Posts Tagged 'blacktip reef'



Week of Thanks: Holly Bourbon on Blacktip Reef

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday, our experts (and animal residents) will be sharing what they’re thankful for this year!

Our first “Week of Thanks” post comes from the Aquarium’s Curator of Fishes, Holly Bourbon

This year, I’m extremely thankful for the successful opening of our newest exhibit, Blacktip Reef.

blacktip reef sharks

As I’m sure you can imagine, the process of opening an exhibit (especially one with hundreds of animals) involves a tremendous amount of planning and work. Over the course of the last year, my team and I have:

  • Transported animals out of the old exhibit space
  • Received and cared for a variety of species, including 20 juvenile blacktip reef sharks
  • Monitored the creation and execution of the new exhibit space, ensuring it was a perfect replica of a reef habitat
  • Successfully introduced 700+ animals into their new home!

While the grand opening of Blacktip Reef back in August was a huge milestone, we’re still hard at work every day making sure that all of our animals are happy and healthy as they continue adjusting to this brand-new environment.

national aquarium fish introduction

My introduction of a slingjaw wrasse into Blacktip Reef in July!

New exhibits require a lot of time and work. I’m thankful that we’ve all had the opportunity to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our guests and learn a lot about our new neighbors in the process!

Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the process, start-to-finish, of creating Blacktip Reef:

What are YOU thankful for this year? Tell us in the comments section!

Happy Birthday, Zeke!

Our zebra shark, Zeke, is turning four-years-old today (and on the 4th of November, no less)!

Zeke and our second zebra shark, Zoe, have a very close relationship. They can often be seen hanging out together in the sandy, flat areas of Blacktip Reef!

national aquarium zebra sharks zeke and zoe

Hint: Zeke is the much smaller one!

As juveniles, zebra sharks have dark bodies with yellowish stripes. As they mature, their patterning changes to small dark spots. Zeke is starting to lose his stripes – soon, he’ll be covered in spots, like Zoe!

In addition to their distinctive spots, our zebra sharks can be easily recognized by their impressively long tails!

Couldn’t make it down to wish Zeke a Happy Birthday in person today? Catch him on our Shark Cam

Happy Halloween from the National Aquarium!

From underwater pumpkin carving to themed enrichment (and snacks!), Halloween was celebrated to the fullest throughout the Aquarium today!

Here’s a re-cap of some of today’s activities:

Halloween-themed enrichment

Pumpkin carving in Blacktip Reef

In partnership with Discovery and Animal Planet L!VE, we broadcast our first-EVER underwater pumpkin carving from Blacktip Reef online via our Shark Cam! Didn’t get a chance to tune in live? Watch the carving here:

We hope everyone is having a safe and fun Halloween! 

The LAST Animal, a Napoleon Wrasse, Has Been Introduced into Blacktip Reef!

blacktip reef update national aquarium

We’re so excited to share that the LAST of our animals has been successfully introduced into Blacktip Reef!

Humphead Wrasse National Aquarium Blacktip Reef

Also known as a humphead or Maori wrasse (after a Polynesian group from New Zealand), this fish is found in reef habitats throughout the Indo-Pacific. This species of wrasse in particular can grow to be over six feet long!

This wrasse combs reefs in search of hard-shelled prey such as mollusks, sea stars and crustaceans – our aquarists keep the newest resident to Blacktip Reef on a similar diet!

National Aquarium, Blacktip Reef, Napoleon Wrasse

Napoleon wrasses have been known to live for over 30 years! It takes them 5-7 years to reach sexual maturity.

In the wild, this species’ population numbers have declined dramatically in recent years. This decline is due in major part to a high demand for this fish in the Asian luxury food market. Humphead wrasse meat can fetch up to $100 dollars per kilogram in Hong Kong. As a result of this recent and rapid population decline, the species has been listed under the Endangered Species Act and IUCN’s Red List.

 We hope you can stop by and meet the newest (truly stunning) resident of Blacktip Reef! In the meantime, look out for him on our live Shark Cam

Blacktip Reef Update: Wobbegong Sharks Now On Exhibit!

blacktip reef update national aquarium

Three wobbegong sharks were introduced to Blacktip Reef yesterday!

Blacktip Reef is now be home to one tasseled wobbegong and two ornate wobbegongs – two very beautiful and interesting shark species! They join 20 blacktip reef sharks and our two zebra sharks, Zeke and Zoe.

Wobbegongs, also known as carpet sharks, get their name from an Australian Aboriginal word meaning “shaggy beard” – which refers to the growths around the shark’s mouth. These sharks can be found in the shallow, warmer waters of the Indo-Pacific.

wobbegong shark

Their bold, brown patterns keep the wobbegong well-camouflaged within the reef. Their ability to camouflage makes these animals great ambush predators!

Stay tuned for more updates as Blacktip Reef continues to evolve!


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