Kids' Marine Life Questions and Answers


• How big is a sea fan?
We have seen sea fans as big as eight feet (2.5 meters) across.

• Is there any other corals?
There are lots of other corals, both hard and soft corals. Hard corals include brain coral, star coral, bouder coral, lettuce coral, finger coral, elkhorn coral, and fire coral. Soft corals include sea fans, gorgonians, sea rods, sea fingers, and sea plumes. There are about 60-70 different kinds of corals in the areas of the Central Pacific we will be exploring.

• How many different corals are there or how many do you think?
There are about 700 different kinds (species) of corals underwater around the world. Most of these corals can be found on the Australia Great Barrier Reef. In the Central Pacific areas we will be exploring there are about the same number of corals found here -- about 60 different kinds of corals. Even though there are about the same numbers of corals here many of the corals are different from those we saw in the Virgin Islands and the other areas of the Caribbean Sea that we have explored on our other Internet expeditions.

• What is your favorite kind of coral?
Mr. Brown: My favorite kind of coral is brain coral because it looks like a brain from a huge monster.
Mrs. Brown: My favorite kind of coral is elkhorn coral because it looks like large hands reaching up toward the surface of the sea.


• How long do fish live?
Some fish live only a short time. Some fish live a long time. Some fish only live for one year. Some fish can live for over 100 years.

• What other kinds of fish are there?
There are many different kinds of fishes in the Central Pacific Ocean. In the whole world there are about 25,000 different types of fishes. To find out more about of different fishes go to your local library and check out some fish books or search for fish on the Internet.

• What kind of names are there for fish?
The are all sorts of names for fishes. There are over 25,000 different kinds of fishes all around the world. Each fish has at least two names. One is the scientific name and the other is the common name. Many fish have more than one common name. People in different countries may have different names for the fish that we know by another name. Some fish are named for musical instruments, like the trumpetfish, spotted drum, cornetfish, and guitarfish. Some fish are named for other animals, like the hogfish, cowfish, lizardfish, frogfish, dogfish, catfish, snake eel, lionfish, zebrafish, and seahorse.

• How do you know all the names of the fish?
We don't know all the names of all the fish in the world. If we see a fish and we don't know its name, we look it up in a fish book. Since this is our first time to the Central Pacific we are looking up a lot of the fishes we see in our fish books. To find out the names of different fishes go to your local library and ask for fish identification books in the adult section that list the names of fishes.

• Do the fishes that change color stay the color they blended in with or do they change back to their normal color?
Fishes that change color don't stay the same color. Fishes that change color will usually change to another color to blend in with something else they are laying on.

• Why do fish have color?
Fish have color for many reasons. Some colors and patterns help the fish hide in the colors and patterns of the reef. Colors also help fish find other fish of the same kind (species). The boy fish usually have brighter and prettier colors than the girl fish. The boys often use their bright and pretty colors to help them attract girls.

• What will the fish do if they are in cold water?
The fish that live in the warm waters of the Central Pacific Ocean would probably die if they went into water that was too cold. The fish that live in cold water would probably die if they went into the warm waters of the Central Pacific Ocean.

• What is your favorite fish?
Mrs. Brown: My favorite fish is the queen angelfish. The queen angelfish is the prettiest fish in the Caribbean Sea. I may have a new favorite fish after our expedition is over.
Mr. Brown: My favorite fish is the frogfish. The frogfish is the fish that fishes for fish. The frogfish I have seen before were in the Caribbean Sea. Frogfish also live in the Central Pacific, so I hope to see one during our expedition.


• Why do the cleaner fish clean everything?
The cleaner fish clean other fish because that is how they get their food. The cleaner fish eat the dead skin and parasites that they pick off the other fish.

• If you took a pet fish with you would the cleaner fish clean it?
If you took a pet salt water fish with you the cleaner fish would clean it if the pet fish stopped in front of the cleaner fish.

• Will the cleaner fish clean you?
Yes. Sometimes we look for cleaner fish on the reef. When we find a cleaner fish we wait until it is not cleaning any other fish. Then, we slowly put one hand in front of the cleaner fish. The cleaner fish swims over to our hand and cleans off our hand!

• Can a cleaner fish clean off mud from your hand?
The cleanerfish would not clean mud off your hand. The cleanerfish only picks off things that it would like to eat, like scabs, dead skin and pieces of food.

• Has a cleaner fish ever cleaned you?
Yes. Sometimes we look for cleaner fish on the reef. When we find a cleaner fish we wait until it is not cleaning any other fish. Then, we slowly put one hand in front of the cleaner fish. The cleaner fish swims over to our hand and cleans off our hand!

• Does it hurt when the cleaner fish cleans your hand?
It doesn't hurt, it tickles!


• It must be scary to see barracuda.
No. We aren't scared to see a barracuda. Barracudas look mean and have big, sharp teeth. If you didn't know that they are curious and like to follow divers, you could get scared if a big barracuda swam toward you.

• Can barracudas be very mean?
The only time a barracuda may be mean would be if you caught it and tried to take it out of the water.


• Are there jellyfish in the Pacific Ocean?
Yes, there are jellyfish in the Central Pacific, but we have not seen any, yet.


• Are you afraid of octopuses?
No. Octopuses are very curious and fun to play with.

• Have you ever seen an octopus?
Yes. We have seen lots of octopuses all around the world in the different places we have explored. Octopuses are very unusual animals. They have no bones at all. They can also disguise themselves to look like what they are hiding on.


