October 12, 2016
Tropical sharks at Portsmouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium are being given their own pilots.
The pilot fish – known as golden trevally – get their common name from their tendency to swim in the slipstream of larger predators; like sharks in order to avoid being hunted by other fish.
Initially the shoal of a dozen trevally were introduced to a special ‘shark cage’ within the ocean display so they could acclimatise themselves to their new surroundings, and the resident sharks, before being fully released.
The juveniles which currently measure around 30 cms in length could reach up to 1.2 metres long when fully grown.
Blue Reef Aquarium’s Hannah Butt said: “As well as being beautifully marked, the golden trevally’s habit of closely shadowing the larger sharks makes them a fascinating species for visitors.
“As they mature the fish will tend to pair off with a specific shark, or other large fish, and then follow them closely.
“The sharks appear to be totally unconcerned from their presence, perhaps because they mistake them for a type of cleaner fish which removes parasites or even because they may attract other potential prey to them,” she added.
The golden trevally is widely distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
From the hidden world of UK waters, Blue Reef, Portsmouth transports visitors to the spectacular ‘underwater gardens’ of the Mediterranean and the stunning beauty of tropical waters – home to everything from seahorses and puffer fish to living corals and tropical sharks.
At the aquarium’s heart is a giant tropical ocean tank where an underwater walkthrough tunnel offers incredibly close encounters with a huge range of exotic coral reef species.
More than 40 naturally-themed displays reveal the sheer variety of life in the deep from native sharks and rays to the cute otters and colourful reptiles and amphibians.
The Blue Reef Aquarium, Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, Portsmouth. Open 10am daily. For more information call 02392 875222, visitwww.bluereefaquarium.co.uk/portsmouth or find us on Facebook.
Issued by Blue Reef Aquarium. For more information and to arrange pictures/interview opportunities please contact Hannah Butt or Jenna MacFarlane on 02392 875222.