Saturday, June 28

Top 10 Most Dangerous Fishes | Top 10 Deadly Fishes

Different people share various different kinds of fear. Fear of height, fear of flight, fear of exams, fear of animals etc. This article is about some extremely dangerous fishes around the World. Fishes are amongst the beautiful creatures in the world. The nature has gifted us with countless fish species. Some of them are used for eating, while others are just kept in artificial aquariums to beautify our environment. Despite the fact that the fishes are very beautiful, sometimes they prove to be extremely dangerous as well. Here are the top 10 most dangerous fishes under the blue water.

The Stonefish: Synanceia or Stonefish is a genus of fish of the family Synanceiidae, the Stonefishes, whose members are venomous, dangerous, and even fatal to humans. It is one of the most venomous fish in the world. They are found in the coastal regions of Indo-Pacific oceans as well as off the coast of Florida and in the Caribbean.
Stone Fish

Great White Shark: The great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), also known as the great white, white pointer, white shark, or white death, is a species of large lamniform shark which can be found in the coastal surface waters of all the major oceans. The great white shark is mainly known for its size, with mature individuals growing up to 6.4 m (21 ft) in length (although reports have been published of great white sharks measuring over 8 m (26 ft), and 3,324 kg (7,328 lb) in weight). Read More…
great white shark

Black Piranha: The black piranhas have the most powerful bites of carnivorous fishes, living or extinct, once body size is taken into account, researchers find. The black piranha has jaw muscles of an 'extraordinary' size and a highly modified jaw-closing lever. In fact, the muscle complex makes more than two percent of the black piranha's total body mass. This allows the fish to exert bite force equivalent to 30 times its bodyweight.
Black Piranha
The measured bite force of the black piranha, at 320 Newton (N), was nearly three times greater than that exerted by an American alligator of comparative size.

Lionfish: Pterois, commonly known as lionfish, is a genus of venomous marine. It is characterized by red, white and black bands, showy pectoral fins and venomous spiky fin rays. The lionfish is one of the most venomous fish on the ocean floor. Lionfish have venomous dorsal spines that are used purely for defense. When threatened, the fish often faces its attacker in an upside down posture which brings its spines to bear. Read More…
Lionfish

Goliath Tiger Fish: Goliath Tigerfish, also known as the Hydrocynus goliath, giant tigerfish or mbenga, is a very large African predatory freshwater fish of the Alestidae family. The Goliath tigerfish puts more energy into killing than breeding. It can take a local population between five and 14 years to double in size. Ergo, every one you release helps ensure that the monsters remain in adequate numbers to keep the ecosystem in stasis.
Goliath Tigerfish

Bull Shark: The bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas), also known as the Zambezi shark or, unofficially, as Zambi in Africa and Nicaragua shark in Nicaragua, is a shark commonly found worldwide in warm, shallow waters along coasts and in rivers. Bull sharks have the strongest bite of any shark species, scientists have discovered. The bull sharks have a bite force of up to 600 kilograms (1,300 lb), pound for pound the highest among all investigated cartilaginous fishes.
Bull Shark

Pointed sawfish: Pointed sawfishes, also known as carpenter sharks, Smalltooth Sawfish or Wide Sawfish, are a family (Pristidae) of rays characterized by a long, narrow, flattened rostrum, or nose extension, lined with sharp transverse teeth, arranged so as to resemble a saw. All species in the family are either endangered or critically endangered.  Several species of sawfishes can grow to about 7 m (23 ft). The family as a whole is largely unknown and little studied. The Pristidae are the only living family within the order Pristiformes, whose name comes from the Ancient Greek. Read More…
sawfish

Electric Eel: The electric eel (Electrophorus electricus) is an electric fish, and the only species in its genus. It is capable of generating powerful electric shocks of up to 600 volts and 1 ampere of current (600 watts). It would be extremely unlikely for such a shock to be deadly for an adult human, due to the very short duration of an eel's discharge
Electric Eel

Tiger Shark: The tiger shark is a solitary, mostly nocturnal hunter, and is notable for having the widest food spectrum all sharks, consuming a variety of prey ranging from crustaceans, fish, seals, birds, squid, turtles, and sea snakes to dolphins and even other smaller sharks. The tiger shark has been known to eat inedible manmade objects that linger in its stomach, and it has a reputation as a "garbage eater". When attacking, the tiger shark often eats its prey whole, although larger prey are often eaten in gradual large bites and finished over time. Read More...
Tiger Shark

