No Two Oceans Aquarium visit would be complete without seeing those "big" iconic animals - the penguins, ragged-tooth sharks, white steenbras and the turtles. But, that's only part of our incredible underwater biodiversity, and once you settle into your visit, you really begin to notice the smaller, quirkier animals that are just as interesting - and the Skretting Diversity Gallery is home to many of them!
Here are a few of your "little" favourites:
Clownfish a.k.a. "the Nemos":
17 years later and people are still excited to find Nemo - and for good reason, these quirky fish are simply fun to look at! The Western clownfish in the "Nemos" display have identified the glass dome in the middle of their habitat as their home, so they amass on top of it, trying to get as close together for safety as possible - this is totally normal behaviour that people don't often get to see as it is usually between the tentacles of an anemone! There are actually three species of clownfish at the Aquarium - can you find them all?
Despite their name, strawberry anemones are actually more closely related to stony corals than to true anemones. These unique, pink animals form colonies on the rocks of our southern coast, but their beauty is best revealed under the microscope!
South African butterflyfish:
South Africa has its own butterflyfish! Endemic to our coastal waters, these herbivores enjoy seaweeds of all sorts. Be sure to keep an eye out for them in the Skretting Diversity Gallery - and be sure to look for their well-camouflaged companion: the octopus.
Most people think corals are plants - but they are actually colonies of tiny animals that form unique shapes and structures. The coral display in the Skretting Diversity Gallery is a truly beautiful display of the diversity of these animals, so remember to look past the fish for a while and give the corals a closer inspection.
Did you know that South Africa is home to the world's most endangered seahorse species? The family of Knysna seahorses at the Aquarium are ambassadors for their species, demonstrating not only the importance of preserving critical habitats, but also showing visitors just how strange fish can be when evolution presents them with unique survival challenges!
What's your favourite "little" animal at the Aquarium? Be sure to tag us on Instagram after your visit so we can see your favourites!