultaneous hermaphrodites (or synchronous hermaphrodites): They have both male and female sexual organs at the same time as an adult. They do not practice self-fertilization, but when they find a mate, the pair takes turns between which one acts as the male and which acts as the female through multiple matings, usually over the course of several nights.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean Reef 2018

Ron’s Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/44937435715/in/album-72157625866509117/

Ron,s WordPress Shortlink  https://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1Z9

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/47813

ADW. animaldiversity.org/accounts/Hypoplectrus/classification/

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum : Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Pomacanthidae (Angelfishes)

Genus/species: Pomacanthus paru

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: French Angelfish have tall, narrow bodies. and can turn quickly and maneuver down into narrow cracks between the corals to hunt prey and avoid predators.

The most observable difference between angelfishes and butterflyfishes is the preopercule spine on the gill cover common to angelfishes. Bodies are covered in black scales except those at front from nape to abdomen, which are rimmed with golden-yellow. Adults have a broad orange-yellow bar at the base of their pectoral fins and have a dorsal filament that is yellow.

Juveniles are jet black with circular bright yellow bands.
Max length : 41 cm (16 inches), common length : 25.0 cm (10 inches).

Adult below

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IMG_0817

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Western Atlantic: Florida, USA and Bahamas to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Eastern Atlantic: off Ascension Island to the west coasts of Africa in shallow reefs. 

Depth range 3 – 100 m (10-90 feet)

Juvenile below

French Angelfish

 

DIET IN THE WILD: P. paru are omnivores feeding on  sponges, algae, bryozoans, zoantharians, gorgonians and tunicates.

REPRODUCTION: French Angelfish are oviparous and monogamous. Spawning pairs are strongly territorial, with usually both members vigorously defending their areas against neighboring pairs.

CONSERVATION: IUCN; Least concern.

REMARKS: The tall, narrow bodies can turn quickly and maneuver down into narrow cracks between the corals to hunt prey and avoid predators. They swim by rowing with their pectoral fins.

Juveniles tend cleaning stations where they service a broad range of clients, including jacks, snappers, morays, grunts, surgeonfishes, and wrasses. At the station the cleaner displays a fluttering swimming and when cleaning it touches the clients with its pelvic fins.

Ciguatera poisoning may rarely occur from eating French angelfishes.

Juvenile below

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean Reef 2018

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/1118

Ron’s WordPress shortlink:  wp.me/p1DZ4b-KJ

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/19974227304/in/album-72157625866509117/

ADW animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Pomacanthus_paru/

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Superfamily: Varanoidea
Family: Helodermatidae

Genus/species: Heloderma horridum

 

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Stout body covered with dark brown and yellow beadlike scales. Powerful limbs, long fat tail. Males usually have broader heads and longer necks than females.

Length to 1 m (3 ft) weighing 5-6 pounds.

Mexican Beaded Lizard IMG_0335

DISTRIBUTION/ HABITAT: Western coast of Sonora, Mexico south to Western Guatemala.
in tropical, deciduous woodland and thorn scrub. Frequently climbs trees. Often diurnal, on very hot days remains in burrows and emerges to hunt at night.

 

DIET IN THE WILD: H. horridum is a carnivore feeding on young rodents, fledgling birds, eggs, reptiles, arthropods and uses chemosensorily sensors to locate food with its forked tongue.

Academy Diet: Small mice.Mexican Beaded Lizard IMG_1679

 

LONGEVITY: Thirty years or more.

REPRODUCTION: The female lays her eggs — anywhere from two to 22 — between October and December, and they hatch the following June or July.

REMARKS: Venom is used more for defense than for stunning prey. Venom glands are located in the lower jaw (vs. in upper jaw in venomous snakes). At the base of each tooth is a grooved pit for venom delivery.

The two members of this family, which also includes the Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum), are two of the three venomous lizards.  Their tenacious, chewing bite is potentially, though rarely fatal to humans.

Mexican Beaded Lizard P1050903

The third venomous lizard is the Komodo Dragon.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Waterplanet Desert Cluster 2018

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-Sn

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157625194985646/with/2982092236/

St Louis Zoo.  www.stlzoo.org/animals/abouttheanimals/reptiles/lizards/m…Zoo America. www.zooamerica.com/animals/mexican-beaded-lizard/

Animal world   www.stlzoo.org/animals/abouttheanimals/reptiles/lizards/m…

 

 

TAXONOMY
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Tetrapodomorpha
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Pythonidae (Pythons)

Genus/species: Aspidites ramsayi

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Like the black-headed python,
the Woma’s head is unusually narrow for a python. Gray, olive-brown, or red-brown above with darker olive brown to black crossbands on the body. Sides and undersides pale.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Central and southwest Australia. Found in arid zones on sand plains and dune fields. Shelters in hollow logs, animals burrows, or vegetation during the day.

