Posts Tagged 'animals'

Animal Update – March 7

national aquarium animal update

Blue Hamlet in Atlantic Coral Reef

A blue hamlet has been added to our Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit!

national aquarium blue hamlet

This fish, named for its iridescent blue hue, is native to Atlantic coral reef habitats (from the Florida Keys to Mexico).

Blue hamlets are typically very shy. They spend most of their days hiding in reef crevices.

Map Puffer in Blacktip Reef

Did you know? The map puffer is one of six species of pufferfish on exhibit in Blacktip Reef!

national aquarium map puffer

Map pufferfish can be found in reef habitats throughout the Indo-Pacific. Their oval shape and distinctive pattern make these fish easy to spot!

Map puffers are solitary animals. They mostly feed on invertebrates, sponges and algaes.

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

Animal Update – February 28

national aquarium animal update

Graysby in Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit! 

A graysby has been added to our Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit!

national aquarium graysby

Did you know? Graysby fish are solitary and secretive animals. The often spend most of their day hiding in spots within the coral reefs where they make their home.

Graysbys vary in coloration from light grey to brown. These fish are covered in many small reddish spots!

national aquarium graysby

The graysby’s range includes the Western Atlantic Oceans from North Carolina to southern Florida, as well as the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

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

Animal Update – February 21

national aquarium animal update

California Moray in Kelp Forest

A California moray eel was recently added to our Kelp Forest exhibit!

national aquarium california moray

This species of moray, native to southern California (from Santa Barbara to Baja), varies in coloration from dark brown to green and can grow to be up to five feet in length!

California moray eels live in the crevices or holes along shallow reef areas. These eels feed mostly at night on crustaceans, octopuses, sea urchins and small fish.

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

A Blue View: Mysteries of the Deep

A Blue View is a weekly perspective on the life aquatic, hosted by National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli.

From the smallest plants and animals invisible to the human eye to entire ecosystems, every living thing depends on and is intricately linked by water.

Tune in to 88.1 WYPR every Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. as John brings to the surface important issues and fascinating discoveries making waves in the world today.

February 5, 2014: Mysteries of the Deep

A Blue View podcastClick here to listen to John discuss
what we know and have yet to
discover about the deep sea!

Thousands of feet beneath the surface of the ocean, animals live, even thrive, in conditions that are impossible for most of us to even imagine.

Our blue planet is indeed a water planet, yet incredibly, over 90 percent of the ocean remains unexplored and unseen by humans. In a world that’s increasingly tamed and catalogued, it’s astounding to learn that there have been only two journeys to the ocean’s greatest depth, Challenger Deep, off the Mariana Islands—in 1960 and 2012. That first epic descent occurred in 1960…before we’d even ventured into space!

deepsea challenger


At that deepest point, the dark waters of the ocean extend 36,000 feet down—nearly 7 miles. For comparison, the recommended maximum depth for recreational scuba divers is just 130 feet. Photosynthesis is no longer possible at 650 feet, with sunlight gradually diminishing until approximately 3,300 feet, below which, no light ever penetrates.

But far, far down at the bottom of the ocean is an environment unlike any other place on earth. It is frigid—between 30 and 39 degrees Fahrenheit, but never frozen, because salt lowers the freezing point of seawater. The complete darkness is broken only by the light emitted by animals themselves, called bioluminescence. And the intense pressure at these depths is the equivalent of supporting 50 jets on your back!

Obviously, there’s a lot we don’t know about this mysterious region—earth’s largest habitat. Experts believe that up to two-thirds of the plant and animal species in the world ocean may still await our discovery, with as many as one million species of non-bacterial life yet to be identified. In other words, we’ve only scratched the surface.

Most deep-sea creatures are transparent, black, or red, allowing for effective camouflage since red is invisible at these depths. Some, like the bioluminescent lanternfish, send messages to other animals or attract prey via their light-emitting organs. Species like the vampire squid have huge eyes that enable them to use what little light exists, while others have no eyes at all, instead employing smell, touch, and vibration to visualize their surroundings.

A vampire squid. Image via National Geographic.

A vampire squid. Image via National Geographic.

As a result, many of these creatures are unable to survive the trip up to the surface when collected for research purposes, so scientists who study these marine species now use pressurized containers to replicate their environment.

Increasingly, deep-sea submersibles, both manned and unmanned, are making the long journey to the deep ocean, enhancing our knowledge exponentially with each dive. I, for one, can’t wait to see what they will discover next.


Animal Update – January 3

national aquarium animal update

Two angelfish species added to Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit! 

A queen angelfish and a french angelfish have been introduced into our Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit.

There are over 80 species of angelfish inhabiting the world’s oceans. These tropical fish make their homes in shallow waters surrounding coral reefs!

Did you know? Queen angelfish get their name from the crown-like ring that sits on their heads.

Starry puffer introduced into Blacktip Reef!

Our Blacktip Reef exhibit has a new resident – a starry pufferfish!

national aquarium starry puffer

Starry puffers can only be found in the Indo-Pacific region. Measuring up to 4 feet in length, they are one of the largest identified species of pufferfish in the world!

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

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