Saturday, November 8, 2008

Visit to the Palma Aquarium

When I was in Europe over the last two weeks, I did not visit any beaches at all. Not even when I was on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca. The chill in the air and the wet weather was really not that inviting.

Still I managed to find time to visit the Lisbon Oceanarium and the Palma Aquarium in Mallorca, Spain. I was told by a Spanish marine biologist who works in the Lisbon Oceanarium that it was once the largest in Europe. Today, it is second to the Valencia's Aquarium in Spain.

Unfortunately, my camera batteries decided to go flat before I entered the Lisbon Oceanarium. I tried taking some shots with my mobile phone but they were really ugly.

Briefly, the visit to the Lisbon Ocenarium was quite interesting. The Spanish marine biologist that I met explained to me how they used marine bacteria and other microorganisms to filter and clean the water in their gigantic aquaria.

This is El Gran Azul (The Big Blue) tank in the Palma Aquarium, where there were sharks and other fishes. But what I really like about it is that there were cushions or pillows on the carpeted floor and you could just lie down and watch the sharks swim by. Also, I like it that the carpeted floor is level with the floor of the tank.

There are some outdoor open tanks like this one which houses the turtles and other tanks where they keep the sting rays and hammerhead sharks. I was able to have a close-up shot of the turtles as they kept coming to the window.

Inside the Palma Aquarium, there is quite a nice collection of marine life species. Anyway, taking photos of fishes inside a tank is always challenging to me and my humble camera. So I would show only the good photos here.

These ones are Scorpaena scrofa the large-scaled scorpion fish. They were easy to photograph as they stayed still most of the time.

The octopus - my favorite- I like the way it moves, very elegant and beautiful indeed.

Marbled moray (Muraena helena)

I googled for information about this fish and learnt some interesting facts. Apparently, the moray eels and other marine predators like barracudas may accumulate high levels of ciguatoxin in their flesh. Ciguatoxin is a neurotoxin. Its presence in the flesh of such fishes is said to be due to biomagnification, whereby the ciguatoxin (which originates from some microorganisms) get more and more concentrated as it moves up the food chain.

Well, in the beginning of the clip, you heard some ladies laughing because the two moray eels came close and and their lips met - which I was too slow to capture. Some of the ladies thought the eels were kissing and they found it lovely to watch. They also made some jokes about the eels. I didn't quite get it but I suspected them to be naughty ones.


Mosura said...

Welcome back!

The videos and photos turned out really well. They obviously keep the windows clean.

Tsun-Thai Chai said...

Ha ha. They sure did.

Tsun-Thai Chai said...

And it's so good to be back to Perth again.

Denis Wilson said...

Glad you had a good trip. Welcome back to blogging.
I liked the Octopus too.
Does the chemical accumulation in the Moray Eel pose any health problems for them? Or indeed perhaps it makes them unattractive to predators. I should say less attractive to predators than their nasty looking mouths do.

Tsun-Thai Chai said...

Hi Denis,

Honestly I have no answers to your first question. Something to think about.

Anyway, I believe it certainly makes their flesh less attractive to some predators, like human beings. My google search showed that they are food to the Japanese and Greeks. And that they taste good when deep-fried.