Other Marine Life

Photographs

Note: From this page, the orange-red link under each photograph and in the Table of Contents will take you to a full-size photo.  If there are any additional images, an asterisk (*) will follow the orange-red link and take you to a full page for the species.  

Other Marine Life Currently within this WWW Site – 73

   Alphabetical List by Common Name

    Alphabetical List by Genus and Species

    Alphabetical List by Family

 

Barnacle of the Balanidae Family (1)

Titon Acorn Barnacle, Megabalanus coccopoma. Size: 10 cm (4.0 inches) x 10 cm (4.0 inches) x 13 cm (5.1 inches). A shallow water species found in all Mexican oceanic waters. They date to the Oligocene period, 4 million years ago.

Barnacle of the Lepadidae Family (2)

Goose Barnacle, Lepes anserifera.* Length: 3.8 cm (1.5 inches). Photographed barnacle removed from a plastic one gallon jug that had washed ashore. Collected in the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur.

Striped Goose Barnacle, Conchoderma virgatum. A global pelagic found in all tropical waters that are attached to larger forms of marine life including Green Turtles, Loggerhead Turtles, Sea Snakes, Ocean Sunfish, Swordfish, Humpback Whales, Leatherback Whales, and Sperm Whales and oceanic buoys, ships and structures.  Above collected off a Striped Marlin. Length: 3.3 cm (1.3 inches).

Basket Sea Star of the Gorgonocephalidae Family (1) 

Star Net Basket Sea Star, Astrodictyum panamense.* Size: 12 cm (4.7 inches). Characterized by five very branched arms. They have rings of little hook-like spines forming bands around the branches of each arm. They hide during the day but come out at night extending their arms to trap food particles brought by the water currents.  Fossil records of the family date back to the Miocene Period, 5 to 23 million years ago. Fairly common and found in the branches of the Red Gorgonian, Eugorgia daniana. Identification courtesy of Dr. Richard Brusca, Tucson, AZ.

Bristle Worm of the Amphionomidae Family (1)

Common Fireworm, Eurythoe complanata.* Maximum length: 35 cm (14 inches). Fairly abundant component of tidal pools in the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur. Will generate severe pain upon touching. Pictured worm length: 15 cm (5.9 inches).

Brittle Star of the Cidaridae Family (4)

Banded Brittle Star, Ophiocoma alexandri.* Maximum arm length: 33 cm (13 inches); maximum central disk diameter: 2.5 cm (1.0 inch). The arms are gray and white banding with spines that are long and perpendicular to the arm axis. The aboral or dorsal surface of the disk has a uniform brown coloration and is covered with minute granules. Common on rocky shores, under rocks in sand or muddy areas of the lower and intertidal zones.  Found throughout the Sea of Cortez and along the coast of the mainland south to Guatemala.

Black Brittle Star, Ophiocoma echinata.* Maximum arm length: 25 cm (10 inches); maximum central disk diameter: 2.5 cm (1.0 inch). The arms are uniform in color with spines that are long and perpendicular to the arm axis. The aboral or dorsal surface of the disk has a uniform brown coloration and is covered with minute granules. Common on rocky shores, under rocks in sand or muddy areas of the lower and intertidal zones.  Found throughout the Sea of Cortez and along the coast of the mainland south to Guatemala.

Giant Black Brittle Star, Ophiocoma aethiops.* The largest of the brittle stars found in the Eastern Pacific region. Maximum arm length: 43 cm (17 inches); maximum central disk diameter: 3.7 cm (1.5 inches). Uniformly colored; spines are long and perpendicular to the arm axis. The aboral or dorsal surface of the disk has a uniform purple-brown coloration and the disk is covered with minute granules. Common on rocky shores, within coral structure, under rocks in sand or muddy areas of the lower and intertidal zones. Found throughout the Sea of Cortez and along the coast of the mainland south to Guatemala.

