The Pacific Aquarium will be a prominent feature of the Water Gallery–the first thing visitors will see upon entering the gallery. CMN’s exhibition technicians have been caring for and grooming the amazing and beautiful creatures for years, while the gallery and aquarium were being prepared.
Some of my favourites are:
The evolutionarily-challenged Grunt Sculpin. In nature, this hopping and scooting fish would inhabit tide pools and rocky areas up to 165m deep. These amazing little fish don’t swim; they crawl around on the ocean floor, using enlarged pectoral fins as limbs. The elongated rays of the pectoral fins have almost no webbing, enhancing the spiny appearance of this fish.
The graceful-yet-predatory Sea Anemone. These beautiful polyps attach to the sea floor by an adhesive foot, at the bottom of their soft, cylindrical bodies. The top of the column is a ring of stinging tentacles, surrounding the mouth. When prey is stung by the tentacles, it becomes paralyzed, allowing the meal to be moved into the gastrovascular cavity for digestion.
The spiny-yet-docile Sea Urchin. It is amazing to think that these prickly, globe-shaped urchins are actually in the same class as starfish! That is due to the Echinoderm’s five-fold symmetry (five arms on the Starfish, five segments in the dome of the Urchin). These spiky sweeties feed mostly on algae, but they are an easy and delicious meal for sea otters, eels and even humans – who harvest urchins for roe.