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Virginia Fishes

Virginia FishesAs the Virginia Living Museum's Aquarium Curator, Chris Crippen manages the indoor aquatic habitats and aquatic program animals representing over 15o species of indigenous fish and invertebrates living in habitat aquariums ranging from 30 to 30,000 gallons. His passion for Virginia Fishes is shared here. View Original Blog

Are You Feeding?

Probably the most common question we get from the visitors as we work in or around the exhibits is, “Are you feeding?” People love to watch the animals eat so I think the question may be born from wishful thinking. We do have feedings for the public at 11am and…

Trip to Duke Marine Lab

Every spring, students from local Christopher Newport University make a trip to the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC.  A couple of aquarium employees from the VLM accompany them on the trip to help with identification and to lend an extra hand to the chaperoning professor….

Lemon Shark update

One issue with introducing the lemon sharks is that the loggerhead is still somewhat passive competing for food, while the lemons are aggressive towards everything edible. The sharks are trained with tongs just as the turtle was (see pics below) , but the turtle has not yet…

Duke trip

I usually accompany a group of Christopher Newport University students from Dr. Mollick’s class http://www.cnu.edu/bces/profiles/mollick.asp to the Duke Marine Lab http://www.nicholas.duke.edu/marinelab/ this to assist in I.D’ing fishes and to help run the wet lab. But this year two of my staff members who formerly were students on the…

Skates and rays at the VLM

I am in the process of redecorating the interior of the Ray/Skate exhibit and will soon be replacing the southern stingray (Dasyatis americana) http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/gallery/descript/southernstingray/southernstingray.html that has outgrown the exhibit. Its tankmate was moved into our largest Chesapeake Bay Aquarium several weeks ago and is thriving. We…

Common Carp

The common carp (Cyprinus carpio) is an extremely interesting fish. They certainly are undervalued in the U.S. as people generally find them unpalatable. But they can be excellent sport, are one of the more intelligent fish species (in my experience) and can become very tame….

Native trout spawning

A juvenile rainbow trout in the Mountain Stream exhibit at the VLM: Each spring and fall our rainbow, brook and brown trout spawn on exhibit. The males develop a hooked jaw, or kype, with which he fights or drives off rival males with; they also…

Loggerhead Sea Turtles

As part of a collaboration with North Carolina Aquariums, the VLM raises juvenile loggerhead sea turtles that have been collected as hatchlings, until the turtles are ready for release. Their state-wide conservation program (http://www.ncaquariums.com/conservationresearch/sea-turtle-conservation) helps many sea turtles yearly and is an excellent educational tool…

Calico Box Crab

Calico Box Crab (Hepatus epheliticus) Molting: We maintain a large collection of crustaceans and at least one of them molts each week. Usually it’s a blue crab (http://www.chesapeakebay.net/blue_crab.htm) as we have many of them, but sometimes it’s something less common such as the lobster; it…

Lemon Sharks

Deciding when (and if) to introduce new animals to an exhibit is critical to their long-term success and the success of their tankmates. Animals that get large and may be dangerous to staff or other animals take considerably more consideration. I recently acquired two lemon…