CREATURE FEATURE: Blyth’s Loach

The Blyth’s Loach (Syncrossus berdmorei) is a tropical freshwater fish. It is in the Botiidae (botiid) family of pointface loaches, such as the Tiger Botia. 

The Blyth’s Loach has an elongated body with red fins that have dark spots. It has regular dark greyish vertical stripes and black spots near its head. Its face has thin horizontal greyish stripes. It has short whiskers, called barbels, on its snout (nose). It has a downward-facing mouth. 

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Blyth’s Loach”

Giant Squid

The Giant Squid (Architeuthis dux) is a marine (saltwater) soft-bodied invertebrate cephalopod. It is related to the Octopus and the Nautilus. 

The Giant Squid has a grey mantle (body), eight arms, and two longer tentacles. The arms and tentacles are arranged in a circle surrounding the squid’s mouth. Its mouth looks like a parrot’s beak. It has two very large eyes so that it can detect light in the very dark deep ocean.

The inside of its arms and tentacles have hundreds of suction caps, which are 2-5 centimetres (1-2 inches) in diameter. Each tentacle is divided into three segments: (1) carpus (wrist), (2) manus (hand), and (3) dactylus (fingers). It has two large gills to enable it to breathe in oxygen from the water. 

Continue reading “Giant Squid”

Glypheoid Lobster

The Glypheoid Lobster (Neoglyphea inopinata) is a decapod (ten-legged) marine crustacean. Crustaceans include crabs and shrimp. The Glypheoid Lobster is related to the Spiny Lobster.

The Glypheoid Lobster has a hard exoskeleton (outer shell) with eye stalks. The shell is covered with pointed tubercules (like mini-teeth). It has gills to breathe oxygen from the sea water. Its abdomen has six segments, ending with a fan-shaped tail called a telson. It has 10 limbs.

Continue reading “Glypheoid Lobster”

Plankton Star Jellyfish

The Plankton Star Jellyfish (Oceania sp.) is a soft-bodied invertebrate marine (saltwater) plankton animal. An invertebrate is an animal with no bones. It is related to the Turritiopsis. 

The Plankton Star Jellyfish is translucent (see-through) with an umbrella-shaped circular dome and long tentacles (arms). It has no brain, no heart, no blood, no bones, no excretory system, and no gills or lungs. It has nerve receptors in their bodies that enable them to detect smell, light, pressure, and touch. 

Continue reading “Plankton Star Jellyfish”

Spineless Sea Urchin

The Spineless Sea Urchin (Abatus cordatus) is a marine (saltwater) invertebrate echinoderm. It is also known as the Kangaroo Sea Urchin because the female keeps her eggs in a pocket or pouch. It is related to starfish (sea stars). 

The Spineless Sea Urchin has a hard, spherical (ball-shaped) shell, called a test, with no backbone and no spines sticking out of its body (like the Spiny Sea Urchin). Its mouth, with a small jaw, is in the centre of the urchin on its underside. It does not have eyes. It is sensitive to touch, light, and chemicals, due to the numerous sense cells around its mouth.

Continue reading “Spineless Sea Urchin”

Coelacanth

The Coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnaeor Latimeria menadoensis) is a large, rare, deep sea marine (saltwater) fish. It is a lobe-finned fish related to the Lungfish. The word Coelacanth means ‘hollow spine’ which refers to its hollow spine fins. It is often referred to as a ‘living fossil.’

The Coelacanth is a plump, heavy fish with a three-lobed caudal (vertical) fin. It has a secondary tail that extends past the primary tail. It has thick scales like armour. Its eyes are very large.

Continue reading “Coelacanth”

Thornback Ray

The Thornback Ray (Raja clavata) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Rajidae family of rays. 

The Thornback Ray has a flat body in the shape of a kite or diamond. It has broad, winglike pectoral fins. It has a long thorny tail. Its back is covered with many thorny, prickly spikes. Some of the thorns look like thick buttons, called bucklers. Older females also have thorns on their underbelly. 

It varies in colour, from light-grey or light-brown to grey with dark blotches or brown with light beige blotches. Its underside is creamy-white. Its eyes are close together at the top of its head. 

Continue reading “Thornback Ray”

Convict Cichlid

The Convict Cichlid (Amatitlania nigrofasciata) is a freshwater fish. It is also known as the Zebra Cichlid or the Black-Striped Cichlid. 

The Convict Cichlid has an oval-shaped bluish-grey body with 8 or 9 vertical black and white stripes. British convicts wore black and white uniforms, which is why it is called Convict Cichlid. The male has a lump on its forehead. The female has darker black bands. 

