Species Saturday

 

9/7/19 - Halgerda guahan

Species Saturday! My favorite type of species…. (drum roll please) NUDIBRANCHS! Introducing Halgerda guahan, a dorid nudibranch of the family Doridoidea including medium to large, shell-less sea slugs. This is a special nudibranch as it is only found in Guam and the Mariana Islands, hence the species name “guahan.” I hope you find them as mesmerizing as I do!

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8/31/19 - Linckia laevigata

Species Saturday! If this isn’t a blue sea star, I don’t know what is! Introducing the blue sea star, Linckia laevigata. Found in shallow waters of tropical Indo-Pacific waters in sea grass beds and coral reefs, blue sea stars display color variation of pure, dark, or light blue. They can grow up to 11.8 inches in diameter with rounded arm tips. Some may have different colored spots on their body as well.  To feed, they invert their stomach to digest their food externally, similar to most starfish. They are a beautiful species and quite easy to spot on a given swim.

 
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8/23/19 - Pterois miles

Species Saturday! The common lionfish, Pterois miles, is a ray-finned fish native to the west Indo-Pacific. They grow up to 14 inches in length with feathery dorsal and pectoral fins. Lionfish are mainly nocturnal found hiding in crevices during the daytime. They feed on fish and small crustaceans and have few predators due to their venomous spines. The lionfish is well known as It is regarded as an invasive species off the east coast of the United States and in the Caribbean Sea.

 

 

8/17/19 - Thuridilla gracilis

Species Saturday! Thuridilla gracilis is a type of sea slug that resembles a nudibranch but belongs in the family Plakobranchidae. Thuridilla’s are sacoglossans, marine gastropod mollusks. They are found in the tropical Indo/West-Pacific on or near coral reefs. They are usually found in shallower waters eating algae. They reach up to 25mm in size. They can be easily spotted by looking for their moving rhinophores (similar to the appearance of antennas) as you swim over the reef.

 

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8/10/19 - Peacock mantis shrimp

Species Saturday! Peacock mantis shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus). Native to Indo-Pacific waters, this little guy can “punch” its prey at over 50 mph - the fastest recorded punch of any living animal. The acceleration can be compared to that of a 22 caliber bullet. Their eyes are thought to be the most complex in the animal kingdom. They can be found burrowing at depths ranging from 10 feet to 130 feet.