An estuary is a partly enclosed body of water where fresh water coming down the rivers meets with salt water from the sea.Estuaries are fascinating places. They are the most productive ecosystems on the planet. Therefore, they have tons and tons of wildlife such as breeding fishes, birds (some migratory), and many reptiles and mammals.The estuaries are home to lots of animals, especially fish, because they come to lay eggs. It is also home to many more types of birds, mammals, and plants as well.
Estuaries are temporary landforms and don’t last very long. Rivers carry sediment eroded from the land into them, and tides bring in sand from the sea floor. If there are more sediments coming in than flushing out, eventually an estuary will age and die. In fact, it fills up with so much sediment that it turns into dry land.Now, since you have at least an idea about what an estuary is, let’s explore the wildlife around here.
Estuaries are often called the nurseries of the ocean. Many fish species lay their eggs in estuaries. The abundant plant life in estuaries provides a safe place for young fish to live. Catfish, sheepshead, silver perch and grouper also live inestuaries. Spiny lobsters, shrimps, crabs, oysters and clams claim the estuaries as well. The estuary supports lots of fish due to having both the salt water (of the ocean) and the flow of fresh water (from the river).
Cherry Salmon(台灣馬蘇大麻哈魚(櫻花 吻鮭) )The Cherry Salmon is amember of the Salmonfamily. The Cherry salmonis classified as CriticallyEndangered (CR), facing anextremely high risk ofextinction in the wild.The cherry salmon has anaverage length of around20 inches. In the sea, the cherrysalmon feeds oncrustaceans, less often onyoung fish..
CatfishCatfish are abundant in theworld. In fact, one out fourfreshwater fish (25%) andone out of ten of the world’sfish (10%) are catfish.One catfish can lay up to4,000 eggs a year .Raised Catfish are mostlyraised in fresh water pondsonly about 4 – 6 feet deep.Farm raised catfish aretaught to eat food pelletsthat float on top of thewater. Wild Catfish eat fromriver bottoms and otherfood.
Bay PipefishPipefish are commonin eelgrass of baysand estuaries, and aresometimes found inshallow offshorewaters. Pipefish feedon crustaceans.Females are largerthan males.
FloundersFlounders (alternativename Fluke) areocean-dwellingflatfish species that islocated off theCanadian and U.S.east coast of theNorthern Atlantic,and the PacificOcean. They thrive incoastal lagoons andestuaries. They cancamouflage.
Dungeness CrabDungeness Crabs are delicious.In fact, they are considered thebest tasting seafood.They live in the eelgrass bedsand the bottom of the water.They are found living in NorthAmerica, mostly along thewest coast.The Dungeness Crab often canblend into its surroundingsvery well. So well that they areundetected. They often sticktheir heads into the sand whenthey feel there is some type ofdanger around them.They also can bury their entirebodies in the sand if there isenough time.
Hermit Crab Hermit Crabs are nocturnal, which means they are not active in the daytime. They mostly move in the nighttime. Hermit Crabs have many natural predators. It is thought that therefore Hermit Crabs hide among other animals such as sea anemones for protection. Their predators include sharks, squid, big fish, cuttlefish, and octopuses. Although they have a snail – like appearance, Hermit Crabs are relatives of crabs. However, they are not considered true crabs. The Hermit Crab always has an outer shell to help protect its soft inside body (or shall I say, under body). What is interesting is that the shell they are wearing had belonged to another animals. Hermit Crabs continuously search for bigger shells to fit their bodies.
Hermit Crab FactsKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: A rthropodaClass: MalacostracaOrder: DecapodaFamily: PaguroideaCommon Name: Hermit CrabScientific Name: PaguroideaFound: WorldwideDiet: OmnivoreSize:2-10cm (0.8-4in)Weight:200-500g (7-18oz)Number of Species:500Average Lifespan:1-10 yearsConservation Status: ThreatenedColor: Green, Red, Blue, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Pink, WhiteSkin Type: ShellFavorite Food: FishHabitat: Coastal watersMain Prey: Fish, Worms, PlanktonPredators: Bigger Fish, Sharks, CuttlefishSpecial Features: Long body shape and lives in protective shell
Purple Shore CrabThe shell is smooth andusually purple, but sometimesgreenish yellow or reddishbrown.Purple Shore Crabs are verycommon and are a likely sightwhen you flip over a rock atthe beach.The Purple Shore Crab is verysensitive, so when its hidingrock is turned over, it willscurry away immediately.They are similar to GreenShore Crabs but they arebigger and mostly they havelarge red or purple spots ontheir pincers.
NautilusNautilus Pompilius (shownin the pictures) are thelargest and most commonof about six species knownto exist. Likethe coelacanth, it hasremained unchanged forover 400 million years.During prehistoric times,there were about 10,000different species ofnautilus, but only a smallhandful are known tosurvive today. The size ofChambered Nautilusesrange from 10 to 8 inchesand they live in the Pacific& Indian Ocean..You wouldhave to dive down about18000 feet to find thesewonderful animals.
American WigeonAmerican Wigeons live inshallow freshwaterwetlands, includingponds, marshes, andrivers.The American Wigeonbreeds in northwesternNorth America and isfound throughout the restof the continent inmigration and in winter.Their diet includesaquatic plants, with someinsects and molluskseaten during the breedingseason.
