Animal Updates - July 27

Published July 27, 2012

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we're bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what's going on... here's what's new this week!

New Vanilla Vine

Guests can now spot a Vanilla Vine (vanilla planifolia or the vanilla orchid) climbing in our Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit.

This vine climbs the trunks of trees throughout the world’s tropics.  Originally native to Mexico, this species has been spread around the globe, farmed for its valuable seed pod, in order to produce vanilla flavoring.  In its native habitat the flower, which will eventually produce the desired pod, is pollinated by a small stingless bee that is endemic to Mexico.  This confined the vanilla industry because without the particular species bee, the pods would not form.  It was only when the discovery that the flower could be hand pollinated that the vanilla industry was able to spread worldwide.

New Damselfish 

Two brightly colored Azure Damselfish have been added to our Survival through Adaptation exhibit.

These fish are easy to spot because of their bright blue and yellow coloration!

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

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Picture this: You’ve just spent a wonderful, late summer week on Cape Cod, swimming in the ocean and enjoying the sunshine with friends and family. As fall sets in, you know it’s time to head home. You get on the highway, but something strange happens … despite driving for hours, you end up back where you started. You feel sluggish, confused and exhausted. If you were a turtle, you just might be cold-stunned.

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