Category: TEMPERATE 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: 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: Swell sharks have a stout body with flat, broad head; short snout; huge mouth,  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.

Length up to 3.2 ft.

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.

Swell Shark 3426936973_ee6379d9fb_b

DIET IN THE WILD: C. ventriosum is nocturnal; feeding on crustaceans and fishes, (often blacksmiths). They are lie-in-wait predators that sit on the bottom with wide-open mouth, ready to ambush unsuspecting prey. (slowly opens jaws; lies in wait for prey to swim inside).

egg case above

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 (5.5-6 in) at birth; immediately feed on their own.

Embryos may be eaten by snails that bore through egg cases.

Pup  below on top of egg case

PREDATORS:  If caught it is, usually it will be released because its flesh is of poor quality.    Life span: 25 or more years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List: least concern species

REMARKS: C. ventriosum 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.

Southern California Coast Kelp Exhibit Tidepool young with egg cases.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Southern California Coast Kelp Exhibit 2018

Ron’s WordPress shortlink wp.me/p1DZ4b-XL

Ron’s flickr 7608440813109/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.

 

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Gasterosteiformes
Family: Aulorhynchidae (Tube-snouts)

Genus/species: Aulorhynchus flavidus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The body has a small caudal fin and small soft dorsal fin. Color is a pale mottled brown, varying from olive-green to yellow-brown dorsally, creamy white ventrally and a bright silvery patch between operculum and pectorals extending to throat.

Length up to length: 18.0 cm (7 inches)

 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: occurs on the west coast of North America from Prince William Sound, Alaska, to Rompiente, Baja California. Found in kelp beds, eelgrass, rocky areas, and over sand bottoms.

 

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds on small crustaceans and fish larvae.

REPRODUCTION: A nest is constructed in kelp and guarded by the male.

LONGEVITY: Up to 9 years

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, California Coast Gallery 2018

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

fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/3270

Pacific coast Fishes Eschmeyer et al Houghton Mifflin 1986 page 128

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/65134524/0

 EOL eol.org/pages/207010/overview

1-13-18 Northern Feather Duster Worms from Ron’s California Coast Gallery

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

Genus/species: Eudistylia vancouveri

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: E. vancouveri secretes a soft, leathery, parchment like tube. The peristomium has several featherlike banded green and purple or maroon light sensitive radioles (tentacles) that are closely associated with the mouth, forming a feather-duster like structure. The radioles are also used for gas exchange (like gills) but the circulatory pattern within them is unusual. Instead of having afferent and efferent vessels, the radioles have a single branchial vessel in each radiole which the blood flows in and out of. Sabellids possess giant nerve fibers running down their body which allows them to retract rapidly into their tube if disturbed.

The pencil like vertical tubes are up to about 45 cm (18 in) long and the tentacle plumes up to 2 inches in diameter.

An excellent group of diagrams of fan worm anatomy can be found on page 27 of the Marine Biology Coloring Book by T. Niesen (2000).

 

Northern Feather Duster Worm30312750995_19fd3dac96_o

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found from Alaska to central California in low intertidal areas to 20 m (60 ft) deep. Often in large clusters attached to crevices of boulders, bedrock, pilings; and on vertical rock faces and surge channels in heavy surf.

DIET IN THE WILD: Plankton-feeders such as this often live where there are strong currents and wave action, moving food past the animal at a high rate.

REPRODUCTION: The sexes are separate in these worms, but gametes are produced on internal surfaces rather than in gonads. During spawning, the sperm and eggs are carried up the same groove that carries the fecal pellets and shed into the water. Fertilization is thus a random process, and the larvae that develop are planktonic spheroids with flagella and cilia, at first looking nothing like worms. They add segments little by little and finally drop out of the plankton as real worms, to begin their feather-duster life.

REMARKS: E. vancouveri are marine segmented worms that are sessile, attached to rocks or sand by their base.

Northern Feather Duster Worms are light sensitive and will retract when a shadow passes over them to protect their delicate radiaols.

