Friday, December 7, 2012

Moody Gardens, Aquarium Pyramid

Pictured above is the spotted sturgeon.  The  Aquarium Pyramid was as interesting to us as the Rainforest Pyramid.  Here we learned about the many life forms found in the deep waters of the sea, from different kinds of anemones, to a variety of sharks   There is also a lot of information provided about coral reefs around the world.  Coral reefs rank second only to the rainforest in the diversity of its inhabitants.  And, according to an interpretive sign in the aquarium, coral reefs  "serve as the center of a complex food chain and the deterioration of this important natural resource has become a serious concern.."   The aquariums in this pyramid are very big and deep.  One tank in particular has several living kelp plants, about 30 feet high.  I am use to seeing dried kelp on the beach, here it is possible to see the whole plant under water.  They can grow as fast as two feet on a warm summer day.  It was interesting to observe fish swimming around the leaves of this plant.  The plant seems to serve as a natural camouflage for the fish pictured below.
The aquarium also had a variety of seahorses on display.  We learned that the seahorse has a ritual dance every morning for their mate to establish bonding with her.  There are two of them in the picture below.
We were fortunate to have one of the aquarium's staff with us when we were at the penguin area.  She told us she that she had observed the penguins when they were courting.  The male will offer the female a rock and if she drops it that is her way of telling him she is not interested.  The staff worker also pointed out to us a king penguin who seemed to be sitting on a nest.  All we could see under her was a little grey ball of feathers.  Also we noticed another king penguin sitting on a trash can lid.  That was the toy of the day for the penguins to play with.  However, we were told that Fiona, pictured below, usually claims the toy for herself.
Besides the king penguins the aquarium has several  other species of the bird.  There are a total of 17 species of penguins.  Pictured below is the chinstrap penguin.  It is easy to figure out why he has that name!

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