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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.

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Did you know blacktip reef sharks can fully jump out of the water? During hunting, they can completely leap out of the water, and before diving, they often spin several times around their axis.

(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.

(Amphiprion ocellaris, Cuvier, 1830)


The clownfish is an endemic species of warmer areas of the Indian Ocean. It is known that the clownfish lives in symbiosis with the anemone, and young clownfish must acclimate until they become immune to the anemone's poison. A slimy coating on their skin protects them from the anemone's tentacles.

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Males court females by spreading their fins, nipping, and chasing them; reproduction occurs throughout the year. The female initiates mating by depositing large orange eggs into a nest, and they can lay 100 to 1000 eggs, depending on the age of the fish. After fertilization, the eggs are attached to the substrate by thin threads. The males primarily care for the eggs, regularly fanning them with their fins to cool them and cleaning them of damaged eggs and fungi. After 6-8 days, the 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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