Tag Archive: coral reef


Kingdom: Animalia
Subkingdom: Metazoa
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthoza
Order: Scleractina
Family: Faviidae

Genus/species: Colpophyllia natans

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Dome shaped colonies of individual polyps. The colony surfaces are covered with random curved ridges separated by large long and wide grooves known as valleys. Size: Up to 6 feet in diameter.

Boulder Brain Coral5230996878_5b77255438_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Florida Keys. Depth up to 55 m (180 ft)

DIET IN THE WILD: Plankton and zooxanthella by-products.

REPRODUCTION: Budding, and external sexual fertilization.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern     Threats include coral bleaching, black band disease, and white plague which can cause mortality.

REMARKS: Even though they may grow to 6 feet their skeletons will float when dry.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean Reef Exhibit 2018

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/5230996878/in/album-72157625866509117/

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arkive  www.arkive.org/boulder-brain-coral/colpophyllia-natans/

IUCN Red List www.iucnredlist.org


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.


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

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda (crayfish, crabs, lobsters, prawns, and shrimp)
Infraorder: Caridea
Family: Hymenoceridae

Genus/species: Hymenocera picta

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Pinkish white body color with splashes of purple-edged pink spots. Stalked eyes and antennae flattened and leaf-shaped.

Length up to 5 cm (2 inches)


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Along the shores of East Africa, the Red Sea, to Indonesia, south to northern Australia and as far east as the Galapagos. Found on hard rocky or coral substrates, with lots of hiding places.


DIET IN THE WILD: It is a nocturnal feeder hunting in pairs for sea stars, using its claws to pry sea stars off coral reefs flipping them on their back. They then take them to their dwelling-place on the reef, where they consume their the tube feet of sea stars.

Harlequin Shrimps eating a Linka Seastar below

REMARKS: H. picta is known to feed on crown-of-thorns sea stars, so perhaps it should be considered a reef preservationists.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Hidden Reef

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ADW animaldiversity.org/accounts/Hymenocera_picta/classificat…

EOL eol.org/pages/126747/details

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.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Hidden Reef 2018 Vetted Curator Charles Delbeek

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/Amphiprion-latezonatus.html

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EOL eol.org/pages/24566/details

Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Order: Alcyonacea (soft corals)
Family: Alcyoniidae

Genus: Sinularia notanda (Tree-like soft coral)

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Colors include purple, pink, gray, green, and yellow, but are usually brown to cream. They have stalks with tree-like branches, and from those form little branchlets. The branchlets have small autozooid (feeding) polyps which have the ability to retract fully.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical Indo West Pacific on coral reefs in fairly strong currents.

DIET IN THE WILD: Phytoplankton and very small zooplankton
(Harbors symbiotic zooxanthellae which adds nutrition to its tissues from the algae’s photosynthesis.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Color Cluster 2016 AQA17 Pam Montbach

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/27838187418/in/album-72157659465376212/

Aquarium Corals E H Borneman TFH Publications 2001 page 132

WoRMS http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=29991

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Tetraodontiformes (Puffers and filefishes)
Family: Balistidae (Triggerfishes)

Genus/species: Xanthichthys auromarginatus

 Male belowBluechin Triggerfish aka Gilded Triggerfish (male) Xanthichthys auromarginatus (Balistidae)TriggerfishesIMG_1613

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Steel blue with white spots. Males have blue chin patch and yellow margins on dorsal, anal, and caudal fins. Females lack chin patch, and have maroon stripe on base of dorsal and anal fins, and on outer margin of tail.

Their scales are plate-like and have no pelvic fins.

Length to up to 11.8 inches. (male above, female below)

Gilded Triggerfish (female) Xanthichthys auromarginatus _2

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Indo-Pacific: East Africa to Hawaiian Islands, north to the Ryukyus, south to New Caledonia. Marine reefs 25 – 450 ft depths.

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds a few meters above the bottom where it consumes zooplankton (prefers copepods).

REPRODUCTION: Distinct pairing, oviparous, external fertilization.

REMARKS: The common name comes a unique interaction between the large first dorsal spine and the smaller second one behind. When the posterior spine is erect, it locks the strong first spine vertically in place, allowing it to wedge itself into a protective space, perhaps a hole or under a rock, where a predator can rarely extract it. When the posterior spine is depressed, the anterior spine folds back easily, like taking a lock off a trigger.

