Ucluelet Aquarium news
by Bill Morrison, Tofino
The Ucluelet Aquarium opened in March this year. The earlier season has brought some new and different animals.
Of course we still have some of the crowd favourites: a giant Pacific octopus (whose crab hunting never fails to impress), sea urchins, many anemones, the touch tank and the predatory sunflower stars.
Crabs continue to be a big deal at the aquarium. In addition to the usual suspects (Dungeness, rock, kelp & decorator crabs), we have a particularly massive Puget Sound king crab. Its camouflage is so complete that most of our guests don't even notice it until we point it out... then we listen for the "OMG!!!" Some of the local commercial fishermen have brought us our first-ever brown box crab. The big breathing holes on its front claws are truly impressive. We were excited, too, when the trawlers also brought us a threadfin sculpin from deep. Then again, we are easily excited by rarely-seen sculpins.
Shortly after opening our committed young local volunteers (a.k.a. "The Crab Kids") showed up. Their efforts have been most appreciated as they patiently wait for jellies to drift by the dock. They keep us well-stocked with shore crabs and, this spring, have caught a
red octopus in a trap off the Whiskey Dock! This is the much smaller cousin of the giant Pacific octopus.
Other new animals this year include Ostrich plume hydroids and the tube-dwelling or burrowing anemone which pokes its tentacles out from among the sand dollars. Richard from Thornton Creek Hatchery has supplied us with three species of baby salmon this year (chum, chinook & coho) - see if you can tell the difference!
One of the highlights so far this year was watching the herring eggs develop under the microscope (2 cells, 4 cells, 8 cells etc.) until they finally hatched. The babies inside their eggs were invisible except for their eyes. Cool.
Our curator, Dave, has set up a rather lurid horse clam display. We are not completely certain that this is suitable for all audiences....
One of the most interesting displays has been one that is not living... yet. We are proud to display architectural drawings of the planned new aquarium building.
As always, we are grateful to the local businesses who are signing up to sponsor tanks for the 2009 season.
We hope you will visit us.
The Ucluelet Aquarium
is located at the Main Street Waterfront Promenade in Ucluelet. Hours: 10 am - 6 pm daily. Visit the Ucluelet Aquarium website for more info: uclueletaquarium.org
Ucluelet Aquarium news by Bill Morrison, with new programs and new displays at the Aquarium in Ucluelet.