Thursday, August 9, 2012

Just born! Video of newborn baby seahorses - (Hippocampus erectus)

This morning at check in, we were pleased to discover that our male lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus) on exhibit gave birth! Now there are hundreds of newborn seahorses swimming freely in the Seahorse exhibit. It is very common for our seahorses to give birth in the early morning hours, so we were looking for them during check in.
A three day old lined seahorse - approximately 1 cm long

The ventral surface of the adult male seahorse (his belly) is equipped with a pouch used for carrying eggs that the female had deposited while mating. There, the eggs are fertilized, then hatched, and the young are carried until fully developed. It becomes obvious in seahorses, as in many animals, when they are close to giving birth. This particular male was very gravid, and we knew it was only a matter of days before he gave birth!
One of the juveniles feeds on Artemia nauplii (the small white dots)

Juvenile seahorses are obviously incredibly small and in captivity, the life support system must be designed so they do not get sucked into the filtration system. They also require a very specific water flow; too much and they get buffeted about, too little and they do not feed or swim effectively. The little horses will eat enriched live zoo-plankton, primarily Artemia (brine shrimp) nauplii, until they can be transitioned to more substantial and nutritious foods.

Below is a video of the day old sea horses and some very small nauplii they are feeding on.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Photos of Beaufort, NC - Trawling and dredging out of Duke

Front Street, Beaufort, NC

Shrimp Trawlers, Beaufort

Trawl gear off an old shrimp boat

Duke's Nicholas School for the Environment across the water from Beaufort

 The deck of the R/V Susan B Hudson

Sorting through the product of a box dredge from the Newport River

 Oysters, short-spined and purple urchins, sand dollars, etc.

 Patrycia apparently likes urchins

 A smooth butterfly ray Gymnura micrura in the live well prior to release

 Blackcheek tonguefish Symphurus plagiusa

 Lined seahorse Hippocampus erectus

 Northern searobin Prionotus carolinus
The view of Beaufort at night from the Duke marine lab

Beaufort may be the pinfish Lagodon rhomboides capital of the world!

Night fishing off the docks = pinfish, black sea bass (above), pigfish, spottail pinfish