Friday, 19 January 2018

The Blind Goby or Typhlogobius californiensis

The blind goby or Typhlogobius californiensis is a small costal specie that is native to California and Mexico. It is a very interesting goby that has a mutual relationship with a ghost shrimp Callinassa biffari.  While juvenile, it enters shrimp's burrow and stays there all of its life.  When still young, they  have normal eyes.  But after maturing, the eyes degenerate completely, making the goby totally blind.  Unlike other blind fish, Typhlogobius californiensis does not have a very well developed lateral line.  This is due to the fact that it never leaves the shrimp's burrow.  Most of it's sensory organs are located on top of its head and it relies mostly on its sense of smell.

I am a big fan of sorts of cavefish, and while this goby is not a cave dweller, it exhibits all the traits of troglodyte fish.  It is completely pigment free and has no eyes.  A good example of convergent evolution, I suppose)))  However, I still do not understand why it never leaves the burrow.  I am sure it's safe and everything, but he can't be getting that much food there.  Most of the food is brought into the burrow by current created by shrimp's swimmerettes.  The shrimp would eat smaller particles of sea weed, decaying matter, and parts of dead animals, while Typhlogobius californiensis would clean up larger pieces.  Sometimes, the shrimp was even observed physically bringing larger food particles to the goby.

Typhlogobius californiensis

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

My Photos of Florida Mangrove Tree Crab

Mangrove Tree Crab or Aratus pisonii

Here are photos of mangrove tree crab (Aratus pisonii) I took at Ann Kolb Center here in South Florida.  I think this is the only specie of crab that lives mostly on trees.  It is kind of weird to see these guy siting on leaves.  But they are pretty colorful))  The mostly hang out on red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) and eat their leaves. The mangrove tree crabs are usually found in most tropical and subtropical estuaries in North America and Caribbean. 

Mangrove Tree Crab or Aratus pisonii

I caught the tree crab for better pictures.  Here, he is in a plastic cup with some local coffee bean snails.  Unfortunately, as soon as I took him out, he quickly jumped out and escaped.  These guys are really quick.  He ran straight for the tree))))

Mangrove Tree Crab or Aratus pisonii

 mangrove tree crab (Aratus pisonii)

Cute Little Guy

This is what their habitat looks like.  It's all part of the  nature park in Hollywood, Florida.  They have an insanely cool mangrove forest.

Red Mangrove or Rhizophora mangle

Monday, 8 January 2018

Just Started My Volunteering

I've started my volunteering at Ann Kolb Nature Center last Thursday.  It's my first time volunteering ever. Yes, I've never done anything like this before.  Ann Kolb Center is part of the West Lake Park in Hollywood, Florida.  It's famous  for it's natural mangrove forests.

This one of the girls that work there full time.  She takes care of the cool aquatic animals.

Some shrimp and mashed crayfish for most of the aquatic creatures.  Everybody gets mostly the same thing.  They seem to like it, but I wonder if they can be weaned onto dry foods

This is the 300 gallon tank with frillfin goby (Bathygobius soporator), Florida crested goby ( Lophogobius cyprinoides), two starfish, and some other saltwater fish ( I forgot their names).  

Crest Goby Hanging Out on a Rock

This aquarium had two of these starfishes.  I never realized this before, but they have tiny eyes at the end of each arm.  Pretty neat.  As soon as they smelled food, both of them came came our from under the gravel.

This is a tropical Florida lobster or Langusta.  Although he kind of looks like a regular lobster due to his shape, these two animals are not closely related. Spiny lobsters are easily distinguished from true lobsters by their very long, thick, spiny antennae and a complete lack of claws on the first four pairs of walking leg.  This guy is pretty huge. I think he is even too big for his aquarium.  Apparently, he had been living at Ann Kolb Center for almost 3 years now.  He is pretty friendly and seemed excited when he saw food.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Worlds Only Blind Cichlid

Lamprologus lethops

Now, this is really cool.  I have always had a soft spot for cave fish.  But this is a lot more interesting and strange.  A blind African cichlid from Congo River.  This a very fascinating fish. The strangest thing is that it is NOT from a cave system.  This fish, Lamprologus lethops, lives at the bottom of the river.  Since Congo River is extremely deep and murky, the fish had started developing troglodytic characteristics often seen in cave dwelling species.  Lamprologus lethops lives almost 150 meters below surface.  Because of that, this cichlid is completely devoid of pigmentation and eyes.

