Blue Tang

“Just keep swimming”, says the blue tang.

  • Blue tangs are a species of reef fish native to the tropical Indo-Pacific waters of Australia, South-east Asia, Pacific Islands and East Africa.
  • ‘Blue tangs’ are also known as ‘blue surgeonfish’, ‘doctorfish’, ‘regal tangs’, ‘common surgeons’, ‘flagtail surgeonfish’ and ‘hippo tangs’, along with a number of other names.
  • The scientific name of the blue tang is Paracanthurus hepatus and it is from the family Acanthuridae, the family of tangs, surgeonfishes and unicornfishes.
  • Blue tangs are a vivid blue colour, with darker blue and black markings and a brilliant yellow tail.
  • A blue tang has a number of spines, one of which is extendable and very sharp and poisonous, and this spine can be used to attack smaller animals by piercing them with it, and it can cause humans significant pain.
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Blue Tang
Image courtesy of Clara S/Flickr
  • The length of blue tangs ranges from 12 to 38 centimetres (5 to 15 inches) and weigh roughly 600 grams (21 ounces).
  • The heart of blue tang larvae can take as many as five hours after hatching to first produce a heartbeat.
  • Male blue tangs establish dominance by showing their bright colours and fighting aggressively with their spine, and the fish also evade predators and other threats by ‘playing dead’.
  • A blue tang’s diet consists primarily of algae, but also the occasional plankton, and by eating the algae, they help to clean the coral.
  • Particularly due to their depiction as ‘Dory’ in the Finding Nemo film, blue tangs are in high demand as pets, despite them being somewhat difficult to keep.
Bibliography:
Paracanthurus, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paracanthurus
Paracanthurus Hepatus, 2012, The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/177972/0
Thurston A, Paracanthurus Hepatus, 2011, Animal Diversity Web, http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Paracanthurus_hepatus/

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Spiny Dogfish

You will not see as many shark individuals as the spiny dogfish, in a single place.

  • Spiny dogfish is a species of small shark, found in waters of 5 to 15 degrees Celsius (41 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit), in predominantly coastal areas of oceans across most of the earth.
  • ‘Spiny dogfish’ is also known as ‘mud shark’, ‘thorndog’, ‘spurdog’, ‘Pacific dogfish’, ‘piked dogfish’, ‘cape shark’ and ‘cogshark’.
  • The scientific name of the spiny dogfish is Squalus acanthias and it is from the family Squalidae, the family of dogfish sharks.
  • Spiny dogfish typically grow to be 0.8 to 1.24 metres (2.6 to 4 feet) in length, although they may grow as long as 1.6 metres (5.2 feet).
  • Spiny dogfish are generally of a grey to brown colour, frequently with white spots, and they have a white or light grey belly.
Spiny Dogfish, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Fish, Shark, Animal, Aquatic, Small
Spiny Dogfish
Image courtesy of NOAA’s National Ocean Service/Flickr
  • The diet of a spiny dogfish consists primarily of smaller fish, including sharks and their eggs, as well as squid, crab and octopus.
  • Spiny dogfish have a pair of dorsal fins (on the back), one smaller than the other, but both having spines; and the sharks may form schools that can contain over a thousand individuals.
  • Although spiny dogfish are now considered vulnerable due to over-fishing, they were once one of the most plentiful sharks in the world’s oceans.
  • Eggs of spiny dogfish females hatch inside the shark, and after approximately two years, the female shark gives birth to live ‘pups’, generally numbering between two and eleven.
  • Spiny dogfish are caught and eaten as commercial fish, particularly in Europe, and they are also used to produce oil and fertiliser.
Bibliography:
Spiny Dogfish, 2016, A-Z Animals, http://a-z-animals.com/animals/spiny-dogfish/
Spiny Dogfish, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiny_dogfish
Fordham S, Fowler S, Coelho R, Goldman K & Francis M, Squalus acanthias, 2006, The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/summary/39326/0
Street R, Squalus Acanthias, Animal Diversity Web, http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Squalus_acanthias/

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Whale Shark

Whale sharks have a whale of a time in the ocean.

