Sea creatures capture attention.Byline: LARRY BACON The Register-Guard
NEWPORT - Like some kind of submerged space ships, the two oval-shaped creatures hover in the water - small skirts around their bodies rippling slightly to keep them placed precisely where they want to be.
Ten short tentacles gather around a hidden beak below two prominent eyes to form a kind of mournful mourn·ful
1. Feeling or expressing sorrow or grief; sorrowful.
2. Causing or suggesting sadness or melancholy: the mournful sound of a train whistle. old man face. The backs of the greyish animals oscillate To swing back and forth between the minimum and maximum values. An oscillation is one cycle, typically one complete wave in an alternating frequency. , constantly changing a pattern of lines and zigzags, reflecting the animals' thoughts and emotions.
Without effort, the sea creatures glide forward and backward - sometimes coming face to face with the curious humans peering into their tank in the new "Enchanted en·chant
tr.v. en·chant·ed, en·chant·ing, en·chants
1. To cast a spell over; bewitch.
2. To attract and delight; entrance. See Synonyms at charm. Seas" exhibit at the Oregon Coast Aquarium
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is an aquarium in Newport, Oregon. .
"I didn't know there was anything that looked like that," said 14-year-old Hailey Lohman, on vacation with her family from Lewiston, Idaho Lewiston is the county seat of and largest city in Nez Perce County, Idaho, United States. It is the second largest city in the Idaho Panhandle region behind Coeur d'Alene. .
The creatures that so amazed her were cuttlefish cuttlefish, common name applied to cephalopod mollusks that have 10 tentacles, or arms, 8 of which have muscular suction cups on their inner surface and 2 that are longer and can shoot out for grasping prey, and a reduced internal shell enbedded in the enveloping , a relative of the squid and found in the Mediterranean and other waters far from the Pacific Northwest. And that's the thread that ties together the "Enchanted Seas" temporary exhibit.
The animals all come from places - often exotic - located so far away that people from this part of the country seldom have a chance to visit. Consequently the marine life they encounter in the "Enchanted Seas" tanks has an otherworldly look.
The sea horses and the exotic-looking sea dragons - the latter from the waters of southern Australia The term southern Australia is generally considered to include the States and territories of Australia of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. , are among the strange creatures. Some of them - the leafy sea dragons - appear to be garbed in flowing regalia straight out of a psychedelic 1970s dream.
"They look like something from Disney," said Rebecca Hanson of Eugene, a chaperone chaperone /chap·er·one/ (shap´er-on) someone or something that accompanies and oversees another.
molecular chaperone for her daughter's fifth-grade class from St. Paul's Catholic School.
The "Enchanted Seas" exhibit features a variety of tropical fishes, baby alligators, moray Moray, alternate spelling of Murray
Moray. For Scottish names spelled thus, use Murray.
Moray, council area and former county, Scotland
Moray (mûr`ē) eels, colorful corals, and some of the favorite jellyfish jellyfish, common name for the free-swimming stage (see polyp and medusa), of certain invertebrate animals of the phylum Cnidaria (the coelenterates). The body of a jellyfish is shaped like a bell or umbrella, with a clear, jellylike material filling most of the from the aquarium's previous "Jellies: Jewels of the Sea" temporary exhibit which had a 2 1/2 -year run.
Jim Burke, the aquarium's assistant curator of fish and invertebrates, said the staff spent 9 1/2 months putting together the collection, largely by trading with other aquariums and buying from collectors around the world.
Visitors can learn about some of the unusual features of the animals - such as the fact that the fertilized fer·til·ize
v. fer·til·ized, fer·til·iz·ing, fer·til·iz·es
1. To cause the fertilization of (an ovum, for example).
2. eggs of the sea horses and sea dragons are carried by the males. Or that the lumpy-looking sargassumfish, also known as the angler fish, from South Pacific waters has a kind of built-in fishing pole and lure atop its head.
If smaller fish come near, the angler fish unlimbers its pole and flicks it back and forth, with a featherlike "lure" at the end designed to attract the interest of the smaller fish. When they come near, the angler fish gobbles them up and the fishing pole retracts.
The exhibit, which opened Memorial Day weekend, features about 40 different species. Burke expects "Enchanted Seas" to remain for at least two years. It will change from time to time, he said, as new acquisitions occur.
Repeat visitors also will have a chance to watch some of the immature creatures such as the sea horses and sea dragons grow much bigger.
"We've just tried to make it a bright, light, fun exhibit for people to come and look at and learn from," Burke said.
Developing the exhibit hasn't been without problems. The staff is working hard to "train" the sea horses and sea dragons to eat previously frozen dead krill krill: see crustacean.
Any member of the crustacean suborder Euphausiacea, comprising shrimplike animals that live in the open sea. The name also refers to the genus Euphausia within the suborder and sometimes to a single species, E. superba. and brine shrimp rather than the more expensive and harder-to-get live ones they prefer.
It's a work in progress, Burke said, that sometimes involves trying to make the dead food more interesting by bouncing it around in front of the animals on a monofilament monofilament,
n a single strand of untwisted synthetic material such as nylon; used to create surgical sutures.
Or putting striped sea horses that seem to have adapted to the dead food in with the others that haven't.
Three of the four sharp-toothed moray eels had to be removed from the eel tank because they kept fighting.
The bigger ones appeared to be picking on the smallest.
"We'll try to trade our larger ones for ones a little smaller," Burke said.
Overall, he said, the exhibit has been well received and has generated "lots of oohs and aahs."
Some of them came Thursday from 11-year-old Jessie Copley, one of the fifth-graders from St. Paul's School.
"I've never seen more exciting animals," she said. "It's great."
The delicate-looking leafy sea dragon, from the waters of southern Australia, is one of the highlights of the Oregon Coast Aquarium's newest exhibit. Aquarium visitors photograph in one of several tanks in the Enchanted Sea exhibit at Newport's Oregon Coast Aquarium. The exhibit, which opened Memorial Day weekend, features about 40 different species.