Category: SHARKS AND RAYS


TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays)
Subclass: elasmobranchii (No swim bladders, five to seven pairs of gill clefts opening individually to the exterior, rigid dorsal fins, and small placid scales).
Order: Carcharhiniformes (Ground sharks)
Family: Triakidae (Houndsharks are distinguished by possessing two large spineless dorsal fins, an anal fin, and oval eyes with nictitating eyelids. They are small to medium in size, ranging from 37 centimetres (15 in) to 220 centimetres (7.2 ft).

Genus/species: Triakis semifasciata

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Grey to bronze-grey upper body with dark saddles and dots and a light ventral (bottom) surface. Short, broadly rounded snout. First dorsal fin is moderately large and its origin is over the pectoral fins inner margins. Second dorsal fin is nearly as large as the first one. Anal fin much smaller than the second dorsal fin. Pectoral fins broadly triangular. Max length : 198 cm (78 in).

Leopard Shark 2959038532_163d96da28_o

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Common from Oregon state to Baja California,Mexico. Prefers sandy and rock-strewn substrate near rocky reefs. Most commonly in enclosed muddy bays, including estuaries and lagoons, typically at less than 3.7 m or 13 ft depth, but ranges to 91m or 300 ft.

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DIET IN WILD: Fishes (especially northern midshipman, sanddab, shiner perch, bat rays and smoothhounds), siphons of clams, crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp. Feeds heavily on fish eggs (herring, jacksmelt and topsmelt) attached to rocks and plants.

 The leopard shark captures prey by expanding its buccal cavity to create a suction force, which is facilitated by its labial cartilages swinging forward to form the mouth into a tube. Simultaneously, the shark protrudes its jaws forward to grip the prey between its teeth.

REPRODUCTION: Ovoviviparous. Litters 4–29. Young average 21 cm or 8 in at birth.

PREDATORS: Can live to at least 30 years. These good eating sharks are a very popular as a sport “fish.” Also preyed upon by other sharks.

Leopard Shark 8415453774_b665c7a08e_o

IUCN Least Concern

REMARKS: In San Francisco Bay, leopard sharks tend to remain in the Bay throughout the year, with some emigration during fall and winter. Not dangerous.

Fossils of leopard sharks have been discovered in deposits dated to more than 1,000,000 years old in southern California.

References

Peterson Field Guides, Pacific Coast Fishes, Eschmeyer and Hearld 1983

WordPress Shortlink http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-Yt

flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/26397788159/in/album-72157608359804936/

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/2543

Ferry-Graham, L.A. (1998). “Effects of prey size and mobility on prey-capture kinematics in leopard sharks Triakis semifasciata” (PDF). Journal of Experimental Biology. 201 (16): 2433–2444. PMID 9679105.

Probably More Than You Want To Know About The Fishes Of The Pacific Coast, Milton Love 1996 Really Big Press p 60-61

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays)
Order; Orectolobiformes (Carpet sharks) Most carpet sharks feed on the seabed in shallow to medium-depth waters and have ornate patterns reminiscent of carpets.
Family: Stegostomatidae (Zebra sharks)

Genus/species: Stegastoma fasciatum ( juvenile)

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: S. fasciatum has a cylindrical body with a large, slightly flattened head and a short, blunt snout and is yellow-brown with dark brown spots. Young less than 70 cm (2,3 feet) in length are black with yellow bars. Adults have longitudinal skin ridges. The head has 5 small gill slits, the last three behind pectoral fin origin; nostrils close to front of snout, with short barbels.  Pectoral fins are large and broadly rounded and body has a long caudal fin, almost as long as the rest of the body.

Length up to 354 cm (11.7 feet) 

Zebra Shark 16235954845_08c3bb04f1_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical marine. Indo-West Pacific. Found near coral reefs with sandy bottoms and remain at the reef at where they were hatched or reefs that are closely connected to their natal area.

Depth range 0 – 63 m (206 feet).

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds mainly on mollusks, but also small bony fishes, crustaceans (crabs and shrimps) and sea snakes.

REPRODUCTION: Oviparous S. fasciatum has large purplish-black eggs or dark brown egg cases with longitudinal striations.

Lifespan: Ave. 25 years. 

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List; Vulnerable (VU)     Decreasing numbers secondary to heavily fished shallow coral reef habitat throughout all its range except Australia.