Continue reading “Convict Cichlid”

Black Sea Turbot

The Black Sea Turbot (Scophthalmus maeoticus) is a marine, saltwater fish in the flatfish family. It is a sub-species of the Turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) from the Mediterranean Sea, but this is under discussion by taxonomists, because it might be related to the European Turbot (Psetta maxima). 

The Black Sea Turbot is thin and flat with a disc shape. Most flatfish have smooth skin, but the Black Sea Turbot has small spikes on both sides of its body. It is grey-black or brownish. Its eyes are small and close together. 

Continue reading “Black Sea Turbot”

Regal Angelfish

The Regal Angelfish (Pygoplites diacanthus) is a tropical marine (saltwater) fish. It is also known as the Royal Angelfish.

The Regal Angelfish is thin and compressed. It varies in colour, but is usually black-blue edged with blue-white and orange stripes that are narrow and angle backwards. Its dorsal (back) fin is black or blue with blue dots. The anal (bottom) fin has yellow and blue bands parallel to its body. Its caudal (tail) fin is yellow.

Continue reading “Regal Angelfish”

Common Stingray

The Common Stingray (Dasyatis pastinaca) is a marine (saltwater) cartilaginous fish (without bones, like a shark). Instead of a bony skeleton, it has cartilage, which is the same substance as the human nose and human ears.

The Common Stingray is thin, flat, and diamond-shaped, but slightly wider than long (like a kite). It is pale-grey, brown or olive-green, with smooth skin. Its small mouth is located on its underside and its bulging eyes are close together on the top of its head. It has small blunt teeth. It has a long, tapering, whip-like tail with two dorsal fins and a venomous (poisonous) barb. It has five pairs of small gills, which enable it to breath underwater.

Continue reading “Common Stingray”

Paroon Shark

The Paroon Shark (Pangasius sanitwongsei) is a critically endangered freshwater fish in the Pangasiidae family of shark catfish. It is also known as the Giant Pangasius or the Pangasid-Catfish.

The Paroon Shark has a silver, curved underside and a dark-brown back. It has a wide, flat, whiskerless head. Its dorsal, pectoral and pelvic fins are dark-grey. Its dorsal fin is long and trailing.

Continue reading “Paroon Shark”

Bristlenose Catfish

The Bristlenose Catfish (Ancistrus cirrhosus) is a freshwater fish in the Loricariidae family. It is also known as the Bushynose Catfish.

The Bristlenose Catfish has an armour-plated body – it is covered with bony plates. It has a suckermouth and a flattened, wide head. The male has fleshy tentacles, similar to spines, on his head. The female has much smaller tentacles on her nose. It can be brown, grey, grey, golden, or albino, with tiny white or yellowish spots.

Continue reading “Bristlenose Catfish”

Black Pacu

The Black Pacu (Colossoma macropomum) is a tropical freshwater fish in the Serrasalmidae family – it is a serrasalmid fish, meaning ‘serrated salmon family.’ It is also known as the Tambaqui and the Black-Finned Pacu. It is a characin fish, like the Tetra.

The Black Pacu is similar in shape to the Piranha because it is laterally compressed with large eyes and a slightly arched back. It has molar-like teeth, similar to human teeth (not sharp teeth like the Piranha). The lower part of its body is blackish, and the rest of its body is grey, yellowish, or olive. Its fins are black.

Continue reading “Black Pacu”

Banggai Cardinalfish

The Banggai Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni) is an endangered tropical marine (saltwater) fish.

The Banggai Cardinalfish is pale whitish-beige with black vertical bands. It has a black vertical band running through its eyes. It has a long dorsal fin behind a smaller tasseled fin. Its pelvic fins are broad. It has a deeply-forked tail. Along its tail and across its body are a series of small white spots.

Continue reading “Banggai Cardinalfish”

Anglerfish

The Anglerfish (Lophius piscatorius) is a bony marine (saltwater) fish. It is commonly known as the Angler in the Lophiidae family of monkfish.

The Anglerfish is mainly all head and hardly any body. It has no scales. Its head is large, broad, and flat. It has a fleshy growth from it head, called the esca or illicium, which acts like a lure. The esca, or illicium, is commonly known as the ‘fishing rod.’ It has a very wide mouth with jaws that have long pointed teeth. Its teeth point inwards. It has long filaments along the middle of its head.

Its pectoral and pelvic fins act like legs, and it can walk along the bottom of the sea. It has fringes on its head and body that look like seaweed, so that it can be camouflaged in its environment.

Continue reading “Anglerfish”