fish

Blind in the Cave

Blind in the Cave

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We are enjoying spelunking with the campers this week! Deep in the cave there is a lake, it is part of the same system of water that makes up Lake Salamander! It is in the cave lake we can find some of the most interesting and alien like animals on the earth! Make sure you have on your head lamps campers!

blind cave fish

Blind Cave Fish Fun Facts:

  • These little fish only get up to 4 1/2 inches long.
  • Blind cave fish have lost their ability to see and some of have even lost their eyeballs. Crazy right!?
  • They use their lateral lines along their bodies to get around. Those lateral lines detect different kinds of pressure.
  • They eat bat droppings.
  • Scientists think the fish lost their eyesight to reduce energy use!

 

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These little fish were such a fun find! Woohoo! Camp is just the best!

Categories: adventure, Animals, camp, Children, conservation, education, Environment, fish, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Another Ocean Giant

Another Ocean Giant

We met another giant of the ocean on our snorkeling trip- the Giant Manta Ray! These graceful creatures are so fun to watch “fly” through the water!  They are truly magical.

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Date: 5/24

Location: Raja Ampat Islands

Giant Manta Ray Fun Facts:

  • Giant Manta Rays are the largest member of the ray family.
  • They are filter feeders and use their front lobes to push food in their mouths. Recent discoveries have shown that they also eat larger deep sea fish!
  • Scientists guess that they can live up to 50 years.
  • Mantas get their name for the Spanish word that means blanket.

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  • Manta rays are covered in a protective mucus coating.
  • Manta rays do not have the venomous barb.
  • It is thought they have been around 5 million years.

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giant manta

Our time here in these amazing islands is done and we are bummed. There is so much more to see and do! We head back to the University and get ready for camp to start in June! We will definitely be back!

 

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Barracuda!

Barracuda!

We had a blast snorkeling the next day after our night drive. We saw one of the coolest fish in all of the oceans- the barracuda! They even have their own song! We bet you don’t much about these long predators. Well it’s time to change that!

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Date: 5/22

Location: Raja Ampat Islands

Barracuda Fun Facts:

  • Barracuda have underbites- hehehe!
  • They have large powerful jaws.

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  • They are known to hunt in groups and gather a school of fish in a area to guard them when they are hungry.
  • Barracuda have a reputation for being aggressive to divers, but that reputation in unwarranted.
  • It is not a good idea to go spear fishing around barracuda though, as they make away with your meal.
  • They have few natural predators.

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barracuda

 

 

 

 

 

It is always fun to spot some barracuda! We like to wave and swim the in the other direction. They may not be aggressive, but those teeth don’t say let’s be friends.

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Firefish!

Firefish!

We saw of the most amazing fish on our night dive trip today! The one we are meeting toady was so crazy looking and a bit scary! You think sharks are scary? Wait to til you meet a venomous fish!

firefish

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Date: 5/18

Location: Raja Ampat Islands

Blackfoot Firefish Fun Facts:

  • Blackfoot firefish are members of the scorpionfish family. Other members include the famous lionfish.
  • They use their flashy fins and spines to ward away predators.
  • They also use those fins to corner prey.
  • Blackfoot firefish are mostly nocturnal.
  • They are know to bury themselves in the the sand to ambush predators.
  • Their spines are venomous.

 

We were surprised to see one of these amazing fish! We have spotted lionfish before, but not this species! Believe us, this is one fish you want to spot from a good distance! And don’t touch those spines!

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The Clowns of the Ocean!

The Clowns of the Oceans!

While snorkeling we also encountered one of the reef’s most iconic residents- the clown anemonefish! These brightly colored fish became famous after a certain movie. Well we’re going to teach you some cool clown fish facts!

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Date: 5/4

Location: Raja Ampat Islands

Clown Anemonefish Fun Facts:

  • Clown anemonefish are one of many species of anemonefish.
  • They have a three white and black stripes on their orange bodies.
  • Clown anemonefish have a layer of mucus that protects them from their anemone and its stinging cells.
  • The fish and the anemone share a symbiotic relationship (where both animals benefit). The anemone gets food and some protection from the fish and vice/versa.
  • Clown anemonefish live in small groups with a dominate female.

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  • Clown anemonefish spawn during the fool moon.
  • The males defend the eggs.

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The relationship that clown anemonefish have with their anemones are so cool. There are many symbiotic relationships found in nature! Elephants have birds that bugs and parasites of them! Pretty neat right?

 

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Sharky Shark Shark

Sharky Shark Shark

We strapped on our snorkel equipment to go exploring! We spotted so many fish, but we were most excited to see the black tip reef shark! These sleek predators are common inhabitants of the reef!

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Date: 5/3

Location: Raja Ampat Islands

Black Tip Reef Shark Fun Facts:

  • Blacktip Reef Sharks are the most common shark in coral reefs of the Pacific Ocean.
  • Blacktip reef sharks have streamlined bodies with black color on the tips of their fins.
  • They are powerful are strong and quick swimmers.

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  • Blacktip reef sharks must swim to breath. The motion moves the water over their gills that extract oxygen from the water.
  • They can be curious of divers.

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reef shark

 

 

 

 

 

Blacktip reef sharks are fast! They are very important in their coral reef habitats, because they’re apex predators (top of the food chain). Blacktip reef sharks look so sleek and smooth! Do you think they feel that way? Nope- they feel like sandpaper! Neat, huh?

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Off to the Islands!

Off to the Islands!

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We have arrived at our last destination of the school year- the Raja Ampat Islands of Indonesia. These remote and magical islands are home to some of the most beautiful and diverse coral reefs in the world. It’s those reefs and one or two island stops that we will be exploring! We have the SS Ellie and Edmond ready to go and explore all around the Pacific Ocean!

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  • The islands consist of up to 1,500 small islands and cays. There are four large main islands where most of the population lives.
  • Canderawasih Bay is the largest marine sanctuary in Indonesian.
  • The Coral triangle is considered to be the most bio-diverse reef habitat in the world.
  • These islands are remote and mostly uninhabited, so the reefs are mostly undisturbed. The islands that do house sparse populations of people that still live in a very different world.
  • These islands contain some of the most beautiful birds and flora anywhere in the world.

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The big draw is in the ocean though! And that’s where we will be exploring the most! Stay tuned for tomorrow!

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, fish, nature, oceans, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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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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!

 

 

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, fish, nature, oceans, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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!

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, fish, nature, oceans, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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