Category: TROPICAL MARINE


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

Genus/species: Serranus tortugarum

GENERAL  CHARACTERISTICS: Light purple with bright blue to orange saddle bands along its back. Different specimens of this species can look very different from each other. The body has an orange to maroon base color. The top of the fish is darker than the bottom half.

Max. length: 8 cm (3 in)


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found throughout the Caribbean sea over rubble, silty, or sandy bottoms. Often congregate in small groups hovering over a patch of coral rubble or an old conch shell. Will often hide in the substrate.

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds on zooplankton.

REPRODUCTION:The Chalk Bass like other members of the genus Serranus, is a synchronous (simultaneous) hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs). The mated pair takes turns in which one acts as the male and the other the female through multiple matings, usually over the course of several nights. The fish do not self-fertilize.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean Reef 2018

Ron’s flickr   http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157625866509117/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-v2

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/Serranus-tortugarum.html

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/16759567/0

 

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Pomacanthidae (Angelfishes)

Genus/species: Holacanthus tricolor

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Like their close relatives the butterflyfishes, they have a deep, laterally compressed body, a single and a unnotched dorsal fin. The most observable difference between the two families is the long spine at the corner of the preopercle common to angelfishes.

H. tricolor has a yellow anterior body with the remaining parts of body black. The caudal fin is entirely yellow.
Maximum length of approximately 12 inches (35 cm)

IMG_7406

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Western Atlantic: Georgia (USA), Bermuda, and northern Gulf of Mexico to Santa Catarina, Brazil among rock jetties, rocky reefs and rich coral areas.    Depth range 3 – 92 m (10-300 ft)

DIET IN THE WILD: Rock Beauty Angelfish feeds on tunicates, sponges, zoantharians and algae.

IMG_7386

REPRODUCTION/DEVELOPMENT: Pair bonding suggests a monogamous relationship. Pairs usually consist of one small and one large fish as well. Pairs will spawn by slowly rising up in the water column while bringing their bellies close together, and releasing large amounts of eggs and sperm. A female can release anywhere from 25 to 75 thousand eggs each evening. This can total as many as ten million eggs for the duration of the spawning cycle. The eggs are transparent and pelagic, floating in the water column hatching in 15 to 20 hours becoming “pre-larval” angelfish attached to their large yolk sac. Has no functional fins, no eyes, or gut. After about 48 hours the yolk is absorbed developing into true larvae feeding on plankton. Growth is rapid and 3 to 4 weeks after hatching the fish will reach about 15-20 mm (0.6-0.8in) and will settle on the bottom.

CONSERVATION: IUCN  Least Concern

REMARKS: Reports of ciguatera poisoning 

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean reef fishes 2018

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/7066935367/in/set-72157606840726733/

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

fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/3610

EOL  eol.org/pages/995079/hierarchy_entries/44730320/details

Animal World  animal-world.com/encyclo/marine/angels/RockBeauty.php

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

Genus/species:  Holacanthus ciliaris  

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Like their close relatives the butterflyfishes, they have a deep, laterally compressed body, a single, unnotched dorsal fin, and a small mouth with brushlike teeth.  The most observable difference between the two families is the long spine at the corner of the preopercle common to angelfishes.

H. ciliaris  is deep-bodied and strongly laterally compressed. Dorsal and anal fins trail. Juveniles have vertical blue bands on an orange-red body. As the fish grows, the bars increase in number before gradually disappearing. The color of large adults is purplish blue with yellow-orange rims to the scales; head above eye dark blue. They have a distinctive “crown” is speckled dark blue and surrounded by a ring of bright blue. Length to 45 cm (18 in), weight to 1.6 kg (3.5lbs).  

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found in Bermuda, Florida, Bahamas, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico to Brazil on offshore reefs, 2-70+ m (6-200+ ft). Travel solitary or in pairs among sea fans, sea whips and corals.  

DIET IN THE WILD: Queen angelfish primarily feed on sponges and corals.; also algae, tunicates, hydroids and bryozoans. Juveniles glean ectoparasites from other fish.

