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Shore Buddies webblog

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.

Wisdom Wednesday 08/26/20

Photo of a Manta Ray by Instagram user Jim Abernethy
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.

Wisdom Wednesday 08/19/20

Image of a giant clam by Instagram user Amy Mercer
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. 

Wisdom Wednesday 08/12/20

Image of Long Nosed Fur Seals by Instagram user @submerged_images
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. 

Wisdom Wednesday 08/05/20

Photo of a flying fish by Instagram user @jillma2sh21

Flying fish are marine oceanic fishes of the family Exocoetidae. They are about 50 species, and they live worldwide in warm waters. They are noted for their ability to glide. They are all small, with a maximum length of about 45 cm (18 inches), and have winglike, rigid fins and an unevenly forked tail.  From 1900 to the 1930s, flying fish were studied as possible models used to develop airplanes. There are at least 40 types flying fish and they can reach 37 MPH underwater. They do not fly actively: their fins do not flap. What they do is speed towards the surface and keep on going. 

Wisdom Wednesday 07/29/20

Image of a Sargassum Fish by Instagram user Michael Patrick O'Neill
The sargassum fish has an upturned mouth with an illium over the margin of the eyes. All frogfishes have a “lure” which is a fine antennae which stems from the top of the frogfishes head and dangles a bait-like looking appendage directly in front of the frogfish to attract prey. When frogfishes have prey in front of them they are incredibly fast to open their mouths and they suck in their prey whole, without chewing.

Wisdom Wednesday 07/22/20

Image of sea otters from Instagram user @jillma2sh21
Sea otters need to constantly fuel their little bodies to keep up with their constant energy output, and typically eat around a quarter of their weight in food on a daily basis. Humans generally eat between three and four pounds of food each day. If you weigh 140 pounds, that’d be like you eating around 34 pounds of food every day. 34 pounds is equal to somewhere around 74 of the average six-inch subs from Subway.