Meet our favourite undersea creatures from Chessington's SEA LIFE centre.
The Regal Tang originates from the warm waters of tropical reefs in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. They have a vibrant electric blue body and distinctive black markings resembling the shape of an artist’s palette – hence their other name, the Palette Surgeonfish.
Harmless to humans, this small and slender shark has a narrow head and long, cat-like eyes. A native of the warm Indian and western Pacific Oceans, it makes its home in crevices and holes in coral reefs, feeding on small fish.
Usually under a metre long, this small shark is found in shallow tropical waters where it lives on the sea bed, feeding at night on small fish and invertebrates. Its name comes from the black spots behind the pectoral fins that resemble military epaulettes.
A tropical freshwater fish originating in Venezuela and Colombia, this species has attractive electric blue or gold colouring and grows to a maximum length of seven centimetres. Known for their social nature, they faithfully pair with just one mate before spawning.
There are some 75 species of Surgeonfish (also known as Tangs) and they get their name from the sharp spines at the tale that resemble a surgeon’s scalpel and can produce deep cuts. A native of tropical seas, they are remarkable for their vivid colouring.
With vibrant yellow and electric blue colouring, this beautiful fish has a crown-like ring on its head and lower fins streaming behind. Found in the warm waters of the Caribbean, they grow up to 45 centimetres in length, feeding mainly on sponges.
Slipper Lobsters make their home in warm oceans and seas and despite their name they are not true lobsters. Their distinctive characteristic is the second set of oversized antennae, which look like round plates extending from the front of the head.
Native to the upper Orinoco and Negro Rivers in South America, the Cardinal Tetra has an iridescent blue line along its side with vivid red colouring beneath it. A very small fish, it grows to just two-and-a-half centimetres in length.
Recognisable by their large semicircular head, Bonnethead’s live in subtropical waters, feeding on shellfish and other small fish. The smallest of the Hammerhead sharks, they grow to a maximum length of 1.5 metres and weigh around 10kg.
There are over 30 seahorse species and, unlike other fish, they have a thin skin, rather than scales and swim upright. Male seahorses, not females, give birth to their young, delivering up to 200 babies at a time from a front pouch on their body.
They can grow up to 2.5inches. They shed their exoskeleton on a regular basis. Adventurers can touch these in our touch-pool and they like to eat the dirt and dead skin from under our finger nails.
Clownfish are easy to recognise due to their bright orange bodies and three distinctive white stripes. They live in the tentacles of the fish-eating anemone’s and are protected from the anemone’s lethal sting by a layer of mucus.
Upside down jellyfish are so called because their bell points downward and their tentacles point upward. They seek access to sunlight to feed algae that live on their tentacles. They eat excess food produced by the algae and can also catch planktonic animals with their tentacles.
With their flat bodies and long, thin tails, rays are graceful swimmers, but live mostly on the seafloor where they breathe by drawing in oxygenated water through the small openings on the top of their heads, called spiracles, and passing it out via their gills.
One of the oldest species on the planet, jellyfish come in a variety of shapes, colours and sizes, ranging from 3mm to three metres in diameter. They have no bones, brain or heart and drifting through the water, their long tentacles can deliver a painful sting.
There are over 2,000 species of starfish in the world’s oceans and while most have five arms, some have more – the Sun Starfish has as many as 40. Their underside is covered with hundreds of small, tube-like feet, enabling them to move about.
A native of the Pacific Ocean, the predatory Lionfish has venomous spikes protruding from its body that it uses in defence if attacked. The female Lionfish releases between 2,000 and 15,000 eggs and, once fertilised, they hatch within two days.
Once you have explored Chessington’s amazing SEA LIFE centre be sure to visit the SEA LIFE shop for some more underwater fun. Water toys, fact-filled books, pirate props and mermaid gifts are just some of the souvenirs guaranteed to make a splash!
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