References

California Academy of Sciences J. Charles Delbeek, M.Sc.
Assistant Curator, Steinhart Aquarium

EOL eol.org/pages/614627/details

University of Puget Sound  www.pugetsound.edu/academics/academic-resources/slater-mu…

Wallawalla.edu inverts.wallawalla.edu/Annelida/Sabellidae/Eudistylia_van…

Ron’s Flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/30312750995/in/dateposted-public/

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

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria Scyphozoa
Class: Scyphozoa
Subclass: Discomedusae
Order: Semaeostomeae
Family: Pelagiidae

Genus/species: Chrysaora plocamia

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Sometimes huge, diameter reported to max.of 1 m (3ft), oral arms up to. 5 m (15+ft)  or more, but in many populations reported smaller, more typically to ca. 50 cm (20 inches) diameter. Exumbrella smooth. Tentacles in adult 24, 3 per octant; and oral arms are frilled distally.
Color varies. Ground color may also be orange, or white; bell may have dark purple edge; tentacles may be dark purple; mouth-arms may be white/translucent-colorless. Marginal tentacles white to red with yellowish bases (type description).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: They occur along both Atlantic and Pacific South American coasts.

REPRODUCTION: Jellies reproduce sexually and asexually.
In the adult, or medusa, jellyfish can reproduce sexually by releasing sperm and eggs into the water, forming a planula. In this larval stage of jellyfish life, which attaches to the bottom of a smooth rock or other structure and grows into another stage. The polyp resembles a miniature sea anemone. During this stage, which can last for several months or years, asexual reproduction occurs. The polyps clone themselves and budhat grows into the adult medusa jellyfish.

REMARKS: Stings are irritating but not severe, lasting 30-60 minutes.

Refrences

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Animal Attractions 2018

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/24372029277/in/album-72157629304397467/

Smithsonian Ocean Portal  ocean.si.edu/ocean-photos/jellyfish-lifecycle-and-reprodu…

Scientific American    www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-do-jellyfish-repro…

Springer Link link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-007-7015-7_10

Worms Taxon www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=287210

Marine Species Identification Portal

species-identification.org/species.php?species_group=zsao…

Ron’s WordPress Short link https://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1Te

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Pomacentridae (Damselfishes) They resemble the related cichlids and, like them, have a single nostril on each side of the head (most fishes have 2 nostrils on each side) and have interrupted lateral lines. They have a round to oval compressed body. Damselfishes have two anal spines (usually 3 in perch like species). Many species are brilliantly colored, often in shades of red, orange, yellow, or blue; most do not exceed a length of about 15 cm (6 inches).

Genus/species: Hypsypops rubicundus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Adults are perched-shaped and brilliant orange with green eyes. Young Garibaldi are even more colorful with bright blue spots on a reddish-orange body. Normally propels itself withers pectoral fins.

Length approximately 38 cm (15 in) in length (weight 2 pounds in nature)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Monterey Bay, California to southern Baja California, Mexico among rocky bottom reefs and kelp beds,intertidal to more than 30 m (100 ft). Often near crevices and caves.

DIET IN THE WILD: Diurnal consumers of sponges, bryozoans, anemones and worms.

MORTALITY: Lives to at least 25 years.

PREDATION: Bald Eagles at Santa Catalina Island eat them.

CONSERVATION: IUCN LEAST CONCERN

REPRODUCTION: Oviparous, pairs during breeding with eggs are demersal and adhere to the substrate. Males guard and aerate the eggs.

 

REMARKS: H. rubicundus is the official marine fish of the State of California. Common name is a reference to the redshirts worn by the armies of Giuseppe Garibaldi, a fighter for Italian unification.

In California it is illegal to catch tis species. they must be released alive.

Disturbed specimens will emit thumping sounds audible to divers.

The California State freshwater fish is the golden trout (Salmo agua-bonita, native only to California). It was found only in a few streams in the icy headwaters of the Kern River, south of Mount Whitney, before transplanting to other CA. locations.

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Giants and Southern California exhibits 2017

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/8160274463/in/album-72157633391356187/

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

Pacific Coast Fishes Eschmeyer, Herald and Hammann page 233-4

More Than You Want To Know About The Fishes of the Pacific Coast, Milton Love 1996 pages 279-281

 

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

Sea basses have an elongated body has small scales, with a large mouth, and the tail is generally straight-edged or rounded. The dorsal fin, a diagnostic feature, consists of a forward, spiny section and a hinder, soft-rayed section; the two portions are usually joined but may be separated by a notch.

