Category: INDO-PACIFIC


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

 

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

Genus/species: Amphiprion latezonatus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS:  The very wide mid-body bar is much narrower at the top than at the bottom. The body is dark brown with three white bars, middle bar very wide, more than twice the width of the mid-body bar of most other anemonefishes. A. latezonatus often has bright blue markings on the upper lip and the edges of the bars. Has blue lips as well as a broad bar on the sides of the body. The dorsal fin may be orange or yellow. The caudal fin has a pale posterior margin.

Length up to 15 cm (6 in)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: The Wide-Band Clownfish is found on the Western Pacific: Australia and New Caledonia inhabiting rocky and coral reefs. Depth to 5-45 metres (16-150 feet).

DIET IN THE WILD: Carnivore, feeds mainly on planktonic crustaceans (copepods, mysis, and shrimp larvae and some algae.

            Juveniles below note the different color.  NOT CURRENTLY ON EXHIBIT

REPRODUCTION: Clownfish are oviparous with distinct pairing during breeding. Eggs are demersal and adhere to the substrate. Males guard and aerate the eggs.
Protandry refers to organisms that are born male and at some point in their lifespan change sex to female. Protandrous animals include clownfish. If the female clownfish is removed from the group, such as by death, one of the largest and most dominant males will become a female. The remaining males will move up a rank in the hierarchy.

Juveniles below note the different color.  NOT CURRENTLY ON EXHIBIT

REMARKS: Associated with the anemone Heteractis crispa in the wild.

Academy captive Entacmaea sp.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Hidden Reef 2018 Vetted Curator Charles Delbeek

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

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/39139992210/in/album-72157659465376212/

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

EOL eol.org/pages/24566/details

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Scorpaeniformes. (Scorpionfishes and flatheads)
Family: Scorpaenidae (Scorpionfishes or rockfishes)
Subfamily: Scorpaeninae

Genus/species: Taenianotus triacanthus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Leaf Scorpionfish is tan to reddish or brown in color. It has prickly papillae instead of scales. Inhabits reef flats, outer reef slopes, current-swept channels, and rarely on lagoon reefs. They have venomous spines.

Length up to 10.0 cm (4 in)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: The are found in the Indo-Pacific: East Africa to the Galapagos Islands, north to Ryukyu and Hawaiian islands, south to Australia and the Tuamoto Islands. Inhabits reef flats, outer reef slopes, current-swept channels, and rarely on lagoon reefs.

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds on small crustaceans and fishes

CONSERVATION: IUCN: Least Concern

REMARKS: T. triacanthus are solitary and usually immobile among algae or seagrass but has hip movements resembling that of a leaf falling down from a tree. They molt twice a month with the skin breaking off first in the head region.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Hidden Reef 2018

fishbase http://fishbase.org/summary/5824

IUCN  http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/79800214/0

EOL eol.org/pages/212250/details

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

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Anguilliformes (Eels and morays)
Family: Congridae (Conger and garden eels)
Subfamily: Heterocongrinae

Genus/species: Heteroconger hassi

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The color is variable with tiny spots covering the body including three large black spots, two of which are usually visible. The third spot is on the anus, which is usually in the burro. The pectoral fins are minute.

Length up to 40 cm (16 in), body diameter of about 14 mm (1/2 in)

SPOTTED GARDEN EEL Heteroconger hassi FAM (Congridae) ,IMG_0193_2

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to the Society Islands. Found on sandy bottoms with some current near a reef at depths of 7–45 m (22-140 ft).

DIET IN THE WILD:  H. hassi feeds on microscopic animals in the water column.

REPRODUCTION: During mating season, males and females move their burrows closer together. With tails remaining in their burrows, they meet and entwine bodies. Males defend the females they have chosen. After mating the fertilized eggs are released into the current and float near the surface in the open ocean. The eggs hatch out and the larvae float until the eels are large enough to swim down and make a burrow.

Heteroconger hassi3302264315_77ea9161f9_b

CONSERVATION: IUCN Not Evaluated

REMARKS: Garden eels are usually found in colonies containing up to several hundred. The garden eel drives its pointy tail into the sand to create a burrow. Secretions from the skin harden and stabilize burrow sides. Part of the eel’s body remains in the burrow as it faces the current to feed. When approached, the animal withdraws into its burrow for protection.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Hidden Reef 2018

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

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/12619

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3266269153/in/album-72157625992053826/

EOL eol.org/pages/205986/hierarchy_entries/44704953/details

Georgia Aquarium animalguide.georgiaaquarium.org/home/galleries/tropical-d…

TAXONOMY
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Order: Alcyonacea (soft corals)
Family: Alcyoniidae

Genus: Sinularia notanda (Tree-like soft coral)

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Colors include purple, pink, gray, green, and yellow, but are usually brown to cream. They have stalks with tree-like branches, and from those form little branchlets. The branchlets have small autozooid (feeding) polyps which have the ability to retract fully.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical Indo West Pacific on coral reefs in fairly strong currents.

DIET IN THE WILD: Phytoplankton and very small zooplankton
(Harbors symbiotic zooxanthellae which adds nutrition to its tissues from the algae’s photosynthesis.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Color Cluster 2016 AQA17 Pam Montbach

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/27838187418/in/album-72157659465376212/

Aquarium Corals E H Borneman TFH Publications 2001 page 132

WoRMS http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=29991

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Order: Scleractinia (stony corals or hard corals)
Family: Dendrophylliidae

Genus/species: Turbinaria reniformis

(Brain coral Platygyra sp. on the right)

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: T. reniformis may form cup, vase, or spreading scroll-like plates, Color yellow, brown, or sometimes green. The corallites widely spaced apart from each other with the polyps like short tufts sprouting from the surface.