Chironex (Box Jellyfish): Box jellyfish (class Cubozoa) are cnidarian invertebrates distinguished by their cube-shaped medusae. Stings from these and a few other species in the class are extremely painful and sometimes fatal to humans. A few species of Chironex (Box Jellyfish) have been confirmed to be involved in human deaths.
Box Jellyfish

Wednesday, June 25

Electroreceptive Fish or Electroreception in fish

Electroreception is the ability to perceive the world via electricity. This non-human sense has been discovered in many fishes like as Electric ray or Pacific Torpedo Ray, Stellate Sturgeon or starry, Scalloped Hammerhead Shark or Hammerhead sharks, Pacific Lamprey, Thornback Skate, Sandbar Shark, Chimaera. They used it for detecting objects around them.

Chimaeras: Chimaeras are cartilaginous fishes in the order Chimaeriformes, known informally as ghost sharks, ratfish, spookfish or rabbitfishes. They may be the oldest and most enigmatic groups of fishes alive today. Chimaera

Chimaeras


Coelacanth

Coelacanth: The coelacanths constitute a rare order of fish that includes two extant species in the genus Latimeria: the West Indian Ocean coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) and the Indonesian coelacanth. Coelacanth
Pacific lamprey: The Pacific lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus) is an anadromous parasitic lamprey from the Pacific Coast of North America and Asia. Lamprey, any of about 43 species of primitive… Pacific lamprey

Pacific lamprey


Pacific electric ray

Pacific electric ray: The Pacific electric ray (Torpedo californica) is a species of electric ray in the family Torpedinidae, endemic to the coastal waters of the northeastern Pacific Ocean from Baja CaliforniaElectric Ray
Sandbar shark: The sandbar shark, Carcharhinus plumbeus, is a species of requiem shark, family Carcharhinidae, native to the Atlantic Ocean and the Indo-Pacific. It is distinguishable by its very high first dorsal… Read more…

Sandbar shark


Scalloped Hammerhead Shark

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark: Sharks have been around for over hundreds of millions of years. While many of us may be familiar with a few shark species, there are over 400 of them and Scalloped Hammerhead… Read more…
Stellate Sturgeon or Starry Sturgeon: The Stellate Sturgeon, Acipenser stellatus, also known as starry sturgeon or sevruga is a species of sturgeon. It is native to the Black, Azov, Caspian and Aegean SeaRead more…

Stellate Sturgeon or Starry Sturgeon


Thornback ray or thornback skate

Thornback ray or thornback skate: The thornback ray (Raja clavata) or thornback skate is a species of fish in the Rajidae family. It is found in coastal waters of Europe and the Atlantic coast of Africa, possibly… Read more…


Thornback Skate | Thornback ray

The thornback ray (Raja clavata) or thornback skate is a species of fish in the Rajidae family. It is found in coastal waters of Europe and the Atlantic coast of Africa, possibly as far south as Namibia and even South Africa. Its natural habitats are open seas and shallow seas. It is sometimes seen trapped in large estuarine pools at low tide. 

Thornback Skate or Thornback ray

The thornback ray is probably one of the most common rays encountered by divers. Like all rays, it has a flattened body with broad, wing-like pectoral fins. The body is kite-shaped with a long, thorny tail. The back is covered in numerous thorny spines, as is the underside in older females. Adult fish can grow to 1 m (3.3 ft) in length, although most are less than 85 cm (33.67 in). This ray can weigh from 4.5 to 8.75 lb (2 to 4 kg). 

In sexually mature fish, some of the spines are thickened with button-like bases (known as bucklers). These are particularly well developed on the tails and backs of sexually mature females. Their colours vary from light brown to grey with darker blotches and numerous small darker spots and yellow patches. Sometimes the yellow patches are surrounded by small dark spots. The underside is creamy-white with a greyish margin.When threatened they can appear black. 

The thornback ray is usually found on sedimentary seabeds such as mud, sand or gravel at depths between 10 and 60 m. Juvenile fish feed on small crustaceans, particularly amphipods and bottom-living shrimps; adults feed on crabs, shrimps and small fish.

