Tag Archive: indo-Pacific

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Annelida
Class: Polychaeta
Order: Canalipalpata
Suborder: Sabellida
Family: Sabellidae

The Sabellidae family (feather duster worms) are a family of sedentary marine polychaete tube worms where the head is mostly concealed by feathery branchiae. They build tubes out of parchment, sand, and bits of shell. Glomerula secretes a tube of calcium carbonate.

The appendages that give this worm its name are finely divided tentacles that act as plankton filters.  They also wave their tentacles to move the water around them, increasing the odds of catching food. Food is then moved from the tentacles into the worm’s mouth. The tentacles long grooves that get progressively smaller, limiting plankton size which is appropriate to eat when it arrives at its their mouth.  An alternate tube runs upward internally for waste is expelled.

Note: The rock above and to the right is covered by a sponge which differs from the 2 verticle sponges and their symbiotic coral.

Reference: Ryan Schaeffer. California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium, Hidden Reef 2018

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Porifera (sponges.)
Class: Demospongiae
Order: Poecilosclerida
Family: Raspailiidae

Genus/species: Trikentrion flabelliforme

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: White horizontal lines cover a striking red body. Its tree-like base is covered by a white web-like symbiont with a hexacoral from the genus Parazoanthus (order Zoanthidea).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Arafura Sea, a shallow body of water sandwiched between Australia and New Guinea.

DIET IN THE WILD: T. flabelliforme is a filter feeder using its choanocytes or collar cells to filter particles and dissolved substances from seawater.

REMARKS: Parazoanthus is a suspension feeder as its polyps capture food particles from the water. The tissue of Parazoanthus is connected to the skin or pinacoderm of its host sponge, with tissue integration varying between different combinations of sponge and the coral.

Parasitism seems a likely option, where the symbiotic coral benefits at the expense of its host sponge. For example, the coral may impair the sponge’s ability to pump water through its system, which is vital to sponge nutrition, waste removal and gas exchange. Commensalism is also possible, where the coral benefiting while having a neutral effect on the sponge.

T. flabelliforme is difficult to grow in captivity but has been growing in the California Academy Steinhart Aquarium system for a year showing signs of good health.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Hidden Reef
Charles Delbeek curator, 2018

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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).


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.


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.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Mangrove Pop-Up, Main floor (level one) 2018

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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


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Apogonidae (Cardinalfishes)

Genus/species: Sphaeramia orbicularis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Orbicular Cardinalfish color is greenish grey with silvery reflections. A narrow dark mid body vertical bar is present from the origin of spiny dorsal fin to just in front of anus. There are variable-sized scattered spots on rear of the body. The pelvic fins have a dark bar.

Length up to 11.5 cm (4.5 inches).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: S.orbicularis is native to the Indo-Pacific, E. Africa to Figi, S.W. Japan to New Caledonia. Found in coastal waters among mangroves, rocks, debris and piers. Depth to 3 meters.

DIET IN THE WILD: It feeds at night on planktonic crustaceans.

REPRODUCTION: Like all cardinalfishes they are paternal mouthbrooders.

CONSERVATION: IUCN 2006 Red List; Not evaluated.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Mangrove Pop-Up, Main floor (level one) 2018

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fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/4926

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/221177/details

Reef Fish ID Tropical Pacific, Allen et/al 2003, page 266.

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Order: Scleractinia
Family: Faviidae

Genus: Caulastrea sp.

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Stony coral with a lightweight phaceloid skeleton which gives rise to plump circular polyps clustered on the end of branched stalks. Colors vary, usually green or brown.

 Caulastrea sp.32548578421_33e20ddf0b_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found in the Indo-West Pacific in tropical, protected, shallow reef slopes where the substrate is partly sandy,

REPRODUCTION: Can be easily fragmented and also reproduce by budding.

Remarks: One of the most remarkable and ecologically important features of these corals is that the polyps secrete a hard skeleton, called a ‘corallite’, which over successive generations contributes to the formation of a coral reef. The coral skeleton forms the bulk of the colony, with the living polyp tissue comprising only a thin veneer.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart, Color on the Reef AQA17

Aquarium Corals E H Borneman TFH Publications 2001 pages 285-286.

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Arkive: www.arkive.org/caulastrea/caulastrea-furcata/


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes) 
Family: Siganidae (Rabbitfishes and spine-foots)

Genus/species: Siganus guttatus


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Siganus guttatus has a Head with lines and spots. It is silvery ventrally and dusky blue dorsally, with numerous orange-gold spots and a large yellow spot below rear base of dorsal fin. 

