Posts Tagged 'blacktip reef'



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!

Federal Government Donates Confiscated Coral to the National Aquarium

A shipment of illegally imported corals intercepted by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been donated to the National Aquarium.

The corals are being used as educational tools in our newest exhibit, Blacktip Reef, as well as for the Aquarium’s conservation outreach efforts, school science programs and fabrication templates.

blacktip reef education cart
The shipment, containing 20 pieces of Seriatopora hystrix (commonly known as birdsnest coral) and 22 pieces of Pocillopora damicornis (sometimes referred to as cauliflower coral), was intercepted by CBP at the port of Tampa, Florida. The corals were cut from the reefs off the coast of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific.

Coral reefs are being threatened by human and environmental factors. Most species of coral are protected under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) and require foreign permits. This international agreement between governments ensures that international trade of wild animals does not threaten their survival. CITES consists of 178 country signatories that protect species like coral worldwide.

As the nation’s border agency, CBP works closely with the Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that laws protecting endangered species are enforced at every US port of entry.

Corals play a critical role in the ecosystem as they provide spawning, nursery, breeding and feeding  habitats for marine species, protect against shoreline erosion and provide local benefits for fishing and tourism industries.

These authentic coral pieces have become important tools for our educators, who able to bring coral reefs to life for thousands of visitors every day! We’re able to show visitors the beauty of coral and the important role that corals play in our world!

Animal Update – September 20

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!

Meet one of Blacktip Reef’s most colorful residents – the harlequin tuskfish! 

Harlequin Tusk Fish

The harlequin tuskfish, a species of wrasse, can be found throughout the reef habitats of the Indo-Pacific (from the Red Sea to Australia).

Typically, the tuskfish will make its home in the sandy, shallow areas of coastal reefs. Their diet mostly consists of hard-shelled invertebrates, including small crabs and shrimp.

Harlequin tusk fish

Did you know? The harlequin tuskfish gets its common name from its bright coloration and sharp blue teeth!

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

Animal Update – September 6

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!

Emperor Angelfish in Blacktip Reef!

This reef-dweller, native to the Indo-Pacific, can be spotted swimming around our newest exhibit, Blacktip Reef!

One of the most amazing things about this species is the transition of their patterning and coloration from juvenile to adult!

juvenile emperor angelfish

Juvenile emperor angelfish (pictured above) are typically a dark blue with white rings.

It will take anywhere between 24 and 30 months for the angelfish to fully transition into it’s adult coloration (pictured below)!

adult emperor angelfish

Emperor angelfish typically stick to the reef’s ledges, flats and/or outer lagoon patch reefs, where they’ll feed on sponges and similar organisms.

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


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