fish

It’s a Ray! It’s a Bat Ray!

It’s a Ray! It’s a Bat Ray!

We wrapped up our last day on the west coast diving and we found this amazing ray. Rays are such graceful and neat fish and we were super excited to meet the bat ray!

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bat-ray

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1/26

Location: Kelp forest

Bat Ray Fun Facts:

  • Bat rays belong in the eagle ray family.
  • They use their pectoral fins to swim and to stir-up sand and reveal prey.
  • When these rays “dig” out holes from the sand, they leave holes that other fish, like the horn shark use to hide in.
  • Bat rays have strong crushing plates that they use to crush hard shells.

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  • Bat rays give live birth. The pups have the venomous spine, but it is soft and covered in a sheath to protect the mother.
  • Bat rays have spiracles that move water over their gills when they are resting on the ocean floor.
  • Bat rays are mostly solitary.

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Wow! We so enjoyed watching the rays swim so gracefully in the waters just off the coast! We couldn’t have picked a better last day! We did miss many animals though; that just means we’ll have to come back! For now, we’ll head back to our HQs at the University and get our things back for the Serengeti! That’s right, we’re going to Africa and back to Ellie’s home! We are so excited!!!

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Walking a Shark

Walking a Shark!

We are enjoying our last few days here in the kelp forest. After early morning smoothies (at 4am) we boarded the SS Ellie and Edmond and headed out for one last dive. We were hoping to find a little shark who is super neat!

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Date: 1/25

Location: Kelp forest

Horn Shark Fun Facts:

  • Horn sharks have blunt snouts.
  • They have a sharp spine on each dorsal fin that helps protect them from predators.
  • Horn sharks are nocturnal and solitary.

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  • Horn sharks stay in a small home territory.
  • Female horn sharks lay cone shape eggs they wedge in between rocks.
  • Young sharks live in the kelp forests in rock crevices or holes made by bat rays.
  • They use their strong jaws to suck in prey. They then crush the outer shells and eat the meat inside.

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horn-shark

We had such a great time on our dive. Luckily we spotted another elasmobranch on our trip and we’ll tell you more about them tomorrow!

 

 

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Scorpions! Fish! Scorpionfish!

Scorpions! Fish! Scorpionfish!

As we were diving – we met another inhabitant of the kelp forest, the California Scorpionfish. These menacing looking fish are not easy to spot because of their amazing camouflage ability.

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Date: 1/11

Location: kelp forest

California Scorpionfish

  • Scorpionfish do not stay in the one territory and often travel around.
  • They are a deep red or brown.
  • They are also called the spotted scorpionfish.
  • California scorpionfish have no swim bladder.

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  • Their venom effects heart rates and blood pressure.

 

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scorpionfish

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a great time spotting these neat and dangerous fish! They may not be the cutest, but they sure are cool!

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A Fish with a Bite!

A Fish with a Bite!

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Date: 9/26

Location: Amazon River

  • Red Bellied Piranha  are also known as red piranha.
  • They live in shallow waters of the Amazon river.
  • Red bellied piranha have a mouth full of triangular sharp teeth.
  • They can bite with enormous force.
  • Red bellied piranha rarely feed in groups. Feeding frenzies are rare.
  • If a feeding frenzy does take place, it happens when the fish are starving.
  • Attacks on humans are rare.
  • Red piranha make sounds using muscles associated with their swim bladder.

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  • They use these sounds to communicate with each other.

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Piranha have such a bad reputation, but that is mostly a myth. They are mostly solitary and they even eat nuts and seeds! We learned quiet a bit about these misunderstood fish on our boat trip today. Tomorrow we head up in to the cloud forest to meet a tiny amphibian.

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ONE BIG FISH!

ONE BIG FISH!

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We had to head back to the University for a few days last week to honor one of our dear students who we lost. We’re back in the Amazon Rainforest today to meet a large fresh water fish- the arapaima.

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Date: 9/19

Location: Amazon Rainforest

Arapaima Facts:

  • Arapaima have long torpedo shaped bodies.
  • Arapaima scales are hard, heavy and are covered in minerals. These help protect them.
  • They are the largest fresh water fish on earth.

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  • They do have gills, but use a specialized organ to breathe air from the surface too.
  • They come to the surface every 5 to 15 minutes to breathe.
  • Male arapaima protect the babies in their mouths until they are big enough to protect themselves.
  • Arapaima have bony tongues.
  • While they are listed as data deficient by the IUCN, they are listed as endangered by CITES and are protected from over fishing.

