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PENGUINS DIVE INTO NEW ENCLOSURE AT ST ANDREWS AQUARIUM

St Andrews Aquarium’s waddle of Humboldt penguins have been settling into their new surroundings after an exciting redevelopment by one of the UK’s leading aquarium theming companies. The new £50,000 enclosure boasts being the ‘newest and best in the UK’ and the penguins – and their aquarium friends – have given it their seal of approval.

The enclosure, named ‘Penguin’s Cove’ is now home to the aquarium’s six resident penguins, who were all named after Andy Murray and members of his family after a public competition and have even been given the nod from the Murray’s themselves after a visit from Judy in 2013. St Andrews Aquarium offer a popular penguin feeding experience, giving visitors the chance to learn all about the penguins, prepare their food and step inside the enclosure for a unique and unforgettable experience.

John Mace, Managing Director of St Andrews Aquarium, commented:

“We’re delighted by the transformation of our penguin enclosure at St Andrews Aquarium and it’s been great to see the penguins enjoying their new home. The exciting redevelopment, as well as the addition of our new tropical zone ‘The Reef’, means that even if you’ve visited the Aquarium before there will be lots more to see over the October break!”

Humboldt’s are medium-sized penguins and are around 60cm in height and around 4-5kg in weight. Originating from South America, their numbers have been in steady decline over the past decade due to over fishing, habitat destruction and climate change.

The redesign of Penguin’s Cove comes during the latest wave of refurbishments for St Andrews Aquarium. In Spring, the aquarium opened ‘The Reef’, after enlisting the help of leading European aquarium company Aquarium Technology Ltd and splashing out £30,000 to reproduce the look of tropical waters using replica corals and imitation rocks, with displays that create the feel of walking through a reef.

For more on St. Andrews Aquarium visit www.standrewsaquarium.co.uk

12 fishy facts for back to school, with special guests Dory and Nemo

Many kids headed back to school in the next few weeks will no doubt have their heads full of the hit film Finding Dory.

The animated feature has been topping box offices in the UK and Ireland, with families flocking to see the long-awaited sequel to Finding Nemo. But while everyone knows Dory, not many know that she can go by a string of different names, among them Regal Blue Tang, Surgeonfish and Doctorfish. And did you know that it’s a myth that fish have memory problems like Dory does?

St Andrews Aquarium, home to 30 different species of tropical and marine fish, including Regal Blue Tangs and Clownfish, decided to issue these 12 fishy facts for fans of Dory and Nemo. They’re designed to give kids, parents and their teachers a bit of schooling (geddit?) in our finned friends. And they’re also aimed at making that summer-to-school transition just a little bit easier.

12 Fishy Facts about Regal Blue Tangs and Clownfish, aka Dory and Nemo:

  1. The Regal Blue Tang’s scientific name is Paracanthurus Hepatus, although it also goes by many different names, among them Pacific Blue Tang, Hippo Tang, Surgeonfish, Doctorfish and Letter Six Fish. Could you imagine having that many different names? You would never know when your teacher was calling you
  2. Dory has got herself into plenty of scrapes, including being swallowed by a whale and a near miss with a crowd of sharks. But eating Dory or any of her ‘school’ pals would be a bad move. The Regal Blue Tang has a poisonous flesh and eating it could cause fish poisoning called ciguatera. It isn’t seriously harmful to humans but it will definitely have you feeling icky.
  3. When they are babies the Regal Blue Tangs are not blue at all. They are born yellow with blue spots by their eyes and blue tips on their fins. As they mature they change colour into their adult form – just like the ones at St Andrews Aquarium, and the film!
  4. Regal Blue Tangs have scalpel-like spines along the top and bottom of their body (ouch!). These can be used as a means of self-defence against predators. It’s also the reason for one of the Tang’s aliases being Surgeonfish.
  5. Dory has amnesia, and fish in general have a reputation for having a bad memory (hence the phrase ‘a memory like a fish’). In actual fact, a number of scientific studies of fish have proven that this is a myth, and that fish can remember things for four or five months.
  6. The Regal Blue Tang is not always blue. It can adjust its colour shade from light blue to deep purple. Cool, eh? It will often change colour at night and researchers believe that’s because the Tang’s nervous system is less active at night, which will affect its colouring.
  7. The Regal Blue Tang is a sociable fish and they don’t always just hang out with their own kind either. Their schools can include several different species of Surgeonfish and Tang.
  8. When faced with a predator, Regal Blue Tangs often play dead- lying on their side and remaining motionless until the predator passes them by.
  9. The Clownfish – scientific name Amphiprioninae – is immune to the stings of the sea anemone. It builds up this immunity by doing a sort of dance when it finds one and touches the anemone with all of its different parts of its body. This allows the Clownfish to build up a tolerance to its sting.
  10. For extra protection, the Clownfish has a layer of mucus around it. Eeeewww!
  11. Clownfish eat the parasites and clean the sea anemones and in return the sea anemone provides food scraps and helps protect them from other fish.
  12. All Clownfish are born males and have the ability to switch their sex and become the dominant female of the group. This change is irreversible. When the dominant female dies, the dominant male will then become the dominant female.