Ringed Brittle Star, Ophionereis annulata.* Maximum arm length: 30 cm (12 inches). Black and white in color with a disc that is covered with small overlapping scales which increase in size towards the edges that party cover the first arm plate. They have long and slender arms with three spines on each lateral arm plate. The arms are banded on both the dorsal and ventral surfaces which is a key to identification. The arms are approximately six times longer than the diameter of the disk and they travel via “stepping” utilizing their tube feet rather than the entire arm. Found under rocks and crevices and on sponges, corals and sand within the intertidal zone up to water depths up to 90 feet. Found in all Mexican waters of the Pacific and reported to be the most common Brittle Star within the Sea of Cortez.

Chiton of the Onchidiidae Family (1)

Mexican Chiton, Onchidella binneyi. Maximum length: 30 cm (12 inches). They are a low oval, covered dorsally with a convex, protective armor shell. The shell is made of aragonite that consists of eight lineally arranged, overlapping, calcareous plates. They feed at night on algae. They have homing behavior and return to the same location to take shelter under rock ledges during the day. The Mexican Chiton is an air breathing sea slug that are found in the intertidal zone just above the water line confined to the crack and crevices within large boulders on rocky coasts. They have lungs versus gills and therefore more closely related to air-breathing land and freshwater snails and slugs than they are to most other sea snails and sea slugs. The range of the Mexican Chiton is unknown except they have been documented in the northern Sea of Cortez and now at the tip of the Baja. Pictured chiton: 10 cm (4.0 inches) x 10 cm (4.0 inches) x 13 cm (5.1 inches). They date to the Oligocene period, 4 million years ago.

Flatworm of the Pseudocerotidae Family (1)

Flatworm Sp., Pseudoceros Sp. Member of the simplest worm group with the marine flatworms known as polycladids, some of which are very colorful, free-living, reaching 15 cm (6 inches) in length. They have soft bodies with no skeletal structure. They have a bilateral symmetry and are triploblastic, composed of three fundamental cell layers – outer ectoderm, middle mesoderm, and inner ectoderm. They have no body cavities (acoelomates) other than the gut, and they lack an anus; the same pharyngeal opening takes in food and expels waste. They take in oxygen but have no formal respiration system. The nervous system is very simple, being composed of two nerve cords running down each side of the body; they have two simple brains called ganglia, which are bundles of nerves. They do not have formal eyes but have two eyespots, which help them sense light. They move via tiny bristles called cilia and two layers of muscles under the skin; in an emergency they are capable of swimming via rhythmic muscular contractions. They are hermaphroditic with each individual producing both eggs and sperm; they can also regenerate missing body parts with ease.

Gorgonian of the Gorgonidae Family (1)

White Gorgonian, Muricea Sp.* A maximum length: 25 cm (10 inches) and can be wider than tall. The branches generate as small round clumps (versus flat in one plane) originating from a single holdfast. It has white polyps and in some phases has red toward the ends of the branches. Found on vertical rock faces. The range within Mexican waters is unknown and scientifically very little is known about this soft coral.

Heart Urchin of the Spatangidae Family (1)

Keeled Heart Urchin, Brissus latecarinatus.* Maximum length: 20 cm (7.9 inches). Found in all Mexican waters of the Pacific. Historically important in human commerce. Pictured urchin: 15.0 cm (5.9 inches) x 13.4 cm (5.3 inches). Identification courtesy of Christine Ewers, Athens, GA.

Hydrazoa of the Porpitidae Family (1)

Vellella, Vellella vellella. A form of jellyfish found on the oceans surface, collected from coastal waters off Ensenada, Baja California. Length: 2.5 cm (1.0 inch). Collection, photo and identification courtesy of Chris Wheaton, Fullerton, CA.