 

Queen Angelfish

REPRODUCTION: Pairs reproduce bringing their bellies close together, and release sperm and 25 to 75 thousand eggs (10 million per spawning cycle).  The eggs are transparent, buoyant, and pelagic hatching after 15 to 20 hours into larvae with the yolk sac being absorbed after 48 hours.  The larvae then develop normal characteristics of free-swimming fish feeding on plankton and about 3–4 weeks after hatching the 15–20 millimetres (0.6–0.8 in) long juvenile settles on the bottom. Juveniles  are found among colonies of finger sponges and corals at the bottom of reefs for protection.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least concern

 

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean reef fishes 2018

fishbase  http://www.fishbase.org/summary/3609

ADW  http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Holacanthus_ciliaris/

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157625866509117/

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

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Cephalopoda
Order: Sepiida
Family:i Sepiidae

Genus/species: Metasepia pfefferi

Ron’s flickr VIDEO LINK    https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/41499251715/in/album-72157659465376212/

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The normal base color of this species is dark brown. Individuals that are disturbed or attacked quickly change colour to a pattern of black, dark
brown, and white, with yellow patches around the mantle, arms, and eyes. The arm tips often display bright red coloration to ward off would-be predators. The mantle and head are covered with flap-like, fleshy protuberances (papillae),and a V-shaped fleshy ridge runs along the underside. Yellow fins flutter along the sides to propel the animal slowly though the water or along the substrate.

Max mantle length: 6–8 cm (2.5-3.14 in)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: The Flamboyant Cuttlefish is found from Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, to Australia. Found in shallow, low-energy tropical marine waters (3 to 85 m) with mud, sand, or coral rubble
substrate.

DIET IN THE WILD: M. pfefferi are active diurnal foragers on a variety of foods, especially fish and crustaceans, including “hard-hitting” mantis shrimp. Encircling the mouth are 8 purplish, blade-like arms with rows of suckers used to manipulate prey and 2 flattened, retractable tentacles which can be rapidly extended to catch prey.

LIFE SPAN. 18 and 24 months

CONSERVATION: IUCN: Data Deficient   <a href=”http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/162681/0″ rel=”nofollow”>www.iucnredlist.org/details/162681/0</a>. 2012

REMARKS: One researcher recently claimed M. pfefferi to be the only cuttlefish known to be toxic, asserting that muscle tissue of this species possesses a toxin as deadly as that of its cephalopod relative, the blue-ringed octopus!

They also can produce ink as a defense.

Animals displaying this color pattern have been observed using their lower arms to walk or “amble” along the sea floor while rhythmically waving the wide protective membranes on their arms. It has been suggested that this behavior advertises a poisonous or distasteful nature.

Ron’s WordPress Sshortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-hJ.

One of the most well known features of cuttles is the cuttle bone, which is often used by pet owners to provide calcium for caged birds. Cuttlefish use this multi chambered internal calcified ‘shell’ to change buoyancy by quickly filling or emptying the chambers with gas. Interestingly, while the cuttle bone of most cuttles is as long as the animal’s mantle, the diamond shaped cuttlebone of the Flamboyant is disproportionately small, thin, and only 2/3 to ¾ of the mantle length. The small size of the cuttlebone may make swimming difficult and may accounts for the Flamboyants preference to ‘walk’ along the bottom.

References: California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium, Hidden Reef  Richard Ross

Advanced Aquarist Volume IX › October 2010 › Aquarium Invertebrates: Metasepia pfefferi – the aptly named Flamboyant Cuttlefish. www.advancedaquarist.com/2010/10/inverts.      Great overview

Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Metasepia_pfefferi/

Ron’s WordPress Sshortlink wp.me/p1DZ4b-hJ.

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/6179762044/in/album-72157659465376212/

 

TAXOMONY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-like)
Family: Cirrhitidae (Hawkfishes)

Genus/species: Oxycirrhites typus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Color is whitish with horizontal and vertical red bands forming a cross-hatch pattern. The body is slender, moderately compressed with a long snout (~ ½ head length). The upper head profile slightly concave with a fringe of cirri on rear edge of front nostril.

Length up to 13 cm (5 in)

Longnose Hawkfish16150610665_6ca0325fef_k

NOTE: These two fish are a pair and were collected together in the Philippines (2015) at 250 ft per Charles Delbeek, California Academy of Sciences.

