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They are a sleek saltwater catfish that cleans up the bottom. Adult males carry and hatch the eggs in their mouths. Size 10-30 cm.


Since there are no fresh water echinoderms, this is one of the most popular phylogenetic assortments, with collections of writhing brittlestars lashing their snaky arms, bristling sea urchins and burrowing sand dollars. Sea cucumbers, shaped as their name implies, tunnel through the sediments like earthworms taking up nutrients and starfish creep up the aquarium glass, wrapping their arms around tunicates, or chopped clams. Sand stars emerge from sand and “speed” along the bottom, on raised tubed feet when a bit of food is dropped in the tank. These assortments usually include two or three of every listing, and sometimes there are surprises such as sea biscuits and other echinoderms.


Included are amphipods, isopods, barnacles, crabs, shrimp, hermit crabs, and horseshoe crabs.


Includes colorful anemones from our tanks, hydroid, corals, gorgonians, sea pansies and if scyphozoan jellyfish are pulsating in our bay, they are included along with shimmering examples of the phylum Ctenophora.


Includes an array of brightly colored sponges that can range from different shades of green, blue, pink or yellow. Species may include red beard, yellow ball, devil’s finger and crumb of bread sponge.


  • Included are chitons, clams, mussels, whelks, snails, and nudibranchs. When abundant, scaphopods and/or frilled sea hares may be included.


Create your own botanical gardens with our collection of semi-tropical macroscopic benthic marine algae. Phyla represented include Chlorophyta, Rhodophyta, Phaeophyta, and Cyanophyta.


The greatest diversity of fish form and function is found among marine species. Here the flat fishes, flounders, hog chokers, tonguefish, represent the epitomy of depression, and eels are the most elongate. Blowfish inflate themselves, and pipefish, looking like blades of grass, are perfect in camouflage. While these examples are likely to turn up in our fish assortment, there is no predicting the diversity and variety that will be provided. It is always a pleasant surprise.


Includes non-vertebrate chordates: solitary, colonial, and encrusting tunicates and amphioxus


Colorful anemones from our tanks, hydroid, corals, gorgonians, sea pansies and if scyphozoan jellyfish are pulsating in our bay, they are included along with shimmering examples of the phylum Ctenophora.


Arius felis

They are a sleek saltwater catfish that cleans up the bottom. Adult males carry and hatch the eggs in their mouths. Size 10-30 cm.

Each Dozzen small ---123

Each Dozzen small ---123

Each Dozzen small ---123

Each Dozzen small ---123


Hardhead sea catfish (Arius felis)

Spheroides nephelus

A drab smooth-skinned fish that will inflate itself into a tight, buoyant, impregnable ball when handled. Size: 10-14 cm.


Southern puffer (Spheroides nephelus)

Lactophrys tricornis

It has a fused armor giving it a hard-shelled, triangular un-fishlike body. Colorful blue, green and yellow fish with two prominent horns over its eyes.


A cowfish (Lactophrys tricornis)

Balistes capriscus

Known mostly for their sharp “triggered” dorsal spine, these territorial grey triggerfish are a sight to see both locally in the Gulf of Mexico and ranging throughout the western Atlantic Ocean.


Grey triggerfish (Balistes capriscus) at Gulf Specimen Marine Lab and Aquarium.

Monacanthus hispidus

Their names come from their sandpapery skin, fishermen once used their hides to strike matches. Their dorsal spine has a trigger-like mechanism that makes it spring erect when they are threatened. Size: 4-8 cm.


Gobiesox strumosus

Small fish shaped like a skillet; with a broad head and narrow body. The pelvic fins are actually a large, broad suction disc. Clingfish are usually found hiding in or on the shells around oyster bars and seagrass beds. Size: 4-6 cm.


Clingfish or skilletfish (Gobiesox strumosus)

Symphurus plagiusa

Small, flat, left-eyed fishes that taper to a point — “tongue-shaped” — hence the name. They are bottom-dwelling fish, common in the muddy bottoms of bays and estuaries feeding on small crustaceans and polychaete worms. Size 6-12 cm.


Trinectes maculatus

This flatfish stays buried and looks like a baby flounder but seldom grows larger than six inches. Probably named from the days when hogs roamed the beaches and gobbled up fish as fast as seine fishermen dragged their catches up on the beaches. The scales, which make the fish stick to the deck, also could lodge in a hog’s throat. Very hardy and vigorous. Size: 6-12 cm.


Hogchoker (Trinectes maculatus)

Paralichthys oblongus

Unlike the common gulf flounders, these flatfishes have four large, dark and round spots on their bodies.


Four-spotted flounder (Paralichthys oblongus)

Paralichthys albigutta

Flounders belong to the group of fishes known as “flat fishes.” Their most unique feature is the placement of their eyes. As the young larvae develop, one eye migrates across the head toward the other. Depending on the species, flounders and other flatfishes are “right-eyed” or “left-eyed.” Lying flat on the sea bottom, flounders are masters of camouflage, changing their coloration to blend in with the substrate; hiding from predators or aggressively ambushing small fishes and crustaceans with their mighty tooth-studded jaws.


Mugil cephalus.

Often seen jumping out of the water, mullet are the cows of the fish world, and are the main food fish of the northern Gulf Coast. They browse along the bottom, feeding on algae and tiny creatures that live in mud.


