Red Reef Hermit Crab

The Red Reef Hermit Crab (Dardanus arrosor) is a decapod crustacean in the Diogenidae family of crabs. It is also known as the Mediterranean Hermit Crab.

The Red Reef Hermit Crab has a beige-coloured shell, called a carapace. The body of the Hermit Crab is hidden in the shell. The colour of its body varies from bright red to bright orange. Its eyes are at the tips of two eyestalks. The eyestalks are streaked red and white, and the eyes are bluish. It is a decapod, which means that it has ten appendages (two claws and eight legs). Its two red claws have a black or yellow tip. The claws have hair-like spines and warty tubercules. The left claw is larger than the right claw. 

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Which animals have more than one heart?

Which animals have more than one heart?

Humans have one heart. Most animals have one heart, but there are animals with no heart, such as the jellyfish, and there are animals with more than one heart.  

The heart transports, or circulates, oxygen in the blood around the body. This is called the circulatory system. The human heart has red blood cells called haemoglobin. The human heart has 4 chambers (two atria and two ventricles). The cockroach, for example, has one heart with 13 chambers. The earthworm has 5 pseudo-hearts (false hearts) that are really aortic arches that act similar to a heart. 

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Longspine Snipefish

The Longspine Snipefish (Macroramphosus scolopax) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Macroramphosidae family of snipefish. It is related to the Pipefish. It is also known as the Bellowfish, Spine Trumpet Fish, and Trumpetfish.

The Longspine Snipefish is reddish-pink with a silver underbelly. It has a moderately elongated body and head. It has a long snout (nose) and a tiny mouth without teeth. The snout curves slightly upward. It has scales on its body that are similar to the denticles of sharks because they have sharp ridges and spines. It has large, round eyes. 

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Gudgeon

The Gudgeon (Gobio gobio) is a freshwater fish in the Cyprinidae family. It is a cyprinid. 

The Gudgeon has a long, slender body with a flat, wide head. It is usually greenish-brown with silvery sides. It has a row of 6-12 faint black-grey blotches running lengthwise on the side of its body. Its underbelly is white. Its fins are greyish-white with a brownish tinge. The dorsal (back) fin is pale-brown with small, dark spots. It has a barbel at the corner of each side of its mouth. It has two rows of teeth.

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What are the differences between the Common Sea Urchin, Green Sea Urchin, and Purple Sea Urchin?

What are the similarities and differences between the Common Sea Urchin (Echinus esculentus), the Green Sea Urchin (Psammechinus miliaris or Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis), and the Purple Sea Urchin (Paracentrotus lividus or Strongylocentrotus purpuratus)? 

The Common Sea Urchin, Green Sea Urchin, and Purple Sea Urchin are all spiny marine (saltwater) echinoderms in the Parechinidae family. Echinoderm means hedgehog skin.

The Common Sea Urchin, Green Sea Urchin, and Purple Sea Urchin are all spherical with short spines. They all have a hard shell called a test.

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Green Sea Urchin

The Green Sea Urchin (Psammechinus miliaris) is a marine (saltwater) echinoderm in the Parechinidae family. It is also known as the Shore Sea Urchin.

The Green Sea Urchin is spherical-shaped (ball-shaped). Its rounded “body” is called a test. The test is covered with short, thick spines of about the same length. It is purple-brown in shallow water and greenish in deeper water. The spines are a paler colour with purple tips. It has tubed feet in groups of five or six in a small arc shape. It has a small mouth. It does not have eyes. It is sensitive to touch, light, and chemicals due to the numerous sensitive cells in its spines, tube feet, and around its mouth.

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Leucistic Zebra Shark

The Zebra Shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Stegostomatidae family of carpet sharks. It is an elasmobranch cartilaginous fish — a fish that does not have a bony skeleton.

A leucistic Zebra Shark has reduced colouring, but not complete albinism. An albino lacks colour (it looks white) and has pink eyes. A leucistic animal is light or white, but does not have pink eyes. It has brown, blue, or green eyes.

The Zebra Shark has a slim, cylindrical body with a slightly flattened head, and a short, blunt snout (nose). A regular Zebra Shark is pale with a pattern of dark spots. It has five ridges along its body. It eyes are small and its nose has short barbels (like whiskers) from each nostril. Its mouth is almost straight with rows of sharp teeth. It has gill slits on the sides of its body to breathe underwater. 

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CREATURE FEATURE: Redtail Catfish

The Redtail Catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus) is a freshwater fish in the Pimedodidae family of long-whiskered catfish. It is a pimelodid. 

The Redtail Catfish has a brownish spotted back with yellow sides and underbelly, and a red tail. Its body is elongated with a broad, flattened head. It has a pair of barbels (long fleshy, string structures) on the upper jaw and two pairs of barbels on the lower jaw.

Fish have scales, but the Redtail Catfish does not have scales. Instead of scales, it has slippery mucous-covered skin with bony plates called scutes.

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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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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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Florida Horse Conch

The Florida Horse Conch (Triplofusus papillosus) is a large tropical marine (saltwater) gastropod mollusc in the Fasciolariidae family of sea spindle snails and tulip snails. It is not a true conch shell from the Strombidae family of sea snails.

The Florida Horse Conch is greyish-white or brownish with a light-brown or dark-brown periostracum, which is the thin coating on its shell. It has a long siphonal canal and up to 10 whorls around its shell. It can retract the soft part of its body entirely into its shell and close the operculum (lid). The soft part of its body is bright orange. 

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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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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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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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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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Bowmouth Guitarfish

The Bowmouth Guitarfish (Rhina ancylostoma) is a large, rare fish in the Rhinidae family of rays. It is also called the Shark Ray, Mud Skate, or Shortnose Mud Skate. It was difficult for scientists to classify, but now it is classified as a ray.

The Bowmouth Guitarfish has a distinctive appearance, with its back half that looks like a shark and its front half that looks like a ray. It is sandy brown or bluish-grey with white spots. Its underbelly is light-grey or white. It has prominent black markings on its pectoral fins. It has a wide, thick body with a rounded, wide snout (nose) and large shark-like, sickle-shaped dorsal (back) and crescent-shaped tail fins. Its mouth forms a W-shaped undulating line. There are multiple thorny ridges on its head and back. 

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Atlantic Wolffish

The Atlantic Wolffish (Anarhichas lupus) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Anarhichadidae family of wolffish. It is also known as the Seawolf, Atlantic Catfish, Ocean Catfish, Devil Fish, or Wolf Eel.

The Atlantic Wolffish has a long eel-like, smooth, slippery body. It can vary in colour, from purplish-brown to dull olive-brown, olive-green, or grey. It has a dorsal (back) fin and side fins. It has rounded caudal fin. Its teeth are strong, conical, and fang-like. Behind the conical teeth in the upper jaw, there are three rows of crushing teeth. The central row has four pairs of molars and the outer rows of teeth are blunted and conical. The lower jaw has two rows of molars behind the conical teeth. The wolffish’s throat is also scattered with serrated teeth.

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