Category: INDO-PACIFIC


TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Scorpaeniformes
Family: Scorpaenidae (Scorpionfishes and Their Allies)

Genus/species: Pterois volitans

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS:  The Red Lionfish has a compressed body with a large head from 1/3 to 1/2 the standard length. Greatly enlarged pectoral fins and elongate dorsal fins. Vertically colored brownish bars interspersed with fine white lines. Two visually identical species have been introduced into the north-west Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico making positive identification only by genetic analysis.

Length to 38 cm (54 in)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: P. volitans occurs throughout most of Oceania being native to the western Pacific Ocean and introduced to the Atlantic possibly through the aquarium trade. Inhabits coral reefs and lagoons, turbid inshore areas to depths to 50 m (160 ft). 

DIET IN THE WILD: A voracious nocturnal predator of small fishes, shrimp and crabs. Corners and traps prey with its widespread pectoral fins.

 

PREDATORS: Other than cannibalism, there are few documented natural predators of the lionfish  Native groupers in the Bahamas consume them. Finally despite their venomous spines, lionfish are caught by humans for food. 

LIFESPAN 10 years

CONSERVATION IUCN Not Evaluated

REMARKS: Venomous glands at the base of dorsal, anal and pelvic fin spines are capable of inflicting severe and painful wounds. The venom contains a neurotoxin which reduces the transmission chemical signals to the muscles, as well as affecting the cardiovascular system. Doctors suggest soaking the afflicted area in very hot water to denature the venom’s proteins. Experimental evidence suggests that commercial stonefish antivenom does have some detoxifying effect on lionfish venom.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Caribbean Reef 2018

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

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608341866427/with/8355039924/

Animal Diversity Web http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Pterois_volitans/

fishbase http://www.fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=5195&lang=Swedish

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Blenniidae (Combtooth blennies)

Genus/Species: Meiacanthus smithi

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Blennies are distinguished by their single, long continuous dorsal fin, their pelvic fins situated in front of their pectorals, and their habit of resting on the bottom with curved bodies. Smith’s Fang blenny has two canine teeth in their lower jaw have a groove in the front of each tooth which carries venom into any aggressor.

Max length: 8.5 cm (3.34 in)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Indo-western Pacific Ocean. Found in coastal and inner reef habitats to about 20 m depth.

DIET IN THE WILD: plankton
They have a well-developed swim bladder and reduced vulnerability to predation that allows them to feed in the water column and forage over a wide area

REPRODUCTION: Oviparous, Eggs are demersal and adhesive. Distinct pairing.

IUCN Least concern.

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Animal Attractions 2018

fishbase www.fishbase.se/summary/Meiacanthus-smithi.html

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/26815445707/in/dateposted-public/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink wp.me/p1DZ4b-1XK

EOL eol.org/pages/213615/details

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/48342445/0

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Serranidae (Sea basses: grouper and fairy basslets)

Subfamily: Epinephelinae (Groupers)

Genus/species: Cephalopholis igarashiensis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Max length: 43.0 cm (17 in) common length: 25.0 cm (9.8 in)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: C. igarashiensis is distributed from southern Japan to Fiji and French Polynesia. Marine; demersal; non-migratory; depth range up to 250 m (820 ft)

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds on fishes and crustaceans

8REMARKS: The Garish Hind is very rare in the wild and very little is known about it.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Animal Attractions Biologist Rich Ross

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/42822881701/in/album-72157629304397467/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink wp.me/p1DZ4b-1XE

fishbase. fishbase.us/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=5366

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/132791/0

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Annelida
Class: Polychaeta
Order: Canalipalpata
Suborder: Sabellida
Family: Sabellidae

The Sabellidae family (feather duster worms) are a family of sedentary marine polychaete tube worms where the head is mostly concealed by feathery branchiae. They build tubes out of parchment, sand, and bits of shell. Glomerula secretes a tube of calcium carbonate.

The appendages that give this worm its name are finely divided tentacles that act as plankton filters.  They also wave their tentacles to move the water around them, increasing the odds of catching food. Food is then moved from the tentacles into the worm’s mouth. The tentacles long grooves that get progressively smaller, limiting plankton size which is appropriate to eat when it arrives at its their mouth.  An alternate tube runs upward internally for waste is expelled.

Note: The rock above and to the right is covered by a sponge which differs from the 2 verticle sponges and their symbiotic coral.

Reference: Ryan Schaeffer. California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium, Hidden Reef 2018

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/27331312517/in/album-72157659465376212/

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Porifera (sponges.)
Class: Demospongiae
Order: Poecilosclerida
Family: Raspailiidae

Genus/species: Trikentrion flabelliforme

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: White horizontal lines cover a striking red body. Its tree-like base is covered by a white web-like symbiont with a hexacoral from the genus Parazoanthus (order Zoanthidea).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Arafura Sea, a shallow body of water sandwiched between Australia and New Guinea.

