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Sea Sheep

sea sheepThis is, without a doubt, one of the most adorable sea creatures I have ever seen – and it’s a slug! The tiny creature looks like a cartoon or maybe a Wallace and Gromit character, but it is most certainly real. Costasiella kuroshimae (or ‘Leaf Sheep’ for short) is found in saltwater environments near Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines, and can grow up to 5mm in length. And, like the mammal it gets its name from, it likes its greens. The Leaf Sheep eats algae, and is one of the only animals in the world that is able to photosynthesize. And while it is not very efficient at it, some species can live for months on photosynthesis alone. As it eats, it partially digests the algae, but leaves the chloroplasts intact, incorporating them into its own body, and storing them in its multiple spiky appendages. The cute little slug then uses the chloroplasts to manufacture energy. The process is called kleptoplasty,a term derived from the Greek word Kleptes (κλέπτης), which means “thief”. and can only be found in certain sacoglossan sea slugs…like this little guy. MORE

Father Killed By Shark While Diving With Daughter

I went back and forth on whether I was going to write about this post. I am sure many of you have heard about it by now. However, it is a very difficult post to write and shockingly tragic. On Saturday, a 20 year old woman was diving for scallops with her father, off the coast of Tasmania, an island state off the coast of Australia. The father and daughter were diving in the Maria and Lachlan Islands, areas which are reported to be very popular with amateur divers for scallop diving and very ‘unusual’ location to spot sharks, especially large sharks. MORE

Fluffy Pillow Art

Growing corals and selling them for a living seems like an ideal job to other reef aquarists; actually my time is filled with a lot of online work, fragging, aquarium cleaning, box making, and other tedious chores. The one thing that has kept me engaged for over a decade is the corals. Being able to experience the beauty of corals, their never-ending combinations of colors, shapes, and behaviors fuels my addiction. While watching a beautiful fireworks display during 4th of July I found myself thinking of corals. 


Stunning Pink Morph Wellsophyllia

 Wellsophyllia are one of those corals that most reef aquarists purchase during their first few months of owning a new aquarium; they are easy to keep and do well in medium light. As they grow in a reef aquarium they can inflate to epic proportions and fill in the area around them. Commonly found in mixes of red and green, those are just a small portion of the color spectrum that they occupy. Wellsophyllia are the abstract art of the reef world; fluffy pillows of MORE

The Evolution and Biogeography of Stonogobiops – Part 1

stono 1

S. nematodes & yasha, alongside Amblyeleotris yanoi. Best friends forever! Credit: Takashi Nagamatsu

 The shrimpgobies of the genus Stonogobiops are a common sight in any aquarium store, with species oftentimes selling for not much more than the cost of a cheap damselfish. Because of this, it might come as a surprise to learn that the half-dozen species that comprise the genus were completely unknown to science as recently as the late 1970’s! The Filamented Shrimpgoby (S. nematodes), a particularly ubiquitous and affordable species in our hobby, was originally known from just a single specimen. So how do we explain this apparent contradiction between the rarity and monetary value of these fish? Clearly, our knowledge of how to locate these fishes in the wild has improved drastically. Unlike some of their close relatives, Stonogobiops is primarily found at MORE

New study highlights uncertainty in Caribbean gorgonians

Pterogorgia cf citrina from the Saba Bank. Credit: Wirshing & Baker, 2015

Pterogorgia cf citrina from the Saba Bank. Credit: Wirshing & Baker, 2015

 Caribbean coral reefs are frequently dominated by tall, branching octocorals known colloquially as “gorgonians”. Identifying these to genus is often simple enough, as most taxa are unique in shape and structure, but correctly diagnosing to species is often wrought with uncertainty. Proper identification requires verification by microscopic examination of the miniscule calcium carbonate sclerites embedded within the coral’s tissue, but, in the case of the common aquarium coral Pterogorgia, the sclerites all look the same. So, in a recently published study, researchers relied on genetic sequencing to identify an unusual variant discovered at a large undersea atoll located at the Saba Bank (in the Lesser Antilles). To briefly summarizes the four known phenotypes in this genus. P. guadalupensis has wide flat branches, which have given it its common names of “Sea Blade” or “Ribbon Gorgonian”. An important feature to note is how the polyps arise from a pair of grooves running along the edges of each branch. Color varies from yellow to purple. P. anceps is nearly MORE

MindStream update!

Mindstream AStep Ahead Innovations, Inc. has just announced the much-anticipated public unveiling of its MindStream monitor. They revealed that the product will be available commercially by the end of the year, and will cost $700-$900.  They also announced the beginning of their Kickstarter campaign, which will allow them to finalize testing, purchase materials, and set up manufacturing  – for a donation of $495, backers will receive their own monitor. MORE

Wounded Veterans Restore Coral Reefs In The Florida Keys

vet This story speaks wonders of the possibility of healing, healing which is occuring in our coral reefs and in human spirituality . Wounded veterans, who have survived what can only be called the impossible, are now working on something that many would agree at times ia also an impossible feat: restoring our coral reefs. Biologists at Mote Marine Laboratory (“Mote”) in Sarasota, Florida have been growing threatened staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) in their nursery, for the past eight years, with the goal for the corals to be replanted and restored into threatened coral reefs. MORE

Two Brother’s Rescue Hammerhead Shark In Florida

 Only in Florida. Or so it seems. And I preface this article by saying don’t try this yourself. But one thing is clear, you certaintly don’t see video like this every day. In the quiet town of Destin, Florida, these two brothers rescued a Hammerhead shark which was injured and swimming around close to shore. You can watch the brothers bravely pull the shark to shore and fearlessly remove the two hooks and a lure from the sharks mouth. What’s even more shocking, iperhaps, is watching the brothers pull the shark into deeper water so it could swim away. I think these two brothers would get applause from some of the most talented of marine biologists. MORE is the world's leading destination for sustainable coral reef farming and the aquarium hobby. We offer a free open forum and reef related news and data to better educate aquarists and further our goals of sustainable reef management.