Fish

Cold Blooded Baby Boom in the UK

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Cotswold Wildlife Park, in the UK, is experiencing a summer baby boom of the cold blooded variety.  The Reptile Section is awash with new births, including some of the smallest newborns in the entire collection. These include: four Mangrove Snakes (bred for the first time at the Park), six Blood Pythons, three Crested Geckos, four Asian Giant Forest Scorpions and a multitude of Lyretail and Checkerboard Cichlids.

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Lyretail Cichlids with fry 2 DR CWPPhoto Credits: Cotswold Wildlife Park

Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park, Jamie Craig, said, “The Keepers at the Park are delighted with the boom in births and hatchlings in the Reptile House.  It is a real achievement to breed some of these species and a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Reptile Department in species that do not always get the same attention as the cute and cuddly!”

Three Crested Gecko babies were hatched on July 10th. Geckos are one of the most diverse groups of lizards on Earth and are an incredible example of animal engineering. The ribbed flesh on their toes enables them to scale vertical surfaces, even polished glass! Engineers with the US Department of Defense’s research project, DARPA, have been looking into creating ‘bio-inspired’ gloves for soldiers based on the Gecko’s ribbed toes.

The new breeding pair of Mangrove Snakes has successfully produced young for the first time. Two yellow and black striped snakes hatched in June. These reptiles are brilliantly camouflaged in the brightly sunlit, leafy mangrove habitat, making them masters of disguise in the wild. The Park’s Blood Pythons also produced six young.

An unexpected birth came from a new species to the collection, the Asian Giant Forest Scorpion. Keepers were pleasantly surprised when the female produced young just weeks after arriving at the Park. The young are born one by one after hatching and expelling the embryonic membrane. The brood is carried on the mother’s back until the young have undergone at least one molt.

Meanwhile, the Insect and Invertebrate House has seen multiple fish births of two species of Lake Tanganyika Cichlids. The Park’s Lyretail and Checkerboard Cichlids have recently produced young. These fish are secretive shelter spawners, and their fry are smaller than a grain of rice.

See more photos below the fold.

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Finding Nemos at Monterey Bay Aquarium

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Monterey Bay Aquarium just pointed us to these amazing photos hundreds of baby Clownfish hatching behind the scenes! Details from the Aquarium's Tumblr page below:

“We patiently waited for the eggs to develop as the dad Clownfish took great care of them,” said Raymond Direen, who cared for the brood with fellow aquarist Jenn Anstey. “The dad constantly used his pectoral fins to fan the eggs and keep them clean. After about two weeks, they separated from the father, and morphed into little baby Clownfish."

Here's a guide to finding all your favorite characters from "Finding Nemo" at Monterey Bay Aquarium, including these soon-to-be-displayed babies! 

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Sailfin Sculpins Hatched at Monterey Bay Aquarium

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For the first time, Monterey Bay Aquarium has welcomed Sailfin Sculpin babies! Hatched behind the scenes, the young fish can now be seen on exhibit. Notable for their conspicuous spiked dorsal fins, Sailfin Sculpin frequent tide pools along the Pacific Coast. Although common, they can be hard to spot, as their colors blend with the seaweeds and rocks.

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Photo credits: Monterey Bay Aquarium


Adonis Catfish Fry Hatch - A First at the Shedd Aquarium

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Aquarists at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium noticed a large clutch of eggs being guarded by an Adonis catfish, (Acanthicus adonis) on February 27. The fish continued to guard and fan the eggs, which hatched 5 days later. Most of the fry were removed to reserve for grow out, but some were left with the parent, who continued to guard the fry.  

The fry that were left with the father stayed near him for another 2 1/2 weeks. Aquarists estimate that the clutch numbered around 1000 individuals. This is Shedd Aquarium’s first birth with this species. The fry on reserve are growing and doing well. 

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Photo Credit: Shedd Aquarium / Brenna Hernandez


Yipes! Stripes!

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It's not uncommon for aquarists at New England Aquarium to find shark eggs in its Trust Family Foundation Shark and Ray Touch Tank. Often, these eggs are not fertile, but a while back, keepers collected one that hatched some five months later, ushering in the arrival of a brand new baby female Epaulette Shark. Her stunning stripes will fade over time, leaving only dark spots, but as juveniles, these solid patterns serve to confuse potential predators in the wild.

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For now, the tiny shark pup is most at ease hidden safely inside a piece of tubing in her nursery tank. Until she's old enough to join the rest of the group in the Touch Tank, visitors can meet her parents and watch for newly laid eggs!

