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The Monster Splash: Halloween in the Ocean

Happy Halloween Deep Sea Diary readers! Whether you look forward to Halloween for the jump-scares or for the opportunity to dress up as somebody (or something) else, there’s no doubt that this holiday is full of spooky fun.

While you might choose to seek out monsters at a haunted house or by watching a classic horror movie, we at the aquarium know that you don’t need to look any further than the ocean to find them. The ocean is home to a whole graveyard’s worth of creatures who look as scary as they sound, or who practice behaviours that make them ready for Halloween year ‘round.

Let’s dive deeper and take a look!

GOBLIN SHARK

Brace yourself for this one. The goblin shark is one ugly fish.

The goblin shark is an ancient species of shark identifiable by a flattened snout that juts from the top of its head. Its jaws protrude outward and contain as many as 50 rows of upper teeth and 60 rows of lower teeth.

The goblin shark has a thin body with blood vessels close to the skin, which give it a pink colouration. This is the stuff of nightmares.

Goblin sharks are found globally, at depths between 1,300 and 1,370 metres. They are also known to venture into shallower waters to find prey. Their dietary staples include fish, crustaceans and cephalopods. This slow-moving fish is an ambush predator, meaning it waits patiently for animals to get close before it strikes (easier to do in the murky depths, where it uses electroreception to sense its prey, rather than its small eyes).

 

COFFINFISH

Despite its rather sinister name, the coffinfish is…almost cute. This sea toad (part of the Chaunacidae family, which also contains the anglerfish) looks like a pink balloon covered in tiny spines. Coffinfish live between 274 and 305 metres and are found in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.

The coffinfish uses its pectoral fins to “walk” on the ocean floor (be sure check out its relative, the frogfish, in our Curious Creatures exhibit, who do the same thing) and can fill its body with water to enlarge itself when threatened (similar to some species of pufferfish). Like the anglerfish, it uses a small lure on its head to attract prey.

As far as I can tell, coffinfish get their name from the fact that the inside of their mouths are completely black. Scientists don’t know why, but to the unfortunate fish fooled by their lure, it certainly serves as their final resting place.

FLASHLIGHT FISH

Safety is paramount on Halloween. If you plan on trick-or-treating in the dark, it’s best for you to carry a flashlight or reflectors with you to help you watch your step and alert cars to your presence.

There’s one species of fish at the aquarium that doesn’t have to worry about that, of course. Flashlight fish, also called lantern-eye fish, are three species of fish in the family Anomalopidae characterized by bioluminescent organs below their eyes.

The flashlight fish’s light is created by bioluminescent bacteria. They can create an on-and-off blinking of this light by covering and uncovering it. Scientists believe that this blinking is a form of communication between fish, and used in the detection of prey.

Be sure to swim by and check out the flashlight fish at the aquarium in our Curious Creatures exhibition!

VAMPIRE SQUID

Ah, the vampire squid, or Vampyroteuthis infernalis, whose Latin name translates to “infernal vampire from Hell.” Kind of intense. Originally mistaken for a new species of octopus in 1903, the vampire squid is an ancient species of cephalopod that strangely shares characteristics with both squids and octopodes.

The vampire squid has large fins at the top of its body that resemble ear flaps, but which serve as its primary means of propulsion through the water. Although they grow to only one foot, the vampire squid has the largest eyes relative to its body size of any animal. Depending on the light, these eyes can appear blue…or glowing red!

The vampire squid’s eight arms are connected by a web of skin, which looks like a long cape trailing behind it. When the squid is threatened it can draw its arms over its head to form a spiny defensive web that covers its body.

Using light-producing cells called photophores, the vampire squid can illuminate to create patterns that attract prey or frighten predators. This is similar to other cephalopods, who use chromatophores to change colour, but which would be useless in the dark, deep waters where vampire squid live. The vampire squid also lacks the ink sack used as a defense mechanism by other cephalopods, and can instead eject a cloud of bioluminescent (glowing) mucus from the tips of its arms when threatened.

DECORATOR CRAB

What are you dressing up as this year? Regardless, you’d be hard-pressed to win a costume contest against a decorator crab.

