Our oceans are full of fascinating creatures and we’re still discovering incredible facts about them every day. We’ve listed some of our favourite creatures below and have added some dazzling facts – we bet you didn’t already know them all!
Differentiated from other ray species due to their unique snout-like groves and high-domed heads, cownose rays are often found throughout the western Atlantic and Caribbean. They can grow rather rapidly and their tail often resembles a whip, due to its length – many male rays can reach a massive 35 inches in wingspan alone! The creatures are rather shy but can be problematic to swimmers and divers. Their wingtips will often break the water’s surface giving the appearance of a shark, which can be a bit of a nasty surprise for people close by!
Stonefish more than earn their title as one of the world’s most deadly fish! With a rather peculiar body, featuring razor-sharp spines and tough, rock-like skin, the fish is a master of disguise. Many swimmers have accidentally disturbed these creatures in the wild, triggering the fish to sting the unsuspecting victim with their venomous spines. Despite the range of shocking symptoms from a sting, stonefish are sold for meat in Hong Kong markets, as rather a local delicacy!
Sunfish are amazing creatures. On average, each one weighs around 1,000 kilograms (i.e. 1 million grams), which is more than your average car! Unsurprisingly, this makes it the heaviest bony fish in the world, and it usually grows to over three metres in length. It can also lay up to 300,000,000 eggs at any one time, which is more than any other vertebrate.
There’s no doubt about where this fish got its name from! The lionfish has a mane of large venomous spines sprouting from its body. Each of these can measure a shocking 36cm, and the venom has been known to cause death in some of the more serious circumstances. An unusual trait of the fish is that they face predators upside down – this helps to properly showcase their spines and acts as quite the warning! You’ll find them in caves and crevices around the Indo-Pacific Ocean.
The gulper eel is one of the most distinctive-looking creatures in our oceans. Growing to around 80cm in length, this eel has a huge jaw that accounts for around one quarter of its entire body length. It opens its jaw very widely, ‘gulping’ down any prey that comes along like a net.
Born with stripes across their bodies, zebra sharks change their appearance as they grow into adulthood, when they develop spots and lose their stripes. Found amongst the coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific Ocean, they aren’t a threat to humans, because their main prey consists of the crabs, fish, and shrimps they find on the seabed.
Like all anemonefish, the clownfish can change sex during its lifetime. Born male, each one can go on to become female, and this change often occurs once they’ve found a mate, with the most dominant of the pair becoming female. Clownfish also live in social groups, with one dominant female and male. If the female dies, the dominant male will become female to replace her.
Male giant squid can reach around 10 metres in length, and females can reach around 13 metres. What’s more, marine biologists have found that giant squid can actually regenerate their own tentacles after injury, similarly to octopuses. Like all squids, they have three hearts – with one heart pumping oxygenated blood around the body, and two smaller ones pumping blood in the gills.
Despite their small size, angelfish are omnivores, so they eat a combination of plants and animals. They usually feed on miniscule plankton, algae, or the parasites that live on the skin of other angelfish. When it comes to breeding, they can each lay an astonishing 10,000,000 eggs at any one time!
Named so because of the ridges and grooves that meander across their large, round surfaces, brain coral can live for hundreds of years. There have even been reports of some brain coral living for around 900 years! Like all coral, they are actually animals (not plants) and they have hard skeletons that are made up of calcium carbonate.
So, did we surprise you? Or did you already know some of our crazy sea-creature facts? Whether you already know plenty about the oceans or you’re interested and want to learn more, you can come face-to-face with some of these fascinating creatures by visiting us. Make sure you spot our beloved clownfish, cownose rays, stonefish, lionfish, coral reefs, and more at Blue Reef Aquarium Tynemouth.
Book your tickets online now to receive discounts off the on-the-door admission prices.