Wednesday, December 8, 2010

MOC blog adventure 3: Spineless Wonders

Today I went to the ocean center again at 10:30 a.m. because I had to finish up a homework packet for my marine biology class that's due tomorrow. (Talk about cramming)
I ended up staying at the spineless wonders tank for about a half an hour watching the lobsters eat.

In the Spineless Wonders tank there are:

four spiny lobster (panulris sp.)
one red reef lobster (enoplometopus sp.)
four tiger cowries (Cypraea tigris)
four squirrel fish (Sargoncentron diadema)
one soldierfish (Myripristis amaena)
a spaghetti worm (Loimia medusa)
a 7-11 crab (Carpilus maculatus)

It was around 2:30 p.m. when I noticed a cowrie doing something I hadn't seen before.
I thought it was laying eggs but it wasn't. It was feeding!
It had something that looked like a siphon, similar to the cone snails, except it wasn't as long and it was more wide. It was eating food that had been dropped in the tank.

As I watched the tank I noticed that one of the spiny lobsters looked more pale than usual and that it was missing five walking legs! Four on his left side and one on his right.
Then I figured it must have been because of the Red reef lobster that was in the tank too. I saw that the red lobster was chasing that one spiny lobster around the tank! The spiny lobster always ran away from the red reef lobster! It tried to nip at it with its claws and kept chasing it around the tank. It was being such a bully.

2:30 must be the feeding time for that tank because there were some mussles and chopped up octopus and fish in the tank.
I saw that another one of the bigger spiny lobsters liked hanging around the cowries when it eats. It got hold of a mussle and pried it open! And the 7-11 crab seemed like it liked the cowries. He didn't so anything to them. he just stood near the cpwries whenever they were near food.

It took about only five minutes for him to fiddle around with the mussle shell and crack it open. I could even hear it making the cracking noise THROUGH the glass!
It was really cool to see a lobster just break and crush and pry open a mussle shell.
And even watching the cowries feed was interesting. I just wish I could have seen their radula. Their little tooth thing that scrapes at their food.

The cowries seem to have a good sense of smell using that wider siphon to look for food.
It went straight for that orangey fish egg looking thing and made as quick as a cowrie could to eat it.

Hada pretty good time at this tank today.
Btw, have you thanked your zooxanthellae?


  1. Zooxanthellae are Dinoflagellates that live in coral. Coral is actually a living animal with tiny polyps living in the holes in the coral and they photosynthesize. (you know, get energy from the sun to make sugars for growth). Zooxanthellae are a type of tiny animal (Dinoflagellate) that uses the coral structure as shelter and in return they photosynthesize and make sugars for the polyps that live in the coral.