The Oregon Coast Aquarium will be all smiles this Memorial Day Weekend as it unveils its newest exhibit, Big Bites, which showcases creatures with feeding adaptations that are truly cutting edge.
The toothsome fishes of Big Bites will give visitors plenty of fascinating natural history to chew over, Oregon Coast Aquarium Director of Animal Husbandry Jim Burke said.
“Some secure their prey in the blink of an eye, with dagger-like teeth, while others take the concept of ‘roughage’ to a new level and make meals out of hard coral,” Burke said. “There are species that shear flesh with sharp, serrated teeth, and others that use flat, broad teeth to crush the shells of mollusks and crustaceans.”
The uniquely arranged jaws and teeth of fishes featured in Big Bites allow them to carve niches for themselves in their respective environments. For many of these species, form follows function — what (and how) these creatures eat has shaped their appearance, sometimes drastically. Aquarium enthusiasts will likely recognize some of these renowned “big biters.”
“As visitors travel beyond our Secrets of Shipwrecks gallery, they will come face to face with captivating animals such as porcupinefish, parrotfish and piranhas,” Oregon Coast Aquarium Curator of Fishes and Invertebrates Evonne Mochon-Collurasaid said. “The new gallery transports guests into tropical saltwater environments such as Australian coral reefs and warm pockets of the Amazon Basin, where the waters are calm, but mealtime is anything but!”
In addition to the infamously voracious piranha, guests will meet the Goliath Tigerfish, a denizen of the Congo River Basin in Africa. Goliath Tigerfish are lightning-fast hunters that lie in wait for prey to swim past, subduing them with huge, dagger-like teeth.
Porcupinefish take a different approach, essentially…