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Featured Animals

Giant clams

Tridacna gigas is the largest of the giant clam species, reaching more than 59 inches across in length and weighing more than 550 pounds. It is found on coral reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific, but may have become extinct in large parts of its former range. The adductor muscle of these clams is considered a delicacy in some areas, which has led to its overexploitation. Giant clams filter in microscopic plants and animals known as phytoplankton and zooplankton. Single celled phytoplankton, known as zooxanthellae, are photosynthetic and grow within the tissues of the clam providing it with nutrients and oxygen. For this reason, Giant clams are dependent upon light for survival.

Palm tree polyps

The Palm tree polyp is a colonial, encrusting mat-like coral whose eight tentacles have feathery pinnules resembling the branches of a palm tree, thus its common name. The polyps can be found in a variety of colors including brown, cream, green, pink, purple, white and yellow, while the mat that contains the polyps is brown, gray or tan.

Lookdown fish

Reaching a length of a foot-and-a half and weighing less than five pounds, this is one of the smaller members of the Jack family, which includes such well-known game fishes as the Amberjack, as well as the Yellowtail featured in Sushi bars. Despite its small size, it is considered delicious, like its relative the Pompano. It is found in large schools in the Tropical Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico and is common along the Texas coast. The peculiar head structure which gives it its name, has made it popular as a public aquarium animal for many years.

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