Monday, March 14, 2016

Florida Aquarium

Initially I was not too excited to see another aquarium.  What prompted us to see the aquarium was a television ad announcing that the aquarium currently has a special exhibit titled "Journey to Madagascar".  John and I have a nephew who is serving our church in that country at the present time, so we were curious to learn more about that African island.   After seeing the wildlife of Florida we moved to Madagascar. According to the information provided by the aquarium, it is the fourth largest island on earth.  It has mountains and lowlands, as well as mangrove forests and tropical bays.  Eighty per-cent of  the plants and animals found in Madagascar are found nowhere else in the world.
 The  country has 100 different species of lemurs.  They live in communities where the female rules.  Mom, sisters, daughters and aunts control everything.  Also in this exhibit we heard hissing cockroaches, and saw a variety of chameleons and geckos, as well as a colorful Indian Ocean reef.
I was staring at this giant anemone, pictured above in the lower part of the picture, when John pointed out its mouth which was opening and closing.  I almost missed the most fascinating feature of this sea creature!  The mouth can be found straight down from the yellow fish, there is a white spot above it.
In a previous posting I had written about sponge fishing in Tarpon Springs.  It is the large brown shape in the middle of the picture above.  Sea sponges are one of the world's simplest multi-cellular living organisms.
Pictured above is the lookdown fish.  Slender, silvery, and reflective he is almost invisible in sunlit water, making it difficult for predators to find him.  There are many other interesting fish in the aquarium, it is just is not possible for me to post them all.  We saw a very ugly toadfish, a long spined porcupine fish, as well as a rhinopias who looked very much like a miniature rhino.  Watching a long fat green eel actively swim around, as well as an octopus lazily stretching her tentacles into full extension, was also quite fascinating.
In the aquarium is a large room with a panoramic window where one can sit and watch a large variety of fish swimming.  Pictured above is the bottom side of a stingray- he reminded me of Casper the Friendly Ghost.
It is not possible to figure out what is pictured above unless you first look at the right side of the picture, where you just might see a long snout pointing down.  That is a rare sea dragon whose home is off the coast of Australia.  To me he looks like a character right out of a fairy tale book, a fantasy come to life.  My mother use to say "who can say there is no God" when she saw a flower.  I can say the same after I see all the varieties of life forms which reside in the depths of our oceans!

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