The Sea Cucumber shares the five-part symmetrical body plan. They have an unusual method of respiration: they take in water through their anus to breathe. When disturbed or frightened, some sea cucumbers pour out a mass of sticky white threads to confuse or trap their enemies. Others are capable of releasing toxins which in aquaria have been known to kill all the animals and including the sea cucumbers themselves.
The Flamingo Tongue Snail is a small, colorful snail about one inch long. Snails are called “gastropods” (say, “GAS-tro-PODS”), meaning stomach-footed, because they eat with their feet. As this snail crawls along the branch of coral, it digests the coral animals.
The Peacock Flounder changes its color and the pattern on its skin to exactly match the sea floor. One of the eyes recognizes the pattern of its surroundings. If this eye is covered by sand, the peacock flounder can’t camouflage itself. Each eye can move independently, seeing forward and back at the same time.
Yellowtail Damselfish are approximately 4 to 7.5 inches long with a dark body and yellow tail; their young have bright blue dots on a dark blue body.
The Foureye Butterflyfish has a short snout and a large black spot surrounded by a white ring on body below the rear of dorsal fin.
Trumpetfish adapt well to life on a shallow reef due to their ability to change color and pattern as well as their numerous hunting techniques. Its hunting methods allow it to be as close as possible to its prey and still escape detection. Divers can observe these fish closely.
The Nassau Grouper is fished both commercially and for sport; it is less shy than other groupers, and is readily approached by scuba divers. However, its numbers have been sharply reduced by overfishing in recent years, and it is a slow breeder. The governments of the United States, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas have banned fishing for the Nassau Grouper in recent years and is is at serious risk of becoming extinct.
Anemone– There are more than 1,000 sea anemone species found throughout the world’s oceans at various depths, although the largest and most varied occur in coastal tropical waters. They run the full spectrum of colors and can be as small as half an inch (1.25 centimeters) or as large as 6 feet (1.8 meters) across.
Some anemones, like their coral cousins, establish symbiotic relationships with green algae. In exchange for providing the algae safe harbor and exposure to sunlight, the anemone receives oxygen and sugar, the bi-products of the algae’s photosynthesis.
They form another, more famous symbiotic alliance with clownfish, which are protected by a mucus layer that makes them immune to the anemone’s sting. Clownfish live within the anemone’s tentacles, getting protection from predators, and the anemone snacks on the scraps from the clownfish’s meals.
Lionfish While it may seem exciting to see this fish on a dive it’s quite odd since this species is only supposed to be found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Allowing lionfish to establish themselves in our waters can lead to serious problems because they are:
- Ravenous predators being shown to eat juvenile fish and crustaceans (shrimps, lobsters, etc.) in large quantities.
- Not known to have many native predators
- Equipped with venomous spines which deter predators and can cause painful wounds in humans.
- Capable of reproducing monthly with unique reproduction mechanisms not commonly found in native fishes. Can reproduce at around 1 year old.
- Each month they produce approximately 30,000 eggs.
- Relatively resistant to parasites, giving them another advantage over native species.
- Fast in their growth, able to outgrow most native species with whom they compete for food and space