Stellate Sturgeon | Starry Sturgeon

The Stellate Sturgeon, Acipenser stellatus, also known as starry sturgeon or sevruga is a species of sturgeon. It is native to the Black, Azov, Caspian and Aegean Sea basins, but the fish has been extirpated from the last and it is predicted that the remaining natural population will follow soon due to over fishing. The starry sturgeon is an anatropous species, which migrates up rivers to spawn.

Stellate Sturgeon or Starry Sturgeon

The starry sturgeon or Stellate Sturgeon reaches about 220 cm (7.2 ft) in length and weighs up to 80 kg (180 lb). It is a slim-bodied fish easily distinguished from other sturgeons by its long, thin and straight snout. A row of five small barbells lies closer to the mouth than to the tip of the snout. The scales on the lateral line number between thirty and forty and these features distinguish this fish from the Russian sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii). The maximum reported age for this species is 27 years.

Facts and figures of Stellate Sturgeon:
  • Acipenser stellatus was always rare in the Middle and Upper Danube, but also ascended several tributaries as Prut, Tisza, Drava, Sava and Morava.
  • Stellate Sturgeons migrate in spring and autumn. Males remain at spawning sites for up to six weeks, females for only 10-12 days.
  • Stellate Sturgeons stop eating once they start their migration. After spawning, they return to the sea quickly where they begin feeding again.
  • 87% decline in global commercial catch reflects the decline in species population.
  • 55,000 sturgeons found dead in the Sea of Azov in 1990 as the result of pollution.
  • 72.5% is the decline of Stellate Sturgeon catch over a 4-year period according to data from Romania.
The starry sturgeon is an important commercial species of fish. It is one of the three most important species for caviar along with the Beluga sturgeon and the Persian sturgeon. Its flesh is considered an expensive delicacy in the Caspian region. It is used to make kebabs, or is consumed pan fried, broiled, or smoked.

Scalloped hammerhead | Scalloped Hammerhead Shark

Sharks have been around for over hundreds of millions of years. While many of us may be familiar with a few shark species, there are over 400 of them and Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks is most familiar among them. This shark is also known as the bronze, kidney-headed or southern hammerhead.

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark

Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks (Sphyrna lewini) are probably the most commonly found species of hammerheads located in coastal regions, appearing in very shallow waters such as estuaries and inlets. It is a species of hammerhead shark, family Sphyrnidae. Originally Zygaena lewini, it was later moved to its current name. The Greek word sphyrna translates into "hammer" in English, referring to the shape of this shark's head.

Behavior: At certain times of the year and places, and during certain phases of their lives, scalloped hammerheads form very large schools this is most likely because it is easier for the scalloped hammerhead shark to obtain food in a group than alone. This behavior allows for them to catch larger and trickier prey, as commonly seen. The younger the sharks, the closer to the surface they tend to be, while the adults are found much deeper in the ocean. They are not considered dangerous and are normally not aggressive towards humans. Sometimes counting hundreds of individuals, but they also swim the oceans alone. Some populations remain stationary; others clearly wander, migrating in the direction of the poles in summer. Some sexually-related migrations have also been observed, e.g. females who undertake migrations during particular periods of their sexual development.

Size: Mature females can reach a length of more than 4 meters; the average length is, however, less. Males reach sexual maturity at a length of about 160 cm, females when they reach approx. 210 cm. The pups measure approx. 50 cm at birth.

Distribution: It primarily lives in warm temperate and tropical coastal waters all around the globe between latitudes 46° N and 36° S, down to a depth of 500 meters (1,600 ft).  Scalloped hammerhead sharks are found practically around the world in the coastal regions of tropical, subtropical and moderate climate zones.

Diet/ Feeding: This shark feeds primarily on fish such as sardines, mackerel and herring, and occasionally on cephalopods such as squid and octopus. Large scalloped hammerhead sharks also eat small-sized shark species such as the Atlantic sharpnose shark (Rhizoprionodon terraenovae) or the blacktip reef shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus).

Monday, June 23

Sandbar Shark

The sandbar shark, Carcharhinus plumbeus, is a species of requiem shark, family Carcharhinidae, native to the Atlantic Ocean and the Indo-Pacific. It is distinguishable by its very high first dorsal fin and inter-dorsal ridge. One of the most notable features of the Sandbar shark is its strikingly tall first dorsal fin. It can be more than one-tenth of the length of this sizable shark, which usually reaches 6.6 feet in length. They have a streamlined body with a broad flattened head, with a moderately long rounded snout. They are a greyish or brownish color, interdorsal ridge present, and are very strong swimmers.