Remarks: Like other bottom dwelling sharks, it can pump water across its gills through its mouth, which allows the shark to respire while stationary. 

It was tank bred at the Shedd Aquarium.

References

California Academy of Sciences Reef Lagoon 2016

fishbase: www.fishbase.org/summary/5374

IUCN Red List  www.iucnredlist.org/details/41878/0

Arkive  www.arkive.org/leopard-shark/stegostoma-fasciatum/

Animal diversity web http://animaldiversity.org/site/accounts/information/Stegostoma_fasciatum.html

Marinebio marinebio.org/species.asp?id=56

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/16235954845/

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

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Order: Myliobatiformes
Family:Dasyatidae Family: Dasyatidae  Whiptail Stingrays; whip-like tails, which are much longer than the disc and lack dorsaland caudal fins. They also have one or more venomous spines near the base of the tail.

Genus/species: Dasyatis kuhlii

IMG_7263

GENERAL/CHARACTERISTICS: Angular disc. Dorsal color reddish-brown to olive drab with blue spots and smaller black spots, ventral side white. Tail with black and white bands is about as long as the body and usually has one stinging spine.

Maximum disc width: 50 cm (20 inches).

DISTRIBUTION/ HABITAT: Tropical Indo-West Pacific from the Red Sea east to the Philippines, Japan, and south to Australia. Found on sandy bottoms near coral and rocky reefs, from intertidal zone to 50 m (160 feet). Moves onto reef flats and into shallow lagoon waters at high tide.

IMG_7261

DIET IN THE WILD: Crabs and shrimp, also small fishes.

REPRODUCTION: Ovoviviparous; eggs retained in the female’s body; embryos receive nourishment from a yolk sac.

REMARKS: The Bluespotted Whiptail Stingray is venomous tail can deliver a painful wound. Like many other rays that wound humans, it usually stings only when inadvertently stepped on: it is difficult to see in turbid waters, especially when covered by sand with only the eyes visible.

References

California Academy of Sciences Reef Lagoon 2016

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

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/5035114327/in/album-72157627919810858/

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays)
Order: Rajiformes (Skates and rays)
Family: Myliobatidae (Cownose and Manta Rays)

Genus/species: Rhinoptera javanica

 

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: R. javanica is a cartilaginous fish with bat-like, swept back pectoral fins. Double-lobed snout and indented forehead. Long, slender tail. Brown above, white below. The stinger is located at base of the tail rather than half way or more down the tail as in the whiptail rays
Width up to 1.5 m (5 ft), weight up to 45 kg (100 lbs).

Rhinoptera javanica2981790284_a7f88eab35_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical, Indo-West Pacific from South Africa north to India and possibly Thailand, Indonesia and southern China. Also in Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands.  The Javanese Cownose Ray inhabits tropical bays, estuaries, among mangroves, and near coral reefs over sand and mud bottoms. It can also tolerate brackish water.

JAVANESE COWNOSE RAY (Rhinoptera javanica) IMG_1769

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds on clams, oysters and crustaceans. The ray sucks in sand and expels it out of its gills, blowing off sand covering its prey. (Looking for prey below)

Javanese Cownose Ray Rhinoptera javanica (Myliobatidae) eating IMG_0015

REPRODUCTION: Mating pair orient in a venter to venter position, and the male inserts one or both claspers. Ovoviviparous, 1–2 pups per litter. Females have been known to leap out of the water and slam into the surface; this action seems to be an aid in birthing.

CONSERVATION STATUS: IUCN Red List  Vulnerable

A declining population is inferred from the unregulated nature of inshore fisheries as well as small litter size.

 

REMARKS:  Like its pelagic relatives the manta and devil rays, it swims by flapping its pectoral fins like wings, enabling it to swim at greater speeds than most bottom dwelling stingrays. Sometimes these “wings” protrude above the water, bearing a frightening resemblance to a shark.

References

California Academy of Sciences Reef Lagoon 2016

ARKive www.arkive.org/javanese-cownose-ray/rhinoptera-javanica/

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=7971

IUCN Red List www.iucnredlist.org/details/60129/0

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

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608440813109/with/2981790284/


TAXONOMY

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays)
Order: Myliobatiformes (Stingrays)
Family: Dasyatidae (Stingrays)

Genus/species: Taeniura lymma

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: large bright blue spots on a grey-brown to yellow, olive-green or reddish-brown oval, elongated disc with lateral blue side-stripes along the tail. The snout is rounded and angular. Disc diameter to 25 cm (9.8 inches).