Serranus subligarius

The smallest of the Sea Basses they are 5 inches long at maximum, but mature at 2 inches. Common in warm Atlantic and Caribbean waters to depths of 60 feet. Found around rocky jetties and over sand flats. Their common name comes from the large white patch on their belly. Size: 3-6 cm.


Belted sandfish (Serranus subligarius)

Chasmodes saburrae and other species

A large group of small, fish (2-4 inches), common along the shells of oyster bars. Also found on shallow flats and seagrass beds. Females lay hundreds of tiny golden colored eggs in empty shells, which the males aggressively guard. Size: 3-8 cm.


Feather blennie (Hypsoblennius henzi)

Halichoeres bivittatus

Has beautiful green coloration. Will bury itself in the sand substrate to hide. Size 6-10cm.


Green wrasse (Halichoeres bivittatus) at Gulf Specimen Marine Lab in Panacea, FL.

Prionotus scitulus, P. tribulus

Swims along the sand bottoms with its wing-like pectoral fins expanded. The modified ventral fins act like fingers, feeling the bottom for prey. Size: 6-12 cm.


Bighead searobin (Prionotus tribulus)

Scorpaena brasiliensis

Red, orange, and brown, they blend into the sea bottom, and ambush passing shrimp. Although bristling with poisonous spines, they are a popular aquarium specimen.


A scorpionfish (Scorpaena brasiliensis)

Chaetodipterus faber

Common to Florida and Caribbean water, schools of spadefish are frequently seen nibbling on jellyfish, hydroids, and feeding on small crabs and shrimp when the fish matures.


Atlantic spadefish (Chaetodipterus faber)

Diplodus holbrookii

Less common than the regular pinfish but still very common. Found in coastal grass beds. Size 6 to 12 cm


Lagodon rhomboides

3 inches to 6 inches, a very common aggressive fish available throughout the year. Hardy species that does well in aquariums.


Lagodon rhomboides

They are not only delicious, but magnificent aquarium creatures with their large bodies, and round eyes on raised stalks. Pink shrimp burrow in the sand completely by day and dance in the water column by night, scavaging actively on whatever you throw in the tank. The diurnal white shrimp, Penaeus setiferus (or Litopenaeus setiferus if you must!) may be supplied when pinks are not available.


A greenish blue shrimp that lives in burrows under oyster clusters, periodically emitting a loud, resounding “pop” that can be heard some distance away. The noise comes from the snapping of the one oversized, highly modified pincer of the first of two pairs of pincers and is used to attack prey. These noises befuddle submarine sonars. Pistol shrimp are usually found in mated pairs. Size: 3-5 cm.


They are a small shrimp so transparent they hardly cast a shadow. In the winter the tidal creeks seethe with them, providing food for a tremendous number of estuarine fishes, wading birds, alligators, etc. They also provide research opportunities for scientists working with the hormonal control of chromatophores in endocrinology, and are classical subjects in water quality/pollution work. In summer their numbers are greatly diminished by predators, but their rapid reproduction quickly builds their numbers back in the fall. They have a life cycle of one year and can reach maturity in 2 to 3 months. Ovigerous females available from March to October.  


A clear caridean shrimp with large red chromatophores and black stripes. Moving delicately around the aquarium, they sometimes exhibit cleaning behavior. Normally found in association with hydroids and fouling organisms, they are often encountered in sea grass beds. Gravid females are available December through April. Size: 2-4 cm.


They provide a rare combination of exotic beauty and a unique display of cleaning symbiosis at its most primitive stage. The body is longitudinally striped with ruby red, and the ventral thorax bears striking “Y” shaped markings. When a spiny boxfish or filefish approaches, the shrimp begins rhythmically rocking to and fro. Ascending the vertical column of water in a peculiar walking motion, it mounts its “host” and begins picking off parasites. Red Cleaners will swarm over your fingers picking at dead skin or cuts, providing a classroom experience never to be forgotten. Size: 1.5-2.5 cm.


The hardiest of all species known in Gulf waters. They can live out of water for days, are vigorous, incorrigible feeders and have excellent visual responses. Their behavior and natural history have been widely studied. Frequents uppermost tidal horizons, often crawling up seawalls and tree stumps. Size: 6-10 cm.


It is the largest species in the Western Atlantic. Its hairy red body, massive lobster like claws and bluish stalked eyes are a study in crustacean magnificence. Sporadic.


An an amusing, active species found in moon snail shells. Are prone to wearing cloak anemones (See Cn-270, Calliactis tricolor) whenever possible, and will steal them from each other in the aquarium. May emerge from shell if distressed, exposing its soft abdomen. Exhibits elaborate aggressive behavior; can be observed changing shells. Size of shell: 4-6 cm.


It’s claws are specially modified to inhabit fighting conch shells. They are an attractive, peaceful hermit found in deep water throughout the winter months.


A small, active hermit that starts scurrying about the minute it is placed in your aquarium. Highly aggressive among themselves, they afford the aquarist with many fascinating hours as they bluff, fight and swap shells. Some specimens often jump out of their shells when handled, exposing their soft abdomens. Experiments have shown that Pagurus can discriminate between yellow and blue painted shells. Size of shell: 2 cm.