A recent collecting trip to Neah Bay has brought some fascinating new critters to our Closer Look table—including a few that are lesser known and fantastically camouflaged. Come get to know them during your next visit to the Seattle Aquarium!
Always fun to watch and looking a bit like swimming golf balls, Pacific spiny lumpsuckers, Eumicrotremus orbis, have returned to our Puget Sound Fish exhibit. These odd fish get their names from an interesting feature: a sucker disk that they use to adhere to kelp, rock and other surfaces—which helps them resist the strong pull of marine currents. Weak swimmers, their camouflage helps them avoid detection by predators.
This pair of harlequin shrimp, Hymenocera elegans, are feeding on a portion of a sea star in their Ocean Oddities exhibit. As an obligate feeder, this tropical shrimp preys exclusively on sea stars (although some observers note that they may nibble on the tube feet of sea urchins) in the Indo-Pacific region.
With the renovation of our harbor seal exhibit officially underway, the timing is just right for a complementary project devoted to marine mammals in the wild. We’re happy to announce the launch of our Marine Mammal Monitoring project, and you’re invited to volunteer!
The basket star, Gorgonocephalus eucnemis, is basically a fancy brittle star. After attaching to a rock or other firm substrate, an adult basket star will spread its five intricately branched arms into the water to catch tiny zooplankton (crustaceans, arrow worms, and sometimes fish larvae and jellies). Hooks on the arms snag the prey items which are then rolled up in mucus strings within the tiny branchlets.