Blacksaddle Filefish

The Blacksaddle Filefish (Paraluteres prionurus) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Monacahnthidae family of Leatherjackets. It is related to Pufferfish. It mimics the Valentin’s Sharpnose Puffer (Canthigaster valentini).

The Blacksaddle Filefish is greyish with distinctive black ‘saddles’ and a protruding nose. It has a yellow tail. It has a blue-grey head, and a white speckled body with blue-grey spots. It has four black stripes (called saddles) on its back. 

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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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Clark’s Anemonefish

The Clark’s Anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkii) is a tropical marine (saltwater) fish in the Pomacentridae family of clownfish and damselfish. It is also known as the Yellowtail Clownfish.

The Clark’s Anemonefish has an oval-shaped, flat, compressed body. It is vivid black with white and yellow stripes. The black areas become wider with age. It has two vertical white bands, one behind the eye and one above the tail. The dorsal (back) fins are orange-yellow. 

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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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Sand Tiger Shark

The Sand Tiger Shark (Carcharias taurus) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Odontaspididae family of sharks. It is an elasmobranch cartilaginous fish — a fish that does not have a bony skeleton. It is also known as the Grey Nurse Shark, Spotted Ragged-Tooth Shark, and Blue-Nurse Sand Tiger.

The Sand Tiger Shark has a sharp, pointy head, and a large, bulky body. It is grey with reddish-brown spots on its back. Its eyes are small and lack eyelids. It swims with its mouth always open so that it can breathe oxygen from the water. Its teeth are always showing. Its teeth are smooth, ragged, and sharp-pointed. 

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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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Whitespotted Bamboo Shark

The Whitespotted Bamboo Shark (Chiloscyllium plagiosum) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Hemiscyllidae family of carpet sharks. It is an elasmobranch cartilaginous fish — a fish that does not have a bony skeleton.

The Whitespotted Bamboo Shark has a pale body with dark bands and purple and pink spots. It has a distinct dorsal (back) fin. It rests on the bottom of the sea on its bent pectoral fins. It has small teeth. 

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Giant Carpet Anemone

The Giant Carpet Anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea) is a marine (saltwater) anthozoan cnidarian in the Stichodactylidae family of sea anemones. It is an animal, not a plant. 

The Giant Carpet Anemone is a polyp with folds of many tentacles around an oral (mouth) disc. It is dense with short, sticky tentacles. It can be various colours, such as brown, green, purple, pink, or blue. It is sessile –  it stays in one location on the sea floor; it does not move. 

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Elegant Unicornfish

The Elegant Unicornfish (Naso elegans) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Acanthuridae family of surgeonfish and tangs. It is also known as the Indian Orange-Spine and the Smoothheaded Unicornfish.

The Elegant Unicornfish has a flat, oval-shaped body. It is purple-blue with a yellow dorsal (back) fin and forehead, a white tail with a blue margin, and orange spots on its tail. As it ages, it grows long, elegant filamentous lobes on its tail. It has big eyes and protruding orange lips. It does not have a sharp retractile blade on its caudal fin, like some surgeonfish have. Instead, it has a couple of sharp claws on its caudal fish that face towards its head.

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Yellowspot Surgeon

The Yellowspot Surgeon (Acanthurus pyroferus) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Acanthuridae family of unicornfish and tangs. It is also known as the Chocolate Surgeonfish, the Orange-Gilled Surgeonfish, and the Pacific Mimic Surgeonfish.

The Yellowspot Surgeon has a yellow-brown, flat, oval-shaped body. It has a pale face with a dark marking over its eye, and an orange or dark marking on its front belly. Its tail fin has an orange margin. 

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Bristle-Tail Filefish

The Bristle-Tail Filefish (Acreichthys tomentosus) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Monacanthidae family of Leatherjackets. It is related to Pufferfish.

The Bristle-Tail Filefish has a laterally-compressed, rhomboid-shaped body and rough skin like sandpaper. It has many spines. It can rapidly change colour, skin texture, and even skin patterns to avoid predators. It has a tapered snout (nose) and its orange-brown eyes are located high on its head. It has small fins, so it is not a good swimmer.

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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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Maxima Clam

The Maxima Clam (Tridacna maxima) is a marine (saltwater) bivalve mollusc in the Cardiidae family. It is also called the Small Giant Clam. It is related to the Cockle. 

The Maxima Clam has a thick shell called a mantle. Its shell is actually two equal-sized calcareous valves connected with a flexible adductor muscle. The shell can open and close. Bi-valve means two valves (or two shells). The mantle is bright-blue, green, or brown with distinctive furrows. It has a mouth, a heart, kidneys, a stomach, and a nervous system. 

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Common Periwinkle

The Common Periwinkle (Littorina littorea) is a small marine (saltwater) gastropod mollusc in the Littorinidae family of whelks and sea snails. 

The Common Periwinkle has a thick, dark, grey-brown shell, that is sometimes banded. The inside of the shell is chocolate brown. It has 6-7 whorls. It has gills that enable it to breathe underwater. It has a lid on its shell, called an operculum. 

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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: Solitary Disk Coral

The Solitary Disk Coral (Scolymia cubensis) is a solitary marine (saltwater) stony coral in the Mussidae family. It is not a plant.

The Solitary Disk Coral is flat and concave with a circular shape, like an inverted cone. It can be light-green, beige, or deep rusty red. It has layers of thick plates called septa that surround a central mouth with spongy polyps.

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RESEARCH: Reef Sharks have friendship groups

Marine research scientists have found out that Grey Reef Sharks hang out with the same friends in the same spot for years.

Researchers at the Florida International University in America have studied Grey Reef Sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) for four years in the remote Palmyra Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.

To study the Grey Reef Sharks, the researchers tagged about 40 individual sharks with acoustic transmitters that emit a unique high-frequency sound. A network of 65 receivers recorded the identiy of any tagged shark that came within 300 metres of any of the receivers. The batteries on the transmitters last for four years.

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Tuxedo Damselfish

The Tuxedo Damselfish (Chrysiptera tricincta) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Pomacentridae family of damelfish. It is also known as the Threeband Damselfish or the Threeband Demoiselle. 

The Tuxedo Damselfish is white with three wide black vertical bands on its body. It has an oval-shaped, laterally-compressed body. It has a set of small teeth in three rows.

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