Friday, 21 October 2016

9) Foxface rabbitfish

S.vulpinus - day
One of the great mysteries of this fish is its name. It has a strong head pattern, but it is vastly more like that of a badger than a fox or rabbit. If anyone can give a reason for this, please leave a note in the comments. The face pattern may be aposematic – it has powerful venom glands associated with the dorsal fin spines and can give a painful sting.Another feature of this species is that it changes colour at night, which helps it blend in with the background and avoid predation.

Friday, 14 October 2016

8) A variety of tangs

 Currently one of the most popular animated films is Finding Dory, and as might be expected the actual fish is invariably greeted by that name by children visiting the aquarium. As well as Dory (technically a Pacific Blue Tang Paracanthurus hepatus), there are four other tang species to be seen in the large marine tank.

Friday, 7 October 2016

7) Shotsilk Goby

Despite its name, the Shotsilk Goby Ptereleotris zebra is not a true goby at all, but rather a dartfish in the family Microdesmidae. There are around 20 species in all in the genus, with numerous other genera, mostly in the tropical Pacific and Indian oceans. They are all elongated fish with often eel-like bodies, and most live in burrows or other concealed locations. Some enter brackish water, and at least one, Pterocerdale from Queensland, Australia, appears to be a freshwater species. The English name refers to the iridescent fabric called shot silk, which refers to their shimmering colours. Several other species of dartfish are also seen in the aquarium trade, but at present all are wild caught – there is no commercial propagation of these fish.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Aquarium 6: Batfish

P.orbicularis adult
 Among the reef fish in the big tank are a small shoal of juvenile Orbiculate Batfish, Platax orbicularis. Superficially similar to the well known freshwater aquarium angelfish (which was originally described as a Platax), they belong to a group of mostly monochrome, large tropical marine fish commonly referred to as spadefishes. As juveniles they have very tall dorsal and anal fins, which combined with a circular, compressed body gives a triangular body shape. As they mature their fins become proportionally smaller, with a more rectangular body shape. They are all fairly large fish, with some species growing to over 70cm

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Aquarium 5: Yellow Faced Angelfish

One of the most vividly coloured fish in the aquarium is a Yellow Faced (also called a Blue-Faced) Angelfish, Pomacanthus xanthometopon. Originating from waters around Australia north to Malaysia, they grow to be quite large, with a maximum length of 38cm. It is currently listed as Least Concern by the IUCN as a result of its large range, but threats to coral reefs from pollution, ocean acidification and other ecological changes may change this designation in the near future.