Posts Tagged 'upland tropical rain forest'



Animal Updates – July 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!


New Vanilla Vine

Guests can now spot a Vanilla Vine (vanilla planifolia or the vanilla orchid) climbing in our Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit.

This vine climbs the trunks of trees throughout the world’s tropics.  Originally native to Mexico, this species has been spread around the globe, farmed for its valuable seed pod, in order to produce vanilla flavoring.  In its native habitat the flower, which will eventually produce the desired pod, is pollinated by a small stingless bee that is endemic to Mexico.  This confined the vanilla industry because without the particular species bee, the pods would not form.  It was only when the discovery that the flower could be hand pollinated that the vanilla industry was able to spread worldwide.

New Damselfish 

Two brightly colored Azure Damselfish have been added to our Survival through Adaptation exhibit.

These fish are easy to spot because of their bright blue and yellow coloration!

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

Animal Update – July 13

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!

Turquoise Tanager Chicks

We have two new turquoise tanager chicks in our Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit. This is the first time these birds have hatched eggs with us!

Turquoise tanager chicks

Turquoise tanagers are found in humid tropical forests throughout northern and central South America, as well as in Trinidad. Our exhibit houses two males and one female. Our turquoise tanagers began building a nest in one of the exhibit Cecropia trees in April 2012. Because the nest was high up in the tree, we were unable to confirm the number of eggs in the nest, but knew the female was sitting on at least one. After a short time, we were able to visually confirm that two chicks had hatched.

It is known that all adults within a turquoise tanager flock assist in feeding the nestlings and we were able to observe all three of our adults attending to the chicks.

Recently, we noticed the young birds’ growth and interest in leaving the nest. We covered both pools near the waterfall with netting to prevent their first tumble from the nest resulting in an accident. Once out of the nest and on the ground, we were able to transfer them to the corner cage where the adults continued to care for them. Our DNA tests have told us that one chick is a male and one is a female.

Turquoise tanagers

Both chicks are on exhibit (and still soliciting food from the adults) and we are very happy to announce that our turquoise tanager flock has grown from three to five!


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

Animal Update – April 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 WATERlog blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

Poison Dart Froglets
Epipedobates tricolor

The tricolor, or phantasmal, poison dart frog (Epipedobates tricolor) is a small red or brown poison dart frog with blue stripes that is found in the rain forests of the Andean slopes of Ecuador. At the National Aquarium, we have a population of these frogs in the Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit, as well as in one of the Hidden Life exhibits at the end of the Rain Forest. These frogs reproduce year-round, but there’s currently a baby boom happening!

There are six froglets in this photo - can you spot them all?

Juveniles can be tiny enough to fit on the fingernail of your pinky!

This young froglet is about the size of a dime!

As they grow, their blue stripes will fade into view, but as froglets they are mostly a solid brown color so they can hide among the leaf litter.

You can tell the two froglets in this picture are older because their stripes are fairly well defined (though not yet completely bright in color).

Stop by to see the young froglets in the Hidden Life exhibit, closest to the rotating door headed toward our Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit!

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

Animal Update – April 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 WATERlog blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

New Sunbittern  
A beautiful female Sunbittern was recently released into our Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit.

This slim, solitary bird has a blackish, slate-colored head with two white stripes on either side of the face. Its body is mottled, brown with black, and it has some white marks. A long, pointed black and orange bill and red eyes are distinctive.

Note from the caretaker: “Keep an eye out for these birds, and you may be lucky enough to see an amazing transformation. When they are disturbed or threatened, they spread their wings and exhibit very large eyespots—black, yellow, and chestnut. They seem to be saying, ‘See how big I am. You can’t hurt me.’”

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

Animal Updates – March 30

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

Reef Scorpionfish 
We’ve added three Reef Scorpionfish to our Caribbean Camouflage exhibit.

Most scorpion fishes live on or near the bottom. They lie in crevices, in caves and under overhangs. This type of scorpionfish can change its color to better match its surroundings. For example, if it’s near sand, it will camouflage to look like sand while if it’s near red rocks, it will change its coloration to match the rocks. Thus he can blend in with its surroundings and go unnoticed by its prey.

Spring Blooms 
Our Cochliostema odoratissimum is currently in bloom in our Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit.

This large herbaceous plant is a tank-epiphyte, meaning the leaves form pockets at their bases to collect and store water. The leaves later absorb the water through small leaf hairs called trichromes. This characteristic gives this plant a very bromeliad-like appearance, making this species sometimes called false bromeliad; however, because this plant is rare in cultivation it has no scientifically recognized common name.

The leaves of the plant can grow in-excess of 1 meter in length and grow in a rosette, meaning its stem does not elongate and is comprised of overlapping leaf bases. The flowers erupt from clusters that form on the top of stalks, originating from the base of the leaf whorls. These clusters each produce a couple dozen flowers and must be hand pollinated in cultivation in order to produce fruit. The flowers have a deep blue to purple coloration and are highly fragrant.

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


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