Genus/species: Paralabrax clathratus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS:Pale blotches on back. Brown to olive above and cream below with pale spots along sides.

Length up to 72 cm (28.5in) and 14.5 pounds (6.6 kg)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Eastern Pacific coast from southern Washington to southern Baja California. Most often found near or in kelp beds or structures of any kind; shallow water usually from about 2.5 (8 ft) to 20 m (65 ft).

DIET IN THE WILD: Juveniles: plankton and small invertebrates, especially crustaceans. Adults: small fishes, octopuses, squid, crabs, shrimps, and algae. Known to form groups to prey on schooling fishes.

REPRODUCTION: Spawn in groups in deep water. Pelagic eggs hatch into larvae, which metamorph into juveniles after approximately a month. The juveniles settle among blades of kelp

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: Life span: to at least 33 years.

PREDATION: California barracuda, Giant Sea bass

CONSERVATION: IUCN RED LIST LEAST CONCERN

REMARKS: The kelp bass is a fine food fish, and among the most important recreational game fishes in southern California.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Southern California exhibit, 2017

Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Paralabrax_clathratus/

Pacific Coast Fishes Eschmeyer, Herald and Hammann page 200

More Than You Want To Know About The Fishes of the Pacific Coast, Milton Love 1996 Page 230-233

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/38994241111/in/album-72157633391356187/

 

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Kyphosidae (Sea chubs) All similar families recognized by combination of ovate body, small mouth, strong caudal fin

Genus/species: Medialuna californiensis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Oval with a small mouth and caudal fin slightly indented. Color is Slate blue to blue-black, silver belly. dusky area above gill cover. Medialuna and common name refers to the half-moon shape of the tail. Scales extend over part of dorsal fin.

Length up to 19 inches (48 cm)

 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Vancouver Island, British Columbia to Gulf of California. Most common south of Point Conception, California. Found commonly on nearshore rocky reefs and in kelp beds. Most abundant from 3–20m (10-65 feet).

DIET IN THE WILD: Seaweed, sponges, small invertebrates. Diurnal feeders.

REPRODUCTION: Females oviparous.

PREDATORS: Taken by California sea lions, northern fur seals, loons, cormorants, and bald eagles among others.

CONSERVATION: IUCN LEAST CONCERN

Halfmoon 3702917995_61211c59dc_b

REMARKS: A popular sport fish, especially from Santa Monica south. Also a small commercial fishery, as flesh is of excellent quality. Typically found in schools or loose aggregations.

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquariun, Southern California kelp forest 2017

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

Pacific Coast Fishes Eschmeyer, Herald and Hammann page 224

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/3597

More than You Want To Know About Pacific Coast Fishes Milton Love page 256

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/2959049802/in/album-72157633391356187/

 

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Kyphosidae (Sea chubs) All similar families recognized by combination of ovate body, small mouth, strong caudal fin

Genus/species: Girella nigricans

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The body has an ovally rounded football-shaped profile. Color is olive-green, frequently shaded with blue or gray; often the snout has a white-colored area. It can display a silvery-white spotted pattern over the entire body; one to three whitespots on back. Bright blue to blue-green eyes. They often have a white bar across the snout.

Length up to 26 inches weight up to 13 1/2 pounds (most caught off piers are under 16 inches)

Opaleye Perch 8394553449_878b685a3b_b

DISTRIBUTION?HABITAT: Oregon to southern Baja California intertidal species with strong homing behavior. Can leave tide pools if aquatic conditions become inhospitable. Also found near or over rocky reefs and in kelp beds up to about 30 m (100 ft) depth..

DIET IN THE WILD: Omnivore feeding diurnally, mainly on seaweeds;
occasionally take invertebrates.

REPRODUCTION: Oviparous

Opaleye Perch 4566438661_569907b825_b

 

PREDATORS: A popular sport fish, also a mild, good-eating fish, sold commercially as “perch.”

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Southern California Kelp Forest 2017

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/8394553449/in/album-72157633391356187/

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/Girella-nigricans.html

Pacific Coast Fishes Eschmeyer, Herald and Hammann page 223

More Than You Want To Know About The Fishes of the Pacific Coast Milton Love 1996 Page 255

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

 

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