Posts Tagged 'blacktip reef update'

Blacktip Reef Update: Exhibit Thrives in Its First Six Months!

As our teams mark the six-month anniversary of Blacktip Reef, we’re happy to report that our newest exhibit continues to thrive and evolve!

This Indo-Pacific reef habitat is now home to 779 animals representing 70 species including blacktip reef sharks, clown triggerfish, tasseled wobbegongs, a humphead wrasse, stingrays, a green sea turtle and more!

Here’s a re-cap of some of the exciting things that have happened in Blacktip Reef over the last six months: 

  • The Aquarium has welcomed over 381,000 visitors in the six months since Blacktip Reef opened on August 8th!
  • More than 46,000 students have experienced the new exhibit.
  • As part of our ongoing partnership with Discovery Channel, our live Shark Cam has reached over 2.6 million viewers!
  • Our education and biological programs teams have shared more than 1,400 interactive presentations, shark feedings, diver talks and education carts with the public.
  • According to data collected by IMPACTS Research & Development, the opening of Blacktip Reef has further enhanced the National Aquarium’s reputation as one of the “top three” aquariums in the United States!

We’re proud to have created not only a beautiful exhibit, but one that has inspired our guests to care about Indo-Pacific coral reefs and their inhabitants, and to feel they have a stake in our mission to preserve and protect them!

For more information on how Blacktip Reef is doing after its first six months, check out our full press release.

Have you had the opportunity to visit Blacktip Reef? Share your experience with us in the comments section! 

The LAST Animal, a Napoleon Wrasse, Has Been Introduced into Blacktip Reef!

blacktip reef update national aquarium

We’re so excited to share that the LAST of our animals has been successfully introduced into Blacktip Reef!

Humphead Wrasse National Aquarium Blacktip Reef

Also known as a humphead or Maori wrasse (after a Polynesian group from New Zealand), this fish is found in reef habitats throughout the Indo-Pacific. This species of wrasse in particular can grow to be over six feet long!

This wrasse combs reefs in search of hard-shelled prey such as mollusks, sea stars and crustaceans – our aquarists keep the newest resident to Blacktip Reef on a similar diet!

National Aquarium, Blacktip Reef, Napoleon Wrasse

Napoleon wrasses have been known to live for over 30 years! It takes them 5-7 years to reach sexual maturity.

In the wild, this species’ population numbers have declined dramatically in recent years. This decline is due in major part to a high demand for this fish in the Asian luxury food market. Humphead wrasse meat can fetch up to $100 dollars per kilogram in Hong Kong. As a result of this recent and rapid population decline, the species has been listed under the Endangered Species Act and IUCN’s Red List.

 We hope you can stop by and meet the newest (truly stunning) resident of Blacktip Reef! In the meantime, look out for him on our live Shark Cam

Blacktip Reef Update: Wobbegong Sharks Now On Exhibit!

blacktip reef update national aquarium

Three wobbegong sharks were introduced to Blacktip Reef yesterday!

Blacktip Reef is now be home to one tasseled wobbegong and two ornate wobbegongs – two very beautiful and interesting shark species! They join 20 blacktip reef sharks and our two zebra sharks, Zeke and Zoe.

Wobbegongs, also known as carpet sharks, get their name from an Australian Aboriginal word meaning “shaggy beard” – which refers to the growths around the shark’s mouth. These sharks can be found in the shallow, warmer waters of the Indo-Pacific.

wobbegong shark

Their bold, brown patterns keep the wobbegong well-camouflaged within the reef. Their ability to camouflage makes these animals great ambush predators!

Stay tuned for more updates as Blacktip Reef continues to evolve!

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):

[youtube http://youtu.be/awxJRtYwDWc]

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 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!

New Blacktip Reef Resident is Fully Recovered From Surgery!

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Our newest exhibit, Blacktip Reef, is finally up and running! For the last month or so, my team has been hard at work transporting animals from our off-site Animal Care Center and introducing them to the new exhibit. The animals moved so far are acclimating well to their new environment. I’m happy to report that a certain animal in particular is thriving after an operation we performed on its side.

In March, the Animal Health team identified and surgically removed a 1.5 x 1.5 cm mass in a large orbiculate batfish. The operation went smoothly and this animal is now on exhibit!

orbiculate batfish

The surgery site has actually healed so well it’s now impossible for us to distinguish which of the individuals in the school was our patient. What we do know is that the orbiculate batfish is enjoying its new home.

Next time you visit the Aquarium, make sure to look for this species in Blacktip Reef!

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Blacktip Reef Update: Things Are Getting Pretty Out-RAY-geous!

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In the last week, our Biological Programs team has introduced two new species of ray to Blacktip Reef! 

Reticulate Whipray

honeycomb rays

Also known as a leopard or honeycomb ray, this species inhabits the coastal and brackish waters throughout the Indo-Pacific. Like most rays, these guys prefer the flat, sandy areas within reef ecosystems.

The largest recorded length of this species (tail, also known as it’s “sting,” included) is 14.8 feet!

Did you know? In addition to stunning prey, the reticulate whipray’s sting is used to help balance and steer.

Black-Blotched Ray

black-blotched ray

This large ray gets its name from the spotted black and white coloration on its topside. Also an inhabitant of the Indo-Pacific, this species usually sticks to the sandy bottom of the reef.

Black-blotched rays can reach up to 10 feet in disc width!

Have you spotted these new residents on exhibit? Be sure to share your photos with us on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram using #BlacktipReef! 


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