DIET IN THE WILD: A nocturnal hunter of small mammals, ground birds, and lizards. Because it hunts its prey in narrow tunnels, it cannot throw coils around its target. Instead the snake pushes a loop of its body against the prey, crushing it to death against the side of the burrow.

ACADEMY DIET: One rat every 2 weeks. (M Avila, Academy biologist)

REPRODUCTION: Aspidites ramsayi is oviparous, like all pythons. The female coils around the 5–20 eggs, protecting and warming them with heat generated by muscular “shivering” for the 2–3 month incubation period.

CONSERVATION: Listed as endangered on the IUCN’s Red List. Threats include the clearing of land for agriculture and grazing, and perhaps high predation by foxes and feral cats.

The Adelaide Zoo in South Australia is coordinating a captive breeding program with offspring being released to the wild. Active research is aimed at returning the woma to its former range.

REMARKS: The Woma, like its relative the blackheaded python, lacks the heat-sensing pits that border the mouth of most other pythons. The woma is a prized food item for desert Aboriginal people. Hunters follow the track of a woma to its burrow and then dig it out.

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Water Planet Little Water 2018

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/4822587209/in/album-72157662092331262/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink https://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1Z0

Arkive www.arkive.org/woma-python/aspidites-ramsayi/#text=All

IUCN Red List (June, 2008) www.iucnredlist.org

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Pythonidae (Pythons)

Genus/species: Aspidites melanocephalus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The head is covered with shiny black scales; body a striped or brindled pattern in shades of black and gray-brown, gold and cream. Juveniles are more vividly marked. Females are larger than males.

A large snake with maximum length of 2.5 m, though 1.5 to 2 m more common.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia. The Black Headed Python is found in open woodlands, shrub lands, outcrops, humid coastal forests, and seasonally dry tropical woodlands. It is not found in very arid regions. Found among rocks and loose debris. During cooler temperatures, evidence suggests that when termite nests are present, they tend to burrow into these habitats as a way of maintaining a stable body temperature.

DIET IN THE WILD: A. melanocephalus feeds on birds, other reptiles; small mammals, especially rodents. They are active at night. In the absence of infralabial sensory pits it is probable that tactile, olfactory, and visual cues play an important role in communication and perception in black-headed pythons.

ACADEMY DIET: Two rats every 2 weeks. (M Avila Academy biologist)

Lifespan: from 20 to 30 years

REPRODUCTION: Oviparous. Females guard the five to 10 eggs per clutch.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Not evaluated

REMARKS: Like all pythons, a non-venomous species that kills by constriction. To save energy during the dry season when food and water are scarce, pythons reduce their body temperature. Can dig and live in burrows to escape daytime heat. Small, streamlined head and nonprotrusive eyes may be adaptations to entering burrows and hollows.

The glossy, black head that is characteristic of this species helps regulate body temperature as well, allowing the majority of the snake’s body to remain hidden while it extends only its head from its burrow. In order to cool themselves, they may bury their dark head in the sand. When disturbed, black-headed pythons occasionally hiss, but rarely bite. They may also strike with their mouths closed when threatened

References: California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Water planet: Little Water 2018

Ron’s Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/8410654794/in/album-72157662092331262/

Animal Diversity Web: https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Aspidites_melanocephalus/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink https://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1YU

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Pythonidae (Pythons)

Genus/Species: Morelia bredli

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: A large, heavily built species, unlike its two more slender Aspidites exhibit companions, who are built for burrowing. Distinct, but variable colors and pattern; often brown-to-reddish background color with cream patterning surrounded by black.
Undersides lighter. Note the multiple heat sensing pits in the upper and lower jaws.

Length up to 2 m, known to reach 3 m in captivity

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Northern Territory of Central Australia in arid desert areas. Most often on rocky outcrops and river banks in or around trees and shrubs. as birds are a favored prey item.

 

DIET IN THE WILD: Birds are a favored prey item. Like all pythons, a non-venomous species that kills by constriction. To save energy during the dry season when food and water are scarce, pythons reduce their body temperature.

REPRODUCTION: Centralian Pythons are oviparous, like all pythons. The female coils around the eggs, protecting and warming them with heat generated by muscular “shivering” for the incubation period.

REMARKS: Like all pythons it is a non-venomous species that kills by constriction. To save energy during the dry season when food and water are scarce, pythons reduce their body temperature. 

Color of Life note: Pit vipers, boas and pythons have heat sensing organs which detect infrared wavelengths on their face. This feature that detects heat is used in the dark to detect warm blooded prey.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium, Water Planet little water 2018

The Reptile Database reptile-database.reptarium.cz 1981

Inland Reptile. www.inlandreptile.com/bredli/morelia bredli.htm

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink. https://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1YO

Rons flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/albums/72157662092331262

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Lepisosteiformes (Gars) 
Family; Lepisosteidae (Gars)

Genus/species: Atractosteus spatula

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Alligator-like. Large size and broad, short, wide, blunt snout and a heterocercal tail. Color is dark olivaceous brown above and white to yellowish beneath with dark brown blotches on all fins. Body is covered with armor-like ganoid scales consisting of diamond-shaped, interlocking, and extremely hard bony plates covered with layers of dentine and enamel. Head protected by bony plates. Alligator gars have two rows of teeth, a longer one on the palate, and an outer row in the jaw, enabling them to pierce and hold prey. A. spatula is the largest exclusively freshwater fish found in North America.