Sandbar Shark

The sandbar shark is also called the thickskin shark or brown shark. It is one of the biggest coastal sharks in the world, and is closely related to the dusky shark, the bignose shark, and the bull shark. Sandbar sharks usually have heavy-set bodies and rounded snouts that are shorter than the average shark's snout. Females reach sexual maturity around the age of 13 with an average fork-length (tip of the nose to fork in the tail) of 154.9 cm, while males tend to reach maturity around age 12 with an average fork-length of 151.6 cm.

Like other shark species, this sandbar shark has electroreceptors, hundreds of specialized pores located on and around its head. This sensory system detects the electric fields all animals give off with every heartbeat or movement of a muscle. Sharks use this incredible ability to locate even buried prey, like stingrays on the seafloor. Large sharks can detect an electric field at about three feet (one meter).

The sandbar shark eats many fishes, including menhaden, eels, flatfish, other sharks, goatfish, skates, octopus squid, and crustaceans. 

These sharks are viviparious, yolk-sac placenta. Mating occurs from spring through early summer, and females carry the developing young for 9 to 12 months. They retreat to shallow nursery grounds to give birth to 8 to 12 young, depending on the size of the mother. Pups are about 8.6 inches long at birth.

Electric ray or Pacific Torpedo Ray

The Pacific electric ray (Torpedo californica) is a species of electric ray in the family Torpedinidae, endemic to the coastal waters of the northeastern Pacific Ocean from Baja California to British Columbia. The electric ray, also called torpedo, torpedo fish, numbfish, or crampfish, any of the rays of the families Torpedinidae, Narkidae, Narcinidae, and Hypnidae, named for their ability to produce electrical shocks. It generally inhabits sandy flats, rocky reefs, and kelp forests from the surface to a depth of 200 m (660 ft), but has also been known to make forays into the open ocean.

Electric ray or Pacific Torpedo Ray

Measuring up to 1.4 m (4.6 ft) long, the Pacific electric ray has smooth-rimmed spiracles (paired respiratory openings behind the eyes) and a dark gray, slate, or brown dorsal coloration, sometimes with dark spots. Its body form is typical of the genus, with a rounded pectoral fin disc wider than long and a thick tail bearing two dorsal fins of unequal size and a well-developed caudal fin.

These large flattened rays often lie partially buried on sandy seafloors, where they use a specialized sensory system to detect the electrical stimuli of potential prey and then attack them by ambush. The predator wraps its body around a halibut or mackerel and uses special kidney-shaped organs to produce a stunning electric charge of up to 50 volts.

The only electric ray found off western North America, the Pacific electric ray occurs as far south as Sebastian Vizcaino Bay in Baja California, and as far north as the Dixon Entrance in northern British Columbia. It is most common south of Point Conception, California, with the rays north of the Point perhaps representing one or more separate populations.

The Pacific lamprey or three tooth Lamprey

The Pacific lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus) is an anadromous parasitic lamprey from the Pacific Coast of North America and Asia. Lamprey, any of about 43 species of primitive fishlike jawless vertebrates placed with hagfishes in the class Agnatha. Lampreys belong to the family Petromyzonidae. It is also known as the three tooth lamprey and tridentate lamprey.

The Pacific lamprey

Pacific lamprey grows to about 80 centimeters (31 in) as adults.

They live in coastal and fresh waters and are found in temperate regions around the world, except Africa. The eel-like, scaleless animals range from about 15 to 100 centimetres (6 to 40 inches) long. They have well-developed eyes, one or two dorsal fins, a tail fin, a single nostril on top of the head, and seven gill openings on each side of the body. 

Pacific lampreys are an important ceremonial food for Native American tribes in the Columbia River basin. Pacific lamprey numbers in the Columbia River have greatly declined with the construction of the Columbia River hydro-power system. Almost no harvest opportunity for Native Americans remains in the Columbia River and its tributaries except for a small annual harvest at Willamette Falls on the Willamette River.

Coelacanth

The coelacanths constitute a rare order of fish that includes two extant species in the genus Latimeria: the West Indian Ocean coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) and the Indonesian coelacanth (Latimeria menadoensis). This species was rediscovered in 1938. Coelacanths belong to the subclass Actinistia, a group of lobed-finned fish related to lungfish and certain extinct Devonian fish such as osteolepiforms, porolepiforms, rhizodonts, and Panderichthys.