Hydroid of the Hydractiniidae Family (1)

Staghorn Hydrocoral, Janaria mirabilis.*  Maximum height: 5.0 cm (2.0 inches). Characterized by three or four symmetrical upright and one horizontal branch that are straight to slightly curved and 1.25 cm (0.5 inches) to 2.5 cm (1.0 inch) in length. The branches taper to a blunt tip that is about one-half the size of the branch at its maximum diameter. Found on soft bottom or rubble bottoms to depths up to 500 feet but limited to small colonies off the west coast of the Baja, within the Sea of Cortez and off the coasts of Panama and Fiji. Developing young species attach themselves to the shells of various gastropod shelled animals and overtime they totally encrust the shell and eventually erode the shell chemically. They provide homes of several living pagurid crustaceans many of which they eventually consume. They provide homesto the very small (6 mm) very common Staghorn Hermit Crab, Manucomplanus varians, which acts as maintenance men and as a trap door for the Staghorn sealing the door to unwanted intruders.

Krill of the Euphausiidae Family (1)

North Pacific Krill, Euphausia pacifica. Length: 1.5 cm (0.5 inches). Common and found in schools of 2 million tons with 1 million animals per cubic meter. Consumed by seabirds, rays, and whales at a level of up to 300 million tons per annum.

Mantis Shrimp of the Squillid Family (4)

Peacock Mantis Shrimp, Hemisquilla ensigera.* Length: 30 cm (12 inches). Found at modest depths in the lower half of the Sea of Cortez and along the coast of the mainland. Capable of inflicting deep cuts in humans due to the sharp claws.

Sorcerer Mantis Shrimp, Squilla biformis.* Length: 16 cm (6.2 inches). Deepwater species. Males are larger and outnumber females. Abundant being found at the southern end of Baja and along the coast of the mainland. A frequent catch of deepwater trawlers.

Striped Mantis Shrimp, Lysioquilla panamica.* Length: 16 cm (6.2 inches). Shallow water species known only to the west coast of southern Mexico. Capable of inflicting deep cuts in humans due to the sharp claws.

Tiburon Mantis Shrimp, Squilla tiburonensis. Length: 10 cm (3.9 inches). Mantis shrimp are reported to be the fastest animals on the planet (yes, even faster than Usain Bolt!).

Mermaid’s Purse of the Rajidae Family (1)

Murmaid’s Purse, Rajiidae Sp. Egg Case. Pictured case: 7.25 cm (2.9 inches) x 3.4 cm (1.3 inches). Skates are cartilaginous fish with more than 200 family members of which five are found in Mexican waters. Above egg case most likely from the Rasptail Skate, Raja velezi or the Witch Skate, Raja equitoralis. The skates bury their egg cases in the sand and the egg case tendrils hook onto seaweed or adjacent substrate. The case is a small 8 cm (3 inch) to 10 cm (4 inch) leathery pod, tipped with four graceful horns and each female lays two cases each of which contains one egg. The horns serve to extract oxygen from the water, and to release waste back into the water. Initially the embryos do not have gills and the egg cases are waterproof but within three weeks small holes develop in the tips of the horns that allow seawater to enter which coincides with gill development in the embryos. The cases are made of keratin, very tough and hard to penetrate, thus deterring predators. The eggs require between three and fifteen months to develop and which point they break out and become free swimming and are on their own.

Nudibranchs of the Chromodorididae Family (2)

Ghiselin Chromodorid, Hypselodoris ghiselini. Length: 5.1 cm (2.0 inches). Very common under tidal pool rocks in low surge zones along the coasts of Baja California Sur.

Sedna, Glossodoris sedna. Length: 3.0 cm (1.2 inches). Found under tidal pool rocks in low surge zones along the coasts of Baja California Sur.

Nudibranch of the Pleurobranchidae Family (1)

Orange Blob, Berthelina ilisima. Length: 3.0 cm (1.2 inches). Found under tidal rocks in the low surge zones along the coasts of Baja California Sur.

Octopus of the Octopodidae Family (3)

California Two-spotted Octopus, Octopus bimaculoides. Caught by hook and line from 200-foot coastal waters off Loreto, Baja California Sur. Length: 20 cm (7.9 inches). Poorly studied and behavioral patterns are unknown.

