Species of creatures dating back to millions of years can actually be seen on display at Newquay’s seafront Aquarium. The Blue Reef Aquarium is home to a range of prehistoric creatures such as Horseshoe crabs, caiman, corals and sharks.
Two of the aquarium’s star attractions of the Amazonian exhibit are Nibbles and The Colonel who are Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman.
The Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman or Paleosuchus palpebrosus are the smallest species of the crocodilian family with a total length averaging 1.4 m for males and up to 1.2 m for females. Crocodilians are the closest animal to the extinct dinosaurs and have been in existence for over 200 million years.
Residing in the aquariums warmer waters are the Atlantic Horseshoe crabs or Limulus polyphemus. These quirky creatures are more closely related to spiders and scorpions than crabs. They have 10 eyes and their blood is blue and can live up to 30 years. Originating 450 million years ago, horseshoe crabs are considered living fossils but the species are vulnerable as a result of over harvesting and habitat loss.
The Coral Gardens and Propagation displays exhibit a colourful range of both soft and hard corals. Corals are marine invertebrates and are among the oldest animals existing over 500 million years ago.
Sharks first appeared over 420 million years ago and have been around longer than almost any other animal. Today there are over 500 different types of shark. The Blue Reef Aquarium houses 7 species including Port Jackson sharks, Short tailed nurse sharks, Epaulette sharks and three Black tip reef sharks.
The Port Jackson or Heterodontus portusjacksoni in particular retained similar characteristics of their 100 million year old ancestors. They have spines at the edge of both dorsal fins and measure up to 1.70m. They are native to Australia but you can see them on display at the aquarium with the Black tip reef sharks by exploring through the tropical ocean’s underwater tunnel.
To see these amazing creatures and many more visit the blue reef aquarium this half term. Enjoy the ghost and ghouls of Halloween with a Hidden Pumpkin trail. Deeply Creepy quiz and scary craft activities.
For a special one off day on Monday 22nd October for 11 am to 3 pm, the aquarium will be holding a one day special event where visitors can come and take part in an Environmental Art workshops throughout the day. Joined by local environmental artist Lindsey Keats, visitors will be able to create recyclable food wraps and fabulous works of art from objects found on the local beaches.
Issued by Blue Reef Aquarium. For more information please contact Melissa Hallam or Steve Matchett on 01637 878134.