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Tropical Sea Exhibit

Tropical sea ecosystems are areas which support the largest biological diversity of plant and animal life on Earth. Coral reefs, mangrove forests, seagrass meadows and spacious open sea systems are a great source of riches for humanity. The diverse life forms in this unusual underwater world are worthy of admiration.

(Carcharhinus melanopterus, Quoy & Gaimard, 1824)

Blacktip reef shark

The blacktip reef shark can be recognised by the black tips of its fins. It inhabits shallow, coastal waters in the coral reefs of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It can grow up to 1.6 m, weighs up to 13.6 kg and feeds on various invertebrates, primarily cephalopods and crustaceans but also sea snakes and birds. As with all sea sharks, their numbers are dropping, most often due to overfishing, and is included in the IUCN vulnerable (VU) category.

(Triaenodon obesus, Rüppell, 1837)

Whitetip reef shark

They inhabit shallow coral reefs (from 8 to 40 m in depth) in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is interesting to note that it mainly stays within the same coral reef its entire life, and the area in which it moves and hunts during a single night does not exceed 0.05 km². Unlike certain types of sharks which have to move to breathe, the whitetip shark can rest at the bottom of the sea without worry as water goes through its mouth and gills.

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They have a two-year reproductive cycle; females are pregnant for five months at a minimum, she births live young, and the brood usually contains one to five young (12 young during her entire life). Due to the low number of young, along with overfishing, according to the IUCN category for threatened species, it is classified as vulnerable (VU).

(Amphiprion ocellaris, Cuvier, 1830)


It is well-known that the clownfish lives in symbiosis with anemones. The mucous membrane on its skin protects it from the sting of the anemone; young clownfish must go through a period of acclimatisation until it becomes immune to the anemone’s poison.

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Aquarium Pula has a successful breeding programme in place for this species. Clownfish breeding occurs year-round. Before spawning, the male builds a nest which is always located close to an anemone so that the eggs may have the protection of its stingers. Males then court females by spreading their fins, and biting and chasing them. Females begin mating by laying large orange eggs into the nest, which can number from 100 to 1000, depending on the age of the fish. After fertilisation, the eggs are attached to the surface with thin threads. Males primarily take care of the eggs, regularly cooling them with their fins and cleaning damaged eggs and fungus off of them. After 6-8 days, larvae hatch.

(Hippocampus abdominalis, Lesson, 1827)

Big-belly seahorse

This, the largest seahorse species can grow up to around 35 cm. They inhabit the southwest part of the Pacific Ocean (Australia and New Zealand), usually at 50 m depth. Males have longer fins and shorter snouts, and the top of their brood pouch has a distinctive yellow colouration. Although the brood pouch is developed after six months, they reach sexual maturity only after reaching three years of age. It is interesting to note that males can accommodate up to 1100 eggs in their brood pouch. Although according to the IUCN, it is listed in the least concern (LC) category, the greatest threat to them is the destruction of their habitat and accidental fishing.

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Explore the riches of the tropical seas