Coelacanth

They follow the oldest known living lineage of Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish and tetrapods), which means they are more closely related to lungfish, reptiles and mammals than to the common ray-finned fishes.

They average 5 feet (1.5 metres) in length and weigh about 100 pounds (45 kg). They are live-bearers that give birth to well-developed young. Though once thought to be deep-water fishes, coelacanths are now known to inhabit mesopelagic waters, below the continental shelf, at some 650–1,300 feet

During the daytime, coelacanths rest in caves anywhere from 100 to 500 meters deep while others migrate to deeper waters. By resting in cooler waters (below 120 meters) during the daytime, coelacanths reduce metabolic costs. 

The current coelacanth range remains primarily around the eastern African coast, although the Latimeria menadoensis was discovered off the coast of Indonesia. Coelacanths have been found in the waters of Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Madagascar, Comoros, and Indonesia.

Chimaera | Electroreceptive fish

Chimaeras are cartilaginous fishes in the order Chimaeriformes, known informally as ghost sharks, ratfish, spookfish or rabbitfishes. They may be the oldest and most enigmatic groups of fishes alive today. This group of fish is distantly related to sharks but difficult to classify—the two lineages split some 400 million years ago. Since that time chimaera have remained in isolation and retained their electroreceptive abilities.

Chimaera

Chimaeras are tapered fishes with large pectoral and pelvic fins, large eyes, and two dorsal fins, the first preceded by a sharp spine. They have slender tails, from which the name ratfish, applied to some, has been derived. There are about 28 species of chimaeras, ranging in length from about 60 to 200 centimetres (24 to 80 inches) and in colour from silvery to blackish. The species are placed in three families: Chimaeridae (including the species called rabbit fish), characterized by a rounded or cone-shaped snout; Callorhinchidae (elephant fishes), with an unusual, hoe-shaped, flexible snout; and Rhinochimaeridae (long-nosed chimaeras), with an extended, pointed snout.

Sunday, June 22

Top 10 most Beautiful and Colorful Fish

Only 29 percent of the world surface is land. The rest is ocean; home to the marine lifeforms. This article is about top 10 beautiful fishes in the world.

The underwater world is always fascinating for its life forms in unusual colors. The following listing contains 10 of the most beautiful fish that will impress you with its different shapes, patterns, behaviors and colors.

Fish are some of the most beautiful creatures on our wonderful planet that have the most incredible colors and stunning markings. There are different kinds of fish present in the world. Some of them live in deep sea water, while others live in lakes and rivers. Some of them are dangerous and deadly, and some of them are safe, decorative and can be kept in home aquarium.

There are many fish species in the water world; however I made here a list of incredibly beautiful and rare fishes that I know best. Watch, read and enjoy!

1. Mandarin: The Mandarin fish or Mandarin dragonet (Synchiropus splendidus), is a small, brightly colored member of the dragonet family, which is popular in the saltwater aquarium trade. Some of Other common names include Mandarin goby,  Mandarin

Mandarin


Discus

2. Discus: Symphysodon, colloquially known as discus, is a genus of cichlids native to the Amazon River basin. The Discus fish is also known as the King of the Aquarium. Perhaps the most beautiful of all tropical fish, the Discus fish is also one of the more difficult tropical Read more…
3. Lionfish: Pterois, commonly known as lionfish, is a genus of venomous marine. It is characterized by red, white and black bands, showy pectoral fins and venomous spiky fin rays. The lionfish is one of the most venomous fish on the ocean floor. Lionfish have venomous dorsal spines that are used purely for defense. Lionfish

Lionfish


Moorish Idol

4. Moorish Idol: One of the most beautiful sea fish - Moorish idol is a small marine fish species. Some authors and scientist place it in the family Acanthuridae (the surgeonfishes), though it differs from members of this group conspicuously in its lack of peduncular spines. It has also been placed (much more erroneously) Moorish Idol
5. Koi: The Koi Swordtail (Xiphophorus helleri) is a color morph originating from the popular group of fish collectively known as Swordtails. Koi Swordtails receive their common name from their similarity to the popular selectively bred… Koi fish

