Unknown Archives - Oceana

Pygmy Seahorse

As their name suggests, pygmy seahorses are tiny fish that are nearly indistinguishable from their habitats due to their size and extreme camouflage. They are so well camouflaged that Bargibant’s pygmy seahorse was only discovered after a host gorgonian was collected and observed by marine biologist George Bargibant.1 2 Pygmy seahorses grow to an average size … Read more

White-ring Garden Eel

Garden eels burrow tail first into the sand, and several individuals (as many as hundreds) live close to each other, forming “gardens” of eels that sway back and forth and bob up and down like prairie dogs in order to balance their need to feed with the security that their burrows provide. The white-ring garden … Read more

Slender Snipe Eel

The slender snipe eel is an active predator that feeds on pelagic crustaceans in the dark of the deep ocean. Its behaviors are not well understood, but scientists believe it captures its prey by swimming with its mouth open and slashing its head and “beak” side to side when it senses nearby prey. Larger fishes, including some … Read more

Scarlet Frogfish

The scarlet frogfish, like all frogfishes, is an anglerfish. Most anglerfishes (e.g., the humpback anglerfish) live in the deep sea, but the frogfishes comprise a family of shallow-water representatives of this large group of interesting fishes. The frogfishes have small fishing lures, made from modifications of their dorsal fins, which they use to attract small fishes. The scarlet frogfish … Read more

Red Lionfish

The red lionfish is an ambush predator. It moves very slowly and often sits perfectly still, waiting for small fishes to approach too closely, at which point it lunges aggressively toward its prey. At the same time, it extends its jaws forward, creating a large amount of suction, and easily swallowing the prey whole. This species is … Read more

John Dory

The John Dory is an active predator and eats a variety of schooling fishes and invertebrates. It lives in a wide depth range, from 15 feet (5 m) to 1200 feet (360 m) and usually stays near the seafloor, over both soft and hard bottoms. John Dories are medium-sized predators in the systems in which they live. They … Read more

Chilean Common Hake

Chilean common hake are generalist predators and eat a variety of benthic prey. They are known to eat squids, crustaceans, and other invertebrates and several species of bony fishes. Though they spend most of their lives associated with the seafloor, Chilean common hake sometimes hunt in the water column. Females have faster growth rates and reach larger sizes – … Read more

California Grunion

California grunion are plankton eaters; they eat small, pelagic crustaceans and other zooplankton. Though they eat very small prey, they use their relatively large eyes and strong eyesight to attack individual prey. This strategy is in stark contrast to that used by the very large bodied filter feeders (like whale sharks and basking sharks), which essentially feed blindly … Read more

Threespot Damselfish

Like many species of damselfishes in the Caribbean and around the world, threespot damselfish are herbivores that cultivate a garden of their preferred algae. They carefully remove other algae and small invertebrates in order to encourage growth of their favorite species. The gardens serve two functions: 1) they provide a food source for the adult threespot damsels; … Read more

Orange Roughy

Adult orange roughy are predators that live on or just over the seafloor, but near areas where strong currents bring their preferred prey (other fishes and squids) to them. Deep seamounts provide the right oceanographic conditions to form these strong currents. Orange roughy grow no bigger than a few feet (less than one meter) and are eaten … Read more