Length to 42 cm (16.5 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found in East Indo-Pacific to 25 m (75 ft) in inner lagoons, turbid coastal reefs, mangroves and brackish waters. Typically in large groups of conspecifics.

DIET IN THE WILD: These fish are hearty eaters feeding primarily on algae and seagrasses, though are known to nip on large-polyp stony corals as well as soft corals.

REPRODUCTION: Spawners. Fry settles in seagrass beds around river mouths.


REMARKS: Highly esteemed as a food fish.
The spines of rabbitfishes (Siganidae) are venomous, and can inflict painful wounds.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Philippine Coral Reef 2016

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EOL eol.org/pages/2804181/hierarchy_entries/44731406/details

fishbase fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=4588

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Caesionidae (Fusiliers)

Genus/species: Pterocaesio tile

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The body is elongate.  There is a broad iridescent blue mid-lateral band; dark olive above which becomes bright red along lower half of body at night. 

Length up to 30 cm (12 in)


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Elongate body. Broad iridescent blue mid-lateral band; dark olive above. Turns bright red along lower half of body at night. Max. size: 30 cm (12 inches).


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Indo-Pacific: East Africa to the Marquesas, Japan, New Caledonia, and throughout Micronesia. Found on outer reef slopes and in clear, deep lagoons, to 60 m (180 ft) depth.

DIET IN THE WILD: Zooplankton

REPRODUCTION Oviparous; small pelagic eggs.


REMARKS: Caught commercially, primarily as tuna bait fish


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Philippine Coral Reef 2016

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fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/PTEROCAESIO-TILE.html

Encyclopedia of Life  http://eol.org/pages/223543/details

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Apogonidae (Cardinalfishes)

Genus/species: Sphaeramia nematoptera


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The head is yellow with a wide black band encircling the central body. Eyes are large and red. The back half of the body has spots. 

Length up to 8.5 cm (3.3 in)



DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: S. nematoptera is found in the Indian and western Pacific oceans often in reef areas of bays and lagoons along with other members of their species, sheltered among branches of Porites spp.


DIET IN THE WILD: The Pajama Cardinalfish feeds on small fish and crustaceans. At night, it leaves the protection of coral shelter to feed along the bottom at about 15 m (50 feet) deep.

REMARKS: Note the large eyes, a common feature of nocturnal fishes that allows them to gather low light images. They are nocturnal and shelter during the day.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Philippine Coral Reef 2016

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Eol   http://eol.org/pages/204401/details 

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Blenniidae (Combtooth blennies)

GENUS/SPECIES: Salarias fasciatus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The head has small, branched supraorbital and nuchal filamentous skin projections (cirri). The body is usually olive to brown with dark bars and a large number of round or elongated white spots of different sizes with several dusky bands.

Length up to about 12 cm (4.75 in).

Jeweled Blenny8748640285_1b56bb468a_o

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical Indo-Pacific. Found in intertidal areas to a few meters in-depth on reef flats and in shallow lagoons and estuaries.

DIET IN THE WILD: Algae eaters; tend to be territorial about feeding areas.


REPRODUCTION: Oviparous; form pairs and guard nests.


REMARKS: Tends to hop from rock to rock looking for food. Its nickname “Lawnmower Blenny” comes from its prodigious and efficient algal consumption using comb-like teeth that line the jaws.


California Academy of Sciences Philippine coral reef 2016

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/6058

EOL  eol.org/pages/1004162/details

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/6058

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Anguilliformes (Eels and morays)
Family: Congridae (Conger and garden eels)
Subfamily: Heterocongrinae

Genus/species: Gorgasia preclara

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Its yellow to orange with characteristic white bands body has a circular shape with a diameter of about 10 mm (0.4 in). Length up to 40 cm (15.75 in) maximum.
Typically, only its head and upper body protrudes from the sand where the garden eel lives in a buried tube in the sand either alone or in small groups.

Garden Eel20776620435_68e152af6d_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found in the Indo-West Pacific in sandy areas exposed to currents at depths between 18 and 75 m (60-245 ft), but is usually observed at an average depth of 30 m (100 ft).




fishbase  fishbase.org/summary/Gorgasia-preclara.html

California Academy of Sciences Water is life Exhibit 8-20-15

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