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TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes (toes, three pointing forward and one back, which facilitates perching).
Family: Estrildidae (weaver-finches)

Genus/species: Erythrura gouldiae

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The upper body (dorsal) is grass-green from the lower nape to the back and wings. The rump is pale blue and the breast is purple. Ventrally the belly is bright yellow, and the bill is whitish, with a red or yellow tip.
The three distinct color variations are individuals having either a red, black or yellow head (all the same species).

Young Gouldian Finches are dull ashy grey on the head and hind neck, becoming olive on the back and tail. The underparts are brown white, paler on chin, and have a faint yellow tinge on the belly. The upper bill is blackish and the lower bill is pinkish. white. Adult colors appear after several months.

(male, red-head)

Gouldian Finch 19577587499_daaa661dd8_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Predominantly northern Australia tropical savannah woodland with grassy understory and open wide plains with hollow-bearing Eucalyptus trees.

(male, red-head)

Gouldian Finch Gouldian Finch 19738034016_fc07c6e883_k

DIET IN THE WILD: Grass seeds. In addition they feed on a variety of insects including beetles, termites, flies, flying ants, and spiders.

(female red-head)

 

Gouldian Finch 19141610094_37add50720_k

REPRODUCTION: E. gouldiae nest in tree hollows. Males and females incubate the eggs and help to raise the young. Gouldian finches may produce both the adults incubate the eggs and help to raise the young. Gouldian finches may produce four to eight eggs per clutch.

(young birds, immature colors)

CONSERVATION: IUCN Near Threatened (NT) by habitat modification due to cattle grazing, wildfires and increasing human developments. There are presently estimated to be only 2,500 to 10,000 mature individuals in the wild.

(female black-head)

19141609684_ed98ac2735_k

Color of Life note Sexual Selection
Sexual dichromatism is a form of sexual dimorphism in which males and females differ in color.
The male Gouldian finch is more brightly colors to impress prospective female partners. Ref: California Academy of Sciences, Color of Life exhibit.

References

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/19576167410/in/album-72157652559028013/

California Academy of Sciences Color of Life 2017

ARKive  www.arkive.org/gouldian-finch/erythrura-gouldiae/

Birdlife International www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=8695

IUCN  www.iucnredlist.org/details/biblio/22719744/0

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/1050437/details

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1y1

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
Clade: Vetigastropoda
Superfamily: Trochoidea
Family: Turbinidae

Genus/specie: Megastraea undosa

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Wavy Turbin Snail has a heavy, sculptured shell with undulating ridges in a turbinate-conical shape with a thick, pearly lining.
The light brown or tan shell color is caused by the fibrous periostracum covered with coralline algae and other epiphytes.

Size: up to 6 inches

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found from Point Conception and the coastal Channel Islands to northern Baja California, Mexico. They range from the intertidal zone down to depths of over 250 feet.

DIET IN THE WILD: M. undosa are herbivores feeding on various types of algae.

REPRODUCTION; Year around with peaks in spring and fall.

CONSERVATION: Because wavy turban snails are hand-picked by divers, the fishery is at low risk for bycatch .
Wavy turban snails are abundantly available and have a high productivity rate, so over- harvesting is less likely.

REMARKS: The shells of wavy turban snails are used to make buttons!

The meat has an abalone-like texture and taste; foot of the snail is processed and sold to restaurants as an abalone-like product, “wav alone”.  They can be prepared many ways: grilled, sautéed, battered and fried, in pastas, in chowders and soups, and in stir fries.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Tidepool 2017

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/34539982943/in/dateposted-public/

Spearboard.com www.spearboard.com/showthread.php?t=99314

U of CA San Diego caseagrant.ucsd.edu/sites/default/files/fact-sheet-wavy-t…

Gastropods.com www.gastropods.com/2/Shell_292.shtml

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1Qf

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Tetraodontiformes (Puffers and filefishes)
Family: Monacanthidae (Filefishes)

Genus/species: Oxymonacanthus longirostris

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: their color is pale blue with about eight longitudinal rows of orange-yellow patches, or green with small dark-edged yellow to orange spots.Their is a dark spot on the caudal fin. The snout is long with a small upturned mouth;

Length up to 12 cm (4.72 in)

DISTRIBUTION/ HABITAT: They are found in the Indo-Pacific. in clear lagoons and seaward reefs.

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds almost exclusively on Acropora polyps throughout the day. The protruding snout and teeth that project from small mouth, permit them to snip off coral polyps. In captivity they can be fed a number of other food items, such as fish eggs, tiny mysid shrimp, and flake and pellet food.