Decorator crabs are a group of crabs belonging to the family Majoidea that collect and use materials from their environment to hide and protect themselves from predators. They stick sedentary animals (animals that don’t move) and plants to the hooks covering their bodies to help them camouflage, and even use venomous decorations such as anemones to ward off predators.

Talk about DIY – everything from algae to seaweed to shells to gravel is fair game when it comes to decorating their shells!

Decorator crabs live in intertidal zones (an area that is underwater at high tide and dry at low tide) and can be found here at the aquarium in our Canadian Waters gallery.

Thanks for joining us in this exploration of Halloween-y sea creatures. Here’s a spooky joke for you:

Q: Why wasn’t there any food left after the deep sea party?
A: Because everyone was a goblin (shark)!

Happy Halloween!

Photos

Goblin Shark (http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3254)
Coffinfish (https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/science-blog/mysterious-identity-bright-red-sea-toad)
Vampire Squid (https://www.mbari.org/dream-team-of-scientists-and-aquarists-gives-public-first-view-of-a-live-vampire-squid-and-other-deep-sea-cephalopods/)

Sources

  1. Australian Museum. (2010, January 05). Retrieved October 12, 2018, from https://australianmuseum.net.au/decorator-crab
  2. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2018, January 04). Flashlight fish. Retrieved October 12, 2018, from https://www.britannica.com/animal/flashlight-fish
  3. Jordan, V. (2018, April 05). Mitsukurina owstoni. Retrieved October 12, 2018, from https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/discover-fish/species-profiles/mitsukurina-owstoni/
  4. Knight, J. (n.d.). Vampire Squid. Retrieved October 12, 2018, from http://www.seasky.org/deep-sea/vampire-squid.html
  5. Sain, T., Sr. (2018, August 21). Coffinfish l Amazing Living Balloon. Retrieved October 12, 2018, from https://www.ourbreathingplanet.com/coffinfish/

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada Hits 10 Million Visitor Mark

August 14th, 2018

Canada’s largest indoor aquarium to welcome milestone guest this week

From the hypnotic dance of colour-changing jellyfish to an up close and personal view of sea turtles and sharks swimming above, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada has been thrilling guests from around the world since splashing onto Toronto’s tourism scene in October 2013. This week, Canada’s largest indoor aquarium will mark an important milestone as it prepares to welcome its 10 millionth guest.

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada has become an integral part of Toronto’s revitalized South Core district, helping to drive traffic to the area along Bremner Blvd. In addition to its own programming and education efforts, the Aquarium has also partnered with local attractions and businesses to further enhance the guest experience, including the joint Sea the Sky program with the CN Tower, as well as the Toronto CityPASS program.

“We always wanted to build an aquarium in downtown Toronto and the success of the Ripley’s Aquarium has been phenomenal,” says Peter Doyle, General Manager, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. “One of our greatest achievements has been our involvement in the revitalization of the South Core, which has led to an incredible transformation of the tourism industry in Toronto,” he says.

“The Aquarium is an important piece in the Toronto story we tell when attracting visitors to our city,” says Johanne Bélanger, President and CEO, Tourism Toronto. “Now with 10 million
visitors, it’s abundantly clear that when the world experiences Toronto, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is at the top of the list,” she says.

Based on projected attendance, the Aquarium will admit the 10 millionth guest on Thursday, August 16th between 10-11am EST.

To celebrate, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada will award the entrant with a one-of-a-kind VIP Sleepover Experience* which includes:

  • A private sleepover in Dangerous Lagoon for up to 12 guests
  • Behind the scenes tour
  • Dinner at 360 at the CN Tower
  • Crafts and activities throughout the evening
  • Souvenir photo
  • Gift bags, snacks and beverages
  • Personal dive show
  • Aquatic-themed decor, robes and pajamas
  • Breakfast in bed
  • One-night stay at Delta Hotel Toronto

*Rules and restrictions apply. Based on availability. No cash value. Non-transferrable

Media Contacts:

Lauren Chan
647-351-3474 x 2631
lchan@ripleys.com

Melanie Greco
647-456-2653
melanie@getinkpr.ca

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada Cleans Up This Weekend

June 8th, 2018

Shoreline cleanup planned for Humber Marshes

In honour of World Oceans Day and as part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup initiative, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada will conduct a shoreline cleanup of the Humber Marshes, this Sunday, June 10th at 10am.

