Five fish you might have missed on your Aquarium visit
The Two Oceans Aquarium is home to many different species, and each one plays a significant role in our ocean ecosystem - even the small ones! However, it is pretty easy to visit the Aquarium and be so blown away by seeing a ragged-tooth shark up close, or to be in complete awe of how cute our turtles are, that you might leave the Aquarium having missed out on a few of the smaller, although no less marvellous animals.
Let's take a look at five animals that you may have missed during your visit, and that you should definitely check out the next time you're with us:
1. Slender snipefish
Not only are these beauties super cool-looking, but their skin also appears to possess a glow-like effect, which you'd think makes them hard to miss. They can be quite easy to miss, as they share their exhibit with some larger fish!
Before you ask, the answer is no - their tube-like snout does not grow each time they tell a lie. But, it does demonstrate their distant relationship to seahorses and pipefish. These fish have small toothless mouths and usually feed on zooplankton, and their long mouths help them suck up their prey.
2. South African butterflyfish
These special fish are often overshadowed by the elusive octopus, as they are housed together. Also known as the double sash butterflyfish, they are quite special as they are endemic to South Africa and the only butterflyfish species to be found in both the cold Atlantic and the warm Indian Oceans.
South African butterflyfish are so named because they are firstly endemic to South Africa, meaning that they are found nowhere else but off our shores, and secondly because of their patterns that resemble those on butterfly wings. They possess a "false eye" pattern on their tails, and their real eyes are covered by a dark band - this is to confuse their predators!
3. White musselcracker
Yet another species that is endemic to South African waters, the white musselcracker lives only off the Southern African coast from False Bay to the Tugela River and usually inhabits rocky inshore reefs.
Juveniles feed on algae until their molars develop, in which case they start eating hard-shelled prey like molluscs, redbait and crabs.
Bellowsfish appear similar to the snipefish we saw earlier, although prefer deeper waters, living in the Southern Ocean up to half a kilometer deep.
These fish are quite easily identifiable by their large eyes, elongated snouts, laterally flattened bodies and adaptive colouration, which enables them to hunt. Bellowsfish feeds on zooplankton and tiny bottom-dwelling crustaceans.
5. Devil firefish
These beautiful fish are native to our Indian Ocean coast. While they are spectacular to look at, you do not want to mess with a devil firefish when it feels threatened. When the fish feel as if they're under threat, they raise their dorsal spines and can inject powerful venom - although this is purely a defensive weapon, intended to prevent larger fish from biting them.
Despite their ferocious defences, devil firefish are actually ambush predators, usually eating small fish, crabs, shrimp and squid.