Posts Tagged 'aquarium in dc'

Animal Updates – May 31

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!

AnimalUpdated_DC

Sea Raven

We have a sea raven in our Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuaries exhibit!

sea raven

Sea ravens, Hemitripterus americanus, are a species of sculpin, from the Scorpaenidae family. They are bottom-dwelling fishes that feed on small invertebrates, and are found in the northwest Atlantic and north Pacific oceans. They have a wide range of amazing colors including deep red, dark brown, purple and  various shades of yellow.

This ambush predator has fleshy protrusions extending from their large head that help disguise it against rocky bottoms. Their prickly skin (covered in small spines) and ragged looking dorsal fin come together to make this one bizarre, yet awesome looking fish.

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

Animal Update – February 8

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!

AnimalUpdated_DC

Baby Giant Pacific Octopus!

We have a new giant Pacific octopus on exhibit! Currently the size of a softball, this species can grow to weigh up to 90 lbs! In fact, they are the largest species of octopus in the world.

baby octopus

Found in the coastal regions of the North Pacific, the giant Pacific octopus is highly intelligent and adaptable, making them a hard catch for predators.

These masters of camouflage can quickly change the color and texture of their skin to match the background. By rapidly drawing water into the mantle and expelling it through the tube-like siphon, they can jet themselves backward, away from danger.

Once this juvenile matures a bit, our staff will begin regular enrichment exercises to encourage cognitive thinking.

octopus enrichment

Aquarist Morgan Denney facilitating an enrichment with our giant Pacific octopus in Baltimore!

One exercise involves giving the octopus a container with food inside. The octopus opens the container quickly, using more than 1,800 suction cups that help it locate and taste the item inside.

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

Animal Update – December 14

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!

AnimalUpdated_DC

Bicolor Parrotfish

We have a new bicolor parrotfish in our American Samoa exhibit!

bicolor parrotfish

Did you know? Before going to sleep, this species of parrotfish spins a cocoon around its body to hide its scent from potential predators!

Parrotfish get their name from their beak-like teeth and vibrant coloration. Some species, like the bicolor parrotfish, can grow to be up to three feet in length!

They use their “beak” to eat the algae that grows on coral. The parrotfish bites off pieces of coral from the reef, pulverizing it in order to digest the algae growing inside and then excreting the limestone rock. Much of the sand in the areas where parrotfish are found is actually the coral they excrete.

This fun little video explains this “sand making” process: 

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

Happy 40th Birthday, NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries!

For 40 years, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Sanctuary system has preserved some of the most treasured and endangered resources in our oceans. This underwater network of national parks, first established in 1972 – exactly 100 years after America’s first national park was created, protects more than 18,000 square miles of ocean waters and habitats!

national marine sanctuaries

Congratulations & happy birthday to all our friends at NOAA!

Visit the National Marine Sanctuaries all in one place!
Our Washington, DC venue highlights all thirteen sanctuaries as well as marine national monument as part of a partnership with NOAA to help spread awareness and inspire conservation of these amazing ecosystems. You can explore the following sanctuaries during your visit:

  • Florida Keys NMS - This sanctuary is a complex marine ecosystem surrounding the Florida Keys archipelago, an island chain known worldwide for its extensive offshore coral reef. The waters surrounding most of the 1,700 islands that make up the Florida Keys have been designated a sanctuary since 1990. The Florida Keys marine environment is the foundation for the commercial fishing and tourism-based economies that are vital to southern Florida.
Florida Keys

Florida Keys Gallery

  • USS Monitor NMS – located off the coast of Newport News, Virginia, this wreck of a Civil War-era ship was the first designated marine sanctuary!
  • Flower Garden Banks NMS - Flower Garden is located about 110 miles off the coast of Texas and Louisiana. It harbors the northernmost coral reefs in the continental United States and serves as a regional reservoir of shallow-water Caribbean reef fishes and invertebrates.
  • Gray’s Reef NMS - Gray’s Reef is located 17 miles off Sapelo Island, Georgia. It is one of the largest near-shore sandstone reefs in the southeastern United States. The rocky platform, some 60–70 feet below the Atlantic Ocean’s surface, is wreathed in a carpet of attached organisms. This flourishing ecosystem provides not only vertical relief, but also a solid base for the abundant invertebrates to attach to and grow upon.
Loggerhead turtle

