There are more than 42,000 animal and plant species facing extinction. As a conservation organization committed to maintaining sustainable animal exhibits, the Aquarium is home to many endangered marine species. Learn more about them below.

Banggai Cardinalfish

The cardinal fish are mouthbrooders, which means the males hold eggs in their mouths until they hatch. They are currently considered endangered due to over-harvesting and habitat destruction.

Staghorn Coral

You can spot Staghorn coral in the garden eels exhibit upstairs in the Yawkey Coral Reef Gallery. In the wild, Staghorn coral is seriously endangered, and it’s an important species for reef restoration off the Florida coast.

“If we lost these reefs, you wouldn’t really get to see a lot of the fish that you see everywhere else,” said our Aquarist Sean, who cares for our live corals on exhibit and behind the scenes.

A piece of staghorn coral in the Aquarium exhibit. Coral is orange in color and branching. There is a small shrimp beside the coral.

Acadian Redfish

Acadian Redfish

The Acadian redfish, also called ocean perch, lives for a long time and gives birth to just a few young. Because of this, when they are overharvested, as they were in the 1930s-50s, it takes a long time for them to recover. To help,  a science-based fisheries management plan was implemented in 2004 to allow the population to recover.  Despite the odds, within a decade, the plan worked. Now, fishers are able to target and harvest Acadian redfish in a sustainable way so that the redfish populations and their ecosystem remain healthy.

Australian Lungfish

Did you know that the Australian lungfish are only found in three river systems in northeast Australia?

These unique fish can breathe air use one single lung, but they have gills too! These omnivores are the closest living fish relative to tetrapods (reptiles, amphibians, birds, mammals) and are part of a group of fish called Sarcopterygians or lobed-fin fishes. This endangered fish species can live up to 100 or more years old and reportedly have the longest genome of any animal in the world.

Lake Victoria Cichlids 

We have many endangered species in our care, but did you know we also have a fish at our Animal Care Center in Quincy, MA, that is completely extinct in the wild? It’s called the two-stripe white-lip cichlid.

Two-stripe white-lip cichlids were once found in Lake Victoria, Africa, but haven’t been seen there for many years. Several institutions (including us) are part of the Species Survival Program, working to breed these cichlids.