Also known as the smooth flutemouth or smooth cornetfish, the bluespotted cornetfish is a species of flutemouth (Fistulariidae) which is widespread in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea. Bluespotted cornetfish typically inhabit reefs and are active predators, feeding on an array of small fish, crustaceans, and other invertebrates.
Philippine Mangrove Lagoon at the California Academy of Sciences
The Philippine Mangrove Lagoon is a 35,000 gallon exhibit at the Academy. You can see blacktip reef sharks, smaller tropical fish, cownose rays, a massive honeycomb ray (when he’s not hiding under the walkways), a bluespotted ribbontail ray, and a zebra shark that was raised in quarantine off-exhibit until he was big enough to do well in a multi-species exhibit.
In the late morning, the water was circulating quickly - I assume to simulate the ebb and flow of tides - and the animals were pretty active. (This was probably because it was close to their feeding time.) In the later afternoon, the water was smooth and clear and the animals were either sunning themselves, like the adorable zebra shark and bluespotted ribbontail ray, or cruising slowly around, like the blacktip sharks and cownose rays.
The lagoon exhibit runs right up to the Philippine Coral Reef, a 25-foot-deep tank with about 2,000 fish representing more than 130 species and dozens of species of coral. The lagoon and reef are kept separate by a rock wall. Once you’ve had your fill of watching the sharks swim (if you ever do - I never do) you can step downstairs and watch fish swimming in the reef - or more sharks swimming in a West Coast kelp forest.
This ray’s brightly coloured spots act as warning signals to alert other animals of its venomous tail spines. If threatened, it may strike with its tail to inflict excruciating pains. Despite this, the ray is prey to animals such as hammerhead sharks and bottlenose dolphins.