 

REPRODUCTION: The Orange Spotted Filefish are found in pairs or small groups and nests near the bases of dead corals, often on clumps of algae. Monogamous except if the male population dwindles, then the largest males, become polygamous, breeding with more than one female. The male chatters his mouth along the underside of the female’s jaw presumably to synchronize the spawn. The female places her abdomen into the algae, and the male joins her alongside to fertilize. Non-guarders.

REMARKS: O.longirostris feeds on Acropora corals in Australia, ingesting coral chemicals which cause them to take on the scent of their food (Acropora).  This is the first time scientists have discovered a vertebrate chemically camouflaging itself via its diet, The cod were less active and spent less time hunting around the filefish that ate Acropora than around the fish that ate Pocillopora, indicating that the cod could not detect the Acropora-eating filefish.

References

California Academy of Sciences Animal Attractions Rich Ross 2017

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/4540304067/in/set-72157625020091079/

News National Geographic.com  news.nationalgeographic.com/news/fish-smell-like-the-cora…

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/Oxymonacanthus-longirostris.html

EOL eol.org/pages/204726/details

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



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Cephalopoda (octopuses, squid, cuttlefish; and Nautiloidea)
Order: Octopoda
Family: Octopodidae (octopus species)

Genus/species: Octopus cyanea

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS:  Dark eye-spots are only sometimes visible and depends upon the patterns being displayed by individual octopuses. Cryptic Coloration: they are able to change coloration, and texture of their skin, to resemble their environment (adaptive or active
camouflage).


Bodies up to at least 16 cm (6 inches) and arms to at least 80 cm (30 inches).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical reefs from Hawaii to East Africa. O. cyanea is found in excavated lairs in coral reefs and rubble which can be located by identifying remains of clams, crabs at the entrance.

 

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds during daylight hours requiring exceptional camouflage. Consumes crabs, clams and fishes.

REPRODUCTION: Males have a long modified third right arm that they hold in an upright coiled position and wave toward the female. When the female is receptive to the signaling male, he inserts his arm into the female’s oviducts to pass her spermatophores keeping his distance to avoid being eaten by the female.

Day Octopus (aka Big Blue Octopus)
Day Octopus19111242362_db83003f76_k

 

PREDATORS: Seals and large fish.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List; not assessed 2015

References

California Academy of Sciences Color of Life Exhibit 2015

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/19111242362/in/album-72157652559028013/

Encyclopedia of Life  www.eol.org/pages/593207/details

Marinebio  marinebio.org/species.asp?id=553

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

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Dendrobatidae

Genus/species: Oophaga (formerly Dendrobates) pumilio

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Despite the common name, coloration is reportedly highly variable among locations with up to 30 color morphs . Individuals may be ripe-strawberry red, brilliant blue, deep green or brown. The limbs are marbled dark blue and black. Body is slim, snout is rounded, the eyes large. The long, slender forelimbs end in finger and toe tips expanded into adhesive discs. Length to 2.5 cm (1 inch).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama. Primarily terrestrial in tropical rain forest leaf litter and decaying vegetation.

DIET IN THE WILD: Hunts diurnally, primarily upon ants and oribatid mites.

PREDATION: Night ground snakes are immune to the toxins of O. pumilio. Tadpoles are often consumed because their poison glands are underdeveloped.  They are in danger of an aggressive fungus – Chytrid Fungus – that is killing off frog populations around the globe.

REPRODUCTION: The male protects and keeps their eggs moist until they hatch. Then the female carries the tadpoles to a water filled bromeliad where the young feed on unfertilized eggs (oophagy).

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List: Least Concern (LC)
population numbers are currently high despite illegal capture for the pet trade and habitat loss.

REMARKS: Alkaloids in the skin glands of poison frogs serve as a chemical defense against predation, and most come from the oribatid mites. In captivity, with a non-native food source, they lose their toxicity.

 

References

California Academy of Sciences Docent Rainforest Training Manual 2014

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608456457315/with/3142854919/

Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Oophaga_pumilio/

IUCN Red List  www.iucnredlist.org/details/55196/0

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/330984/details

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

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order:Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Pomacentridae (Damselfishes, Chromis, Aneomonefishes)
Subfamily: Amphiprioninae (anemonefishes)

Genus/species: Amphiprion ocellaris

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Adults are orange with three broad vertical white bands with thin black margins. Females are larger than males. Similar to the Clown Anemonefish (Amphiprion percula) but has 11 spines in the dorsal fin compared to 10, while the spiny part of the dorsal fin is also taller.

