The Dwarf Zebra Lionfish is easy to distinguish from the other lionfish species because of the enlarged pectoral fins. The fins are full and fan shaped and the fin membranes extend almost all the way to the end of the rays. They are usually found on sandy areas of reef flats ranging from between 3 meters to 25 meters in Tanzania but can be found down to 80 meters. Dwarf Lionfish feed at night and prey on small fishes and crustaceans and pretty much anything that fits in their mouth. They are ambush predators and move into positions where small fishes are likely to congregate. They use their proportionally large mouths to create a vacuum and suck in and swallow the prey. Being smaller than other Lionfish they go after smaller prey. They will sometimes use their pectoral fins to herd prey into a position where they can trap them. Little is known about their reproduction.
Nudibranchs are grouped with snails and slugs in the class Gastropoda, but they differ from snails by having no shell, or at least a greatly reduced one. As their name implies, nudibranchs are further identifiable by their naked or exposed gills. The gills are easily visible on the backs of most nudibranchs. While appealing to the human eye, the main two purposes of these nudi’s intricate patterns and bright colors are defense and camouflage.
The hatchlings do not have sex chromosomes so their gender is determined by the temperature within the nest. The temperature varies slightly among species, ranging between roughly 83-85 degrees Fahrenheit (28-29 degrees Celsius), at which embryos within a nest develop into a mix of males and females. Temperatures above this range produce females and colder temperatures produce males. It's estimated that only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings will survive to adulthood. Once near the surface, they will often remain there until the temperature of the sand cools, usually indicating nighttime, when they are less likely to be eaten by predators or overheat. Once out of the nest, hatchlings face many predators including ghost crabs, birds, raccoons, dogs, and fish.
In addition to their possible great size, another defense that some groupers have is the ability to change the color of their skin to match their background.. Sometimes this color change is simple, such as turning from dark to light in order to blend in with varying levels of light. They swim slowly, but with power. They're not capable of fast breaks or swimming long distances, but anyone who's been on the other end of one on a deep sea fishing charter in Destin can tell you they have one heck of a dive pull. Some groupers are so huge that when they open their mouths to feed, they create a suction that is powerful enough to inhale small prey.
Whale sharks are filter feeders that eat plankton through their gills for much of their nourishment. They also eat squid, krill, and small fish. A whale shark can process more than 6,000 liters of water an hour through its gills. Whale sharks are in no way related to whales. Although they are sharks, they are very docile. A whale shark’s mouth is at the very front of its head—as opposed to the underside of the head like most sharks.
Sea Stars have remarkable regenerative powers, when attacked and damaged by predators they are able to grow new arms. They usually have five arms but have been found with 4 or 6 arms, this may be because more than one arm has been damaged at one time! The eyes see only light and darkness. The mouth is found in the centre of the body on the underside. They possess a cleverly evolved arsenal of hydraulic tube feet connected to an elaborate water-vascular system that encircles the animal's mouth and extends via five radial canals down the centre of each arm. Sea stars move very slowly using their water filled tubes and tube feet that stick out through the skin to hold onto surfaces. Their mouth is underneath, but their prey is absorbed outside their mouths when the sea star sits on its prey and forces out their digestive organs from their stomach
A Weedy Seadragon looks just like it sounds.. A mini sea dragon that would blend in with corals and seaweed very well! To avoid mouthfulls of sand when feeding, this animal will feed on its side and suck up tiny mycids! Compared to the leafy sea dragon, weedies have less flamboyant projections and are usually reddish in color with yellow spots. Weedy sea dragons have very long, thin snouts, slender trunks covered in bony rings, and thin tails which, unlike their seahorse cousins, cannot be used for gripping.
Terns are a common seabird that frequently get mistaken for seagulls. These graceful birds are characterised by their silver-grey upperparts, white underparts, black cap and red bill, as well as long tails. Almost all terns migrate, and the Arctic tern migrates every year from the Arctic to the Antarctica –a 25,000 mile trip, one way! Common tern colonies usually number around 2,000 birds, but can be as large as 20,000. They are often shared with other tern species such as Arctic and roseate terns.
The blue marlin is one of the open ocean's fastest, strongest predators and one of the most highly sought after game fishes everywhere that it lives. Reaching weights of at least 1800 pounds (~820 kg) and lengths of more than 16 feet (~5 m), the blue marlin is one of the largest species of bony fishes. Because blue marlin undergo such an amazing transformation in size (from being nearly microscopic to being one of the largest open ocean predators), they eat a wide variety of prey, throughout their lifetimes.
Manta rays have approximately 300 rows of skin-covered teeth in its lower jaw. Their skeleton is composed of cartilage and not bone. Their tails lack skeletal support and are shorter than their disc-like bodies. Their tails also lack venomous tail spikes that all other rays have. Manta rays must swim continuously to keep oxygenated water passing over their gills. They can swim up to 24 kilometers (15 miles) per hour. Mantas visit cleaning stations on coral reefs for the removal of external parasites. The ray adopts a near-stationary position close to the coral surface for several minutes while the cleaner fish consume the attached organisms.
Giant clams were first documented by an Italian explorer, as early as 1521. The largest known specimen of the giant clam, till date, was found in 1817, off the north-western coast of Sumatra. It was 4.49 ft. long, and its shells weighed 510 lbs. In 1956, another giant clam that was about 3.77 ft. long was found in Japan, with its shells weighing about 730 lbs. Because of its sessile nature, the moment the giant clam chooses a spot as its ‘home’, it fastens itself to the same, and then cannot go elsewhere for the rest of its life.
Fur Seals are named for their two-layered fur: an outer layer, and an undercoat that helps their skin stay dry underwater. Now protected, this species was hunted almost to extinction for the fur trade in earlier centuries. Fur seal has very thick, reddish brown, brownish gray or black fur. Females of some species have light-colored fur on the front side of the body. Fur seal has small ears, long, muscular front flippers and stocky body. Seals move swiftly and gracefully through the water using their powerful fore flipper and can be quite agile on land, walking on all four of their flippers.