Tag Archive: fishes


TAXONOMY
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Cichlidae (Cichlids)
Subfamily: Cichlasomatinae

Genus/species: Hypselecara temporalis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Chocolate Cichlid is an egg-shaped fish with a small mouth. The eye iris may range in color from amber-gold to bright red. Body color is a mustard-yellow with a large, characteristic black blotch at the mid-section of the body and often a horizontal stripe. On the caudal peduncle are some similar, but smaller markings. The belly and throat regions are bright red as is the area near the gill covering and the surrounding parts of the eye. The fins are red with some mustard-yellow areas.  

Length up to 15 cm, (5-8 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found in South America: Amazon River basin In slow flowing, turbid waters.

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds on insects at or above the surface.

REPRODUCTION: H. temporalis sexes are separate. Adult males grow larger and have a hump on their head. Fertilization external. Eggs are deposited upon vertical substrates and guarded by both parents. 

 

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List and CITES: Not Evaluated

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Amazon Flooded Tunnel 2018

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/12323

 eol Encyclopedia of life http://eol.org/pages/212750/details

Ron’s WordPress shortlink:  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-b0

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/15442981620/in/set-72157620568438047/

TAXONOMY:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes),
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Cichlidae (Cichlids).

Genus/species: Heros appendiculatus aka Heros efasciatus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The compressed body is silvery; five black vertical bars punctuate the lower half of its flanks, a sixth extends to its dorsal fin. (Wild type: wild-type olive-green)

Length up to 14 cm (5.5 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Native to the Amazon River basin to Upper Orinoco River drainage in Colombia and Venezuela. Green Severum are found in lakes, standing water, or slow-moving water with copious vegetation. Look for young around tree roots.

DIET IN THE WILD: They feed on fruits, seeds, green algae and detritus.

REPRODUCTION: H. appendiculatus are guarders, clutch tenders. Up to 1000 eggs are depoited on flat stones or on roots; both parents participate in caring for eggs and larvae.

Green Severum (juvenile) below

 

 

References:

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Amazon Flooded Tunnel 2018

Ron’s WordPress shortlink: http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-9x

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/8358691491/in/set-72157620568438047/

 fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/52199

 Encyclopedia of life  eol.org/pages/203885/details

 

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Siluriformes (Catfish)
Family :Pimelodidae (Long-whiskered catfishes)

Genus/species: Phractocephalus hemiliopterus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: They are named for their orange-red caudal fin. The snout is rounded with three pairs of barbels around the mouth. The base body color is light black and little dark spots can be seen on the head. A wide, white band extends from the caudal peduncle to the tip of the snout. The belly is black, as are the fins except the upper tip of the dorsal fin which may be orange to red.

Length up to 134 cm (4.5 feet). Weight up to 44 kg (97 lbs)

 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: P. hemiliopterus is native to South America: Amazon and Orinoco basins. They are found in large freshwater rivers, streams and lakes.

DIET IN THE WILD: Fish, crabs and fruit

REPRODUCTION: They exhibit external fertilization and do not guard the eggs. 

LONGEVITY: Approximately 20 to 30 years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red list and CITES: Not Evaluated.

REMARKS: P. hemiliopterus has been introduced, but is not established in Florida, perhaps a good thing as the redtail is a voracious predator on smaller fishes. Because of its size it is a popular game fish.

Unfortunately, the Steinhart inhabitants of our open-topped tank have swallowed shoes, cameras, sunglasses, a plastic dinosaur and cell phones, occurrences that have occasionally required manual (and extremely careful) extraction by a biologist or the veterinarian.

References 

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/Phractocephalus-hemioliopterus.html

California Academy of Sciences Rainforest Docent Training Class 2014

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3313914505/in/set-72157620568438047/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink   http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-91

EOL eol.org/pages/344961/details

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Characiformes (Characins)
Family: Anostomidae (Headstanders)

Genus/species: Leporinus fasciatus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Black-Banded Leporinus has alternating colored bands of black and yellow. This striking pattern also suggests the age of a fish. Until about a year old, the juvenile has only five black bands, but about every six months later a band will split in two. At three years, the leporinus will have 10 bands, and the yellow will have a more orange cast. Females are larger than males.

Length up to 30 cm (12 in); 15 cm (6 in) is more common

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Widely distributed in South America, from Guiana and the Orinoco region to the La Plata basin. Its natural habitat is rocky areas of fast-flowing streams and rivers, though it often migrates into flooded forest areas during the rainy season.

L.fasciatus has been introduced into the US states of Florida and Hawaii.

 

DIET IN THE WILD: Small invertebrates such as worms, insects, and crustaceans as well as other fish and plant matter. Like all members of its family, L. fasciatus very often positions itself had down (headstanders) to feed in rocky crevices or nibble on algae and green plants.

REPRODUCTION: The species is reported to build nests where the female lays eggs, which are guarded by the male. (fishbase)

MORTALITY and LONGEVITY: Life span: 5 years or more.