At St Andrews Aquarium all the exotic fish are displayed in The Reef, a spectacular showcase of themed tanks holding 30 different species. That includes a 360-degree clownfish viewing tank which allows visitors to crawl through a tunnel and get a close-up experience with them.

John Mace, manager at St Andrews Aquarium, said:

“We are really proud to have been home to Regal Blue Tangs at St. Andrews Aquarium for a number of years. Our ever growing family of fish make for a great all-round experience for our customers. With The Reef in full swing and our 360-degree Clownfish tank, we believe our aquarium experience is a one of a kind. We hope to see a lot of new and returning visitors nearing the end of the school holidays and a lot of school trips this term.”

St Andrews Aquarium is open 7 days a week, 10am until 6pm. It hosts a range of activities throughout the day, from talks to animal experiences. St Andrews Aquarium also offers a unique and exciting experience for special occasions and school trips.

For more information on St Andrews Aquarium please visit www.standrewsaquarium.co.uk

A taste of the tropics in St. Andrews as aquarium opens The Reef

If you go down to St. Andrews Aquarium this Easter weekend, you’re in for a tropical surprise. The Fife attraction has created The Reef, a spectacular showcase of themed tanks holding 15 different species of tropical and marine fish.

They include Green and Leopard Moray Eels, Pufferfish, Lionfish, Clownfish and Seahorses spread over five brand new exhibits located at the end of the visitor tour.

The aquarium invested approximately £30,000 on The Reef as part of a four-month winter refurbishment. It brought in leading European aquarium company Aquarium Technology Ltd to reproduce the look of tropical waters using replica corals and imitation rocks, with displays that create the feel of walking through a reef.

John Mace, manager of St. Andrew’s Aquarium, commented:

“The Reef really does bring the tropics to St. Andrews and the Fife coast, and we can’t wait to show off our bigger, better collection of tropical and marine life to visitors. It not only reels visitors in but it’s a fabulous experience for them to end their visit on.
“We’re home to more than 100 animals from all parts of the world, making us a go-to for locals and visitors from further afield. The Reef provides an extra reason to visit the Aquarium over Easter and during the school holidays.”

Newlyweds’ p-p-perfect visit to aquarium on dream wedding day

Staff at St Andrew’s Aquarium in Fife were met with a rather unusual request one Saturday afternoon late last November, when a newlywed couple turned up at their reception desk in their wedding attire and asked if they could visit the resident penguins.

Graeme Mackenzie wanted to surprise his penguin-obsessed new wife Carrie-Anne with an impromptu trip to the popular seaside aquarium, right after getting hitched at St. Andrew’s Holy Trinity Church and before the glittering reception at the famous Old Course Hotel. The childhood sweethearts, who met at school in Banff, Aberdeenshire at the age of 16, married on 21st November 2015.

Speaking about his whirlwind big day, Graeme commented:

“Carrie-Anne had no idea about the visit to the aquarium. I told her we were going to get some photos taken on the beach, which she didn’t look too pleased about considering the freezing weather! When she realised that we were pulling up into the aquarium carpark, I saw that her eyes started to fill up with tears – luckily they were happy tears!

He continued:

“We turned up, me in my kilt and Carrie-Anne in her gigantic dress, and if I remember rightly, I said ‘I just got married, this is my new wife and she loves penguins, will you let us in to see them?’ and luckily they let us straight through!”

The staff, who were just preparing for the daily penguin talk, were delighted to be able to give the couple some time to enjoy the special moment together.

John Mace, Owner of St Andrew’s Aquarium commented:

“It was a lovely surprise to see Graeme and Carrie-Anne visit the aquarium just after getting married and we we’re thrilled to be part of their very special day. We hope to see them back for one of our special penguin feeding sessions soon so they can meet the penguins properly!”

After moving to Glasgow in 2013, Graeme has had no choice but to embrace Carrie-Anne’s love of penguins and has allowed penguin bed covers, cushions and ornaments into the house, along with more stuffed toys than he cares to count.

Recalling their joy and the excitement of other visitors at the aquarium, Graeme added:

“Seeing the penguins meant so much to us both and there were so many well-wishers at the aquarium, some of the little children thought Carrie-Anne was a princess! The staff were incredibly generous in letting us in and we’re looking forward to going back and picking up a little souvenir to add to Carrie-Anne’s large collection of penguins – perhaps in slightly more casual attire this time.

When asked why penguins are so special to them, Graeme continued:

“Carrie-Anne’s love for penguins isn’t something I think she could ever articulate. She just loves everything about them – you can imagine what happened when she saw the John Lewis advert last year! For me, every time I see a penguin I think of her and, more importantly, they mate for life so I think they’re a great role model for us.”

The beautiful moment was captured by photographer Emma Lawson.

To find out more about St Andrews Aquarium, visit www.standrewsaquarium.co.uk