Archive for the 'Animal Update' Category



Animal Update – February 14

national aquarium animal update

New Discus in the Amazon River Forest

We’ve added discus to our Flooded Forest gallery within the Amazon River Forest exhibit!

discus fish national aquarium

Found in slow-moving freshwater, discus live in tributaries in the Amazon River Basin. Schools of discus fish hide in underwater debris to avert predators.

discus fish national aquarium

Did you know? These fish are great parents. Both mom and dad will guard the eggs, fanning them with their fins and picking off any that go bad to keep the clutch from growing fungus.

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

Animal Update – February 7

national aquarium animal update

New Boat-Billed Herons in the Rain Forest! 

Two boat-billed herons, transported to Baltimore from the Buffalo Zoo, have been introduced into our Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit!

national aquarium boat-billed heron

Boat-billed herons are found in forested areas near water from Mexico to Argentina.  These stocky birds feed mostly on fish, invertebrates, and small amphibians.

Did you know? The large characteristic beak that gives the bird it’s name is used for both food gathering and for social signaling between other members of the species!

 Both of our herons are females, estimated to be about six-years-old. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at one of our herons getting a quick exam before going on exhibit:

national aquarium heron exam

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

Animal Update – January 31

national aquarium animal update

Sailfin Sculpin in Surviving Through Adaptation

Two sailfin sculpins have been added to the Feeding gallery of our Surviving Through Adaptation exhibit.

national aquarium sailfin sculpin

Also known as the “eye-banded sailor fish,” sailfin sculpins are found through the eastern Pacific ocean – from Alaska to southern California. This species prefers to stay along the shoreline where there are lots of rocky, algae-covered crevices.

Did you know? Their common name is derived from the sail-like fin that sits on top of their heads!

Plumose Anemones Added to Surviving Through Adaptation

Two plumose anemones have also been added to our Feeding gallery!

national aquarium plumose anemone

Plumose anemones are common from southern Alaska to southern California. Young specimens will often form dense colonies on pilings, floats, breakwaters and jetties in bays and harbors.

These animals are easily recognized by their tall, column-like bodies, which are topped with a “plume” of many short oral arms.

To feed, these anemones sweep passing seawater with their tentacles to filter out zooplankton!

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

Animal Update – January 17

national aquarium animal update

Toadfish in Atlantic Shelf! 

An oyster toadfish has been introduced into the Atlantic Shelf gallery of our Maryland: Mountains to the Sea exhibit.

national aquarium toadfish

This species is easily recognized by its “toad-like” appearance.

Toadfish spend most of their time camouflaged within the sandy or muddy areas near the water’s bottom, where they can successfully ambush oncoming prey.

Toadfish are well-known for their “mating song.” Male toadfish vibrate their swim bladders to produce a grunt-like sound to attract females! Listen to the toadfish’s song here: 

[youtube http://youtu.be/td4rlV6ht-E]

Striped Bass in Migrating! 

We have 26 new striped bass in our Migrating exhibit!

national aquarium striped bass

These bass came to us from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR). They are part of the Chalk Point hatchery‘s 2013 class!

Measuring anywhere from 3 to 6 feet in length, striped bass have been a popular sportfish in the Mid-Atlantic region and along the Atlantic coast since the early 1970’s.

Both sport and commercial fishing demands took a serious and rapid toll on striped bass populations in important breeding areas like the Chesapeake Bay. Since the early 1980’s, Maryland DNR has successfully worked with fisheries, fisherman and conservation organizations to revive the striped bass populations throughout the state!

FUN FACT: Did you know? Striped bass, also known as rockfish, is the state fish of Maryland, Rhode Island and South Carolina!

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

Animal Update – January 10

national aquarium animal update

Guieafowl Puffer Introduced into Blacktip Reef!

A guineafowl puffer has been successfully introduced into our Blacktip Reef exhibit!

national aquarium blacktip reef guineafowl puffer

Guineafowl puffers can be found in coral reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific region. They are omnivorous, feeding mainly on the tips of branching corals and, to a lesser extent, on sponges, mollusks, bryozoans, tunicates, forams, algae, and detritus.

Like other puffers, this species has the ability to inflate with water or air for protection!

Toby the Blue Lobster Settled into Atlantic Shelf

national aquarium blue lobster toby

Earlier this week, our blue lobster Toby was introduced into the Atlantic Shelf gallery of our Maryland: Mountains to the Sea exhibit. We’re happy to report that Toby has settled nicely into his new home!

Did you know? The genetic variation responsible for Toby’s blue hue occurs in 1 of every 2 million lobsters.

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

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!

Animal Updates – December 27

national aquarium animal update

Northern Hogsuckers in Maryland Mountains to the Sea

A new group of 10 northern hogsuckers has been added to the Allegheny Stream gallery of our Maryland Mountains to the Sea exhibit!

national aquarium northern hogsucker

The hogsucker is a very distinctive-looking fish with a pronounced, fleshy mouth, which it uses to rummage through substrate and sift our food!

Did you know? These fish are good indicators of waterway health, as they are intolerant of polluted and dirty water.

Clown Triggerfish in Surviving Through Adaptation

A new clown triggerfish has been added to our Displaying gallery!

national aquarium clown triggerfish

This species gets its name from unique look – clown triggerfish have black bellies with large white spots and bright yellow lips!

Clown triggerfish are normally shy and solitary, but they can be very aggressive. Some may charge or attack intruders. When hiding from predators, triggerfish lock themselves into small openings with their trigger fin and bite down on the coral or rock to ensure their safety.

These fish can be found in many areas of the Indian and Pacific Oceans such as Africa, Indonesia, Samoa, Japan, and New Caledonia.

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


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