Koi Swordtail


Flame Angel

6. Flame Angel: The Flame Angelfish is a flashy addition to many aquariums. One of the most popular of the dwarf angelfish, the flame angelfish's coloration is bright orange-red with a vertical elongated black Read more…
7. Coral Beauty: Very common on the Great Barrier Reef, the Coral Beauty Angelfish (Centropyge bispinosa), is a marine angelfish is also known as the Twospined or Dusky Angelfish. The body and head are a deep royal blue, highlighted with an iridescent orange to yellow. Read More…

Coral Beauty


Regal Tang

8. Regal Tang: The Blue Tang boasts a vibrant electric blue body dressed with bold black markings. As they mature, the tangs' color progresses from bright yellow to a deep bluish-gray or purple. In fact, the black that begins at the... Regal Tang
9. Parrotfish: The parrotfish utilizes its strong beak-like jaws to obtain its food from the coral reef. Parrot fishes are a group of about 90 species traditionally regarded as a family (Scaridae), but now often considered a subfamily (Scarinae) of the wrasses. Parrotfish

Parrotfish


African Cichlids

10. African Cichlids/ Blue Peacock Cichlid:  The Blue Peacock Cichlid, Aulonocara nyassae, comes from the rocky, sandy shores of Lake Malawi, Africa. Aulonocara species are also known as peacock cichlids, aulonocaras or simply "peacocks". The males are a bright yellow to metallic blue, whereas.... Read More…

Thursday, June 12

Marine Species under Threat: Sawfish | giant sawfish

Giant Sawfish
Sawfish, also known as carpenter sharks, Smalltooth Sawfish or Wide Sawfish, are the family (Pristidae) of rays characterized by a long, narrow, flattened rostrum, or nose extension, lined with sharp transverse teeth, arranged so as to resemble a saw. All species in the family are either endangered or critically endangered. Several species of sawfishes can grow to about 7 m (23 ft). The family as a whole is largely unknown and little studied. The Pristidae are the only living family within the order Pristiformes, whose name comes from the Ancient Greek

Sawfishes are marine, euryhaline (moving between freshwater and saltwater), or marginal (brackish water) species, and are widely distributed across tropical and warm temperate near shore ocean waters in the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific. They inhabit inshore coastal areas such as coastal lagoons, estuarine environments, and the lower, brackish river deltas. Some species are known to frequently penetrate far into rivers and major lakes such as Lake Nicaragua.

Sawfishes are nocturnal, usually sleeping during the day and hunting at night. Despite fearsome appearances, they do not attack people unless provoked or surprised. The small-tooth sawfish is well known by fishermen as a prize game fish because of the fight it puts up once hooked.

Marine Species under Threat: Manatees

Manatees picture
Manatees (family Trichechidae, genus Trichechus) are large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammals sometimes known as sea cows. There are three accepted living species of Trichechidae, representing three of the four living species in the order Sirenia: the Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis), the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), and the West African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis). They measure up to 13 feet (4.0 m) long, weigh as much as 1,300 pounds (590 kg),[1] and have paddle-like flippers.

Apart from mothers with their young, or males following a receptive female, manatees are generally solitary animals.

The manatee's body is streamlined - full around the middle and narrowing to a paddle-shaped tail. The true color of a manatee is gray, although it may appear brownish gray. Amazonian manatees usually have white or pink patches on the belly and chest. Organisms such as algae, which may grow on the skin of slow-moving individuals, alter the body color and make some manatees look more green or brown.

Quick stats of Manatees:
COMMON NAME:  Manatee, Sea cow
KINGDOM:  Animalia
PHYLUM:      Chordata
CLASS:          Mammalia
ORDER:        Sirenia
FAMILY:       Trichecidae

Manatees are primarily herbivores. They feed on a wide variety of submerged, emergent, floating, and shoreline vegetation. Manatees in Florida feed on more than 60 species of plants including turtle grass, manatee grass, shoal grass, mangrove leaves, various algae, water hyacinth, acorns, and hydrilla. Manatees consume about 4% to 9% (15 to 49 kg or 32-108 lb. for an average adult manatee) of their body weight in wet vegetation daily.

Marine Species under Threat: Leatherback Turtle

Leatherback Turtle
The leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), also known as lute turtle, is the largest of all living turtles and is the fourth largest modern reptile behind three crocodilians. These reptilian relics are the only remaining representatives of a family of turtles that traces its evolutionary roots back more than 100 million years. It is the only living species in the genus Dermochelys. It can easily be differentiated from other modern sea turtles by its lack of a bony shell. Instead, its carapace is covered by skin and oily flesh. Dermochelys coriacea is the only extant member of the family Dermochelyidae.

