Reefgen’s Project X Fungia is an absolute showstopper

Written by dwayne.deziel on . Posted in Blog

Can you picture an encrusting Fungia coral with a body as fuschia as can be with fluo-green tentacles? Well thanks to Reefgen we don’t have to use our imagination because it’s real and it’s called the Project X Fungia – such a cool name.

The Project X Fungia is an amazing strain of Fungia, we’re leaning towards F. repanda, that has been “trained” to grow in an encrusting form. Now we all know and love our Fungias as free-living solitary corallite-polyps. It is well documented that various forms of stimuli like being near a rock, being stung, or any kind of mechanical damage can induce localized expression of brighter pigments.

We presume by some process of selection, trial and error Reefgen isolated a Fungia repanda that was able to be coaxed to grow in an encrusting fashion, leading to an enhanced, extremely brilliant expression of pink and green color. It took a long time for Reefgen to get the Project X recipe down and we’re told that it takes up to six months for a single frag to grow into the encrusting creature that we have seen.

This kind of pioneering manmade coral can only be done in captive coral culture, and who knows what we will eventually learn from this kind of morphological manipulations. One thing is certain though, even if the Project X doesn’t get distributed far and wide who knows what we will see in the future now that legions of readers have been introduced to the notion of cutting and gluing Fungia disc corals in unnatural ways.

green and purple tank raised Fungia

Clownfish found to increase oxygen supply for their anemone hosts

Written by dwayne.deziel on . Posted in Blog

66100526_1-620x348Clownfish are much loved in the aquarium hobby, and are probably some of the most iconic and most recognizable and quirky reef fish in popular culture. This is primarily because of their text book mutulaistic relationship with anemones, the anemone provides protection and in return the  clownfish keep away any intruders.

However, it now turns out the clownfish are actually a lot more involved than previously thought, playing a vital role in increasing oxygen flow to the anemones. In fact researchers  found anemones hosting clownfish to use 1.4 times as much oxygen, compared to anemones not hosting clownfish. The reason? The movement of the fish increases water flow around the anemone and thus it’s available oxygen supply

Perhaps even more interesting however is that clownfish with hosts were more likely to move around at night than those without a host, exhibiting behavior defined as fanning, wedging and switching. The researchers describing each term:

“During fanning, clownfish were motionless among the tentacles, aside from rhythmically flapping their pectoral fins, during wedging, the clownfish forcefully wiggle deeper into the anemone’s bed of tentacles, causing a flutter of tentacular activity. Lastly, during switching, clownfish rapidly changed their orientation within the anemone.”

It is thought that like general movement this behavior increases water flow around the anemone.

 

Pair of rare yellow blue-spot jawfish appear at Sea Dwelling Creatures

Written by dwayne.deziel on . Posted in Blog

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Yellow blue-spot jawfish are real and although we’ve seen one before, we didn’t realize they were a thing until SDC got some in. Exactly two small juveniles of the blue-spot jawfish arrived at Sea Dwelling Creatures originating from Mexico with an exceptionally xanthic color pattern.

One of these yellow blue-spot jawfish is pictured above by SDC rep James Smith who shared this very unusual strain of Opistognathus rosenblatti. Ross Robertson does describe juveniles of the blue spot jawfish as being yellow, and we know that adults grow into a more brownish color with a burnt-orange head but full grown, yellow blue-spots exist too.

Pictured below you can see that a cursory search yielded a handful of images of the undocumented yellow blue-spot jawfish, so some specimens do grow up into these unusual and gorgeous looking fish.

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A yellow blue spot jawfish photographed by Gerald Allen

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This blue spot jawfish has a very yellow body coloration as well as somewhat smallish blue spots. Photo James Fatheree

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This yellow blue spot jawfish looks very much like the one above, photgrapher unknown.

Larger Pacific Striped Octopus is rediscovered, comes from Nicaragua

Written by dwayne.deziel on . Posted in Blog

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The Larger Pacific Striped Octopus is one extraordinary cephalopod that has been known about before, but somehow fell into obscurity despite it’s overwhelming awesomeness as a living creature. In the Photo above by Roy Caldwell you can easily see that the Larger Pacific Striped Octopus is like nothing else, with the boldest black and white stripes and white stripes on black arms and webbing.

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Larger Pacific Striped Octopus displaying stripes and spots- Photo by Richard Ross

Two San Francisco Bay Area scientists, Dr. Roy Caldwell of UC Berkeley and Richard Ross of the Steinhart Aquarium in the California Academy of Sciences (working from his home lab), are studying this long ignored and little studied Central American octopus. Both Caldwell and Ross agree that the Larger Pacific Striped Octopus is ” the most beautiful octopus [they] have ever seen” and not only is the LPSO beautiful, but it is extremely unique for an octopus.

The most fascinating fact about the Larger PSO is that it is gregarious, meaning that multiple specimens can be kept in the same tank. Several specimens seem to do ok in the same tank but sometimes a male and female will will occupy the same den, and so will two males, all of which is of course ludicrous behavior for a good card-carrying member of the Octopus, but it gets better.
LPSO matingThis incredible cephalopod seem to mate and lay eggs on a regular basis, and Rich Ross has already enjoyed a mating pair laying medium sized eggs for 8 months. But wait, there’s more, the Larger Pacific Striped Octopus mates, beak to beak, another unheard-of behavior for an octopus.

The closely related Lesser Pacific Striped Octopus. Photo Roy Caldwell

The closely related Lesser Pacific Striped Octopus. Photo Roy Caldwell

If the medium sized Larger Pacific Striped Octopus seems familiar, you may be familiar with Rich Ross’s work with the Lesser Pacific Striped Octopus, Octopus chierchiae. Indeed the initial genetic analysis seems to indicate a clear relationship but when the Larger PSO is described it may warrant placement in a new genus.

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Larger Pacific Striped Octopus presenting a dark ‘leaf’ display – photo by Roy Caldwell

Until Caldwell and Ross began studying the Larger Pacific Striped Octopus, the creature was virtually ignored. In 1991, Arcadio Rodaniche published a short abstract “Notes on the Behavior of the Larger Pacific Striped Octopus, An Undescribed Species of the Genus Octopus”, providing a tantalizing glimpse of this intriguing animal based on observations he made at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama in the late 70’s. Caldwell, Ross and colleagues are currently working on a species description, a behavioral paper on the LPSO and are hoping to mount an expedition to document the behavior of this octopus in its natural habitat