For those who don’t know, The Gulf of Mexico is part of the Atlantic Ocean and is largely surrounded by the North American continent. This particular body of water, along with all that encompasses our ocean is critical for our survival along with all our other friends who make up the sea.
Tiger Tail Sea Cucumbers are the largest sea cucumber in the Western Atlantic. They feed on algae and detritus. Juveniles often mimic sea slugs by crawling around on the bottom slowly filtering sand through their tentacles to gather food. Once older, they can spread their tentacles above them to capture plankton. A number of sea cucumbers feed nocturnally while others feed by day. Sea cucumbers often attract hitch-hikers like shrimps and crabs that crawl over their skin. As a means of defence sea cucumbers can expel their intestines or respiratory organs in the form of sticky threads, but these can quickly regenerate
“While the fish in this photo appears to be sitting there allowing me to take his photo it was quite the contrary. He came up at me from the sandy bottom with such intent and speed that I couldn't believe I managed to get him in the frame, let alone having him and is grumpy face in focus!” Picasso Triggerfish vocalizes using a "grunting" sound.
Some rockfish can live to be 100 years or older. Most Rockfish grow very slowly and don’t reproduce until they are at least 10 years old. Believe it or not, rockfish are aged accurately by analyzing the bones in their ears! Some species of rockfish are very territorial and may stay at a ‘home site’ for years. Rockfish often extend their dorsal spines and lean towards an approaching threat. If this defensive posture fails to discourage an approaching threat, most rockfish will then head for nearby cover. Rockfish have air bladders which allow them to float motionless in the water column. This helps them to sneak up on prey very quietly to strike.
Living up to about 30 years, leopard sharks can be found in shallow muddy waters, particularly Northern California. Often times they are preyed upon by larger sharks, like the Great White, but they themselves eat relatively small animals like worms, crabs, octopus, and fish. Branching off from a species of houndshark in the Triakidae family, adult leopard sharks can grow up to 6 feet long, but typically average at about 5 feet.
We all know that penguins can’t fly, but did you know that they have adapted their wings to be better at swimming in the water? Their black and white coloring helps them to camouflage while they are darting through the seas. From below their white bellies appear to be nothing else than the sun reflecting on the water, and from above their black feathers blend in with the ocean.