By: Nikki Grandinetti, Curator of Fish & Invertebrates
At Adventure Aquarium, we’re very excited that spring has finally arrived. Not only does it means that we get to see flowers blooming and the return of green grass outside, but it also signals the arrival of some very special animals. In Adventure Aquarium’s Fish and Invertebrates Department, we have had good success with the rearing and propagation of several different species.
Everyone might not think about fish and invertebrates with the same cute and cuddly regard they give penguins or mammals, but the diversity and challenges of rearing these unique creatures is very rewarding to the team.
The team has been rearing a new species of jellyfish – the spotted lagoon jelly (Mastigias papua). Jellyfish have three main different life stages: the polyp, ephyrae, and medusa. A polyp resembles a very tiny flower with a stalk and tentacles on top. The key to propagation is getting these tiny polyps (2 to 3mm) to produce ephyra, which are very small pulsing jellyfish, that bud off the top of the polyp.
This past month the team has also been hard at work raising tomato clownfish (Amphiprion frenatus) from eggs. The clownfish go thru multiple different larval stages, and the fry need to be feed a special diet of algae, rotifers, and copepods. This year, the team spent time setting up a special larval fish rearing system and learning how to collect eggs from different species throughout the aquarium. Breeding and raising larval fish promotes sustainability within the aquarium industry and is also an important way to collect data and understand how different species reproduce.
Another species that has been recently reproducing at the aquarium are the white’s seahorses, (Hippocampus whitei). These are an indopacific species of seahorses that live in shallow seagrass beds. The most interesting fact about seahorses is that the males carry the fertilized eggs in a specialized pouch on their abdomen.
Check out the incredible video biologist Kari Milroy captured of one of the male white’s seahorses giving birth:
We can only hope that besides spring bringing us new fish and invertebrates at Adventure Aquarium, we’ll also soon be observing baby birds, bunnies and flowers!