Lamprologus lethops in its natural habitat

I wonder how these cichlids behave and reproduce.  Do they take care of their young the same way as other Africans?  How do they manage to do all these while being completely blind.  I heard that there was a person in US with this species in his aquarium. But I can't find any videos or a complete information on their behavior in captivity. 

Related image

A Preserved Blind Congo Cichlid Specimen 

Blind Congo Cichlid Lamprologus lethops

An X-ray of Lamprologus lethops.  Notice a complete lack of eyes

Blind Congo Cichlid Lamprologus lethops

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Amazing Super Red Crayfish )

I saw this guy at the small fish store in Hallandale Florida.  Such an amazing color.  I have never seen a crayfish this red.  This cray was sitting there, on a plastic plant.  Not sure what it was trying to do, but it looked like it was trying to reach for the light.   It really makes me want to stark keeping crayfish again.  I used keep European crays  (Astacus astacus)  when I lived in Kiev.  They were super cool, but also super aggressive.  I also kept some Noth American species when I was in Ohio, not sure what they name was. But I got them out of feeder tank.  They were regular brown crays. Anyway.  I might get some crustaceans once I move to a new appartment)))

One of former Astacus crays with some native European fish

European Crayfish  or Astacus astacus

check out this UK site for your chemical peel and beauty needs)))
Каштан Фарма

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

My New Florida Gobies

Check out my fresh water gobies. Caught them myself in Florida canals in Hollywood.  These two species were the most common. I am not sure if they have any other gobies in there.  But these guys are the only thin I saw.  Sorry for the crappy photos.  They are pretty hard to photograph. Plus my aquarium is pretty scratched (I got for free from a dumpster).  

The goby on the top picture is Lophogobius cyprinoides or crested goby.  These gobies are pretty small, not more than 10cm.  As the name suggests, they have this interesting crest on top of their head.  Males are much more colorful, with lots of orange and black in them.

Two better quality photos of Lophogobius cyprinoides from the internet

Image of Lophogobius cyprinoides

Image result for Lophogobius cyprinoides

Monday, 4 December 2017

Tasmanian Giant Freshwater Crayfish: Astacopsis gouldi


The worlds largest crayfish, Astacopsis gouldi, also known as Tasmanian Giant Freshwater Crayfish or Tasmanian Lobster.   Probably the most amazing crustacean in the world.  Shockingly huge.  Up to  6 kg!!!  They are even reports of them preying on platypus. I think they are also world's largest invertebrate, but quote me on it because there also giant coconut bandit crabs.  

These guys live only in Norther Tasmania.  It's the only place where you can find them.  I have not heard of any in private aquarium or in captivity in general.  That probably because they are  protected species.  They were in danger of being overfished or overcrayed))) Mostly due to the fact that they have no natural predators and lack general fear of humans.   That, and the fact that Astacopsis gouldi only breed once every two years.

Astacopsis gouldi are omnivorous, just like the majority of crayfish.  They are known to eat  decaying wood, leaves and their associated microbes. They may also eat small fish, insects, rotting animal flesh and other detritus when available.  Basically, they would eat anything they can get their giant claws on))   

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

I Found a Tiny Pleco in Trash

My neighbor had moved. I the guy threw away almost everything. He actually put his 30gallon tall aquarium in garbage. It had everything: filter, light, stand, covers, and decorations. As I was going though all these, I found a tiny bristlenose Ancistrus spp. pleco in an equally tiny puddle of water. I guess, he was hiding inside one of the decorations. I wasn’t really planning on getting another aquarium, but I guess I have to now)))

The little guy is trying to scare me off by flaring out he tiny bristles)))   He looks dangerous

Anyway, so I scooped him into a pickle jar with some rain water. He stayed there for a few hours. I pulled the 30 gallon aquarium out of the trash, wiped it down, and filled it with water. I dumped all the ugly gravel and decoration and set up the filter (also from the trash). I thank ran to a local fish store to get some water conditioner. 

Me with the garbage found Pleco

Pleco in his temporary home

The actual aquarium after being set up

check out this UK site for your chemical peel and beauty needs)))
Каштан Фарма

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Some more photos of South Florida Park

I went to another park.  This time near my house in Hallandale Beach.  They had a ton of american white ibis or Eudocimus albus.  These guys approached everyone for food.  Such cool birds.  Very beautiful and strange at the same time.  

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Cool Corals on the Beach

I found these cool pieces of coral on the beach, here in Hollywood Florida.  They are all over the beach.   Does anyone know what they are?  There are a lot of them.  I don't know where they grow because there is nothing underwater, but sand.  I'll stick them into my future aquarium, as soon as I find more permanent place to live

Some more corals