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DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Indo-West Pacific around coral reefs and sandy bottoms to a debt of 20 meters (66 feet).

DIET IN THE WILD: Prey is often detected through electroreception, a system which senses the electrical fields produced by the prey. Within the mouth are two plates, which are used for crushing mollusks, worms, shrimps, and crabs.

Taeniura lymma9830767635_6774f7ae7d_k

REPRODUCTION: Ovoviviparous; the egg-shell is weakly formed and young hatch inside the female; they are nourished by their yolk sac and then ‘born’ live.

PREDATION: The hammerhead shark uses the cartilaginous projections form the side of their heads to pin them down to the bottom of the substrate while taking bites from the stingray’s disc. The hammerhead is able to avoid being stung by the poisonous spines on the rays tail by pinning the stingray down.

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CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List: Near threatened

REMARKS: At the tip of the tail are two sharp venomous spines (can be regenerated) which permit this ray to strike at enemies forward of its head. Venom is produced and delivered into narrow groves running lengthwise along the underside of the stinger. The entire structure is covered by a thin layer of skin which, when broken, releases its venom into its victim.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Reef Lagoon 2016

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/Taeniura-lymma.html

Ron’s WordPress shortlink wp.me/p1DZ4b-16f

Ron’s flickr www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608440813109/

ARKive  www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/18360786662/in/album-72…

 


TAXONOMY

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Order: Myliobatiformes
Family: Dasyatidae (Whiptail Stingrays, whip-like tails, which are much longer than the disc)

Genus/species: Himantura uarnak

 

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Disc light brown above with conspicuous dark spots, white ventrally. Tail with bands of black and white, three times the body length. One tail spine. The dark spots are separated in the young ray; in the adult they become crowded together, forming the reticulated pattern from which it gets its name. Snout sharply pointed. Band of flat denticles down the back.
Width up to 2 m (6.5 ft), weigh up to 120 kg (265 lbs).

 Himantura uarnak 18366435141_1e263bfff2_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Subtropical, Indo-West Pacific, Red Sea, to southern Africa and French Polynesia, north to Taiwan, south to Australia.

Benthic, found in surf zone, sandy beaches, sandy areas of coral reefs, shallow estuaries and lagoons, down to 90 m (295 ft). It can tolerate brackish water and in India, has been found in the fresh water of Chilka Lake and the Hoogly River, a tributary of the Ganges River.

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DIET IN THE WILD: Main foods: small fish, also bivalves crabs, shrimps, worms and jellies.

REPRODUCTION: Ovoviviparous. Embryos feeding initially on yolk, then receiving additional nourishment from the mother by indirect absorption of uterine fluid enriched with mucus, fat or protein through specialised structures

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REMARKS: Although venomous, it is a popular angling fish due to its being a powerful fighter. It is not a food fish but is used in Chinese medicine.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red list Vulnerable (VU)

REMARKS: Since their mouths are directed downward and often placed against the sand, stingrays use their spiracles rather than their mouths for water intake.

Stingrays have a spiral valve in their intestine that increases food absorption, and lack a swim bladder.

Although venomous, it is a popular angling fish due to its being a powerful fighter. It is not a food fish but is used in Chinese medicine.

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Reef Lagoon 2016

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157627919810858/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-P8

fishbase  www.fishbase.us/summary/5507

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/161692/0

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/1859/details

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class:Class: Chondrichthyes (sharks and rays)
Order: Carcharhiniformes (Ground sharks)
Family: Carcharhinidae (Requiem sharks eg migratory, live-bearing sharks of warm seas)

Genus/species: Carcharhinus melanopterus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS:
All fins tipped with black, the large dorsal fin with a white band beneath the black tip, conspicuous white bands along flanks, sometimes edged with black. Otherwise, yellowish-tan above, white below.
Length up to 2 m (6.5 ft) long and weight up to 13.6 kg (30 lbs)

Carcharhinus melanopterus2979831615_73451da081_b

DISTRIBUTION: Subtropical from Red Sea and East Africa to the Hawaiian Islands and the Tuamoto Archipelago. Also enters the Mediterranean from the Red Sea (via the Suez Canal). Prefers inshore coral reefs and the intertidal zone. Has been observed in mangrove areas and fresh water, traveling in and out with the tide.

