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Shore Buddies webblog

Wisdom Wednesday | Dolphins

Wisdom Wednesday | Dolphins
Dolphins are incredibly intelligent animals. They have been seen using tools, in the form of sponges, to protect their snouts while looking for food. They are also able to identify each other based on their signature whistle sounds. Just as each dolphin has a signature sound, they also each have unique dorsal fins which can be helpful in identifying them.

Wisdom Wednesday | Great Hammerhead Sharks

Instagram photo of a Great Hammerhead Shark. Hammerhead Shark photo by Jim Abernethy.
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. 

Wisdom Wednesday | Manatees

Image of a manatee by Instagram user Michael Patrick O'Neill
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.

Wisdom Wednesday | Damselfish

Image of a Damselfish by Manuela Kirschner
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.

Wisdom Wednesday | How old are Sea Turtles?

Photo of a sea turtle by Jason  Washington
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.

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 | Jumping Dolphins

Image of a dolphin jumping by Instagram user Jill @Jill ma2sh21
Dolphins do not have gills like fish. Dolphins need to breathe oxygen from the air but also remain in the water. Jumping out of the water, allows the dolphin to remain wet, while also taking in oxygen. Dolphins jump out of the water for fun, to increase visibility, to remove parasites, and to improve navigation.

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 | 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