iPhoneOgraphy – 11 Dec 2016 (Day 346/366)
The coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch; Karuk: achvuun) is a species of anadromous fish in the salmon family, one of the several species of Pacific salmon. Coho salmon are also known as silver salmon or “silvers”. The scientific species name is based on the Russian common name kizhuch (кижуч).
During their ocean phase, coho salmon have silver sides and dark-blue backs. During their spawning phase, their jaws and teeth become hooked. After entering fresh water, they develop bright-red sides, bluish-green heads and backs, dark bellies and dark spots on their backs. Sexually maturing fish develop a light-pink or rose shading along the belly, and the males may show a slight arching of the back. Mature adults have a pronounced red skin color with darker backs and average 28 inches (71 cm) and 7 to 11 pounds (3.2 to 5.0 kg), occasionally reaching up to 36 pounds (16 kg). They also develop a large kype (hooked beak) during spawning. Mature females may be darker than males, with both showing a pronounced hook on the nose.
The traditional range of the coho salmon runs along both sides of the North Pacific Ocean, from Hokkaidō, Japan and eastern Russia, around the Bering Sea to mainland Alaska, and south to Monterey Bay, California. Coho salmon have also been introduced in all the Great Lakes, as well as many landlocked reservoirs throughout the United States.
In their freshwater stages, coho feed on plankton and insects, then switch to a diet of small fish upon entering the ocean as adults. Spawning habitats are small streams with stable gravel substrates.
Salmonid species on the west coast of the United States have experienced dramatic declines in abundance during the past several decades as a result of human-induced and natural factors.
iPhoneOgraphy – 16 Oct 2016 (Day 290/366)
Symphysodon, colloquially known as discus, is a genus of cichlids native to the Amazon river basin. Due to their distinctive shape and bright colors, discus are popular as freshwater aquarium fish, and their aquaculture in several countries in Asia is a major industry. They are sometimes referred to as pompadour fish.
Discus are fish from the genus Symphysodon, which currently includes the above species. However, another review of the genus published in August 2007 suggested that the genus held these three species: S. aequifasciatus (the green discus), S. haraldi (the blue/brown/common discus), and S. discus (the Heckel discus). Further arguments have been made that S. tarzoo was not described in accordance with ICZN rules and thus should be considered invalid and replaced with S. haraldi, currently considered a synonym of S. aequifasciatusby FishBase.
Other (sub) species have been proposed, but morphometric data (unlike in Pterophyllum, the freshwater angelfish) varies as much between individuals from one location as across the whole range of all discus fish species. S. tarzoo was described in 1959 and applies to the red-spotted western population. S. aequifasciatus and S. discus, meanwhile, seem to hybridise frequently in the wild or have diverged recently, as they lack mitochondrial DNA lineage sorting but differ in color pattern and have dissimilar chromosomal translocation patterns. S. discus occurs mainly in the Rio Negro. Whether S. haraldi is indeed distinct from S. aequifasciatusremains to be determined; if valid it is widespread but it might just be a color morph.
Like cichlids from the genus Pterophyllum, all Symphysodon species have a laterally compressed body shape. In contrast to Pterophyllum, however, extended finnage is absent giving Symphysodon a more rounded shape. It is this body shape from which their common name, “discus”, is derived. The sides of the fish are frequently patterned in shades of green, red, brown, and blue. The height and length of the grown fish are both about 20–25 cm (8–10 in).
Symphysodon species inhabit the margins of floodplain lakes and rivers in the Amazon Basin of lowland Amazonia, where it is part of the highly diverse Neotropical fish fauna.
The three species of Symphysodon have different geographic distributions. S. aequifasciatus occurs in the Rio Solimões, Rio Amazonas and the Río Putumayo-Içá in Brazil, Colombia and Peru. In contrast the distribution of S. discus appears to be limited to the lower reaches of the Abacaxis, Rio Negro and Trombetas rivers. S. tarzoo occurs upstream of Manaus in the western Amazon.
iPhoneOgraphy – 15 Oct 2016 (Day 289/366)
Starfish or sea stars are star-shaped echinoderms belonging to the class Asteroidea. Common usage frequently finds these names being also applied to ophiuroids, which are correctly referred to as brittle stars or “basket stars”. About 1,500 species of starfish occur on the seabed in all the world’s oceans, from the tropics to frigid polar waters. They are found from the intertidal zone down to abyssal depths, 6,000 m (20,000 ft) below the surface.
