Archive for the 'Animal Update' Category



Animal Updates – November 8

national aquarium animal update

White-blotched river ray in Amazon River Forest

A white-blotched river ray has been introduced into our Amazon River Forest exhibit!

national aquarium white-blotched river ray

Did you know? On average, these rays are only about two feet in length! Their diet mostly consists of freshwater snails and crustaceans.

national aquarium white-blotched river ray

We love this close-up of our white-blotched ray from Flickr user adamcoop68.

This South American species makes its home in Brazil’s Xingu river basin.

Because of their limited natural range, these rays have been especially vulnerable to habitat degradation in recent years.

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

Animal Update – October 25

national aquarium animal update

Frilled Lizards in Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes! 

Our herpetology staff is currently caring for four juvenile frilled lizards behind-the-scenes in our Australia exhibit! These juveniles will spend a few more weeks behind-the-scenes for observation and acclimation before going on exhibit.

Also known as “frillnecks,” this species is found in the humid woodlands of northern Australia and parts of southern New Guinea. They spend most of their time perched up in the trees, perfectly camouflaged, only venturing down to the floor in search of food.

Frilled lizards get their name from the large ruff of skin around their necks. When the animal is threatened, it gapes its mouth open to display its “frill” and, hopefully, discourage any predators from further pursuit.

national aquarium frilled lizard

This species is also known for their ability to run at high speeds on their hind legs – which allows them to reach the safety of a nearby tree quickly, if threatened. It’s quite the sight to see! Check out this awesome video of a frilled lizard in action: 

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

Animal Update – October 11

More than 17,000 animals representing 750 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community, so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

Juvenile Australian Water Dragons! 

We have seven new water dragons in our Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit!

national aquarium water dragon

Australian water dragons are semi-aquatic animals. They possess long, powerful limbs and claws for climbing and a laterally compressed tail for swimming.

Water dragons are primarily found in eastern Australia (from Cooktown down to the coast of New South Wales). They spend a lot of their time in areas with flowing water, ample tree cover and basking sites.

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

Animal Updates – October 4

More than 17,000 animals representing more than 750 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

Meet our Queensland Grouper!

Our Queensland grouper, Bertha, is one of Blacktip Reef’s most distinguishable new residents! Since being introduced to her new home, Bertha has been happily exploring the nooks and crannies the reef – she especially loves the deep dive area!

national aquarium queensland grouper

Found in the warm waters of the Pacific, this large fish preys upon quite a variety of animals, including small sharks, rays, sea turtles, smaller fish, crabs and even spiny lobsters!

Measuring up to 9 feet in length and weighing around 800 pounds, Queensland groupers are the largest of reef bony fish species in the world! Apart from their sheer size, these fish can be easily recognized by their blotchy patterning and light yellow fins.

Check out this amazing footage of a giant Queensland grouper found off the coast of Heron Island (part of the Great Barrier Reef):

Did you know? Queensland groupers (like most other grouper species) are protogynous hermaphrodites! They start their lives as females and later will change sex once they hit sexual maturity.

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

Animal Update – September 27

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

animal update

Bi-color parrotfish in Blacktip Reef

Did you know? Bi-color parrotfish sleep in bubbles of slime. Before finding their sleeping spot within the reef for the night, the parrotfish spins a cocoon around its body. The slimy bubble protects the parrotfish from nighttime predators by hiding its scent!

national aquarium bicolor parrotfish

Parrotfish get their name from their beak-like teeth and bright coloration. They use their “beaks” to eat the algae that grows on and around coral.

When the coral rock has travel through the parrotfish’s digestive system (which extracts the needed nutrients from the algae), it comes out as sand! A large bi-color parrotfish can produce up to 2,200 pounds of sand per year!

This species is found throughout the warm waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!


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