Hubbs’ Octopus, Octopus hubbsorum. Mantle maximum length: 22 cm (8.7 inches); total length: 1.02 meters cm (40 inches); maximum weight: 3.7 kg (8.1 pounds). Highly intelligent and have very short life spans. Are of interest to the scientific community as they have the ability to tell the difference between colors and shapes, which they are able to retain for up to two years. Have a significant textured pattern of grey and white lines. Common in most inter-tidal regions within the lower two-thirds of the Sea of Cortez and from Magdalena Bay southward along the southwest coast of Baja.

Mexican Pygmy Octopus, Octopus digueti.* Mantle maximum length: 5.0 cm (2.0 inches); total length: 15 cm (5.9 inches). Poorly studied and behavioral patterns are unknown. Sold commercially and affords an excellent cut bait. Pictured octopus total length: 8.0 cm (3.1 inches).

Prawn of the Penaeidae Family (1)

Brown Shrimp, Farfantepenaeus californiensis. The most important commercially harvest shrimp found at depths up to 250 feet in all Mexican waters of the Pacific. Maximum length: 25 cm (10 inches). An exceptional live bait. Catch and photo courtesy of Brad Murakami, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

Sea Cucumbers of the Holothuridae Family (5)

Bottleneck Sea Cucumber, Holothuria impatiens.* Length: 15 cm (5.9 inches). Maximum length: 30 cm (12 inches). Fairly common in the tidal pools of the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur.

Brown Sea Cucumber, Isostichopus fuscus.* Length: 15 cm (5.9 inches). Maximum length: 30 cm (12 inches). Shallow water fairly common in the tidal pools of the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur and found in all Mexican waters of the Pacific except along the west coast of Baja. Sold commercially as Beche-de-mer.

Giant California Sea Cucumber, Parastichopus californicus.* Length: 15 cm (5.9 inches). The largest sea cucumber on the Pacific coast. Maximum length: 40 cm (16 inches); 5 cm (2.0 inches) in width. Maximum weight: one-half pound. Commercially important.

Leopard Sea Cucumber, Holothuria pardalis.* Length: 13 cm (5.1 inches). Maximum length: 15 cm (5.9 inches). Fairly common in the tidal pools; common, present in all Mexican waters of the Pacific.

Sulfur Sea Cucumber, Selenkothuria lubrica.* Length: 15 cm (5.9 inches). Maximum length: 16.5 cm (6.5 inches). Round tubular body and larger at one end with a tapered head. Covered with conical spikes which have black tips. Dark brown dorsally and orange-yellow ventrally. Found at depths up to 50 feet. Found from Guerrero Negro southward along the central and southwest coasts of Baja, in the lower two-thirds of the Sea of Cortez and along the coast of the mainland south to Acapulco. Identification courtesy of Dr. Francisco A. Solis-Martin, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City.

 Sea Fan of the Anthothelidae Family (3)

Black Sea Fan, Antipathidae flordensis. Branches grown in a  in a random plane, originating from a single holdfast and a single stem, which branches significantly. They grow in size to 46 cm (18 inches) and are generally much taller than they are wide. Details are lacking about where they are found in relation to substrate, current, and ocean depths. The range within Mexican waters is also unknown. From a scientific perspective, little is known about this soft coral.

Deepwater Sea Fan, Iciligorgia schrammi.* A branching tree-like coral with branching occurring in pairs in a single plane. Found in most deep water environments within patch reefs, canyons, crevices and along walls. It’s range within Mexican waters is undocumented.

Red Sea Fan, Gorgonia adamsi.* A branching tree-like coral with branching occurring in a single plane with interlocking branches forming a flat lattice struture originating from a single holdfast and single stem. They range in size from 10 cm (4 inches) to 46 cm (18 inches) with approximately equal width and height. Found in areas with very strong currents, orienting themselves with the flat side directly facing the prevailing current. The range within Mexican waters is unknown. From a scientific perspective little is known about this soft coral.

Sea Lion of the Otariidae Family (1)

California Sea Lion, Male, Zalophus californianus. Sexually dimorphic. Males: length: 2.4 meters (7 feet 8 inches); Weight: 350 kg (770 pounds). Females: length: 1.8 meters (5 feet 11 inches); Weight: 100 kg (220 pounds). Least Concern. Photo taken at Punta Lobo, Baja California Sur.