DIET IN THE WILD: Teleost fishes sea snakes. Predation upon other elasmobranchs was rare.

REPRODUCTION: C. melanopterus is viviparous, incubating young for up to 16 months, producing 2–4 pups per litter. In a fashion not uncommon in sharks, the male takes the female’s pectoral fin in his teeth and the two mate belly to belly.

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PREDATORS: Preyed upon by other sharks as well as large groupers. Average lifespan c. 12 years

CONSERVATION: IUCN Near threatened (NT) 2015-4
The Blacktip Reef Shark is not a target of major fisheries, but is regularly caught by inshore fisheries in India and Thailand. It is caught for human consumption, fishmeal, and their fins enter the oriental sharkfin trade, for sharkfin soup. Their livers are also sought as a rich source of oil.

REMARKS: Often hunt in packs, driving prey into a tight ball and then attacking the ball in a feeding frenzy, even leaping out of the water. Its distinctive appearance and active swimming habit make it a favorite specimen for aquariums. It has been known to bite people wading in shallow water and is aggressive towards spear fishers.

References

Californiua Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Reef Lagoon 2-2-16

References

Californiua Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Reef Lagoon 2-2-16

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/2979831615/in/album-72157627919810858/

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

arkive  www.arkive.org/blacktip-reef-shark/carcharhinus-melanopte…

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?&genusnam…

IUCN: www.iucnredlist.org/details/39375/0

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?&genusnam…

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fishes)
Subclass: Elasmobranchii (sharks, rays and skates)
Order: Myliobatiformes
Family: Potamotrygonidae (river stingrays)

Genus/species: Potamotrygon motoro

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Oval disc, with a greyish-brown upper surface patterned with distinct yellow-orange spots, and a white underside. Like most rays, flat teeth are used to grip and crush prey that is sucked into the ventral mouth. Note periscoping eyes which protrude from sand when buried. Olfaction is a major and well-developed means of perception for these stingrays; their olfactory organs are situated in laterally placed cartilaginous capsules on the top of the head. The spine on the tip of the tail is capable of delivering a painful sting.
Length up to 1 m (3 ft.) and weight to 15 kg (33 lb.).

Potamotrygon motoro3407966512_7f4218b0a0_b

DISTRIBUTION: South America: Uruguay, Paraná- Paraguay, Orinoco, and Amazon Basins.

HABITAT: Found in freshwater calm waters, especially on the sandy margins of lagoons, brooks and streams. Able to tolerate only a narrow range of salinities. Lost ability to retain urea decreasing osmolarity for fresh water unlike salt water relatives.

DIET: Mostly benthic hard-shelled invertebrates, such as clams, mussels, and crustaceans. Also worms, insect larvae, and small fishes.

REPRODUCTION: Fertilization is internal with the male attaches himself to a female by firmly clamping his jaws onto the posterior margin of her disk, sometimes leaving prominent bite marks. Females produce eggs that hatch inside the female and are then ‘born’ live after a gestation period of no more than three months. The litter size varies, from 3 to 21 young.

LIFESPAN: Maximum of 15 years in captivity.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red list Data Deficient (DD)

Potamotrygon motoro10203193423_b185d566b4_k

REMARKS: One of the seven species of this genus inhabiting southern South America.
Fishermen also harpoon these rays during floods when they are found resting over vegetation in shallow water. P.motoro apparently has delicious meat.

References

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/Potamotrygon-motoro.html

ARKive  www.arkive.org/ocellate-river-stingray/potamotrygon-motoro/

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/205366/details

IUCN Red List  www.iucnredlist.org/details/39404/0

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3407966512/in/album-72157608387905158/

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

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays)
Order: Carcharhiniformes (Ground sharks; characterized by the presence of a nictitating membrane over the eye, two dorsal fins, an anal fin, and five gill slits.)
Family: Scyliorhinidae (Cat sharks; elongated cat-like eyes and a patterned appearance, ranging from stripes to patches to spots)

Genus/species: Cephaloscyllium ventriosum

SwellShark14479061579_a24e4ac80e_b

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Maximum length 3.2 ft. Stout body with flat, broad head; snout short; mouth huge, proportionally larger that the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). Teeth are at front of jaws with dagger-like central point and 1-2 small points on each side; two dorsal fins: first much larger, with origin over pelvic fins, second dorsal fin considerably smaller than first, its origin over origin of anal fin. The body is light brown with dark patches covered with black dots.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Central California to southern Mexico; also reported near central Chile.
Found in rocky reefs and kelp forests, from surface to 460 m (1500 ft), in temperate and subtropical waters.