Starfish are marine invertebrates. They typically have a central disc and five arms, though some species have a larger number of arms. The aboral or upper surface may be smooth, granular or spiny, and is covered with overlapping plates. Many species are brightly coloured in various shades of red or orange, while others are blue, grey or brown. Starfish have tube feet operated by a hydraulic system and a mouth at the centre of the oral or lower surface. They are opportunistic feeders and are mostly predators on benthic invertebrates. Several species have specialized feeding behaviours including eversion of their stomachs and suspension feeding. They have complex life cycles and can reproduce both sexually and asexually. Most can regenerate damaged parts or lost arms and they can shed arms as a means of defence. The Asteroidea occupy several significant ecological roles. Starfish, such as the ochre sea star (Pisaster ochraceus) and the reef sea star (Stichaster australis), have become widely known as examples of the keystone species concept in ecology. The tropical crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) is a voracious predator of coral throughout the Indo-Pacific region, and the northern Pacific sea star is considered to be one of the world’s 100 worst invasive species.
The fossil record for starfish is ancient, dating back to the Ordovician around 450 million years ago, but it is rather poor, as starfish tend to disintegrate after death. Only the ossicles and spines of the animal are likely to be preserved, making remains hard to locate. With their appealing symmetrical shape, starfish have played a part in literature, legend, design and popular culture. They are sometimes collected as curios, used in design or as logos, and in some cultures, despite possible toxicity, they are eaten.
The scientific name Asteroidea was given to starfish by the French zoologist de Blainville in 1830. It is derived from the Greek aster, ἀστήρ (a star) and the Greek eidos, εἶδος (form, likeness, appearance). The class Asteroidea belongs to the phylum Echinodermata. As well as the starfish, the echinoderms include sea urchins, sand dollars, brittle and basket stars, sea cucumbers and crinoids. The larvae of echinoderms have bilateral symmetry, but during metamorphosis this is replaced with radial symmetry, typically pentameric. Adult echinoderms are characterized by having a water vascular system with external tube feet and a calcareous endoskeleton consisting of ossicles connected by a mesh of collagen fibres. Starfish are included in the subphylum Asterozoa, the characteristics of which include a flattened, star-shaped body as adults consisting of a central disc and multiple radiating arms. The subphylum includes the two classes of Asteroidea, the starfish, and Ophiuroidea, the brittle stars and basket stars. Asteroids have broad-based arms with skeletal support provided by calcareous plates in the body wall while ophiuroids have clearly demarcated slender arms strengthened by paired fused ossicles forming jointed “vertebrae”.
The starfish are a large and diverse class with about 1,500 living species. There are seven extant orders, Brisingida, Forcipulatida, Notomyotida, Paxillosida, Spinulosida, Valvatida and Velatida and two extinct ones, Calliasterellidae and Trichasteropsida.
iPhoneOgraphy – 14 Oct 2016 (Day 288/366)
The giraffe catfish, Auchenoglanis occidentalis, is an African catfish. It eats plants off the floor of lakes and streams.
The giraffe catfish is found throughout Africa in lakes and rivers, partially due to introduction and establishment in other areas. It is found in many important lakes and rivers such as the Nile and Lake Chad. Its distribution covers includes bodies of water from East Africa to West Africa. It generally lives in shallow waters with muddy bottoms.
This fish has a maximum size that sources say are between two and three feet.
The giraffe-like pattern will fade with age to a two-tone mottled brown. Various subspecies have been described for this fish, indicating some geographical variation in coloration.
The giraffe catfish is occasionally imported for the aquarium trade. Because of its large eventual size and its fast rate of growth, it is inappropriate for smaller aquaria. This fish will readily accept a variety of foods and is tolerant of a wide variety of water conditions. They will scavenge the aquarium looking for food, which could cause in the uprooting of plants.
This fish is also an important food fish in Africa.
iPhoneOgraphy – 13 Oct 2016 (Day 287/366)
Hemichromis is a genus of fishes from the cichlid family, known in the aquarium trade as jewel cichlids. Jewel cichlids are native to Africa. Within West Africa, Hemichromis species are found in creeks, streams, rivers and lakes with a variety of water qualities including brackish water lagoons.
