Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Manatee - Mixed species exhibit at The Dallas World Aquarium

During my visit to The Dallas World Aquarium in Texas I saw manatees mixed with large arapaimas in the Orinoco Rainforest tank. It was impressive to see these large but otherwise very different animals so close together.
 Click on the photo for larger version.

 Here is a video clip

The aquarium guide listed the manatee as "Antillean manatee" a term that was new to me since I had heard it only referred to as the West Indian Manatee Trichechus manatus.

They also had three catfish species in the tank
South American Red Tailed Catfish Phractocephalus hemioliopterus
Reticulated Shovelnose catfish  Pseudoplatystoma reticlatum
The aquarium guide listed the third as "Fork-snouted" catfish. I couldn't find any further information about it and made the assumption they are referring to the  Ripsaw catfish Oxydoras niger
as shown in the photo below.

Another species in the tank is the "Brown stingray" - at least that's what it said in the aquarium guide. But after looking closer at the photo in their guide book and then at the photo below I decided it is an Ocellate river stingray Potamotrygon motoro. Though I must add that this not my field of expertise.

The stingray is partially covered by the visitor's head
While I tried to find an answer to my stingray question I stumbled over an interesting aquarium website:   http://www.aquarticles.com/
with an introduction on how to keep freshwater stingrays

I also saw a few black-banded leporinus Leporinus fasciatus 
This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.

And finally, the Arrau turtle Podocnemis expansa is sharing the pool with the manatees.

 From above the manatee pool looked like this:

In both photos above you can see a manatee to the left of the island.
The island is home to Saki monkeys and Emperor tamarins.

Many birds are "flying freely from the island in the River exhibit to the top of the seven-story structure" - to quote the guide.
I just want to list a few here:

Southern yellow grosbeak

Green oropendola

Crested orpendola

Andean cocks-of-the-rock Rupicola peruvianus

Pompadour cotinga

Capuchin bird

and various toucan species.

I also saw  several species of waterfowl  in the pool. The guide lists:
Ringed teal, Rosy-billed pochard  and White-faced whistling duck
Black-necked swan
Orinoco goose

Here a shot from the underwater window with two ducks bobbing in the water

The photo below shows a huge waterfall. I was once told by a marine mammal curator that his manatees were stressed when introduced to a new exhibit due to a life support return pipe that was placed one meter above the pool surface (3 feet) and emptied with a lot of noise.
At The Dallas World Aquarium the animals not only have the water of a return pipe gushing into the pool, as you can see in one of the above water photos, but also a tall waterfall. Neither of the two animals seems to be particularly stressed and they were calmly swimming circles through the pool. But again, I'm a designer and this is not my field of expertise.

notice the tall aerial roots hanging behind and alongside the waterfall
And lastly, another video from the underwater viewing area

For all photos and videos above copyright 2010 wild-design unless otherwise noted