Length up to 9 cm (3.5 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found among tropical Pacific Ocean coral reefs. They sleep and feed among the tentacles of their host anemone. Stichodactyla gigantea, Stichodactyla mertensi, as well as the anemone Heteractis magnifica and others. The False Clownfish is usually found at depths of about 15 m (50 ft).

(Amphiprion ocellaris) aka FALSE CLOWNFISH

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds primarily on zooplankton, especially copepods and also on filamentous algae.

REPRODUCTION: A. ocellaris breeds continuously at the Steinhart. Adhesive eggs are laid on a patch of cleared rock near the host anemone’s base and guarded by the male. Eggs hatch after 10 days. The tiny transparent planktonic larvae swim away from the anemone. Two weeks later the larvae metamorphose into small fish. As protandrous hermaphrodites; all individuals mature as males, and all females are sex-reversed males. In the absence of a female the largest male will turn into a female.

Longevity: Up to 12 years in captivity

REMARKS:  Clownfish and anemone display a classic case of mutualism. Clownfish become resistant to their host by gradually (matter of minutes to days) acquiring a covering of mucus
by brushing against the tentacles of their host. Once the fish has become chemosensorilly camouflaged, the host anemone’s nematocysts do not sting the clownfish.

Some of the anemone’s nutrition results from the clownfish’s activities; clownfish gain protection among the anemone’s nematocysts.

Nemo and his parents in Finding Nemo resemble this species. That said, Marlin, Nemo’s father, given the scenario would have changed into a female following the death of Nemo’s mother and remained near his host anemone, rather than swimming to Sydney. But then the film makers wouldn’t have a narrative to support this film! The name “Nemo” has found its way into FishBase (http://www.fishbase.org) as a common name for this species in the USA!        

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Philippine coral reef 2016

Animal Diversity Web  animaldiversity.org/accounts/Amphiprion_ocellaris/

fishbase  fishbase.org/summary/Amphiprion-ocellaris.html

Flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608339622313/

WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-mp

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Order: Actiniaria
Family: Stichodactylidae

Genus/species: Heteractis magnifica

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: H. magnifica is the second largest in size of all sea anemones. Disc to 1 m (3 ft) in diameter. Column which may be red, purple, or pink, grows to 20 cm (8 in). Tentacles (exceed 8 cm 3 in long) are of uniform thickness and do not taper at te tip; tentacles and oral disc are colored alike in shades of magenta-purple, blue, green , red, white or brown.

 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found in the Indo-Pacific at 1–25 m (3-85 ft) often on prominent structures in strong currents or in strong surge locations.

DIET IN THE WILD: Most nutrition is from products of zooxanthellae. Also may eat fish and crustaceans using their stinging nematocysts.

REPRODUCTION: Asexual reproduction by longitudinal fission. The presence of the symbiotic clown fish Amphiprion chrysopterus can increase the amount of asexual reproduction and general growth.
Sexual reproduction, their fertilized eggs develop into a planula larvae which settles on the ocean floor and develops into a polyp.

 

PREDATION: Symbiotic clownfishes, chase away any nibbling predators, especially bristle worms.

LONGEVITY: in the wild. It is estimated that some of these anemones are hundreds of years old. In captivity, the longest lifespan is 80 years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN: Not Evaluated

REMARKS: Host to at least 12 anemonefish species. When disturbed, H. magifica “balls up,”showing only the column with only a few tentacles protruding.
The magnificent anemone is motile when trying to re-position itself to obtain more sunlight. This species moves by creeping on its basal disc, or by letting the tide carry it.
Anemones can be semi-aggressive and sting other anemones that invade their space.

References

California Academy of Sciences Water is Life Animal Attractions 2017

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/32131406193/in/album-72157629304397467/

Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Heteractis_magnifica/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1PJ

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Cichlidae
Tribe: Lamprologini

Genus/species: Neolamprologus species

Male Neolamprologus brevis for example reach lengths of just 4.5 cm (1.75 inches) while females are even smaller, around 3 cm (1.25 inches) long. These cichlids probably evolved from fish that lived in rocky cave, but pressure from competition and the many predators of Lake

Lake Tanganyika has very high levels of carbonate hardness, and the calcium in the water ensures that empty shells dissolve much more slowly than they do in most rivers and lakes. In some places there are piles of shells more than 3 metres (10 feet) deep.

