World Oceans Day Fact Roundup
Posted on June 9th, 2016 by pajamapress
Yesterday was World Oceans Day and in the spirit of Going for a Sea Bath, which celebrates sea creatures large and small, we took to Twitter to share ten excellent, terrific, and spectacular facts about some of our favourite ocean-dwelling friends. In case you missed it, we’ve collected all the the facts here, just like Leanne collecting critters in her bathtub. We just hope it’s not too crowded.
Of the many different types of sea turtles, the leatherback is the largest and can weigh up to 1500 pounds, making it the fourth heaviest modern reptile behind crocodilians. It is the only living species in its genus and is distinct from other modern sea turtles because it does not have a bony shell, hence its name.
The Moray eel has two jaws, an external one & one inside its throat located just behind the skull. This jaw is mobile and helps the eel break up, digest and swallow prey. These pharyngeal jaws make eels unique in the animal world; there is no other (known) species with this strange evolutionary characteristic that scientists believe originally developed from modified gill arches.
Clownfish are a bit of a biological oddity: all clownfish are born male. They are able to permanently switch their sex to become female, but that only occurs when the dominant female in a group dies and the largest male takes her place.Female clownfish only lay their eggs on a full moon, & the eggs will only hatch after the sun has set. Clownfish have parenting instincts and the males will protect their eggs until they hatch.
Seahorses partner for life. They perform elaborate courtship rituals every day that involve both fish changing colours to reinforce their bond. Seahorses are also famous for having nature’s only true reverse pregnancy. The female transfers her eggs into the male’s pouch, where he self-fertilizes and incubates them until they’re ready to hatch.
Shrimp can be loud! The noise produced by the snapping shrimp’s claws is louder than a gunshot or a jet engine, making it louder than any other marine creature.
Six Hermit Crabs
An empty shell can cause a hermit crab property rush as crabs gather and pass discarded shells along to smaller friends. Despite their name, hermit crabs are actually very social and they enjoy climbing over one another and sleeping in piles. Their name refers to the homes they carry on their backs to protect their bodies, rather than to their personalities.
Seven Sea Urchins
Most sea urchin species live for about 30 years, but the red sea urchin can live up to 200, the longest lifespan on earth. Even so, sea urchins are considered a threatened species. Despite their spiny bodies, they have many natural predators such as starfish, otters, crabs and sea birds. They are also threatened by overfishing, especially in waters around Japan, where they are used as an ingredient in sushi.
They look like plants, but sea anemones are deadly carnivores. Their tentacles are venomous and when a passing fish gets caught in them, it’s injected with a toxin that paralyzes while the tentacles guide it to the anemone’s mouth. Most sea anemone venom is harmless to humans, but some highly toxic species can cause sever injuries and even be lethal.
Starfish aren’t fish at all; they are related to sand dollars, sea urchins and sea cucumbers. Even though they’re not fish, sea stars still come in all shapes and sizes; there are actually over 1000 different types of them and they don’t always have to have five arms!
Many octopuses collect shells and other objects to make fortresses or “gardens” around their lairs. Octopuses are considered the most intelligent invertebrates and have shown the ability to problem solve, use tools, play and learn by observing other octopi. Scientists have notes that different octopuses display different temperaments, and may even have their own personalities.
(Bonus fact: the plural of “octopus” is contentious, but both “octopi” and “octopuses” are accepted.)
Thanks for celebrating World Oceans Day, and all the wonderful, super-stupendous creatures that appear in Going for a Sea Bath, with us!
Illustrations © Anne-Claire Delisle