A loggerhead turtle in our Gray’s Reef gallery

  • Cordell Bank NMS - Cordell Bank is located approximately 52 miles northwest of the Golden Gate Bridge at the edge of the continental shelf. Upwelling of nutrient-rich ocean waters and the bank’s topography create one of the most biologically productive areas on the West Coast. The site is a lush feeding ground for many marine mammals and seabirds.
  • Olympic Coast NMS – along the Olympic Peninsula coastline of the Pacific Northwest, sits this protected continental shelf and several submarine canyons. This upwell zone is a home to marine mammals such as orcas and seabirds. Throughout the sanctuary, kelp keeps pockets of tidal communities teeming with fish. In addition to these ecological resources, this area also preserves over 200 shipwrecks.
  • Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale NMS – In the shallow waters surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands, this sanctuary represents one of the world’s most important humpback whale habitats.
  • Stellwagen Bank NMS – located at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay, this sanctuary was the first in New England. It was first designated to protect endangered whales from the shifting of shipping lanes in busy commercial waters. Since its establishment, striking of these whales has been reduced by 81 percent, according to NOAA.
Stellwagen Bank

Toby, our blue lobster, in the Stellwagen Bank gallery

  • Fagatele Bay NMS - Fagatele is located on Tutuila, the largest island of American Samoa, and is the only true tropical coral reef in the National Marine Sanctuary Program. This complex ecosystem, with its exceptionally high level of biological productivity, is the smallest and most remote of all sanctuaries.
Fagetele Bay

Fagatele Bay gallery

  • Gulf of the Farallones NMS – near San Francisco, this sanctuary was critical to the creation of Beach Watch, one of the first citizen-science monitoring projects within NOAA. This volunteer program helps to protect a lush cold water coral reef, abundant with many threatened and endangered species.
  • Monterey Bay NMS – this rocky, rugged area off the coast of Southern California acts as a home or migration corridor for 26 species of marine mammals, close to 100 species of seabirds, close to 400 species of fish and invertebrates and four species of sea turtles. A mixture of habitats including open ocean, rocky shores, sandy beaches and lush kelp forests.
  • Channel Islands NMSThe Channel Islands are located 25 miles off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. The waters that swirl around the five islands within the sanctuary combine warm and cool currents to create an exceptional breeding ground for many species of plants and animals.
Leopard sharks

Leopard sharks in our Channel Islands gallery

  • Thunder Bay NMS – off the eastern coast of Michigan, this sanctuary protects a collection of shipwrecks in Lake Huron. Not only are these developed ecosystems an important research tool, but this area has become a major tourist destination and economic stimulant in the area – further spreading awareness of how important it is to protect marine wildlife.
  • Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument – located in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, this is the single largest conservation area in the US and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The monument encompasses close to 140,000 square miles of Pacific Ocean – an area larger than all the country’s national parks combined.

We are so happy to  share these small glimpses into such a diverse and beautiful network of environments. Thanks to NOAA and the National Marine Sanctuaries Act for allowing us to continue to enjoy and protect America’s underwater treasures for many years to come!

Animal Update – October 12

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!

We’ve added three lumpfish to our Stellwagen Bank exhibit! 

Lumpfish can be abundantly found in the cold waters of the North Atlantic – from Norway and Iceland to the New England coast. While the species has been an important food source for European countries, it is seldom consumed in the United States.

Lumpfish are primarily bottom-dwellers. Their pelvic fins are modified into a suction disk so you will most spot them attached to one of the vertical walls.

The species ranges in color from a bluish gray to an olive green or dark brown, they can be distinguished by the wart-like growths that cover their skin.

In many cases, lumpfish have been successfully trained by institutions to perform behaviors like swimming through a hoop. As our lumpfish become more comfortable in their new home, we hope to begin working with them on these types of enrichment.

Endangered Texas blind salamanders! 

Recently, we introduced you to our new Texas blind salamanders. We’re happy to report that they are progressing well through the quarantine process!

This species can only be found in one place in the world – a cave near San Marcos, Texas

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


Sign up for AquaMail

Twitter Updates


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 236 other followers