Butterfly fish can reach up to 8 inches in length, but typically range from around 3 to 6 inches. These fish got their name because of their coloring. They can be black, orange, yellow, silver, red, and white and have different patterns on their bodies. Many species of Butterfly fish have black stripes and spots that serve to confuse and distract their predators. Butterfly fish have elongated noses that help them reach in cracks and crevices of rocks to eat.
They have three hearts, two of which help move their blood beyond their gills. Their third heart’s function is to circulate blood to their organs. The third heart does not beat while an octopus swims, which is part of why swimming exhausts them so much and they prefer to crawl. Octopuses also have blue, copper-based blood, unlike a human’s iron-based blood. This difference in blood type helps octopuses survive in colder waters that have lower amounts of oxygen.
The Bluestripe snapper lives in tropical waters around the world. They live in coral reefs, often near caves, and in shallow lagoons. In the 1950s, the Bluestripe snapper was introduced to the waters of Hawaii as a potential food source, but their low economic value prevented them from being a continued food source.
Caribbean Reef Sharks are the first and only species of shark to rest or “sleep” on the ocean floors inside reef caves. Because of this, they have been given the nickname “sleeping sharks”.
Did you know that all Clownfish are born male? Clownfish have a strict hierarchy, the most aggressive female is at the top. Because all Clownfish are born male, when the top female dies, the most dominant male will turn itself into a female and take its place at the top of the hierarchy.
Did you know that Jellyfish may have lived millions of years before the dinosaurs? A Jellyfish fossil found in Utah is thought to be over 505 million years old while scientists believe the dinosaurs roamed the Earth around 245 to 66 million years ago. That means jellyfish were around nearly 250 million years before the dinosaurs!
Did you know the Moorish Idol supposedly got its name from the Moors of Africa who believed the fish brought happiness? Moorish idols inhabit the waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans at depths of between 10 and 600 feet.
Green Sea Turtles are the only species of sea turtle that is an herbivore. These turtles got their name because their diet consists of seagrass and algae which contributes to the green color of their fatty tissue.
Great Hammerheads use their hammer-shaped heads to find and eat their prey, which can include crabs, squids, various fish and occasionally, other small sharks. Their hammer-shaped heads contain electrical receptors that help them find their food, even if their prey is hidden in the sand. Unlike other species of Hammerheads, Great Hammerhead sharks hunt in solitary.
Manatees are more closely related to the elephant than they are to other marine creatures. The cow-like creatures are thought to have inspired mermaid legends. Manatees typically come up for air every 5 minutes. However, when it is resting, the aquatic mammal can hold its breath for up to 20 minutes. Manatees swim at an average of 5 miles an hour, which is why algae and barnacles can often be found on the backs of manatees. Manatees don’t have the neck vertebra that most other mammals have, meaning that they must turn their entire bodies if they want to look around.
Unlike many species of reef fishes that broadcast their eggs into the water above the reef, damselfishes stick their eggs to the reef surface and guard them until they hatch. Males try to keep the highest quality gardens in order to have a greater chance at success in courting a female. Together, they aggressively defend the eggs from wrasses and other foraging predators that would love an easy meal of yolky fish eggs.
The actual documentation of the age of any species of sea turtle is difficult. What we do know is that sea turtles live a long time based on their species. Of the seven species of sea turtles on the globe, the hawksbill has the shortest lifespan at 30 to 50 years, and the green turtle has the longest at 80 years or more. The largest and smallest sea turtles–the leatherback and the kemp's ridley, respectively–both have an average lifespan of 45 to 50 years. The oldest sea turtle documented survived to be 150 years young! Most marine turtles take decades to mature—between 20 and 30 years—and remain actively reproductive for another 10 years.