Category: Subtropical Marine


TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Elopiformes (Tarpons and tenpounders)
Family: Megalopidae (Tarpons).

Genus/species: Megalops atlanticus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Tarpon has a large, elongated, moderately deep and compressed body. Sides and belly are silvery and back blue-gray. The caudal fin is deeply forked. They “roll” at the water surface taking in air into their lunglike swimbladder which is attached to the esophagus allowing it to fill directly with air permitting the fish to live in oxygen-poor waters.

Length up to 2.5 m (8 ft) and weight up to 160 kg (350 lbs)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Nova Scotia south to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and the West coast of Africa. Though the majority of its life is spent in the open ocean, M. atlanticus tolerates fluctuating salinities and may be found in coastal waters, bays, estuaries, mangrove-lined lagoons, and rivers, such as the Amazon.

Some populations of M. atlanticus may complete their life cycle in freshwater lakes or as in the California Academy of Sciences flooded Amazon.

DIET IN THE WILD: They feed on sardines, anchovies, and other fishes as well as shrimp, crabs, and other crustaceans.

REPRODUCTION and DEVELOPMENT:  Spawn offshore. High fecundity; a 2.3 m (7.5 ft) female is estimated to produce over 12 million eggs. Spawn in waters which can be temporarily isolated from the open sea. Larvae develop inshore and are leptocephalic in shape (flattened, transparent, and eel-like).

PREDATORS: Natural predators are sharks.

REPRODUCTION: They spawn offshore and exhibit high fecundity, a 2.3 m (7.5 ft) female is estimated to produce over 12 million eggs. They can also spawn in waters that are temporarily isolated from the open sea. Larvae develop inshore and are leptocephalic in shape (flattened, transparent, and eel-like). Life span: at least 55 years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red list; Vulnerable

REMARKS: Tarpon are among the most “primitive” existent bony fish.

It is a popular game fish of sportfishers, due to its dynamic reaction once hooked. Since the flesh is of poor quality, they are usually released, though another source states, “The flesh is highly appreciated despite its being bony.” It is marketed fresh or salted.

Their large (up to 8 cm (3 in) diameter) silvery scales are fashioned into jewelry.

References

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-9e

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3458838683/in/set-72157620568438047/

“It’s Easy Being Green” Docent Course. California Academy of Sciences 2014 

 fishbase fishbase.org/summary/1079

 Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/339927/details

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Subclass: Pteriomorphia
Order: Pectinoida
Family: Pectinidae

Genus/species: Crassedoma giganteum

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Giant Rock Scallops have coarsely ribbed shells called valves. The upper valve is usually scallop-shaped but the lower valve takes the shape of the substrate to which it’s attached. Between the valves, the margin of the orange mantle can be seen, with a row of tiny blue eyes and a sparse fringe of short tentacles

SIZE: up to a diameter of 15 centimetres (5.9 in) in the intertidal zone and 25 centimetres (9.8 in) in the subtidal zone.

DISTRIBUTION: Pacific coast California and Canada and south to Baja California and Mexico usually inside crevices and under boulders, or cemented to rock surfaces, Depth down to about 80 metres (260 ft).

DIET IN THE WILD: C. gigantea is a suspension feeder, filtering phytoplankton from water as it passes over the gills. The particles are moved by cilia along grooves to the mouth where edible matter is separated from sediment particles. The waste is incorporated into mucous balls which are removed from the mantle cavity periodically by a clapping of the valves.

REPRODUCTION: The sexes are separate in C. gigantea. The veliger larvae that develop from the eggs form part of the zooplankton for about 40 days before settling, undergoing metamorphosis and beginning to form a shell. Juveniles are free-living, are able to swim and can attach themselves temporarily to the substrate by byssus threads. 

PREDATORS: Sunflower starfish (Pycnopodia helianthoides) and purple sea star (Pisaster ochraceus).