• What kinds of sharks have you seen?
We have seen different kinds of sharks in different places of the world.
Mr. Brown: I have seen about 13 different kinds (species) of sharks in the ocean: the great white shark, nurse shark, swell shark, leopard shark, mako shark, blue shark, whitetip shark, Caribbean gray reef shark, horn shark, blacktip shark, Pacific angel shark, lemon shark, and bull shark.

• Have many nurse sharks have you seen?
We have seen lots of nurse sharks in the Caribbean Sea. Nurse sharks rest on the sandy bottom of sea during the day. Nurse sharks won't bother you. One time we took a 12 year old boy on his first scuba dive in the Caribbean Sea. During his dive we found a nurse shark and let him pet it!

• Are there hammerhead sharks in the Pacific Ocean?
Yes. Even though there are hammerhead sharks in the Central Pacific Ocean we haven't never seen one, yet.

• Have you been close to a hammerhead shark before?
No, but in the future we hope to go to a small island, off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, to study schooling hammerhead sharks close-up.

• Have you ever seen a great white shark?
Ten years ago we went to Australia to study great white sharks.

• What is the biggest shark you have ever seen?
The biggest shark we have ever seen was the 15' great white shark we studied underwater in Australia.

• Have you even seen a whale shark?
No, but we hope to see one soon. Maybe we see one on this expedition!

• How long do sharks live?
Most sharks live to be about 24 years old.

• How big can sharks get?
The biggest shark is the whale shark which is the biggest fish on our planet. The largest whale shark ever found was about 60 feet long. The largest great white shark ever found was about 27 feet long. The biggest shark we have ever seen was a 15' great white shark in Australia.

• Do you like sharks?
Yes, because they are fascinating animals and there are still a lot of things scientists don't know about sharks.

• Do you like to see the sharks?
We like to see sharks underwater. The problem is that the sharks usually don't like to see us. The sharks are more scared of us than we are of them. We are as big or bigger than most sharks and we look very strange to them. As we breathe underwater we make big bubbles that make a loud sound. To a shark we look like a big, scary, roaring monster coming to get them. The sharks are scared of us and turn and swim to get away from us. The only way we can get the sharks to hang around with us is to bring them food to eat. Sometimes they are so scared of us even having food will not make them stay around us.

• What if a shark chases after you, what do you do?
You have it backwards. We are the ones that chase the sharks to study them and take pictures of them. That is what happened when we found the nurse shark. It swam away and we had to chase it to take its picture! If a shark were to chase us we would turn around and take its picture.

• How deep can you go in the sea without any shark attacking you?
As deep as you want. The few people that have been accidentally bitten by sharks have been are the surface. On the surface the shark may not be able to tell what you are too well. On the surface a person may look like a seal lion that some sharks like to catch. Underwater, we certainly don't look like seal lions and we make scary noises from the air bubbles every time we breathe.

• Did a shark ever attack you before?
Mr. Brown: About 20 years ago a shark did attack me, but it was my fault. I was holding a one foot long horn shark for someone to take pictures of. I was holding the horn shark for a long time and the shark didn't like that. When I let the horn shark go it turned around and tried to bite me, but I punched it in the nose and it swam away. Even if the horn had bitten me it would have hurt very much because horn sharks don't have big, sharp teeth. Horn sharks only have small, flat grinding teeth for eating crabs with hard shells.

• If sharks eat sick and diseased fish, how come they don't get sick and diseased?
The strong acids in the shark's stomach probably kill all the germs from the sick animal.


• Did you see any sting rays?
Yes. We did see some sting rays during our expedition.

• Can the sting rays hurt you if you touch it?
Stingrays won't hurt you when you're diving. Stingrays are scared of us and usually swim away if we get too close. If we are quiet and swim very slowly we can get close to a stingray and pet it. The stingray's skin feels soft and smooth like velvet.

• Are rays friendly to people?
They can be. In the Caribbean Sea, on Grand Cayman Island (Can you find this island on a map or globe?), there is a place called, Stingray City. There are always lots of friendly stingrays waiting for people to feed them. These stingrays will swim up to you and all around you and even sit on your head!

• Have you made a dive off the Cayman Islands to see the sting rays?
Mr. Brown: Yes. I lived on Grand Cayman before it met Mrs. Brown. I used to visit the sting rays all the time and pet their smooth skin.

• Why do they call it Sting Ray City?
Its is called Sting Ray City because there are always lots of sting rays underwater there.

• Can the stingrays sting people and fish?
Stingrays only use their stingers to protect themselves. If a shark tries to bite a stingray, the stingray will hit the shark in the nose with its stinger. If a person steps on a stingray, the stingray will hit the person in the ankle with its stinger, to make the person get off.


• How big can dolphins get and what do dolphins eat?
Different kinds (species) of dolphins grow to different sizes. Bottlenose dolphins can grow to be 13 feet (4 meters) long.

• What does the dolphin eat?
Dolphins eat all sorts of fish. They also like to eat octopus and squid.

• Do dolphins have cleaner fish?
The cleaner fish don't clean off dolphins. To clean themselves dolphins will sometimes rub their bodies on the sandy bottom of the sea.

• I wanted to know if you have ever seen a baby dolphin being born?
We have not been underwater when a baby dolphin was born, but we have seen videos of baby dolphins being born.

• Are dolphins cool?
Yes. We loved our opportunity to work with the dolphins.

• Could a dolphin get mean?
Yes. Dolphins are usually very nice to people. All the dolphins we have seen were not mean to us. We do know of some wild dolphins being mean and biting or hitting people. A dolphin may be mean to people if the dolphins don't want people near them or people have been mean to them.

 |  basecamp  |  archives  |  library  |  other expeditions  |  kids' page  | contact us

© 2003, The Ocean Adventure All rights reserved.

Welcome to Adobe GoLive 4