Members of the general public will join the Aquarium’s Blue Team to collect garbage and recycling from the shores of the Humber Marshes – one of the few remaining river mouth marshes in Toronto and an important breeding habitat for ducks, turtles, and fish; as well as a significant corridor for migratory song birds and monarch butterflies.

Who: Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
What: Shoreline Cleanup
Where: Humber Marshes (Meeting location: Sunnyside Park parking lot – Windermere Ave at Lakeshore Blvd W)
When: Sunday, June 10th
10am – 12pm

Media Contact:

Lauren Chan
647-351-3474 x 2631
lchan@ripleys.com

A Summer Kick-Off at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

June 7, 2018

Downtown Toronto attraction hosts Country Night on Friday, June 15th

Dust off those Daisy Dukes and break out your cowboy hat – it’s Country Night at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. On Friday, June 15th, Canada’s largest indoor aquarium will host its first-ever 19+ country night featuring live entertainment, specialty food stations, and mechanical bull rides.

Kick up your cowboy boots to the sounds of Boots and Hearts Music Festival’s official DJ, Johnny Rivex along with one of Canada’s hottest new recording artists, Chelsea Crites. Stop by the Daniel et Daniel Wild West Chuck Wagon food station for some classic fare including white cheddar mac ‘n cheese, burgers, and pulled pork poutine. And don’t forget to finish it all off with a signature Tenne-sea Whiskey Mule.

For a real cowboy challenge, test your skills on the mechanical bull for a chance to win General Admission Weekend Tickets to the Boots and Hearts Music Festival, August 9-12th, 2018 at Burl’s Creek, Oro-Medonte.

Country Night runs from 8pm until midnight. Tickets are available to purchase in advance or at the door. For more information, visit https://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada/groupsevents/country-night/.

Media Contact:

Lauren Chan
647-351-3474 x 2631
lchan@ripleys.com

New Exhibit Unveiled at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

February 27, 2018

Just in time for March Break, Curious Creatures celebrates 100-year legacy of Robert Ripley

On a re-purposed junk boat with a skeleton crew, Robert Ripley set out to uncover the world’s most unusual, awe-inspiring creatures and artifacts from around the globe. And now, guests can walk in the footsteps of this modern-day Marco Polo at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada’s new Curious Creatures: From the Travels of Robert Ripley exhibit. Media are invited to a special preview of the new exhibit on Thursday, March 1st between 10am – 1pm. Curious Creatures will open to the public at 9am on Friday, March 2nd.

Who: Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
What: Media launch of new Curious Creatures exhibit
Where: 288 Bremner Blvd.
When: Thursday, March 1st | 10am – 1pm

Media are asked to please RSVP to lchan@ripleys.com. Interviews with Aquarium personnel available upon request.

Lauren Chan
647-351-3474 x 2631
lchan@ripleys.com

Melanie Greco
647-456-2653
melanie@getinkpr.ca

Around the World Adventures with Robert Ripley

February 26, 2018

New exhibit at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada showcases the world’s most Curious Creatures

Believe it or Not. On a repurposed junk boat with a skeleton crew, Robert Ripley set out to uncover the world’s most unusual, awe-inspiring creatures and artifacts from around the globe. And now, guests can walk in the footsteps of this modern-day Marco Polo at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada’s new Curious Creatures exhibit.

As guests step inside the room inspired by Ripley’s Mon Lei junk boat, they’ll be immersed in the iconic explorer’s world. The carefully curated collection includes some of Ripley’s most acclaimed finds from across the globe such as marine animals and artifacts from China, the Caribbean, Australia, Indonesia and California.

From Frogfish to Walking Batfish, species of isopods that date back 160 million years, and glow in the dark Flashlight Fish, Curious Creatures features animals never-before seen in Canada. At one of the many interactive displays, guests can take a Shrunken Head Selfie, or test their skills against the remarkably powerful Peacock Mantis Shrimp – with a punch as fast as a .22 calibre bullet.

Just in time for March Break, Curious Creatures will open to the public at 9am on March 2nd and is complimentary with the price of admission. For more information, visit https://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada/ or call 647-351-FISH (3474).