REMARKS: The scallops eyes can’t see images as we can, but they allow the scallop to adjust to the brightness of light. This can be of benefit when it opens its protective shells to pump water over their gills filtering food thus exposing its soft body parts to predators. As a predator approaches at least some light will be blocked and the scallop closes it shells.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Dr Charles Delbeek 2018

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/39884701811/in/album-72157675344287795/

iNaturalist  www.inaturalist.org/taxa/54526-Crassadoma-gigantea

Global species: www.globalspecies.org/ntaxa/913354

Reef.org www.reef.org/resources/galleries/invertebrate?page=1

Eyes. www.chuckkopczakphotography.com/blog/2015/11/13/the-eyes-…

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Scorpaeniformes (Scorpionfishes and flatheads)
Family: Sebastidae (Rockfishes, rockcods and thornyheads)

Genus/species: Sebastes constellatus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Elongate red-orange above, with 3–5 large whitish blotches on back; paler below. Small white dots cover most of the body.

Length up to 46 cm (18 inches).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: San Francisco Cordell Bank south to Baja in coastal waters; usually on deep reefs at 24-275 m (80-900 ft)

REPRODUCTION:  As with other kinds of rockfish, fertilization is internal.  Viviparous (live young are born) with planktonic larvae and pelagic juveniles. 

CONSERVATION: IUCN; Not evaluated

REMARKS: Occasionally caught by sport fishers; considered highly flavorful.

“Sebastes contellatus” is latin for “magnificent starred”

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium California Rocky Coast  2017

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608333101710/with/2989047345/

Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald and H. Hammann, 1983. A field guide to Pacific coast fishes of North America. Boston (MA, USA): Houghton Mifflin Company. p 137

Probably More Than You Want To Know About The Fishes Of The Pacific Coast, Milton Love 1996 Really Big Press p 155

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

fishbase:  www.fishbase.org/summary/3961

eol  http://eol.org/pages/203880/details

CA dept of fish and wildlife   www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mspcont4.asp#starry

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)

Order: Scorpaeniformes (Scorpionfishes and flatheads)
Family: Sebastidae (Rockfishes, rockcods and thornyheads)

Genus/species:  Sebastes mystinus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS
Mottled blue-black to bright blue with two to four dark bands which curve around the front of the head. Sloping band from the eye toward the pectoral fin with a smaller band below. Rear edge of the anal fin is straight and slanted. 

Length up to 61.0 cm (24 in)

Weight up to max. published weight: 3.8 kg (8.4 lbs)

 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: S. mystinus is found along the coast from Alaska to Baja California. May be found near the surface or off the bottom, generally over shallow reefs, but also around kelp and over deep reefs. Form schools, sometimes with other rockfishes.

Sebastes mystinus4329897153_34929592a1_b

DIET IN THE WILD: Jellyfish, krill, copepods, fishes, hydroids and kelp. Larger blues eat relatively more fishes.

REPRODUCTION: S. mystinus matures between 6–9 years. Fertilization is internal with copulation and transfer of sperm via a modified urogenital papilla on the male.
The females store sperm in the ovaries for several months until ovulation then fertilization of the eggs occurs. They are viviparous. The larvae mature in shallow water.

LONGEVITY: up to 44 years 

PREDATORSAdults are preyed upon by other rockfish, lingcod, sharks, dolphins and sea lions.  

CONSERVATION: IUCN Not evaluated  

REMARKS: Blues are an important sports catch in California. During some years they represent up to 31% of all fishes taken in the marine recreational fisheries.

References  

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/7564777760/in/set-72157608333101710/

fishbase  http://www.fishbase.org/summary/3983

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium California Rocky Coast  2017

Pacific Coast Fishes Eschmeyer and Herald 1983 Easton Press page 144

eol eol.org/pages/211617/details

Probably More Than You Want To Know About The Fishes Of The Pacific Coast, Milton Love 1996 Really Big Press p175-177

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

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Embiotocidae (Surfperches)

Genus/species: Rhacochilus toxotes

 Rubberlip Surfperch14903173973_a0105891ee_k

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Silvery blue to purplish on dorsal surface; pectoral fins yellowish; pelvic fins black or dusky fringed with black; prominent lips thick, pink or white. The lower jaw is slightly shorter than the upper. Juveniles have one or two vertical dusky bars on the body, usually are not found on adults.The largest of the surfperches, up to 19 inches long. A 16.5 inch specimen weighed 3 pounds.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Rubberlip Surfperch are found in the Eastern North Pacific: Cape Mendocino, California to Central Baja California generally favoring inshore waters with rocky shelves and extensive kelp beds.

