Monday, January 14, 2008
The new tenant, a bowmouth guitarfish (Rhina ancylostoma), has moved from our quarantine area into Shark Lagoon with the bull sharks departure. David tells all about quarantine in his 11-2-07 blog.
Bowmouth guitarfish are found in the Indo-West Pacific coastal areas usually on sand or mud substrates (bottoms). Heavy ridges of spiky thorns over the eyes and on the back and shoulders gives it a prehistoric look. Check out the Aquarium of the Pacific Ocean Learning Center for information and amazing facts about this fascinating animal.
Each of the animals in the Shark Lagoon “big tank” has its own feeding station with the bowmouth’s station in the same area as the zebra sharks and rays. He is a joy to feed as he has a great appetite, eating all of the food offered to him. Believe it or not, some of our sharks are actually picky eaters!! Rays and guitarfish are bottom dwellers with their mouths on the underside of their bodies so the food needs to be placed on the sand. Our bowmouth is pole fed a mixture of squid, shrimp, clam and mahi mahi. He also likes crab legs. All of our animals are fed restaurant quality food which is the same food that you would be able to order in a restaurant. We pop the food off of the pole when the bowmouth swims over to it. He is being trained to eat strictly off of the bottom so as not to interfere with the zebra shark feeding at the surface. Occasionally , confusion reigns when the two zebras are looking for their food along with the pelagic ray, guitarfish and possibly another one of the sharks all in the same place and at the same time. We just wait for them to settle down and remember where their feeding stations are. It is important to make sure that all of the sharks get only their own prepared food.
The weekend before New Year’s brought many out of town guests to the Aquarium. Many were surprised by the bamboo sharks not moving around much in the exhibit. This provided a good opportunity for us to tell about the shark lifestyle and dispel some of the myth and mystery surrounding them.
If you are coming to the Aquarium, consider including a “Shark Animal Encounter” in your Aquarium experience. You will get to prepare some food, don a wetsuit, actually getting in part of Shark Lagoon with a shark and then feeding some of the sharks.
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