DIET IN THE WILD: T. flabelliforme is a filter feeder using its choanocytes or collar cells to filter particles and dissolved substances from seawater.

REMARKS: Parazoanthus is a suspension feeder as its polyps capture food particles from the water. The tissue of Parazoanthus is connected to the skin or pinacoderm of its host sponge, with tissue integration varying between different combinations of sponge and the coral.

Parasitism seems a likely option, where the symbiotic coral benefits at the expense of its host sponge. For example, the coral may impair the sponge’s ability to pump water through its system, which is vital to sponge nutrition, waste removal and gas exchange. Commensalism is also possible, where the coral benefiting while having a neutral effect on the sponge.

T. flabelliforme is difficult to grow in captivity but has been growing in the California Academy Steinhart Aquarium system for a year showing signs of good health.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Hidden Reef
Charles Delbeek curator, 2018

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/41378145924/in/album-72157659465376212/

TAXOMONY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-like)
Family: Cirrhitidae (Hawkfishes)

Genus/species: Oxycirrhites typus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Color is whitish with horizontal and vertical red bands forming a cross-hatch pattern. The body is slender, moderately compressed with a long snout (~ ½ head length). The upper head profile slightly concave with a fringe of cirri on rear edge of front nostril.

Length up to 13 cm (5 in)

Longnose Hawkfish16150610665_6ca0325fef_k

NOTE: These two fish are a pair and were collected together in the Philippines (2015) at 250 ft per Charles Delbeek, California Academy of Sciences.

DISTRIBUTION/ HABITAT: Widely distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific and Red Sea. Also found in the eastern Pacific from the Gulf of California to northern Columbia and the Galapagos Islands. They are non-migratory tropical marine fish, found at depths from 10–100 m. Inhabit the steep outer reef slopes that are exposed to strong currents. They are usually found in large gorgonians and corals.

DIET IN THE WILD: O. typus feeds on small benthic or planktonic crustaceans. This long mouth allows the fish to reach into small crevices to capture shrimp and remove snails from their shells.

REPRODUCTION: Monogamous pelagic spawner

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CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Not Evaluated

REMARKS: Members of this family seem to be monogamous. However, in reality they probably practice facultative monogamy. In this mating system, males are limited in their ability to acquire and maintain females, and thus have only a single mate, but may acquire additional females if conditions for doing so are favorable.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Philippine Coral Reef and Color Cluster 2016 AQA16

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/16150610665/in/album-72157625992053826/

fishbase http://www.fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?genusname=Oxycirrhites&speciesname=typus

EOL http://eol.org/pages/212252/details

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

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom:  Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Pectiformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Pomacanthidae (Angelfishes).

Genus/species: Centropyge bicolor

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: One of the  most striking of the Centropyge group of dwarf or pygmy angelfish.  The forebody is yellow with a blue saddle across its nape and the rearbody is blue with a bright yellow tailfin. They are distinguished from the similarly shaped butterflyfish by strong preopercle spines found on each of the lower gill covers of angelfishes.

Length up to 6 inches (15.2cm)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Indo-Pacific in shallow, coral-rich reefs in rubble areas. Range 1 – 25 m (3-82 feet) deep.

DIET IN THE WILD: Varied diet algae, small crustaceans and worms.

 

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY; Average Lifespan of 12 years.

REPRODUCTION: As with other dwarf angels the Bicolor Angelfish are synchronous protogynic hermaphrodites. They start out sexually undifferentiated, develop into females, and with environmental influences will develop into males. Males are typically larger.

CONSERVATION : IUCN, Least concern

REMARKS: C. bicolor are very active darting from one hiding place to the next.

REFERENCES

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Color on the Reef 2016 AQA16

Ron’s flickr site http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157606840726733/

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

fishbase  http://www.fishbase.org/summary/5454

EOL  http://eol.org/pages/211527/details

Animal world  https://animal-world.com/encyclo/marine/angels/angels.php

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Plesiopidae (Roundheads, spiny basslets)
Subfamily: Plesiopinae

Genus/species: Calloplesiops altivelis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Head and body brownish black with small pale blue spots; vertical and pelvic fins dark orange-brown, with many small blue spots; blue ringed black ocellus above base of last 3 dorsal rays; yellow spots at base of upper caudal rays; pectoral rays bright yellow, fin membrane transparent.

Length to 16 cm (6.30 in)

 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to Tonga and the Line Islands Found in rocky crevasses, at depth range 4 to 30 m (13.12 to 98.43 ft).

DIET IN THE WILD: C. altivelis is a predator of crustaceans and small fish. It assumes ahead down position, with its false eye spot near the tail resembling the head of a moray eel.