DIET IN THE WILD: R. toxotes is an oral “winnowers” (to blow upon) sifting out thin-shelled invertebrates from the substrate; occasionally eat mollusks and algae.

REPRODUCTION: Like all surfperches, they are viviparous with young highly developed and free-swimming at birth.

CONSERVATION: IUCN: Not evaluated.

REMARKS: Overall population decline. Small commercial fishery in Southern California; most caught by sport fishermen who seek out the larger, mature females.

References

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/36298592766/in/album-72157608359804936/

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Academy California Rocky Reef 2017

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/3639

eol eol.org/pages/357017/details

CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mspcont2.asp

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

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Embiotocidae (Surfperches)

Genus/species: Embiotoca lateralis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Striped Surfperch is reddish orange with brilliant neon blue stripes and iridescent blue streaks and spots on head and gill cover. Fins are coppery; dark areas on anterior part of rayed dorsal, base of caudal fin, anterior part of anal, and distal halves of pelvic fins.

Length up to 38 cm (15 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Subtropical. Wrangell, Alaska to northern Baja California, Mexico along rocky coasts and kelp forests, estuarine eelgrass beds, occasionally in sandy surf near rocks.

Depth to 21 m (65 ft).  

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds only during the day on amphipods (crustacea, shrimp-like in form), shrimps, crabs, worms, other small benthic invertebrates, fish eggs and larvae.

REPRODUCTION: Fertilization internal. Viviparous. Mature at 2–3 years (~25cm). Females produce 11–92 young per litter.

LONGEVITY: Up to 10 years.

PREDATORS: E. lateralis is preyed upon by rockfish, fished commercially, also by sportfishers and speared by divers.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Not Evaluated

REMARKS: Primarily uses pectoral fins to swim followed by the caudal fine if increased speed ids needed..

References

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3236211065/in/set-72157608348783942/

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium California Coastal Reef 2017

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/3629

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

 eol eol.org/pages/207198/details

 

 

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

Genus/species: Hypsurus caryi

 GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Compressed and oval to oblong-shaped bodies. Orange and blue horizontal stripes on body; larger orangish bars on back. Fins tinged with orange with black blotch on continuous soft dorsal and anal fins. The caudal (tail) fin is forked. 

Length up to: 30 cm (12 in)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Subtropical. Cape Mendocino to northern Baja California along rocky shores, often at the edges of kelp beds; occasionally over sand but not found in the surf zone.

DIET IN THE WILD: Rainbow Surfperch feed on isopods, amphipods and other crustaceans; also snails and brittle stars.

REPRODUCTION: H. caryi males approach the female from below; both swim with vents close for 2 or 3 seconds, then separate and repeat the process. As with all surfperches fertilization is internal and they are viviparous (livebearers) giving birth to as many as 22 young which are fully-formed (5 cm) at birth miniature versions of the adults.

 CONSERVATION: IUCN: Not evaluated.

 REMARKS: Divers in Monterey Bay report Rainbow Surfperch cleaning ocean sunfish (Mola mola).

 References

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/36159456555/in/album-72157608359804936/

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium California Rocky Coast 2017

California Dept. of Fish and Wildlifewww.dfg.ca.gov/marine/sfmp/surfperch-id.asp

 fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/3633

 eol eol.org/pages/995097/overview

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Chaenopsidae (Pike-, tube- and flagblennies)

Genus/Species Neoclinus uninotatus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The color is usually light to dark brown with black specks and mottling. The jaw is large extending beyond the eye. There is one large ocellus (eye spot) between dorsal fin spines. A few carrier above the eye and one larger (longer than the eye diameter).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: N. uninotatus is found along the California coast from Bodega Bay to the Baja California. It is usually found in rock crevices as well as inside objects, including bottles, cans, and tires which it guards fiercely.
Depth 3-27 m (10-90 ft)
Length up to 25 cm (10 in)

DIET IN THE WILD: Benthic crustaceans

REPRODUCTION: Both sexes guard the eggs with the male circulating water over them.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern.

