Category: TROPICAL MARINE


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…

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

Genus/species: Chelmon rostratus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: All species have a deep, laterally compressed body with a continuous dorsal fin and distinctive rounded anal fin. Many have a band across the eye and/or a false eyespot, patterns that may lure a predator to attack the tail
rather than the head.
The C.rostratus has a whitish body with 4 vertical orange bands and a black false eyespot on the terminal orange band. The snout is long with beak-like mouth.

Length to 19 cm (7.5 in).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: They are found in the Andaman Sea to Papua New Guinea, north to Ryukyu Island, south to Northwest Australia and Great Barrier Reef in estuaries and coastal reefs.

DIET IN THE WILD: Though the diet of the Copperband Butterflyfish is well documented, they are believed to feed heavily on tube worms and small crustaceans using their long snout for prying into the crevices of coral.

REPRODUCTION: Butterflyfishes unlike most fishes are usually monogamous, forming pairs and are often seen swimming together.   They are broadcast spawners an external method of reproduction where the female releases unfertilized eggs into the water. At the same time, a male release sperm into the water which fertilizes the eggs which contain a drop of nutrient oil to sustain the embryo  developing inside the egg case. Oil also provides buoyancy, so the eggs float and drift with the current.  Planktonic eggs hatch within a few days becoming the larval stage lasts from several weeks up to 2 months.  During the late larval stage the head and body are covered with bony plates which mature into small fry fish.

Copperband Butterflyfish8387609757_79c1b099a9_b

CONSERVATION: IUCN; Least Concern (LC)

REMARKS: The Copperbanded Butterflyfish is a food fish marketed locally. and is reported to be “not good” from a culinary standpoint.

Color of Life, Color Conceals.   The Copperband Butterflyfish helps conceals its head by having a vertical line through the eye which matching the 3 other vertical orange bands. A large false spot on its terminal orange band (a less vital portion of its body) confuses predators.

References

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3380844264/in/set-72157625119200613/

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Philippine Coral Reef and Hidden Reef 2018

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

EOL eol.org/pages/339397/details

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=5483

Australian Museum australianmuseum.net.au/Beaked-Coralfish-Chelmon-rostratus

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii  (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Acanthuridae (Surgeonfishes, Tangs, Unicornfishes)

Genus/species   Zebrasoma scopas

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Zebrasoma spp. is a small genus of tangs characterized by round, laterally compressed bodies, large dorsal sail-like fins, and pointed snouts. Because of their snouts, they are able to eat filamentous algae that grow in spots other fishes cannot reach, a talent that also makes them popular in aquariums large and small. Males and females are similar. Color can be variable; most often are shades of gray and brown with a greenish tinge running along the dorsal spine.

A distinguishing feature of surgeonfishes, tangs, and unicornfishes is a modified scale on the caudal peduncle, which forms a scalpel-like sharp blade often covered with toxic slime. These spines are used for species recognition, defense, and competition for mates. They are white in the Brown Scopes Tang. Note: Acanthus means “thorn” or “spine”. Length to 20 cm (8 in)

 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Widespread throughout the Indo-Pacific from Africa to Japan in lagoons and outer reefs to 50 m (150 ft). Particularly well suited to large aquaria where they can roam.

Brown Scopas Tang

DIET IN THE WILD: Z. scopas graze on algae, usually in groups of 20 individuals. Its numerous, small pharyngeal teeth may have evolved in response to a shift in diet from macroalgae to filamentous algae.

REPRODUCTION: Group and pair spawning have been observed scattering eggs and sperm into the water column.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Least Concern (LC)

REMARKS: Zebrasoma spp. are known to irritate some stony corals to induce the release of zooxanthellae, evidently a sailfin delicacy. 

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Philippine Coral Reef and Hidden Reef 2018

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

fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/Zebrasoma-scopas.html

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/178005/0

EOL eol.org/pages/204517/details

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/4770058557/in/set-72157625992053826/

fishbase http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Zebrasoma-scopas.html

 

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: Echinodermata
Class: Echinoidea
Order: Temnopleuroida
Family: oxopneustidae

Genus/species: Tripneustes sp.

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The white sea urchin is a typical, although large, member of the sea urchin (Echinoidea) group. Anatomy is similar to all urchins,
The mouth is a complex protrusible structure known as the Aristotle’s lantern

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: It is found along the west coast of Africa and along the western central Atlantic Ocean from Bermuda, to the Carolina coast of the United States of America, and the Caribbean to Brazil. They live in a variety of shallow water habitats including rocky rubble, algal rock flats and seagrass beds.

DIET: Algae

REPRODUCTION: The reproductive system of the white sea urchin consists of five gonads, The gonads are not only the source of eggs or sperm, which are referred to as roe, but also serve as the main nutrient storage organ.

CONSERVATION: The White Sea Urchin is fished heavily. leading to increasing scarcity. Restrictions apply in most areas.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium, Shallow Coral Reef 2018

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/25651292438/in/album-72157623903687834/

Ron’Wordpress Shortlink wp.me/p1DZ4b-1U3

FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS www.fao.org/docrep/013/i1751e/i1751e.pdf

atj.net.au/marineaquaria/Tripneustes_sp_.html

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