  • Whale sharks are large fish found in the warm central oceans of the Earth, and they can be found in coastal areas as well as deeper waters.
  • The scientific name of the whale shark is Rhincodon typus and it is the only member of the family Rhincodontidae.
  • ‘Whale sharks’ are also known as ‘butanding’, ‘balilan’, and ‘tofu sharks’ in various Asian cultures, and in Spanish they are called ‘tiburón ballena’.
  • Whale sharks generally reach a length between 5.5 and 14 metres (18 to 46 feet), though they can be up to 20 metres (65.6 feet) in length, and are the largest fish alive today.
  • Whale sharks are brown to dark grey in colour, with light grey on the underside, and they are patterned with spots and stripes.
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Whale Shark
Image courtesy of wpylnn/Flickr
  • The weight of whale sharks generally ranges from roughly 9 to 20 tonnes (9.9 to 22 tons), and they can be as heavy as 31 tonnes (34 tons).
  • The diet of whale sharks consists of plankton, small fish and small squid gathered by the filter feeding technique, and their food filtering system can capture anything as fine as one millimetre (0.04 inches).
  • Numbers of whale sharks have been decreasing, primarily due to humans hunting them for meat, oil and other products; and as such, they are considered a vulnerable species.
  • Whale sharks can reach 50 to 100 years in age and possibly more, and they grow notably quickly in their early life.
  • A female whale shark gives birth to live offspring, though they hatch from eggs inside her body, and she can produce 300 young that are 40 to 70 centimetres (15.7 to 27.6 inches) long when they are released.
Bibliography:
Calleros P & Vazquez J, Rhincodon typus, 2012, Animal Diversity Web, http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Rhincodon_typus/
Whale Shark, 2011, Government of Western Australia, http://www.fish.wa.gov.au/Documents/recreational_fishing/fact_sheets/fact_sheet_whale_shark.pdf
Whale Shark, 2016, A-Z Animals, http://a-z-animals.com/animals/whale-shark/
Whale Shark, 2016, National Geographic, http://animals.nationalgeographic.com.au/animals/fish/whale-shark/
Whale Shark, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whale_shark

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X-ray Tetra

Take more than a scan over these x-ray tetras.

  • X-ray tetras are a species of freshwater fish, native to some of the waterways of northern South America including the Amazon region.
  • ‘X-ray tetras’ are also known as ‘x-ray fish’, ‘water goldfinch’ and ‘golden pristella tetra’.
  • The scientific name of an x-ray tetra is Pristella maxillaris, from the family Characidae, the family of characids, and it is the only species of its genus.
  • X-ray tetras are notable for having a mostly transparent body, with their internals a shiny silver-gold colour and fins coloured black, white and yellow.
  • The length of x-ray tetras ranges from 3 to 5 centimetres (1.2 to 2 inches), and they generally have a lifespan of 3-5 years in the wild.
X-Ray Tetra, Fish, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Transparent, Species, Animal
X-Ray Tetra
Image courtesy of Mike S/Flickr
  • X-ray tetras have a diet that consists of insects, crustaceans and worms, that are scavenged from the bottom of their river and swamp environments and sometimes they feed on aquatic plant material.
  • Female x-ray tetras produce from 300 to 400 eggs at a time during the wet season, which they lay among plants in the water, and the eggs can hatch from 24 hours onwards.
  • X-ray tetras have what is known as a ‘Weberian apparatus’, a group of tiny bones that act as a sound amplifier, and as a result, the fish are able to hear very well, allowing them to speedily move away from predators.
  • X-ray tetras have been popularly kept as fish tank pets, as they are attractive and quite resilient, however they are a schooling fish and as such it is best if they are kept in groups of at least six.
  • The first scientific description of an x-ray tetra dates back to 1894, by American marine biologist Albert Ulrey, though the fish was originally known under different scientific names, including Pristella riddlei.
Bibliography:
Interesting Facts About X-Ray Fish, 2016, Buzzle, http://www.buzzle.com/articles/interesting-facts-about-x-ray-fish.html
Pristella maxillaris, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pristella_maxillaris
Pristella maxillaris, 2016, Seriously Fish, http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/pristella-maxillaris/
X-Ray Tetra, 2016, A-Z Animals, http://a-z-animals.com/animals/x-ray-tetra/
X-Ray Tetra, 2016, About Fish Online, http://www.aboutfishonline.com/articles/xraytetra.html

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Salmon (Food)

I’m sure salmon would make great salesmen.