Pink tail triggerfish with trigger erect below (not on exhibit)

PinkTail Triggerfish Erect trigger IMG_0863 copy

Halfmoon trigger hiding below (not on exhibit)


Like all triggerfishes, able to rotate eyeballs independently.


California Academy of Sciences Philippine coral reef 2016

Ron’s  flickr www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/2978997545/edit-details/

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 fishbase www.fishbase.us/summary/6030

 EOL eol.org/pages/204534/details

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

Genus/species: Ctenochaetus tominiensis

Acanthurus pyroferus (Acanthuridae)

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Brown with pale lower head. The only species of Ctenochaetus (bristletooths) with angular dorsal and anal fins; outer portion of these fins is a bright orange. Caudal fin white.

Max length: 15 cm. (6 inches).

Acanthurus pyroferus (Acanthuridae) IMG_0497

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Western Central Pacific, including Indonesia, Philippines, to northern Great Barrier Reef. Found on steep coral drop-offs of sheltered coasts.

DIET IN THE WILD: The Orangetip Bristletooth Tang feeds on detritus using its comb-like teeth


REPRODUCTION: Pelagic spawner.



California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Philippine Coral Reef 2016

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

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3708499036/in/set-72157608332652056/
EOL eol.org/pages/212379/details

fishbase  http://www.fishbase.org/summary/6016

IUCN Chttp://www.iucnredlist.org/details/177986


Color of Life, Color Conceals. Shape and color provide excellent camouflage. It also is an inefficient swimmer, moving by an undulating motion of its pectoral and dorsal fins blending into the grass.

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

Genus/species: Syngnathoides biaculeatus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Slender tetrahedral body; variably colored green to brown or grey, reportedly depending on habitat. Bony plates on skin form a series of protective rings. Distinct tubular snout with no jaw.
Length up to 29.0 cm


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Red Sea; South Africa to Samoa,
north to southern Japan, south to eastern Australia.
Found in protected coastal shallows over or among algae, seagrasses, or floating weeds. Juveniles occasionally found near the surface.

DIET IN THE WILD: Minute invertebrates and fish larvae.

Alligator pipefish3888361153_13247050f2_b-2

REPRODUCTION: Ovoviviparous. The male carries the eggs in a brood pouch protectively located under his prehensile tail.

IUCN Red list Data deficient


REMARKS: The prehensile tail is long and tapering and lacks a tail fin. It is used to anchor the fish to vegetation.

Used in Chinese medicine to extract Hailong.


California Academy of Sciences Color on the Reef Exhibit 2015

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/22510763066/in/album-72157608441047857/

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/Syngnathoides-biaculeatus.html

IUCN Red List www.iucnredlist.org/details/40715/0

EOL eol.org/pages/995073/details

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

Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes) 
Family: Labridae (Wrasses)

Genus/species: Cirrhilabrus solorensis

Cirrhilabrus solorensis3380013623_6c8c3e586c_b

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Highly variable. The eye is bright red. Males usually have a dark band along the end of the gill covering. Change color and sex with growth. Females are able to change sex into an often brilliantly colored terminal male phase. Max. size: 11 cm (4.3 inches).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found in the Western Central Pacific and Indonesia. in coastal to outer reef lagoons on rubble and coral habitats.

DIET IN THE WILD: Zooplankton.

Cirrhilabrus solorensis3813060378_a4f75890b9_b

REMARKS: The cornea of the eye of fairy wrasses is divided into two segments, essentially forming a double pupil. It is thought that the center pupil is a close-up lens that lets the fish have a magnified view of their small prey.

Philippine Coral Reef PR04


flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3380013623/in/set-72157608208133134/

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fishbase www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=60815

EOL eol.org/pages/210468/details

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

Genus/species; Acanthurus leucosternon

Acanthurus leucosternon 13140534045_d29f009b4f_b

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Blue with a white chest. Head black with a broad white band from pectoral-fin base to throat.Also has a white band at base of lips. Dorsal fin yellow (except white margin and black submarginal line). Anal and pelvic fins white. Common length 19 cm (7.5 inches).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Indian Ocean in shallow, clear coastal and island reefs, 0.5-25 m (1.5-80 feet) . Usually on reef flats and along upper seaward slopes; sometimes in huge aggregations.

DIET IN THE WILD: benthic algae.

REPRODUCTION: Monogamous, open water/substratum egg scatterers


Acanthurus leucosternon13140818894_48010cf40c_b

Animal attractions Rich Ross



flickr www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/2978892415/in/set-72157…

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fishbase fishbase.org/summary/1257

EOL eol.org/pages/206882/details

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