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Arapaima are amazingly cool fish! Did you know there were fish that breathed air too? Isn’t that neat? It’s a great adaptation to have when you live in water that may not be very oxygen rich. We’re off to meet some new friends tomorrow!

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That’s No Piranha!

That’s No Piranha!

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Date:9/12

Location: Amazon river

 

  • Pacu are fresh water fish.
  • They are related to piranha, but they are not carnivores like piranha.
  • They grow much larger than piranha.
  • Young pacu look very similar to piranha and will hide in schools of piranha for protection. Once they are bigger they will go off on their own.
  • They have flat molar like teeth. Pacu use those teeth to crush nuts.

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  • These teeth are famous for their human like appearance, which can be startling. 
  • Pacu are popular fish in the pet trade.
  • They are sold as small fish, but grow larger than expected and are then released into wild habitats where they don’t belong. They have been found in Southeast Asia, parts of North America and even in the UK.
  • It is illegal to dump non-native wildlife in most of those places and the Pacu can out compete local fish and wildlife.

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We enjoyed taking a boat down the Amazon river to see some of the amazing animals that call it home! We spotted several pacu and some other creatures who’ll meet later this week! This place is awesome!

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SYLVIA THE SEAHORSE!

SYLVIA THE SEAHORSE!

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Hi everyone! I’m Sylvia the Seahorse! I’m the last of the new professors to introduce myself here at the University of Ellie and Edmond! I’m named after Sylvia Earl, the famous ocean explorer! I’ll be here to teach you all about the fish of the world’s oceans and freshwater habitats. Fish come in all sizes and shapes and we live at the very deepest parts of the oceans to the rivers at the tops of mountains! Some of us are colorful and oddly shaped and others of us are plain.
Most people don’t know that I am a fish, but I am! I live in the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia! I’m not the strongest swimmer as my dorsal fin is very small, so I stay close to the corals, where I hang on with my tail. I eat small plankton and crustaceans that I suck into my snout. I must constantly eat because I have no stomach. I can eat up to 3,000 shrimp a day! They sure are tasty. I have a mate who incubates our young. That’s right the male seahorse has a pouch that he carries the eggs in until the hatch.
I am so excited to share more about myself and my fish friends here at The University! I hope you’re excited too!

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WHALE SHARK DAY!!

WHALE SHARK DAY!!

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Today it International Whale Shark Day! So let’s celebrate these gentle giants of the oceans!

  • Whale sharks are the largest fish in the oceans!
  • They are sharks, with full cartilaginous skeletons!
  • Whale sharks are filter feeders! They eat plankton that they filter out of the water.

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  • Whale sharks prefer temperate to tropical waters.
  • Whale sharks are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN list.
  • Whale sharks can live up to 70 years!
  • Every whale shark has a unique spot pattern.
  • Whale sharks are classified as carpet sharks, which include nurse sharks and our favorite the wobbegong!

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Answer: A) 3 feet

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Day 41- we meet a puffer fish…

Day #41 (7/16/2014) Dogface Pufferfish…

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We went snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef yesterday and spotted so many kinds of animals, from fish to crustaceans to cephalapods. We saw a curious funny faced fish. We realized it was a pufferfish and not just any pufferfish- a dogface pufferfish!
puffer fish
Their range/habitat: Indo-Pacific oceans/ coral reefs
Their length: 3-12″  Conservation Status: common
Their diet: Omivores– algae, seaweed, sponges

• Dogface pufferfish are also known as the blackspotted puffer.
• They have no pelvic fin.
• Dogface pufferfish are solitary and territorial.
• Dogface pufferfish to have toxins.
• They will puff up when threatened.
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We were so excited to see this special fish with the dog like face! Puffer fish get a bad rap; who knew they could be so cute? We’re going to bed for the night, it is exhausting snorkeling all day! More adventures tomorrow!

-Ellie and Edmond

 

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Day 27- Guess the Animal!

Day #27 (3/13/14) – Guess the Animal

We just had to snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef while we were in Australia! We spotted this little fish! Can you guess?

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  •          This fish lives in coral reefs.
  •          They live with an anemone.
  •          They are brightly colored.

Who is it?

Ellie and Edmond

 

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, fish, nature, science, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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