Category: TEMPERATE MARINE


TAXONOMY
Phylum: Chordate
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Scorpaeniformes
Family: Rhamphocottidae, Grunt Sculpins
Genus/species: Rhamphocottus richardsoni

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Short stocky body. Most of body covered with prickles. Head and body colored yellowish-beige, streaked with dark brown; ventral surface creamy yellow to pale red. Base of caudal fin is bright red. Fin rays mostly reddish.
Their large heads represent over half of their total body length—and feature a long, tapered snout, two bony ridges on top, and small cirri on the upper lip. Instead of scales, their bodies are covered with small plates containing numerous tiny spines.

Length 5-7.6 cm (2-3 in).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Pacific Ocean, Japan north to Alaska, south to Santa Monica Bay, California. Habitat: Rocky and sandy substrates, tide pools. Grunt sculpins use the barnacles’ shells as protection and egg-laying sites. In this position, the shape of its head resembles the former resident of the shell.

Intertidal to 165 m. (540 ft)

DIET IN THE WILD: Crustaceans. Young consume zooplankton, invertebrate and fish larvae

LONGEVITY: about four years.

REPRODUCTION: Observations in captivity show that during spawning season the female chases the male until he is trapped in a rocky cavern. She keeps him captive until her eggs are laid; fertilization is external. After the eggs are fertilized, the female leaves the male to guard the nest. She may return occasionally to take a shift protecting the eggs. When it’s time for the eggs to hatch, whichever parent is guarding them (male or female) takes the eggs into its mouth, leaves the nest and literally spits the eggs out—breaking the eggs open. The newly hatched larvae then swim away to begin their lives.

REMARKS: Produces grunt-like sounds when removed from water, thus the common name. Eyes operate independently.
Like most sculpins, rarely swims freely in the water column; instead usually “walks” with a hopping motion over the substrate by use of its large, fan-like pectoral fins. Frequently observed taking shelter in empty shells, including those of the giant barnacle, Balanus nubilis, as well as in cans and bottles.

They move by crawling on the tips of their finger-like pectoral fins in a series of twitchy hops, jerks and jumps.

They make a wheezing-grunting sound when removed from the water, hence the name, grunt sculpin.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium, Water Planet Locomotion 2018

Ron’s Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/15896092713/in/album-72157662278273245/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink https://fishoncomputer.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

Seattle Aquarium https://www.seattleaquarium.org/animals/grunt-sculpin

Aquarium of the Pacific http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/onlinelearningcenter/species/grunt_sculpin/

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Scorpaeniformes (Scorpionfishes and flatheads)
Family: Cyclopteridae (Lumpfishes)

Genus/species: Eumicrotremus orbis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The globular shaped body is covered in cone-shaped plates, called tubercles. Females are dull green in color, while males are dull orange to reddish-brown.

Typically measures 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.6 cm) in length, with a maximum length of  7 inches.

The Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker’s anal fin has evolved into a large suction cup, allowing it to attach to surfaces. They are most commonly found attached to solid objects and are ineffective swimmers.

 

Distribution: North Pacific: From Japan to Alaska south to Puget Sound, Washington.
Habitats, include eelgrass beds, rocky reefs, kelp patches, shallow bays, and docks. They can be found in near shore waters to a depth of 500 feet (150 m).

DIET: Crustaceans and mollusks.

REPRODUCTION and DEVELOPMENT: Males guard eggs following spawning.

CONSERVATION IUCN NOT EVALUATED

REMARKS: The large adhesive sucking disc with thickened fringed margin is composed of modified and ossified pelvic rays. When disturbed, the fish hovers about, changing directions aimlessly like a tiny helicopter.

The family name Cyclopteridae translates from Greek as “circle wing,” a reference to their circle-shaped pectoral fins. Their roe is used as a substitute for expensive and/or unavailable caviar.


References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, locomotion, 2018

Ron’s flickr sitehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608359804936/

Ron’s WordPress short link  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-kw

fishbase  www.fishbase.de/summary/Eumicrotremus-orbis

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. xii+336 p. (Ref. 2850)
(formerly on Academy staff)

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

Genus/species: Chrysaora fuscescens

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The sea nettle is a giant, semitransparent jellyfish, with an amber-colored, swimming bell commonly as large as 30 cm (12 inches) in diameter, with some measuring more than a meter. In addition to four oral arms attached to the underside of the mouth, the sea nettle has 24 long tentacles around the perimeter of the bell that extend up to 4 m (13 ft).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Marine, found along the westcoast of North America from Mexico to British Columbia.

DIET IN THE WILD: Carnivorous; feeds on zooplankton, small crustaceans, comb jellies, fish eggs and larvae. Sea nettles sting their prey with their tentacles, which have millions of microscopic stinging cells that inject toxins to stun or kill tiny animals. The main oral arms then transport food to the heart-shaped gastric pouches in the bell, where digestion occurs.


PREDATORS: In the medusa stage, sea nettles live from 2–6 mos, usually perishing in rough waters or being eaten by predators— ocean sunfish and leatherback turtles are two of the most prevalent jellyfish predators.

REMARKS: Question: What has no heart, bones, eyes or brain, is made up of 95% water, and yet
is still a remarkably efficient ocean predator? (The jellyfish) Some jellies commute 3,600 feet (1,097 m) up and down in the water column daily!

Sea nettle stings can result in extreme localized pain. Fortunately this jelly is not aggressive.

The bell of this and other jellies is called a “medusa” because, with its long, fringing tentacles, it resembles the snake-haired Gorgon Medusa of Greek mythology.

Venomous, Plankton/Sea Drifters

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium 2018

Monterey Bay Aquarium www.montereybayaquarium.org/animal-guide/invertebrates/se…

Rons flickr www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157610031545571/…

Rons WordPress Shortlist wp.me/p1DZ4b-PM

10-2-18

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

Genus/species: Chrysaora colorata

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The adult purple-striped jellies are silvery white with deep-purple bands.The bell (body) of the jellyfish is up to one meter (3 ft) in diameter. The tentacles vary with the age of the individual, consisting typically of eight marginal long dark arms, and four central frilly oral arms.
Small specimens < 120 mm (4.7 in) are pink with dark red tentacles.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT:The adult purple-striped jellies are silvery white with deep-purple bands.The bell (body) of the jellyfish is up to one meter (3 ft) in diameter.

DIET: Zooplankton, including copepods, larval fish, ctenophores, salps, other jellies, fish eggs

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.

PREDATORS: Sunfish, sea turtles. Since divers have seen ocean sunfish eating these jellies, we know some fishes must be immune to the sting.

REMARKS: Young cancer crabs are often found clinging to this jelly, even inside the gut. The crab helps the jelly by eating the parasitic amphipods that feed on and damage the jelly.

The Purple-striped Jellies have a strong sting but isn’t fatal.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Animal Attractions 2018

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/42992188441/in/album-72157629304397467/

Monterey Bay Aquarium .org
http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animal-guide/invertebrates/purple-striped-jelly

Scripps Institute of Oceanography scripps.ucsd.edu/zooplanktonguide/species/chrysaora-colorata

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

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