Sea Turtle of the Chelonioidea Family (1)

Pacific Black Sea Turtle, Chelonia agassizii. Maximum length: 84 cm (33 inches). Endangered.

Sea Urchin of the Centrechinoida Family (1)

Crowned Sea Urchin, Centrostephanus coronatus.* Maximum diameter of 15.0 cm (5.9 inches) and are found in tidal pool environments attached to the undersides of rocks in all Mexican waters of the Pacific. They are an easy identification as the sharp, serrated dark purple spines are much long than the diameter of the test. Pictured urchin: 10.0 cm (3.9 inches); Test: 4.0 cm (1.6 inches) x 4.0 cm (1.6 inches).

Sea Urchin of the Cidaridae Family (1)

Slate Pencil Urchin, Eucidaris thouarsii.* Maximum diameter of 7.0 cm (2.75 inches) and are found primarily in crevices on shallow reefs in the mid and low tidal zones often exposed to violent surf, however, they also can be found up to depths of 450 feet. They range from California to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Pictured urchin: diameter 4.5 cm (1.8 inches); spine length 3.6 cm (1.4 inches).

Sea Urchin of the Diadematidae Family (1)

Cushion Sea Urchin, Astropyga pulvinata.* Maximum diameter of 15 cm (6.9 inches) and are found within a variety of substrates at depths up to 100 feet. They are found throughout the Sea of Cortez and along the coast of the mainland. Pictured urchin: diameter 13.5 cm (5.3 inches).

Sea Urchin of the Echinometridae Family (1)

Purple Sea Urchin, Echinometra vanbrunti.* Large, fairly abundant, difficult to identify with medium long slender spines that taper to a sharp point. Found in the low intertidal zone to depths of 150 feet in all Mexican waters of the Pacific with the exception that they are absent from Guerrero Negro northward along the central and northwest coasts of Baja. They are known to generate pain in human if stepped upon. Pictured urchin: 5.3 cm (2.1 inches).

Sea Urchin of the Toxopneustidae Family (1)

Brown Sea Urchin, Tripneustes depressus.* Found in shallow coastal waters at depths up to 60 feet in tranquil environments. Maximum size: 18 cm (7.1 inches). Covered with short white thorns that are 4 mm x 10 mm x 6 mm. In Mexican waters they are limited to the central and southeast coasts of Baja. They are known to generate pain in human if stepped upon. Pictured urchin: 15 cm (5.9 inches).

Seal of the Phocidae Family (1)

Harbor Seal, East Pacific Subspecies, Phoca vitulina richardii. Length: 1.85 meters (6 feet 8 inches). Weight 132 kg (290 pounds). Known also as the Common Seal and one five subspecies with global populations estimated to between 350,000 and 500,000.  Abundant in coastal waters off La Lobera, Baja California. Photo and identification courtesy of Chris Wheaton, Fullerton, CA.

Shrimp of the Gnathophyllidae Family (1)

Spotted Bumblebee Shrimp, Gnathophyllum panamensse. An easy identification due to its unique colors. A nocturnal creatures that spends daylight hours hiding under rocks where they blend in well with there surroundings. At night they emerge and become voracious omnivores feeding on a variety of organisms and plant materials.  Maximum length:  5.0 cm (2.0 inches) in length. Found throughout the Sea of Cortez and along the coast of the mainland south to Guatemala.

Shrimp of the Palaemonidae Family (1)

 

Long Claw River Prawn, Macrobrachium tenellum. Length: 7.0 cm (2.8 inches). Left claw is smaller and always open; right claw is always closed and 1.5x longer than the left. Found in all freshwater rivers south of Loreto that empty into the Pacific. Sold commercially.

Slipper Lobsters of the Scyllaridae Family (2)

Rock Slipper Lobster, Scyllarides astori.* Length: 38 cm (15 inches). Maximum length: 46 cm (18 inches). A resident of the Sea of Cortez.

Shield Fan Lobster, Juvenile, Evibacus princeps.* Length: 5.0 cm (2.0 inches). Maximum length: 35 cm (14 inches). A resident of the Sea of Cortez.