DIET IN THE WILD: Zooplankton and small invertebrates

REPRODUCTION: To protect their young eggs are laid by the female within a shell and fertilized as she lays them or immediately after by the male.The female protect the eggs within the shell by fanning her pectoral fins to keep the internal water oxygenated, and often rearranging the substrate to create barriers or to hide the shell from predators.

The eggs hatch within 48 hours, and the yolk sac is absorbed within five days. Fry typically emerge from the shell a week after spawning and they remain benthic for days or weeks after their emergence.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Animal Attractions 2017

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/15764972796/in/album-72157629304397467/

EOL eol.org/pages/5344/details

Conscientious Aquarium www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_7/volume_7_1/shell_dwell.html

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1PB

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Cichlidae

Genus/species: Altolamprologus calvus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The body colors will vary between a black to a light whitish gray,and be with or without a yellow cast. They are laterally compressed body, a steep sloping forehead, stripes that are more apparent on the head and collar region, and brilliant white spots that decorate the posterior two-thirds of their flanks. Large dorsal fin running along the entire length of the back. It has a scaleless area on its forehead right between the eyes. Hence its species name “calvus” means “bald”

Length up to six inches, Males are about one-third larger than females.

DISTRIBUTION: One of 200 Cichlid species in Lake Tanganyika.
HABITAT: Rocky areas, particularly the reef-like structures in the lake.

DIET: Predator, and specializes in snatching young cichlids and tiny crustaceans found between rock crevices and rock piles.

Black Calvus  Altolamprologus calvus

REPRODUCTION: Spawning takes place in a cave, shell, or crevice too small for the male to enter. The male will release his milt at the entrance. The female will stay inside fanning the eggs and protecting them while the male guards outside. Typical spawns may number as many as 200 which take more than a week before they hatch and are mature enough to move out on their own.

Longevity: up to 8 years

IUCN Near Threatened                                                                                                                                                                        Excess sediment has its most severe effects on the rocky areas inhabited by Altolamprologus calvus, filling crevices and blanketing its food source. In addition there are rising levels of toxic heavy metals in the lake’s water.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Animal Attractions 2017

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/8393611475/in/album-72157629304397467/

Archive www.arkive.org/tanganyika-blackfin/altolamprologus-calvus/

 IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/60455/0

 Animal World  animal world.com/encyclo/fresh/cichlid/WhitePearlyCalvus.ph

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

 

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia (Amphibians)
Order: Anura
Family: Pipadae

Genus/species: Pipa pipa

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The stout body has a triangular head, small black beadlike eyes and nostrils at the end of two narrow tubes on its snout. Huge, webbed rear feet are used for propulsion. It is dark gray to brown color, along with flaps and projections of skin on the jaw and around the body, helping it blend into the surroundings.

Length up to 20 cm (8 in). Weight: 3.5 to 5.6 ounces.

DIET IN THE WILD: Juveniles are cannibals and predators. Adults  lye patiently in wait locating food with long fingers with star-shaped tactile organs on its fingertips in murky water P. pipa does not have teeth or a tongue, so its large mouth helps it swallow food whole eating  fish, worms, insects, and crustaceans.

 

REPRODUCTION/DEVELOPMENT: Males utilize a rapidly repeated clicking sound to attract mates. Grasping the female from above, the male fertilizes the eggs as they are extruded. The male and female somersault together through the water, as fertilized eggs are released. Given the female’s swimming dexterity and an assist by the male, the eggs are placed on her back where they embed in the skin, which has become soft during mating season. Within 24 hours the female’s skin begins to swell around her eggs forming skin-covered pockets. Larvae mature through the tadpole stage within these pockets for 12–20 weeks, and eventually emerge as fully formed toads, though they are less than 2 cm (0.8 in) long. Surinam toads have reproduced successfully at the Steinhart for many years.

Mortality/Longevity: Though they often seem all skin and no flesh, these toads are eaten by some indigenous Amazonian peoples and other aquatic predators.Lives up to 8 years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern

REMARKS: Like all Pipidae, it lacks a tongue. The clicking sound they make is produced by snapping the hyroid bone in their throats.
Pipid frogs seem more specialized for an aquatic life style than any other group of frogs as suggested by their flat bodies, dorsal eyes, the lateral line system of the adult, extensive webbing, powerful hind limbs that cannot be folded under the body, and elaborate aquatic courtship behaviors.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium animal attractions 2017

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3399392575/in/set-72157608456457315

Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Pipa_pipa/

Amphibiaweb http://amphibiaweb.org/cgi/amphib_query?where-genus=Pipa&where-species=pipa

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

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