  • Salmon is among a number of fish that are popularly produced and eaten as food, and Atlantic salmon is the most commonly consumed species of salmon in the world.
  • Salmon species are mostly native to the northern Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, and are from the Salmo and Oncorhynchus genera respectively, both of the Salmonidae family.
  • The colour of raw salmon flesh ranges from red to orange, and occasionally white, patterned with thin, pale stripes, and once cooked, the flesh often lightens in colour and sometimes looks pink.
  • Approximately 70% of salmon produced for commercial purposes is farmed, usually in sheltered areas like bays, in a netted enclosure.
  • Salmon is known as an ‘oily fish’, and is popularly cooked by smoking; although curing, like in a mixture of sugar, dill, salt and pepper as in ‘Gravlax’ is popular; and other forms of cooking are not uncommon.

Salmon, Food, Fish, Meat, Flavoured, Prepared, Orange, Pieces, Culinary

Salmon prepared with herbs
  • Salmon is able to be eaten raw as in sushi, though the fish is usually frozen for 24 to 48 hours before consuming to ensure any possible parasites in the fish are destroyed.
  • Salmon has been commonly eaten since early times, with many cultures traditionally smoking the fish; and in modern times it is generally obtained commercially as fillets, steak, whole and canned.
  • Salmon is very high in selenium, vitamins B6 and B12, niacin and protein and it has significant quantities of many other vitamins and minerals, and is also well known for its omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Live salmon will often consume poisons such as mercury or chemicals dumped into water sources, and although this can result in human poisoning if large quantities of the meat is eaten, the risk is low, and current guidelines suggest that the consumption of this or similar fish once a week is safe.
  • In 2014, Norway produced the most salmon in the world, with more than a million tonnes (1.1 million tons), which accounted for more than a third of the world’s production.
Bibliography:
Aquaculture of Salmonids, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquaculture_of_salmonids
Salmon, 2016, The World’s Healthiest Foods, http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=104
Salmon as Food, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Salmon Farming Industry Handbook 2015, 2015, Marine Harvest, http://www.marineharvest.com/globalassets/investors/handbook/2015-salmon-industry-handbook.pdf

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Laced Moray

One could say laced morays are indeed prettier than their relatives.

  • Laced morays are a species of eel, native to the waters of the Indian Ocean and the west Pacific Ocean.
  • ‘Laced morays’ are also known as ‘tessellate morays’, ‘leopard morays’, ‘giraffe eels’, and ‘honeycomb morays’.
  • The scientific name of a laced moray is Gymnothorax favagineus and it is from the family Muraenidae, the family of moray eels.
  • The skin of a laced moray has a base colour of white or cream, spotted with irregular black shapes that vary, depending on its habitat as well as its age, and the spots are usually smaller in older eels.
  • Laced morays can reach a length of 1.8 metres (6 feet), although some claim specimens reaching 3 metres (9.8 feet) exist.

Laced Moray, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Eel, Fish, Animal, Honeycomb, Tessellated, Coral, SEALIFE, Melbourne, Australia, Aquarium

  • Laced morays typically live in tropical reef areas, and if the surrounding waters are of an increased clarity, they will generally feature lighter coloured spots.
  • Laced morays are active during night hours, and they generally rest in cavities and crevices during daylight.
  • The diet of laced morays consists primarily of small fish, crabs, squid-like molluscs and shrimp.
  • Laced morays have a habit of moving with their mouths open, which allows the gills to retrieve water necessary for breathing.
  • Although they rarely attacks humans, laced morays can produce a strong bite due to their teeth that are sharp.
Bibliography:
Gymnothorax favagineus  Bloch & Schneider, 1801, n.d, FishBase, http://www.fishbase.org/summary/5391
Honeycomb Moray, n.d, Melbourne Sealife Aquarium, https://www.melbourneaquarium.com.au/explore/coral-atoll/honeycomb-moray/
Laced Moray, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laced_moray

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