Archive for November, 2018

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.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Water is Life Surviving 2018



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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.



California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean Reef 2018

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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




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


California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean Reef 2018


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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.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Waterplanet Desert Cluster 2018

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St Louis Zoo.…Zoo America.

Animal world…



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