Spiny Lobsters of the Palinuridae Family (3)

Blue Spiny Lobster, Panulirus inflatus.* Length: 36 cm (14 inches). Very common along the west coast of the Baja and caught in abundance in lobster traps and sold commercially.

Green Spiny Lobster, Panulirus gracialis. Length: 31 cm (12 inches).  Less common along the west coast of the Baja and caught in lobster traps and sold commercially.

Red Spiny Lobster, Panulirus penicillatus. Length: 36 cm (14 inches). Wide global distribution and present along coastal mainland Mexico but uncommon along the west coast of the Baja and caught in lobster traps and sold commercially.

Spiny Sea Rod of the Plexauridae Family (1)

Orange Spiny Sea Rod, Muricea elongate. A soft coral that lacks a hard, rigid, permanent skeleton. It is a member of the Plexauridae Family, which includes feather plums, sea fans, sea rods, and sea whips. They form tall bushy colonies that reach 46 cm (18 inches) in height with hard, rough, spiked edges. The stems and branches have a single skeleton that attaches to the substrate via a single holdfast. They branch laterally near the base, not in single planes, but toward the top branch pinnately. They have prominent, hard, rough, close-set calyces with sharply spiked lower lips. They are normally found in the first 100 feet of the water column from sandy bottoms to sloping rocky structures. Their distribution within Mexican waters is unknown and from a scientific perspective little is known about this soft coral.

Squat Lobster of the Galathidae Family (1)

Pelagic Red Crab, Pleuroncodes planipes.* Maximum length: 10.0 cm (3.9 inches). Found at all water depths along the lower west coast of Baja and from the Midriff Island southward within the Sea of Cortez. A major food substance for numerous forms of marine live and an exceptional live bait for both surface and bottom fishing. Picture crabs size: 2.6 cm (1.0 inch) x 1.0 cm (0.4 inches).

Squid of the Loliginidae Family (1)

Market Squid or Opalescent Inshore Squid, Doryteuthis opalescens.* Length: 14 cm (5.5 inches). The number one cut bait for bottom fishing. Readily available at most of the major food stores in Mexico.

Squid of the Ommastrephidae Family (1)

Humboldt Squid, Dosidicus gigas.* Length: 2.7 meters (8 feet 10 inches).  Weight: 50 kg (110 pounds). The most cunning and ferocious of all animal on planet earth.  Readily available at most of the major food stores in Mexico. Marginal cut bait for bottom fishing.

Starfish of the Asteriidae Family (2)

Ochre Starfish, Pisaster orchraceous. Common cold water species found intertidally from Cedros Island northward along the central and northwest coasts of Baja. Vary significantly in color based on diet.  Found in and and survive in a wide variety of habits and changing water conditions. Pictured stars wingspan: 25 cm (10 inches).

Sunflower Star, Pycnopodia helianthoides.* Maximum wingspan: 90 cm (35 inches); maximum weight: 5.0 kg (11 pounds). They begin life with 5 arms but arms are added until they have up to 24 arms. Possess up to 15,000 tube feet allowing them to travel at speeds of up to 9-feet per minute.  Voracious predators. Their Mexican range is limited to the extreme northwest coast of Baja. Pictured stars wingspan: 15 cm (5.9 inches).

Starfish of the Asterodiscididae Family (2)

Horrida Spiny Sea Star, Paulia horrida.* Maximum wingspan: 18 cm (7.1 inches). They are found in all Mexican waters of the Pacific with the exception of waters north of Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur and the northern Sea of Cortez. Pictured stars wingspan: 13 cm (5.1 inches). Exceedingly rare. Identification courtesy of Dr. Chris Mah, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.

Insignis Spiny Sea Star, Amphiaster insignis.* Maximum wingspan: 18 cm (7.1 inches). They are found in all Mexican waters of the Pacific with the exception of waters north of Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur and the northern Sea of Cortez. Pictured stars wingspan: 12.5 cm (4.9 inches). Exceedingly rare. Identifica-tion courtesy of Dr. Chris Mah, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.