Diameter of plates up to 1 meter (3 ft)

turbinaria32394123080_1e4c866324_o

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Yellow Cup Cora are found throughout the Indo-Pacific from shallow turbid water to clear reef flats and deeper reef slopes ( 2 to 15 metres)

DIET IN THE WILD: Zooxanthellae provide nutrients and energy, and help remove metabolic wastes.

REPRODUCTION: T. reniformis unlike most corals which are hermaphroditic (have both male and female sex organs releasing gametes for external fertilization), Yellow Cup Coral have separate male and female sexes.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Vulnerable (VU) T. reniformisis is susceptible to bleaching and disease due to a more restricted depth range,

REMARKS: When irritated, it can produce large amounts of clear mucus which can damage other corals; the mucus is presumed to contain nematocysts or a toxin.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Shrimpfish exhibit and Philippine Coral Reef Exhibit, 2017 Pam Montbach

Aquarium Corals E.H. Borneman 2001 ppg 318-321

EOL eol.org/pages/1016035/details

ARKIVE  www.arkive.org/yellow-scroll-coral/turbinaria-reniformis/

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

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/32428403365/in/album-72157659465376212/

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Order: Scleractinia (stony corals or hard corals)
Family: Faviidae

Genus: Platygyra sp.

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Colonies can be massive, encrusting, dome-shaped or flattened. Corallites (the skeletal cup, formed by an individual stony coral polyp, in which the polyp sits) form meandering walls of brown, green, or gray surrounding contrasting valleys of cream, pink, gray, or even fluorescent green.  Easily confused with Goniastrea and Leptoria.

Platygyra32394124350_d187cacd4e_o

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea and around Australia and Southeast Asia. Inhabits a variety of reef locations, including reef flats, back reefs, and deeper waters.

DIET: Primary nutrition received from the photosynthesis of symbiotic zooxanthellae. Supplemental diet from capture of microplankton by stinging tentacles.

REPRODUCTION: Sexually by spawning and asexually by budding (polyps divide to form new polyps)

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern (LC)

References

California Academy of Steinhart Aquarium Sciences Color Hidden Reef Shrimpfish exhibit 2018

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/32394124350/in/album-72157659465376212/

Aquarium Corals E H Borneman 2001 ppg 298-99

Arkive  www.arkive.org/brain-coral/platygyra-daedalea/

Carpenter, K.E. (1998) An introduction to the oceanography Corals ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/009/w7191e/w7191e10.pdf

IUCN Red List 2009 www.iucnredlist.org/

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

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

Genus/species: Halichoeres chrysus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The body is elongated and canary yellow in color, with distinctive light-green bands on the head. Males have a single white-rimmed
black spot on dorsal fin; females have two black, light yellow-rimmed spots.

Length up to 12 cm (4.75 in).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: East Indo-Pacific: Christmas Island to Marshall Islands; north to Japan, south to Australia. Found on sand and rubble edges of reefs.

DIET IN THE WILD: The Yellow Wrasse is a carnivore; small worms, snails, crustaceans;
also may eat parasites off of other fishes.

REPRODUCTION: H. chrysus is a protogynous hermaphrodite They start life as females with the capability of turning male later. Distinct pairing during breeding has been noted.

CONSERVATION: IUCN

REMARKS: Most species of wrasse are elongated and relatively slender with pointed snouts. Characteristic features of the wrasses include thick lips, smooth scales, long dorsal and anal fins, and large, often protruding canine teeth in the 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.

References
California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Hidden Reef 2016
Vetted J. Charles Delbeek, M.Sc.
Assistant Curator, Steinhart Aquarium

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3380012747/in/album-72157659465376212/

fishbase. http://fishbase.org/summary/Halichoeres-chrysus.html

EOL  http://eol.org/pages/212334/details

ADW  http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Halichoeres_chrysus/classification/

 

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 and Hidden Reef 2018

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   Zebrasoma scopas

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Zebrasoma spp. is a small genus of tangs characterized by round, laterally compressed bodies, large dorsal sail-like fins, and pointed snouts. Because of their snouts, they are able to eat filamentous algae that grow in spots other fishes cannot reach, a talent that also makes them popular in aquariums large and small. Males and females are similar. Color can be variable; most often are shades of gray and brown with a greenish tinge running along the dorsal spine.

A distinguishing feature of surgeonfishes, tangs, and unicornfishes is a modified scale on the caudal peduncle, which forms a scalpel-like sharp blade often covered with toxic slime. These spines are used for species recognition, defense, and competition for mates. They are white in the Brown Scopes Tang. Note: Acanthus means “thorn” or “spine”. Length to 20 cm (8 in)

 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Widespread throughout the Indo-Pacific from Africa to Japan in lagoons and outer reefs to 50 m (150 ft). Particularly well suited to large aquaria where they can roam.

Brown Scopas Tang

DIET IN THE WILD: Z. scopas graze on algae, usually in groups of 20 individuals. Its numerous, small pharyngeal teeth may have evolved in response to a shift in diet from macroalgae to filamentous algae.

REPRODUCTION: Group and pair spawning have been observed scattering eggs and sperm into the water column.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Least Concern (LC)

REMARKS: Zebrasoma spp. are known to irritate some stony corals to induce the release of zooxanthellae, evidently a sailfin delicacy. 

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Philippine Coral Reef and Hidden Reef 2018

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink wp.me/p1DZ4b-BO

fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/Zebrasoma-scopas.html

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/178005/0

EOL eol.org/pages/204517/details

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/4770058557/in/set-72157625992053826/

fishbase http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Zebrasoma-scopas.html

 

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