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Shore Buddies webblog

Wisdom Wednesday | What's in a Whale's Mouth

image of a humpback whale by Derek Troxell
Whales have HUGE mouths, extending to their belly buttons! This allows them to swallow a volume of water larger than themselves. Their throat stretches down to their navel. Tongue is the size of an elephant. You and 400 of your friends could fit in its mouth! Whales can be divided into two groups: the toothed whale and baleen whale.

Wisdom Wednesday | Water Lilies

Wisdom Wednesday | Water Lilies
Water Lilies are a fresh water plant, with about 70 species in total. Although most water lily species prefer the still waters of ponds and lakes, some can be found growing in slow-flowing rivers and creeks. Most species of water lilies have rounded, variously notched, waxy-coated leaves on long stalks that contain many air spaces and float in quiet freshwater habitats. The stalks arise from thick, fleshy, creeping underwater stems that are buried in the mud.

Wisdom Wednesday | Sandbars

Wisdom Wednesday | Sandbars
Barrier bars or beaches are exposed sandbars that may have formed during the period of high-water level of a storm or during the high-tide season. During a period of lower mean sea level they become emergent and are built up by swash and wind-carried sand; this causes them to remain exposed. Barrier bars are separated from beaches by shallow lagoons and cut the beach off from the open sea.

Wisdom Wednesday | Underwater Statues

Image of Underwater Statue by Instagram user Manuela Kirschner
Across the world statues have been sunk into the oceans for a variety of reasons—as memorials, to offer protection to a fragile marine environment, or simply as art. Colored with algae and populated by coral, some of the statues have become tourist destinations in their own right.

Wisdom Wednesday | Hairy Frogfish

Despite having a hairy appearance, the “hairs” of a Hairy Frogfish are actually skin appendages or spinules which cover the frogfish’s body, head and fins. These spinules can be copious and long or very short or even almost invisible. Hairy frogfish are extremely good at hiding in plain sight and are able to change their color to match their surroundings.

Wisdom Wednesday | Shark Research Methods

Wisdom Wednesday | Shark Research Methods
Research on sharks has allowed knowing from their origin and evolution to the applications that they have in different ambits of the human life. It is tough to know about the beginning of the research but it seems that the oldest casual investigations date back to the time of the Renaissance when people assumed that the fossils of the large teeth embedded in the rocks came from dragons or snakes.

Wisdom Wednesday | Black Blotched Porcupinefish

Porcupinefish has spines on the head and body that lay flat, but when threatened they can inflates its body by swallowing water, inflating like a "football with spikes" so the spines are facing outwards to deter prey. The have a plated mouth structure for crushing shells.

Wisdom Wednesday | The Dwarf Zebra Lionfish

image of Dwarf Zebra Lionfish by instagram user Danny Lee

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.

Wisdom Wednesday | The Blue Sea Star

Image of a Blue Sea Star by Instagram user Manuela Kirschner
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

Wisdom Wednesday | The Weedy Sea Dragon

image of a Weedy Sea Dragon by instagram user Danny Lee
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.

Wisdom Wednesday | Terns

Image of a tern by Instagram user Peter Rae
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.

Wisdom Wednesday | Baby Blue Marlin

Picture of a baby blue marlin fish by Instagram user Michael Patrick O'Neil
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.