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The freshwater and marine habitats of the world are richly diverse in aquatic animals extrordinary in their wildly varied colors, shapes, sizes and adaptations for survival.
Freshwater Invertebrates, animals that do not have backbones and spend most or all of their lifecycle in freshwater, can be good indicators of the health of the habitat in which they are found (or not found). Behind-the-scenes at the Aquatic Conservation Facility, they are raising Texas Hornshell Mussels.
Marine Invertebrates are animals that have no backbone and no vertebrae, regulation of the body temperatures is dependent on the temperature of their environment, and spend most or all of their lifecycle in brackish or saltwater. There are over 500,00 marine invertebrate species on the planet. Below are just a few of the marine invertebrates you might see in the Aquarium.
- Spiny Lobster
- Giant Clam
- Helmet Conch
- Blue Blubber Jellies
Fish. Found almost everywhere on the planet, species of fish have been documented from the cold and lightless waters of the deepest oceans, to the lakes high in the Andes mountains, on land, in mud , underground, in the air, even in trees. There are over 24,000 species of fish alive today, making them the most abundant class of vertebrate animals. Get a glimpse of fish diversity at the Aquarium which features hundreds of species from silvery minnows to seahorses to sharks.
Marine Reptiles. Successfully adapted to life in the sea, there are four groups of marine reptiles. Diversity of these animals is low because modern reptilian kidneys cannot tolerat high salinity levels. Those reptiles that do live in marine environments have developed specialized salt-excreting glands. Some examples of marine reptiles include sea snakes (not to be confused with eels, which are fish ), marine lizards, saltwater crocodiles and sea turtles.
Marine Mammals. Marine mammals have many special adaptations for life at sea. These include thick layers of blubber, legs shaped like fins and paddles, and hydrodynamic shapes. Although many of these marine mammals can hold their breath for a long time, they all must come to the surface to breathe air. At the BioPark, you can see seals, sea lions and polar bears. Other marine mammals are whales, dolphins and otters.