Archive for June, 2017


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

Genus/species: Chelmon rostratus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: All species have a deep, laterally compressed body with a continuous dorsal fin and distinctive rounded anal fin. Many have a band across the eye and/or a false eyespot, patterns that may lure a predator to attack the tail
rather than the head.
The C.rostratus has a whitish body with 4 vertical orange bands and a black false eyespot on the terminal orange band. The snout is long with beak-like mouth.

Length to 19 cm (7.5 in).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: They are found in the Andaman Sea to Papua New Guinea, north to Ryukyu Island, south to Northwest Australia and Great Barrier Reef in estuaries and coastal reefs.

DIET IN THE WILD: Though the diet of the Copperband Butterflyfish is well documented, they are believed to feed heavily on tube worms and small crustaceans using their long snout for prying into the crevices of coral.

REPRODUCTION: Butterflyfishes unlike most fishes are usually monogamous, forming pairs and are often seen swimming together.   They are broadcast spawners an external method of reproduction where the female releases unfertilized eggs into the water. At the same time, a male release sperm into the water which fertilizes the eggs which contain a drop of nutrient oil to sustain the embryo  developing inside the egg case. Oil also provides buoyancy, so the eggs float and drift with the current.  Planktonic eggs hatch within a few days becoming the larval stage lasts from several weeks up to 2 months.  During the late larval stage the head and body are covered with bony plates which mature into small fry fish.

Copperband Butterflyfish8387609757_79c1b099a9_b

CONSERVATION: IUCN; Least Concern (LC)

REMARKS: The Copperbanded Butterflyfish is a food fish marketed locally. and is reported to be “not good” from a culinary standpoint.

Color of Life, Color Conceals.   The Copperband Butterflyfish helps conceals its head by having a vertical line through the eye which matching the 3 other vertical orange bands. A large false spot on its terminal orange band (a less vital portion of its body) confuses predators.

References

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3380844264/in/set-72157625119200613/

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Philippine Coral Reef 2016

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

EOL eol.org/pages/339397/details

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=5483

Australian Museum australianmuseum.net.au/Beaked-Coralfish-Chelmon-rostratus

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Acanthuridae (Surgeonfishes, tangs, unicornfishes)

Genus/species: Acanthurus triostegus

Convict surgeonfish 8156826256_a90f659c94_o

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Convict Tang is a very common surgeonfish.  It is oval in profile and laterally compressed, gray with 4 vertical stripes (1 stripe on head across the yellow eye; 1 on caudal peduncle). The erectile spine on each side of caudal peduncle which folds down into a groove.  This scalpel like spine causes a nasty cut if the fish is treated roughly by a predator or a human. 

Common length : 17.0 cm (6.7 inches).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT:  A. triostegus is found in lagoons and seaward reefs in areas of hard substrates from sea level to 90 m (300 feet) in the Indo-Pacific.

Typically occurs in shallows to 5 m (16 feet).

DIET IN THE WILD: It is a herbivore which uses its serrated teeth along creating saw-like motion to remove filamentous algae from the substrate.

ConvictTang8358632069_43f1bc0004_k

REPRODUCTION: The Convict Tang spawns at dusk with females broadcasting eggs into open water where the males fertilize them.  Larvae drift ~75 days. Post-larvae settle in intertidal areas of benches and reef flats.

PREDATORS: Eggs and sperm are preyed upon by eagle rays, which are often present during spawning.

CONSERVATION: IUCN, Least concern.

REMARKS: This black-barred fish’s common name presumably alludes to the coloration of many prison uniforms of the previous century.

 

References

Ron’s Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3185789781/in/set-72157608332652056/

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Philippine Coral Reef 2016

fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/1260

Aquarium of the Pacific www.aquariumofpacific.org/onlinelearningcenter/species/co…

Monterey Bay Aquarium www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/AnimalDetails.aspx?en…

EOL eol.org/pages/203984/overview

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

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes  (Perch-likes)
Family: Labridae  (Wrasses)

Genus/species: Halichoeres richmondi

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: They have stunning horizontal chain like stripes going down the full length of their bodies. Male Richmond’s Wrasses tend to be more blue and green in color while females are more orange. Juvenile Richmond’s Wrasses have eye spots on their dorsal fins as well.

Length up to 17 cm (6.7 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Richmond’s Wrasse are found in the Western Pacific from Java to the Philippines inhabiting shallow lagoons and coral reefs, up to a depth of at least 20 m (65.5 feet).

REPRODUCTION: Pair during spawning

REMARKS: Wrasses are most easily identified by their pointed snouts and prominent canine teeth that protrude in front of the jaw. Other common characteristics include their form of propulsion, which depends mostly on the winglike motion of the pectoral fins with only an occasional burst of speed provided by the caudal fin.

CONSERVATION: IUCN least concern.

References

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/35513954125/in/album-72157629304397467/

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Animal Attractions Rich Ross 2017

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

fishbase www.fishbase.se/summary/Halichoeres-richmondi.html

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/187507/0

EOL eol.org/pages/212051/details

 

 

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

 

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