Garden Eels live in colonies of up to 700 individuals and burrow in the sand of the ocean floor, using mucus from their bodies to prevent the sand around them from collapsing. These eels tend to stay in their individual burrows, rarely leaving to catch their prey, zooplankton, that floats by them.
Hawaiian Monk Seals got their name because the folds on their skin look similar a monk’s cowl. Additionally, like a monk, these seals tend to live in solitary. When these seals are born, they are black in color. They turn to shades of gray and brown as they mature.
Starfish can live for up to 35 years in the wild. They vary in size from one centimeter to 65 centimeters depending on the species. There are 1,600 species of starfish throughout oceans around the world and different species live in habitats including tidal pools, rocky shores, sea grass, kelp beds, and coral reefs.
These jellyfish have 8 arms that surround their mouths and help them find food. Their diet consists of zooplankton, algae, shrimp, and invertebrate eggs. Although this species of jellyfish is the most venomous, they are not harmful to humans.
Whale sharks are the world’s largest fish, reaching up to 40 feet and weighing an average of 20,000 pounds. These gentle giants can neither bite nor chew and are filter feeders. Their mouths contain hundreds of rows of tiny teeth and can open up to 4 feet wide.
The largest sea turtle, the Leatherback, can reach up to 2,200 pounds. Unlike other species of sea turtles, Leatherback turtles have a rubbery shell composed of cartilage-like tissues rather than a hard, bony shell. Leatherback turtles also live in waters of more of the world than any other sea turtle.
Both Stingrays and Manta Rays have flat body shapes and wide pectoral fins. Unlike Stingrays, Manta Rays do not have a barb, or stinger, on their tails. Additionally, Stingrays live on the floors of the ocean while Manta Rays inhabit the open ocean. The mouths of Manta Rays are on the front edge of their bodies while mouths of Stingrays are on the undersides of their bodies.
Tripod fish got their names because when they are still, they look like a tripod. They have three long structures that allow them to walk on the ocean floor. Their fins can reach up to 3.3 feet in length, although their bodies are only 12 to 14 inches long. They use their pectoral fins to detect what is around them in the water and to find prey because their eyes have limited abilities.
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.
When a Humpback whale is born, it can weigh up to 2,000 pounds and reach up to 15 feet in length. These young whales, called calves, stay with their mothers to nurse for anywhere between 6 to 10 months, until they are about 24 to 27 feet long.
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