What is an Octopus’s Garden?

The British band, The Beatles, sang about an Octopus’s Garden in 1969. Is an octopus’s garden real?

The song lyrics mention that the octopus’s garden is under the sea, in the shade, in a lttle hideaway near a cave, and near coral. 

It is true that an octopus lives under the sea near coral. It likes to live in marine (saltwater) oceans in shallow lagoons and coral reefs. It is benthic, because it lives on the bottom of the ocean, on the seabed. 

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Pulsing Coral

The Pulsing Coral (Xenia sp.) is a soft marine (saltwater) coral in the Xeniidae family. It is also known as Pulse Coral. It is not a plant.

The Pulsing Coral resembles a mat-like mushroom with many-fingered arms. It uses its polyp arms to move water around it. This is called pulsatile motion. It is an octocoral because it has eight tentacles and eight mesenteries on their polyps. It can be white, yellow, blue, green, and brown.

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Short-Nosed Unicornfish

The Short-Nosed Unicornfish (Naso brevirostris) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Acanthuridae family of surgeonfish and tangs.

The Short-Nosed Unicornfish has a bluish-grey or brown oval-shaped body with a small mouth. It has one short, prominent horn, called a rostral protruberance, at the front of its head. It has many small dark spots on its head. Its tail is whitish with dark blotches. It has six dorsal (back) spines. 

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Urchin Climber

The Urchin Climber (Mespilia globulus) is a small marine (saltwater) in the Temnopleuridae family. It is also known as the Ball Urchin.

The Urchin Climber is spherical (ball-shaped) with broad bright blue stripes from top to bottom. In between the blue stripes are bands of short, thin spines called quills that are positioned close together. The quills are black or brown with white tips. 

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CREATURE FEATURE: Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray

The Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray (Taeniura lymma) is a marine (saltwater) stingray in the Dasyatidae family of stingrays. It is also known as the Bluespotted Fantail Ray, the Bluespotted Stingray, or the Lagoon Ray.

The Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray has an oval-shaped disc with electric blue spots on a greyish-yellow coloured skin. The spots vary in size. It has a pair of blue stripes on its tail. It has large, bright-yellow, protruding eyes, a rounded snout (nose), and a short, thick tail. It is mainly smooth, except for a few small thorns in the middle of its back. Its belly is white.

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Pederson’s Shrimp

The Pederson’s Shrimp (Ancylomenes pedersoni or Periclemenes pedersoni) is a marine (saltwater) crustacean in the Palaemonidae family of shrimp. It is also known as the Pederson’s Cleaner Shrimp. It is related to the crab and the lobster.

The Pederson’s Shrimp is a small, transparent (see-through) shrimp with blue or violet markings on its body. It has long, white antennae. 

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Mediterranean Feather Star

The Mediterranean Feather Star (Antedon mediterranea) is a marine (saltwater) crinoid in the Antedonidae family of unstalked feather starfish. 

The Mediterranean Feather Star can be a range of colours, such as white, yellow, orange, red, deep purple, and brown. It has a calyx – a small cup-shaped structure that is surrounded by five pairs of feathery arms. These 10 arms have 40 grasping cirri which are curl-like tufts, feathers, or fringes. The arms are like tentacles. The arms are prehensile, which means that they can grasp objects, food, and hard surfaces. In danger, the arms can roll up. The arms are fragile, but they can regenerate (re-grow) if they break off. 

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Dusky Grouper

The Dusky Grouper (Epinephelus marginatus) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Serranidae family of ray-finned groupers. It is also known as the Yellowbelly Rock Cod or the Yellowbelly Grouper.

The Dusky Grouper is a very large, oval-shaped, large-headed fish with a wide mouth and a protruding lower jaw. It is grey or dark reddish-brown, usually with yellow-gold counter-shading. It has irregular pale green-yellow or silver-grey blotches on its head and body. There are black tips on its pelvic fins. It has large, bulging, blue eyes.

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Black Goby

The Black Goby (Gobius niger) is a marine (saltwater) ray-finned fish in the Gobiidae family of gobies.

The Black Goby is mottled-black with large scales around its neck. In the breeding season, the male becomes very black. It has a black spot on the front end of its dorsal (back) fins. It has an elongated shape with a rounded snout (nose). It has two dorsal fins that are almost continuous and looks like one fin. The dorsal fin closest to the tail has 6 spines. It has bulging eyes.

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Jewel Fairy Basslet

The Jewel Fairy Basslet (Pseudanthias squamipinnis) is a tropical marine (saltwater) fish in the Grammatidae family.  It is also known as the Goldie, the Lyretail Fairy Basslet, the Blue-Eyed Anthias, the Orange Butterfly Perch, or the Red Coral Perch.

The Jewel Fairy Basslet is generally gold or red with an orange-blue stripe on its cheek. The male is purplish. It has elongated fins. Its eyes are bright blue.

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Jewel Anemone

The Jewel Anemone (Corynactis viridis) is a marine (saltwater) anthozoan coral in the Corallimorphidae family of sea anemones. It is an animal, not a plant. 

The Jewel Anemone is cylindrical, slightly wider at the base, with an oral (mouth) disc and polyps. The individual polyps are clustered in aggregations. It is not attached to the soil or rock – the individuals can detach and drift away. Its tentacles are short, althought the outer tentacles are longer than the inner tentacles. Its colour is variable, but it is mainly white, pink, orange, red, and green.

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Purple Sea Urchin

The Purple Sea Urchin (Paracentrotus lividus) is a marine (saltwater) animal in the Parechinidae family of urchins. 

The Purple Sea Urchin is spherical with long, sharply-pointed purple spines. The spines can also be dark-brown, light-brown, or olive-green. It has 5-6 pairs of pores on each plate. It has tubed feet in groups of five or six in a small arc shape. It has a small mouth.

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Chocolate Chip Sea Star

The Chocolate Chip Sea Star (Protoreaster nodosus) is a marine (saltwater) starfish in the Oreasteridae family. It is also known as the Horned Sea Star. It is an invertebrate, because it does not have a backbone.It is not a fish, so scientists prefer to say that it is a sea star.

The Chocolate Chip Sea Star has five elongated tube limbs, called arms or feet. It has several black or dark-brown tubercles on its arms. It has a greyish body with dark stripes that connect the tubercles. 

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European Plaice

The European Plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Pleuronectiformes family of flatfish.

The European Plaice is oval-shaped with a thin, laterally compresed body and a small head. It has a small mouth with a single series of small incisor-like teeth. It has dark-green to dark-brown skin, which is blotched with irregular orange spots. It can camouflage its skin to match its environment. Its underside is pearly white. Its skin is smooth with small scales. Both eyes are on the right side of its body (it is called a right-eyed flatfish). 

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Marine Goldfish

The Marine Goldfish (Anthias anthias) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Serranidae family of groupers and sea bass. It is also known as the Swallowtail Sea Perch.

The Marine Goldfish looks like a freshwater goldfish. Its solid colour varies from pink to red, and does not have blotches or markings. It has long fins and an asymmetrical ray-finned tail. Its pelvic fins are yellow but turn red in the breeding season. 

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