DISTRIBUTION/ HABITAT: Widely distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific and Red Sea. Also found in the eastern Pacific from the Gulf of California to northern Columbia and the Galapagos Islands. They are non-migratory tropical marine fish, found at depths from 10–100 m. Inhabit the steep outer reef slopes that are exposed to strong currents. They are usually found in large gorgonians and corals.

DIET IN THE WILD: O. typus feeds on small benthic or planktonic crustaceans. This long mouth allows the fish to reach into small crevices to capture shrimp and remove snails from their shells.

REPRODUCTION: Monogamous pelagic spawner

15935810048_b156fa3691_k

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Not Evaluated

REMARKS: Members of this family seem to be monogamous. However, in reality they probably practice facultative monogamy. In this mating system, males are limited in their ability to acquire and maintain females, and thus have only a single mate, but may acquire additional females if conditions for doing so are favorable.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Philippine Coral Reef and Color Cluster 2016 AQA16

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/16150610665/in/album-72157625992053826/

fishbase http://www.fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?genusname=Oxycirrhites&speciesname=typus

EOL http://eol.org/pages/212252/details

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

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom:  Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Pectiformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Pomacanthidae (Angelfishes).

Genus/species: Centropyge bicolor

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: One of the  most striking of the Centropyge group of dwarf or pygmy angelfish.  The forebody is yellow with a blue saddle across its nape and the rearbody is blue with a bright yellow tailfin. They are distinguished from the similarly shaped butterflyfish by strong preopercle spines found on each of the lower gill covers of angelfishes.

Length up to 6 inches (15.2cm)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Indo-Pacific in shallow, coral-rich reefs in rubble areas. Range 1 – 25 m (3-82 feet) deep.

DIET IN THE WILD: Varied diet algae, small crustaceans and worms.

 

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY; Average Lifespan of 12 years.

REPRODUCTION: As with other dwarf angels the Bicolor Angelfish are synchronous protogynic hermaphrodites. They start out sexually undifferentiated, develop into females, and with environmental influences will develop into males. Males are typically larger.

CONSERVATION : IUCN, Least concern

REMARKS: C. bicolor are very active darting from one hiding place to the next.

REFERENCES

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Color on the Reef 2016 AQA16

Ron’s flickr site http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157606840726733/

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

fishbase  http://www.fishbase.org/summary/5454

EOL  http://eol.org/pages/211527/details

Animal world  https://animal-world.com/encyclo/marine/angels/angels.php

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Plesiopidae (Roundheads, spiny basslets)
Subfamily: Plesiopinae

Genus/species: Calloplesiops altivelis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Head and body brownish black with small pale blue spots; vertical and pelvic fins dark orange-brown, with many small blue spots; blue ringed black ocellus above base of last 3 dorsal rays; yellow spots at base of upper caudal rays; pectoral rays bright yellow, fin membrane transparent.

Length to 16 cm (6.30 in)

 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to Tonga and the Line Islands Found in rocky crevasses, at depth range 4 to 30 m (13.12 to 98.43 ft).

DIET IN THE WILD: C. altivelis is a predator of crustaceans and small fish. It assumes ahead down position, with its false eye spot near the tail resembling the head of a moray eel.

REPRODUCTION: Marine Betta eggs are guarded by the male parent.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List; Not Evaluated

COLOR OF LIFE NOTE: Color Communicates: Anti-predator Adaptations, Batesian mimicry  (a harmless species evolved to imitate the warning signals of a harmful species directed at a predator of them both). 
An apparent mimetic relationship exists between this fish and the whitemouth moray (Gymnothorax meleagris). When threatened, a comet will raise all of its median fins and swim into a hole or crevice. But rather than disappearing completely, it typically stops in the entrance of its sanctuary and leaves the posterior part of its body exposed.
Also note the false eyespot posteriorly.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Water is Life Hidden Reef 2018

Animal Diversity Web   animaldiversity.org/accounts/Calloplesiops_altivelis/

fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/Calloplesiops-altivelis.html

EOL eol.org/pages/205993/details

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/5118860448/in/album-72157652559028013/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1B1

 

 

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 (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…

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