Did you know

Did you know

That lionfish and moray eels have been found hunting together in the wild! Hunting relationships between organisms of different species like this one can help protect both species from predators as well as increase their chances of finding prey. Scientists observed the lionfish and moray eels in shallow seagrass meadows in the Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea, close to Dahab, Egypt. The lionfish wait until they see a moray hunting in the seagrass and then begin to follow them, displaying their spines as they would when hunting on their own. When hunting together, the moray eels are able to startle smaller organisms than the lionfish. Who would have thought, even lionfish can work in teams!

by Alice Veijns

2015-02-11T21:46:47+00:00

by Alice Veijns

That lionfish and moray eels have been found hunting together in the wild!

Did you know

That sponges may be the missing link in nutrient cycling on coral reefs! A recent study on Curaçao has shown that sponges commonly found on coral reefs take up dissolved organic matter which they then use for rapid cell division.
Based on the amount of carbon that they take up, the sponges would be expected to double in size every three days! However, the sponges barely grow at all. This is because once the sponge’s cells divide, the sponge sheds the old cells as waste, which can then be ingested by other organisms on coral reefs. This means that sponges could help answer the question of how coral reef ecosystems are so productive in nutrient poor water! Since it is predicted by some scientist that sponges may dominate reefs in the future, it is important to determine their role in what are now coral reef ecosystems.

 

by McCrea Sims

2015-01-20T16:42:29+00:00

by McCrea Sims

That sponges may be the missing link in nutrient cycling on coral reefs!

Did you know

Eyespots on damselfishes are not always a distraction for the predators? Scientists have discovered that the eyespots on adult ambon damselfishes are actually deceptive makeups! The black eyespot is commonly found on juvenile ambon damsels, and as they reach maturity, they lose the eyespot. It is like having a birthmark that disappears after a person reaches the age of 18. But, some ambon damsels are found to keep this birthmark after they become adults. On top of this, they keep a body shape that is close to a juvenile or immature female. Like most fishes, these small damselfish turn into males after a certain age. Yet, some male ambon damsels decides to keep their eyespots! So the next time you see a yellow damselfish with an eyespot on its fin towards the tail region, don’t immediate decide its gender! It might be an adult damselfish that had makeup on!

Gagliano M, Depczynski M (2013) Spot the difference: mimicry in a coral reef fish. PLoS ONE 8(2): 355938 [doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055938]

by Austin Lin

2015-10-27T17:04:42+00:00

by Austin Lin

Eyespots on damselfishes are not always a distraction for the predators?

Did you know

That the thunderous tuna is more closely related to the delicate seahorse than a sailfish or a marlin? You may have seen these two relatives swimming around the same reef and never thought they could be so similar.
Even though they seem so different they both belong to the group known as “spiny-rayed fish.” This group contains more than 18,000 species, many of which are present in Bonaire. The first comprehensive family tree (known as Phylogeny) of this group has supported the idea of a mighty tuna, commercial fished and valued, being closely related to the tiny seahorse intricately hiding amongst seaweed and corals. After years of genetic research, it has been discovered that evolution in this group of spiny-rayed fishes occurred at a constant rate for about 50 million years, resulting in a very large and diverse group of species. So when you are out exploring Bonaire’s reefs, take a second look at the marine life and know that just like a family, even close relatives can be uniquely different!

 

by Gabrielle Lout

2015-01-20T16:35:18+00:00

by Gabrielle Lout

That the thunderous tuna is more closely related to the delicate seahorse than a sailfish or a marlin?

Did you know

There's comb jellies that cannot swim? When you think about a Comb Jelly (technically known as Ctenophores) you probably have an image of a clear animal swimming in the column of water and almost dancing with their two long tentacles. However, did you know there is also a group of Ctenophores (Order Platyctenida) that spend their entire adult life attached to the substrate?These flat (“Platy” means flat) Comb Jellies are an often overlooked group of invertebrates. We happened to find some of these animals growing on the sides of our small aquarium. Although lacking the typical body shape of a CombJelly, they still have a paired of retractable tentacles that allow them to catch small animals in the column of water by releasing an unique sticky substance. It is important to know that despite their common name, Ctenophores (Phylum Ctenophora, –meaning “comb-bearing”–), they do not belong to the same group of the true jellies (Phylum Cnidaria; a group that also includes hydrozoans, anemones and corals).

by dr. Enrique Arboleda

2015-02-19T18:32:28+00:00

by dr. Enrique Arboleda

There's comb jellies that can't swim?

Did you know

That the Mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) has the amazing ability to mimic lionfish, sea snakes, anemones, jellyfish, flatfish, brittle stars, giant crabs, stingrays, flounders and mantis shrimp!
It is typically covered in brown and white stripes and spots and typically inhabits the tropical seas of South East Asia and usually gets up to about 2 feet long. It uses jets of water to sashay over the sand, searching for prey. Its body mostly consists of muscle without any spines or type of armour, thus it is desirable to many deep-water predators, especially since they do not possess poison or venom. Thus it utilises mimicry to avoid these predators, but also to feed on other animals that would usually attempt to escape once they see an octopus. They are extremely intelligent and have the ability to camouflage by changing the colour and texture of their skin in order to avoid predators. They are also so intelligent that they are able to decide upon which creature to impersonate in order to present the greatest threat. For example when in the vicinity of territorial damselfish, it mimics their known predator, the banded sea snake. To mimic a lionfish it spreads its legs and lingers on the ocean floor and lets its arms float behind to emulate the fins of a lionfish. When it mimics a sea snake, it buries its entire body in sand and leaves a few tentacles exposed so it appears as a few dangerous snakes wriggling around!

 

by Fadilah Ali

2015-01-20T16:27:06+00:00

by Fadilah Ali

That the Mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) has the amazing ability to mimic.

Did you know

We now know where sea turtles go after they hatch? This used to be such a mystery to us scientists since the baby turtles are so small. Trackers were out of the questions because they were just too big for the little turtles to lug around. New solar powered satellite trackers, which are only activated by air, are providing us with the first information on what these turtles (specifically Loggerheads) do from when they hatch to when they are grown up. It was found that these babies drift, and they drift far! Some drift as much as 4300km, remaining close to the Gulf Stream that runs in the north edge of the Caribbean Sea. These little turtles hide and feed in Sargassum, which is a sea weed that floats on top of the water. Sea turtles are amazing and you know now where they go and grow up to be the majestic creatures that are so fun to see underwater.

Mansfield KL, Wyneken J, Porter WP, Luo J. 2014 First satellite tracks of neonate sea turtles redefine the ‘lost years’ oceanic niche. Proc. R. Soc. B 281: 20133039. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2013.3039

Jamie Emm

2015-11-03T17:09:14+00:00

Jamie Emm

We now know where sea turtles go after they hatch?

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