DIET IN THE WILD: Nocturnal; feeds on crustaceans and fishes, often blacksmith. Lie-in-wait predator that sits on the bottom with wide-open mouth, ready to ambush unsuspecting prey. (slowly opens jaws; lies in wait for prey to swim inside).

REPRODUCTION: Oviparous; female lays amber-colored egg cases that hatch in 8–10 months. Egg case (“mermaid’s purse”) is 9 – 13 centimeters (3.5 – 5 inches) long, 3 – 6 centimeters (1 – 2.3 inches) wide. Young have enlarged toothlike denticles on the back that help them break through egg cases. Pups measure 14 – 15 centimeters at birth; immediately feed on their own

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Swell Shark egg Case IMG_0322

PREDATORS:  If caught it is, usually it will be released because its flesh is of poor quality. Embryos may be eaten by snails that bore through egg cases.   Life span: 25 or more years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List: least concern species

REMARKS: Hides in caves and crevices during normal aquarium hours. the day, and so is often not to be seen during aquarium hours. Common and specific (ventriosum = “largebelly”) names come from its ability to take in water that makes it appear up to twice as large as its normal size, a difficult meal for predators to bite or to remove from a crevice. If caught and brought to the surface, it can swell its body with air.

When caught by fishermen and brought out of water, the release of gulped water/air can cause the swell shark to “bark”.

Occurs in aggregations while resting, sometimes piled one on top of the other.

Swell Shark 3426936973_ee6379d9fb_b

Southern California Coast Kelp Exhibit CC14, Tidepool young with egg cases.

References

 Wordpress shortlink wp.me/p1DZ4b-XL

 flickr www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/14479061579/in/set-7215…

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/802

 Marine bio.org marinebio.org/species.asp?id=383

 eol eol.org/pages/208742/details

Sean Donahoe, CAS docent, materials from the Naturalist Center and collaborated with Docent Program staff document.

Works Cited

1. Carwardine, M. 2004. Shark. Firefly Books. Buffalo. 168 p.

2. Michael, S.W. 1993. Reef Sharks and Rays of the World: A guide to their

identification, behavior, and ecology. Sea Challengers. Monterey. 107 p.

3. Parker, S. and Parker, J. 1999. The Encyclopedia of Sharks. Firefly Books.

Buffalo. 192 p.

4. Ebert, D.A. 2003. Sharks, Rays, and Chimeras of California. University of

California Press. Berkeley/Los Angeles. 284 p.

5. Springer, V.G. and Gold, J.P. 1989. Sharks in Question. Smithsonian Institution

Press. Washington, D.C. 187 p.

 

 

Raja binoculata  Class Chondrichthyes, Subclass Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays), Order Rajiformes (Skates and rays), Family Rajidae (Skates).

DISTRIBUTION: Bering Sea and southeastern Alaska to central Baja California.

HABITAT: Bottom dwellers on soft substrates, usually from shallow water to 300 m.  Found along the coast in estuaries, bays, and over the continental shelf. 

APPEARANCE:  Largest species of skate, adults usually 1.8 m (5.9 ft) and 91 kg (200 lb). There are two large dark spots with pale borders, one on each wing. The ventral side is white, sometimes with dark spots or blotches.

DIET: Benthic shrimps, worms, clams, some fishes.

REPRODUCTION and Development: Oviparous, and is one of the few skate species that typically have more than one embryo within each egg capsule, commonly called “mermaid’s purses”.   The egg capsule of a big skate is the largest of any skate, measuring 23–31 cm (9–12 in) long and 11–19 cm (4–7 in) wide.  The young emerge after 9 months and measure 18–23 cm (7–9 in).

REMARKS: Commercially fished off California.   R. binoculata‘s slow reproductive rate has led it to be assessed as Near Threatened by the World Conservation Union. 

LOCATION: Salt marsh pop-up CC03

 WORDPRESS SHORTLINK   http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-ev

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