 

CONSERVATION: IUCN Redlist and CITES; Not Evaluated 

REMARKS: Leporinus (”rabbit”) relates to this fish’s two prominent front teeth The species is also known to leap out of the water, so perhaps its name has more than one reference point!

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium, Amazon Flooded Tunnel 2018

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/Leporinus-fasciatus.html

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink   http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-9j

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/2973195125/in/set-72157620568438047/

EOL www.eol.org/pages/220772/details


TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Characiformes (Characins)
Family: Serrasalmidae

Genus/species: Colossoma macropomum

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS:

The Black Pacu body is laterally compressed with an arched back. Color is basically gray to olive above, dark below often with spots and blemishes in the middle. All fins are black. It is the second heaviest scaled freshwater fish in South America (after the Arapiama)

Length up to 100 cm (40 inches) Weight up to 30 kg (66 lbs)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: South America: Amazon and Orinoco basins as wild form; aquacultured form widely distributed in South America. Found in open water of large rivers and seasonally flooded forests. Young stay in black waters of flood plains until maturity. Has been introduced to Thailand and is established

DIET IN THE WILD: Pacu teeth in front are molars for chewing, NOT ripping. Good for eating fruits, greens and grain during seasonal flooding. Also feeds on zooplankton, insects, snails and decaying plants
ACADEMY DIET: Fruit, pears apples and bananas. (Allan Jan, biologist).

REPRODUCTION: Black Pacu aka Tambaqui usually spawn once per year in whitewater rivers and inundated floodplain forests. They are substratum egg scatterers and do not guard their eggs.

Life span: 20 years or more.

IUCN Red List and CITES Not Evaulated

REMARKS: C. macropomum has large nasal openings for excellent odor detection.
They can extend the lower lip in low oxygen water to increase flow across gills.
Adults are important as seed dispersers for large-seeded plants during seasonal flooding.
Farmed as a food fish in South America. They are popular in aquaculture because it can live in mineral poor waters and is very resistant to diseases.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Amazon Flooded Tunnel 2018

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/263

Docent Rainforest Course Materials, California Academy of Sciences. 2014

Ron’s WordPress shortlink   http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-8v

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/2973190705/in/set-72157620568438047/

United Nations www.fao.org/fishery/introsp/3885/en

 



TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Osteoglossiformes
Family: Osteoglossidae (Bonytongues)

Genus/species: Osteoglossum bicirrhosum

 GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The silvery body is covered with very big scales, and the dorsal and anal fins are almost fused with the caudal fin. They have a bony tongue with a huge oblique mouth and oral bones bearing teeth, including the jaw, palate, tongue and pharynx. Two barbels are found at the end of the lower jaw.

The Silver Arawana is a large fish with a length up to 1.2 m (4 ft) and weight up to 4.6 kg (10 lbs).

Silver ArawansIMG_1974

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: This fish is found in tropical freshwater, and is especially prevalent in flooded areas and swamps in the Amazon River system. It is capable of adapting to environments with low oxygen levels.

DIET IN THE WILD: O. bicirrhosum feed mainly on crustaceans, insects, smaller fishes, and other animals that float on the water; its upturned mouth is an adaptation for surface feeding. Sometimes called the “water monkey” for its jumping abilities, Silver Arawana have been known to leap some 2 m (6.5 ft) out of the water to pluck a surprised and often doomed insect or bird from overhanging branches. Bats and snakes have also been occasionally found as stomach contents.

REPRODUCTION: Interestingly, the Arawana male is a mouth brooder carrying eggs, larvae, and young juveniles in his mouth for about 2 months.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List; Not Evaluated
CITES: No special status

REMARKS: Arawana provide the largest source of protein in comparison to other Amazon fish. Also, because of its low-fat content, they are considered the most digestible and least likely to bring about sickness.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Amazon Flooded Tunnel 2018

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/15007803584/in/album-72157620568438047/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink   http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-a0

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/Osteoglossum-bicirrhosum.html

 Animal Diversity web animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Osteoglossum_bici…

 “It’s Easy Being Green” Docent Course. California Academy of Sciences 2014

 

 

 

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: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Siluriformes (Catfishes)
Family: Doradidae (Thorny catfishes)

Genus/species: Oxydoras niger

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS:  A stocky brown catfish with three pairs of barbels.  Like all members of their family, have bony plates that protect the head and hook-like scutes that run along the lateral line. The Scutes on the O. niger are sharp and can cause significant lacerations.

Length up to 1 m (3.3 ft) in length and weigh up to 14 kg (30 lbs)

DISTRIBUTION/ HABITAT: South America: Amazon and possibly Orinoco River basins. Occur over mud in streams and lakes.

DIET IN THE WILD: The Ripsaw Catfishes large mouth creates a suction to vacuum up detritus, insect larvae, crustaceans, and plant material. When the forest is flooded, they feed exclusively on seeds and fruit.

REPRODUCTION: Sexes separate. Fertilization is external. Adults are non-guarders.

CONSERVATION: IUCN AND CITES: No special status.