Green HeronGreen Herons are opportunisticfeeders, but they mostly preferfish. Crayfish and othercrustaceans are a regularsource of food. They also huntfor aquatic insects,grasshoppers, frogs, rodentsand snakes.The way Green Herons catchtheir meal (fish) is veryinteresting. It commonly dropsbait onto the surface of thewater and grabs the small fishthat are attracted. It uses avariety of baits and lures,including crusts of bread,insects, earthworms, twigs, orfeathers.
American CootAmerican Coots arenoisy members of therail family and they arethey are medium-sizeddiving birds with a whitebill, yellow legs, andlobed toes. AmericanCoots are opportunisticand hungry feeders -they eat what they canfind. Coots mainly eatplants, but they will alsofeed on insects, fish,tadpoles, snails, worms,and eggs of other birds.
Great Blue HeronThe great blue heron isan interesting bird. Thisheron is the largestheron or egret in NorthAmerica and the biggestbird in most swampyareas. The great blueheron lives many placeson Earth. It stands threeto four feet tall and hasa wingspan of almost sixfeet. It is also thelargest heron in Canada.
Canada GooseIn some places, the highlyadaptable Canada goose isso successful andnumerous that peopleconsider them adisturbance. One reason:They can produce a LOT ofpoop. Just 50 Canada geesecan generate more thantwo tons of manure in oneyear! The birds waste cancause poor water qualitywhere they live.These geese also eat a lot,which could harm localfarm crops or cause a notbalanced food chain.
Asian Small – ClawedOtterAsian small-clawedotters are threatened inthe wild by habitatdestruction, hunting,and pollution. In thewild, they live in therivers, creeks, estuariesand coastal waters ofSoutheast Asia, fromnorthern India tosoutheastern China, theMalay Peninsula andparts of Indonesia.
River OtterRiver Otters are mammalsthat are relatives of thestoats, weasels, mink,badgers and wolverines.River Otters arecarnivorous. They eat avariety of animals, includingfish, crustaceans,amphibians, snakes, waterinsects, snails, worms, smallmammals, birds, eggs,frogs, turtles, and anyaquatic invertebrates.Rivers otters are generallysolitary, except for femaleswith their young, and do notassociate except during themating season.
Sea OtterThe Sea Otter is thelargest of all ottersand is a marine otter.It spends lots of timein the water.It was onceextensively huntedfor its warm coat along time ago.Currently, they arelisted as EN(endangered), facinga rick of extinction inthe wild.
Northern Fur SealThe main diet of theNorthern Fur Seal consistsof lantern fish or herring.However, when food isscarce, other food can beeaten.The seals must be careful inboth land and waterhowever, as they are preyedupon by sharks,orcas, Steller Sea Lions andeven Arctic Foxes.
Miditerranean Monk SealThe Mediterranean MonkSeal is one of the Phocidaefamily.There are only 400 to 450individuals of these sealsknown to exist today.This is one of the mostendangered species out of allmammals. Now, it is found inthe Eastern Atlantic Ocean,the Mediterranean Sea, insome estuaries and rivers ofthe world, and also near theTropic of Cancer.
Harbor SealHarbor seals are curiousbut shy animals thatprefer quiet, unpopulatedareas. At the slightestsign of danger they willslip back into the waterand swim away.They are found in coastalwaters of the northernAtlantic and PacificOceans as well as theBaltic and North Seas,making them the mostwide – ranged pinnipeds(walruses and seals).
Hawaiian Monk SealThe Hawaiian Monk Seal lives inthe warm waters of the North-western part of the Hawaiianislands. It got its name becauseits head with the small hairs lookslike the head of a typical monk.Also, the Hawaiian Monk Seallives a solitary life (like monks)when compared to other seals.They can stay under water for 20minutes without coming to thesurface at a depth of 600 feet.The Hawaiian Monk Seal is one ofthe endangered species of seals.With the Mediterranean MonkSeal they struggle for survival toprevent extinction like theCaribbean Monk Seal, whichbecame extinct in the 1950s.
California Sea Lion- California Sea Lions are friendlyanimals often seen doing avariety of tricks in zoos,amusement parks, etc.- The California Sea lion is themost intelligent sea lion in theworld. California sea lions areoften used by the U.S. Navy tohelp tasks that need to becompleted underwater.-California Sea Lions arecarnivorous. They are not verypicky eaters, though. They like toeat large amounts each day.-- hen fully grown, the males canbe about 1,000 pounds whilefemales will only be about 350pounds. For the length, theaverage for males is 7 feet and theaverage for females is 6 feet.
Hooker’s Sea Lion (or New Zealand Sea Lion)The New Zealand Sea Lion TheNew Zealand sea lion orHooker’s sea lion is a protectedmarine mammal. It is listed asVU (vulnerable) and isconsidered to have a high riskof extinction in the wild.The New Zealand Sea Lion hasmany different namings. Thefemales are called cow andmales are called bulls. A NewZealand Sea Lion group iscalled a pod, colony, crash,flock, harem, bob, herd,rookery, or team.The New Zealand Sea Lion isonly found in New Zealand andis one of the rarest seal species.