REPRODUCTION: Marine Betta eggs are guarded by the male parent.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List; Not Evaluated

COLOR OF LIFE NOTE: Color Communicates: Anti-predator Adaptations, Batesian mimicry  (a harmless species evolved to imitate the warning signals of a harmful species directed at a predator of them both). 
An apparent mimetic relationship exists between this fish and the whitemouth moray (Gymnothorax meleagris). When threatened, a comet will raise all of its median fins and swim into a hole or crevice. But rather than disappearing completely, it typically stops in the entrance of its sanctuary and leaves the posterior part of its body exposed.
Also note the false eyespot posteriorly.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Water is Life Hidden Reef 2018

Animal Diversity Web   animaldiversity.org/accounts/Calloplesiops_altivelis/

fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/Calloplesiops-altivelis.html

EOL eol.org/pages/205993/details

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/5118860448/in/album-72157652559028013/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1B1

 

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda (crayfish, crabs, lobsters, prawns, and shrimp)
Infraorder: Caridea
Family: Hymenoceridae

Genus/species: Hymenocera picta

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Pinkish white body color with splashes of purple-edged pink spots. Stalked eyes and antennae flattened and leaf-shaped.

Length up to 5 cm (2 inches)

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DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Along the shores of East Africa, the Red Sea, to Indonesia, south to northern Australia and as far east as the Galapagos. Found on hard rocky or coral substrates, with lots of hiding places.

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DIET IN THE WILD: It is a nocturnal feeder hunting in pairs for sea stars, using its claws to pry sea stars off coral reefs flipping them on their back. They then take them to their dwelling-place on the reef, where they consume their the tube feet of sea stars.

Harlequin Shrimps eating a Linka Seastar below

REMARKS: H. picta is known to feed on crown-of-thorns sea stars, so perhaps it should be considered a reef preservationists.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Hidden Reef

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3270612381/in/album-72157659465376212/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1K1

ADW animaldiversity.org/accounts/Hymenocera_picta/classificat…

EOL eol.org/pages/126747/details

TAXONOMY
Kingdom:  Animalia
Phylum:  Echinodermata
Class:  Asteroidea
Order:  Valvatida
Family:  Oreasteridae

Genus/species: Protoreaster nodosus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The backround body color is highly variable; may be beige, brown, orange, red or other hues, such as green or blue. Horn-shaped tall dark nodules are conical and arranged in a single row, radially on the dorsal (top) side. Most horned sea stars found are a roughly rigid five-pointed star-shape (occasionally 4 or 6) with tapering arms. A sea star’s skeleton is made up of many calcium carbonate plates (ossicles) that move like flexible joints. (In sea urchins and sand dollars, their skeletal plates are fused). The Seastar skeleton is covered with a spiny skin.

Diameter up to 30 cm (12 in).

Protoreaster nodosus15010829781_2ff5562e7a_o

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Red Sea, Indian and western Pacific oceans. Found in shallow sheltered sand and seagrass beds. Depth range 1 – 582 m (3.3 – 1900 feet).

seastar3289508350_970ef3292c_o 

DIET IN THE WILD: The mouth is located ventrally (bottom). The Chocolate Chip Seastar covers its food, then pushes out its stomach from inside its body of prey. Sea stars have a unique adaptation for consuming bi-valve mollusks (oysters, clams, mussels, etc.). Stars insert a portion of their stomach into the small “gape” between the valves of a mollusk. Stomach enzymes are released and digest the fleshy part of the mollusk inside its own shell. The digested contents are moved back into the sea star leaving an empty bi-valve shell. P. nodosus prefers sponges, corals, clams and snails, other invertebrates; also opportunistic carrion feeders.

 Protoreaster nodosus3289508974_49c4d004de_b

REPRODUCTION: P. nodosus is a broadcast spawner. As in other sea stars, fertilization is external. Eggs and sperm are stored in the rays and released simultaneously. Larvae look nothing like the adults. The form that first hatches from the eggs is bilaterally symmetrical and planktonic. Larvae eventually settle and transform into tiny sea stars.

Lifespan up to 17 years

sea star15201906310_bc5840e0c0_o 

PREDATORS: Triggerfish, pufferfish, boxfish and parrotfish.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Not Evaluated

REMARKS: The Chocolate Chip Seastars are also called “knobbly sea star” and the “horned sea star.”
The chocolate chip sea star can regenerate lost limbs, as long as the central disk of the body is intact. Some species can regenerate an entire body from an arm or arm segment.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Mangrove Pop-Up, Main floor (level one) 2018

Ron’s WordPress shortlink wp.me/p1DZ4b-1ml

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/15010829781/in/set-72157608501343477/

Woods Hole www.whoi.edu/science/B/people/kamaral/SeaStar.html

Bishop Museum hbs.bishopmuseum.org/pubs-online/pdf/op11-8.pdf

Georgia Aquarium http://www.georgiaaquarium.org/animal-guide/georgia-aquarium/home/galleries/aquanaut-adventure/gallery-animals/chocolate-chip-sea-star

Reef Creature Identification, Humann and Deloach 2010, page 426

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/4704956/details

Marine Biology http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00227-008-1064-2

 

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