23 June 2010

The Aquarium in numbers – 10 fascinating species facts

Tatiana Glyptis
Devil firefish. Photo courtesy Bob Owen

1 The length of the white steenbras is 1m, while the weight of this fish can reach up to 30kg.

2 The length of the giant kob is 2m, while weighing up to 70kg.

3 The three-spot angelfish has two spots on either side of its body, just behind its gill splits, while spot number 3 is on its forehead.

4 The black musselcracker (poenskop) has 4 cone-shaped teeth in the upper jaw, six in the lower jaw, with two rows of rounded molars in each jaw.

5 There are 5 species of devil firefish that occur in South Africa, and each species has different markings.

6 The Cape galaxias grows to just 6cm. Close relatives of this freshwater fish come from as far as Chile, Australia and New Zealand.

7 When a hagfish is startled, it secretes a white fluid which increases in size rapidly on contact with seawater. A hagfish is said to produce enough of this slime to fill a bucket of 7 litres. 

8 The number of yellow stripes running horizontally down the length of the strepie is between 8 and 10. The strepie is a stout little fish and is often used as bait by anglers.

9 The gestation period of a ragged-tooth shark ranges between 9 and 12 months, depending on the temperature of the water.

10 Puffadder shysharks produce up to two egg cases, also known as mermaid’s purses, at a time. Sharks grow in these egg cases until they have reached 10cm in length.

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