Fun Facts from the Aquarium

With my new volunteer position in the visitor education department at the New England Aquarium, I have accumulated a wide knowledge of fun astonishing facts. While reading them, I was both intrigued and amazed by how much I didn’t know about the most common aquatic animals found on the New England Aquarium. Down below are some interesting tidbits of information I have learned thus far.

Starfish

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  • Starfish have five eyes, one on each end of their arm.
    Due to contrary belief, starfishes don’t actually use suction to stick onto things. They actually secrete a chemical which helps them to hold onto things. They then release another chemical to release themselves.
  • Starfish eat by prying open there shelled prey and push out there stomach into the clam. They then digest their food externally from their body and turn their food into a nutritious soup. Sucking up their food, they move onto there next prey.
  • Starfish are related to sea cucumbers, sand dollars, and sea urchins.
  • Starfish are able to give off an arm if it feels threatened and can regenerate that arm in about 2 to 3 months depending on an individual.

Horseshoe Crabs

  • Unknown-1Horseshoe crabs are 450 million years old meaning they are older than dinosaurs and the first plant.
  • Horseshoe crabs have blue blood instead of red blood like us. Their blood is copper based instead of iron-based like ours. Their blue blood is collected by doctors to make certain vaccinations meaning horseshoe crabs have saved lots of people’s lives.
  • Horseshoe crabs are scavengers. They eat soft organisms like clams and mussels.

Flounders

  • Flounders are fish that swim on there side in order to camouflage with the ocean’s floor. They bury themselves in the sand to hide from predators and only there eyes can be seen.
  • When flounders are born they swim like normal fish. But as they mature they start swimming sideways along the ocean floor. Because of this, one of there eyes slowly rotates to one side of the flounder till both eyes sit on one side of the fish.

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Hermit Crabs

  • As hermit crabs grow too big for there shell they begin there search for a new and bigger home. Before moving into their new home they will inspect the shell and start cleaning it out. This process can take many hours and the hermit crab will even practice moving into their new home before officially moving in.

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Scallops 

  • When we eat scallops we actually only eat one muscle of the entire animal. We eat the adductor muscle which is in charge of opening and closing the scallops shell.
  • Scallops swim by sucking in water and squirting it out causing them to skip/swim across the ocean floor.

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