November 24 is Share Your Unique Talent Day!
Humans have a lot of talents. Some of us can sing, some of us can juggle and some of us can even play piano. But, did you know amazing talents go beyond the human-world and also occur in other parts of the animal kingdom, such as the underwater world.
To celebrate this unique day, we are sharing just a few of the unique talents of the animals that call Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada home.
Related to squid and octopus, the cuttlefish is considered by many to be the ultimate master of disguise. Thanks to special pigments cells found on its skin, called chromatophores, it possesses the ability to alter its appearance and adapt to its surroundings very easily. It can easily imitate the appearance, and even the texture of anything that it sees such as rocks, creating the perfect camouflage to evade both predators and prey.
To see this amazing talent in action, check out this video, taken by one of the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada Aquarists, Carmen.
The archerfish is small tropical fish that feasts mainly on insects. It gets its name from the astonishing way it catches its prey. The fish, which are typically no more than 4 inches long, has the ability to shoot a jet of water (sometimes up to 6 feet) and hit insects hanging on vegetation near the water. They’re able to accurately hit their small targets with enough force to knock them into the water, where they can then gobble them up.
One unique feature of a sharks is their sixth sense. Sharks have a network of special cells in their heads that can detect electricity. These special cells are called electroreceptors, and are used for hunting and navigation. This sense is so developed that sharks can find fish hiding under sand by honing in on the weak electrical signals emitted by their twitching muscles.
Starfish are not in fact fish, but invertebrates call echinoderms. This is the reason why they are more often referred to as sea stars. Beyond their distinctive shape, sea stars are famous for their ability to regenerate limbs. This talent is useful if the sea star is threatened by a predator. It can drop an arm, get away, and grow a new arm. They accomplish this by housing most or all of their vital organs in their arms. This means that some species can even regenerate an entirely new sea star from just one arm and a portion of the star’s central disc.
Clownfish are scientifically known as “sequential hermaphrodites” – they are initially born as male but are able to swap gender. As adults, clownfish develop complex hierarchies, led by a dominant female. Should this female die, one male with then transforming himself into the next alpha-female.
Make sure to swim by Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada to see these amazing talents in action!