Posted in Animals, Ocean, Student Posts

Amazing Seahorses

 

Imagine yourself as a copepod floating in the ocean seagrass among clown fish, puffers, and dozens of other sea creatures, when you realize you’re being hunted by a delicate slow poke seahorse who only swims five feet per hour. Copepods can escape from their prey very fast, so fast that the reach speeds that are the same as a human jumping 3000 miles per hour. Do you think that would be fast enough to escape a hungry seahorse? Not quite!

Image result for seahorses

 

Best Ocean Predator

A seahorse’s favorite food to munch on is a copepod. Copepods are part of an animal group called crustaceans. Copepods are not only fast but they can sense vibrations from an oncoming predator and when they do sense those vibrations they get out of there speedy quick but seahorses can still catch those speedy copepods. Here’s why. Seahorses have a very unique shaped head with a feature above their nose that helps them make no waves and vibrations in the water when striking and then they suck up the copepod. This happens so fast that you cannot even see it without a very slowed down camera. If the copepods do sense the seahorse and try to bolt, the seahorse starts pivot feeding. Pivot feeding is where seahorse rotates their snout at high speed and then sucks in the copepod. This makes the seahorse one of the most successful predators in the ocean. I bet you thought it was sharks? Sharks are only successful at catching their prey fifty-five percent of the time. Seahorses are successful in catching their prey ninety percent of the time. Seahorses have to constantly eat to stay alive because food quickly passes through their simple digestive system. They have no teeth and no stomach. Since seahorses do not have teeth they have to suck in their prey and swallow it whole. 

CourtshipImage result for seahorses

We talked about seahorses unique ability to catch their prey very fast and how successful they are. Another unique thing about the seahorse is that the male gets pregnant, carries the eggs and gives birth instead of the female. Seahorse males and females have a courtship. This is like dating. Before

they breed they court for several days by dancing in sync for eight hours and swimming side by side while holding the same strip of seagrass with their tales. During this time they sometimes change color.

Seahorse HabitatsImage result for estuaries

Seahorses are usually found in shallow, tropical, and mild saltwater. They live in secure areas such as estuaries, coral reefs, and seagrass beds. Seahorse species are found in the Pacific and the Atlantic waters all the way from North America to South America. Species are also found in the European and Mediterranean waters.

 

If you like seahorses as much as I do, go down to the Batiquitos or San Elijo Lagoon and you might see them. Seahorses, as slow and delicate as they are, are quite unique and skilled at catching prey. Some seahorse species are endangered because in some countries they are hunted by humans to eat and they are also hunted for aquariums. Seahorse does not do well or live very long in an aquarium. I saw one in a tank when I recently went to a seafood restaurant for dinner. I thought it was very neat to see them but now after reading more about them, I feel sorry for the ones in the fish tank. Pollution is another reason for the threat to seahorses. We should all be doing our part to keep nature clean. I am going to the beach clean-up soon. Ask me how you can join in on it! I guarantee that you learned something about seahorses that you never knew before. Seahorses are not only cute but very interesting and I hope my article was too.

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Posted in Animals, Ocean, Student Posts

Precious Pufferfish

Pufferfish
Pufferfish

If you think the octopus is the only animal in the ocean that can transform, think again. There are other amazingly deceptive sea creatures. At first glance, they are slow-moving, gentle and beautiful. But beware. When threatened, these fishes can transform themselves into weapons and turn into one of the deadliest creatures in the world. What are we talking about? Pufferfish, of course. Want to find out more about them, well keep reading.

Diet

The puffer fish is an omnivore so the diet of a puffer fish includes mostly invertebrates ( an animal without a backbone) and algae. Large puffer fish will even crack open clams, mussels, and shellfish with their hard beaks. Poisonous puffers are believed to synthesize their deadly toxin from the bacteria in the animals they eat.

Life and Reproduction

Although some baby puffer fish cannot be seen without a magnifying glass, their body shape resembles those of the adult animals. The average lifespan of the puffer fish is around ten years. There are more than 120 species of puffer fish which live mostly in the warm waters of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans, with only 30 species that are living in the freshwater. Some species move from marine to brackish or fresh water during the breeding season.  Did you know: After leaving the egg, young puffer fish swim toward the reef’s community.

Escape Artist

Pufferfish can inflate into a ball shape to evade predators. Also known as blowfish, these clumsy swimmers fill their elastic stomachs with huge amounts of water (and sometimes air) and blow themselves up to several times their normal size.

Fun facts

Almost all species of puffer fish contain a toxin (called tetrodotoxin) that can be 1200 times stronger than poison. One puffer fish contains enough toxin to kill 30 adult men. The toxin is not located in all parts of the puffer fish, and certain cultures prepare puffer fish as a delicacy. Also, did you know that about 100 diners die each year after eating puffer fish?

Pufferfish are amazing creatures and have plenty of tricks up their sleeves, other than puffing up to scare away predators. To most people, they are some of the most fascinating creatures on this planet. They can do many other cool tricks like turn sand into symmetrical artwork, but unfortunately the current will still wash away its beautiful artwork in minutes. Now I hope you love these amazing creatures as much as I do.

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Posted in Environment, Ocean, Student Posts

Ocean Pollution

Most of the ocean pollution begins on land. When large pieces of land are plowed, the exposed soil erodes during rainstorms and runs off. Much of this runoff flows into the sea carrying agricultural fertilizers and pesticides. Eighty percent of pollution to the marine environment comes from land.

Plastics

The great pacific ocean garbage!

Plastics in our environment has reached a crisis proportions. It is estimated that up to 12 million metric tons of plastic enter our ocean each year. Plastics of every size choke and clog the stomachs of marine animals who mistake it for food. Plastics are now entering every level of the ocean food chain and is ending up in the seafood on our plates.

Oil

Oil spills have devastating effects. Oil spills are caused by tankers, barges, pipelines, refineries, drilling rigs, and storage facilities. Oil spills can also be caused by people who did a mistake or being careless. Oil is so toxic that it can cause a wipeout of marine animals. Marine animals that live on shores are mostly affected by oil spills. Animals who drink the oil will get choked by the oil to death. There is a pipe which holds the oil so the oil doesn’t get into the ocean The pipe is located at the bottom of the ocean. Sometimes the pipe breaks which allows oil to go into the ocean.         

Interesting facts about the pollution

  1. More than 80 percent of plastics waste in the ocean comes land.
  2. It is estimated that up to 12 million metric tons of plastic.
  3. In China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines were identified as the top five countries that do plastic pollution.The ocean conservancy report this in 2015.

You now know that pollution is bad to the ocean so next time uses less plastic and don’t throw trash on beaches. The trash can get into the ocean and maybe into a marine animal stomach! The marine animals who ate the trash or plastic will die! It would be sad to have all the marine animals die from plastic clogging their stomachs.  

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