Aquarium of Salento | Deep sea – Tanks 15/16/17

THE DEEP SEA (tanks 15/16/17)

The set-ups, videos and spectacular reconstructions in the large tanks tell the story of the main shipwrecks and sinking that occurred along the Ionian coast during the Second World War: the Junker-Ju 88, a German plane; Caterina Madre and Quail, respectively Italian steamship and English destroyer. Splendid specimens of scorpionfish, triggerfish, red lance urchins, goldblotch groupers, blotched picarels, and royal sea cucumbers populate this hall of the Aquarium, dedicated to deep-sea species.

Red scorpionfish > These fish look like stones, which is what they want us to think: they pretend to be rocks, and as soon as little fish approach, they immediately swallow them. Pretending to be rocks is a hunting technique; in addition, they are also poisonous like stonefish but not deadly for us. The poison is very harmful, but it is not fatal. They are called red scorpionfish. Their bodies are full of a strange beard that attract and deceive small fish: they think they are in front of a rock full of worms, and when they are within reach of their mouths, the scorpionfish catch them.

Grey mediterranean triggerfish > The grey Mediterranean triggerfish and have a very hard skin. They have such a hard skin that until about seventy years ago, some fishermen both in Sicily and in the Lower Salento used as sandpaper. So, the triggerfish are not afraid, because even if the scorpionfish sting them, they risk nothing.

Leptogorgia sarmentosa > The leptogorgia sarmentosa is a colony of octocorals. As you get closer, you will see that on these twigs there is a sort of white hairs. They look like hairs, but they are actually polyps, and they also have eight tentacles.

The red lance urchin > The red lance urchin is a particular type of sea urchin, with quills very evident, thick, well spaced, as long as the diameter of the body, yellow to red in colour. It can reach 5 centimetres.

Royal cucumber > There is the royal cucumber is a little different from the common sea cucumber, in size, color and skin texture.

Mediterranean chromis > The Mediterranean chromis is a dark fish that can grow up to a size of 25 centimetres (9.8 in) in length, with a common length of 13 centimetres. When juvenile these fish are electric blue.

Sandy dogfish > The Sandy dogfish is the most common shark in the Mediterranean Sea and is a species of oviparous shark, so females lay their eggs in rigid shells called mermaid’s wallets. After 5 months in warm water or 11 months in cold water, the puppies begin to emerge from the wallets. It inhabits stony, sandy and coral seabeds, especially if rich in gorgonians. It frequents shallow and medium-deep waters, being found from 10 to 400 meters deep. It hardly reaches lengths exceeding 100 cm.