REMARKS: Members of the family Doradidae are known as “talking catfishes” as they make a strange, creaking noise when removed from the water., a sound produced by movement of the pectoral spine within its socket and amplified by the swim bladder.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Amazon Flooded Tunnel 2018

Animal Diversity Web ADW animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Oxydoras_niger/

 fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/Oxydoras-niger.html

 Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/6181844571/in/set-72157620568438047/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-96

 

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Osteoglossiformes (Bony tongues)
Family: Arapaimidae (Bonytongues)

Genus/species: Arapaima gigas

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Usually grey to green in color with red flecks on the scales towards the tail and reddish-orange color of the filleted flesh. They are heavy with an elongated body with very large scales. There are also two symmetrical fins on either side of the body at the posterior end. The arapaima has a tongue with sharp, bony teeth that together with teeth on the roof of its palate are involved in disabling and shredding prey

It is one of the largest freshwater fishes in the world (length up to 450cm (14 feet in the 1800’s) Common length 200 cm (6.75 feet). Weight up to 133 kg. (292 lbs) In the 1800s specimens to 200 kg (440 lbs) were reported. 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical. Amazon River and its tributaries in freshwater flooded areas dense with aquatic vegetation and shore plants. Much of the water that comprises the pirarucu’s habitat is also oxygen deficient, as it is located in swampy areas of the rainforest.

DIET IN THE WILD: Specialized for surface feeding with their up turned mouths. Adults prey on fish at the surface; suck smaller fish into the mouth, then crush pre against the roof of its mouth using its tooth-covered bony tongue. Like its close relative the arawana, it can leap from the water to snatch a bird or even a monkey from an overhanging branch.

ArapaimaGigasIMG_2727

REPRODUCTION: Sexually mature at the age of five years old. Builds a nest of about 15 cm (6 inches) depth and 50 cm (20 inches) width in sandy bottoms. Guards the eggs and the young. Adults have the ability to exude a pheromone from their head to attract offspring and keep them in close proximity.

MORTALITY and LONGEVITY: Preyed upon by humans. Life spans of 15 to 20 years in captivity .

CONSERVATION: IUCV Red List Data deficient. CITES Appendix II. Heavily exploited as a commercial fish throughout the Amazon. Populations have been greatly reduced during the past 200 years Commercial fishing of arapaima was banned in Brazil outside of a limited number of sustainable reserves, but illegal fishing still continues.

REMARKS: Indigenous people utilize the scales and bones. The bony or toothed tongue was once used as a seed grater to make drink powders. Its scales were used as scrappers.

In addition to gills, it has a modified and enlarged swim bladder, composed of lung-like tissue, which enables it to extract oxygen from the air. It is an obligate air breather, well adapted to oxygen-deficient waters gulping air every 10–15 minutes when oxygen levels are low.

Often referred to as the largest freshwater fish; some freshwater catfishes and sturgeon may challenge this “record.”

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Amazon Flooded Tunnel, 2018

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  wp.me/p1DZ4b-a7

Ron’s flickr   https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3258200203/in/album-72157620568438047/

 fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/Arapaima-gigas.html

Arkive www.arkive.org/arapaima/arapaima-gigas/

 U. of Michigan Animal Diversity Web  animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Arapaima_gigas/

National Geographic. www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/arapaima/

 Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/204868/details

 

 


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

Genus/species: Acanthurus triostegus

Convict surgeonfish 8156826256_a90f659c94_o

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Convict Tang is a very common surgeonfish.  It is oval in profile and laterally compressed, gray with 4 vertical stripes (1 stripe on head across the yellow eye; 1 on caudal peduncle). The erectile spine on each side of caudal peduncle which folds down into a groove.  This scalpel like spine causes a nasty cut if the fish is treated roughly by a predator or a human. 

Common length : 17.0 cm (6.7 inches).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT:  A. triostegus is found in lagoons and seaward reefs in areas of hard substrates from sea level to 90 m (300 feet) in the Indo-Pacific.

Typically occurs in shallows to 5 m (16 feet).

DIET IN THE WILD: It is a herbivore which uses its serrated teeth along creating saw-like motion to remove filamentous algae from the substrate.

ConvictTang8358632069_43f1bc0004_k

REPRODUCTION: The Convict Tang spawns at dusk with females broadcasting eggs into open water where the males fertilize them.  Larvae drift ~75 days. Post-larvae settle in intertidal areas of benches and reef flats.

PREDATORS: Eggs and sperm are preyed upon by eagle rays, which are often present during spawning.

CONSERVATION: IUCN, Least concern.

REMARKS: This black-barred fish’s common name presumably alludes to the coloration of many prison uniforms of the previous century.

 

References

Ron’s Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3185789781/in/set-72157608332652056/

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Philippine Coral Reef 2016

fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/1260

Aquarium of the Pacific www.aquariumofpacific.org/onlinelearningcenter/species/co…

Monterey Bay Aquarium www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/AnimalDetails.aspx?en…

EOL eol.org/pages/203984/overview

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

 

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