Maximum size reported for the different species of Hemichromis ranges from around 8 to 30 centimetres (3.1 to 11.8 in) total length. Maximum sizes in aquaria tend to be slightly smaller than in the wild, Hemichromis bimaculatus for example occasionally reaching 20 centimetres (7.9 in) in the wild but in home aquaria seldom more than 15 centimeters (5.9 in).
Many Hemichromis species are brightly coloured, though brighter body colouration is generally evident during breeding. Sexual dimorphism is limited, though male jewel cichlids are typically more brightly coloured and in some species have more pointed anal, ventral and dorsal fins. In some species, such as Hemichromis cristatus, the females can have coloring as bright as the males. Like most cichlids, jewel cichlids have highly developed brood care. Hemichromis species typically form monogamous breeding pairs and the female spawns on a flat surface such as a leaf or stone. Both parents guard the eggs, and participate in fry raising.
Jewel cichlids can be attuned to community tanks. When introduced to a well-established community tank, the aggressiveness of the cichlid is toned down because of the lack of space that can be occupied territorially. Beware though, the jewel cichlid can be a nasty fin nipper if you don’t keep it well fed. This comes from its instinct to defend and hold a territory for reproduction.
iPhoneOgraphy – 12 Oct 2016 (Day 286/366)
The Tetraodontidae are a family of primarily marine and estuarine fish of the order Tetraodontiformes. The family includes many familiar species, which are variously called pufferfish, puffers, balloonfish, blowfish, bubble fish, globefish, swellfish, toadfish, toadies, honey toads, sugar toads, and sea squab. They are morphologically similar to the closely related porcupine fish, which have large external spines (unlike the thinner, hidden spines of the Tetraodontidae, which are only visible when the fish has puffed up). The scientific name refers to the four large teeth, fused into an upper and lower plate, which are used for crushing the shells of crustaceans and mollusks, their natural prey.
The majority of pufferfish species are toxic and some are among the most poisonous vertebrates in the world. In certain species, the internal organs, such as liver, and sometimes their skin, contain tetrodotoxin and are highly toxic to most animals when eaten; nevertheless, the meat of some species is considered a delicacy in Japan (as 河豚, pronounced as fugu), Korea (as 복 bok or 복어 bogeo), and China (as 河豚 hétún) when prepared by specially trained chefs who know which part is safe to eat and in what quantity. Other pufferfish species with nontoxic flesh, such as the northern puffer, Sphoeroides maculatus, of Chesapeake Bay, are considered a delicacy elsewhere.
The tetraodontids have been estimated to diverge from diodontids between 89 and 138 million years ago. The four major clades diverged during the Cretaceous between 80 and 101 million years ago. The oldest known pufferfish genus is Eotetraodon, from the Lutetian epoch of Middle Eocene Europe, with fossils found in Monte Bolca and the Caucasus Mountains. The Monte Bolca species, E. pygmaeus, coexisted with several other tetraodontiforms, including an extinct species of diodontid, primitive boxfish (Proaracana and Eolactoria), and other, totally extinct forms, such as Zignoichthys and the spinacanthids. The extinct genus, Archaeotetraodon is known from Miocene-aged fossils from Europe.
Fossil teeth of a possible tetraodontid (referred to as “Pekinosaurus hyperostosis”) have been found in the Triassic Pekin Formation of North Carolina, possibly extending their range.
The spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari) is a cartilaginous fish of the eagle ray family, Myliobatidae. It can be found globally in tropical regions, including the Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, off the coast of West Africa, the Indian Ocean, Oceania, and on both coasts of the Americas at depths down to about 80 meters (262 ft). The rays are most commonly seen alone, but occasionally swim in groups. Rays are ovoviviparous, the female retaining the eggs then releasing the young as miniature versions of the parent.
This ray can be identified by its dark dorsal surface covered in white spots or rings. Near the base of the ray’s relatively long tail, just behind the pelvic fins, are several venomous, barbed stingers. Spotted eagle rays commonly feed on small fish and crustaceans, and will sometimes dig with their snouts to look for food buried in the sand of the sea bed. These rays are commonly observed leaping out of the water, and on at least two occasions have been reported as having jumped into boats, in one incident resulting in the death of a woman in the Florida Keys. The spotted eagle ray is hunted by a wide variety of sharks. The rays are considered Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. They are fished mainly in Southeast Asia and Africa, the most common market being in commercial trade and aquariums. They are protected in the Great Barrier Reef.
F/5.6, 1/60 sec, ISO – 100, Photoshop CS6