You can read more about the epaulette shark baby and learn more about this fascinating species on the Aquarium's Exhibit Galleries Blog: http://galleries.neaq.org/search/label/epaulette%20shark Did you know they can slow down their body functions to survive in low oxygen environments?


Ever See Pipefish Babies?

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The Tennessee Aquarium recently received a shipment of 10 wild-caught Alligator Pipefish. Among them were two pregnant males, one of which delivered a few babies upon arrival. Female Pipefish lay between 60 and 200 eggs on the abdomen of the male and he develops a thin membrane around them.  His abdomen becomes soft and spongy, allowing the eggs to receive nutrients from him. Babies hatch after approximately 3 weeks and are about one centimeter in length. That's less than half the length of their father's snout! But this species grows rapidly, with males attaining a length of close to a foot and females being slightly smaller.

Pipefish have a prehensile tail like a seahorse that they use to hitch onto just about anything around them, including each other. They'll hang out in a backup area at the Aquarium until they are big enough to be placed on exhibit. In the wild, alligator pipefish (Signathoides biaculeatus) are found throughout the Indo-Pacific ocean. 

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Photo Credit: Tennessee Aquarium


Read more about these fascinating pipefish after the jump:

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Ozark Hellbender Salamander Success!

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The Saint Louis Zoo and the Missouri Department of Conservation today announced that Ozark hellbenders have been successfully bred in captivity - a first for either of the two subspecies of hellbender. This decade-long collaboration has yielded 63 baby hellbenders so far. Both parents are wild bred: the male has been at the zoo for the past two years and the female arrived this past September.

The first hatched on November 15, and approximately 120 additional eggs are expected to hatch within the next week. Behind the scenes in the Zoo’s Herpetarium, the eggs are maintained in climate and water quality-controlled trays. For 45 to 60 days after emerging, the tiny larvae will retain their yolk sack for nutrients and move very little as they continue developing. They will begin to grow legs, and eventually lose their external gills by the time they reach 1.5 to 2 years of age. 

Once the captive-bred larvae are 3 to 8-years-old, they can then be released into their natural habitat the Ozark aquatic ecosystem. They are kept in elaborate facilities that recreate the ideal environment in which they can thrive in during that time. 

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Photo Credit: MarkWanner/SaintLouisZoo

Continue reading "Ozark Hellbender Salamander Success!" »


Living Coasts Aquarium Breeds First Venomous Fish

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Living Coasts Aquarium has bred a venomous fish for the first time. The new arrival is the first Blue Spotted Stingray is only the second one ever born in the UK. According to Living Coasts zoo keeper Stuart McGeachie, “It was born in July, live and fully formed, complete with stinging barb and claspers - male appendages. It was about 10 centimeters across - they grow to around 30 to 35 centimeters.”

Torquay’s coastal zoo is home to three adult blue spotted stingrays – males Zorro and Baby Boy, and female Baby Boo. McGeachie added, “We are not sure which male is the father, as both were seen trying to mate with the female. Zorro is the larger of the two, so we suspect it is him!”

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Photo credits: Living Coasts Aquarium

Living Coasts director Elaine Hayes said: “They are seen in aquariums, but they get confused with blue-spotted ribbontail rays (Taeniura lymma ). Because of this it is very difficult to establish numbers. The records say there are just 42 in collections, with only 3 births in the last 12 months, not including ours.”

The blue spotted stingray (Dasyatis kuhlii) is light green with blue spots. A member of the shark family, this saltwater fish is found in shallow tropical waters. It has venomous barbs on its tail.


Wolf-eel Babies Hatch in High Definition

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In late March, we brought you news of Birch Aquarium at Scripps' hatching of 250 tiny Wolf-eels. The Aquarium has just released stunning close-up images of the remaining eggs. The pictures, taken by Peter Kragh, show the eels at the very moment of birth. Adult Wolf-eels are generally curious and friendly, despite measuring 80 inches or more when fully grown.

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Photo credits: Peter Kragh


Helping Wolf Eel Babies to Hatch at Birch Aquarium

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Birch Aquarium at Scripps is proud to announce the hatching of baby Wolf-Eels! Birch aquarists have so far collected about 250 Wolf-Eels from the mass of eggs, with another few hundred expected to hatch over the next two weeks. The tiny fish are born brownish-pink, about 1 1/2 inches in length. They begin to turn dark gray within a day or so, and begin snacking on tiny shrimp after a few days. They will grow to several feet in length. Check out the video below of aquarist Mark Ball overseeing the hatching!

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Wolf Eel eggs weeks after being laid

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Mother Wolf Eel guarding her little ones


Photo and video credits: Birch Aquarium