Alligator gar are the largest gar species. with a length up to than 3 m (9.8 ft), weight to 137 kg (300 pounds).

Alligator Gar 8362889461_f8706ce1f4_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Alligator Gar are found in lakes, rivers, and bayous from the Mississippi to the Gulf coast in fresh and brackish water.

8703061879_88f46f7f5e_b

DIET IN THE WILD: They are opportunistic carnivores and sit-and-wait predators. They appear to be sluggish, but can ambush prey with short bursts of speed feeding on almost anything, including fish, ducks, turtles, small mammals, and carrion

REPRODUCTION: Females reach sexual maturity at 11 years. Eggs laid on aquatic vegetation, to which they adhere. Young cling to the stems with an adhesive disc on their head until yolk sac is absorbed, and then swim actively. Juveniles feed on plankton, invertebrates, amphibians, and fish before transitioning to fish almost exclusively.
The eggs of alligator gar are bright red and poisonous to humans if ingested.

MORTALITY: Females generally larger and longer lived than males. Some may live to 50 years or more in the wild, 80 years in captivity. The Academies oldest gars are in their 60s.

CONSERVATION STATUS: Not on IUCN Red List. Pollution and degradation of habitat threaten this species.

alligator garIMG_2863

 

REMARKS: Gars also have a highly vascularized swim bladder directly connected to its throat that enables them to breathe in air, an adaptation to life in water with low oxygen levels. Native Americans used armor-like ganoid scales as arrowheads and jewelry. Early American farmers used the scales on the blades of their plows.

The fossil record traces their existence to the Early Cretaceous over a hundred million years ago.there is no documentation of attacks on man by alligator gars.

There is no documentation of an attack on man by alligator gars.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Swamp 2018

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608608528651/with/8362889461/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-103

fishbase. www.fishbase.se/summary/Atractosteus-spatula.html

ADW. animaldiversity.org/accounts/Atractosteus_spatula/

 

 

6-7-13, 1-19-17, 10-9-18

VIDEO LINK https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/5443993471/in/album-72157659528522603/

YOUTUBE LINK  http://youtu.be/ei1Pe7r2kdI

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Cephalopoda
Order: Octopoda
Family: Octopodidae
Genus/:Species: Enteroctopus dofleini

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Giant Pacific octopuses are the largest species of octopus. Their large bulbous “head” (mantle) has 8 tentacles each bearing up to 280 suckers which have thousands of chemical receptors used to help detect prey. Very large specimens can have a tentacle span of more than 9 m (29 feet) from tip to tip, and weigh more than 45 kg (100 pounds).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Range throughout temperate Pacific waters, from southern California north to Alaska, west to the Aleutian Islands and Japan.
Giant Pacific octopuses are generally found in tidal pools and up to depths of 110 m (360 ft), although they can also reside in deeper waters of up to 1,500 m (4900 ft). They often live in dens or lairs, under boulders, and in rock crevices. Ideal habitat for this species includes a soft substrate of mud, sand or gravel that includes large boulders for creating dens.

DIET IN THE WILD: E. dofleini feed mostly on crustaceans (shrimps, crabs, scallops,) and mollusks (abalones, clams); fish and other octopuses are also Shells of prey that are difficult to pull or bite open can be “drilled” in order to gain access to the soft tissue: salivary secretions soften the shell, and a tiny hole is created with the radula (a toothed, hardened “tongue”). The octopus then secretes a toxin that paralyzes the prey and begins to dissolve it. The shell is pulled apart and the soft tissues are consumed.

REPRODUCTION: Lays up to 75,000 eggs in small caves where the female defends them until they hatch, which takes up to six months. The hatchlings then drift in ocean currents for several months, settle to the seafloor. Reproduction starts when they are one year old.

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: Predators include marine mammals (harbor seals, sea otters, and sperm whales). Also, occasionally are eaten by others of their own kind and are caught commercially. Life span is 4.5 to 5 years in the wild and captivity.

REMARKS:

They can move more than 700 pounds using all of their arms.

It is considered one of the most intelligent of all invertebrates.

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium 2018

Ron’s WordPress Link  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-h5

Arkive www.arkive.org/north-pacific-giant-octopus/enteroctopus-d…

ADW animaldiversity.org/accounts/Enteroctopus_dofleini/

Cephalopod Page www.thecephalopodpage.org

YOUTUBE LINK  http://youtu.be/ei1Pe7r2kdI

Ron’s flickr link  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608597736188/with/5443993471/

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