Starfish of the Astropectinidae Family (4)

Channeled Sea Star, Tethyaster canaliculatus.* Maximum wingspan: 50 cm (20 inches). They have a wide distribution being found in all Mexican waters of the Pacific with the exception of the central and northwest coasts of Baja. Pictured stars wingspan: 16 cm (6.3 inches).

Fragile Sand Star, Astropecten fragilis.*   Maximum wingspan: 25 cm (10 inches). They have a wide distribution being found in all Mexican waters of the Pacific. Arms have wide bases that acutely taper being about 6.5 times longer than the disc radius. Pictured stars wingspan: 19 cm (7.5 inches).

Peruvian Sand Star, Astropecten peruvianus.* Maximum wing-span: 27 cm (11 inches). Collection from the southwest coast of Baja. Previously unknown to Mexican water. Pictured stars wingspan: 27 cm (11 inches).

Spiny Sand Star, Astropecten armatus.Maximum wing-span: 20 cm (7.9 inches). Present in all Mexican waters of the Pacific. Pictured stars wingspan: 17 cm (6.7 inches).

Starfish of the Asteropseidae Family (1)

Keeled Starfish, Asteropsis carnifera.* Maximum wingspan: 25 cm (10 inches). They have a wide distribution being found throughout the Sea of Cortez and along the coast of the mainland. Pictured stars wingspan: 15 cm (5.9 inches).

Starfish of the Heliasteridae Family (1)

Gulf Sun Star, Helister kubiniji. Wing-span: 15 cm (5.9 inches); maximum wing-span 30 cm (12 inches). Characterized by having 19 to 25 legs. Found in all Mexican waters of the Pacific.

Starfish of the Mithrodiidae Family (1)

Bradley’s Sea Star, Mithrodia bradleyi.* Maximum wingspan: 35 cm (14 inches). Rare and poorly studied.  Pictured stars wingspan: 22 cm (8.7 inches).

Starfish of the Ophidiasteridae Family (2)

Tamarisk Sea Star, Tamaria stria.* Maximum wingspan: 18 cm (7.1 inches).Found at depths between 40 and 165 feet in the lower half of the Sea of Cortez and along the coast of the mainland. Utilized by the aquarium trade.

Tan Starfish, Phataria unifascialis.* Maximum wingspan: 30 cm (12 inches). Fairly common in the tidal pools of the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur. Pictured stars wingspan: 15 cm (5.9 inches).

Starfish of the Oreasteridae Family (3)

Chocolate Chip Star, Nidorellia armata.* Maximum wingspan: 15 cm (5.9 inches). They are found in all Mexican waters of the Pacific with the exception of waters north of Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur. Pictured stars wingspan: 15 cm (5.9 inches). Identification courtesy of Dr. Chris Mah, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.

Panamic Cushion Star, Pentaceraster cumingi.*  Maximum wingspan: 30 cm (12 inches). Found over sandy bottoms to depths of 500 feet. Present in all Mexican waters of the Pacific with the exception of northward along the central and northwest coasts of Baja.  Pictured stars wingspan: 25 cm (10 inches).

Yellow Spotted Star, Pharia pyramidata.* Maximum wingspan: 30 cm (12 inches). They are found within shallow rocky reefs at depths up to 500 feet in all Mexican waters of the Pacific. Pictured stars wingspan: 20 cm (7.9 inches).

Whales (Baleen) of the Balaenopteridae Family (2)

Blue Whale, Balaenoptera musculus. Length: 29.9 meters (98 feet); Weight: 181 tons (400,000 pounds); Life Span: 80 to 110 years. Endangered. The largest known inhabitant of planet earth. Abundant in coastal waters off Loreto, Baja California Sur, during the months of January, February and March.

Gray Whale, Eschrichtius robustus. Length: 14.9 meters (49 feet); Weight: 36 tons (80,000 pounds); Life Span: 55 to 70 years. Critically  Endangered. Abundant within Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur, during the months of January, February and March
.