Tessalata Moray Eel
Species: Gymnothorax favagineus
Diet: Squid and Capelin
Spot was orphaned and transferred to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in 2007 when his previous owner was unable to care for him due to the fact that his species can reach lengths up to six feet rapidly. Spot outgrew his enclosure and required a much larger home. We are very grateful that Spot was brought to us rather than being released into the wild where he could have become an invasive species. We are happy to have him as a permanent resident here at CMA.
Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
Species: Lysmata amboinensis
Scarlet was introduced to Spot in November 2012, in our efforts to provide a healthy natural environment for Spot. In the wild moray eels have a symbiotic relationship with cleaner shrimp to provide a natural service to each other by providing personal hygiene to the eel and food and protection to the shrimp.
Species: Amphiprion frenatus
Our education classrooms are home to two tomato clownfish, one male and one female. Did you know that the female clownfish are larger than the males? Also, clownfish are some of the only types of fish who coexist with anemones!
Species: Sciaenops ocellatus
The red drum uses its senses of sight and touch, and its downturned mouth, to locate forage on the bottom through vacuuming or biting. A 3-year-old red drum typically weighs 6 to 8 lb. The largest red drum on record weighed just over 94 lb and was caught in 1984 on Hatteras Island. They max at 5 ft in length. In the summer and fall, adult red drum feed on crabs, shrimp, and sand dollars; in the spring and winter, adults primarily feed on menhaden, mullet, pinfish, sea robin, lizardfish, spot, Atlantic croaker, and flounder. Red drum can live up tov 60 years. Ranges include Southern Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts of the United States, including the coasts of Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. Immature red drum prefer grass marsh areas of bays and estuaries when available. Both younger mature red drum (3-6 years of age) and bull red drum prefer rocky outcroppings including jetties and manmade structures, such as oil rigs and bridge posts.
Species: Lachnolaimus maximus
The hogfish is from a family of marine fish, many of which are brightly colored (wrasse). They are unusually flat and oval shaped compared to other wrasse, with red irises, and colors that change through the stages of its life. They live in small groups of one dominant male and several females, until a female grows to be a certain size and age, and then she changes to a male. Hogfish reach a maximum length of 3 feet (0.91 m) and a maximum weight of 22 pounds (10 kg). Hogfish may live for up to 11 years. The hogfish are named after the way they root around in the sandy sea floor with their pointed snout, looking for crustaceans and mollusks. The strong jaws contain protruding anterior canine teeth that are well adapted for crushing hard-shelled prey items such as mollusks and crabs. The hogfish is highly valued as a food fish, with the flesh marketed both fresh and frozen. Human consumption of this fish has been linked to ciguatera poisoning (food poisoning caused by eating fish that is contaminated by ciguatera toxin, a heat-stable soluble compound).
Species: Megalops atlanticus
The “Silver King” is one of the Tampa Bay area’s premiere sportfish for anglers looking for a serious battle. They are known as strong fighters and commonly jump multiple times while being caught. There is no food value for tarpon, so they are typically released back into the waterway. Tarpons grow to about 4 to 8 feet long and weigh 60 to 280 lbs. Their diet consists of insects, fish, crabs, and grass shrimp. Tarpon live 30 to 63 years. They are found throughout the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and throughout the Caribbean. Tarpons are also found along the eastern Atlantic coast from Senegal to South Angola. Although primarily a coastal marine fish, tarpon often swim up rivers to access freshwater marshes.
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