Leatherbacks have the widest global distribution of all reptile species, and possibly of any vertebrate. They can be found in the tropic and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, as well as the Mediterranean Sea. Pacific leatherbacks migrate from nesting beaches in the Coral Triangle all the way to the California coast to feed on the abundant jellyfish every summer and fall. Adult leatherbacks also traverse as far north as Canada and Norway and as far south as New Zealand and South America.

The largest leatherback ever found was an 8.5-ft-long (2.6-m-long) male weighing 2,020 lbs (916 kg) that washed up on the west coast of Wales in 1988.

Quick stats about the leatherback sea turtle:
Type: Reptile
Diet: Carnivore
Average life span in the wild: 45 years (est.)
Size: Up to 7 ft (2 m)
Weight: Up to 2,000 lbs (900 kg)
Protection status: Endangered

Marine Species under Threat: Humphead wrasse | Napoleon wrasse

humphead wrasse
The humphead wrasse, Cheilinus undulatus, is a species of wrasse mainly found on coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region. It is one of the largest coral reef fishes and occurs patchily throughout much of the Indo-Pacific region. The fish is also known as the Māori wrasse, Napoleon wrasse, Napoleon fish and Napoleonfish.

The humphead wrasse has thick, fleshy lips, and a hump forms on its head above the eyes, becoming more prominent as the fish ages, hence its name. Males range from a bright electric blue to pale green, a purplish blue, or a relatively dull blue/green. Juveniles and females are red-orange above, and red-orange to white below.

This species reaches a maximum length of more than 2m and up to 190kg in weight but some males grow very large, with one unconfirmed report of a humphead wrasse that was 7.75 ft (2.29 m) long and weighed 420 lbs (190.5 kg). Sexual maturation of this species takes up to 5-7 years.

Humphead wrasse feed primarily on molluscs, fish, sea urchins, crustaceans, echinoderms, and other invertebrates, using their strong teeth. The species may be one of the few predators of the toxic crown of thorns starfish, boxfish and sea hares.

The humphead is found in the Indo-Pacific, from the Red Sea to South Africa and to the Tuamoto Islands (Polynesia), north to the Ryukyu Islands (south-west Japan), and south to New Caledonia. 

Wednesday, June 11

Marine Species under Threat: Hawksbill sea turtle

Hawksbill sea turtle
The hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) is a critically endangered sea turtle belonging to the family Cheloniidae. Hawksbills are named for their narrow, pointed beak. It is the only extant species in the genus Eretmochelys.

The hawksbill sea turtle also have a distinctive pattern of overlapping scales on their shells that form a serrated-look on the edges. These colored and patterned shells make them highly-valuable and commonly sold as "tortoiseshell" in markets.

Adult hawksbill sea turtles have been known to grow up to 1 m (3 ft) in length, weighing around 80 kg (180 lb) on average. The heaviest hawksbill ever captured was measured to be 127 kg (280 lb).

Hawksbill sea turtles have a wide range, found predominantly in tropical reefs of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans. Of all the sea turtle species, E. imbricata is the one most associated with warm tropical waters. Two major subpopulations are acknowledged to exist, the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific subpopulations.

Quick Facts about the hawksbill sea turtle:

Type: Reptile
Diet: Carnivore
Average life span in the wild: 30 to 50 years (EST.)
Size: 24 to 45 in (62.5 to 114 cm)
Weight: 100 to 150 lbs (45 to 68 kg)
Protection status: Endangered
Size: Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m)

Like many sea turtles, hawksbills are a critically endangered species due mostly to human impact. Hawksbill eggs are still eaten around the world despite the turtle’s international protected status, and they are often killed for their flesh and their stunning shells. These graceful sea turtles are also threatened by accidental capture in fishing nets.

While they are omnivorous, sea sponges are the principal food of hawksbill sea turtles. Sponges constitute 70–95% of their diets in the Caribbean. However, like many spongivores, they feed only on select species, ignoring many others. Some of the sponges they eat, such as Aaptos aaptos, Chondrilla nucula, Tethya actinia, Spheciospongia vesparium, and Suberites domuncula, are highly (often lethally) toxic to other organisms.