Media contact:
Lauren Chan
647-351-3474 x 2631
lchan@ripleys.com

Dive into the Lunar New Year at Ripley’s Aquarium

February 15, 2018

Underwater Lion Dance at Canada’s largest indoor aquarium

Celebrate the Year of the Dog under the sea. Join Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada for an underwater lion dance performance at Pacific Kelp, an immersive 28 foot exhibit. Media are invited to attend the dive show tomorrow afternoon at 1:15pm.

Who: Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
Where: 288 Bremner Blvd. | Pacific Kelp exhibit (located in the Canadian Waters gallery)
When: February 16th, 2018 | 1:15pm

Media are asked to please confirm their attendance in advance to:
Lauren Chan
647-351-3474 x 2631
lchan@ripleys.com

A Beach Bash at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canda

January 17, 2018

Downtown Toronto aquarium hosts second annual indoor 19+ beach party

Escape the wind chill and head on over to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada for its second annual 19+ Beach Bash in the 6ix event on Friday, January 26th.

Forget the winter blues with music by DJ Shamz and experience the tropics with a signature tropical cocktail from the Malibu Rum Bar. Stop by the Surf Shack for some beach-inspired fare by Daniel et Daniel and spin the Sunwing wheel for a chance to win travel vouchers and an all-inclusive vacation for two to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Beach Bash in the 6ix runs from 8pm until 12am. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $40+ HST (annual pass holders will receive a 50% discount on ticket sales) and includes general admission, hors d’oeuvres, and coat check.

For more information and tickets, visit https://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada/groups-events/beach-bash.

Media contact:
Lauren Chan
647-351-3474 x 2631
lchan@ripleys.com

Splash into 2018 at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

December 8, 2017

Downtown Toronto aquarium hosts first annual New Year’s Eve party

Ring in the New Year under the sea with over 20,000 aquatic animals. On December 31st, Ripley’s Aquarium will host its first-ever New Year’s Eve celebration for 19+ guests.

Dive right into the festivities with a fun-filled evening of music by DJ Shamz and a selection of passed hors d’oeuvres by Daniel et Daniel featuring steak frites, pimento cheese fritters, Ocean Wise certified sushi burgers, and more. Countdown to the stroke of midnight with the sharks of Dangerous Lagoon but remember to just keep swimming because the celebrations will continue well after the clock strikes 12.

New Year’s Eve at the Aquarium runs from 9pm until 2am. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $90+ HST (annual pass holders will receive a 10% discount on ticket sales) and includes general admission, 1 drink token, hors d’oeuvres, coat check and a souvenir from the Ripley’s photo booth.

For more information, visit https://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada/groupsevents/splash or call 647-351-FISH (3474).

Media contact:
Lauren Chan
647-351-3474 x 2631
lchan@ripleys.com

A Bootlegger’s Bash at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

November 15, 2017

Downtown Toronto aquarium hosts Prohibition-style event

Can you keep a ‘sea’cret? Neither can we! On November 24th, Ripley’s Aquarium will throwback to the roaring 20s with its Prohibition-inspired Waves & Whisky event.

Passwords aren’t required at this 19+ event that will transform Canada’s largest indoor aquarium into a one-night only speakeasy, complete with rustic whisky bars, classic cocktails, flapper girls and live music.

Sample some of today’s finest whiskies including Gooderham & Worts, J.P. Wiser’s Triple Barrel Rye and Jameson Irish Whiskey or enjoy a Waves & Whisky signature cocktail at one of several themed bars.

Dance the night away with local jazz favourite, Lady Be Good, and capture the moment at the Ripley’s photo booth. Then grab a late-night snack at Ripley’s Café which will feature fresh-cut fries, souvlaki and pierogi stations.

Waves & Whisky is part of Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada’s 5-part event series, SPLASH! and is reserved for guests 19 years of age and older. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $28+ HST (annual pass holders will receive a 50% discount on ticket sales).

For more information, visit https://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada/groupsevents/splash or call 647-351-FISH (3474).

Media contact:
Lauren Chan
647-351-3474 x 2631
lchan@ripleys.com