Posts Tagged 'Caribbean'

Animal Updates – March 1

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!

Juvenile hogfish in the Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit! 

This large and colorful fish is native to the Western Atlantic coral reef systems from as far north as Nova Scotia in Canada, to Bermuda, the Gulf of Mexico, and northern South America. The hogfish gets its name from its very long “pig-like” snout that it uses to root through the sandy bottoms of shallow ocean areas in search of mollusks, crabs, and sea urchins.

This is one of the juvenile hogfish now on exhibit in our Atlantic Coral Reef!

This is one of the juvenile hogfish now on exhibit in our Atlantic Coral Reef!

 The hogfish is a bright red-orange, and can grow up to 3 feet long. It typically forms social groups consisting of one male that will mate with and protect several females in its territory.

An adult hogfish

An adult hogfish

 Unfortunately, this unique species is listed as Vulnerable due to significant population declines caused by spearfishing practices, especially in the Caribbean.

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

A Blue View: Lionfish Invade Our Seas

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 pm as John brings to the surface important issues and fascinating discoveries making waves in the world today.

March 13, 2013: Lionfish Invade Our Seas

A Blue View podcast

Click here to listen to John and aquarist Ashleigh Clews discuss 
the threat lionfish pose to the health of our oceans.

Since 1992, when Pacific lionfish were first sighted in South Florida waters, this fish has become widely established all along the southeast United States and the Caribbean Sea, even being spotted as far north as New York. These distinctive looking fish—red and white striped with long pectoral fins and needle-like dorsal fins, have profoundly impacted the health of the ecosystems where they now reside.

So, how were these species introduced into local waters? Ashleigh Clews, a senior aquarist at the Aquarium, says it’s likely that the species was first introduced by home aquarium owners. Although these fish are popular in the trade, they often outgrow their tanks and will sometimes prey on other fish.

There was an estimated population boom of 700 percent between 2004 and 2008 in invaded areas. This presence of lionfish in the Atlantic is causing many problems. They’re eating native fish and crustaceans and destroying native habitats and ecosystems. Additionally, with no real predators and an average spawn rate of close to 2 million eggs a year, this species shows no sign of disappearing on its own.

Conservationists and researchers are working to address this growing problem through a variety of initiatives, including raising awareness of lionfish as a sustainable seafood option!

Have you ever eaten lionfish? Tell us about your experience in the comments! 

Animal Updates – June 1

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!

300+ New Fish! 

More than 300 fish have been added to the Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit! This collection of juvenile Atlantic tropical species with the bright, beautiful colors of the Caribbean were introduced earlier this week.

Queen Angel

Make sure you come visit the blue tangs, French grunts, pork fish, squirrel fish, queen angels, French angels, Spanish hogfish, bi-colored damsels, sergeant majors and creole wrasse as they adapt to their new home!

French Grunts

Blue Tang

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



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