REMARKS: The Sarcastic Fringhead is similar but has two ocelli on the dorsal fin.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Waterplanet 2017

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/32131392083/in/album-72157675574079744/

Pacific Coast Fishes of North America: Eschmeyer and Hearld, The Eaton Press,1983

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/Neoclinus-uninotatus.html

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

 

TAXONOMY

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Subphylum: Vertebrata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae: (Wrasses)


Genus/species;   Choerodon fasciatus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: 
C. fasciatus 
has vertical, broad, bright orange bands interspersed with blue bands. The caudal peduncle is black,  tail is white and dorsal as well as pelvic fins are orange. As it ages the back half of the body darkens to a dark blue/purple color. The mouth has large blue teeth is a very distinctive feature. 

Length up to 30 cm (12 in).

13468909953_41792a2c76_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found in the Western Pacific among seaward reefs, 5–35 m (15-100 ft). Usually solitary.

DIET IN THE WILD:
 Tuskfish have protruding canines used for moving rubble to expose invertebrate prey and prying mollusks from the substrate. Hard shelled prey crushed by pharyngeal teeth. Eats mollusks, echinoderms, crustaceans, worms.

REPRODUCTION
 Pelagic spawners, initial males spawn in large groups; terminal males are usually territorial and pair
 spawn with females of their choice. Females change sex into males for their terminal phase.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern

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 wing like motion of the pectoral fins with only an occasional burst of speed provided by the caudal fin. Color, markings and body shapes change during maturation.

References

California Academy of Sciences Philippine coral reef 2016

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/13468909953/in/album-72157608208133134/

Ron’s Wordpress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-BV

EOL  http://eol.org/pages/206009/details

fishbase   http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Choerodon-fasciatus.html

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Syngnathiformes (Pipefishes and seahorses)
Family: Syngnathidae (Seahorses, Pipefishes, and Seadragons)

Genus/species: Phycodurus eques

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Color varies from brown tones,to greenish or reddish depending on depth. Their body is scaleless and covered is in hard bony plates with long sharp spines on each bony plate that may be defensive. Leaf-like appendages protrude from the head, body, and tail and transparent dorsal and pectoral fins. Their long, thin pipe-like snout has no jaw.
Maximum length of the leafy seadragon is about 35 cm (14 in).

leafy seadragon11042381084_94c0a006a8_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Endemic to southern Australia.
Found amongst brown algae (kelp) in shallow, temperate water, associated with seagrass beds and rocky reefs.

DIET IN THE WILD: Do not have a jaw, teeth or a stomach. They swallow their prey whole by creating a suction to suck mysid shrimp, zooplankton and fish larvae into their mouths.

REPRODUCTION: Like the seahorse, the male seadragon carries the eggs. He develops about 120 shallow depressions in a spongy section of the ventral surface of his tail. The female deposits her eggs in the depressions.

LONGEVITY: 7-10 yrs.

PREDATORS: Depend on camouflage and sway like plants in the water to hide from predators.

CONSERVATION:IUCN Red List (2006.) Near Threatened. Habitat destruction, pollution, excessive fertilizer runoff, and poaching by humans has lead to a decrease in numbers. They are fully protected with special licenses required to collect or export them.

REMARKS: Unlike its seahorse relative that swims vertically, the seadragon swims horizontally. It is a very slow swimmer, as might be expected from its tiny fins, but is protected not only by its camouflage but by sharp spines that deter predators.
The leafy seadragon has the honor of being the official emblem of Australia.

leafy seadragon2980686562_a871c0e383_b

Color of Life
P. eques moves very slowly through the water and mimics seaweed, which makes it a master at camouflage.

References

California Academy of Sciences Water planet: Centerpiece Water Dependence 2015

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/11042381084/in/album-72157608441047857/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1C2

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/Phycodurus-eques.html

Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Phycodurus_eques/

IUCN Red List www.iucnredlist.org/details/17096/0

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

 

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